>>> Text-Heavy
By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 1 – September 17, 2002

I've been away from my nice warm bed for nearly a month now. Sure, this place is great and all, but I think I'm ready to go home. Who knew that fending for myself was going to be such hard work? I was kind of expecting topless models to cook and clean for me while I surfed the internet for pornography for the next eight months. Turns out it doesn't work that way. Who knew?

Anyway, here's what's happened:

-The plane ride was a joke, and Seattle was a dive. What a freaking cesspool. Also, in case you're ever in the area, The Seattle airport isn't in Seattle. It's not even close. It's in Tacoma (I should really check on these things before I leave). Some guy on the plane gave me a ride into Seattle, and then offered me to stay the night at his house. He was probably a decent guy, but every time I looked at him I thought “Paul Bernardo” so I stayed in a motel instead.

-It costs $75 USD to get from Seattle to Victoria. The boat ride takes an hour and a half and they fit a thousand people on the ferry. Good business. The only alternative is to take a plane that costs even more, or, if you have a car, drive to Port Angeles and take a ferry that costs $6. Maybe it's a coincidence, but that's what it costs for a granola bar and a glass of orange juice on the Seattle ferry. Are you kidding me? I should write them an angry spittle-flecked letter.

-Victoria was nice, but there is absolutely nothing to do here in August. I don't know how these people don't all just die of boredom. Stores close at 4:30pm and the streets are deserted by 6. What the hell is wrong with everyone? That's about the time I start to wake up!

-I went to Vancouver, stayed in a house that looked like Teddy Ruxpin's. It was right by UBC, so I explored the campus there. One night I went downtown and there were these two drunk girls asking me for directions. I don't know anything about Vancouver, but I tried to help them out. They were going to a restaurant to meet some friends (who all went to UBC). They invited me to come with them to a club called the Wild Coyote which (as I learned later) was by the airport). We crammed 7 people into a Mazda 323 and off we went. Later, we went back to the university to one of the girls houses and partied there until 11 the next morning. I'm starting to think I chose the wrong university.

-Make no mistake, Vancouver is a cesspool too. I was walking on East Hastings (where smack meets crack). It was scary. There were homeless people robbing other homeless people, drug dealers selling pot to hookers in exchange for “company”, and every second store offered “Live Sex Shows: $0.25”. Also, you can get a slice of pizza for 99 cents with tax, but I don't see why you'd want to. First of all, it's probably poison. Second, that's almost 4 live sex shows.

-Vancouver has, apparently, the second biggest Chinatown in the world (except, I guess, China). First is San Francisco. The thing is, I was walking through Chinatown and couldn't tell the difference. Sure, all the signs were in Mandarin, but that's the same all over Vancouver. What they need are a few commercial blocks that are demarcated as “Not Chinatown”. That'd show 'em.

-Also, in Vancouver, I saw the “world-renowned” Capilano suspension bridge (admission $14.75). I admit, it's a pretty cool bridge. But that's it. That's all they have. They advertise “Acres of hiking”. Yeah, whatever, we walked the whole thing in an hour. Big trees. Big deal.

-Vancouver has more homeless people than the rest of the world combined. Sure, Ottawa's got homeless people, but out here, they ride busses, go into stores to ask for “spare change”; it's wild. I threw a bottle of Pepsi Blue in the garbage (I suggest everyone else do the same, that stuff's gross). A homeless guy just about tackles me to the ground trying to get the bottle. He rips it out of the trash can, takes a big swig and spits it out (it was warm and flat and, hey, it was Pepsi Blue). He starts yelling at me “Why didn't you tell me it was warm and flat?” and then saunters off in search of greener pastures. I suggest he try “Not Chinatown”. Good luck finding it.

-My theory is that when you've abandoned all hope, when you've lost all your money and your house and your friends and your family and your dog, when it really seems like nobody in the world cares if you exist, when you're at the end of your rope and you've completely lost your will to live, you head for Vancouver. Land of the hopeless. Home of the free.

-Back in Victoria (Where the party never stops until 4:30pm or noon, whichever comes first), I settled in for University and learning. Now, I took a year off after high school, and I'm transferring schools, so the odds of seeing anyone I know, let alone anyone I went to high school with, are virtually nil. So, of course, I've seen two of them. Lucky me! It's going to be like high school all over again! Yay!

