Tuesday, July 29, 2008

my brother: character sketch

When I was seventeen, I had a drivers license, places to go, and no car of my own. My older brother, on the other hand, had a brand new car sitting in the garage while he took the bus to work. One hot summer day, I needed to run an errand that was an hour's walk away, so I decided to borrow his car without asking him.

I scratched his car, just exiting the garage.

When I returned, I saw that there was a very deep 10 inch long defacement on the shiny silver paint of his passenger door. I felt fear, but mostly I felt remorse...I was a very selfish, bratty sister, and he was going to hate me!

When my brother came home, he saw me crying and asked what was wrong. Between the blubbering, I told him about my wrongdoings. He didn't hate me at all, in fact, he tried to cheer me up!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Art Therapy Session: 1 (bus incident)

Yesterday, I hopped onto the bus and had to stand because all the seats were taken. I started staring out the window and daydreaming as per usual. Suddenly I heard a gruff voice behind me: "GET OUTTA THE *#&@'EN WAY!!!"

It was a very irate man with a very wide bag trying to get to the exit door behind me. After quickly squeezing myself into a small space to let him through, my first reaction was to shrug it off. Obviously the man had some issues unrelated to me, causing him to be so unreasonable.

But then as time passed, I thought 'well, he should have asked politely. I would have moved if I'd known he wanted to pass through'...a few moments later: 'is it me? was I inconsiderate to be so unaware of the needs of the people around me?'. As more time passed, I began to feel a little bit irate about him having personal issues and turning his wrath on me.

I'm beginning to think that bad feelings don't go away, they are conserved like energy in laws of physics...it never disappears, only takes on different forms. I didn't want to thrust this yuckiness onto anyone else, so I quickly sat in a newly vacated seat and drew furiously. This was the most satisfying form of revenge for me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

common sensorship

Sometimes I forget how strange I can be. Once, I went to a bookstore in a mall and saw a fabulous book of Schiele's drawings on sale.
I couldn't wait to gaze upon his artwork - the colours, the textures, the expressiveness of his drawing style...they are sublimely beautiful and reproductions of it were in my little hands!
It was wrong - I know, that I walked through the mall with my eyes locked onto the pages of a book. What made it even more awkward was that Schiele's work is mostly made up of drawings of nude women. Now that I think about it, I rather hope the people around me thought I was strange, instead of depraved.

nature happy

I have a new obsession.

I like lying on grass... in the park, on someone's front yard, anywhere. The other day I was lazing around on a lovely green spread, looking up at crows in the trees, and I really felt at peace with everything around me.

But then I sat up and discovered that I'd just smooshed an entire family of ants.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

screen magic

My yesternight:
At 7:00pm, tired from teaching animation during the day, I reluctantly hopped on the #22 bus to the purple thistle for a filmmaking workshop and screening. I wasn't sure what it would be like, and I didn't think that there was anything they could teach me about film making that I didn't know about already. I hoped that I wouldn't fall asleep at the screening.

I arrived and instantly spotted a handsome looking blue bus, where I was invited in to sit with other filmmakers and animate by drawing directly on film. Then, we headed outside where the two lovely hosts from the Echo Park Film Center unrolled a screen on the side of the bus, pulled out a projector and started showing some beautiful and honest short films, two of which were made in Vancouver - with the filmmakers in attendance! When it got cold, blankets were handed out. In between intermissions, the Bingo Bunny came out to call out numbers and hand out prizes...then filmmakers talked about their work. The night ended with the screening of the animation we worked on earlier in the evening.

There was a grin on my face the entire night, and I was so glad that I went - it's quite a different and wonderful experience to watch a screening when you're in the presence of people who have such a great enthusiasm for film.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

animation is the fountain of youth

This morning, I was tutoring two nine year old girls in animation. They seemed to be enjoying the lesson most of the time and were even eager to get back to their project after their lunch break. The screening of their very cute film was scheduled for the afternoon, programed to play after a feature length documentary. I was fidgety during the post production process because of the tight deadline, but both girls reassured me that the film would be played later than we thought it would. "Why do you say that?" I asked.

"Because, they always talk about films afterwards for a long time." replied one of my students.
"Who's 'they'?" I asked.
"The adults!" she replied, exasperated with me and my dumb questions.

