Friday, September 30, 2005

you can recognize the heroes from the lines on their face

I had to do five pages of practice 'creative non-fiction' writing for my class last Tuesday, so I went into my blog and picked out the bit I wrote after my last visit to New City Suburbs, figuring it would be easier to work it out to a longer length than to start completely from fresh. Here is what I ended up with:

The Whole Night Inside Me
One thing that remains certain when nothing else does: I love the goth bar. Wholly. Wantonly. Willingly. Never again will I question the intricacies and the tablatures of this subculture… the dyed hair, stark makeup, ebony nail polish and that lust for the melancholy darkness. For, in the midst of these people who look so different than myself, I find I love.
I love the women with their thick curtains of black hair, their heavy black lashes, and their pale ripe flesh wrapped in elaborate, ribbon-ed corsetry; I am felled by the haughty swing of those confident hips and the sexy half-smiles painting their lips cherry red. I love the men with their black buckled pants and tight shirts lining lean bodies, their unrestrained ecstatic motion, the way they close their eyes - wild - reckless - when they dance; I am held in rapture by their unselfconscious sweat.
I love the music. From the speakers: a thrilling mix of songs and anthems that come in as many varied flavours as the people heaving themselves around and against me. Where once I was a stationary mass of skin and floating bones, now I am no longer myself. I am a pendulum, pitching my body side to side in an even rhythm. I am a buoy rocking in angry ocean waves, bobbing for breath in a wash of feverish flotsam. I’m a whore, my crux meeting violent thrusts that take me against a rough industrial wall. And coming from behind me, a man who looks just like Perry Farrell grins cheekily as he smoothes through my inner circle, his feet never touching the floor.
I love the building, it’s dark walls and the lone barred cage holding tightly it’s eager go-go dancing captive. The tiny women’s washroom, whose individual stalls incomprehensibly loose two or three females at a time, are littered with wads of paper towels and friendly conversations with kind and bleary-eyed strangers. The sticky, cluttered bar where a handsome man with a long sleek ponytail snaking down his back plays with his ‘adults only’ chemistry set: the “King of What’s Your Poison”. This last visit I notice things I failed to notice my drunken first time -- the bloodied zombie "corpse" dressed in a tattered, splattered wedding gown hung suspended from the ceiling; the blue and green fairy lights circling around the main bar, assuming a rebel personality far different than that of those strings of lights garlanding the branches of a family Christmas tree; the face of the DJ in semi-darkness behind his eloquent technology. Did you hear me? Give me music.
I love the crowd. The men and women -- mostly men -- sitting and standing in the immediate areas surrounding the dance floor, not dancing, eyes trained on the near-naked woman gyrating her 98% nude body against the slightly wary form of her female friend. The man dressed entirely in the garb of a medieval warrior, complete with breastplate, chain mail, and long mane of blonde hair, striding purposefully past the clustering oglers, his own eyes intent on the bar. Another scantily clad woman, this one buttered into a white plastic nurse’s uniform, who, as I watch in curiosity, presses against her beau and wraps her languorous limbs around his obliging body. I marvel at the messy slip of her tongue into his mouth.
I love the incarnation of sexuality here. In any other of this city’s dens of iniquity, sex blunders like a drunken relative through the tables at a nephew’s wedding reception -- usually expected, sometimes rejected, and almost always clumsy and callous. Here, I imagine the heavily palpable erotic undertones manifested in the form of a lanky ribald libertine with clear wide eyes and beautifully androgynous features, who moves like a calm before the storm through the writhing mass of humanity and runs a sharp fingernail down a bare arm, purses wet lips into the crease of a palm, licks at sweat beading on a dancer’s damp neck, leans into a woman touching chest to breast. Woman and woman, woman and man, man and woman, man and man. Anything goes, and only the timid go home alone to nurse the delicious ache in their loins.
I love the freedom, the expression, the vital sense of being that pulses at the core of this place. We’re not lacquered perfection, not shiny ice and all that glitters, not silent judgement or calm acquiescence. We are wild embraces, lustful laughs, sweet liquor smell, raw sentiment, and anxious passion. We are hard core life. Give me music. Give me nothing watered down.

