Category Archives: Out and About

So this guy tried to pick me up…. (or, A Tale of Three Men)

Last Friday, I played a gig with two other DJs. I was up first, and I tried something totally new (for me): a set of music from my childhood. Pink Floyd, Cream, The Animals, Led Zeppelin, Supertramp, David Bowie, The Talking Heads… Music I remember falling asleep to as a little kid. If I’d come up with the idea a little sooner, I would have loved to add some Golden Earring and Moody Blues and ELO, but anyway, it was fun.

There was a guy (we’ll call him Stripey Shirt) who was pretty drunk and trying his luck with a lot of the women at the venue. With me, it was “Wow, you got some good dance moves. I mean, I’m from Jamaica and I know you got some good moves!” while his arm was on the back of the chair in which I was sitting. I was leaning away from his arm and planning how to extricate myself when he added “You gotta give me your number. I want to you DJ a private party I’m throwing!” I laughed at him and said “Yeah, because THAT sounds totally legit!” Continue reading

Steinbach’s First Ever Pride March

Sometimes you’re in the right place at the right time and you get caught up in something huge. And sometimes the huge thing is inside your own heart. I had both of those at once last month at Steinbach’s first Pride Parade.

Pride parades are everywhere all the time now, it seems. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walked in a Pride march in Toronto recently, wearing pink and grinning—the first Canadian Prime Minister to do so (join a Pride Parade, I mean; I haven’t researched the “wearing pink” part). Pride is big in the big cities, and it’s gotten to the point where a lot of people aren’t interested in them anymore because they have seem to have been co-opted by corporations and the Squeaky Clean Gay Machine. When banks and insurance companies are sponsoring floats, and the spokespeople are mostly white men who can “pass” for straight, it seems not only too mainstream to matter, but also frankly kind of boring.

But what’s still exciting is when Pride marches happen for the first time, Continue reading

At the Scene of the Accident (or, What I do when I don’t know what to do)

About ten days ago, on my way home from work, I came upon an accident moments after it happened. I saw the cars braking and pulling over, and pedestrians and cyclists moving toward  the intersection of road / train tracks / path where someone was lying on the ground. I pulled over as well and rushed over—not because I have any particular useful skills for accident scenes, but because I wanted to make sure someone was actually calling 911. Continue reading

Feminist, Atheist, Queer

The other night, I went to a retirement party. I almost missed it, but remembered about it at the last minute, and managed to get my ticket and figure out an outfit and show up. That’s the best kind of timing for me: not enough advance warning to get anxious about it, but just enough time to make sure I have a clean bra and to polish up my boots.

I first met the new retiree, John, when he taught a few of the undergrad Conflict Resolution Studies classes I took through the U of W. I liked his teaching style, but what I really appreciated the most was how strict he was with my papers. I am a wordgeek who loves researching and writing papers. A well-crafted endnote is a thing of beauty. And a well-placed semicolon? Well, that’s better than ice cream. Continue reading

I Missed My Blogaversary (because I was busy having fun)

Yesterday (Saturday) was my one-year blogaversary. On Friday, I had started working on a post for my blogeversary about why I started blogging, and where I was when I wrote my first posts, and what I’ve learned and gained, and how much I appreciate the people I’ve “met” through blogging…. But it was forced and awkward, because I was writing what I felt I should be writing for that day. My intention was to fix it up and make it perfect on Saturday but here’s what I did instead:

First I went to a community rummage sale and book / bake sale fundraiser for two great causes (from their Facebook event page: “All of the proceeds from the book & bake sale go toward supporting two volunteer-run organizations that provide services to people in Manitoba jails and prisons. The Manitoba Library Association’s Prison Library Committee runs libraries in the Winnipeg Remand Centre and Women’s Correctional Centre as well as offering writing workshops, author talks, and other programs. The Bar None Prison Rideshare Project provides free transportation to people looking to visit their friends or family members in out-of-town jails or prisons“). The books were unpriced and you could just pay what you could afford. I got a dozen or so poetry and fiction books and gave them $40:

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Then I came home and my friend Qrys came over with her laptop so we could work on some WordPress issues. Mostly we sat around eating cheese and dates and olives and sweet gherkins and slices of red pepper and peanut butter banana chocolate chip muffins (from the bake sale) and just talking. Then we brilliantly solved our IT problems and just hung out some more. Lovely!

