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Hemlock B. Bootsalotta

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NaDruWriNi 2018: Prologue [Nov. 4th, 2017|08:05 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta

I have like four things I am working on right now and I don't really feel like doing any work on any of them. So I may noodle here for a bit instead.

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i know my kingdom awaits and they've forgiven my mistakes [Oct. 27th, 2017|05:53 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
[Tags|, ]
[mood |working on my zen]

Almost home going time!

It took me over an hour and a half to get home last night. Keep in mind that this is less than 10 km. And I travel at non-peak time, because getting on my bus before 9 AM is an exercise in, "I wonder if this one will have room."

Part of the problem is that it's construction season[1] in Toronto. I should be used to this after so many years of living in the city, but it never ceases to be a pain. This year they are building some kind of transit building right on my route to work (A new station maybe? For the Eglington line?) and of course Dufferin is always being repaired because it's one of the busiest routes in the city and it's always torn to garbage. Cycling on it is a complete shitshow.

Torontoist published an article a few months ago (that I can't find now, of course) talking about how the city keeps giving contracts to companies that repeatedly screw up the work. Road re-pavings are supposed to last for five years, anybody who drives here knows a city street barely makes it through one-freeze thaw cycle. There are companies that fuck up so badly they get fined for it and yet they still get the work year after year. Because they submit the lowest bid and that is the sole criteria the city is allowed to use when awarding contracts.

It's a ridiculous situation - it probably ends up costing twice as much and it explains why we have to deal with massive construction delays in the exact same spots every single summer. But I can't really see where the current setup provides much impetus to change. Why would a city councilor push to spend money during their own tenure when you know some idiot like one of the Ford brothers is going to come in afterwards and just coast on the work their predecessor invested?

On the plus side, I'm working overtime for the next little while. Getting home is a lot faster when everybody else is already home from work.

Oh shit, wait... You know what else is coming?

Christmas shopping traffic.


[1]Construction season, of course, runs right up to the start of weather season. Some years they overlap.

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"proud" can also mean "infected" [Oct. 23rd, 2017|03:57 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
[Tags|, ]

A lot of people who live in Toronto don't remember the days when we suffered from a bad Nazi infestation. They hear about these assholes on the news and they think these people are a small vocal minority that nobody takes seriously and yeah sure, they start out that way. They started out that way in the 80s. Probably in the 30s too.

So what with the rise in neo-nazis and alt-right all over the western world, we've had another local outbreak and they've been holding rallys at City Hall. In the interest of keeping them a small vocal minority and not something worse, some of the local folks have been holding counter-rallys. I finally managed to drag myself out of the house and attend one this weekend.

There were maybe 30 of them? It was kind of hard to get a head-count because they were boxed inside a wall of bicycle cops the whole time[1]. It was a weird mix. Mostly they looked to be Soldiers of Odin (most of whom showed up late, apparently they took the bus in from Peterborough) and some Proud Boys. There were also a cluster of evangelical Christians who were there because gays. And a couple of middle-aged suburban housewives of the type who get the vapours when they see a hijab.

The cops pretty much kept the two groups seperated but didn't stop people from arguing across the barrier. Mostly it was an effort to drown them out, although as the day dragged on that got harder. I now fully appreciate the value of of the air horns and vuvuzelas that some people brought, they are a lot easier on the throat. On the plus side they didn't get to march unless you count crossing the square inside a wall of police.

Of course the press was there and of course they interviewed both sides and of course they printed the Nazi's explanation they they were just there to protest Trudeau's economic policies without any caveats. At least the photo on the CBC website actually showed some of the white supremacist flags.

Favourite moment: One of the bicycle cops had a Punisher water bottle. I pointed it out to Axe and he in turn tried to point it out to one of the press cameras. She saw him though, and hid it.

Second favourite moment: The Japanese tourists taking selfies in front of the line of mounted riot cops.

[1] There were easily more cops than protesters.

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NaDruWriNi 2017 [Oct. 22nd, 2017|05:09 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta

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14 degrees west [Oct. 13th, 2017|10:19 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
[Tags|, ]
[mood |i have become unstuck in time]

I am supposed to be in New Brunswick right now. Porter cancelled our flight, apparently because they had a sick pilot who called in at the last minute. However, they still issued us boarding passes, and we didn't get told the flight was cancelled until we tried to go through security. BC returned to the check-in desk to find out what was going on, and during that time they continued to issue boarding passes people who then discovered that they had no plane mid-taking their shoes off.

This is my second Porter experience and the second time they have been not so on the ball. I gotta say I'm not so impressed.

Also, you know how I said I had an anxiety dream about a week ago that featured me forgetting my passport? Guess what I forgot to pack. I didn't actually need it for a domestic flight, but still.

So instead we went out to dinner. And I'll spend my weekend writing and drinking beer instead of eating seafood and looking at lighthouses. I'm sure D is disappointed not to have the house to himself for the weekend, I fully expected him to have adopted four more cats by the time I got home.

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there's only one bullet so don't delay [Oct. 11th, 2017|06:53 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
[mood |filling the tank]

I am ON VACATION. And I say unto you, it is a glorious thing.