and we're naked and alive

Josh and I went to Mike's memorial service on Monday. Which feels really weird to say... I should be writing that Josh and I hung out with Mike on Monday, went bowling, had pizza, rented a movie and went back to Josh and Chris' place and just chilled with a bag of chips. We shouldn't have been going to a memorial service. We shouldn't have been mourning such a terrible wretched waste of such a wonderful life. Josh and I almost didn't go... I called him first thing in the morning and just burst into tears; I didn't think I'd be able to handle it, and totally felt better when Josh said the same thing. But, we went -- I think we both felt it was the least we could do. The service was held at an Anglican church on the west end. We got there quite early, and had the opportunity to talk a bit with Mike's parents, who were both amazingly calm. They told us that Mike had been diagnosed with schizophrenia about four years before, and that for the last two he had been a totally different person than who we had known, and who they had known their son to be. His dad told us that Mike had even tried to take his own life before. The reverend, during the service, talked about his meetings with Mike during the last few months, and said that Mike was one of the loneliest young men, that it was a miracle Mike kept on living as long as he did, with the amount of difficulty and misery each day forced him to deal with. That it was the disease that killed him, not the real Mike.

I don't know if what they said makes his death easier to deal with, or harder.

We chose our seats, and looked at the little booklet thingie they had given us when we entered the church. It had Mike's picture on the front, and I think it was at that moment that it really sunk in. Looking at this picture, at his face...

I don't know why this has hit me so hard. I felt like such an intruder at the service, like I didn't belong there. I probably only encountered Mike a couple of handfuls of times. Yet, every time I think about him, I start crying again. I don't understand it. My heart just keeps on breaking.

And to change the subject, other things in my life worth mentioning:
  1. I read a book last night called May Bird and the Ever After. It's a children's book, and an incredibly interesting one at that. Very macabre, very dark... it stared getting so creepy that I actually had to put it down and read something else so that I'd be able to get to sleep! I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes spooky adventure stories with very imaginative little girls, ghosts both intriguing and terrifying, and nearly-hairless cats named Somber Kitty.
  2. Lorraine is in town -- we're going out Saturday night. I hope Red Robin's will be featured, and that Stephanie comes with us.
  3. Lisa is leaving for her vacation on Sunday... I need to remember to call her and wish her a happy trip :) I hope she remains faithful to her beau (as not-my-type as he may be), but that she does meet Nate, so she can realize what a wanker he is, and maybe even tell him so. But, I do hope she has a great time, and that the sun shines bright for her and Brandy.
  4. Tomorrow is Steve's birthday. I KNOW he'll have a good one.
  5. I've been thinking of ideas for my major Creative Non-fiction project. The two major ones I'm toying with: a) volunteering somewhere (ie. woman's shelter) and writing about my experiences, or b) visiting various religions, attending services, that sort of thing, and writing about my experiences. I'm sort of leaning towards 'b', since I've been thinking a lot about religion lately, even going so far as to call the St.Matthias Anglican Church to see what time the services are on Sunday (why?) I was thinking I could try a few different religions and compare the responses I get from the different sects, and my impressions.
  6. Rianne invited me to her hooker party on Sunday! I'm so excited... but it's not the kind of hooking you think it is ;)

Life is so confusing. Things happen, bad things, and yet the world keeps moving, people go about their business. All keeps on. There are so many good things, so much random happiness and beauty in so many little moments, and then there is so much grief. How do you juxtapose the two, let them both share space in your soul?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Mysterious Visitor (or: Natalie Drew, Girl Sleuth)

What is life without a little bit of mystery? Apparently someone came into the story tonight, asking for me. I was working in receiving, so the cashier offered to page me, but the visitor said he didn't want to bother me. Apparently he went to leave, then came back and hovered a bit, moving Kim to repeat her offer. She actually picked up the phone, about to press the page button, but then he insisted that she not. Very very strange. He didn't leave a name, or a message, or anything... just said he'd be seeing me later anyways. Being a naturally curious girl I prodded Kim and Gemma (who was with her at the time) for details and a description. This is what I came away with:
- young
- tallish (not tall, but not short, either)
- average build, not muscled
- dark hair, shortish, but not buzz-cutty short, and not styled funky
- no facial hair
- could be half asian or spanish (Kim) OR caucasian (Gemma)
- no accent or speech impediment
- no glasses
- may have had earring
- not "cute" but not ugly
- dressed all in black, in a t-shirt with a red star on it
- no backpack or shoulder bag
- walked with a sort of saunter, hands in pockets
- kind of shifty (according to Gemma)
- knows I've worked at 920 for awhile (asked if I still worked there)

