stripes and beards and young love

Photo by Roommate Claire
Photo by Roommate Claire

A walk through the alley off Fraser Street, back in The Commune days, when Husband was just Boy Roommate and looked like a hippie.

the commune is no more

Alas, we’ve arrived at the end of the saga.

As we’ve always joked that The Commune was a sitcom, let us liken our series finale to the end of Friends.

Gregg and Ashleigh are Chandler and Monica, shacking up out in the burbs. But no babies. (Get that, Mom? NO BABIES.)

Aviary Photo_130301784984522906Shannon and Jessica are still partnered up in the city, I guess as Ross and Rachel. Only they are sisters so I use that somewhat creepy comparison only to refer to their living situation, rather than their relationship. (Actually, as sisters, they lived together, then didn’t, then did again. That’s very Ross and Rachel.)

Claire has moved in with a non-Commune-ist out by Commercial Drive, also known as Hippie Headquarters. I guess that makes her Phoebe. The non-Commune-ist roommate can – for the sake of argument – be Paul Rudd.

And The Lorna. No one knows what The Lorna is up to, so I will just assume that she’s moving across the country to pursue her dreams of stardom by way of a terrible spin-off.

apartment hunting as a metaphor for life

You enter the process with so much excitement. The possibilities seem endless: hardwood floors! 1000 sq ft! Mountain views! Close to Skytrain! In my price range! Utilities included!

You do a drive-by. Walk around the area. “I could live here,” you think. You find yourself dreaming of the future like it is some kind of golden age just around the corner; this beautiful utopia that finally seems within reach. Is this not the kind of adulthood you were always told you would have?

Aviary Photo_130301790433514813But then you dig a little deeper. Make a couple calls. Some internet research. Find out about the bed bugs. The past history of murders and muggings. Find out that we live in frickin’ Vancouver, where the kind of money that gets you a mansion in Toronto gets you a crackhouse here.

You cross a few things out on your list.

You widen your parameters a little. You try to tell yourself this part of town is “the next big thing.” That “I’ve heard they’re planning on gentrifying.” But, as Boyfriend noted: “This is definitely east East Van. See that big shadow on the horizon. That’s Burnaby.”

“But the price is good,” you tell yourself, “And the building is nice.”

Compromises are kicking in.

And this goes on. And on. Until you just find yourself thinking “I just need to find somewhere before the end of the month. Fuck it, anywhere.

further conversations of the idle poor

Did you know that the house Canucks Place is in used to be the headquarters for the Vancouver KKK?

There were KKK in Vancouver?

Maybe it was just two guys. 

Who sat around all day.

Maybe they liked the outfits. 

Not everyone can pull off long white sheets.

“What do you want for dinner?” “Anything but spaghetti.”

shows dr. roommate and I have watched together: an attempt to understand just why the hell we keep watching downton abbey

Shannon and I are still watching Downton Abbey. I tried to think of why, but fell short of a way to explain myself. We started watching the show because it was so damned critically acclaimed, but then we discovered that it, well, kind of sucks.

So why were we still watching it? For reasons I’ve tried to explain, we realized that it is the best show for us to watch together. (Watching alone is just masochistic nonsense.) With the help of this handy Venn Diagram, I will try to get to the bottom of this.

(Also, this diagram is by no means a comprehensive list of all the shows we’ve indeed watched together. It barely scratches the surface, actually.)

In the end, I think Shannon and I just watch television shows together so we can frivolously enjoy things like this: See Bates from Downton Abbey Wearing a Flannel Shirt and Holding a Baby.

(As a disclaimer, this is titled “Shows Shannon and Ashleigh Have Watched Together” not to exclude other Commune-ists, but simply because it was the two of us that have watched Downton Abbey, and, at Adam’s insistence, this blog needed more posts. Also, we’ve lived together the longest, so have thus watched the most shows together.)

only eleven more months until christmas is over again

“Douglas,” our chipper wee friend of a Christmas tree, sits discarded in the backyard. Having completely missed the free tree chipping the second weekend in January, we have no idea what to do with it.

I only remembered the tree at all when the snow thawed last Friday.

“Oh yeah,” I remarked to BoyRoommatefriend, “The tree.”

It looks so pathetic hunkered there in the corner of the yard, tilted sideways against the grass like a tourist who fell asleep on the beach.

Doesn't this tug your heartstrings?

The suggestion was made to cut it up into tiny pieces and squeeze it into the compost, but somehow the sheer brutality of such a feat made me wince.

This is the first time I’ve ever had my own Christmas tree to deal with. In years past, it was either the tree at my parents’ house, or we simply never had a tree.

Do we just leave it there in the corner of the yard until it decomposes into nothing, returning once more to the sodden earth from whence it came? How long till the needles fall from it, leaving bare skeletal remains? Will a forensic anthropologist, like television’s Bones, do a post-mortem, and point a wavering finger in my direction whilst snarling an hollow-but-accustatory: “You….” Will I forever be deemed incapable of harbouring any responsibility whatsoever?


Maybe the tree will stick it out until next Christmas.  That would save us a quick $23.

It is less than eleven months away now, you know.

the commune christmas special: it’s not the BBC or anything, but it works for us

It went something like this:

(photos courtesy of Dr. Roommate’s iPhone)

"Thumbs up for turkey dinner!"
"There is so much joy in this room right now. I love you all. No, really. I do. Honestly. Why don't you trust me? See: I'm making a happy face and everything."


"I am marginally less excited than the rest of you... since I've been cooking the turkey all freakin' day."


"I am just here for the food."


"WOOOO! I've been drinking since ten a.m.!"

douglas, the commune christmas tree

Douglas, The Commune Christmas Tree. He’s a happy little fellow with a red star.

behavioural tendencies of lower commune residents with focus on frequency of alcohol consumption

There’s an interesting pattern of behaviour that has established itself amongst Lower Commune residents.

It seems to start like this:

Subject A arrives home following a bad day at work.

A bad mood is inevitable.

Occasionally this bad mood is compounded by a) Mondays, b) other monthly occurrences, c) personal baggage, d) nasty surprises, or e) all of the above*

Subject A’s bad mood is characterized by such symptoms as a furrowed brow, lack of reapplication of makeup or other negligence of personal hygiene, donning of pyjama pants within five minutes of reentering house, and, especially the frequent emission of a noise best likened to the intolerable drone of a dozen lazy hornets (henceforth “bitching“).

Subject A usually engages in this behaviour at some length, while Subject B nods politely but basically (and wisely) ignores Subject A.

It seems to end like this:

Subject B, unable to tolerate the bitching any longer, says these words: “Do you want a beer?”

Subject A always replies with “Yes, please. Thank god.”

And the Lower Commune is in harmony once more.

*i.e. Today.

the art of the upper commune fridge

Title: "Incentive Programs are How We Finally Harpoon the White Whale of Progress" (2011) Artist: Collective Medium: Sharpie on Paper with many, many stickers. And a Post-it for Jon.
Title: "Does Lorna Exist?" (2011) Artist: Gregg Medium: Sharpie & Bic on Paper
Title: "Who is our gardener, really?" (2011) Artist: Claire Medium: Ink, Paper, Collective Gambling Habits
Okay, so it's not the fridge, but he's proud of this.
A gallery patron admires the artistry and beauty of the Upper Commune Fridge. "It's, like, so... post-modern. Or something."