Too good to be true: days 201 — 205

Question: Is it that more interesting things are happening to me recently, or is that my new outlook on life is making me notice the interesting stuff more?

It’s the chicken and the egg, Will. The chicken and the egg.

It’s the same thing as photography, when I think about it. I remember being so worried about finding anything interesting to shoot, every single day. I figured it would just highlight how boring my daily routine was, or I’d just drop it after a while. But I learned there are beautiful things everywhere all the time, even on streets I walk every every day. I just need to keep my eyes open and yes, get off the beaten path once in a while.

Sometimes life comes at you fast. Sometimes life takes the form of out-of-this-world delicious donuts. Or attending a geeky wedding out in Harrison Mills where guests played board games, Mario console games, and I found a Blue Eyes White Dragon card in one of my cupcakes. Apparently it was the only BEWD in the whole lot, so I feel pretty damn special.

And sometimes you see something so perfect but you have to work to make your camera see it. So on Sunday I was walking along the seawall; it was windy, waves were high, and I saw a bunch of logs / large branches stuck amongst the rocks. Plus, a bunch of little inuksuit.

I didn’t want to make those the focus of my daily pic—been there, done that—but the crashing waves and setting sun were too good to resist. Still, I had to take a couple dozen shots until I found one I was happy with. The end result was absolutely perfect and totally worth it, though.

Besides birthday donuts, you know the other nice thing about working at Gossamer Threads? The rooftop patio overlooking Granville Street. Gawd, I love being downtown. I mean it’s kind of grey and a bit claustrophobic with the high-rises and sometimes I wish people would just walk faster already… but right now I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The big Two Oh Oh: days 196 — 200

And here’s a milestone: 200 days of photos, at least one a day! Some days, way more than that of course. My blogging sort of fell by the wayside after coming back from Europe, but I’m back now! And I’m blogging about more than just photos, which I figured would happen eventually. Focusing on 5 photos at a time was just a way to kickstart my creative brain, get it going through the motions on a regular basis. Plus… it’s not a coincidence that I started blogging again on the first day of my new job. Because finally yes, in spite of that damn imposter syndrome, I feel positive about where my career—and indeed my life—are going. Finally, I feel I have something to write about.

On day 100 I took my creativity to the next level and started blogging again. On this multiple-of-100 milestone, I’ll… stay the course. I’m still feeling my way forward, blogging-wise, and I’m nervous about committing too much. One photo every day and one post every 5 days is good for now.

But speaking of that “one a day thing”, I really need to stop overanalysing how I number photos, and worrying about which photo is the “official” one. And whether it’s okay to change my mind. I think that line of thought is really limiting how many photos I post per day. At least one, yes. But hardly ever more than one, unless I’m in Europe.

Anyway. These 5 days were fun and nicely social, from my birthday party at the Storm Crow to seeing Phantom for the first time (fantastic), and snapping some geese at the park.

My 2017 Queer Film Festival schedule

It’s that time of year again! Let’s see what’s out there…

Thursday August 10

The opening gala, so there’s only one choice. It looks wonderful, though: dying indigenous languages, magical realism, and what looks like a deep meditation on cultures and communication? Yes please. Oh, and apparently there’s a long-lost love story between two guys, which makes this a queer film.

Final choice: I Dream In Another Language / Sueño en otro idioma

Friday August 11

Either gay horror and murder mysteries, or touching lesbian personal dramas. Hmm… Yeah, let’s go for the horror. When will I get another chance to see a zombie apocalypse in a bathhouse?

Final choice: B&B and DTF: Down To Fright

Saturday August 12

I’ve got plans that night, but I could catch an early show, one of the lesbian dramas I missed Friday. Don’t know if I’ll have time, that would cut into my Taiji. But we’ll see.

Final choice (maybe): Signature Move

Sunday August 13

At first I hadn’t planned anything for Sunday. Maybe because nothing really caught my eye, or I just wanted to pace myself… but I do have choices. Seems to be a lot of biographies and documentaries. Half focused on North America (and one just on Vancouver), half international. As interesting as some of these international stories are, I’m in the mood for something local.

Final choice: Troublemakers 2.0

Monday August 14

Either a look at LGBT communities and what anchors them, or a lot of weird sexy gay dramas. I’m feeling the former more.

Final choice: Stay Gold, March Forward and Jewel’s Catch One

Tuesday August 15

Either two sexy gay love stories, or a double-bill of Indigenous femme stories. I had settled on the early sexy gay love show (again, pacing myself)… but now I’m not so sure. Though now I’m thinking I may want to take in some queer First Nations culture.

