Thursday, 8 March 2012

My Dirty Little Secret...

When I was a kid, I was a total tom-boy. Before I was in about grade 9, that is. Then something in me did a bit of a flip and I started actually caring about girly stuff, like boys and how I dressed and make-up and those sort of things. But before that it was all catching frogs in swamps, hiking up the hills, making bows and poisoned tipped arrows (yes, I mashed up berries I knew were poisonous and smeared it all over the arrows I made. I never actually hit anything with them though). It was all about the game - sure, some of the games were Sailor Moon or Witches or whatever, which might be construed as girly, but most of the games were Vampires and Snow Dragons and fighting the forces of evil in the name of good. Because that was more fun.

I would have in those days rather played football and tackled the boys then try to make them date me.

Then, I grew up and it became uncool to be a tom boy. And I started to care what people thought of me, which for someone who always felt on the outside was an entirely new concept. Most people thought I was weird and different, and I revelled in that when I was a kid. I wanted to be like the Great Gonzo - the unique, quirky, individual. I didn't want to be a Miss Piggy, that's for sure.

And even when I started to care about those kinds of things, when I started to care about my appearance and all that, I still did it in my own unique way. I preferred Hot Topic to Abercrombie,  and I wouldn't be caught dead in Tommy Hilfiger or Adidas. I was more interested in goth style, corsets and jeans, black make-up and blue hair. My fashion icons were more Agyness Deyn, Betsey Johnson and Vivienne Westwood rather than Cindy Crawford, Carolina Herrera or Ralph Lauren. I just couldn't fall into the full on girly girl mold.

It was kind of funny, when I began to develop an interest in fashion, runway and couture, I felt like I had to hide it. I had a lot of male friends, more so than female, and even my female friends were kind of the Daria-esque women's lib kind of girls who I thought wouldn't understand or appreciate my interest in fashion. The fashion industry in itself was a no-no, a whole cultural phenomenon that was there to oppress women and cause horrible body image and would lead to bulimia, anorexia or worse. The fashion industry was a girl killer.

So for years I felt like I had to keep my love of clothing and design a secret. Shh! Don't TELL!

And then I grew up, and it was okay to like fashion, to admit I have a subscription to Elle and Marie Claire. It was okay to tell people that I wanted to be fashion designer, that I aspired to be like my idols, Betsey and Vivienne.

But there was always one secret I kept from everyone. A dirty little secret that even in my days of not wanting people to know I was girly I kept from them. Because this wasn't something that anyone thought was cool, and I would have been mocked mercilessly.

I was addicted to sport fishing TV shows.

I realised it when having a conversation about how some kids would rush home so they wouldn't miss their shows - when I was in school it was mostly kids rushing home to catch the programming on YTV: The Zone with Phil and Snit. Everyone watched Digimon, or whatever. I didn't rush home to watch those shows, I rushed home to catch the British Columbia sport fishing show on OLN. And when my parents got home, I quickly switched the channel to more appropriate programming, like anything on Teletoon. Sport fishing was as taboo as porno.

I didn't want anyone to know I was watching fishing shows, and how much I loved the idea of sport fishing.

Recently I've been watching River Monsters on Netflix - because I can, dammit. And because I enjoy it. Okay, he sensationalises a lot and the host comes off as a bit of a d-bag. But I kind of feel anyone who calls what they do an extreme sport (he calls himself an extreme fisherman on the show) is going to be kind of a d-bag. It's not the most scientific of Discovery Channel shows, he has a bit of a tendency to over dramatize, and kind of wash over facts, but I still love watching him. Why? Because probably 80% of the show is actually watching him fish, hearing him talk about different fishing techniques, showing you how to tie on live bait and talking about rigging, tackle, and lures.

And damn do I love fishing.

I've never caught anything larger than probably approximately 3 lbs, and I mostly like to catch and release because I'm not the biggest fan of the flavour of the fish you can catch in BC (trout and carp are mostly what I've caught around here). But what a rush even that is! Fishing is the most relaxing thing, sitting in a boat drinking a beer and gnawing on some pepperoni or jerky while you sing fishing songs...

