Exploring

Having spent four lovely days in the warm and fuzzy embrace of Toronto, I’m now exploring Kitchener-Waterloo. I spent a few hours here several years ago, and I decided I would come back for a couple of days at some point. That point has arrived.

A few initial impressions that I may or may not expand on later:

  • It seems a lot more like American cities here. It’s very sprawling, and there’s not the grid that you see in Toronto, Ottawa, or Montréal. Development patterns just look a lot more like a small- or mid-sized American city. (EDIT: Speech recognition added a “good” to that last sentence that didn’t belong there.)
  • It also seems a lot more white and Anglo (and Germanic) here. A quick glance at the areas demographics on Wikipedia confirms this suspicion.
  • I wonder how people here react to the fact that most of their broadcast media (TV at least) is based in Toronto, and that there’s nothing really local. I guess there never has been, so they probably don’t notice the difference. That said, this would be a pretty decent sized market in the US. (EDIT: There are apparently local stations here but they were not on my hotel cable.)
  • They do have their own newspaper, though, and like most Canadian papers, it seems a trifle healthier than most American papers.
  • I really love the converted shopping center on University Avenue that’s become sort of a big international food court. I ate there last time I was here and returns tonight as well.
  • I also love my room, and I’m reconsidering whether I want to leave.
  • Canadian public libraries rock the universe.

A fifth of October

Today is my alma mater’s 125th birthday.

It’s also the 25th anniversary of the day I took up residence in San Francisco. In another couple of months, I will also hit the point where I’ve been back on the East Coast as long as I was in California.

Time flies when you’re having fun.

And sometimes even when you’re not.

Fortunately there’s been much more of the former than the latter over the years.

Pigs and pumpkins

I went to the fair for the first time since 2010. We saw the giant pumpkins and the pigs and the assorted cakes that were already past their prime and starting to look a little worse for the wear. We marveled at the “most effective use of a gourd” winner. Many of the youngsters’ art projects had a very encouraging urban feel to them. I made wry comments as we walked past the Republican party booth and the “right to life” booth (which was, of course, staffed only by men) and I had Methodist hot dogs and cobbler. I somehow too no pictures. My “date” won a ribbon for a dress she made. It was nice.

Canada Saturday for the annual Thanksgiving trip. There may or may not be updates from the road here and/or on the various Twitter accounts.

That’s 16 in prime number years…

Celebrating Rosanna Arquette’s birthday in St. Catherines, Ontario.

Revelations upon hitting age 53 that I forgot to post last month on Rosanna Arquette’s birthday:

  • At some point in the aging process, your beard gets grey enough that neglecting to shave no longer makes you look sexy and scruffy–assuming it ever did to begin with. It just makes it look like you forgot to wash your face that morning.
  • How do people live without obsessions hobbies to take over their lives keep them busy.
  • Just like giving up smoking and leaving San Francisco, getting rid of cable is a decision I have never once regretted.
  • Travel is a much more enjoyable vice than bar- or bed-hopping. I know from experience that it is possible to combine all three, but I would opt for doing the former (and doing it alone) if I had to choose.
  • I enjoy many of the perks of being middle class, though I haven’t necessarily absorbed all the values.
  • Life is a lot more fun when you concentrate on things and people you like rather than on things and people you don’t.

Still a little numb

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I lost a very close friend this week. it was sudden, it was unexpected, and it fucking sucks.

Dan Cherubin and I officially “met” on 26 June 2000 via email, as was the custom at the time:

My old roomie has been pestering me about your page for a bit. She said she’d give up her dyke-ness for you and that you and I were oddly similar. (Which makes me wonder what she was thinking about when she & I lived together…)

So, I have been meandering about your pages and there’s definitely some coincidence, though I think my pal was hoping we’d become eternal fuck buddies and invite her along on our misadventures as we tour the country and solve crime and help the with-it kids.

You can check out my webpage. There are assorted rants on various pages.

Pretty much from the very first minute it was like we’d known each other forever.

I realized pretty quickly that we had already crossed paths before on a queer punk mailing list I’d subscribed to for several years. Over the next few years, we corresponded regularly (daily at some points) and became quite good friends. Dan had a sense of humor and snark that mirrored my own, but he somehow always seemed nicer and less misanthropic about it all than I was (although he would have denied that). It was all but impossible not to love him. we probably should have had a torrid affair at some point, but that would have ruined everything, so I’m glad we didn’t.

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We stayed in touch over the years–sometimes more successfully than others–through failed marriages for both of us, and through graduate school for me. Oh yeah. Did I mention that Dan was a librarian? A very well-regarded librarian? And (on occasion) a queer ska librarian? Well..he was all of these things. And he was probably more responsible than anyone for the fact that I’m now a librarian as well.

He was also a musician, an amazing cook, a tireless activist, and a lifelong learner beyond compare. Just for the record.

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Anyway, we finally met in person in San Francisco in 2005, and then way too few times after that, though in recent years, I had visited him (and eventually his new partner) in New York on several occasions where we ate terrifically unhealthy food and visited bookstores upon bookstores, not to mention the occasional supermarket. Despite the fact that we were only ever in the same physical space maybe four or five times over seventeen years, I thought of Dan as one of my closest friends, especially in more recent years. Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard we were, in some perverse staging of The Mothers-in-Law (inside joke).

Dan had surgery to remove a malignant tumor about a month ago. He seemed to be doing pretty well at first and I was quite certain he would wind up cancer-free. I’m still pretty sure he would have. But that didn’t mean he was immune to a complicating infection that put him back in the hospital early this week and deprived me of one of my favorite people on the planet two days later. I don’t think anyone saw it coming.

I’m pissed off and sad and having a lot of trouble with this, as are all of Dan’s many, many friends. seriously, it seems like everybody in the fucking universe loved him.

This sucks.

 

Hi, honey. I’m home!

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Yes, I realize you probably didn’t know I was gone, but I’ve been to Albany/Schenectady, Rochester, and Buffalo (not to mention cameo appearances in Cleveland, Erie, Niagara Falls, St Catharine’s and even my very first sleepover in Delaware). And I’m older now, too!

Pictures and details to follow.

Regrets, I’ve had a few (but these are not among them)

They say you only regret the things you don’t do. That may be true up to a point (who am I to argue with “they”, after all?) but there are some things I’ve never done that I don’t regret at all. It’s good to try new things, but there are some new things I can pretty much determine with no ambiguity whatsoever that I won’t ever enjoy doing (and never would have).

For example:

  • Cocaine
  • Camping out
  • Going to the prom
  • Watching reality shows
  • Hunting and/or fishing
  • Playing little league
  • Living in Florida
  • Voting for a Republican presidential candidate
  • Going to the ballet or the opera
  • Reading Atlas Shrugged
  • Karaoke

Nothing really wrong with most of these things, per se. I just know they’re not my cup of tea, and don’t feel the need to waste time on them.

So what’s on your list?

Charleston revisited

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I’ve been threatening to make another roadtrip to Charleston for several years now. This weekend, accompanied by my new car, I did it. Frankly, it hadn’t changed all that much since 2008.

But I took pretty pictures!