‘Just’ 2800 Square Feet.

So. I was watching HGTV yesterday and there’s one of those shows about a couple who wants to move somewhere (in this case it was Flagstaff or something). They show three different homes and the couple has to make a decision. The first house was described as ‘just’ 2800 square feet, and was considered almost too small for the needs of this couple and their baby.

Were they planning to have ten kids? Were they starting an indoor riding school? Nascar track? Paintball gallery?

Nah. He wanted space for his hobby, making electronic things. She wanted room to sew. They wanted separate rooms just for those things.

Now, I began fighting some of my own prejudices here, because they weren’t rich. They just weren’t in Vancouver. Or New York. Or another big city. But how dare they take up 2800 square feet? How dare they think it a little small when there are people who have so much less in square footage?

How wasteful! I raged to myself. People can live perfectly happily with so much less space. What the hell are they thinking? Imagine the carbon footprint as he drives to work every day. Imagine how much time they’ll spend cleaning a place that big. And God, the stuff! Think of the mindless consumer crap you could fill that place with! My Angry Inner Pinko was on full alert.

Part of the anger came because I type, eat, sew and paint at the same small table, and the equipment stays in storage if I’m not using it. E has a room for his music stuff, but that is my decision because I don’t want to live in his stuff, and it takes up a lot of room. We manage very well, albeit kidless, in about 800 square feet.

But I don’t have to live in this neighbourhood, in this city. I could live in the ‘burbs and have way more space. I could move to Flagstaff and have a giant house. Hell, ditto Regina. But I live where I live because I love it, and that is that.

But talking to my brother today (who lives in Philadelphia and knows from living cramped), I realized that a lot of government and housing policy is responsible for the fact that many North Americans see 2800 Square Feet as the only logical choice. There are tax breaks for first-time home buyers, but no tax breaks for renters, and most renters are in the denser areas of cities. Hayuuge money for highway projects but little, generally, is done to create swift commuting within a city. Here, anyway. Sure, there are frequent buses along main corridors, but what if you have to transfer, or, God forbid, get to South Van? Budget extra time and bring a snack, because you’ll be waiting/on the bus for a loooong time. The government will extend the power grid to Wyndsong Heights, or whatever the latest housing development is called, but it won’t spend money on greener practices in the cities.

Don’t even get me started on the socioeconomic ramifications of the government policies. It’s enough to make me want to stick a knife in my eye. Policy needs to change a lot, because 2800 Square Feet for everyone just isn’t going to cut it.

Bamboozled.

So I got a new bamboo cutting board. I thought I knew how to use them, but this one has additional information that I’m having a hard time deciphering:

“People need bamboo for inhabitancy under the circumstance eating without meat.”

Any guesses?

Fireworks Redux: The Bests.

Best place to watch ‘em: The Maritime Museum. Families, and not knife-wielding thugs with their pants hanging off their butts.

Best Firework: The hearts, with all of Vancouver going, “oOooohhh!”

Best reason to use birth control: Woman my age arguing with eight-year old son. She’s trying to control his full-blown orangutan tantrum and shrieking, “I swear to God , you are pissing me right the fuck off!”

Best failed pickup: We see a guy in his fifties half-lying down, cradled in the lap of a younger guy. Look closer, older man has blood on his face. Us: Do you need us to call someone? Younger guy: No, we’re okay, thanks. Older guy: (quite drunk, attempting to leer) I really need…a woman. A good woman. Us: Okay, then. (We leave)

Best Crowd Control Move: Police ATV cruises right through the middle of a 50- kid gaggle of teenagers clogging the sidewalk and spilling out into traffic. The group scatters. One lone numbskull kid tries to get on the back of the ATV. Moron. Follow-up officers on foot scare him away.

Best random observation: No garbage left on the beach. Not a scrap. Garbage teamsters, eat your hearts out.

Trailer Reservations

So when E and I went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix I saw a couple of trailers that got me thinking and worrying.

