Surly Snobby

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Hilarious, Evil Zombie Tomatoes

As Canadians recover from post-traumatic stress disorder ... I mean, as Canadians rest after a raucous election campaign (raucous by Canadian standards) and as I try to figure out how to re-entice my international readership that almost completely gave up on me after I wrote bloggie after bloggie on the election (except for some very patient Americans – some of whom disagree quite strongly with my political convictions and were very understanding on some sticky points of contention, for which I am grateful and I promise to accord you the same respect when your election campaign kicks into high gear – and one very loyal reader from Romania) everyone is sick to death of it. Myself included. And who could blame anyone, especially Canadians, when the Net is full of sites dedicated tosuch important things as navel lint (There. I promised fluff in yesterday’s bloggie and I have delivered)?

Writer's Block / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAfter a couple of weeks of thinking of nothing more than the shape of my country (it’s funny-shaped and has an odd, vaguely gonadic-phallic shape punched out of the north-eastern part), as well as after a vodka-soaked Pride weekend, I have writer’s block. This is particularly detrimental to my happiness as the blog is not the only thing on which I concentrate my alleged writing abilities. To counteract it, I stared at the computer for a while. Shockingly, this did nothing to help. Then, I thought maybe of getting Noudnic to walk across the keyboard and telling everyone he had posted a bloggie all by himself (wouldn’t that have been hilarious?!). A post written by a cat! `^kowrohiéÉQWEFO;GUQboug; Brilliance! But I have less time than I used to to disguise the fact that I usually have absolutely nothing of note to say, disguised with pretty words and long, Proust-like sentences full of commas and subordinate clauses.

My attempts to convince occasional commenter, Rakl, and perpetual lurker, The Fabulous Miss Kate, to guest blog today failed. Apparently their work is more important than I. I can’t really say the same because, as much fun as it is to live off one’s savings, my employ these days is made up of temporary contracts and odd jobs for which I am massively overqualified . . . and I prefer it that way. You see, your stress level decreases to a minimum when you cease fretting over how much money you have and why you’re trapped doing something you hate doing with a bunch of people you wouldn’t normally associate with (Ceux parmi vous avec qui j’ai déjà travaillé et qui lisent ceci, vous savez que ce n’est pas vous que j’indique dans la phrase précédente). But we each have our own approach to adulthood and, as usual, I digress from my very important point, writer’s block.

Hilarious Zombie / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAs Hollywood has shown us, all you need to do is give people something they can laugh at and feel nauseous to at the same time and you have a bona fide hit! This explains such blockbusters as the recent remake of Dawn of the Dead, as in: “Hahahahaha! That chick totally got sliced in half with a chainsaw and like her guts went everywhere! I mean, it’s gross and all but I’m laughing ‘coz it’s so unexpected to see people die horrible deaths, especially in a zombie movie! Y’know? That’s why it’s funny n’stuff.”

Now, I can’t write gross stuff. My knowledge of human anatomy isn’t good enough and this is lucky for you or this blog would most likely be splashed with innards. The best I can do is to discuss food I find gross. It’s probably a bit of a letdown after navel lint and people being sawed in half, but you can place the blame for the mediocre quality of this bloggie squarely on the shoulders of Rakl and The Fabulous Miss Kate.

Are you ready? This is going to be fantastic. Boiled spinach. It’s like eating mushed-up brains with green food colouring. Right? So are you collapsed in gut-roiling hilarity yet? Are you? No? Ok. Eating lychee nuts reminds of Science class in Grade 8 when I had to dissect a cow’s eyeball. They’re all round and squooshy and cloudy liquid shoots out of them when you pierce their skin. Have you vomited through your nose while shaking with hysterical laughter yet? No? Wow. Tough crowd.

Kate's Tomato / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOK. The Fabulous Miss Kate cannot eat tomatoes and there is a gross reason for it. Once when she was a wee lass she ate an entire truckload of tomatoes. Her teensy, half-formed belly was understandably displeased with this invasion and she retired to her bed with an upset tummy. Now, The Fabulous Miss Kate claims to be a very heavy sleeper and I cannot comment on this; the only one I know who can confirm this is her long-time companion Subversive Banker Dude and he doesn’t even read this so we may never know the truth. In any case, she is such a heavy sleeper that she apparently did not awake as she vomited the truckload. When she woke up, everything, the bed, her pyjamas, the pillows, her face, her hair, were covered with a red, sticky, tomato-y-smelling film. Plus, she could have choked on her vomit and died. Isn’t that a riot?

Well, I have a better ending. One of the surviving zombie tomatoes, driven to madness by excessive political commentary and covered somehow with belly lint, took a chainsaw and chopped her in half. Now it’s funny!

This bloggie is terrible. I should stick to half-baked political critiques. Vote Quimby!


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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Again With the Election

Belinda Stronach / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI may have the Canadian election on the brain, but there is something superficial and silly at the end. I cannot burn certain images from this campaign out of my head: Stephen Harper’s Fischer-Price hair, Belinda Stronach’s shiny pink Coco Chanel jumpsuit (it would be a very different country today had she won the Conservative leadership), Jack Layton’s action figure jaw, and a map of Canada divided once again by regional parties; blue in the West, red in Ontario, bleu et blanc au Québec, and a whole bunch of colours in the Maritimes.

The Conservatives failed to make the gains to which they felt they were entitled. The majority of their wins in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba were in rural ridings. They could not capitalize on voters’ anger towards the Liberals in any urban ridings in Ontario. In fact, they were short by almost 50% of the number of seats they expected as a minimum in Ontario. With 29% of the popular vote, the majority of it coming from Alberta and the rural regions of the three other Western provinces, it is clear that Canadians by and large view them as a Western or rural party and are uncomfortable with their vision of the country. But they’re a new party, so this may change.