Final choice (tentative): Center Of My World / Die Mitte der Welt

Wednesday August 16

The centrepiece gala, a documentary on the incarceration and aftermath of Black trans woman CeCe McDonald.

Final choice: Free CeCe!

Thursday August 17

Either a lot of short stories exploring intersectional queer identities, or a couple of bittersweet lesbian love stories. Originally I didn’t put down anything for Thursday. Do I have other plans? I don’t even remember. But either way, I think I’ll pass on the lesbian drama.

Final choice: The Migrant Mixtape

Friday August 18

Okay, you all know I’ll seeing The Coast Is Queer, right? And hey, the late show in that theatre is a biopic of one of the leaders of the Stonewall rebellion.

Final choice: The Coast Is Queer and The Death & Life of Marsha P. Johnson

Saturday August 19

I’ve got plans that night too! But, I think I’ll catch an early-early show, which would have been the late show on Thursday. It’s too bad, I really enjoyed Kumu Hina a couple years ago when it was just a short film, and would have liked to see the feature-length version.

Final choice: Taxi Stories

Sunday August 20

There’s only the ending gala to see. Fortunately it looks fun!

Final choice: Handsome Devil

Crepes and nostalgia: days 191 — 195

“Happiness is”

You know, I haven’t used that word in a while, and really meant it. “Happy” is a big word, but I do feel… good. Better than I used to be. For the first time in a long while, I feel like my career is in motion, and with it, the rest of my life.

All that and strawberry shortcake crepes. Good thing I’m also going back to the gym! And I could make a crack about getting a Pride body, but fuck that noise. Body pride, not Pride body.

But speaking of bodies, I did something a bit unusual this week. On Thursday I attended a Pride reading series at the Jim Deva Plaza—a nice little event celebrating LGBTQ+ literature. Pride isn’t just about parades and parties! This event was MC’d by Cicely-Belle Blain of Black Lives Matter Vancouver and Qmunity, and I had the urge to take a picture. Which I then posted, after asking their permission. Photographing people, that’s a pretty new thing for me, especially strangers. It’s a lot more interactivity than usually I let myself get into.

Friday, Bastille Day, the day before my own birthday, I attended a birthday dinner up at SFU. My gawd, the place has changed since the last time I saw it—2004, maybe? Development all over the place, even a new observatory. Jupiter was there to greet us, though I didn’t look at it through a telescope. I’d done that before and to be honest, it wasn’t as inspiring as I thought it’d be. So I was happy with the twilight sky and little Jupiter shining over the AQ.

Afterwards some of us went for a walk around and under the AQ, and I felt on more familiar ground. I drove some friends to the nearest SkyTrain station… and then instead of going home, I hauled ass back up the mountain. When would I get another chance to reminisce like this?

My first stop, of course, was the Applied Sciences Building, where I spent so much time between ’96 and ’99. Hasn’t changed much at all, as far as I could see. I think the couches layout has been tweaked, and I could have sworn there used to be photos of all the profs and staff, but that seems to be gone. Pity, I would have have liked to see how Fred Popovich, my supervisor, was doing. (He’s still around, actually.)

Naturally I couldn’t get to my old desk. That section, next to the upstairs grad computing lab, was (and evidently still is) behind keycard-controlled doors.

Next: quietly ambling down the AQ, 3rd level. That part hasn’t changed much either, except for maybe more vending machines? Plus a couple new concession stands. And desks where students could burn the midnight oil on a Friday night.

The Convocation Mall was all dressed up, with chairs and tables. What was the occasion? Graduation was long over, wasn’t it?

And then, my second main destination: the Transportation Complex, housing SF-PIRG and Out On Campus. And holy cow, OOC was still there, right where I left it, at TC 314N. Amazing… but maybe I shouldn’t be amazed. It’s great real estate: a nice space with a little lobby for picking up pamphlets and whatnot, right next to SFPIRG and the Women’s Centre.

And that’s when I went home, tired but happy to have strolled down memory lane.

Day 195/365: clouds and Jupiter #dailypic

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In transition: days 186 — 190

I’m still feeling lost and unrooted. A new job, a more challenging job in many ways, but I know it’ll be so much more rewarding. Even now, I’m in a better than I was… but it’s still hard. Imposter syndrome was hitting me hard, and though it’s lessened, I don’t expect it’ll go away soon. I understand what it is, I understand it’s an irrational reaction. This too shall pass.

