Friday, February 29, 2008

The Update

I'm beginning to wish that I lived in some obscure location where I could take pictures of the weather and the horrible conditions in which I live, and people would pity me. But that would mean living in Cold Lake.

Natty and I are staring at our snow-covered patio and talking about buying patio laterns, planters and furniture. I hope that happens sooner than later.

Today I called UBC to talk to a horticulturalist about whether fertilizing house plants with menstrual blood is actually beneficial. He wasn't there, so I called the ladies at Gladrags instead. They told me that it's essentially the same as bloodmeal. I'll wait until I hear back from the experts to give you a verdict on that one.

Alex Dodd is in Vaughn right now, earning big bucks at the new Planet Organic. I'm applying for jobs, most of which are unpaid, and procrastinating from finishing my online RRJ story. Honestly, I'm sick of both conspiracy theorists AND debunkers. I don't know what to believe anymore. Is there not a happy medium?

Melissa is coming tonight. I am excited to see her. That is all.

(Pictures stolen from Chloe. Last night was another RRJ fundraiser. I failed to bust out my camera.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Seriously, karma, do you have an issue with me?

Alex's mom and boyfriend drove down from Owen Sound today to bring us sustinence (which included a blueberry pie and homemade wine) and to take us out for lunch. So, of course, we had to go check out the site of the fire. I hadn't been down there since Wednesday morning, when the whole thing was still engulfed in flames and thick smoke.

They've torn down most of Alex's building, but his apartment is still somewhat intact. See the double doors on the top left side? That was the door to his patio. I'm pretty sure I also spotted his charred dresser in the wreckage.

In other news, about five minutes ago I discovered that someone STOLE MY BIKE out of my hallway. We share the hallway with one other apartment, and the outside doors lock automatically, but don't always close properly. So someone must have wandered in at an opportune time and taken my bike, which I never even got the chance to ride. I would be more upset, but this week's earlier events have put material posessions into prespective. . .but I was just telling Alex today that since spring is around the corner, I wanted to put air in the tires.

Seriously. This is just not my week.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ego Embarassed

In other, non-tragedy related news, I'm almost embarassed to report that my blog has been high-fived via the Internet by white supremacists. Scratch that--I am embarassed.

Last year sometime, I wrote a blog about the "I'm a white minority at Ryerson" Facebook group and the media that surrounded it, including an article written by Jessica R., the other red-headed Albertan Jess.

Anyway, the characters on Stormfront started ballasting Jess for her article via a messageboard on the site, and somehow, my blog got pulled into the whole affair. And the reason why? Because I'm a redheaded Jess from Alberta. One of the Stormfront guys mistook me for Jessica R., linked my blog and wrote:

"Anyway, the reason for this post was to say that Jessica [R]'s article was actually fairly balanced. BUT! -- the balance of it was completely destroyed by the insidious Title: "'White power': Campus group stirs race debate." She says her editor created the Title, I believe her.I was impressed by her blog on this topic."

Oh well. I'm glad somebody is impressed by my blogging abilities--even if they are white nationalists. *Shudder.*

Oh, and also, before the whole fire incident, reading week wasn't a complete write-off. Some fun was had last weekend. Proof:

If you're not offended that my blog has been approved by white supremacists (forgive me, really), please still consider donating to the Roof Is (Was?) On Fire Charity.

Thanks to everyone who has helped us out so far. We were able to buy groceries today! (That deserves high fives all around in itself.)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Pictures really do speak louder than words

The blog was sorely in need of some visuals. This is the best I could come up with:

As of Wednesday morning, this is literally all Alex had to his name, other than the clothes on his back.

As of yesterday evening, all his wordly possessions expanded to this very small pile of clothes. Mark hooked him up with a 70% off discount, so he used the money that's been donated thus far to go and buy a couple of changes of clothes.

The Red Cross is going to buy us groceries, which is a relief, because apart from the generous support my parents give me, my income is only about $200 per month. (Sad, but true fact. McClung's is a part-time job in itself, and an unpaid one at that.) It's hardly enough to feed both of us. (Alex does work full-time, but obviously saving money is his top priority right now.)

We've been lying in bed at night playing the "what is now a pile of ash" game. I'll be drifting off to sleep and then say to Alex, "What about the tent you bought this summer?" "Burnt." "Your flute?" "Gone." (This last one made him almost start crying again.) "The dinosaur drawing I sent to you last year?" "That was my favourite bookmark." It's a stupid game, really, but I can't help it. He's sleeping soundly, I'm having nightmares. Fire terrifies me.

Thanks to everyone who has donated so far, especially the random people who have never met Alex, or me for that matter. It means the world to both of us. On the day of the fire, Alex was muttering profanity at all the voyeurs watching flames engulf his building. "I hate people," he told me. People were standing around us pointing and smiling. People were complaining about the disruption in transit. It could have been worse. (And I know, I know. I can't deny it. I would have watched, too, without a second thought to it.)

And then yesterday. . .offers of help have come flooding in. It's cliched, but things like this really do restore your faith in humanity and in the goodness of people. And tonight. . .tonight we'll drink a little bit and be grateful that we're alive.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It could have been worse.

Well, here we go guys. I've never used paypal before.

All the money will be going directly to Alex to replace everything he ever owned. . .and if not, it might help out with buying some of the basic necessities that we all take for granted. Even if you'd like to donate $5 so Alex can buy some deodorant, that would be awesome. (Although I might admit, that's a little more for me than for him.) If you'd like him to do something specific with your donation, or buy something specific, let us know in the comments.

