Archive for September, 2010


quick update…

Hi folks, just a quickie to say that school is amazing and already devouring all my time, so I haven’t given any thought to new posts, sorry! In fact, much as I love my van and truly do think of it as my home, I’m starting to consider school to be every bit as much my home as the van, literally. I’m at school all day, with just short breaks at the pool or on the bus or running errands, and I’ve started keeping my food and various items of clothing there too. More than anything this whole project has shown how flexible the idea of home can be, and this is just one more example.

Anyway back to my original point, I’m pretty wrapped up with school and it might be a while before I write a new post…  be well, everyone!

~j

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Home #125

South Park Street, outside the Old Burial Grounds. This place is amazing! It was in use from about the 1760’s to the 1840’s, and the stones are exquisite. You can tell my favourites are the death-heads… you’ll want to click on the photo to enlarge them, and then click on it again for a really close view.

Some of the stories you can read in the stones are heartbreaking, like the six children of one family, from age 14 days to three and a half years, that they kept losing year after year. The old buildings in Halifax are gorgeous, but being here was the first time I felt really connected to the early Haligonians.

Home #123

Windsor & Welsford. I think this is a pretty typical Halifax house: old, square, and a bit wobbly but with nice details and an all-around adorable feel. Note the driveway up the side; as far as I can tell every house here has one.

Henry & Jubilee.

Winter plan

People tell me it gets cold here. Wikipedia says there are two months of the year where the average low is -10, which doesn’t sound so bad. But that’s the average: the spikes can get as low as… some people say -20, some people say -30. I think I could handle -20, but I don’t know about -30. But I’m expecting that I will have some sort of graduated introduction to the cold. I’m planning to buy a thermometer so that I know at any given time what the temperature is inside the van, how that compares to the temperature outside the van, and how I can expect to feel should it get colder.

Last year my coldest night in Vancouver was -6. I had 4 blankets, and I slept in complete peace and comfort. Obviously -30 would be a lot different. But the extra resources I can pile on are a huge furry blanket, a down sleeping bag, and thermal underwear… plus full-on sweats, if necessary. With enough insulation around my body I might not be able to move, but I think I’ll be pretty warm. Oh yeah, and I’ve got my catalytic heater, and my yogi mind trick. Also I’m thinking about where the van loses the most heat, and how I could mitigate that. And I’m registering with couchsurfing.com, so that for those weeks that are extra extra cold, if I’m uncomfortable in the van I have indoor options. Finally, certain aspects of my new school program are going to help me out: one is that by all accounts I’ll be completely overwhelmed by the workload so I won’t have any free time to be hanging out in the van, it’ll just be a place to sleep; another is that the studio space is available to me 24 hours a day, so in truly dire last-minute circumstances, I can always uh… go back to school?

At this point it’s almost become a personal challenge, but don’t worry folks; I won’t keep it up if it’s not working. I really don’t want to turn into a popsicle!

Home #121

The Commons, which is a big green field in the middle of town. It’s walking distance from school, it’s got a psychedelic fountain, and there are almost no parking restrictions! A little bit high-trafficky in the morning, but that actually worked out well; cars rushed by and gently shook me awake at just the right time.

Halifax parking

Last post notwithstanding, here’s the parking situation:

  • I’ve mentioned the weekly street cleaning at night,
  • I’ve mentioned the 2 hour parking restriction during the day (on all side streets anywhere near downtown, which is where my school is),
  • Now I’ve learned there’s an overnight street parking ban in winter.

I can see why this is necessary; Halifax is an old city, the streets are narrow and in winter the snow plows really can’t be dodging the parked cars. For most Haligonians it’s not a problem, because all houses have some sort of parking on their lots: every house has a driveway at the side, and apartment buildings all have a parking lot out back or underneath. For those who own cars but don’t have enough parking at their homes, the options are either to rent a parking space (going rate seems to be $90/month), or play a continuous game of “dodge the ticket weasels”.

Those are my options too but I also have a third, which is to drive out to Bayer’s Lake, where reportedly just past all the box stores is a fabled wilderness where you can do what you like and no one will notice. I’ll give it a try one night but I doubt I’d do it regularly. It involves a lot of driving, and a lot of morning rush hour, which is total madness every day as a few hundred thousand extra people try to cram themselves into this teeny little peninsula.

I may eventually have to rent some parking. Potentially it could solve all of my problems: the time spent looking for a home every night, time spent commuting, and even the cold of winter, since I may be able to find heated parking indoors. One big problem though: who the hell wants to sleep in a parking garage? Blecch, I think I want to try braving the cold and the ticket weasels first.

Anchor Drive, in the cul-de-sac at the end. Another one of those perfect spots, private and quiet. It even has internet! I think I just might be getting the hang of this place…

Home #119

Quinpool Road.

I have a friend in Halifax, yay! She told me about this spot, a little mini waterfront park where, inexplicably, there aren’t any signs saying no parking overnight. It’s sheltered from the road, with a lovely view, and every so often kids come by to smoke dope and fool around. Perfect!

Quinn Street, the day after the storm.