Here comes the sun: days 221 — 225

In 2007 I was working at Accenture, and at some point it dawned on me I worked literally across the street from the Vancouver Public Library, and it might be fun to get a library card and check out some books.

I don’t remember what else I read, but I do remember it took me about a year to go through Les misérables, on and off. Now that I think about it I finished the book after being laid off—that was in November, and i took it with me back to Ottawa over the holidays.

If you’re curious, Les mis is one of the greatest works in the entire history of literature, French or otherwise.

Incidentally, though I don’t work next door anymore, the library isn’t far out of my way. Maybe I should reactivate that card and see what else it has to offer…

August 10th (day 222) was the Vancouver Queer Film Festival’s opening gala. I’m still not blogging reviews this year… except maybe one. I do have many thoughts about the opening gala film, I Dream In Another Language / Sueño en otro idioma. We’ll see how it evolves.

Friday, a quick look up Cordova Street from the Granville walkway. I think I took a daily pic in the opposite direction at some point, but that was a while ago and I can’t be bothered to look it up.

Saturday, clouds started forming. Real, rain-bearing clouds, not this apocalyptic smoky haze. Actually, he haze was gradually clearing—by Friday you could just about see both the North Shore mountains and Burnaby Mountains from Waterfront. But this promised to instantly clear all that grime from the atmosphere.

Which, it did during the night. Starting a little before 11, I think, a fine little drizzle came down. Nothing big, but we didn’t need anymore.

In fact, the rain was exactly what we needed, not just for the smoke but for volleyball. I played in VGVA’S Sets on the Beach tournament on Sunday and really enjoyed it, way more than all the other times I played this summer. The sand was all right, cool and damp at first and never getting uncomfortably hot even after the sun came out. And though the day started out overcast the sun did come out, so I got enough eye candy. And I got a little dirty from diving and rolling. That was fun. Taking a shirtless selfie (however partial) is also kind of a big step for me.

And now outdoor vball is over for me. I think there are still beach leagues going on, but I won’t be playing in them. And next Sunday is the first round of evaluations for VGVA’s indoor league. Sigh. The summer’s almost over…

PRIDE: days 216 — 220

It’s that time of year, and it’s been ages since I blogged about Pride. I think this resolution is really good for me! This weekend is always a bit rough for me; as a socially awkward introvert, it’s hard to look at everybody else having fun and partying without (a) wishing I could just join them and (b) knowing I wouldn’t have much energy for it.

But hey, I’m much more relaxed than I used to be. It’s all about building up social stamina and pushing my comfort zone a bit at a time.

I began celebrations with the Davie Street Party on Friday. I went by myself, but I knew I’d run into friends and then we’d just walk up and down the street running into other friends, checking out the hot ginger juggler. Lana Wachowski and some of the cast of Sense8 were in town, and they did a little fan meeting thing, but I didn’t get much out of it. They were behind a fence, got some selfies with a few fans who weren’t me, and then security hustled them out. I think I got half my face in one of Max Riemelt’s photos, though. So I guess that was nice?

Saturday I slept in waaay late and missed the pancake breakfast, but I was in time for the Dyke March. Which wouldn’t have happened without me. Well, the march itself would have happened, but the BC Humanists would not have been a part of it this year. I wanted to go, but didn’t want to go by myself, so I put out the call on FB, and enough people responded (including the guy with the banner, who was saving it for Sunday) that we had a group. Yay! And we walked behind some grumpy old dykes!

Afterwards we had a bite to eat at Storm Crow Tavern. They had a special thing going on, where they gave out and various Pride buttons with their logo on it. I got a Trans flag, and asked for a rainbow one. Imagine my surprise when I got the special Philadelphia one, with a black and a brown strip on top. I seriously didn’t think I’d see that outside of Philly, yet here we are. I believe it’s as good a Pride flag as any other, and I was happy to wear it for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday night: a little fireworks party. From a West End balcony I saw a very red sunset—it looks like the smoke’s clearing now, but damn did it look nasty for a few days, followed of course by some lovely fireworks courtesy of Team Canada. I was quite impressed with my little Samsung Galaxy S5 camera, it did quite well in the low light, even differentiating colours pretty nicely.

And then Sunday: the parade! My friend Colin went as a bearded and beglittered Wonder Woman, and as soon as I snapped his photo, I knew it would be my official daily pic. Although I’m kind of liking this other photo of me between Peter (who is maybe 6′ 6″) and Colin (wearing about 6″ heels).

Since I was helping to carry the GVAA banner in front of the truck, I had the chance to snap a few more pictures of the crowds. Sometimes I think it’d be nice to just watch the parade—from a nice comfy balcony in the shade, naturally, I ain’t sitting on the sidewalk for hours—but there’s a real rush to walking and drinking in the crowds. It’s kind of exhausting, but it feels amazing. With no plans afterwards, I checked out the festival at Sunset Beach, hugged a couple more friends, then went home. I could hear people still partying in the streets, but I was good.