-Quote of the moment: My friend Jimmy upon seeing someone wearing a lanyard that said ‘Roots' all along the outside: “Hey, is that from Roots?”

-Quote of the moment #2: My friend Denise, upon seeing us watching “Best in Show” and laughing our heads off: “Is this movie a comedy or one of those serious movies everyone thinks is funny?”

-I went to a club called Sugar on the weekend, where ALL the drinks (beer, shots, mixed drinks, you name it) were $0.75. Bad move. I brought $20 with me. Worse move. I don't even know how I made it home. I'm definitely on the road to becoming an alcoholic. It's only a matter of time before I steal a shopping cart from Safeway and head for Vancouver myself.

-I have a costume design class in the University of Victoria's Centre for Innovative Teaching. When we had our campus tour (led by the surliest anti-establishment hippie types I've ever seen), we were informed (reluctantly) that the CIT was “the classroom of the future”. It's so technologically advanced, the slide projectors are EMBEDDED IN THE WALLS OF THE BUILDING. I'm like “slide projectors? Ever heard of Powerpoint?” This isn't education of the future, this is education of the recent past.

-The CIT has LAN ports in the desks, so you could plug a laptop computer into your desk and you wouldn't need to look up at the front of the room to see the slides the professor is showing. Not that I own a laptop or anything, but a) The LAN ports don't work “yet”, and b) There's 30 people in the class… Sit in the back of the room and you're 10 feet away from a 12 foot screen. How blind are you? Helen Keller wouldn't need this technology (if it worked, which it doesn't)!

-The CIT has no water fountain. Anywhere. The whole building is completely dry. There's not even a pop machine to buy a drink if you were willing to spend money (which I'm not, otherwise I'd have a laptop). This is the LEAST INNOVATIVE Centre for Innovative Teaching I have ever seen! (I used that line on one of the professors and she gave me a bottle of water out of her personal stash. There's a moral here and it isn't pretty).

-I have no laundry detergent, no food, no shampoo. Everything here is super-expensive and I hate hate hate taking the bus. I haven't left the campus (except to go home, which is so close to campus it may as well be on it) since I went to Sugar last Thursday. Hmm… Maybe that's not such a bad thing. I could go out to buy cereal, and the next thing you know… BAM! I'm an alcoholic. I don't think I can take that chance. Damn, I'm hungry.

-People who take Theatre are terrible people. Every class with them, it's like 45 jackasses who think they're superstars all going “look at me! I'm so great!”. The first day of acting class, we had to go around the room and introduce ourselves. I say my name, where I'm from, and move on. Everyone else like recites a joke from the Simpsons or something, and then stands there until people laugh and applaud. Are you kidding me? I should kick every one of their asses.

-Not that Calculus is any better. I was taking hard math until they kicked me out (don't ask) and put me in “Calculus for Business and Economics Students” which may as well be called “Remedial Math for Dummies”. Seriously, are business and economics students this stupid? We've spent 3 classes learning what a derivative is, and STILL nobody gets it. I'm not talking about applications or theories or anything… just the basic concept: y=3x, y'=3. I don't even bring a pen to class anymore. I know I won't be taking notes. This class, by the way, is NOT held in the Centre for Innovative Teaching, proof positive that there may indeed be justice in the world.

-Writing class is boring. There's no exam (big surprise) but people take notes anyway. Why? Is it just to make me look bad? I see people write down every word the teacher says (‘The main character is called the protagonist”). The teacher coughs, they write it down. Someone's cellphone rings, jot jot jot. I'm sitting there thinking: Should I be writing this down? Or, more often, I'll be thinking: I'm hungry. I should kick everyone's ass. Then I'll feel better.

-I miss everyone in Ottawa more than anything in the world. Except for my car (which I no longer have). I miss my car more than my friends in Ottawa whom i miss more than anything in the world. Except for my job. I miss my job more than I miss my car that I miss more than my friends that I miss more than anything in the world. Except for food. I miss food more than I miss my job that I miss more than my car that I miss more than my friends that I miss more than anything in the world. There, now you know your place in the grand scheme of things.