I'm almost two years shy of being thirty. But then, it was just too fun animating at that table with them - I let them think I was nine years old too.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I wanted to print some colour images onto vellum but I wasn't sure where to get this done. If I were to go to a printer, would I have to buy the vellum first, or do they have vellum already there? Should I buy the paper first, and then show up with it? or visit the printers to make sure that they wouldn't reject foreign paper? It was clear to me, and I couldn't avoid it, I had to phone in to ask.

I dreaded every second leading up to the call. I looked up the phone number hoping that the number wasn't available, but it was. Then, sadly, I heard dial tone when I picked up the receiver. I pressed the buttons, the phone rang, then rang again...it rang about five or six times - I imagined two teenagers standing behind the counter having a great chat, rolling their eyes at the ringing phone. Finally someone picked up.

I clumsily blurted something out in my small voice, already turning red from embarrassment by how awkwardly I'd phrased the question. Then, the man answered, he stuttered, he "ummmed" and "errred", and he repeated each answer twice as if he was unsure and wanted to test the answer by hearing it out loud.

When all my questions had been answered, I stuttered and offered many 'thank yous' and he did the same with his "you're welcomes'.

Friday, July 18, 2008

the artful browser

I've gone into this one art supplies store for the third time this week already just to browse.

I don't ever intend to buy anything, I just like to stand there and admire things. First, I loiter about the brushes and the paints, and then after that, the sketchbooks. I feel up the soft bristles, thumb through the watercolour paper, and test out pens on the scrap of paper they leave out for that purpose. The sales people, I think they recognize me, but I am defiant and shameless. I pick things up and leave them elsewhere, I hold on to expensive items for a little bit too long.

Ok, I admit, this story is only half true. I was there one too many times, it's true, but each time I was paranoid about people thinking I was a shady character, so I walked around with my hands conspiciously away from my pockets at all times. And today, embarassed that someone might tag me as the creepy art store browser, I bought a pen.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

bench pressing matters

Lunch is usually a fun and carefree time, especially on a sunny day. I ran outside with my friend to relax in the park where there was a perfectly situated empty bench awaiting us in the shade.

"Lets sit there!", she hops over to the bench first and sits down. I was a few steps behind, and I now assessed the situation: There was an extra arm rest in the center of the bench as well as on both ends. Is this a two person bench? or a four person bench? If I sat in the small space between my friend and the armrest, would I fit? If I chose to sit on the other side of the metal armrest, would there be too much space between us?

I think I made the right choice, I sat between her and the arm rest...that's the right choice, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

mini tennis

Last Friday was a bit hectic for me. Running from one little meeting to another, schlepping my laptop case with me, stopping into stores to run errands and trying to catch buses in between. Then several hours hunched over the wacom tablet trying to finish pre-production work for a self-invoked deadline. Late in the afternoon finally, it was mini tennis time.

Mini tennis explained:
After two tennis lessons, my very patient instructor recommended that I practice my swing by playing mini tennis. Because one only uses a quarter of the entire court, and stays close to the net, they are forced to slow down their movements. This allows one to focus and pay close attention to how each motion one makes, effects where the ball ends up on the other side.

It was a lovely late afternoon, playing mini tennis with my friend. The goal was to volley the ball lightly back and forth as long as we possibly could. We contemplated on the idea of how mini tennis could be a philosophy of life, instead of just a tennis drill. How wonderful it would be if we could decide where to draw our own boundaries and live as slowly and lightly as we feel like.

dave #5776

My phone line wasn't working the entire weekend, and yesterday I went to my phone service provider's homepage to look up their number so that I could call them with my cell phone. I saw this online customer service option and thought that it would be a good idea to try it instead of phoning in and talking to a representative with my 12 year old sounding voice. But somehow even without my "ums" and "ers", it was a more awkward experience than it would have been on the phone. The conversation went a little like this:

