A long and relatively pointless post about reading material, irritation, materialism and nostalgia, not necessairily in that order. Despite the implications of a piece of such length, should not be expected to edify the reader in any way shape or form.

This weekend, I threw away something like 500 magazines. Maybe more. And when I say “threw away” I actually mean “gave away to charity/recycled” but still. They’re gone. And I know it’s trivial and stupid to be sad about something like this, but I am. I’m sad. Getting rid of those magazines was harder than I imagined it would be. Harder than you can imagine it would have been for you, I’m sure.

If you’ve been reading the blah-og at all, you know I’m moving. I’m moving almost all the way across the country, and as a result, I’ve discovered it’s far more cost effective for me to get rid of most of the stuff I own before I go, rather than paying to haul it all the way to Ontario. I own a lot of stuff – furniture, art, books – but none of it is really worth anything, except to me. I spent years collecting it all, sure. I scoured Value Villages and consignment shops and yard sales. And I love it all. As materialistic as that is, I really do love my stuff. But it makes no sense to move it. Spending so much money on sentiment is crazy. So I’ve begun the purge. And the magazine collection was the first big thing to go.

I had everything, you know. Or at least, I felt like I had everything. I had the Vanity Fair with naked Tom Ford, Kiera Knightly and Scarlett Johannson on the cover. I had Gweneth Paltrow on a 1998 Vogue. I had pregnant Demi. I had the Brad and Angelia spread in W, and endless copies of Time. I had a complete set of Glamour from 2001 to 2006. Ditto Marie Claire. Ditto Cosmo. I had copies of Jane, O, Butter and Bazzar. I had The New Yorker and Harpers. I had Esquires and Geists and lots and lots of House and Homes and Styles and Real Simples and Glows and Fitnesses. I had Fashions and Flares and US Weeklies and OKs. I had Subterrains and Avenues and AdBusters. I had, to end this ridiculous listing jag, a shitload of magazines. And I went through them all before I chucked them. And now I’m sad, because they’re gone. Sad and exhausted.
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Flipping through the magazines was an intense and interesting experience. It reminded me a lot of how different my life is now than I expected it to be. I wrote on the blah-og, a long time ago, about my first experiences with magazines. When I was around 11 or 12 I began using my allowance to buy two or three of them a month – usually Seventeen, YM and Teen - and I’d hole up on a weekend and read them. I’d read every little bit of them. Every caption, every page. It was like a treat to myself. Now, magazines are work. Going through them isn’t fun anymore in the way it used to be. For one thing, it feels like school. Like I should be paying closer attention than I used to, which is ironic in a way. For another thing, I feel like I’ve read many of the stories before. Particularly those in women’s magazines. A glance at my collection would have given you a really good idea of what’s important to contemporary young women. In no particular order, what we apparently care about is: sex and how to get and keep a man, celebrities and how they’re just like us, health and how to avoid cancer, heart disease and flab, beauty and how to have great hair, fashion and how to flatter any figure, news about violence against women and how to stay safe in a dangerous world, and finally, emotional spirit and how to reduce stress and be happy. Take pretty much any women’s mag published in the last ten years, and these are the categories of things you’ll see hyped on the cover.

I work at a magazine now. When I think about that fact, I’m surprised. In a way, I can’t figure out how it happened. My job – my so-called career – seems the result of a random series of incidents and familial connections and meetings and luck. In another way, maybe it’s not. Obviously, I love magazines. I’ve pretty much always loved magazines. So it would make sense that I’d end up working at one. I just didn’t realize it was happening at the time. I didn’t realize what I was prepping myself for.

And isn’t that how it should be? Lately, I’ve been struck by the number of people who seem to want to work at magazines, or in fashion, or in design, who don’t actually care about those thing. They’re people who would NEVER have spent their meagre allowance of glossies, for example. They’re people have no idea what was going on in the world – in regard to trends, fashion or design - last year, let alone five years ago.

I guess there’s something about the nature of the industry. It seems glamourous (even though it isn’t), which attracts a lot of people. But even taking that into account, you’d think people who are really interested would take the time to get into the spirit of it all. You’d think they’d force themselves to take note of which decade brought which fashions, and how layouts developed and what colours could be definitively attached to what years and why. But they don’t. People are lazy. And as usual, they’re endlessly derisive about anything that’s too popular.

As I carried box after box and pile after pile of mags from my apartment, so many people laughed. So many people expressed how crazy it was. So many people gave off a distinct vibe of superiority at the sight of me and my collection. Having so many magazines, seemed to say something bad about me and somehow, by comparison, something good about them. At least, that’s the impression I got in most cases, which really shouldn’t have surprised or bothered me. Thanks to my job, I experience that kind of thing every day.

People are always weighing in with me. Someone will email to say something about how I could make my own magazine better, or they’ll stop me at a party to say how they could contribute so much to my publication, and in practically the same breath, they’ll say how much they hate mainstream mags, how they think they’re stupid, or dumbed down, or overly simplified or generic, and most importantly, how they NEVER READ THEM. They don’t seem to get how little sense it makes.

I mean, I used to talk a lot about how I hate the newspaper. (I do. I hate newspapers, even though I’ve worked for them.) But I based that opion on reading them. Not on NOT reading them. It just seemed more sensible.

