Category Archives: Saskatoon

I’m alive

It was too weird, as soon as I hit publish on that last post my mom was in my office to get me home because everything was shutting down. All the bridges were backed up except Victoria, which people hate using at the best of times. Victoria Bridge looks like this:

Except of course now we have cars. But you get the point. You might think that’s a terrible choice during a blizzard, especially since maybe there is a foot between you and the oncoming traffic, and that there is a steep hill on the other side. But no one was using it and it was actually really easy to go over.

It is still blustery and terrible. Basically the whole city is shut down, and if you know Saskatchewanians you know that’s serious.

Vancouverites are wimpy. I remember when I moved there and I was trying to get a job at A & W, the day of my interview an inch of snow had fallen. MAYBE three inches. The entire city was shut down, I don’t think even transit was running. I got a call to not come in for the interview, even though I just had to walk 10 blocks. I could look out my apartment window and watch a car drive up a hill and then slide back down, over and over, in a fit of modern day Sisyphean terror.

Extreme weather is pretty commonplace here. Even folks from Montreal quake in fear when they face -65 degrees C. We have the same climate as Siberia basically. In fact a fruit grower here sought advice from growers in Estonia, Finland, Moscow, and Siberia.

My mom told me a story about how Gramma used to make the family drive towards the mountains during blizzards so that she could marvel at the snow, ON THE HIGHWAY! She likes storms. So do I. Nothing gets me more excited than a vicious thunderstorm with power loss and broken trees.

Schrodinger tried to go outside to play in the snow, but it’s about three feet now so he was unsuccessful. Silly kitty.

Oh swell

I wish my mom wasn’t so goddamned stubborn. The courthouse is closed, the banks are closed, a line of cars are hightailing it out of downtown at the impressive speed of ten km an hour. And I still have 50 minutes before my mom picks me up. By now the buses have stopped running so I can’t get home that way, and getting a taxi is completely out of the question. I wish my warnings would be heeded even if they are dire. I should not have come to work at all, it was a stupid idea and I should have just told my mom to bugger off and go to work if she wanted to.


My mom is weird.

This morning we had a huge debate over whether or not we should go to work. She’s a professor and I’m a researcher of residential schools (which involves burnout, but that’s another story). Anyway, after much squabbling and consulting the Weather Channel, she convinced me to go to work, even though we only had visibility for fifty feet.

Now of course, the roads are progressively getting shittier and the buses are coming up to not running anymore. People in my office are running around panicking and trying to assess if they should be leaving. Mom already agreed to picking me up at 3, but that’s still a ways away and things keep closing like schools and so forth. And spending the night in a law office isn’t my idea of a good time. I hear visibility has gone down to ten feet, and cars are skidding everywhere. In Edmonton tow trucks have even stopped working. Oh fuck, and now Circle Drive is shut down.

I just want to go home!

Where’s my mommy?

Deciding to Stay in Saskatoon

I’ve come to the decision to stay in Saskatoon. In seven days I will officially have been here a year. I really thought I would just flounce back to Vancouver, but for a lot of reasons I’ve decided not to. For one thing, Vancouver is fucking expensive. I hate having roommates because I’m hard to live with and I know it, so I kept ending up in teeny apartments, I mean 300 sq feet or less. And my books were starting to overwhelm my living space. So living in Saskatoon gives me WAY more space for the same amount of rent. Plus I am close to my cousins again, and I’ve wanted to get to know them better. And I have, but one of the things that made me sad was not getting to know Chris better before he died. He was a pretty cool guy, and god he was so young when he died. Just out of high school. It’s harder when people who are young die.

Also the film industry here is going crazy. Charlize Theron was just down in Regina last month shooting a film. Capote was shot next door in Manitoba, and the infamous Brokeback Mountain next door in Alberta. The costs of making a film here are way less than say, Toronto, or Vancouver for sure. A lot of Canadian comedies are coming out of here too. Plus the best Aboriginal actors come from Canada, and we have no star system. Some people say that’s terrible “Oh my god! No star system!” I think that’s silly. We have Sarah Polley. And if Canadians really want to get into the star system they just leave Canada altogether.

I remember Sarah Polley when she was still a child actor running around in an Anne of Green Gables spin off called Road to Avonlea. So very Canadian.

If the film industry here is booming, so is paranormal activity, like you would not believe. I have seen and experienced some weird shit here. My friend Preston’s roommate has a poltergeist. I have a poltergeist at work who bangs things. I’ve seen UFO’s with my friend Laurel, my cousin has seen a TON of UFO’s, and I found someone else online who’s been seeing tons of them lately. They’re invading and Saskatoon is going to be the intergalactic customs station. It would create jobs. Really though, I have no idea what they’re up to, it was kind of creepy, especially the first one that looked like some kind of dimensional portal opening up, but now it’s getting to be old hat. You know you’re jaded when a poltergeist can’t get a rise out of you. Although if it threw something at my head I’m sure I’d be pissed. Lucky for me I’ve mostly experienced this stuff with other people, so I know for sure it’s real. Sometimes I let weird shit happen just because I assume I must be hallucinating. No, it’s true, that water cooler jumped around. Oh. Fancy that. It’s a real great denial mechanism for creepy shit. Oh, I am seeing things, oh well, I’ll just ignore it, it’s probably my brain having a hiccup. Meanwhile another person with me would yell “Holy shit! Look at that!”