Then I whipped up my famous bean / avocado / cilantro salad, had a nap, and went out to a BBQ where I spent three hours in someone’s garage listening to musicians jamming. The garage floor was a frightful tangle of cords and amps and guitar cases. There was always a minimum of six people playing, and sometimes up to eleven at a time. I lost track of how many musicians wandered in and out and took over for each other, because after I counted sixteen, I couldn’t remember who I had already counted anymore. Sometimes I was the only “audience” but I didn’t care. I clapped wildly after every song, and basically just toe-tapped and nodded and swayed blissfully for the whole time. I was so happy, you guys, you can’t even imagine! Just the ebb and flow, the give and take, the back and forth among all these people, some of whom had worked together for decades, and some of whom were meeting each other for the first time. Wonderful! I stayed much longer than I expected to stay, and only left when I knew the Brindle Dog would need to be let out. The host had asked if I had brought my DJ gear and seemed disappointed when I said no. I hadn’t realised that would be welcome! Next time.

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This morning, the Fluffy Dog and I went on a playdate, and now I’m headed off to J.’s place for my first installment of a Pandemic Legacy game. A very busy weekend; too busy, actually, but everything has been so much fun.

So Happy Belated Blogaversary to me, and thanks for reading and commenting and following and liking and just generally letting me know that I’m being heard out there!

Stuff I Did in March, Part Two: Music, Recycling, Cupcakes

In addition to getting back to the loom, I had another DJ gig in March. I was playing with two other women, and we were trying to work with two systems: Traktor and Serato. First we tried to connect them with an old Allan and Heath Z10fx mixer, but we couldn’t get it to work: Continue reading

Dancing the New Year In

 

I spent New Year’s Eve dancing to house and techno music. Well, that’s not entirely true, because the music right up until almost midnight was “Classics from the 60s to the Present!” which is fine for listening, but not exactly exciting for dancing. Fortunately, I got there close to 2330hrs, so I only had to spend half an hour texting my friends (“Happy Almost New Year!”) and looking up dog pictures on Instagram.

A few minutes after midnight—once Auld Lang Syne was over—the good music started. Dave Rad was DJing, and when his set was done, Alexander Krygsveld was up; his set was amazing. Lots of bass, no cutesy bullshit, a steady beat with just enough beatless “build-up” segments to let me catch my breath once in a while (but not so long that I got bored and wanted to wander off the dance floor).

I was by myself. I love being by myself. I can drive there on my own, get there when I like, am not dependent on anyone else for a ride home, don’t have to consider whether others in my group want to dance or not, and don’t have to pay attention to anyone on the dance floor. Sure, it’s fun to go out with friends, but that’s a different sort of evening; that’s social. This is dancing. Continue reading

Use Your F*$king Turning Signal (or, Driving is a Team Sport)

I love driving. I really do. And most of the time I try to be a very chill driver. I listen to music and drive just slightly above the speed limit (or, you know, maybe a bit more than that, depending). I use my signals to indicate what I plan to do. I come to a full stop at stop signs, and I try to give others space—no tailgating or cutting people off. Ideally, I want people to see me but not have to think about me or worry about what I’m going to do next. Driving is a team sport; if we all behave predictably and politely, we’re all going to get where we’re going with as little stress or mess as possible.

But at the same time, I have a really low frustration tolerance when it comes to other people being selfish jerks. And there’s an awful lot of selfish jerkiness on the road. Those super important and busy people weaving in and out of traffic with no turning signals, racing to get ahead by just a couple of car-lengths. The ones who race up the empty right-hand lane and then bull their way into traffic. The ones who ignore construction signs and speed past workers. The ones who don’t pay attention to traffic flow and are always riding the gas and brake at the same time, speeding up too much and then braking, speeding up and braking. The ones who have no patience for cyclists or pedestrians, and who therefore take huge risks in driving too close to them, because they can’t bear to slow down for ten seconds and keep everyone safe.

And then the slow ones. The ones who brake for green lights and slow down for clear intersections, or for smooth, dry curves. The ones who even under the best driving conditions can’t bring themselves to drive the speed limit. The ones who drift slowly in and out of their lane. The ones looking for a particular street or house who don’t just pull over when they see the long line of traffic backed up behind them.

And then the pure ignorant narcissistic assholes. The ones talking on their cell phones. The ones who are high (yes, pothead, marijuana affects your driving). The ones who’ve been drinking. The ones on coke (yeah, you, who thinks you’re invulnerable and no one else is really real). The ones who can’t pull over for a minute but have to retrieve that dropped item, or hand their kid that thing, or find the thing in their purse, or find the right radio station, or use the rearview to fix their hair, all while still driving the car. The ones who claim they’re good drivers because they’ve never been in an accident and yet leave a trail of rage and smoking brakes and near-strokes and terrified cyclists behind them every time they’re on the road.