The first was for Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. It’s the first in the His Dark Materials trilogy, and if you haven’t read them, I suggest you do it. However, I don’t know if I trust any director to really treat the rich tapestry of images, mythology, and themes with the respect it deserves. It could very easily become a vapid bubble of fantasy with nothing to recommend it.
The second is The Dark is Rising, the second book in a series, and the name of the series, by Susan Cooper. I confess to grave misgivings. First, they seem to have made Will, the protagonist, American. Wrongitty-wrong. Will is English. His knowledge and understanding of who he is comes from the fact that he is very local to deeply historically significant places in the novel. Not from fucking Minnesota. Second, the book is riddled with nuances and nudges towards Arthurian legend and Celtic (particularly Welsh) mythology. Apparently, they’re taking that out of the book. Yes, they are taking that which gives the story its immense depth and resonance, out.
Wikipedia says: The planned film diverges from the book on several fundamental points, including the decision to rewrite Will Stanton’s character to change him from an eleven-year-old English boy to a fourteen-year-old American boy, significant changes to the mythological structure of the plot, re-setting the story to occur in the present-day, and the addition of a brother of Will’s as a potential “Judas” character among them.

So they’ve taken what was a multi-layered, finely-nuanced story and made it a typical American “We Saved The Day” masturbatory spectacle. Oh, bravo.

Friday Confessions, late.

It occuurred to me that it was Friday today, and I had a huge chunk of time in which I was going to go visit my grandmother. Then I remembered I was doing this Friday Confessions thing and I almost skipped Grandma. But I went and that’s where the confessions start.

1. I had a pretty good time at the sing-a-long. Uhm, I think it says something when I can get a kick out of singing Gershwin tunes with a flock of reality-challenged nonogenarians.

2. I didn’t go to the gym this week.

3. Yesterday I made up a question to have an excuse to call my dad.

4. I plan on drinking some wine tonight, and won’t get around to sanding my new shelves until tomorrow.

What do you confess to?�

Fleas.

So this Friday, E notices a couple of fleas on Baxter. Dutifully, we vacuum everything and put the stuff on the back of his neck. Baxter’s, not E’s. Because that would be stupid.

Today I was trying to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (which I promise not to talk about until people catch up and finish it) and I looked down at an itch on my arm. Flea! Fark me, it happened four times and I drownded those little buggers and relished their deaths.

I went and bought some spray stuff for the furniture from the pet store, where I was not so much helped as fluttered around by a completely unhelpful salesgirl.

Thinking to fight the flea fight on two fronts, I then went into my local hippie store for some essential oils. I’d heard fleas hate the smell of cedar. After a lengthy discussion with the naturopath saleswoman and another flea-infested customer, I walked away with a custom blend of oils that repels fleas. I put a few drops in some hot water and washed the floors, and stuck some in a diffuser. It might repel fleas (so far two have committed suicide in Baxter’s water dish), but it certainly repels E, whose eyes were stinging and his throat burning.

Time will tell, but I still feel itchy.

Release Party.

The incredulous cry echoes through the darkened trees: I have it in my hands! I have the answer in my hands!

That pretty much sums up the feeling in VanDusen Gardens moments after each person grabs The Book and exits through the back of the tent to make way for more eager readers, vouchers and hands outstretched.

The operation was really slick. Apparently there were about seven thousand people crammed into a roped off field, milling and admiring costumes. There was a band to entertain as we lined up, pressed against barricades, waiting, waiting for midnight. It could have been a mess, but I doff my cap to Kidsbooks. They did a really good job of organizing.

12:47 PM

Finished HP7.

Wow. What a book.

Harry Potter 7

I went to the release party. I picked up the book. I read until 4am.

I embrace my inner geek.

Friday Confessions: I Just Stole It.

Since Emma doesn’t blog anymore, and I miss the catharsis, I am going to start the Friday Confessions over here chez MonkeyPants. I forget if I asked her permission or not, so I guess if she doesn’t want me to do this, she can bitch me out in person. Or, of course, on Facebook.

So. Confessions:

I didn’t go to the gym. Again.

On Thursday I decided to prep and paint the alcove I will eventually turn into built-in shelves. It really needs a third coat of paint, but I am too lazy to do it.

I threatened the cat with the vacuum cleaner hose after he tipped over a houseplant. We’re still not speaking.

I watched Duran Duran on the Diana concert. John Taylor is still disturbingly attractive.

What do you confess to this week?

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