I made a promise to myself and everybody else who lives in my house that I was Not Doing Useful Shit this week. I normally have a project of some kind when I'm on vacation, taking advantage of the fact that I'm home to do something around the house that has been needing to get done for Chronos only know how long. Last month it was patching up the stairs, previous times it has been doing shit like going through storage bins or painting or organizing contractors. I always go back to work feeling like I didn't actually get a break.

So this week I said fuck that. Work has been kicking my ass, I think I can use an actual real life not-doing-any-work break from all that.

So I've been hanging around the house all week. Occasionally writing. Occasionally exercising. Mostly playing video games. It's awesome, but it's also really weird. I constantly feel like there is something I'm supposed to be doing that I am neglecting and it's all going to come back and bite me on the ass and I have to keep reminding myself that no, you planned it this way.

How messed up is it that I have to talk myself off the ledge because I'm trying to actually, you know, relax?

I obviously need to do this more often.

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stress dreams because why not [Oct. 5th, 2017|08:08 am]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
[Tags|, ]

I had a conversation with BC on Tuesday about plans for a trip we are taking together a couple of weekends from now.

So of course last night I was at the airport and unable to find my passport. I finally located my NEXUS card in time to get on the plane, but then when we arrived at the hotel I discovered my suitcase was still stuffed full of the dirty laundry left over from the last time we traveled together.

I want to know what the hell my brain is trying to do to me here.

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stairway to haven [Oct. 2nd, 2017|04:38 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
[mood |coughing up cement dust]

One of the big things that worries me about our current state of brokeness is figuring out what house repairs can be deferred until we have some money to spend on them. Our front porch, for example, is showing some pretty serious wear lately and really needs to be replaced.

It's not just the age of thing, it really wasn't built very well in the first place. The front steps have never been up to code. There should be an extra step at the bottom, and whoever put them in cheaped out by putting a short riser underneat the bottom step instead. So that first step is really tall and people keep tripping over it. The porch itself is made out of poured concrete and when you stand in the cold room underneath you can see how it's starting to sag, because the frame is either rusted out or was never adequate to support all that weight. The whole thing needs to be ripped out and replaced.

But that's not an option right now. So we need to keep it holding together long enough that it will last until we have the budget to get it rebuilt.

I had a week off work in September, so I decided I was going to use it to fix the steps. They had developed a thick crack that ran down each step a couple of inches from one side and since the steps themselves are basically hollow rectangles filled with sand, they were threatening to split all the way and just fall into two pieces. Big chunks of concrete had also fallen off the faces of a couple of them and the sand was constantly weeping out. Fixing it took a couple of days of filling in parts of the gaps, letting it dry and then building it up with another layer. I mixed up cement until it was the consistency of thick putty and wedged it into the widest gaps, using it as a base to fill the holes with chunks of rock and brick and then slapping more cement on top to smooth it out.

This weekend it was time to do the porch. The frame has rusted away and there are big holes where the flaking metal has caused the surrounding concrete to just collapse and fall apart. The face of concrete slab has also crumbled away, and When Axel was cleaning it the lintel over the basement door snapped off into a couple of long slabs of solid rust.

We scavenged some rebar from the stretcher we used for the pig roasts and it fit perfectly into the hole above the door. We filled in all the gaps with spray foam and then I covered bits and pieces of it in more cement.

I'll be honest, it looks like shit. I have never worked with cement before so I was pretty much figuring it out as I went. A professional would have built a frame to support the face so that it could be squared properly, we didn't want to spend the money on the wood so we wedged a slab of tile in front of it and braced it in place with stacks of loose bricks. The cement is lumpy and patchy and I didn't even try to cover up the bright blue foam sticking out from underneath the first step.

But the most worrying holes are now sealed and it will keep any progressive damage at bay through the next freeze-thaw cycle. Which was essentially my goal.

Then last night I had a very long and very detailed dream about the existing renos falling apart, complete with collapsing stairs when I attempted to climb to the second floor and the drywall just folding itself gracefully into dust all over the house.

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coming up for air [Sep. 26th, 2017|02:22 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
[Current Location |the salt mines]
[mood |re-emerging]

the cats have melted

There are melted cats all over my house.

It is unreasonably hot in Toronto right now. Like, posted warnings and opening cooling centres for homeless people levels of hot, the kind of shit that normally happens in July. It's almost October. A couple of weeks ago I'd mentioned to Axel that this had been a really good summer for me in terms of being able to breathe - it rained almost every day, which was really effective at keeping all the crap out of the air that triggers my asthma. Not so much the past two weeks. I was downtown on Friday and I couldn't stop gasping.

The brainmeats have been a major shitshow for the last couple of months. I think Axel's accident was just the the last straw of extra worry and stress that just slid me off the edge. I think I'm starting to recover now, finally. I feel like I can look around and I'm starting to see the edges instead of just infinite black hole.

When things got really ugly I always have the internal debate about whether or not to go back on the meds. I don't know that they caused the vestibular damage. But I also don't know that they didn't, and given how debilitating the nerve damage has been it seems like just too much of a risk to take. Even if it means I spend a lot of my time feeling like shit.

On the plus side of things, work has been going really shockingly well. So at least I am a high-functioning chronically depressed person.

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chaotic evil [Sep. 6th, 2017|02:24 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta

BC woke me up this morning by singing this at me.

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