So most of the time I try to be chill, yes. But if you’re the guy tailgating me in the morning on the way to work, you can bet I’m going to take great pleasure in slowing right down to exactly the speed limit and preventing you from passing me all the long, curvy way down Wellington Crescent. And if you’re that entitled jerk racing and weaving through rush-hour traffic to get ahead of everyone, you can bet I’m going to nose right up to the car in front of me and not let you into my lane. And if you’re the guy in the big soil-hauling truck who suddenly dropped into my lane on a curve the other day and nearly hit me, I just want to inform you that what I was screaming as I slammed on both the brakes and the horn was “WHAT THE ACTUAL FUUUUUUUUUUCK?????” which is a step up from my usual “Wow, you suck!” or “For real?”

But if you are obviously anticipating the traffic around you and making an effort to drive well and safely, I am going to see your turning signal and give you space to get into the lane in front of me. And when you lift your hand to acknowledge me, I’m going to nod back at you and feel pleased that we treated each other as teammates and actual real people.

I was in Montreal a few years ago and an acquaintance picked me up from the train station. That was a scary ride. It seemed like most drivers kept their car straddling lanes (reserving a spot to move over?) and seemed to rely a lot on the quick reflexes of others to prevent accidents. My driver was yelling at other drivers on the road, at one point shouting “You fucking asshole bitch!” Then she turned around (still driving!) to grin at me: “That’s what I say when I don’t know if it’s a man or a woman!” At that point, I decided to just lean back and pretend I was on a carnival ride.

Many years ago, when my mom was teaching me how to drive, she berated me for only using the turning signal after I had started braking for the turn. She explained: “Your turning signal is a signal of intent, not of action.” In other words, people and bots, let others know what you plan to do, don’t just show us what you’re already doing.

It’s not rocket science. Mind your manners and show a bit of empathy. That person who doesn’t spring into action the minute the light turns green? Give them a sec before you honk. That’s a real person in there who just found out their mom has cancer, or whose dog just died, or who has terrible insomnia, or who simply happened to be looking in a different direction when the light changed.  During the end of my marriage and my divorce, the car was the only place I could cry, so I cried myself to and from work for nearly two years. I’m sure I wasn’t the best driver on the road during that time! I try to remember that when I get impatient. And I try to remember that the old guy in the hat drifting around his lane who irritates the daylights out of me is probably going to have his license—and thus his independence—removed soon, and that really sucks for him.

I love a nice smooth ride. I go home at lunchtime during the week to let the dogs out, so I’m on the road multiple times a day. It’s just lovely when everyone is driving smoothly at or just above the speed limit, using their signals, moving into the lane they need with plenty of time to spare, and allowing others to move around as well. When backed-up traffic remembers to leave intersections clear for others to turn, when people wave each other in and wave thanks, when drivers show some planning and consideration—that’s good drive.

 

 

 

 

 

By the way, the lake was wonderful…

View from the dock.

View from the dock.

A few days ago, I was complaining about how hard it is to be a vegetarian among meat-eaters, and I realise I probably gave a misleading impression of my weekend at the lake. It was fantabulous! The food issues were a very small part of the whole experience, and I was pleased and grateful to have had the chance to head out to Lake of the Woods for a lovely weekend.

I’m absolutely a city person. I want to be close to everything, can’t abide the idea of not having quick access to grocery stores and art galleries and friends and work. But at the same time, I really hate the city. I hate having neighbours so close, I hate the noise, I hate the light, I hate the compromises and disruptions. Continue reading

Skratch Bastid, Mama Cutsworth, and mosquitoes

Last night, Skratch Bastid’s BBQ came to Winnipeg. It was on from 1500h to 2300h in the parking lot of Union Sound Hall, and I really wanted to go. But for most of the day, it was too damned hot to dance, and sitting around drinking with strangers isn’t really my thing. So after careful consideration of information found on Facebook and Instagram (and of my pathetic budget), I decided to “steal” the Skratch Bastid show and then head over to the Cube to see Mama Cutsworth. Continue reading

Awful Earsplitting Horrifying Singing in the Car

What stops me from doing new things is that I can’t instantly do them perfectly. So frustrating! All those years of being an A-student don’t seem to translate into instant skills in other areas. I’m no Ella Fitzgerald, no Emily Carr, no Margaret Atwood, no Scratch Bastid, no Frida Kahlo. But I read a post by a sister blogger the other day (I Can’t Turn my Head to the Right) and it reminded me—again—that the trick is to do it anyway. Continue reading