Every time I was sure I'd figured out who it was (see below for a list of those who were suspects at one point or another during the investigation), a new detail would arise that just didn't fit. I figure the guy is either looking for the Natalie who works at the west side store, or... I dunno. I have absolutely no clue who it could be. Gemma said he acted quite odd, and I have to agree -- why would someone go out of their way to ask about me, but not make the effort to see me?


  1. Josh (always has someone fetch me, plus is tall, and quite thin)
  2. Sean (same as above, except not tall, and has funky hair)
  3. Chris, Josh's roommate (has cool multi-coloured hair, and glasses)
  4. Jeremy (is blonde, very tall, wears glasses, carries backpack)
  5. Jari (has accent)
  6. Wainwright guy (has odd teeth and manner of speech, is muscley)
  7. creepy internet guy (quite short, stocky build)
  8. Dan (Gemma would have recognized him)
  9. Curtis (balding, always wears touque, plus is thoughtless jerk)
  10. Jim (likeliest candidate, except hair is not dark... or is it? can't remember, have blocked him out as he is also thoughtless jerk)
  11. Christopher (wears glasses, doesn't wear cool shirts with red stars on them, is skinny)
  12. Kyle, brothers friend (doesn't make sense, wears glasses, is tall)
  13. Vince, brothers friend (is blonde, has quite short hair)
  14. Russell, cousin (is tall, and very not shifty)
  15. Brad (blonde)
  16. Darcy R., from hometown (blonde, and doesn't make sense)
  17. Lloyd (unlikely, plus hair isn't that dark, and would have asked to see me)
  18. Jeff Martin (um... unlikely)

Who could it be?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

You don't know how much I need you and everything you are

Sitting at the kitchen table, surrounded by sleeping cats and hugged by hot-oven baking warmth, I am listening again to Phoenix and falling a little bit more in love. I guess a truly great album is like a truly great person -- the more you encounter it, the deeper the commitment to unearthing it's best parts, the more intense the knowledge and the appreciation of it. Although, I am still questioning "funky squaredance".

Yesterday was a very confusing day. Stirring and inspiring and complex and hilarious and sweet-smelling and curious and sad and shocking and absolutely, absolutely heart breaking. Where to start?

I had a beautiful day -- it was a beautiful day, and I had it, threw it down to the soft ground and licked every luscious drop of life out of it. I spent a surprising amount of time with Jill and Tariq, surprising because at the core of it we really aren't "Friends", but "work friends" -- an entirely seperate breed of relationship. Jill and I met up to discuss our script ideas, but got little accomplished before Tariq arrived. Then, we chatted for a bit before embarking on an hour long exploration of the University grounds. I love the U of A in fall. The aggressively studious individuals with their large backpacks and intent expressions; the gorgeously golden and dark green explosions of autumn decorating the campus; the architectural dichotomies - old and young, clear glass and rich wood, left brain and right brain; the very taste of the air. We met up with Christie at the bus terminal, and then went for lunch at a pub/restaraunt called Room at the Top. There wasn't much time for awkward silences as Jill pretty much kept the flow of topics running smoothly (and quickly). Boy, can that girl can talk. Afterwards, we went and walked up and down Whyte Ave (sans Christie, who had to do some studying), then took the bus home.

I'm confused. I think I might have been (may still be) entertaining some slightly romantic ideas about T. I wish it weren't so. Maybe that's why I'm not committing to the idea. But there have been these pangs... these fancies... these brief lurching longings that I can't wholly deny - although, I will do my best to decry them. Lack of sleep? Overactive imagination? The irresistible allure of extraordinarily well-defined cheekbones? Today it was the seductive quality of a surprisingly smooth male voice delivering music to the masses (those who listen to campus radio mid-Saturday, that is) that made my skin shiver. Give me music.

But, he is not for me.

