Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mr. F

"I've got my health" that's what went through my mind when I stood up on the bus and felt something sticking my pants to the bus seat. I usually check for gum, fluids, or other undesirable substances before I sit, but I was sleepy this morning and my guard was down. I love Toronto Transit.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Love love me

Tomorrow I have to tell a normally developed, 40 year old man that he shouldn't be looking at porn on the school computers. This will undoubtedly be an awkward conversation.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

In which Jesse V tries to solve a crime and fails

Here are some deductions on the theft of my bike:
  1. The bike thief only recently saw my bike before it was stolen. If not, it likely would have been taken long ago
  2. The thief had to have staked out the scene, there are people around during the day and he/she had to know that no one would respond to the motion sensor light triggered at night when people walk near the area where the bike was locked up
  3. The bike thief is able to easily identify high end bikes, and is not interested in bikes of little monetary value, case in point - mine was stolen, Capital M's was left behind
  4. The thief may have used a truck or van, it would make for a much faster get away than fighting to get the bike in the back seat of a car
  5. The thief is skilled and had the right tools for the job. The entire lock was taken with the bike. A closer examination of the the crime scene revealed absolutely no evidence that the lock had been broken, cut, or shattered. Moreover, it was a high end lock and would take some skill to open
  6. The thief does not live in the neighbourhood. See point 1, and it would be foolish to try and sell or ride the bike in a place where I might find it
  7. The thief did not steal the bike for personal use. See point 6, and given the skill involved with picking the lock it is likely the thief has done this before
  8. The bike will not be stripped down and sold as individual parts. Selling the parts would reduce the potential for profit. Moreover, selling the bike requires one single transaction, if the parts are sold individually there is a chance the buyer may only want one or two components.
  9. The bike thief must have a fence. Beyond Craigslist or the classifieds, how else could a thief sell a hot bike that most people would consider too expensive even used
  10. I have phoned 24 bike shops (no exaggeration) and very few of them claim to sell high end used bikes. What they say and what they do may differ, but it is likely that most people would probably spend hundreds of dollars for a new bike, not a used one.
  11. My bike may no longer be in Toronto. Based on my deductions and the fact that so few shops deal in used high end bikes, it would seem that a fence would have better luck unloading the bike across the boarder
  12. I did get the name of three shops that sell stolen bikes - however I was also told that it's difficult to see the merchandise. Now I need a) a car b) some form of crime fighting glove c) a way in

Thursday, September 20, 2007

everywhere the cat goes

This past Tuesday Capital M and I went to see Rilo Kiley. I like their music but I'm not as big a fan as she is. That being said, the show was awesome. The music totally rocked and being around a band that good was nothing less than inspiring. I could could keep gushing but I think I've made my point.
Well I'm on the subject of music I have thought up part of a song. It's called 'Prepositions'* and it goes like this:


I'm stuck between trying to remember and forget,
but while I'm here I can't get by and I just can't get ahead,
For so long you were above me
now you're just beyond
I guess it's time I should be moving on

*'Prepositions' is not intented for serious audiences

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Frozen Lake

The following transcript was recorded at 6:12 A.M Tuesday, Sept 18.

Fruit Fly: Hey!
J.V: Go away.
F.F: Excuse me, but I was just wondering if I could have some of your banana. Things have been pretty sparse around here since you took out the compost.
J.V: That was part of the reason why I took it out. You could can go out too you know?
F.F: I could... but I kind of like it in here. Are you going to be done with that banana peel any time soon? Oh, and is there any chance you could pick up some strawberries on your way home tonight?
J.V: Listen, it's really early and I'm not up for this right now, why don't you just sit in the windowsill and watch the sun rise, quietly.
F.F: Someone didn't get enough sleep last night. Fine, I'll watch the sunrise, but I called that banana peel.
(there is a short break in the conversation)
F.F: Holy mother of Honey Dew Melon! You didn't tell me there spiders around here - are you trying to get me killed?
J.V: (sigh) no, I just forgot. Fruit Fly, meet Hoppy. Hoppy, Fruit Fly.
Hoppy: Oi! What's all this then? A little breakfast party and I'm not invited. And it looks like you have a good spread.
(A high pitched fluttering of wings is heard moving a short distance away)
I'm hurt, I really am. Do I not keep the gnats away? Day and night I patrol these windows and this is the thanks I get. I have a mind to leave this place right now.
J.V and FF: You should!
J.V: Hoppy, it's a big world out there, right across the driveway is a place called the 'garage.' It's a wonderful building filled with all kinds of things you'd like.
Hoppy: I know what a 'garage' is, I'm not stupid. My great-great grandmother migrated from there. Unless they did some renovations before I hatched it's still not heated - no way am I'm going there.
J.V and F.F (disappointedly): Oh...
F.F: Well, this has been a fruitless morning, both literally and figuratively. I think I'll go and wait by the compost bucket - unless you were planning on bringing that with you.
J.V: Fine, the banana peel is yours, but only in the bucket.
F.F: Sweet!
Hoppy: And what about little old me? Do I not get a parting gift?
J.V: Besides a warm to place to live free of natural predators and a steady supply gnats?
Hoppy: Oh right. Speaking of which, I see one now. I'm off then.
J.V: (sigh)

