Monday, November 29, 2010

Put A Dollar Into The Machine And You'll Remember When

[m. ward - post-war]

amazing song.

i know when everything feels wrong
i've got some hard, hard proof in this song
i'll know when everything feels right
some lucky night.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Identity Crisis

I've never seen myself as particularly "Western" before, but that's because I live in The West. I identify as a Canadian partially as a reaction to the things surrounding me that are Not Canadian, like the United States. I notice my "Chineseness" because of all the Non-Chinese people around me. And I identify as gay, or queer, because of the "divide" between queers and straights. If there was no such thing as heterosexuality I wouldn't need to identify as queer at all. I would just be. Even though I'm Chinese, I'm also mostly Canadian, or Western, or North American. I wouldn't fit in in China at all!

That's sort of how I feel about living in the West. Prior to this semester I had never taken any courses that taught me anything about places further east than Europe. Africa was just this one chunk of land that was full of starving black people and South Africa had some white people. "South Africa" could basically have referred to the lower half of Africa.

But now I'm learning things about The East and it makes me feel really self-conscious of my North American Status. I've never felt that before because I don't feel like I'm an embodiment of "capitalism", but I guess I probably am. It's really hard to talk about things that are not Euro-centric without bringing in my own presuppositions and attitudes and I feel like I'm interfering in something that isn't mine. I feel like Stuff White People Like: Being an Expert on YOUR culture. Like, look at me, some North American with enough money to go to university and listen to another North American talk about Asia.

I think I feel weird about this because I've never been a "majority" before. I can't look at myself the same way anymore. I can't ask the same questions anymore. I don't wish that I was Eastern. I wish that being labeled as "something" wasn't so important. I wish that I didn't have to feel "American" and that democracy is the best and everyone should have democracy. I feel weird about having "power" but also I don't feel like I have power. I don't know. This probably stopped making sense a long time ago. I'm having an identity crisis, I'll get back to you on my feelings later.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Come On Skinny Love, Just Last The Year

[bon iver - skinny love]

now all your love is wasted, and who the hell was i?


it's a time for this song.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Easy Forgetting

"You never could have imagined
back then with the waves crashing
what the body could erase."
- Stephen Dunn "The Vanishings"

I stumbled out of a bar to a street I know too well. My shoes fell in dirt, a block of concrete removed to make room for a tree. I leaned against the tree, my head falling back in laughter. I'm so inebriated that I cannot see three feet in front of me. I want a cigarette to warm the tips of my fingers and in my circle of friends we create clouds that roll up to the sky and disappear. I hope she kisses me tonight.

We hang on to each other for support, because it's so funny I can't stand. I could swear we are moving in slow motion. Each laugh is like a howl, our heads thrown back calling to the moon. The ground doesn't hurt, nor do scrapes on my knee, ripped jeans. Stephen Dunn said too much doesn't hurt anymore.

She kisses me on the cheek, like I once saw her do in a picture with someone else. My stomach aches.

Our foreheads are pressed together. My hair sticks to my forehead. My mouth... The air is warmer between us. I have wanted this for so long.

I can see the freckles on her nose. I can see the flecks of green in her eyes. I can see each individual eyelash, closely stuck together, and the delicate skin on her eyelid when she blinks in slow motion. I smile into her mouth.

I can feel her sigh escape into the night.

Each breath is hot and I can see our breath hovering in the cold air. I kiss the edges of her smile and behind us the chaos of kids laughing and falling becomes haze and muffled noise. For one night I am in love and it ends too soon. She escapes into the night.

One day it will vanish, he said, how you felt when you were overwhelmed by her. Hurt, he said, how could you have forgotten? hurts.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

On Groceries

Sometimes when I tell people I spend ~$15 a week on groceries they are very amazed. They think I don't eat anything. False. I never stop eating. I also think grocery shopping is really cheap.

This is a half-guide to grocery shopping. I personally think good grocery shopping is a science/art/something you need to master and I'm just learning. It's also a lot of fun. These are some things I've learned from grocery shopping and some things that I like to buy and some things I look out for when I shop and this is how I spend ~$70 on groceries a month. Also take into account that I'm only shopping for myself and not feeding a family of 5.

+ Fruits and Vegetables Are Cheap

A sandwich at the Concordia cafeteria is between $4 and $7. THAT IS SO MUCH MONEY. Do you know how much a tomato costs me? One tomato costs me $0.31 - $0.53 depending on how big it is.

