Apologies. This blog has been lately neglected in favour of school semesters rooted in upper level English studies, intensive on reading and writing and consequently heavily demanding of my time. And while I greatly enjoyed exploring the realm of Canadian theatre or delving into survival narratives by literary icons ranging from Dickens to Poe to Atwood, it certainly is nice to have some extra time to indulge in written pursuits of my own.
Not that I hadn’t managed to squeeze in some purely recreational pockets of time in the midst of my education, but these were rather spent enjoying life on a tangible level. Among them were some brief vacations such as a birthday trip to Las Vegas, which, no matter how many times I visit it, always offers something new. Untried experiences on this, my 4th stint in the city, included happy hour at Treasures Gentlemen’s Club, IV bags of wine at the high-caloric themed Heart Attack Grill, and a hilariously wondrous magic show by Penn & Teller.
Closer to home were a couple of brief but delightful getaways within British Columbia. One of these was a May long weekend trip to Gibsons, where my wife and I walked along boat-lined shores of sea stretched to a horizon of snow-capped peaks, played melodies on a public park piano, and enjoyed peaceful evening hot-tub dips surrounded by towering trees and the quiet of the Sunshine Coast.
Another weekend was spent at an apartment rental in Kitsilano Beach, stopping along the way to visit the site of the Bates Motel, removed from its murderous context in the eponymous Netflix series and placed surreally among Aldergrove farm land. Once in Vancouver we made outings to some choice eateries, gorging on bison ribs at Salmon n’ Bannock, sampling the “everything for $5” menu at The Moose, and grabbing a late night snack from the always satisfying Megabite Pizza. But the climax of the excursion was a performance at the Vogue Theatre by Between the Buried and Me, a group I’d longed for years to see perform.
This brings me to another indulgence I prioritized between my studies, that of live music. Months later I can still vividly recall twirling with limbs bent and swinging in a circle pit that inexplicably erupted during a gentle breakdown in the mentioned band’s Selkies: The Endless Obsession. The moment was euphoric, akin to the excitement of being in a rowdy crowd at Cactus Jack’s in Kamloops this May while Anti-Flag performed a set comprised largely of songs I’ve been a fan of since high school. Another nostalgic throwback occurred when I attended a stop of At the Drive-In’s reunion tour back in Vancouver again, this time at the Commodore Ballroom.
So I suppose much has happened in spite of university-imposed time constraints, but until now I hadn’t had a chance to adequately reflect on any of it. This is my condensed reflection, and with school on pause for now I should have opportunity to reflect on experiences to come. And there are some truly exciting ones coming!
With my spring semester having ended I look forward to adventures of the approaching seasons: a family Hawaiian vacation in a coastal Kona house rental, a trip to New York City, a myriad of camping trips, Shambhala, and a looping journey through Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Alberta and British Columbia. And of course as much as possible I hope to write about it all.
While it exists I plan to fully utilize the advantage of free time. To visit real places as well as settings conjured by the mind. To both imagine and experience sensations of all kinds. To make the most of unintended pattern, by ending with a rhyme.
– Cory Stumpf