Lorraine called last night, just a bit after I'd gotten home. We covered the usual topics, until just before we said good-bye. Apparently Lorraine wasn't planning on telling me (she didn't want my writing-mood to be ruined) but her friend Dave had called her earlier and told her that an old coworker of theirs, who I was acquainted with, had committed suicide. God, that sounds so... scientific, so absolute.

Mike Faulkner. I will remember him. The first time I saw him working at Walmart... maybe Lorraine pointed him out, maybe I did... she introduced us and I felt my heart go pitter patter. He had a great smile, was kind of rough around the edges with shaggy brown hair and a bit of a 48-hour shadow. He came with us one night, out dancing to Barry T's. I'll always remember how, when Lorraine and Nicole were off slowdancing with some guys, Mike went out of his way to make small talk with me... I was so brutally, obviously shy back then, and he was so kind, and so sweet. I didn't see him again for ages. I always asked Lorraine for updates, and she filled me in on whatever information she was privy to. He went through a madly religious period where he was contemplating becoming a priest. Then, he did a complete 180 and turned into a barstar. During that time I did run into him once or twice at Cowboys, and was confronted with a very different Mike -- clean-cut, dressed all in black, with an earring and a smoother attitude. The last time I saw him was two years ago. He came into my store, and we chatted a bit, I tried to find a book for him without any luck. But, again, he was so kind. So sweet. After he'd left, my manager at the time (Yvonne) teased me about how cute she thought we looked when she'd passed by, and I remember blushing because it didn't matter if I saw him once a month, once a year, he'd always have that effect on me.

Lorraine tells me that he has been severely depressed for a long time... that he has been in and out of the hospital for the last two years. Foolishly, selfishly, arrogantly, I can't help but think that I should have been able to do something. Maybe if I had given him my phone number that day, or asked for his, or been braver at some point -- brave enough to encourage a friendship -- maybe I could have been the one person who may have prevented him from taking this one last hugely final step. I keep seeing his face and I feel my own face crumple as I try to squeeze back tears, and I wonder why I want to cry. It wasn't like I knew him. I didn't. It wasn't like he was someone who was always on my mind. I have no right to shed tears -- I haven't earned the privilege of mourning.

Yet, I can't help but mourn when I think of how I will never again be able to accidentally run into Mike at the book store, at Walmart, at Cowboys. He will never - at the whimsy of the fates - find his life randomly intertwined with mine, nor mine with his. I will never see him again. When I press the heels of my hands to my eyes, trying unsuccessfully to suppress this unworthy grief, I find that Mike -- his name, his face, his smile -- is there, an etched memory that won't fade. And I won't let him.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Still procrastinating

What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by

Pure procrastination

What Classic Movie Are You?
personality tests by

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bloody Murder

I think this is one of the most beautiful animals on the planet:
I was looking for a picture to put in here hoping that it would make Josh laugh whenever he happens to check out my blog, and found myself looking at some pretty disturbing things. After typing "impala" in the google image search, I found that a fair chunk of pictures the search brought up are of hunters with their kills -- dead impala after dead impala. According to one site, if me and my killer instincts can't make it out there ourselves, for $300 US (presumably) I can actually order for myself a genuine African "trophy" -- a mounted impala head to hang on the wall.

I let myself cry and cry because every day my frustration with humankind grows further into disgust and this is just so much more than my heart can take.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

We used to leave the blue lights on

Listening to the Metric album, which I just purchased today. Okay, I'll admit I pretty much keep listening to the songs that I already know and love (mmm Dead Disco). But don't think less of me.

Yesterday was a pretty sweet day. I had class, which is always fun. I love seeing my peeps (tee hee), especially since I only get to once a week. I'm such a chatterbox, though. Blah blah bla-bla. The lengths I'll go to just to make them laugh! It's kinda sad. We had to do our first in-class writing assignment, which I think I will include here because it alludes to another part of my day:

I saw Rebel Man in the hallway today. Wearing his black
long-sleeved Slayer concert shirt, he slipped out of his classroom ad passed
right by the locker where the three of us girls were standing. I wondered
if he was on his way outside for a smoke, and then I wondered why I cared.
I shook it off, hurrying down the hall and catching up with my friends by the
staircase. They were laughing at me, at my foolish self, and I found
myself laughing, too. How could I fall for someone who listens to