Fishing songs. This is a family tradition now, where we sit in the boat and rewrite existing songs to be about fishing. Like filking or spoofing, we take the lyrics and change them out to be about fishing.

Like a sturgeon! Ooh, caught for the very first time! Like a stur-ur-urgeon, fighting on my line!

I know, that's probably why I don't catch a lot of fish being as they are sensitive to sounds and vibrations, but it does make it a lot more fun.

Anyway, that's my secret. I love to fish, and I love watching fishing shows. I have no problems catching, gutting and scaling the things, frying them up and eating them. There's something to be said of the kind of hobbies that can also provide for you on a basic level. I could never hunt, I have too much of a soft heart for mammals. But I can fish, because fish are probably the most violent creatures on this planet, if you really think about it. They are simplified killing machines, evolving in an arms race to be the better eaters. That's all they do, swim to eat to live and breed so more fish can swim and eat. So why not thin the crowd, cull the heard, catch the fish and join in?

I think I'm going to watch some fishing shows while I sew some stuff up this afternoon. And I cannot wait to get my line in the water this year, I did way too little fishing last summer and I really want to make up for it this year.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


So I had an interview yesterday to work at a local garden centre - starting part time, leading to full time during spring and the busy season. Today they called me back, my first shift is on Sunday! The only downside is it's likely I'll be laid off again in the fall. But I'm okay with that, I might be able to work some plans around that and besides, if they like me enough maybe they'll hire me back in the spring again or something. And I'll still have time to work on Loveless Arachne!

I'm still happy I found a job! And doing something I'm really interested in!

Speaking of gardening, I have been thinking ever since we moved into the new place last summer about gardening here this spring. I don't have a lot of space for a garden - there's a tiny little plot in the back that has a few flowers in it and the plot in the front that also has flowers. So I thought maybe I would make some raised planters and do some veggie gardening there and fill the other two plots with edible flowers!

My goal is to have an herb garden on the patio, and perhaps some snow peas up there too. And in the back yard I want a few, maybe three, planters with some veggies in them. But seeing as my back yard is north facing and doesn't get much direct sunlight AND there's a large tree in the back as well as shade from buildings I may have to rethink some of my gardening plans. There's a lot of dappled light, so I know the peas will be fine on the patio and so will the herbs. And besides, if I have to move the herbs to the front for a few hours a day I think I'm okay with that. I also want to try doing a hanging grape tomato plant that I can keep in the front where it gets a lot of sun all day long (south facing and all). I also want a strawberry plant this year, I love fresh strawberries.

So right now I'm thinking I will do spinach or chard  and probably lettuce for sure because I know they grow all right in shady areas around here. Because where I live is semi-arid desert, I know some plants that normally would like full sun might get a bit of a respite with some shade. They tell me (and by they I mean the online sources I've found through Google) that carrots and root veggies grow okay in some shade, but I've never grown carrots or beets in a planter before. I might give it a shot this year, and see how they turn out. I also want to try shallots or scallions. I was also considering trying a potato bucket and seeing how well they can grow around here, but I think potatoes need more sun that my back yard gets to grow to a decent size unless I want baby taters - which I do prefer but Mr. C doesn't. Mr. C wants me to plant spicey peppers or jalapeƱos but they definitely need more sun than my back yard can provide.

When I was a kid growing up my mom kept a really plentiful veggie garden, and I would love to just sit outside in the rain and eat snow peas and baby carrots straight from the garden. In the rain was best, because I'd just let the sky wash the dirt off for me. She grows zucchini and tomatoes every year with great success, but she has much less shade than I do and her garden is south facing. Still, her zucchini's are huge, sometimes they come out the length of my arm and I can only just get my hands around them.

There are a lot of things I love about vegetable gardening, I've always been way better at it than flower gardens but I do love keeping flowers as well. This year I really want edible flowers though, like violets and hollyhocks. I don't know if I will actually play with cooking with them or not, but making it an option means I'll probably pay more attention to the plants.