Monday: nothing, and it felt great. It took me the longest time to get off my ass, and then I just didn’t know what to shoot. So I shot Davie Street, which is what I do when I’m not inspired.

Tuesday, walking through the Village for the first time in a while, I spied a quaint old fire station that I’d seen a million times but for some reason looked nice. Ending a weekend of modern, progressive things, with an old thing. Ehh, why not? It’s a heritage building, built in 1907, rehabilitated in 1988. How many people lived in the West end in 1907? Couldn’t have been that many.

On fire: days 211 — 215

Jesus, this heatwave. The smoke wafting in from the Interior isn’t helping things either—kind of maybe cooling us down a tad, but the grey sky, orange sky and smell more than makes up for it. I don’t feel it’s quite as bad as the last time this happened two years ago, mind you. Most of the time I don’t smell the smoke, though for a couple days my throat has been scratchy and sensitive, and I think my sinuses are reacting too.

Last time I played beach vball, I didn’t enjoy it that much. Yes, hot guys in skimpy shorts are a definite plus, but it’s really hot and dry and exhausting. I’d much rather play grass vball in the evening when it’s relatively cool, and there’s still quite a bit of eye candy.

But I still kind of wanted a photo of the place… so, avoiding creeper shots because they’re creepy, I spied a bit of green snuggling in the shade of a pole. Didn’t think anything could take root in this sand, which they supposedly rake regularly, but I guess life finds a way.

Monday I didn’t feel that inspired, so you got a photo of Granville Street. Not the first I’ve taken. Not even the first of the Vancouver Block Building. But meh, that’s okay. I can’t be on all the time.

Tuesday things got very bad for the Lower Mainland, when we got a little taste of what living in the Interior must be like. I’ll be honest, the orange sun and grey sky makes me feel helpless and scared. I don’t want to get used to this. I don’t want it to be the new normal.

Wednesay night, fireworks provided a nice distraction.

Thursday, a bit of construction on the way home. No real point to this, except I liked the composition and colours, and this is an angle I’ve never looked at before. So hey, let’s celebrate the whole point of this year-long exercise!

Coming up next: PRIIIIIIDE

Towers and burbs: days 206 — 210

It occurred to me a while ago that I was working almost right next door to a place where I worked in 2008 for about 8 months: Waterstreet Technologies, located on (you guessed it) Water Street in Gastown. I couldn’t remember the exact address but figured I’d recognise the place, so I went up and down Water St a couple times; but nothing rang any bells in the 300 block where I thought it used to be. Eventually I gave up and checked out their website, and… it’s at number 55? Really? I guess the 300 was just the suite number. The place still didn’t look familiar, and part of me is still thinking they moved in the last 9 years. But no, it’s just my weird brain playing tricks on me.

Anyway, I then decided to take the scenic route home through SFU Woodward’s, where I snapped a picture of coloured flags on… power lines? Is that what they are? It seems I’ve been noticing them a lot more recently.

Wednesday is volleyball at David Lam, so I took the usual pretty shots of Yaletown and False Creek. But it was the building under construction at Pacific & Richards that caught my eye. The Charleson, I think it’s called. Which is also the name of a nearby park right across the water from David Lam.

Thursday night a lot of queer (and other) nerds congregated on Jim Deva Plaza for a few hours of tabletop gaming. I’d made plans to meet a couple friends, but what with one thing and another we kept missing each other, and everybody already seemed to have their own boards and their own groups. But not to worry! Turns out playing giant Jenga is a great way to meet people. It’s loose and fast-paced, a lot of it is spent standing around either judging the active player or shouting suggestions, and when the thing comes crashing down, we all get to commiserate, and welcome new players. Hella good fun.

Friday I kept up the theme of “exploring Gastown” and on my lunch hour snapped this and that, finally deciding to post a nice picture of trains, with Canada Place and some cruise ship in the background. That‘s a blast from the past too: I took the West Coast Express for about two years when I worked downtown but lived in PoCo (including those 8 months with Waterstreet) and took many, many photos that I posted on Flickr. A few times I toyed with the idea of taking the train out past PoCo to see what life was like in the far-far suburbs. Which I did do once, stopping at Pitt Meadows, the next station over. It wasn’t that interesting, just more… suburbany. I didn’t like it.

Although I did like the ride, crossing the river in the still of night… I do like trains, but until my Europe trip only went on them a handful of times. It’s not something you can really enjoy out here.

And hey, speaking of blasts from the past. On Saturday I went into those same burbs for a games night with friends, and I had a hankering to check out my old stomping grounds. I stopped at the Shaughnessy Station Mall and hiked up the pedestrian overpass—I remember when they installed that thing!—and enjoyed the intensely suburban panorama. And then I got artsy. So that was fun.

Who knows, maybe I’ll take the train out there one of these days? But nah, I drove through Mission 10 days ago. I’ve seen the place. I’d rather not spend the night there if I can help it.