It was half my lifetime ago now that I first read Microserfs by Douglas Coupland.

I dreamt last night that I really wanted to work in a soup kitchen. In my dream, I then looked on Twitter for the tag #thingstodobeforeyoudie or something like that.

It's really quite cold outside, but I found the swing had returned yesterday, so I just had to escape the office to play on it.

Coupland

Oct. 1st, 2010 11:30 am
A Dictionary of the Near Future by Douglas Coupland.

Douglas Coupland's Massey Lecture - Player One: What Is to Become of Us is released next week, in the form of a novel. Apparently, the names of some of my friends appear in it, along with my name, and the words "With thanks to the following for their care, thought, and research". I wish I could make it to Toronto to see the lecture.
NaNoWriMo starts soon, and as I've been reading Twisty Little Passages, I'm vaguely contemplating writing some kind of interactive fiction/text adventure type thing for it.

[Poll #1474777]
Leaves and Clouds
Yesterday, I looked for rainbows in the sky, but the rain stopped suddenly, and the sky cleared, as I happened to be next to Carlton Gardens. I stared into the pond, looking for reflections and secret worlds, and thought about Drake Street in Vancouver.
I'm re-reading Microserfs, to help with a project for Douglas Coupland, and last Thursday, I sat in Starbucks, reading the book, and drinking a tall mocha with soya milk, without whipped cream, to escape the rain outside. I realised I could be anywhere right then.

Yes, the caffeine was infiltrating my mind, but it was more Microserfs that was making me think and made me want to blog more. Oh, it always does.

I am squirmelia@livejournal.com (in this LiveJournal post, at least). If my life was a game of Jeopardy! I still wouldn't know, even now, after all this time (14 or so years since I first read Microserfs) what my seven dream categories would be. I'm not sure what that says about me.

A year or two ago, I was a tester- a bug checker, in the UK, and then I studied usability, interaction design, ergonomics, and now I'm on the opposite side of the world.

From the tram window, I saw a man, laughing, and carrying a small black and white rocking horse.

When I first moved to Melbourne, I used to write down the words I saw on the walls, the pavements, the shops, and the pages of random words and phrases in Microserfs, reminded me of this.

I decided to visit an art gallery: the Rosalie Gascoigne exhibition at the NGV. I looked at doll heads, eyes on garden forks, eyes in shells, art made from roadsigns, bits of found wood (weathered, and it made me think of Dungeness somehow).

And then, I headed to the beach. The sky was grey. It was cold and I wore a long black coat and beret. It could have been Montauk. It could have been England. There were windswept lone trees; waves; sand dancing; a red bridge, but also turquoise jellyfish and windsurfers.
My last day in Vancouver and I had already bought postcards that failed to capture the beauty of the city, so I decided there was just one thing left to do: pretend to be in a Douglas Coupland novel.

I headed to the pub at the Yale Hotel to look for Cathy and Pup-tent and found myself right next to Drake Street. I could see no crows, but there were pigeons. There were also puddles to peer into, where the snow had begun to melt, and I began to look for a secret world.

'Once, on a morning after a particularly noisy night, Cathy and I were walking down Drake Street and we saw a crow standing in a puddle, motionless, the sky reflected on its surface so that it looked as thought the crow was standing on the sky. Cathy then told me that she thinks that there is a secret world just underneath the surface of our own world. She said that the secret world was more important than the one we live in. "Just imagine how surprised fish would be," she said, "if they all knew all the action going on just on the other side of the water. Or just imagine yourself being able to breathe underwater and living with the fish. The secret world is that close and it's THAT different." ' - 1: Cathy, My Hotel Year, Douglas Coupland.

Vancouver

Dec. 7th, 2006 09:44 am
View towards Lonsdale Quay
Skyscrapers compete with mountains.


Vancouver Art Gallery currently has an Emily Carr exhibition on, with beautiful paintings of vivid (and sometimes creepy) totem poles and swirling green forests where the undergrowth laps at the trees like waves. Emily Carr often visited and painted First Nations villages, sometimes with her sister and I quite liked this description: "Sister purchased a bird of melancholy mien, so resembling herself she had difficulty in restraining her emotions".

There was also a Paint exhibition on, so bright and neon and full of geometrical shapes and patterns, which seemed like such a contrast to the dark and brooding world Emily Carr sometimes painted, but it was still her trees that I found the dreamiest.

After visiting the gallery, we headed for Stanley Park, to see the Hollow Tree, which is mentioned in City of Glass: "Vancouver is perhaps the only city in the world where criminals might strap moose antlers to the hood of a stolen car and park it inside a 1,500-year-old hollow tree."

That was the day, I also ate a latke in Desert and then saw the play of Life After God.
Life After God
Life After God
I stare at t-shirts with "4 8 15 16 23 42" written on them and then step over cables used for filming Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and wonder just what kind of made-up world I am now living in.

Steam rises from the drains and I keep thinking the pavements are on fire.

I repeat the words "SeaBus" and "SkyTrain" to myself as if they were an incantation. Many people travelling by SeaBus and SkyTrain seem to be carrying snowboards.
It was 4 a.m. and less than 24 hours before, I had booked a flight to Vancouver. I ate Daffy Duck raspberry jelly for breakfast, out of a star-shaped mould that once belonged to my grandmother. I then stumbled around my flat, gathering items to stuff into a large rucksack, unsure of what was needed. I packed Douglas Coupland's City of Glass, print-outs with the addresses of goth clubs, my half-written NaNoWriMo novel, not enough jumpers, and eventually, sushi at the airport.

In Amsterdam, between flights, I bought postcards of tulips and prostitutes and sent text messages to friends and relatives detailing my current location. My black jeans became sticky with someone else's chewing gum.

I watched My Gym Partner's A Monkey and consumed more jelly on the plane. As it flew across Canada, towards Fort St John, I looked out the window and saw a landscape that looked entirely lunar. I wondered if I was flying to another planet and what was actually there on the ground beneath me. On the in-flight radio, space exploration was mentioned.

As the plane began to descend and Vancouver came into sight, the sun began to set and the snow-covered mountains, skyscrapers, sea and clouds looked dreamy, so dreamy, glowing with shades of pink and blue.

Before I was allowed to enter Canada, immigration officers asked me to name what Douglas Coupland books I had read, amongst so many other questions that made me feel scared about travelling alone.

Eventually, I found [livejournal.com profile] ellescriba, [livejournal.com profile] bickichick, [livejournal.com profile] wrldtravlr2, [livejournal.com profile] elzbthpdx, Erin and Darlene, and we drank cocktails at Cloud 9, the rotating restaurant on the top of the Empire Landmark Hotel, where I felt giddy viewing the skyscrapers, that were lit up brightly in front of me.

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