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November 17, 2006

November 17

Bamboo Palace

My basement is flooded and the water tank is being completely unreasonable…I can’t run any amount of water thus disallowing me the right to shower and brush my teeth. I’ve been taken back to my days as a filthy hippie and I’m quite excited for an excuse to neglect my personal hygiene. Speaking of dirty hippies, Neal is coming to stay with me in two days and I also have this fantastic new picture of Andrew and our recently cremated Westfalia…The Bamboo Palace…The V-Unit…The Fierce Banana. Forever in our hearts.
November 06

Failure to Launch

I’ve decided to write a book. I’m not quite sure what it’s going to be about…possibly something unconventional, sarcastic, slightly fictional, exaggerated and overstated, much like everything else I write. It might take me a few years or I might not ever get around to it, but I’m rather enthused with the idea none the less. My life as of lately is a strewn web of perplexity and distraction. I don’t think I’ll venture into much detail tonight though. The gist of it: Werner Kahn, my seventy-something year old stalker, is in visitation to Earl’s Restaurant more frequently now although I have already declined to be his child bride…as kind and well-intentioned as the offer was. There is never an end to the ridiculous amount of shady people I come into contact with, but I’ll tell you something: I don’t hate it.
My boss is currently in Disneyland which makes getting a decent pay check easier seeing as there is no one sneaking into the computers to change our shift hours to match his budget.
I was also thinking the other day just how very graceful I’ve been. For those of you that don’t know, I’m your stereotypical klutz. The one who makes it possible to fall up a flight of stairs or even render herself into a concust state from opening a door, hitting her head, having the edge ricochet off her foot only to swing back and knock her onto the floor. True stories. Anyways, to continue…I was rather impressed with my state of grace but then I realized it was only a matter of time before I was to embark on a death defying stunt due to my imbalanced equilibrium. Naturally, I was carrying an arm load of food and just demolished myself in front of an entire crowd. Now let me tell you that was a very humbling experience.
I’ll leave it here tonight.
Cheers, Alysia.
September 15

Cab Drivers, Cobras, and a Cattery.

So today, a crazy man decided to break into the psych ward. Ironic, yes I know. Luckily there wasn’t much harm done except for a chair through the window. I made a new friend there…he walked out of his room wearing nothing but a blanket draped around him like a toga. He smiled at me and ran back inside. Apparently he has a crush on me. Now I think that’s cool, I’ve never met a ridiculously good looking crazy person before. I have a lot of morally wrong thoughts running through my head right now.
Last night, Jeremy and I decided to create secret identities for ourselves and sneak around the stair cases of the hotel with walkie talkies. We had new names too but I can’t remember what they were. After we were bored of that, we decided to go to McDonald’s where I received free ice cream after calming down a very enraged customer.
Brandie called me from Winnipeg tonight. She told me various stories of her bad judgment when it came to meeting boys from the internet…then we rediscovered this old website we found when we were 14. Some woman named Debbie has actually devoted her life to establishing a “Cattery.”
If you get the chance:
My cab driver today, scruffy older guy…late 50s or so, had these tattoos that I just had to ask about; a scorpion on his lower right arm which represented his star sign and a big blob of something on his left arm that was supposed to be a cobra but, the gal who did it, ‘din know what the hell she was doin’…so I told her to stop.”
He told me he has plans of getting it re-done here in town.
“One a ‘dem nice cobras with the rubies for eyes.”
I asked him if he had thoughts of getting any other inkings done…naturally, he did.
“A big wolf right here on my shoulder; when I used to be in a bikin’ gang, I had ‘dis real nice long, black beard and long hair… The Wolfman is what they used to call me.”
Aside from biker gangs and gaudy tattoos, cab driver #912 and I had a fair bit in common.
We both even came from the same hometown.
Well I guess that’s where I’ll leave it for today.
Cheers, Alysia.
September 11

Cigarettes and Psych Wards.