The Bloc Québécois won as many seats this election as they did in 1993 immediately following Meech Lake and Charlottetown. The Bloc is using this as ammunition for another sovereignty debate, although it seems fairly clear that much of the vote was really anger against the Liberals for laying blame of the sponsorship scandal directly on the entire province. The Quebecois wanted someone de chez nous to represent them and who better than a party so zealous about in its love for Quebec that it wants to lop itself off from the rest of the country? After these results, I’m glad I don’t live there anymore.

Jacques Parizeau / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usPeople from outside Quebec can only imagine the tension in the streets immediately proceeding and following 1995’s sovereignty referendum. I have to admit that, even though I ended up voting “non” (ended up is the correct term in my case), the Non side annoyed me as much as the Oui side and the So-called Unity Rally . . . well, I’ll just get myself in trouble with all of my English Canadian friends if I admit what I thought of that. However, any doubts I had as to my decision evaporated instantly the moment I heard Jacques Parizeau’s rant of concession in which he promised revenge against the ethnic vote for the loss. In any case, the honeymoon is over and we’re back to those same old issues.

Ontarians again voted overwhelmingly Liberal although the Grits did lose a significant number of seats. Not as many as had been predicted. And that was really the only surprise. Everyone, not just the Conservatives, expected much greater Tory gains, especially in Toronto’s suburban 905-Belt. It just didn’t translate as Ontarians, uncomfortable with the new party and with the prospect of the Bloc Québécois being the king-making party voted to maintain the status quo . . . to a certain extent.

Jack Layton / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe North and the Atlantic provinces showed interesting mixtures of all three major parties. It was here that the NDP first began making its presence felt as the polls began to close yesterday evening.

It is significant that although the Tories gained seat from over the former PCs and Alliance combined, they were down in the popular vote. Perhaps it’s not fair to compare last night’s popular vote results to the last election, as it is officially a different party, but they plugged themselves as The Right-Wing Party of Canada and their numbers failed to play that out.

The big winner in the popular vote was the NDP. Just about doubling their popular vote, they may just make themselves into a ruling party in a few decades, if there is still a country called Canada in a few decades. What is also interesting is that, despite Stephen Harper’s claims that Canadians wanted a change and they wanted his kind of change, the only parties that made gains were the lefties, the NDP, the Bloc, and the Greens (who will not be in the House of Commons but are up in the vote nonetheless). If you combine this with the vote for the Liberals, another left-of-centre party (especially in comparison with what counts as left-of-centre in our southern neighbour), you see that almost 70% of Canadians want Canada to stay the socially and fiscally responsible, progressive country that Canada is. With no clear coalition possible in the House of Commons with the new break down, it should be interesting to see how this plays out. Maybe out leaders will actually work together to govern as we return to the days of Quebec sovereignty and Western Alientation.

Justin Theroux /Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAs promised, the fluff: I have another new future husband. I am the luckiest guy in the world. Meet Justin Theroux, of “Mulholland Drive”, “Sex and the City”, and most recently, “Six Feet Under”. He adds the much needed rebel element to my pantheon of husbands. Plus this one actually lives on the same continent as me and so I will have to put my money where my mouth is and cease using geography as my claimed impediment. Who wants to fly me to Hollywood?

Tomorrow: No more election. I will grace the blog with fluff!


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Out, Damn Spot!

Who did I vote for? / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI voted for who? / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThrough the haze of election fatigue, this is what I have to say: now that the Liberals have won by a statistic not nearly as slim as we were led to believe, I want to change my vote. I unvote Liberal and now I vote to NDP. What can it change by this point?


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Monday, June 28, 2004

Go Vote!

Go Vote! / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us"The streets might not rule, but they vote!"

If you're Canadian, stop reading this and go vote now!


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Friday, June 25, 2004

Same Old, Same Old

Election / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usCanada’s election is in three very long days and I am surprised to find that I have decided to do what I always do: vote against a party that I do not want to govern the country rather than for the one I do want to govern. I apologize to the 75% percent of you who read this regularly who live outside of Canada, but you should know that, despite its moderate reputation, Canada is just like any country and deeply divided along political, ideological, ethnic, regional, and religious lines.

The cracks are certainly beginning to show. They had been patched over since the Mulroney years when the regions went on verbal warpaths against each other, culminating with the Quebec Referendum. With talk of firewalls around certain provinces, threats that votes for another party will hasten another vote for Quebec independence (let’s start calling a spade a spade; enough of “sovereignty”, the Canadian public has a confusing choice between four acrimonious political parties with conflicting views they claim to espouse wholeheartedly. One party apparently wants to bring about the end of the world as we know it with it’s alleged views on child pornography, abortion and *gasp* homosexual marriage. Another frolics in the meadows of make-believe with their lovely, utopian view that people truly believe they have a responsibility to society as a whole and not just to themselves. And there are the Conservatives.

Conservative Party supporters forget three very pertinent facts. First, Stephen Harper very publicly stated that Canadian troops should have accompanied our neighbour’s to Iraq despite the fact that the majority of Canadians wanted no such involvement. Had he had his way, Canada would have become involved in one of the biggest military lies ever concocted, not to mention the devastating effect it has had on the stability of the Middle East. It would have moved Canada up the list of potential targets and the bombs in Madrid in February could have just as well been on Toronto’s GO trains; all because of misused intelligence.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSecond, the Conservative Party is quite simply the old Alliance Party with its regional concerns and right wing views in disguise. It is very pertinent to recall that immediately prior to old Progressive Conservative Party vote mandating it’s merger with the Alliance to create the new Conservative Party, 20 000 Alliance members bought PC memberships so as to take part. The old PCs may still have voted for the merger, but not with such a stunning majority. This also gives good insight into the types of tactics this party will use to get its way. I feel confident they would not be above the type of scandal that has plagued the Liberals these past months.