And then there’s all the little details, like where to eat: I was going to the same lunch place for years week in, week out—and don’t get me wrong, they’ve totally earned my loyalty, but I’m a creature of habit and I’ve been spoiled. So I must strike out on my own, find a new good place. Or find many good places; this is f***ing downtown Vancouver, after all, not North Van. I have many more options available here.

Not all those options are good, though. One of them gave me indigestion (or something) Thursday night, which kind of ruined the last day of my first week, but there you go. It’s all part of the game.

Photography-wise, I feel like I’m starting from scratch. My days (and my evenings) are in the more populous downtown core, not Davie Village, Lions’ Gate Bridge, or North Van. The stress and insecurities of the new job are also probably not helping with the whole creativity thing… So looking back, it kind of feels like a lot of “safe” shots, you know what I mean? City shots. Alleys. The Gabriola Mansion. The only one that really speaks to me is the public art piece by Jen Brisson near Harbour Centre.

Ah well. I’m still in-between. I’ll get my bearings soon.

The end of Canal Time and what came after: days 136 — 185

It’s been 50 days, folks.

It’s been a weird 50 days. First, the last bit of our Europe trip:

Day 136 was a tour of various Dutch towns: Delft, Rotterdam and The Hague. My special pic for that day was a look from the top of the New Church bell tower (New Church, started in 1396. The nearby Old Church was started in 1246. Gotta recalibrate your sense of what’s old in places like this). This was not nearly as much fun as the Bruges belfry escapade 8 days before. The New Church tower staircase was narrow and steep, the day was hot, and the top of it? Wide open. Instead of a safely contained space that let us take great photos through nicely solid windows, we dealt with a narrow balcony-like structure that went about 3/4 of the way round. Fucking hell. Martin and I spent just a couple minutes taking a few photos and hightailed it back to Terra Firma.

Delft was quite a lovely place, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if the weather wasn’t so bloody hot. Rotterdam and The Hague were quite nice too; Rotterdam is too modern a city to get much of a feel for, and we just didn’t spend enough time in The Hague. Also my phone died, so I couldn’t take photos of the royal palace, parliament and other landmarks. Oh well.

The following day we stayed in town, checking out some more of what Amsterdam has to offer: the Artis Zoo, the Portuguese Synagogue, and the Tropenmuseum. All good stuff, but nothing really super-grabbed me. Though now that I think about it, the synagogue was pretty special. Never been in one before, you see, and it’s a fascinating look at a place that’s kind of like a church, but also kind of not like any church I know.

Our last full day in Amsterdam, we spent at the Rijksmuseum. It is an absolutely amazing place, full of the most amazing works of art you’ve ever seen. I had the hardest time deciding which should be my daily pic (The Night Watch? too cliché) so I instead decided on a view of a little garden outside, near a statue of Mercury. I’d originally planned to come back later, photograph Mercury against a dramatic setting sun backdrop, but that was a total fail. The little park closed when the museum closed (6PM) and the angle was all wrong anyway. Well, it was worth a shot.

Day 138/365: tulips outside the Rijksmuseum. I’m really going to miss this place #dailypic

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And that later trip wasn’t wasted time, either. On this last day, I finally worked up the nerve to visit a gay bar. It was still super-early and there were only 2 people there, so I drank a soda for 20 minutes, briefly chatted with the bartender, and left.

And then… back to Vancouver. Back to the routine and a job I was increasingly dissatisfied with. My head wasn’t in a great place. But, there was hope. I’d been talking to a couple of recruiters before the trip, and then I spoke to a couple more. One prospect moved from “send us your resume” to “phone interview with HR” to “in-person technical interview” to “we’re making you an offer” in the space of just a couple weeks.

Meantime I kept taking photos. My blogging might have fallen off, but my photography didn’t. Some of my faves from that period were: a closeup of some flower or other, a shot of a gorgeous rose by the Mole Hill houses, the sun going down on Sunset Beach, and that time a ladybug landed on my WordCamp t-shirt. I just had time to turn my phone on myself before it flew away.

And then, on July 4, day 185: my first day at the new position. The end of an era… and the beginning of another. This is a good place, and I think I have a future here. It’s been a while since I’ve felt positive about my career. But hey! Better late than never.

Day 185/365: this seems like a nice place #newjob #dailypic

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