Friday, September 8, 2006
So here starts my second letter…I’ve been working completely absurd hours lately with few hours sleep so basically I’m now one of those “mediocre job, average pay, caffeine addicted losers”…but I’m happy none the less. Even if the odd crowd does get a bit grouchy, I like seeing people…talking to them, learning everything I can about them. This one woman from Montreal, her name is Chantal and she’s a regular; I’m just getting to know her…she’s a bit strange and makes me laugh. She sits for 3 hours by herself in the same window booth drinking her coffee and Heineken beer and tells me stories in her broken English.  Unfortunately, my manager tells me I’m not allowed to let her into the restaurant anymore because for the third time now she hasn’t been able to pay, she just leaves an inactive debit card and promises she’ll pay us back the next time.  It’s pretty disheartening to have to turn her away, I don’t know how I’m going to do it. On another depressing note, one of my customers today told me that Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter, died after getting stung in the heart by a stingray. I don’t know what this world is coming to when I have to reject harmless coffee drinkers and seemingly invincible men die in freak stingray accidents, but again it’s just another humbling reminder that we all fall short. I’m thinking that I’d like to take Chantal out for drinks sometime, not just out of pity…but in all sincerity, I just want to know her better. A lot of my close friends are now settled into their university dorms, working, or back packing across Europe, so I’m feeling a fair bit lost and lonely. It’s a strange new world now without familiarities. I’m making new friends though…learning a lot about myself and just people in general; simple things I never gave much thought to now seem like epiphanies.
Anyways, I’m just re-reading everything I wrote to you and I totally sound like a morbid Marvin so I’m terribly sorry…I’ll bet
you’re probably crying right now. I feel so guilty.
Monday, September 11, 2006
So I saw Chantal across the street today just as I was finishing my second shift. She waved, I waved. I doubt she’ll be coming back for anymore Heinekins and coffees though. Work is slowing down immensely now that summer is ending and I’m currently in the application process for the 2007 Habitat projects for overseas, so as of January I may be in either Fiji or Maui doing some construction. Jeremy and I spent the day in Kelowna yesterday. He bought a hat. I bought a jean jacket. We made made our usual rounds of varying pit stops for gas, coffee, and cigarettes. We finished our night sitting on the hood of the Nova in a parking lot…asking questions, telling stories. Aside from work, my day was spent in the psych ward making friends with crazy people. There’s this one guy who likes to step on imaginary bugs on the floor, he’s my favorite.
Cheers darlings,
August 27

6 year old Confessions

So right now, I’m thinking…but I’m not trying too hard because that will defeat the purpose of enjoying whatever memory or thought my mind can locate. Small things…old things: pen-pals, white lies, cereal boxes, license plates, and an old painting in my house that I see everyday but gave no thought to until just now. It’s strange how some days quaint little memories can piece your life together and for just a moment, everything makes sense.
Years ago, my grandmother and I would sit in her old kitchen with red linoleum floors, an itchy wool table cloth and old Dutch tiles with pictures from olden days framed along the roof line. I would sit beside her and ask her silly questions and tell her unfathomable stories that only 6-year-olds do. We would drink our tea and giggle about getting old. I would watch her precious laugh lines and fall into her twinkling blue eyes just barely hidden behind her half-moon glasses. We would write letters and Christmas cards to sailors and people far from home. One year I received a letter back from a man named Rolando. He worked on ships and traveled many places that I had never heard of. He told me stories of the men he worked with and his home in the Phillipines. He had no family. I was the closest thing to his daughter even though I was only a few scribbled and mispelled words on a sheet of paper. I would ask him funny questions such as
whether or not he had a girlfriend and he would always answer in a comedic truthfulness. He sent me a photo: a group of stern looking, overworked men; he was in the back corner with his faint smile, black eyes, and old leathered skin. Eventually he must have changed ships…the letters stopped coming and I was getting older, preoccupying myself with having a crush on the neighbor boy, Nicholas. I miss Rolando…his broken English and terrible penmanship. I think about him and where he is and I hope for his happiness.
August 23

A letter soon to be mailed.

My Dearest Boys: Neal, Andrew, and Lindsay,

The adventures of Alysia and Brandie have been less than fantastic lately. The weather is cold and we’re a tad miserable, however there have been several occurences that I suppose are worth mentioning:

We mysteriously gained entrance into a nightclub a while ago and attempted to show up every hoochie mama in the house. We then caught the eye of a flaming red-headed gangster midget and danced with him until closing time. Everyone else in the club must have been unbelievably jealous…and the best part is that I got to check “dance with red-headed gangster midget” off my life’s to-do list and that feels pretty darn good.

Further escapades include breaking onto a house boat and eating the food inside. We also found a guitar and an old bongo and decided to have a drum circle on the roof deck which was a reasonable amount of fun.
Two nights ago we left a death threat note in someone’s door telling them that we were going to sacrifice them to the pagan gods of vaginal discharge…signed by “The Rippers,” then we rang the doorbell and ran away as fast as we could. They must be absolutely terrified.

Other than that we have been desperately bored and I have resorted to getting a job at Earl’s where I am being forced to wear skanky clothing as a mandatory dress code…however I do make good money and would much rather surrender my particular moral excellence and virtues to be filthy rich because I am a soul-lacking, greed-stricken monstrosity. Kidding…but having money is nice. I can finally afford to buy new clothes because as of lately my little brother says I dress like a Cuban gangster…no idea how I pulled that off.

Well I hope that things are well in the land in which you are living and I hope very much to hear back from you all because I am simply devastated at the loss of not having you around anymore.