This brings me to my third point. The Conservatives are a party that has been in its present incarnation a matter of months. They have had no general policy-making meeting and therefore have no coherent policy. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the more extreme views of some if its candidates who actually advocate taking rights away for the first time in Canadian history. Supporters of this party may be quite shocked at some the policy decisions made by a Conservative government with no concrete policies except campaign promises. And we all know what those are worth.

And so despite the fact that I want to vote Green or possibly NDP, I will vote Liberal. Until Canadians have proportional representation voting, we will forever be forced to vote the party that who will do the least damage rather than for the one we want to win. I believe that a rural regional party will do vast damage to a country already fracturing along these lines and I do not want them to win. I do not want to take votes away from the Liberals and so I will hold my nose and vote for them, waiting for the day when my vote will actually be worth the opinions I hold.

On a different note, I hope you like my old look that I decided to bring back. The green one was nice, but a little too pretty. Surly may be fun and kinda cute, but he ain’t pretty!

Kamron / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAnd speaking of pretty, I would like to introduce you to my new future husband. Please meet Thai action movie actor and model Kamron Boonteesud. Don’t worry about Ajay. He’s still my future husband; since he has no idea who I am, I feel perfectly justified in not consulting him on this matter. Please, I think the three of us will look great together.

I have two husbands now. This is exactly the sort of thing the Conservatives are worried about.


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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Fountain of Youth

The Fountain had stood in the town square for centuries, but only the pigeons knew its secret / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI have the secret to eternal youth. Unhappy people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying desperately to look young. Ponce de Leon got himself killed look for the Fountain of Youth. All the money, all the energy expended on the quest for youth; it is such a collossal waste. I have discovered exactly what these people need. All they need do is spend of couple of days with their parents who are visiting from a distant city and they will be instantly shunted back to their adolescence.

I have an excellent relationship with my parents and this excellent relationship is certainly exemplified by the mirthful, hearty conversations on the first couple of days of the visit. But somewhere on Day 2 or Day 3 the mood changes all at once for no reason that I can discern and I am instantly transformed into a petulant teenager less than half my age, with arms crossed and pouting crossed in a corner. Youth has been achieved!

Paraphrased Regular Conversation:

Parental Unit: Whatcha doing? [translation: I’m curious about your life, especially since we only see each other once a year and I’m hoping you can tell me a little more about yourself now that you’re an adult. Plus, I’m a little nosey.]

Snarling Surly: Going out. [translation: I am embarrassed to admit that I need a short break from hanging out with you and so I am about to give a reason to want to take a break from hanging out with me so I don't have to admit this.]

Parental Unit: Where are you going? [translation: I know nothing about this city where you live and I’m curious.]

Snarling Surly: Out! (eyes roll) [translation: If you knew how boring my life really is you wouldn’t be so curious.]

Parental Unit: Who’re you going out with? [translation: I like all your friends I’ve ever met and I’d like to know more about them. Is it anyone I know? How’re they doing?]

Snarling Surly: * sigh * I'm going out with friends . . . [translation: I’m really glad you like all my friends, especially since most of them are gay and some parents wouldn’t like that so much, but I don’t want you to hang out with them too much because they always seem to like you more than they like me…and since I am a snarling, surly, insecure teenager . . . ]

Ô the wondrous joy and guilt of spending time with parents.

Luckily for me my parents are quite used to this sort of behaviour from me (they did, after all, live in the same enclosed space as me all through my wonder years) and seem to mostly ignore me when I un-age. What’s more, they are great to hang out with, for the most part and I miss always them when they leave.

The Fountain of Youth / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Youth is overrated.

Happy belated Father’s Day!


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Sunday, June 20, 2004

Contractually Bound

[Much of this post is now moot since I've switched back to my former template]

Ferocious Cell phone / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe new look is not really a political statement, but if you wish to view it as one...

I was bored. Also, I enjoyed with raptures conversation in the style of last week's federal leaders debate with four decidedly unfriendly staff members of my cell phone provider that left me feeling impotent and weak. The point of contention was my old (foreshadowing, the sign of a quality blog!) defective cell phone, which they claimed was no longer in service because of “water damage” before they’d even looked at it. Apparently, all of the phones they sell are of such high quality that the only possible reason for defectiveness is water damage. There is no possibility that they be of poor quality.

 Werewolfy, http://www.werewolfpage.com/multimedia/stills/van_helsing.htm ; Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhen asked the following question, "Well if it’s not water damage [Surly’s first name] – [I loathe it when complete strangers presume to call me by my first name simply because they can see it on a computer screen; I am 33, not 13] – what do you do with it? Play baseball?", Surly’s careened out of "diplomatic", speeding right past "surly", and plunged straight into "ferociously wrathful". It took three shop keeps and the manager to subdue me by that point. I admit my bad temper, but I rarely erupt fully in front of others. It does, however, occur from time to time and those of you have witnessed (or experienced it) can probably picture clearly how events transpired.

But please forgive me for not providing a colourful description. I have no desire to relive too much of the entire event. Suffice it to say that as my phone was no longer under warranty I would have to have it sent for repairs that would take "2 to 8 weeks" (the woman beside me was complaining because hers had been gone for three months and was not yet ready) and the cost would be almost as much as buying a new phone. I was intrigued by the fact that all this occurred not two short months after my old (foreshadowing, the sign of a quality blog!) phone’s warranty had expired and after I had signed a contract with them, locking me into their service. I informed them of this intrigue in various expressive ways.

