December 31, 2009

looking deep inside (but I don't want to look so deep inside yet)

as always, my year-end survey meme thing. Hi.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
went to a conference, got laid off, almost hit a moose, made out in the office, broke things off before they started, shot a book, shot a new year's party, became the photo editor, shot a show in a bank foyer, made a huge mistake, had jaw surgery.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't settle, and eschewed pants, so yeah, I did.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
too many people, too quickly.

5. What countries did you visit?
The US.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Sanity, sig. other, a manageable debt load, a return to UBC.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
New Year's and the walk to Broadway/Granville, NASH Awards Gala, the day I got laid off. Two weeks of solid shooting, new job and then the AGM. Snow on my birthday, the last Kerrisdale Alpha party (I still have a scar), MeFi #10, lantern fest with Marielle, day 1 at the Ubyssey, Imagine, Had a Glass/Olio/Warped all in 28 hours, Pride (oof), jaw surgery, funeral.
Of special note: the day I quit all my non-photography jobs.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I realized that I could make a living off just my wits and photography, I got ahead with freelancing, and I didn't get fired. Or kill myself. That's probably the biggest one.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I continue to be unable to motivate myself without a fuckton of caffeine, I lost marks to anxiety, I fucked up at the paper.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Does it count as injury when you're recovering from surgery?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Tossup: 2x 580EXII vs 7D.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
They know who they are.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
They know who they are, too.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Braces, mortgage, tuition, camera gear, jaw surgery, pants.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Music, eventual freedom from braces.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? sadder.
b) thinner or fatter? thinner, which comes of not eating for four days and then being on liquids for the following three weeks.
c) richer or poorer? poorer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Admitting, working.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Commute, settling.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
At home, sans parents, eating pizza (barely.)

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Love no, like yes.

22. How many one-night stands?

23. What was your favourite TV program?
BSG, Mad Men, Heston's Feasts. TV's not something I consume a whole lot of anymore.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nobody new.

25. What was the best book you read?
Infinite Jest.

honorable mentions: Geek Love, Run, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, How to Eat, and The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The xx, Kraftwerk, The Rural Alberta Advantage.

27. What did you want and get?
Material stuff, space, etc.

28. What did you want and not get?
Material stuff, freedom.

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
I don't know, I don't think I went to any movies; if I am sitting in one place for 1.5 hours I expect to be somewhere else when I leave my seat.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
24: we ate dinner at Swiss Chalet and then went to the Coppertank and then to the Astoria. It snowed, for some reason.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I need to leave UBC.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Threadless shirts, cardigans, corduroys, and selvage denim.

33. What kept you sane?
I'm not really sure.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Uh, most all of the cast of Battlestar Galactica.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
A lot of the stuff surrounding the Olympics, homelessness as a whole, and mental/health stuff.

36. Who did you miss?
Most everyone from AUS/ACF. We seem to have grown up and apart.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
More Ubyssey kids: Geoff, Michael, Jonny and Ashley W.
Service BC types: Derek, Charmaine, Nina, and Nicole.
People I got to know better: Al Smith, Gord, Justin and Thor.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
Do it right the first time, save yourself the hassle.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
What do I share?
What do I keep
from all the strangers
who sleep where I sleep

The Strangers by St. Vincent

or: That secret that you know
But don't know how to tell
It fucks with your honor
And it teases your head

Blood Bank by Bon Iver.


December 28, 2009

into a white and soundless place

my uncle died. I went to his funeral, and made vague overtures about the whole thing on twitter and tumblr, but didn't really say anything about him, so I figure this is a good a place as any to do it.
I guess, really, there are four vignettes that encapsulate my knowledge of him not just from our uncle/nephew relationship but also what I got told about when my parents decided to tell stories of their childhoods, half a world away. Here goes:

  1. He was eighth of ten children, the youngest son (and three years older than my mom). They grew up close, and even after my parents married my dad referred to him, jokingly, as his second father-in-law — even after they emigrated to Canada, my uncle kept tabs on my dad, a little.
  2. moving across the world strikes me as a fundamental act of either madness or faith. My parents did it with sponsors shortly after marriage and before their first child, literally starting a new life together. My uncle did it with my aunt, two teenagers and a tween, after 22 years (!) of a stable government job, moving from pre-instability Fiji into mid-90s northern California, with all its attendant madnesses, gaping pits of culture shock, and a whole lot of loved ones who went from a 16-hour flight to a 16-hour drive away. I can't get my head around it.
  3. they moved over in 1995, and we visited once or twice a year (and vice versa); not always the most traditional of vacations by any means, I remember one Easter weekend in 1998 or 1999, we piled into the minivan and drove for 18 hours straight to see my uncle for his birthday (two days before mine), stayed for two days, and then drove back. Somewhere in there, my aunt made crab curry with habaneros instead of jalapenos, and we all wept and ate snow crab and regretted it in the morning.
  4. He called, pretty much weekly, usually just to ask how everyone was, and what we'd been up to. The timing was such that he usually caught me as I stepped in the door while my parents were out running errands or on the night shift this week and so we got to talking about as frequently as him and my mother did. He was also more supportive of the photo hobby/side gig/gambit/eventual career than my parents were at first, and asked me to email him photos of babytron fairly regularly. (which I did; he met babytron this August when my sister went to visit him well before he took a turn for the worse. I didn't go for fear of missing a production night and cannot adequately relate how much I regret this.)

The last one is why, at the funeral, sleep-deprived, upset, and lacking most of my ability to speak (and all of my ability to speak Hindi) when my mom came over and looked at me, swollen and despondent, she reached for a hug and asked as she broke down again, "who's going to call us now?" I lost it. It's also why I dread phone calls a little because I know who it isn't and who it won't be (no matter how much I want it to change,) and in future, it's why I won't be putting work first for a long time.


December 19, 2009

gonna cut someone

man, everything blows this week:

  • I sound like a stupid baby; I got a haircut today and enunciating was a fucking ordeal.
  • two more editors left the paper. This makes three since the beginning of the year, and this time there are no clear replacements in sight.
  • the bits of my face that don't hurt are completely numb, which is terrifying; it's still too early to say if anything is permanent (and I hope none of it is)
  • one of my maternal uncles died. I wanted to go see him post-op, but he didn't make it. This was precisely two months (to the day) that my aunt (also maternal) died in Fiji. This is truly something I don't want to come in threes.

the last one makes the rest of them pale in comparison, and it's also why I'm off to California for 36 hours tomorrow. The worryingest bits: I don't look like my passport anymore, I can't talk very well, and there's titanium in my skull now. I hope my doctors notes are enough; I've heard enough about the TSA to be wary.

I've got chemicals; wish me grace (and cue the M83).


December 18, 2009

this is honestly just so I can right-click and save as: srsly