Fruits and vegetables are really cheap. You can get a lot of broccoli for only 99 cents. Plums can be as little as 18 cents. Three bananas cost me 44 cents. You get the picture.

Buying your food at the grocery store is a billion times cheaper than buying a sandwich. For half of the cost of buying a sandwich at Concordia you can get like 24 slices of bread. Ok I don't know how many slices of bread are in those packages but it's way more than 2.

+ Meat Can Be Cheap Too

Before I started grocery shopping for myself, I thought meat was expensive. And it can be. But it can also be affordable! I like to buy at least one package of meat a week. I get boneless chicken breasts for around $2.50 - $3 and it's enough for 2 meals. Sometimes in the middle of the week I'll get more meat and then the next week I won't have to get any because it'll carry over. I like to spread out my meat eating.

+ Look For Specials

My grocery list is usually incredibly vague, including things like "fruit" "vegetables" "granola bars" "meat" "pasta". This reminds me that I need to get fruits or vegetables or whatever, but leaves it open to what's available in the store. This helps when looking at the specials.

Specials are special. The one thing I always tell myself when looking at things on sale is not to get sucked in. You know that motto "the more you spend, the more you save"? That's not true. THE MORE YOU SPEND THE MORE YOU SPEND. Stick to your grocery list.

Example #1: The other day I had on my list "bars". Since I can no longer afford Kashi bars, I'm looking for the next combination of cheapness/healthiness. The Intermarche that I shop at so conveniently had a special on Kellog's bars for $1.99. And they had way less sodium than Nature Valley. Sold! (later, when I actually ate one, I realized that they're not actually not that filling, but what can you do.) (Kashi bars are like $4.89, wtf. Why is health so expensive.)

Example #2: I wanted to make pizza. I needed some tomato sauce. The Intermarche was having a sale on President's Choice tomato sauces for $1.99. Classico's tomato sauce (which is, admittedly, far superior in taste) is $4.29.

Example #3: Fairmount Bagels has a section titled "yesterday's bagels". Twelve plain fresh bagels are $6.75. I got 15 of "yesterday's bagels" for $4.50. They went straight in my freezer and taste delicious when toasted. WIN.

+ The Expensive Things

You know what's expensive? Cheese. Cheese is fucking expensive. Does anyone know a way around this.

I DO, kind of. There's a place on St. Laurent called La Vieille Europe and they have a section of cheeses on special. Once I saw a sizeable chunk of cheese for $2.50 but I didn't need cheese so I didn't get it. But the next time I buy cheese it'll be $5 or less.

You know what's also expensive? CEREAL. Who knew?! Again, I try and look for specials regarding cereal. I'm not really picky, so I'll go with whatever's on sale if it looks good.

Yummy snacks like Oreos are kind of expensive but sometimes worth it because if you're like me and take a long time to eat anything, you'll have oreos for a long time.

In conclusion, grocery shopping is fun and cheap. Yay! Hardly anything is fun and cheap anymore. I'm still looking for a grocery shopping buddy, by the way.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Enough Time To Break Hearts, An Empire To Fall

1000 years, ain't enough to tear down your walls.

[yukon blonde - 1000 years]

i saw yukon blonde in montreal a few weeks ago, and they were awesome! this song is the best of their self-titled album, which you should get if you have the chance.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Official Birthday Wishlist

+ a harmonica (~$10)
+ ankle socks
+ the shower tap to stop dripping
+ garbage bags (~$7)
+ tea (~$4-$15)
+ a haircut ($25)
+ a week's worth of groceries ($15)
+ moleskin with graph paper ($16)
+ measuring cups for dry ingredients
+ tickets to the stars concert in december (~$25?)
+ boyshorts from american eagle or american apparel (or you could just give me money so i can do this myself)
+ boots (~$30-$70) (dad?)
+ books are always appreciated. just to help you out, some books i am interested in reading are: "running with scissors" by augusten burroughs, anything by haruki murakami, some poetry by william carlos williams, anything by e.e cummings except for "erotic poems" because i already have that, anything by mary gaitskill except for "bad behaviour" because i already have that, anything by loorie moore, etc.

this list will likely be revised and reposted later in november. my birthday is the 27th. i will be old (er). drinks are always accepted.

before you buy me any of these incredibly useful things, i would appreciate it if you DONATED TO AUTOSTRADDLE.COM. and then if you feel like it, feel free to get me some groceries. if you're nice i will let you stay for dinner.