Monday, September 17, 2007

paint it black

I will warn you now that this story doesn't really go anywhere, it's just something I remember from my childhood and a mystery that will forever linger in my mind:

I lived in something of a paradox when I was young boy. On one hand, I had a neurotic, over protective mother, on the other she worked 12 hour shifts and I was given a great deal of freedom during that time.
At the age of 6, I was a 'latch key kid.' I had a red cord around my neck that held both my house key and a key to the bike shed of our apartment building. My bike, quite possibly the best inanimate friend a kid could have, was a combination gift from an aunt and my grandfather. My aunt had found it, derelict along a stretch of train tracks. She brought it home and my grandfather fixed it up, painted it black and later presented it to me (to my knowledge he never worked on a bike before or after that). It wasn't my fist bike but it was definitely one of the most memorable.

We had some awesome adventures that bike and I. With the exception of winter, when I would be towing a toboggan, I was always on my bike when I was outside. I can remember outrunning guard dogs on a stretch of private property. Or at least feeling like I was outrunning them - there were two signs posted on a road that ended somewhere I was too afraid to travel to the end of, one said, "Private property, keep off" the other "beware of dogs." Whenever I rode my bike on the road I wasn't supposed to be on I could hear dogs barking and I peddled all the faster because of it. Eventually I would get to a path that took me away from the private property and when I could no longer hear the dogs I felt as though I had out-biked them. There seemed to be a greater logic to what I was doing back then but I can no longer remember, or even figure out, what it was.

My bike had something that resembled a banana seat but it was a little thicker and perfect for doubling real life friends who either didn't have a bike, or couldn't access the one they owned. It was also always up for exploring any forested area that I could peddle through, launching off jumps or the always popular and stylish 'pop-a-wheelie.'

We also faced our share of danger (more real than the dogs). There were some bullies who lived in an area that I inadvertently entered one fateful day. They took my bike and I went home in tears. The captain, with all the anger of a irate mother bear, found the boys who took my bike and made them bring her to it (they had said they couldn't get it). They had industriously placed it in a shallow hole and covered it with tree branches in the forest not far from where they lived.

We also came across a mystery that I am sure is much darker than I realized in my youthful innocence. One day, while biking to the pool, I took a short cut through the woods behind some businesses and came across a group of kids gathered around something. I asked what was going on and a boy I went to school with said they had found something. Curious, I got off my bike and went over to see . They found something alright and to this day I have no idea what they found. Semi-buried in the ground were about a dozen, maybe more, little baggies carefully tied off at the end and filled with a thick, fishbelly-white paste like substance. The bags had all been carefully placed in the ground and unfortunately I don't remember how they had been discovered. I also remember a really unpleasant smell that radiated around the baggies. Smells are supposed to be a memory trigger and I have never come across a similar scent. I also remember getting a feeling that something wasn't right about this - all of us did because we all seemed to have a collective urge to leave. I'd love to know what that was, maybe it wasn't anything but there are a lot of things I can't remember from 23 years ago and it must mean something that I can remember that.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I can go twice as high

I travel roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes to and from work each day. I won't bore anyone with my 'time wasted' calculations but rest assured I have done them (I'll have spent one entire month communting out of a year). Like so many others in Toronto I rely on the transit system, though I think I travel further than most. My epic journey requires 2 buses, one subway and one above ground subway (parway?). What do I do with all of this time you may ask? Among other things, I read.
The following is a list of the books I have read this year - most while commuting:

Straight man - Richard Russo
If I could be like the story's protaganist when I'm older I'll know I've done something right. I highly recommend this book

Harry Potter and the deathly hallows - J.K. Rowling
The wizard did it, in the garden, with a candle stick (how could you not read this if you've read the other six?)

Meaning of Night - Micheal Cox
A truly great feat of story telling - highly recommended

American Gods - Neil Gaiman
More than anything the tone of the book was so ominious that I felt tense just reading it - I'd recommend it for that alone

The Mapmaker's Opera - Béa Gonzalez
I mentioned this one before - read it!