One long, heated debate, complete with lava flows and calls to "Corporate", and five hundred million thousand dollars later, I left the store with a cloud in my head, an earthquake in my step, a new (admittedly pretty) cell phone that I can’t afford, and a print-out of my address book they salvaged from my old phone, waiving the $10 print-out fee "as a gesture" (such benevolence! Why do you waste your time in this store when you could be negociating peace in the Middle East?). The moral of the story: only sign contracts of any type if you absolutely have to. Signing contracts with service providers eradicates any say you may possibly have as to the service you receive and the quality thereof. It is carte blanch for the provider to treat you as simply the client number as which they so obviously view you. This was also communicated to them as lividly as possible immediately following the financial transaction.

And so feeling used and powerless against the demons of big business (tax their asses off if you win, Jack!), I took my feelings of impotence out on this blog. Do you like the new look? I’ll keep it around for a bit to see if I get used to it. The tiny font against the dark yet busy background of the old look was making me bug-eyed. Any and all comments and suggestions are welcome.

And on a brighter note, my summer has been improved by the discovery of this band thanks to Andy (on whom I would most likely have an enormous crush if we didn’t live appoximately one million zillion kilometres from each other; but we do, so I don’t). Like most of you, I have often wondered what it would sound like if Elton John, the Bee-Gees, the Human League, the New York Dolls, Dexy's Midnight Runners, and a drag queen decided to collaborate. Now I need no longer imagine this wondrous event for the answer is nigh. Plus, the lead singer and drummer are like so totally hot! Buy the album and Torontonians can catch them at Lee’s Palace for only $13 on July 20.

My inanely purchased phone is ringing.


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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Rainy Day

Surly Snobby and Noudnic / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAjay with Wrench / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSurly Snobby, Noudnic, and Ajay on a good day in a faraway land.

Illustrator pillaged simultaneously from Radmila and Ice Queen.


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Leadership

VOTE QUIMBY! / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe federal election looms closer and I find myself growing increasingly cynical. I could only stomach a few minutes of both the French and the English televised leader's debates. It was like watching my sister and me try to out-yell the other when we were children. A political leader should lead through intellect and innovation, not through bluster and lung capacity. I'm not sure I want any of these buffoons near any aspect of my life.

This is what other Canadians had to say on the debates, all pillaged from today's Globe and Mail:

These are our "leaders"? Their comportment in these debates is a frightening spectacle. Talking over each other, answering questions that only they can hear (certainly not the ones I heard posed to them), behaving like children arguing in a park over who is next at bat.
Link
I would like to thank The Globe and Mail for its prescience in running the front-page photo of the historic match between Stephen Harper and Paul Martin in Tuesday night's debate.

Even a cursory glance should reveal that Mr. Harper's overly aggressive play of Rock is beaten by Mr. Martin's bureaucratic Paper.

It warms my heart to see that politicians are finally embracing a higher form of dispute-resolution than the archaic "who talks louder" form of debate to which we have become accustomed.

It would appear that Mr. Martin is going to win hand over fist.
Link
After seeing the debate in English I am left wondering how, out of a population of 30 million, did we Canadians end up with these four?Link
How refreshing it was to be able to watch a leaders' debate undistracted[sic] by even the slightest hint of charisma.
Link
Voter apathy is at an all-time high. I encourage people to vote. I encourage people to consider the issues they deem important before they vote. A confident-sounding leader, like Stephen Harper, does not necessarily make a good leader, as Ontarians have learned with Dalton McGuinty. I am discouraged at the thought of living in a country run by the Conservatives and mini-Dubya, even if it's just a minority government.


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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Good Housekeeping

Cute Shorts / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe strangest thing has happened to all of my shorts. I first noticed it last week when I finally dragged them out of their winter seclusion in my storage room that’s so big it could be a bedroom for a very short roommate. Yes, I have a large storage room in my apartment. This is one of the many reasons why a bout with unemployment won’t scare me away from it despite its hefty rent.

But to get to my point, I had to drag my shorts out of storage. Now, I have a very elaborate filing system. To the untrained layperson it may appear as if I have simply thrown those objects I am too silly to throw away into boxes (or never bothered to unpack them) and then piled the boxes in precarious, quivering piles in the very large storage room. When nosey visitors open the door to the very large storage room they invariably look at me with a quizzical mixture of horror and condescension.

Leaping Lynx / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIn truth, the only entity aside from me who isn’t displeased with my arrangement of the very large storage room is Noudnic the Cat. He gets very excited every time I open the door, which isn’t that often, and he immediately bounds in, transmogrifying into the vicious untamed beast his ancestors were when they ran wild over the Elburz Mountains in the days of yore. This is when he’s not sleeping on his back in the bathtub (I wish I had a digital camera). In any case, he leaps over mountains, lurks in caves, and dodges avalanches (caused by him, might I add). Once while hunting he attacked and eviscerated an entire colony of old hair elastics I had kept from the days just after the days of yore when I wore plaid and ripped jeans and had hair that grew past my titties. I'd saved them because I thought they might be useful one day. Brave, regal Noudnic.

