Friday, August 31, 2007

Yesterday I got my hair cut, which means that I'm finally able to a) have a new driver's license photo taken; b) have my student card photo taken; c) post a userpic for this journal. a) and b) are my goals of the day, so I'll be checking out the U of T campus for the first time since moving. c) will follow a bit later, I'm sure.

Last night was fun. After watching Evan Almighty, Andrea and I had dinner at the Cadillac Lounge with Matt and Kim. The patio was nice and serenaded by yodellers; in contrast, some skate company was putting on a show inside. I didn't hear the band they had lined up but Matt said he liked what he heard of their soundcheck. After dinner we checked out the tail-end of that "Other Goose" reading. And I mean tail-end - the reading was completely over, and we were just in time for the calypso dance extravaganza. Surreal. The venue was the Gladstone Hotel and it was cool to see a stage with a projector set up to show pictures from the book. Probably not the greatest space to hang artwork, but it was swank and drew a lot of people. Kim said it was popular for book launches.

Feeling more than slightly tipsy and perhaps less cautious of not really knowing my way around, Andrea and I headed for Queen and Bathurst to meet Jenna. We searched for a bar without cover to grab a couple of drinks in the meantime and ended up in Michael's Restaurant, a pretty sketchy bar populated by undesirables shouting gibberish at one another. Lots of random bathroom graffiti about pussy. Jenna showed up and a bit of hilarity went down as the girls attempted to escort their drinks out of the bar in their bags. This brought two folks of Asian descent out of the bar, intent on tackling us like semis bitchslapping deer, but I put on my largest doe-eyes and told them I had no idea what they were talking about. Their threats to phone the cops echoed off the Queen Street concrete as we rounded the corner up Bathurst.

We ended up at Kukulo, a cafe turned venue for the launch of some band's CD. The place looked pretty cool in a Club Saw type of way, with art on the walls and the requisite band gear crammed into a makeshift jam space, but it was packed with people and sweltering. Fortunately they had a patio for Andrea and I to down our last beers of the night. It's funny how much the back entrance of a place on College can look a lot like some dude's back porch (complete with barbecue and swinging gate).

After many, many litres of various beers, we headed home in a stupor and crashed at the relatively early time of 1:30. I'm going to fill out my license paperwork while Andrea watches The Hills.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I made my first foray onto the transit system today in order to meet Andrea at the downtown bus terminal. 41Keele South bus to the Keele stop on the Bloor-Danforth line, then east to the Spadina transfer to the Yonge-University-Spadina line, then south to the St. Patrick stop. Piece of cake. The only misdirection I had came from trying to WALK to the terminal after surfacing on Dundas. I don't trust my legs. Toronto looks grey and lived-in from a bus window, as if the walls of every building have peeled away ten times over. What are the buildings that line St. Clair West trying to become in their apparent acts of transformation? What's at their core?

Mike lent me this book by Will Ferguson called "Generica" and it's quite funny. It's about a guy who works for a publishing house and has a gift for simile (his manager's hair is pulled back into a ponytail - like a chihuahua's penis). Apparently he publishes a self-help book by a man named Tupac Soiree that actually works and causes the world to fall into chaos. Imagine a world without problems.

Andrea and I have otherwise been bumming around all day, watching episodes of The Office, waiting for Jim and Pam to finally get together. We drank and chilled with her friend Jenna for a bit. Tomorrow we're hooking up with Matt and Kim for some good clean literary fun courtesy of House of Anansi. More on that later.

I need a haircut drastically.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More details on the apartment: the balcony is a tiny thing, but you can see the CN Tower looming in the distance, which is invariably cool. All of the balcony railings on the east side of the building are painted either red, yellow, or in my cousin's case, blue and make the wall look like a playworld from the street. Little kids who walk by must comment on how they want to live here when they grow up, in the building with the brightly coloured windows. The main entrance looks very condo-ish and oddly shaped.

I went to the adjacent wholesale grocery store today and resisted the urge to buy a box of chocolate bars for twenty dollars. I did, however, purchase ingredients for my first culinary "creation": Tomato-Basil Pasta, which I pretty much ruined by putting in far too much basil and undercooking the noodles a little. Jason seemed to like it, though. He put in dibs on the leftovers. I will not let this defeat discourage me.

I spent a great portion of the day looking up schedule information for classes (they'll be falling on Monday, Tuesday and Friday) and found out that my classes don't start until the 10th. I completed my Fall term schedule, filling in the one gap I had with African-Canadian Literature, which is being taught by George Elliot Clarke (!). To have both Clarke and Linda Hutcheon as professors in the same semester is... intimidating, but exciting. I also spent time looking at transit maps and pondering how I'll be getting to certain locations over the next few days. It's going to be a lot easier once I start thinking of the city in terms of north, south, east, and west. Tomorrow I'll be meeting Andrea at the downtown bus terminal; she's going to spend some time with me here before she heads off to Germany for the year.

Other than that, I've been watching episodes of The Office on Jay's computer, and downloading episodes of Flight of the Conchords to keep me smiling.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm not blue. It's just a clever title.

Tonight I moved into my cousin's condo on Keele Street in Toronto. As soon as we pulled up to the building I knew it was one of those places I'd seen in a dream. The floors in the hallway are patterned after 50-year-old candy canes, alternating red and dark grey stripes leading toward the elevator. In the lobby are urn fountains trickling lightly into a shallow pool beside airport lounge furniture around an Ikea coffee table. It actually all looks quite lovely.

My room is painted light gold with a single white stripe running its perimeter near the ceiling. There is a large window facing the kitchen that I've drawn blinds over, and I'll probably never open them again. The room came equipped with an empty dresser and a couple of shelves to support my alarm clock, toiletries and the pumpkin-headed smurf that Jen and Eric gave me as a goodbye present, recalling the Halloween I wore a pumpkin on my head for my Jack Pumpkinhead costume. Everything I brought seems to fit into the space provided, and that's a load off my mind.

My cousin has no television, but he has converted a computer and shelving unit into a functioning DVD player, Wii module and entertainment centre. I can bowl and punch the leather couch behind me in frustration with each gutterball.

I feel lonely. Not blue - just lonely, and tired from the move. I have to master the transit system, which I've learned will normally involve Keele to the green and yellow subway lines. There is a Value Village and a DMV close by, both of which I've needed to visit urgently lately. Very strange conveniences. Can't wait to see what this place looks like in daylight.