The Inheritance of Loss - Kiran Desai
None of the characters are likable, the story doesn't really go anywhere and other authors have handled the post-colonialism theme better - not recommended

Crow Lake - Mary Lawson
Lawson, I want the time back that I wasted while reading your book

Teacher Man - Frank McCourt
It meant more when I thought I'd be a teacher, he's a little too self critical sometimes but it shines when he retells his classroom experience

The Sheltering Sky - Paul Bowles
I really don't know what to say about this one, I'd lean towards "huh?"

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
More like - the perks of being a messed up kid - maybe if he'd been a real wallflower I'd feel more kindly to this book

7th heaven - Alice Hoffman
Hoffman's use of magical realism is dissappointing as it doesn't tend to lead to anything. Not a bad book though

Shoot the Moon - Billie Lets
This would be a good not-feeling-well kind of book

Slaughter House 5 - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
I wish I understood this one better - still recommended

The #1 Ladies Detective Agency - Alexander Mccall Smith
I really liked this one

Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
Not as as good as American Gods but good enough for a few trips to and from work

Seduction - Catherine Gildiner
Interesting but the protaginist does not resolve all conflicts (if this were Shakespeare she'd be dead) I'd still recommend it though

With Child - Laurie King
It is what it is, a book about a street smart, motor bike drivin' lesbian cop

Books I couldn't finish:

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
I'm sorry Jane I really am but no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get into this book

Nights of Rain and Stars - Maeve Binchy
Even though there were only 30 pages left I couldn't bring myself to read one more - I'm ashamed I read as much I did

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

* Ashcroft Church

I won't lie, it would be impossible to pretend otherwise - I never liked Anderson Jeffries. He was my rival before we knew what the word meant. Our families attended the same Church and we were often left together in the care of the Sunday School teacher Ms. Higgins. For a short time we were the only children in our small church. Regardless of the number in her charge, Ms. Higgins doted on Jefferies and I was merely an afterthought. Even as small a child Jeffries seem to capture the attention of everyone around him with his subdued magnetism.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

thanks a million

Arthur P. Milligan writes: Jesse V. I'm tired of reading your blog because I feel like you only write good things about yourself. A truly interesting autobioblog would have both the good and the bad. You come off as little more than one dimensional and flatter than a stock character in a Maeve Binchy book.

Ocuh! Flatter than someone in a Binchy book - you go too far good sir.
Normally the loss of a reader wouldn't mean much but being that you are one of the few people who consistently checks this site I'd hate to see you go. It is true that I don't tend to do dwell on the mundane, the depressing, or any of the other darker moments that comprise 'the human condition,' but for you Mr. Milligan I'll reach back into the archives and bare my soul to the world.
- When I was in grade two I stole carrots from a garden. Actually, I never took anything but I was with some other kids who did. I'm sure they were good carrots, being garden fresh and all.
- I was almost given some form of disciplinary action for pretending to be a grade nine student when I was actually in grade 12. The grade 9's had a sub one day and I took a seat before the class began and said I had just transferred from 'the big city'. In an unsurprising turn of events I took the joke too far and managed to waste the entire class telling stories of my inner city life. Then, in a moment of extreme arrogance I told the sub I was really in grade 12 after the bell had rung (I somehow thought she knew I was joking). Needless to say she wasn't happy.
- I have been a in total of two fist fights in my life. The first one was with a friend in elementary school. We had the obligatory circle of kids shouting "Fight! Fight!" around us. After trading a couple of blows I said "let's be friends again" and that was the end of that. I don't really remember how it started but I'm glad it ended. The other fight happened much later and I really didn't do any fighting. I just curled up into a ball, and thought of my mind as an uncarved stone.
- The list could go on, and probably will later but 6:00am is coming faster than I'd like and I should call it a night. I hope this helps flesh out my character.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Break the bed

Here is something few people know about me:

Most of these blog entries come off as mostly lighthearted and hopefully slightly comical, but there was a darker time in my life - a period that called for extreme measures and I have no choice but to admit that I took them. In a previous post I had mentioned my 'casual crime fighting gloves' that were good for dealing with petty crooks and small time Johns. What I didn't mention were my 'crime fighting gloves.' Sadly, no photographic evidence remains of these symbols of justice but I will try and describe them as best I can.
The gloves were comprised of two separate yet equally important parts: A streamline black ski glove provided the hand protection needed for dealing with society's toughest undesirables. Attached to the outer wrists of the gloves were the pointed ears cut off a batman mask. They added a 'fin' look that no one would deny meant business (the clear packing tape used to adhere the 'fins' was slightly distracting but it was kind of hard to see in the dark).
I don't have the numbers to prove it but I'm pretty sure crime was down my first year in university. Between the two sets of gloves I pretty much had all types of criminals covered.
Unfortunately for the good guys, I lost the pair of crime fighting gloves, and one of the casual crime fighters in this house fire.
Now I feel their loss all the more as my bicycle was stolen last night and I truly wish I could do something more than feel blue at its loss.