Good Housekeeping / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThis acknowledgement of the inherent usefulness of all used objects permeates my entire outlook towards happy housekeeping. It is my philosophy that if an object has been useful, one should simply leave it precisely where one used it last because it will undoubtedly be useful once again. This applies to all objects. CDs should remain outside of their cases in tall unsteady stacks on my desk because I play them on my computer. Plates should stay on the coffee table in front of the TV because that is where they are utilized. Envelopes from hateful bills need not be discarded: they, or the bills themselves, can easily be transformed into wacky cat toys in one smooth crumple-and-toss movement. C'est simple comme ‹‹bonjour››.

This is a philosophy, you realize, not laziness as some have deemed it. One of these naysayers is my future husband, Ajay. He objects to my practical house-keeping style, believing for some reason that special places should be found for every object in a household and that things should be placed in these places when not in use. It’s a theory. And it’s also very easy for him to accomplish such a meaningless task since he is a model/Bollywood star who has servants to do these things. So whenever he scolds me I simply say, “Well then, fantasy fiancé, send over some of your fantasy servants!” We are then both so stimulated by the charged atmosphere that we make sensual, passionate love in the piles of clean laundry on my bedroom floor. All of this probably goes a long way towards explaining why housecleaning remains a fantasy in my household, along with other fantastical things, like future husbands for example.

In any case, last week my goal was to extract my shorts and my expired passport from the very large storage room. I also thought I would take advantage of the opportunity to put some order in the room, much to Noudnic’s distress. Fortunately I was saved from this task because the shorts were on top of the whole domestic topography. The passport was in the first box I opened, along with some term papers from my undergrad when I wore ripped jeans and plaid and I had hair that grew past my titties. I’d saved them because I thought they might be useful one day.

Twin Shorts / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAnd so as I walked to the passport office in my brand new fashion sandals and my brand new fashion blisters, I noticed something odd about my shorts (Ha! You thought I forgot what I'd written in my first sentence). Their waist appeared to have shrunk over the winter. It’s very strange. The shorts are no shorter than they had been last summer. I cannot explain this odd phenomenon. Perhaps there’s something about the atmosphere of an overheated, closed storage room that causes cloth waists to shrink. I am completely flabbergasted. Has anyone else noticed anything similar?


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Monday, June 14, 2004

Giant, Man-Eating Hair

Summer is always fun for Snobby, having grown up with what some might consider to be the Arctic, complete with metres-deep snow in the winter and clouds of blood-sucking insects in the summer. Since I left Winnipeg almost a decade and a half ago, I don’t think I could survive a western winter anymore, that little thing the government implanted in me under the guide of “rubella vaccinations” . . . rubella is silly name for a disease; Rubella (Jessie Norman – Annie Liebovitz) / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usit sounds like the heroine of a Verdi opera, along with her sisters Anæmia and Carcinoma: she of course dies of consumption at the end of the opera – "consumption”! Now that’s the name of a disease! – while singing an aria about coughing up blood and the injustices of love and life before collapsing into the arms of her spurned lover, Escalope Parmigiano, who has, by some amazing coincidence, returned that very moment from serving as a merchant marine on the Caspian Sea to ask her hand in marriage; Rubella accepts the proposal with her final dying bellow and Escalope Parmigiano goes mad with guilt and thwarted love. But I digress ...

The computer chip that determines the entire course of my life (eg. You are from the West. You must love winter. Your skin is impervious to mosquito bites. You must vote for racist, homophobic political parties and hate anyone who speaks French, etc. . . . ), implanted when I was a child, must have physically carved neural pathways within by brain. Even though I had had it extracted in that weird tattoo parlour in New York’s Lower East Side, I still have difficulties understanding why Easterners go berserk when the temperature dips below –10°C. It has also cursed me with the inability to function normally when the temperature climbs to above 25°C plus humidity. I swoon on Toronto’s gum-encrusted pavement like Rubella in the arms of Escalope Parmigiano. I crawl down the streets in a feverish daze. I stumble from iced drink establishment to iced drink establishment. My primary criterion for male companionship rests solely on whether or not he possesses an air conditioner anywhere in his apartment.

Medusa / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe most striking indication of my inability to abide the sticky weather is the size of my hair. Almost smack dab in the middle of my 30s I am still blessed with the entire shock. This is a blessing of insulation on pretty (to people who don’t live in it) wintery days. It is akin to having an entire rain forest on the top of my noggin on mouldery summer days. As the heat and humidity rise, my hair, perhaps in an effort to save me from drowning, absorbs most of the humidity that surrounds my head like a sheet of quintuple-quilted Bounty and expands at an alarming rate, twisting into large loopy ringlets that appear to writhe even when there is no breeze.

I scoff at products people buy to add volume to their hair. I have spent four times the money for products that make my hair manageable and small. Otherwise, I am Medusa as I stumble down the street. It is, of course, my fault for having made the senseless decision to grow my hair in an attractive, modern, mussed-up looking style that covers the nape of my neck and my forehead, adding to the Turkish steam room quality of my existence. I am regretting this lack of foresight as I contemplate filling a shower cap with ice and sticking it on my head. It couldn’t look any less attractive to the boys than does the kudzu on the top of my head.

Noudnic the Cat, who has the same amount of hair on his entire body as I have on the top of my head, but is much, much smaller than I, has the right idea. He lies on his back, little legs splayed akimbo, in the bathtub the entire day, emerging occasionally for water. We should all be so lucky. At over 6 feet tall (or, if you prefer, at almost 2 metres tall), I fit into bathtubs as easily as I do into airplane seats, movie theatres built before 1995, and Italian cars. In any case, take it from me that he may lie in the bathtub all day, but he objects to having the water turned on to amuse me cool him off. Cats are weird.

Just joking. I didn’t turn the water on him.