All my love,

August 17

Cause = Time

Friday, August 11th – Sunday, August 13th 2006
One night, we find three friends visiting from foreign lands and we camp in a parking lot. We make music and memories and drink red wine while roasting marshmellows over the stove top of the antiquated yet timeless, yellow van. We tell stories and listen to Sufjan until early morning despite heavy eyes and tired bodies, but conversation seems fearless and uninhibited when it’s barely light outside. Neal strums and sings with a broken voice lost from laughter and swallowing honey while the rest of us sit and listen on the verge of sleep and dreams right when every object seems foggy and every sound echoes. The later morning comes soon and we watch the parade from the curb outside an old coffee shop. Clowns and floats, princesses and children doing backflips down Main Street seem all the more strange as they add promise to our surrealistic states of mind formed from sleep deprivation. Pavement heat swells under our bare feet as we drudge our way back to the lot. We eat lunch and become stranded due to ancient broken spark plugs under the hood of our car. Neal manages to fix everything within an hour while Andrew and I sleep. We play in the park – frisbees and made-up games, laughing at people, eachother, and absolutely nothing. Swing dance with Powder Blues and flashing lights…on old plywood floors we lose our minds. We sit in the place where we first met: a bench and a railing, we pretend to be strangers all over again…wondering where we would be if we hadn’t decided to walk back the way we did. There are realizations of just how blissfully unaware we were of emptiness. We sleep our last night together and make small exchanges – a broken shoelace still tied to my wrist, a tub of honey, surfboard wax, and telephone numbers on shreds of paper.

June 29

Tales from the K Cafe.

So Geoffrey calls, “Alysia, would you like to come to Keremeos with me?”

How could I say no? Keremeos is an amazing place.

We arrive at the Bennett’s laundromat with greetings from Mike and Rueben and take our place on the bench outside with our beer like four homeless hippies.

We’re there all of about fifteen minutes before Steve, the infamous Keremeos meth-head shows up reasonably drunk and high whilst foaming at the mouth. He gives Geoff a nice hug and proceeds inside where Rueben offers him a shower. He almost makes it to the door before passing out. So close Steve, so close.

He’s up a few minutes later and decides that he would like to fight me – he throws a few punches which luckily were easy to dodge. Since obviously I was too tough to fight, he swings a few at Mike, knocks some things over, rips off his shirt, and throws a chair across the room before the cop shows up.

“I thought you went to rehab Steve?”

“Fuck you, Bitch – I am in rehab”

It takes about 20 minutes to get him into the cop car. We say our goodbyes and Steve rides off into the Keremeos sunset. So what do you do after such an event? You go to the ‘K Cafe.’ After being told by a nice old lady to mind our language in public settings, our food arrives. We head back to the laundromat to discover Rueben’s porn channel…we’re mesmerized, intrigued, and disgusted for a little while before Geoff and I decide to go home.

Cheers, Alysia

April 22

I’ve got a bike, you can ride it if you like.

I’m horrible at keeping up with these…I can’t remember most of anything that’s happened within the last 3 months except for this:

I was on my lunch break at work and was walking back from the liquor store where I must illegally buy my boss’s cigarettes, when I came across a man lying in the middle of the sidewalk.

I stopped like any normal person would, but what do you do when a man is lying in the middle of a sidewalk? I guess you’d probably check if he was dead or something. I shouted a bit to see if he was okay. He jumped up like some sort of ninja on acid. He took a quick look at me and yelled, “I’M INFECTED,” then he stumbled around for a second and walked in the opposite direction. So I guess he was alright aside from being infected.
The week before that I had a stalker. Honestly, who doesn’t love the shady people of downtown Penticton. I’ll tell you that story some other time if you really want me to.
Today was our annual Western Week Air Band competition – another great year, although it was my last…I’m really going to miss it. I got to keep the prizes that no one claimed, so now I am the proud owner of a monster-sized volleyball and a water gun.
I helped my dad work on my car for a while until Marc called…he and Joey came over a bit later and we rode our bikes through town making a few visits along the way. I haven’t done that in years…but I felt like a gangster riding through trailer parks late at night with my hood up. The only thing not gangster was my bike. It’s gold and has a lightening bolt with the word “storm” written by it, then at the bottom it says “SUPER CYCLE” in huge, metallic letters and gangsters don’t ride golden Super Cycles.
We visited my old neighborhood and saw a few friends. My dad had finished fixing my car by the time we got back to my house, so I took the boys with me for a test run down by the beach. I think that’s mostly all that went on today.
Oh yes, The Basement Sweets and a few other goodies are playing at Fibonacci’s on May 20th so good luck to Briggs and Mairi. I wish I could be there to see it.
Anyways, I think I’ll go to bed because I’m getting up early to go watch a bunch of 6-year-olds play soccer. I remember when I used to play sports. Ha.
Cheers, Alysia.
February 19

Mystery Solved.

Well…Anti-Valentine’s Day actually turned out quite lovely this time around. In fact, I might even be warming up to the holiday a wee bit. On Valentine’s Day, I was called down to the main office where I received some beautiful roses in a yellow ceramic pot…attatched was a small note with a message so careful as not to give the messenger away. I’ve been trying to solve this mystery for several days now.
Then tonight, after I almost couldn’t take the suspense anymore, the mystery flower boy telephoned me. It turned out to be none other than my dear friend Jon the Casanova. That small act of anonymous kindness really made my day, so thank you Jon and one day soon I shall return the favor.
Anyways, back to art history.
Cheers, Alysia.