Thursday, 15 August 2013

No WiFi

Is both a blessing in disguise and a pain in the ass.

It is a blessing because I might actually get some work done. When you're main job and source of income is your own creative juice, you need to spend a lot of time squeezing it for all it's worth. It's difficult to find the energy sometimes. The inspiration is everywhere, but actually following through is like exercising every day-- you want to do it and you know you it needs to be done, but any excuse to procrastinate is welcome. It's so much easier to waste hours on Facebook, or watching videos or TV. With no WiFi, I can actually spend time finishing the dictation of my novels, do the very much needed rewrites, maybe even finish those paintings I've been putting off (as soon as I get some actual paint to paint with).

It's a pain in the ass, because as a person who is constantly in a different place, the only way I can communicate with the world at large or read the news or actually work, I have to leave the house and hunt down somewhere that offers free WiFi so I can check my email, search job sites for freelance work, reassure my friends & family I ma in fact still alive and work, such as writing this blog post.

So here I sit at Starbucks, drinking iced coffee and leaching WiFi. It turns out I have 20 new email messages, only two or three that have any importance. The rest of it is pretty much spam even though I don't have my junk mail filter deleting them. There's no new messages and nothing really of interest on Facebook either, so I'm not missing much.

I spent a couple of hours walking around my friend's neighbourhood. It's like a residential Chinatown with hipster cafes and eateries. The local corner store is (inevitably) run by a  Korean couple. I brought a smile to their faces when I realized they were Korean and communicated almost entirely in Korean with them. At a crosswalk, on each of four corners is a bank. There are two small family-run grocers on either side of the street and a traditional toy store with a ceramic painting section. A little further down the street is a gallery/walk-in studio. When I find a source of cheap paint, I may go and use the facilities. I bought some cheap sunglasses and a hacky-sack(it seemed like the Vancouver thing to have) at a local dollar store.

I also got a pen-like device (it looks like a silver bullet) to use on my touch screen that attaches to my smartphone by using a plastic headphone jack insert. It's good in concept, poor in execution. When you plug it in, you won't lose the pen, but you also won't hear any of the ringtones or notifications because the stupid smartphone doesn't realize it's not a pair of headphones...

Another friend of mine lent me a bike. I haven't got it yet, but I pretty happy about it. Now I don't have to use the dumb bus system. Not only is it outrageously expensive, but the BC Transit system, in their infinite wisdom, have a new fare system where the tickets for the bus and skytrain are no longer compatible. So, if you use the bus and switch to the train, you have to pay twice. It's a blatant money grab and shameful for such a world-class city. They also don't have very many options for reduced fares. For a city that prides itself on it's forward-thinking and environmentalism, this is a huge FAIL. High fares and price gouging only encourages people to use cars instead.

If I was staying here for longer than three weeks, I would buy a car or scooter. I have a bike instead. I'll be super fit by the time I get to Bangkok, another bonus since I have a 50 lb. bag to carry along with all my computer gear, sketchbooks, notebooks, & paintings. I decided the backpack I have specially designed to carry art supplies was too much, so I didn't bring it with me. I have a large sketchbook, some coloured pencils, brushes and blank canvases, but no paint or any other art supplies (I have a lot of different things you wouldn't expect to need, like rulers,French curves, various grades of pens and pencils and tools for carving). I'm sure I can find a small cheap starter set somewhere for a couple of dollars and I'll use up all the paint on one painting. I'll just buy a new set every time I want to paint a canvas.

So far, I'm loving Vancouver. I never realized how much I really missed this city.