Ajay Showers / Image Hosted by ImageShack.uspost scriptum On an unrelated topic, boys are stupid and they smell bad, especially the one who stood me up this weekend. Next time I run into him I shall set my giant, man-eating hair on him and then we’ll see who doesn’t have time for whom.

However Ajay, my future husband, remains lovely and amazing, in case you were wondering.


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Friday, June 11, 2004

The Blighted Right

[Warning! This entry contains left-wing, homosexual content. Fans of "7th Heaven" be warned]

Muscle Boy Election Day/Image Hosted by ImageShack.us It’s once again in election time in Canada and we have a wide array of issues with which to bonk each other over the head repeatedly. Do we gleefully decapitate the Liberals for the sponsorship scandal? Do we pummel Paul Martin with abandon around the nether region for his refusal to apologize for the scandal on behalf of the Liberals? Do we force Jack Layton and the NDP to personally lay off each and every one of the filing clerks, receptionists, and CSRs who will be the first to go if his corporate tax scheme comes into effect? What do we say to the Bloc Québécois who thinks most of us are just dandy, but would rather not have to hang out with us so much? Do we feed the Green Party to giant venus flytraps for their hippy dippy view that all humanity needs is a clean planet on which to dance the Maypole and everyone will just get along and cuddle and be all sweet and goopy?

Nah. Those parties are all fine. However as with every election, I find myself only able to focus on the party I don’t want to run my country, not the one(s) I do. Stephen Harper has a platform I have yet to hear anything about because members of his party keep making statements that give the impression that we’re all going to be voted straight back to the 1950s. The Conservatives' focus on issues of social regulation gives me the willies. But I admit I get the willies easily. For example, most TV gives me the willies, like that horrible parody of American/Canadian Idol where they make fun of those poor people in front of millions of cheering, jeering people. It makes me nauseous just to watch the commercials. TV, however, can be turned off. The Conservative Party cannot. It just keeps yakking. Check out what they had to say this week (you’ll notice I’m focusing on one particular issue, and you know why):

Right Wing Lies/Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe danger in having sexual orientation just listed, that encompasses, for example, pedophiles. I believe that the caucus as a whole would like to see it repealed.
– Cheryl Gallant, Conservative MP on the protection of gays in hate crimes legislation


I think that the biblical teaching is that [homosexuality] is not a natural kind of relationship…[The Ontario Human Rights Code] says if you are a religious organization, you have the right to discriminate on the basis of your faith.
– Frank Luellau, Conservative Party candidate for Kitchener-Conestoga


He's been asked to make it abundantly clear that he would respect the decisions and lifestyles of consenting adults
– Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party, attempting to be contrite


And a couple of detractors:

Wintering in Florida is a lifestyle. People's loving committed relationships are neither lifestyles nor behaviours.
– Alex Munter, of Canadians for Equal Marriage on why Harper’s reaction isn’t strong enough


It is quite clearly, almost defiantly, not the Progressive Conservative party. I've found in campaigns, you really can't hide who you are.
– Joe Clark, former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party who refused to have any affiliation with the party when it merged with the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party (CCRAP – really!) and renamed itself the Conservative Party


I like Clark on his social issues. I wish he had decided to run this time.

Apocalypse/Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe Conservatives go on and on about lowering taxes (which I like, although I also like free medicare and affordable post-secondary education) and regulating social norms. Through some twisted logic, one can hypothesize therefore that the lower the taxes, the tighter the constraints on our morality must be according to the Conservatives. If they don't take steps to control society once taxes have been lowered and animalistic urges begin to pound through us all, who knows the devastation that could occur?! As people have been basically doing what they want anyways, is the COnservative Party strong enough to restrain each and every one of us as our primal, jungle instincts begin to take control once taxes have been lowered? By God! They must immediately cease promising to lower taxes as it obviously causes society as a whole to go beserk and engage in sexual acts with members of the same sex willy-nilly and have abortions whenever it likes. This last point is odd you think about it because if everyone's having sex with members of the same sex, where do the babies come from? And with no babies, the human race will die out. Lower taxes = homosexual behaviour & abortions = birth rate of 0% = THE END OF CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT! We cannot let this happen!

Lovely Ajay/Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIf the Conservatives win, which they very well might, I want them to practice the fiscal responsibility they preach. I do not want them to lecture women on their bodies. I do not want them to equate my marriage to Ajay with pedophilia.

So this is another election where I won’t get to fulfill my lifelong goal to vote Green. Here I go with my strategic voting again. I always for against. I never vote for.


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Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Miscellaneous Gayeties

Beer Eye for the Gay Guy
Last night while in the now smoke-free Woody’s (yay!) I almost greeted a loud-mouth blonde who looked very familiar. I pondered and pondered. Where do I know him from? Is he a half-forgotten drunken dalliance? Although we all make mistakes, I sincerely hoped not.

One of my friends whose taste in media friendly mediums (media friendly media?) I will never trust again knew exactly who he was when I timidly asked how I knew the stranger. "It’s Carson from 'Queer Eye'!" he exclaimed as if I had just accidentally discovered the cure for cancer while simultaneously bringing about world peace and an energy efficient means of instant interstellar travel. Ah. The blonde one. Listening to him talk confirmed that not being blessed with the designer gene as part of my Luscious Cornucopia of Queerness is not the only reason I don't watch that show.

Listen to this music!
Bebel Gilberto;  Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Bebel Gilberto. If Björk did bossanova, this is what it would sound like.

Snobby, Artsy, Pretentious Book F@g
Which Jane Austen heroine are you? (Pillaged from Dim Sum)

Elizabeth Bennet / www.strangegirl.com/austenquiz/;  Image Hosted by ImageShack.usYou are Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice! You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of silliness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed.