Thanks to Carla for her donation, as well as Mark for bringing over clothes and a toothbrush last night. I was happy that I got to sleep with a boyfriend whose breath didn't stink.

(Also, Alex, if you read this from home, don't be upset with me for doing this without asking you first. You would help others if they needed it, too.)


Everyone's had questions so here's the story in Alex's words.

And out of curiosity, if you did know your building was burning down, what would you grab on your way out the door?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Braking News of Another Kind

Alex Dodd moved out of my apartment two days ago.

This morning, it burnt down. He had moved the last of his things out of my place last night. All he now owns is the clothes he was wearing, three pairs of socks and a shirt (which were left in my laundry basket) and a large box of spraypaint.

Thanks to everyone for their offers of help. We'll let you know what you can do as soon as we figure that much out.


8:00 p.m. Edit: If you want to see photos of the blaze, check out the Torontoist. Alex's building is (was?) the red-bricked building in the fourth and fifth picture. As noted in the comments, since people have been asking--there was no insurance. It's a good thing I've always had a fantasy about picking up a homeless dude.

As for donations, we spent the day getting back to basics: socks, underwear, a new hoodie. We still have yet to pick up deoderant and a toothbrush. People keep asking Alex why he didn't grab anything. It kind of comes back to the childhood game of "what would you grab if you could only take one thing out of a burning building?" The problem was, Alex didn't know he was in a burning building. He didn't even put on socks before going outside.

So basically, if you really want to help out, we could start a collection? I really don't know at this point. I'm having a party on Friday. If you're coming, bring your spare change. Maybe after we get drunk we can roll the pennies and see what it adds up to.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Braking News

While I might complain about being stuck in the lab, the truth is, the mutual procrastination trips we embark on are memorable at best. First, was the time Canice called the abortion people (see the Torontoist link for a post McClung's very own SNP wrote on the subject) to let them know that she, a toy soldier, really doesn't like kids in the first place.

Today, my curiosity fueled me to google "Obay," those ads that even have transit workers wondering in online forums who is behind them. (Again, check out the Torontoist post for the low-down and a picture if you're not too sure what I'm talking about.) The mystery marketing campaign is huge, with advertisements all over the GTA, London, Ottawa and Montreal. In addition to the transit ads, they even have a hot line. If you want to be cool like everyone in the magazine lab who is mutually procrastinating right now, call 1-888-YOU-OBAY.

I promise it's worth it. It will make you docile like a kitten.

It's gonna be a gong show, folks!

Reading week debauchery has begin! (That is, if by "debauchery" you mean waking up at 8 am to put on a business appropriate dress and heels, stumbling out into the blistering cold wind, writing a test that may mean selling your soul to the government for two years, and then heading to the lab to be surrounded by a stack of paper and a sore throat. Oh, and did I mention that on Thursday we still have class?)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Porridge and Coffee

This is what I see in the mornings when I wake up.

Sometimes I get confused and think that all my dreams came true: I slept straight through the blisteringly cold months, and I'm waking up to put on a summer dress and head out to my incredibly satisfying on-salary writing job. And then I realize why that was a dream.

Alex is still living at my apartment, a month later. He has his own apartment, three blocks down the street, yet my snooze alarm still goes off at 6:30 a.m. every morning, rousing him out of bed, and me prematurely out of my much-deserved sleep. He claims that he can't move his stuff out because of the daily mini blizzards and friends who notoriously dissapear when you need help moving. But I think he's really still here because he wants to finish the game he's playing on the Nintendo.

I bought an ivy (or a vine of sorts?). I want to wake up with the sunlight pouring into my room, and onto a wall of green. However, the ivy is nowhere near covering the entire wall--you can see it in the top right hand corner of the wall. Anyone know how to prompt accelerated growth?

My relationship with the conspiracy theorists is growing without aid, though. Tomorrow I have an interview with Barrie Zwicker, a leading 9/11 theorist. I went to see him speak at Conspiracy Culture last night. It was really interesting, except I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from laughing during the Q & A portion. My skepticism made me a white sheep in a sea of black sheep. After speaking with Zwicker, I ducked out the door early and back into the blowing snow.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Theoretically Speaking

(Click on picture for PDF version of the story).

Karon convinced me to write this. And now I'm obsessed.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

This is for Chloe Tse.

A number of semi-notable occurrences have taken place:

Alex, Dayn, Mark, Junior and I went to Nathan Phillips Square to watch the Weakerthans play. And when I saw "watch," what I mean is that Alex, Dayn, Mark and Junior watched, while I stared at the back of tall people's heads.

Julia and Dayn came to visit. This was directly correlated with a can of orange spray-paint exploding in our living room.

Alex found a place to live down the street from me--with two attractive women and a greenhouse. He's more excited about the greenhouse.

Canice and I were interviewed for a documentary about feminism. Because I'm an idiot, I used the non-existant word "equalitist." Repeat after me: egalitarian. (That's the real reason I call myself a feminist instead of an egaltarian--I can't remember the damn word.)

And then Natty, Dayn, Alex and I took someone hostage in the back of a rented white van. (I was going to make a pedophile joke here, about how we decided to play "stranger" and Dayn's bag being filled with candy, but I restrained myself.)

And I actually got a rash on my upper lip from Alex's mustache.

All in a day's work.