The best part about this plan? How much money a person can save by growing their own vegetables and food. Not only are you getting quality produce, but you also know exactly what measures of pest control and fertilizers were used. In my case I like to use the discarded water from my fish tanks to fertilize my veggies - it works great and there's little to no need for any chemical fertilizers with that amount of fish fertilizer being added.

There is so much pride I take in gardening and being able to provide for myself. I'm so looking forward to planting season this year!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Longwindedness ...

Okay, I'm about to get long winded here...  so bear with me.

I didn't think myself for or against this teachers going on strike bill 22 business because I don't have kids in school. I'm not going to school, and rarely do I think about it at all. But right now, I am thinking about it. I'm thinking about how hard it was when I was in highschool for me to give a shit. Why? Well, I was always a pretty decent student when I was younger, but for some reason, I felt ignored. I thought that there was something wrong with me, that I was invisible unless I was acting completely crazy like how I saw most everyone else who was getting the attention. I'd refuse to talk in class, make up BS to get noticed, you know  - the usual stuff. It wasn't until I started doing poorly in class that I felt noticed. So I stopped trying to keep an A average - because what did it matter anyway? One month in grade 11 I think I skipped every second day. Not every second class, every second day. I still managed to keep my grades at about B (or perhaps more accurately a high C) average, but I didn't stay on honour roll, that's for sure. By the time I was in grade 12, I'd had enough and looked for every option to get myself out of the school environment. I did not feel I was receiving any sort of education there. I'd go in and barely listen to the teachers while other students acted, as I saw it, insane because they hated being there so much. I'd read the textbooks but never do my homework unless the assignment seemed like I could make it fun. But because I did want to learn I always tested well. There were a lot of students that I saw being disrespectful and rude. One of my favourite teachers had a speech about our highschools mentality that I fully agreed with. So I opted for taking Open Learning (online) courses as a means to get the hell out of there, as fast as possible.

I was an idealist, the kind of kid who earnestly wanted to learn. Learning is to me, and probably always has been, a large portion of my personal meaning of life. I saw the classroom as a place to be respected and enjoyed, but so many of my peers didn't. Maybe they were just all acting out for attention, the way I occasionally did. Even so, it didn't matter to me then. All that mattered, in my childish perspective, was that I get through it - like a trial or an ordeal I was forced to suffer through.

Like so many other people, it was only my social network in school that kept me going after a while. As much as people pissed me off, I had a lot of friends who shared my perspective of others, who shared my interests and hobbies. A lot of friends who felt the same way I did about school and would ditch with me.

Now, looking back with the eyes of an adult, I can see what happened. Why my experience in school was what it was - not awful, but not at all what I had expected it would be. Because although the pretence was that it was about formal education of the kind that teaches us mathematics and sciences, it became the kind of education that teaches a person how to deal with other people, how to be liked and get noticed when you wanted to be and ignored when you needed to be. A social education.

It's no wonder that Social Media is so fucking important in our modern society... I digress.

And my school wasn't as overcrowded as they are now, but they were crowded. Most of my classes had over 30 students - too many for one teacher to properly handle.

Do I believe my education suffered for teachers going on strike while I was in school? No, not really. I was still able to attend classes when they were on strike, if I chose to go and for some reason I liked it better. I got one on one attention because 60% of the students didn't bother to show up. It was refreshing, it was like a whole new way to learn.

Do I believe my education suffered from crowded classrooms and administrative apathy?

Students are failing not because of lazy teachers, or lack of report cards. Good students aren't suffering because their teachers go on strike, they are suffering because they feel like no one cares, that it doesn't matter if they do well. It seems to only matter if they do poorly - because then teachers of overcrowded classrooms have no choice but to make time for them. Really, its because they just can't make time for everyone in a day when the class sizes are so big.

Do I think that, if my school experience had felt more inclusive, less over crowded, that my life would be different today? Yes, I really do.

Or maybe I'd be right where I am now, who's to say?

All I can say is, the teachers right to take action and to stand up for student's rights and their own rights, should not be revoked. I honestly believe that education is the absolute most important thing in every single persons life - how else would we know anything? How would we make informed decisions? We wouldn't, we'd be lost.

--- What inspired me to write this