Click on the image to take the quiz.


Very true!

This pleases me muchly, as Pride and Prejudice is my favourite Austen book (I've read each one approximately 15 million billion times, except Persuasion, which I've only read 14 million billion times). Elizabeth Bennet is certainly her most engaging heroine. But does this mean that I will end up with Colin Firth, like in the brilliant BBC miniseries? I simply don’t see what other people see in him. I invite someone to enlighten me.

Tightly Wound
I am tightly wound and superficial today. I sincerely hope that I will return to my profound, surly self tomorrow.


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Titanic Bunnies

Titanic Bunnies - www.angryalien.com/Image Hosted by ImageShack.usTitanic in 30 seconds...re-enacted by bunnies


Your heart will go on...somehow...



(c/o Angry Alien)


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Monday, June 07, 2004

Surly Snobby vs. Goofy Jolly

Goofy Jolly;  Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI tried my best to strike terror into the hearts of the poor, doomed number crunchers, but due to lack of sleep – I get insomnia when I have to be up extra early, 5AM in this case – hyper-caffeination as an overcompensation for the lack of sleep, and general empathy for the exam context, Snobby turned into Goofy Jolly (see previous bloggie to understand what the hell I'm blathering about).

Goofy Jolly is a persona I developed when I first started working in restaurants when I was a teenager. I found he was a great hit with women of a certain age and with young families with children, for some reason. He is charming, funny, completely self-effacing, and somewhat bumbling. David Arquette is a pretty fair indication of what Goofy Jolly is like. In any case, he shows his face every once in a while and is very useful for making strangers think I don’t know as much as I do. This allows me to observe them acting naturally with their guard down. This is a very useful skill. I should have been a lawyer.

I had a group of twenty-eight of The Doomed to watch over. A few of my personal Doomed looked exactly like various incarnations of my future husband, but it seemed somehow inappropriate to slip them my telephone number while they were writing the exam. I therefore decided to leave it to destiny to reunite us and I turned my attention to other things, such as comparing very important statistics with the proctor whose section was right next to mine. Over the course of our very long day, she and I discovered the following things about our respective sections.

· three times the number if women were in her section than in mine

· double the number of people were wearing earplugs in her section than in mine

· all of the people wearing earplugs in both sections were men; we decided it was because men have more difficulties concentrating

· I had the double the number of men of Irani origin in my section than she had in hers (2 to her 1); this was important to her since she herself was Irani

· all of the Irani men in our sections were really cute (see above re: future husband)

Cute Irani Future Husband;  Image Hosted by ImageShack.usShe also taught me how to say “Hey! That guy is really cute!” in Farsi, but I forget now.

During the course of the day, Goofy Jolly committed the following atrocities:

· writing “absent” in each column of the list of materials received from the candidates, instead of spaced out evenly across the entire row as clearly indicated (italics supplied by proctor supervisor) in the proctor’s manual

· collecting admission ticket stubs instead of tickets from the candidates during check-in, despite the fact that they are clearly (once again, italics supplied by proctor supervisor) differentiated by the 6 point font word “ticket” in the lower left hand corner of the ticket. I had to interrupt the candidates during their exam to trade the useless piece of 5cm x 5cm paper for the precious 5cm x 5cm one

Evil, Illicit, Dangerous Highlighter;  Image Hosted by ImageShack.us· allowing a candidate to put an illicit highlighter in her pocket. She had one sitting on her desk in plain view, for all the world to see, despite the fact that she had signed a valid and binding contract stating that she was aware of all the examination rules and procedures. I told her to hide the highlighter before my supervisor observed her flagrant act of rule breaking. You see, highlighters are banned from the examination room on pain of a violation report compiled by yours truly that would…well, I’m not exactly sure what it would do but it would be really really bad. If I had been caught, it would have meant the end of my proctoring career. They wouldn’t let me near an exam room again.

· my check marks on the presence sheet look too much like “v”s. According to my supervisor, this could be confusing for the poor people who turn the raw data from the lists into usable statistics. I can just see it:

Data Compiler #756443alpha: Candidate #85467454475984635478 was present.

Data Compiler #945244epsilon: Hold on there, Data Compiler #756443alpha. It looks here more like Candidate #85467454475984635478 was “vee”, not “present”.

Data Compiler #756443alpha: My God, Data Compiler #945244epsilon! You’re right! To think I almost allowed this person’s exam to be graded!

Data Compiler #945244epsilon: An easy mistake to make. Proctor #545389325mu obviously has a difficult time differentiating between a check mark and a vee. We’d better fail the candidate.

Data Compiler #756443alpha: Clearly.

And this destruction of an innocent candidate’s prospects would be my burden to bear for the rest of my life and into the next.

Exam Dungeon;  Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNo one, and I mean no one, was permitted to drink water at their desk however. Rules are rules…

By the end of the day I was practically delirious. I had been on my feet since 6AM with no entertainment but statistics sharing with my neighbour and imagining various activities to perform with any one of my future husbands in the group (I'm talking moonlit strolls along the beach, not whatever you were imagining I was imagining; I do have some decorum).

And two days later my legs are still stiff and aching. I wish one of my future husbands would come over and give me a massage.


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Friday, June 04, 2004

The Rules of Unengagement

Manic Crunching;  Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI have the perfect activity for someone whose hopes for a good job are dimming because he is told that he is either overqualified or under-qualified for every job he applies for. Tomorrow Snobby will have the opportunity of performing such complex tasks as counting exam booklets and looking stern while proctoring for the Chartered Financial Analyst exams.