Anyway, I don’t really have a point here. I guess all I’m really saying is that I would have kept those magazines forever if I could have. In case you’re wondering, I didn’t pay for them all. Not nearly. Some came from gifted subscriptions, others from old jobs, many I plucked from my building’s free book and magazine exhange. But I saw their value. I would have shown them to my kids, if I could have. They were like a snap shot of what we were like and what was happening, last year, and the year before that and the year before that. Flipping through them all at warp speed, like I did this weekend, was like going through a really speedy bit of evolution. Draining, but nice.

Alas. They’re gone now. And I guess, regardless of everything I just said, that’s a good thing. Saying goodbye to my life, and my things is hard, but ultimately, it’s probably best for me to get a fresh start. That’s what magazines recommend you know. Every second issue told me to clear clutter, let go of the past, de-stress and open my mind to the future. I finally listened.

Phew.
Jen
 
 
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Oh no. I’m addicted. I’m addicted to pictures of the littlest little baby bean in the world. I’ve been manipulated by her teeny-tinyness and old man face.

Say it with me now: awwwww.
Jen

 
 
My sister’s baby was born yesterday. She came out with a bit of a cone head and a smushed face, but other than that, she seems okay. She’s 6 lbs, 5 oz and her name is Katherine Ava. Katie. Or ReJe, since it’s Easter Weekend and all and she could very well be the Reincarnation of Jebus.

I know other people who’ve been really excited about the birth of their neices and nephews, but I never really got it. I mean, it’s not the same as having a baby of your own, is it? But now that I’m here, I’m sort of excited.

Dumb babies. They’re so manipulatively cute.

Jen

P.S. I know there are only a few people who will get this, but is it not sort of a strange coincidence that they named her Kate? Speaking of which, I saw a girl who looked almost exactly like me yesterday. Like, doppleganger city. So weird. Everything is so so weird.
 
 
Why am I such a dork? This is a question that has always plagued me. There’s no disputing that I am a dork. I am. I know it. I’ve accepted it. I am doomed to dorkdom. I just don’t know why I’m this way. I mean, I try to be cool. I remind myself of it all the time. Be cool , just be cool, I think. But I’m not. I fail at it again and again. I’m always way too into and excited about everything. Like, you know, the big ol’ dork that I am. Oh well.

The April issue of ION came out this week. It’s our 4th Anniversary issue, and it looks SO GOOD. (I think so, anyway.) My article is about that artist that I mentioned a couple of posts back - Dave Trautrimas. In the story, I call him “adorable”. I think I’ve used that opening line before. Maybe even a couple of times before. “So and so is adorable.” It feels familiar. This seems like a bad omen. I’m already recycling one liners. I’m not even 30 and my career is already on the down slide. Crap.

The only solution is to go outside to play baseball. If only I had a yard.

You wanna play, or what?

Jen
P.S. Dear Diary, Day one of non sequitur season was highly productive. Love, me.
 
 
So. I’m moving. Back to Ontario. Not immediately, but it’s definitely going to happen. That’s the big news I was going on about a couple of posts back. I won one of those SSHRC scholarships to do grad work so I’ll be heading to Toronto to get my MA (and spend gov’t dollars) at UofT in the fall.

Crazy, right?

In lots of ways, it’s great. I mean, obviously. The SSHRC award means a big honking load of free money. And I’ve missed school pretty much since the day I graduated (but that’s a Queen’s thing more than a school thing).

It’s leaving Vancouver that’s going to be hard.

I mean, I like it here.

I have rad friends.
I have the most pimpin’ apartment in the history of the world. (Or at least, the most pimpin’ apartment I’m ever likely to have.)
The weather is amazing, damn the propaganda.
There’s the beach.
Everything is ridiculously clean.
It’s relaxing.
There are a million reasons, actually. So I should probably stop listing them. It’s too depressing.

Toronto is a really different sort of place. I used to miss it. I missed it for a long time. I loved living in Kingston, don’t get me wrong – I felt at home there – but I always felt a little thrill when I went home to visit. There was something about the bigness of the city, the busyness. But I don’t miss that stuff anymore. So it’s funny that it’s only now that I have a real reason to go back.

Can’t turn down free money, though. Just can’t.

In other news, this weekend was fairly fun. D and I holed up at home on Friday night and ate takeout and watched a bunch of Sopranos. Later, I couldn’t sleep. I stayed up until like 5 a.m. watching reruns of the O.C. on my laptop (in bed) and trying to power down, but it just wouldn’t happen. Between 5 and 8:30 a.m. I tossed and turned, finally giving up and calling my sister to kill some time. On Saturday night I went to Doolin’s (a super fakey, way overpriced faux-Irish pub in Vancouver) to celebrate Chad’s 30th birthday. Stayed late. Came home. Ate a bunch of doritos. Pictures are online if you feel like looking.

I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it was fun weekend, I swear.

This week, the new issue of AGENCY magazine is coming out. I’ll post a note here when it does. In the meantime you might want to check out the new webdesign for the site. I just put it up on Saturday. Looks good, I think.

Can you believe this Toronto thing? I can’t. When I got the letter from SSHRC I had to read it about five times before it really started to make sense.

I think I’m turned around.
Jen
P.S. This is not an April fool's day gag. I'm really going.