A doppleganger would scare the hell out of me though, or those animals with human faces, ugh, don’t want to see any of that kind of shit. I used to want to experience these things, but now I don’t anymore. It’s interesting though that paranormal events seem to be ramping up. I don’t know if it’s happening in other places. I’ve been having some weird visions too, but I won’t say them.

The other thing I like about living in Saskatoon is being able to learn my language. People keep talking about indigenous languages dying out, so there’s been a revival of the languages. A really cool thing is that a lot of white people are learning our languages too. I like that there are non-Aboriginals who see the use and importance of learning our languages. Who knows, maybe we’ll end up with half of the Cree speakers being Euro-Canadians.

So yeah, I’ll stay here. I’ll probably travel a lot though, or as much as possible. But this isn’t such a bad home base. It could be worse, it could be a two room apartment in the Downtown Eastside.

Five Bullets in an Indian’s Dog

I don’t know how much you all know about Saskatoon, but this city is one of the most racist environments I have ever lived in, even worse than Quebec!!! It’s nearly 50/50 between white and aboriginal, yet the majority of people employed are white. I have never seen any kind of employment parity in this town. I had a job that was trying to get employment parity, but I had to quit because a coworker was making racist comments towards me and the director didn’t think it was an issue.

And we’re screwed either way. If we’re broke and living in the inner city, whites call us drunk welfare bums. If we live in a moderately affluent neighborhood and dare to have a new car, well then we’re rich and getting that infamous free money from the government. After all, how dare an Aboriginal own a new car, or god forbid a house. White canadians seriously believe we each make 30 000 a year solely from free government money.

Do you know how much money we get for being aboriginal yearly? Five bucks. Literally, you line up in front of a table with Mounties in full regalia and they give you a nice new crisp five dollar bill. Treaty day, it is called, and usually that money gets used up at the dickie dee stand within about 15 minutes.

Racist shit goes down in Saskatoon all the time. In grade three I had one friend in my school, the only other aboriginal. Everyone else was white, and they all hated us. Racist comments throughout elementary school would be ignored by teachers. Aw man, it sucked!

You may have heard of Saskatoon in the news a while back when the police were busted for their Starlight Drives. Essentially they would pick up a drunk aboriginal man and instead of taking him to the drunk tank, they would take him out to the powerplant in mid winter, take his shoes and coat, and leave him out there to walk back. My friend and I drove out there recently, it has a creepy feeling, you can tell people were killed there. We clocked the distance from the drop off point to the nearest house or other shelter. It was about three kilometres, maybe three and a half. It was obviously meant to kill these people. There was a lot of protests, a lot of trials, internal investigations. Only two police were singled out, and the repercussions of killing people was a three month jail sentence and being fired from the police force. After all, they were only Indians.

A new story has come out in the last couple of days. A lot of differing accounts are going around, but basically, a police officer was hassling an aboriginal family looking for gangland ties (we do have a lot of gangs here, but that’s not the point). The families 17 year old german shepard was shot five times “in self defense.” The first article had the police saying that the dog had jumped the fence and attacked the officer, but today’s article had the boy who owned the dog showing that the only blood spatter was in the yard, which means the police were lying, again. The police here lie all the time. 6 cars and nine officers were on the scene immediately to deal with the aftermath. One family member stayed in the house and videotaped the confrontation between the family and the cops, and apparently got some very derogatory things the cops were saying on videotape. Of course now the police have been demanding the tape “for their investigation.” The family is not giving it up, thank god. The dog is at the veterinarian’s right now being treated, it seems to be stable but they’re trying to fix his ear that was shot off.

There isn’t an effective way to police the police, or the mounties. If they’re fucked up racists, then the only recourse we have is to demand they do an internal investigation. It’s much like letting Goebbels investigate Nazi atrocities, just a bad idea all around. In another lovely recent news story, a cop raped an aboriginal woman in custody. I didn’t pay much attention so I can’t give you the details, I think I was suffering racism overload and was trying to think happy thoughts somewhere.

Reporting a crime if you’re aboriginal is fucked too. Every aboriginal woman I know who has reported a rape and even knows the name and address of the attacker gets her charges dropped. A person close to me was even dismissed after the rapist said it was consensual sex. He was white, she was brown, case closed. This was one of the main reasons I never reported my rape or pressed charges, even though I knew the names and addresses of the assailants. Once I was beaten in the street and a cop car across the street just sat there, we didn’t get helped until some women stopped their car and ran out yelling at the perps. And then when we called the cops to come take our statement, they didn’t bother showing up because they wanted us to calm down first.

When I did make my statement some stuff was really telling. My friend who also got beat up was white. He asked her what school she went to (we were teenagers). He didn’t ask me what school I went to, he said, and I quote “So are you on welfare or what are you doing?”