He looked so good. I have yet to find someone who thinks he is as appealing as I think he is, and while that doesn't bother me, it would be nice to have someone "get" it. I think I come across to most people as this totally extroverted chatty-cathy happy-go-lucky person, but I'm not. I'm so tightly reined in so much of the time, always questioning, second-guessing, critiquing, criticizing myself, my thoughts, my opinions. I want to meet someone who is outside what I am inside, so that I have a place where I can finally be the insane, wildly passionate woman I know I am. And, Rebel Man looks like the kind of guy who would bring out all those severely supressed parts of me. He walks, not like he owns the place, but like he belongs there, with his cool half-smile that he only pulls out every once in awhile, and his long long dark hair. He plays music -- music music music -- and I bet when he plays he loses himself inside of it, the way I do when I listen to my favourite songs. So devil-may-care.

Josh met me after class and we bussed it uptown to Kent's very very very cool condo. It was a good night. Good food, good laughs, good conversation. I'm glad I finally got to see them two of them really together... makes me think of this line from Bridget Jones' Diary which I can't remember and am too lazy to look up, but basically translates into '"I got the warm fuzzies". It was also the perfect time to look through our New York pictures... I've sort of fallen into the place where the entire trip seems so surreal I find it hard to believe it actually happened. It was nice to have the chance to laugh about and re-remember our totally amazing experiences. I'm surprised at how intense my desire is to go back... usually my connections aren't to places so much as people. Yet ANOTHER reason to move to Cape Breton Island... I'll be that much closer to New York City. Ahhh... pipe dreams.

S and I were talking the other day about how badly we just want to get out of -> here <-. I love Edmonton, I do. It's the only city I've ever been in where I can imagine raising a family. But there are too many uncomfortable memories here. I am tired of seeing the same people, taking the same busses to the same places to do the same things, day after day after day after day. I'm starting to feel that awkward inferiority when faced with my far more productive peers, people I come across from my younger years who are so obviously in a more successful place then I am. Even my crushes, my attractions, are old, tethered to the past. The sensible part of me (small as it is) reminds me that physical distance does nothing to sever one from the burdens of the past. But, mightn't it help, even a little?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A splash of insomnia

I don't know why, but I feel this need to find the other really awesome song on the Jully Black album and listen to it RIGHT NOW. Gotta love those random aural longings. My life is entirely driven by the need to hear this song, or that song, this band, that album, and you know what? I like it that way.

Tariq brought in a couple of CDs to work on Saturday so that I could listen to them in the back room -- New Order and a group called Phoenix. I really liked the Phoenix album, so he let me borrow it to upload into my computer, which was really cool of him (I'm actually listening to it right now). Saturday was the last shift I got to work with him since his last day is tomorrow. I'm surprised at how disappointed I am that he is leaving... I really look forward to work when I know he's going to be there. Despite that 'usually' questionable taste in music. He asked for my number on Saturday, so we'll see if he actually uses it. Not in a romantic way, of course. He's young enough to be my... hmm... well, he's just too young for me. Not that I've thought about it.

At New City on Saturday they played this really cool mix of music. We heard a couple of songs by Metric, and since I've heard three of their songs and liked them all I may have to check out their actual album. They played the new NIN song 'Only' which I have been addicted to for the last three weeks, and know all the words to, which made me feel kinda geeky-slash-cool as I sang along. Um, they played 'Michael' by Franz Ferdinand... (so fun to dance to). Oh! AND they played this song that Katie put on the last cd she made for me, "House of Jealous Lovers" which is SUCH a wicked cool dance song. I wonder if Tariq's heard it... probably not. He's intah mellow. Although, so is Katie, and if it hadn't been for her, I wouldn't have known that song from adam when the DJ started spinning it.