dave #5776: Thank you for choosing -----, I will try to help you with your technical issue.
[30 seconds pass, I'm thinking that I should type something to let him know that I'm here]
Elisa: Oh, thank you
dave #5776: I just want to verify your address to make sure I'm looking at the right account here.
Elisa: Sure, its 5555 blah blah street
dave #5776: Thank you
[2 minutes later, he still hadn't typed anything new, has he fallen asleep? Did he get up to grab a coffee? Should I say "you're welcome"?]
dave #5776: Ok, can you take a look at your phone modem and tell me how many lights are on?
Elisa: What exactly does my phone modem look like?
[after 1 minute, I can never be sure but I think he sounded a little terse with his reply]
dave #5776: It's a black box with lights
[that sounds like a lot of things in my house, but I got up from my computer to search, this took 2 minutes and I was getting increasingly worried that Dave #5776 would think that I'd given up on his help]
Elisa: I found it!
dave #5776: Great, how many lights are on?
Elisa: Oh right, five lights and two that are blinking.
dave #5776: That sounds alright to me. Can you try plugging the phone in directly to the modem?
Elisa: Ok, I did it.
dave #5776: Did you hear the phone ring?
Elisa: No, I didn't. And there is still no dial tone.
dave #5776: Did you plug in a cordless, or a corded phone?
Elisa: A cordless, is that OK?
dave #5776: Yes, just make sure the battery is charged.
Elisa: Yes it is...should I try plugging in a corded phone anyways?
dave #5776: No, it should work if the battery is charged.
[I just wanted to be helpful, but three minutes after this last message I began to wonder if I'd pissed him off with my presumption]

Then the phone rings and it's not Dave calling, it's Rob who is helping Dave with my technical issue. I muttered a "oh, yeah, thanks, bye." And hung up.

dave #5776: Looks like that went well.
[too wierd, too wierd! how does he know? why did he have to ask Rob to phone? Where the heck is he? Maybe he's not even a tech person at all, just a super fast typer with good instant messaging manners - he's got another window open for writing to Rob, the actual tech person, and he's got Judge Judy on the TV, he writes his messages to me during commercial breaks.]
Elisa: Yeah, thanks for your help!
[2 minutes pass, unsure about what to do, I closed the window.]

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hotel Experience: Bella Coola - part 4 (the end)

I was somehow able to hold in all my distress through most of the next day. But then over my pork cutlet dinner, I blurted out to my friends, "Uh...I think there's a ghost in my room!".

They looked at me, and they were all wonderfully calm. We shared ghostly experiences and talked about why the ghost would want to hang out in my room. Maybe the ghost was musing on why I was hanging out in his or her room at that same exact moment.

I went back upstairs, poked my head into the bathroom and introduced myself to the general direction of the sink. Then I gave a light lecture on water conservation, though I added reassuringly that I was actually quite amused by all the trick playing. Finally I respectfully requested that the ghost make her or himself comfortable at anytime in the room, except while I was sleeping.

The tap never turned on by itself after that! And the ghost was great company, we watched many a bad TV show together that week.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hotel Experience: Bella Coola - part 3

The next morning, I awoke to see the room saturated with cheerful daylight. I thought to myself that surely nothing sinister could ever happen in a room such as this! I whistled a happy tune and prepared for the day, brushing my teeth, washing my face - conscious of turning the tap off after every use.

When night came, I became a bit anxious about being in the room by myself all night. Luckily, I was invited to my friend's room for a nice chat and some television viewing, so I took a quick shower and scuttled across the hall in my pink pyjamas. When I returned two hours later, I heard a familiar sound. Was it what I thought it was?

Indeed it was - this time, the faucet in the bathtub was running at it's fullest.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hotel Experience: Bella Coola - part 2

What a wonderful state I was in, sleeping off my exhaustion - when suddenly I woke up. I looked over at the clock, it was 2 am. I turned over and closed my eyes, but the sleep wouldn't come. I adjusted the pillows, pulled the sheets up to my chin, wiggled my toes, but still felt that I wasn't situated right...I just couldn't go back to sleep!

In my grogginess, I tried to concentrate and troubleshoot, it wasn't the temperature, that was fine. It wasn't the lighting, it was sufficiently dark in the room. Ah ha, it was a very loud constant noise!

I tried to tune it out, but after 20 minutes of trying not to think of the noise and hence doing nothing but think of the noise, I decided to investigate where it was coming from. I peeped into the bathroom to find the faucet turned on full blast. Had I forgotten to turn it off in my fatigued state? How was I able to fall asleep listening to it run like that?! HAS it been on this entire time? But if it hadn't, who turned it on?! eek!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hotel Experience: Bella Coola - part 1

The year before last, I went to Bella Coola for the first time.