This week I attended a training session for this activity in which we discussed such controversial exam-related issues as whether or not water bottles are permitted at the candidates’ desks. After a heated 10-minute debate, the consensus was that they may be placed under the chair but that candidates must be advised to consume their water at one of the water stations on the side of the exam area. As you may imagine, Snobby was very impressed with the pomp and circumstance of the whole affair.

I also felt as if I had been shunted back to high school. I sat at the back of the room with Alef Alef as we rolled our eyes as the brownnosers asked questions about apparent contradictions in the training manual (“On page 10 it says that erasers may be placed on the desk yet on page 12 it says they must be placed in a clear plastic bag under the seat” [I am not making this up]. We played hangman in Hebrew and soon it was over.

Analyst;  Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNow, I have difficulties with rules and regulations. I follow them but, because I tend to overthink things, I believe quite rightly that a reason or motivation can be found for anything. Can it be so irrational to search for these reasons? What's more, I am also unaccustomed to being addressed as if I were a child when I ask question reasoning:

Snobby: Why aren’t candidates allowed to drink their water at their desk? Is it to avoid spilling on the exams?

Head Control Freak: [pointed stare at Snobby for five seconds of silence] Candidates are not permitted to drink water at their desks because candidates are not allowed to drink water at their desk.

Snobby: [feels as tall as the font you’re reading]

Cubicle Dungeon;  Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSuch is the humiliation of the poor. Snobby is slowly growing accustomed to being dealt with as if he had as many cells in his brain as dollars in his bank account. I usually no longer point out that I once held positions of responsibility and had enough money to buy Luxembourg. It just begs the question, “So what happened?” Well, after I burned out and quit my job I decided to make a career change, but haven’t yet found what to. That's what happened. My responsibility, to be sure. I find myself growing increasingly surly and caustic as I struggle to float my ego above constant, grinding worries about money, future, and contributions to humanity. And if I have a brain or a thought or the slightest spark of humanity, the Head Control Freak certainly didn’t care. All she saw was an indolent upstart asking silly questions. Thirty-three and still in high school. This is what I considered as I played some more Hebrew hangman.

But we all make our respective beds.

And on the bright side, I get to spend the entire day tomorrow looking stern and enforcing rules. Rules that I will do my best to explain clearly. The exam writers shouldn’t suffer needlessly because their future bosses are rigid automatons. They’ll suffer enough once they get there.


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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Breathe Easier

Hosted by ImageShack.usLast night Snobby went out with Médecin-franco-ontarien to enjoy one of the thousands of Toronto’s (at last!) smoke-free bars. Toronto has finally joined the rest of the Third Millennium and has banned all smoking in bars. Who could have thought that this would happen in New York and Dublin before it happened here, in Toronto the Pure (ha! – Snobby cannot call it that with a straight face)?

Now you smokers who read this and are still swearing that you will never ever again set foot in an establishment that enforces such a blatantly intolerant policy of discrimination and hatred (somebody actually described the new non-smoking by-law to me in such a fashion. I lost my words at the hyperbole and had no idea how to respond without rolling my eyes. So that’s what I did), know you this: once Snobby has approximately half a pint of beer, I shed my mild-mannered demeanour (ha! – I can’t say that with a straight face either) and turn into Super Chain-Smoking Snobby. One after another, almost but not quite lighting the new one off the old one, I inhale them deeply into my body and exhale them into the bodies of my friends and all around me.

This is a hold-over from about fifteen years ago when the only time I didn’t have a cigarette pinched between my stained fingers stained brown, fingers that looked about forty years older than the rest of my body, was when I was asleep. This was my morning ritual from a decade and a half ago when I was a student and stupid, although I was supposedly expanding my brain through study:

1. Alarm clock rings
2. Snobby smokes cigarette
3. Snobby gets up and makes coffee
4. Snobby smokes cigarette while pot of coffee drips
5. Snobby smokes cigarette and drinks coffee
6. Snobby takes shower
7. Snobby smokes cigarette and drinks coffee
8. Non-smoking roommate coughs up entire lung
9. Snobby smokes coffee and drinks cigarette
10. Cat dies

And so forth. You can extrapolate the rest of my day.

Quitting cold turkey was never a successful venture for me. I am surly under the best of circumstances, so you can only imagine the pain I inflicted on all around me. I remember one lovely Christmas vacation when I had run out of cigarettes while back home visiting my family and my staunchly anti-smoking father drove me all over the city in search of a place that was open and would sell me smokes on Christmas Day. Such a joy I can be to all around me!

But over a number of years I methodically eradicated my ritual cigarettes one by one until I felt confident enough to ban smoking in my own house altogether. The one remaining smoking situation I was never able to rid myself of was the bar.

But yesterday I walked into Woody’s and it smelt fresh as a daisy. Woody's?! Woody's. I restrained myself admirably through two entire pints without slicing anyone’s head off or talking non-stop about how much I wanted a smoke. Finally I ventured to the smoker’s dungeon to have my single smoke of the evening (bummed from this like totally cute guy!). Even though it’s open to the outside on two sides it still smelt like an ashtray. The characters I found puffing away in it looked as if they would be quite at home in a bingo parlour, except for the like totally cute guy of course, (my apologies to any bingo enthusiasts among you; I was, of course, not referring to you. You look fabulous wherever you go). The only noise was hushed conversation and the occasional phlegmy hack. I smoked quickly and rejoined my friends, blinking in the light as I emerged from the smoky warren.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAnd this morning I did not experience the following:
· Clothing that reeks
· Stinging, watery eyeballs
· Aching sinuses
· Wheezy lungs
· An inexplicably crushing hangover despite the fact that I had had relatively little to drink

I could get used to this. Cheers!


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