Day Trip: Winnipeg Folk Festival

Went to the Winnipeg Folk Festival on Saturday for the first time in nineteen years. I picked a great day for it: There was a weather warning because of the extreme heat and humidity, and thunderstorm warnings for later in the day. On Friday evening, a nurse friend working a twelve-hour shift at Concordia Hospital texted me to let me know that Emerg was full of Folk Festers. “The heat?” I asked, and she replied “Overheated… and a few bad cookies.” Continue reading

Morning Commute Cyclist Falls off Bike: Blood everywhere; bystanders mostly helpful

It’s not the kind of thing I expect to see on my way to work. Traffic slows a bit and I am more irritated than curious. But today was different.

First I saw the car stopped in the middle of the oncoming lane, then I saw the two people moving off to the side of the road, one supporting the other who was limping badly. Then I saw the bicycles lying in the grass. Continue reading

Ringing In My Birthday

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Some of the gear I have to return today

Last night I deejayed at a great little non-licensed venue for an event showcasing the work of women and non-binary trans people. There were four artists performing, and L. and I deejayed before, after, and between the other performers. This is the first time either of us has deejayed without a more experienced DJ to mentor, guide, and rescue us. We both messed up in various places, Continue reading

Walking the Dogs: Mud and Mosquitoes

The Fluffy Dog in his wading pool, with gunk in his fur and in the water.

The Fluffy Dog in his wading pool, with gunk in his fur and in the water.

My dogs could have a better life, I know. Mostly, they laze around waiting for something interesting to happen. We don’t do flyball or Schutzhund or agility or any other formal training. The Fluffy Dog goes to daycare one day a week, but the Brindle Dog doesn’t even get that. I try to take them each on a long walk every day but that depends on my internal stuff (stress, anxiety, depression) and my external stuff (work, physical health).

But when we do go for those long walks—or even for short ones—I try to let them do what they want. Continue reading

Walking the Dogs: Pride Fest weekend

A picture of Pride at The Forks, shamelessly stolen from www.pridewinnipeg.com. The attribution is Cynthia Bettencourt (at the bottom right).

A picture of Pride at The Forks, shamelessly stolen from http://www.pridewinnipeg.com. The attribution is Cynthia Bettencourt (at the bottom right).

I was planning on a quiet couple of days, but there was so much going on in Winnipeg last weekend! Bike Week, Jazz Fest, Pride, FIFA, farmer’s markets, parades and art openings and films and picnics and concerts, oh my! Plus in my own life, my dear friend got a new dog, and one of my French cousins whom I haven’t seen in ages was stopping by on his way across Canada to go pick cherries in the Okanagan. So much for a quiet weekend! Suddenly there was so much choice! New dog! Interesting cousin! House music at the Pyramid! Pride Fest and market and music at the Forks! Thunderstorms and BBQs! Continue reading

Purple Hair and Frankenstein

Picture of purple and grey hair.

The hair in question.

Someone grabbed my purse while I stood in line at Tim Horton’s today with my bromate. Well, not a grab, really, more of a tug on the strap. I whipped my head around, ready for confrontation, and a very young white woman said “Hey, I just wanted to compliment you on your hair.” I checked my purse (still zipped shut) (who the hell touches someone’s PURSE to get their attention?) Continue reading

Looked at this art: Alex Colville (and William Eakin) at the National Gallery of Canada

One of William Eakin's photographs at the National Gallery in the Alex Colville exhibition. Taken by me.

One of William Eakin’s photographs at the National Gallery in the Alex Colville exhibition. Taken by me.

On Tuesday (12 May 2015), I went to the National Gallery to see the Alex Colville exhibition. Well, more specifically, I went to see William Eakin’s part in that exhibition. The idea of having several contemporary artists share their responses to Colville’s work intrigued me, but mostly I have to admit that I was thrilled to have a chance to see Eakin’s work at the National Gallery. I’ve met him a few times, seen a few of his shows, had a conversation with him at his opening at Actual in Winnipeg recently (“Time”–Those watch faces! Wonderful!) and had a chance to pet his gorgeous dog a couple of times. So it’s not like Bill and I are buddies, but he’s an interesting guy who does interesting work and I was super excited to go to the National! Gallery! of Canada! (omg, right?) to see some of his work. Continue reading