This was my wacky transit experience:

I cabbed two hours early to the airport where I was finally let onto a wee little plane that was forced to land at the Anaheim Lake airport because it was simply too snowy to land at the intended destination, Hagensborg. From there I would have had to ride a little school bus for more than 3 hours down an icy, windy road except that one of the passengers on the plane was a pilot who offered me and two others a ride in a helicopter. This mode of transport would take only 1.5 hours to get the Hagensborg but then it would involve a different kind of danger. I took the ride but fretted all the way to Bella Coola about the cargo that I couldn't bring with me on the helicopter. Finally at Hagensborg, a very nice woman from the hotel came to pick me up, but the cargo was on the bus that would arive two hours later - would they go back and retrieve it for me? What was I to do?!
When I got to my hotel room, I passed out immediately on my comfortable bed - exhausted from all the worrying of the day.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

subliminal crime fighting

When I sleep through my radio alarm clock, I often have very strange dreams featuring things that I hear on the radio. Having subconsciously heard a newscast about the mysterious demise of a Canadian woman in China today, I dreamed that I was wandering the streets of Shanghai trying to investigate what happened without knowing where I was or even where to start. I walked down two blocks and said "A HA!" Then I woke up and forgot what my revelation was.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

bus dilemna

After waking up later than I had wanted, I hastily made my way to the bus stop near my house. One block away from it, the bus swept by me and stopped to let some passengers out.
What to do?! Should I run for it? How many people were getting out? Did the driver see me? These heavy questions slowed me down as I neared the bus - before I reached it, it pulled away.

Well, sometimes when you feel shafted, the only thing you can do is pretend to yourself that you didn't really want what you did anyways. I shrugged and walked down further in hopes to catch another bus, but then the traffic light changed in my favour and the same bus stopped again in front of me at the next bus stop! This time it was a short distance to run and I caught it without looking too much like a fool.

Catching the bus you intended to take is the most wonderful miracle of all.


Friday night, my friend asked me over to bake with her but somehow, I never made it there to help her. She toiled all night to make cupcakes and a yogurt pineapple cake.

Saturday I woke up and decided that it would be nice of me to visit her just to see how she did with the baking. The desserts were delicious, the cupcakes were delightfully fluffy and the cake was drool worthy.

This whole situation was like the little red hen story except with a different ending! The lazy animal reaped the rewards! This is a terrible story to tell children, I'll have to make up for this and be more helpful next time.

Friday, July 4, 2008

chocolate pudding cake

Tonight I had a most delightful time. A delicious homemade Tonkatsu dinner followed by a walk to this dessert place called Sweet Revenge. I ordered a chocolate pudding cake and got to taste my friends' white chocolate cheesecake and chocolate mousse cake. With good company and the sensation of being in the right place in the right moment, I felt like I was a plate of heavenly chocolate pudding cake - warm and gooey.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

bodyless bliss

Last week's issue of the New Yorker had an article called "The Itch" about persistent itching and how our brains and bodies work - actually it's more like how our brains and bodies seem to work against us! I was so engrossed in this truly horrific account of one woman's chronically itchy scalp experience that I even forgot to read the cartoons printed beside the article!

I'm a bit distressed from reading about how much grief one's body could cause a person. This is my idea perfection - we're all floating fields of happy colours, there is no need to see a doctor ever.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hotel Experience: Teslin - part 4 (the end)

The sweat soaked bed I lay on was situated right by the window, save for the little gap between where the heat vent ceaselessly blew out hot air. I opened the window for some relief but when a breeze finally found its way into the room it was more like steam being forced out of a boiling kettle.

I think I was on fire!

The things people do in desperation - at 4 am I took a cold shower but relief was shortlived.

At 6am, the sun began to rise, I ran out to greet it, vowing to never be warm again.

Hotel Experience: Teslin - part 3

After reading one chapter from my book, it felt a little bit warm, so I threw off my covers and got up to turn the thermostat down to 18 degrees. You never know how cold it might get late in the night after falling asleep.

Half an hour later I wiped the sweat off my forehead and turned the thermostat down to 12 degrees.

By 1:00 am, the thermostat was turned completely off, but it was hotter than a sauna in my room!