I don’t know what will ever stop the Saskatoon Police force, or any police force really, from being openly, actively racist. They can have as many “sensitivity training” workshops as they want, but the fact is after learning not to use words like wagonburner or injun or chief, they’re still going to have a jolly good time killing, raping, assaulting, and denigrating aboriginals. And not only that, but they’ll shoot our damn dogs too.


You know those shows that people like Oprah do, where they fit a whole bunch of women for bra’s and they all come out in new bras going wow, I’m an A cup, I’m a DD cup! and whatever. Well, my mum took me to get fitted today and I’m an E cup!!! Holy fuck, I never thought that would happen. I thought I was a C cup, or maybe a D, but I never ever thought I could be an E!

Anyway, I have a really nice sexy bra now that cost way more than I usually pay. It fits like a glove. A boob glove. I love having breasts, even if I am mannish. I hope someone sleeps with me because I just want to show off the bra.

I did mushrooms a couple nights ago and holy fuck was I fucked up. At one point I was saying “Yeah, the things I hate most are the squids, they can fuck off, what did they ever do for us except bob around and shit. They’re good in calamari though. Hey, do I exist? Wow, this floor feels cool. And everything is like glue. Check out this lip balm!” Our poor friend Preston was REALLY fucked up and just doing the same thing for forty five minutes, shaking, and passing out. Turns out he accidentally took SIX grams of mushrooms. And then I thought someone was cute and then found out they’re in HIGH SCHOOL!!! Yeah, I felt way beyond being a cougar. I would fuck a nineteen year old, but beyond that I get nervous.

I have a tattoo appointment in a few days! Hurrah! I’m getting three of the tattoos I wanted done in the same session. My biohazard tattoo and my two nautical stars on my forearms. I know I’ll be all “oweeya!” after, but it’s okay. I love tattoos, and even the whole process of subjecting myself to extended periods of pain is fun in a “look at me and my pain threshold” butchy macho kind of way. Now I just have to end up with enough money to do my Virgin of Guadalupe and my jaguar spots.

I have no idea what I will do for New Years. Try to find someone who wants to see my bra? I don’t know. Get drunk and do drugs for sure. I’m looking into moving into a housing co-op out in Sutherland. For non-Saskatoon folks, Sutherland used to be a small town until it got absorbed in Saskatoon sprawl. It is also where a murdered skeleton was found recently dating back to the 1920’s. Okay, murdered woman, you can’t murder a skeleton. She turned into a skeleton. And she was thrown in a well, so apparently her soft tissues turned into wax. Ew.

E is for Ew.

It’s also for Exciting, and Erotic!

Convoluted Connections

Saskatoon is a weird fuckin’ city to be queer in. I have always thought so. Even weirder is the fact that anytime a queer issue, excuse me, “gay and lesbian” issue is brought up in the newspaper, there is always the stock quote from Gens Helquist.

He’s been providing the stock quotes for years and leading this backwater community towards really weird decisions. Back when a friend of mine tried to organize the first Pride parade, Gens said we couldn’t do that because it would be rude. Back when the same friend held Saskatoon’s first (and only) gay and lesbian film festival, Gens and his cronies advised most of the queer community to avoid it.

If Gens was at Stonewall he would be telling everyone “Now now, let’s not be hasty, these nice policemen are just doing their job.”

Another teenage friend of mine got a long lecture from Gens about being a pedophile because my teenage friend *gasp* liked other teenage boys. The end result being my friend got so convinced by this pedo label that he did go on to be a pedophile.

Anyway, enough about that, I just don’t see why he always gets to speak for Saskatoon’s “gay and lesbian” community.

I also don’t like when people say “gay and lesbian” as a community, because it cuts out at least three other identities that form our community. Namely bisexuals, transgendered folks, and intersexed people. I don’t like the idea that gays and lesbians will get rights and then tell other people in our community they can fuck off. And there are some monosexual queers who will tell trans/bi/intersex people to fuck off. Besides that, if I remember my queer history correctly it was a bunch of trannies who threw the bricks at stonewall.

God, this morning in my sleepy state I was convinced Ellen Degeneres wrote Stone Butch Blues, and I was trying to figure out how someone with such a sad story went on to be a comedian with a talk show. Oh my god, what would life be like if Leslie Feinberg went on to be a comedian?? I love hir, no disrespect, but imagine it. Wow.

My copy of Stone Butch Blues got water damage, I think because my shower wasn’t constrained by the curtain and spewed onto a pile of books. It also soaked my only copy of an ex lover’s porn spread in On Our Backs. Ironically that is the same spread which has my other ex lover’s ex lover in it. Yes, it is just, a teeny community, even for big city queers.

Here’s another weird story about how small this community is. My friend Robin met my first ex girlfriend through her friend in Toronto. I met Robin’s first ex girlfriend at a film festival in San Francisco. Robin and I met in Montreal when we were working in the same weird call centre. I think Vancouver was mixed in there somehow too. Oh yeah, and I was in a porno where Robin’s ex was the camera person. It’s a weird weird weird community.

God, I could think of other convoluted connections, but now I’m tired of that game. It’s only mildly interesting as an L Word narrative device.

Okay, one more. My best friend/neighbor from down the hall used to bake bread for the L Word.

It’s weird but true.