My favourite music there, though, is that throbbing industrial type with the heavy rolling bass and totally intense rhythm that wraps it's hands around your throat, shoves you up against a graffitied wall and says "dance or else". Fuck, I love it. I love watching other people dance to it. There was this one guy I saw time and again throughout the night and every time, I swear, I couldn't take my eyes off of him. I called him my "black pants man" because, well, he was wearing black pants, and apparently I'm not that creative when I have a couple of Mikes Hard Berry Lemonade swishing around in my stomach. So yeah, he was wearing black pants with all these silvery buckle-type things up and down the legs, and a black shirt. Out of the all-black outfit though, a state in which I admit I shamelessly imagined him for five very vivid seconds, he would look like the kind of guy who works at the counter in your neighbourhood TD bank. He was incredible, though. So into the music. I would love to have crawled inside his body and felt the music the way he was feeling it.

Pretty much took my breath away, he did.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The whole day inside me

The Shipfitter's Wife
Dorianne Laux

I loved him most when he came home from work,
his fingers still curled from fitting pipe,
his denim shirt ringed with sweat,
smelling of salt the drying weeds
of the ocean. I'd go to where he sat
on the edge of the bed, his forehead
annointed with grease, his cracked hands
jammed between his thighs, and unlace
the steel-toed boots, stroke his ankles
and calves, the pads and bones of his feet.
Then I'd open his clothes and take
the whole day inside me -- the ship's
gray sides, the miles of copper pipe,
the voice of the foreman clanging
off the hull's silver ribs. Spark of lead
kissing metal. The clamp, the winch,
the white fire of the torch, the whistle,
and the long drive home.

I came across this poem in a book I was given at work, an editor's proof of a poetry collection called Love Poems for Real Life. It is rare that I find myself so moved by a poem (despite being a poet myself), but this one... I can feel these lines just as surely as I feel the pinch of my nails into my palm.

Last night was a black night. It shouldn't have been... who can suffer in the wake of an evening of ABBA? It's been so long since I have had a really "good" cry, and I suppose it's going to be a long time coming. My tears last night were the cowardly kind, silent, slipped under my pillow. Ah, such despair. I was laying in bed, on my back, listening to Josh Rouse and finding it difficult to breathe, feeling like the pinkest parts of me I've come to love, my giddy laugh, my idealism, my romantic hopes for the future, rot and blacken like a thirteen-day-old corpse in one of those environmentally friendly cemeteries they have in the states now. I felt like if I were to get up and walk across the room I'd leave a trail of all my dead pieces, and that I would be all the better for simply mopping the pieces up and flushing them down the toilet instead of trying to press them back into their places.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


I'm listening to the new Wide Mouth Mason cd. It isn't exactly brilliant, but there are two songs on the album that are. I keep listening to them both over and over again -- well, mainly the one: a slick blues-y track that not only gets my head bobbing but my shoulders shimmying.

So easy to lose myself in that space between the two limbs of my headphones... Last night. A confusing intertwinement of so much elation and so much disappointment. Sounds melodramatic, but such is me... emotion adds the colours to the canvas. One thing that is certain: I love the goth bar. Wholly. Wantonly. Willingly. I love the women with their beautiful black hair, the heavy black lashes, and ripe flesh wrapped in elaborate ribboned corsetry. The swing of those confident hips. I love the men with their black buckled pants and tight shirts, their uninhibited bodies, the way they close their eyes - wild - reckless - when they move. I noticed things I failed to notice the first time -- the bloodied "corpse" in a wedding dress, suspended from the ceiling, the blue and green fairy lights around the main bar, the face of the DJ behind eloquent techonology. Give me music.

Starlight, starbright, first star I see tonight... I spent all week wishing that he would call. And he did. How would things have turned out if I hadn't already had plans, hadn't mentioned New City, had he not changed his plans and had I not found him sitting on his stool and nursing his drink while watching the gothgirls sashay past. Had he not ruined everything when he opened that mouth of his, pressing it against that woman's red lips later at their evening's end.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Witching Hour

Well, my very first post in my very first blog. I am laying in bed, idly noticing that the colour of my comforter matches the colours on this screen, trying to decide whether or not I want to close the window and stop the flow of cool chilling my fingers and my toes.

If this day was a colour, it would be green. Green for the grass outside my building, green for the crisp salad-y post-rain scent of the air, green for the good, solid belly laughs I shared with friends today.

Queen is on the radio -- Bohemian Rhapsody. Makes me think of P, who - very randomly - once sang this entire song for me in the back room at work. Queen is classic, everlasting... nice that some things are forever.