Surly Snobby

Friday, July 30, 2004

Just Say Mew

Harel Skaat / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usFirst of all:

הראל סקעת פה

It’s called giving the people what they want, since yesterday my hits from Israel outnumbered all but my hits from the States and the trend continues somewhat today. Clearly, they’re not looking for Surly Snobby. This is weird, since I’m Canadian but I’m certainly not complaining. I’ll accept all the attention I can get.

And now for something completely different / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAnd now for something completely different. As the temperature creeps up into the high 20s – practically arctic for Toronto and the end of July/beginning of August (sigh what happened to our summer?) – I set up my improvised air conditioner. Now, as soon as you see the words “improvised air conditioner”, you should immediately know that you’re about to read another story about Noudnic the Cat.

I realize that I write about him a lot. It’s not that I’m a weird cat person, a topic Maktaaq deals with (along with a set of intriguing notions on the differences between men and women). It’s just that he’s far more interesting than TV, believe it or not. Remember, Noudnic is a creature that cannot get enough of chasing the reflection off my watch face up the walls and around the floors. This, believe me, is far more gripping than watching “Trading Spouses”, for example, a show that should never have been allowed to exist. If only I had a time machine and the ability to bend all of Southern California to my will.

I’m rather bored today. No temp or freelance work has appeared this week and the check for some other freelence I did months ago that I was supposed to receive two weeks ago has yet to appear. My entertainment options are therefore rather limited right now. I don’t feel like doing my “serious” writing since and I really should be cleaning my place for a guest I’ll be receiving tomorrow. And, as I’ve already explained, TV is no option. So to amuse myself my mind travels back in time, the closest I can get to that machine I'd hoped for in the previous paragraph, to my late teens when I was still living in Winnipeg and with my friend Happier-not-Teaching whom I’ve known since I was a foetus.

Blue Milk / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOne thing that Happier-not-Teaching, whose name back then was either The Lizard Queen or The Magnificent Colourer of Milk, and I definitely did not do when we were bored was smoke a lot of pot. Oh no, cool and open-minded parents who, on a totally, completely undeniably unrelated topic, used to be hippies! Of course we filled our down time with studies and fervent prayer. Never ever, ever in ten million zillion thousand years would it ever have crossed our pure little minds, all fresh with the glory of G-d, to smoke so much pot that we would turn into hysterical giggle machines, reduced to exploding with laughter at what we perceived to be hilarious faces or strange-sounding words in the English language (Basmati! Rutabaga!). In fact, one evening we didn’t smoke so much while watching “The Exorcist” that we spent a sleepless night warding off imaginary pea soup-spewing demons with rotting skin and milky eyes. That never happened. Ever.

This is your brain on drugs / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWell, at my advanced age of way-to-close-to-my-mid-30s I couldn’t smoke pot even if I wanted to. The last time I tried (I swear I didn’t inhale), it turned me into a stuttering, paranoid zombie, which is even less fun than it sounds. And so to finally get the story around to Noudnic, I decided that the most entertaining thing for me to do was push drugs to my cat. All I have to do is open the cupboard that contains his catnip and he sings like Mariah, but with more restraint as well as the ability to respect the natural phrasing of the music as well as the ear drums of the music.

I used to have a cat named Robin whom catnip would transform into a little calico blur zooming through the air at just below the speed of sound. But not Noudnic. This valiant hunter stares out the window, ambles about the apartment, purring with his tail straight up, and every once in a while gives me a little look through squinty eyes and chirps the kitty version of “Dude, I am so stoned!” before passing out with his head in one of my shoes. Smart, Noudnic. You’re the poster cat for an anti-drug campaign if I’ve ever seen one. Just say “mew”.

I told you I’d fit Noudnic into that overly-verbose mess somehow.



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Thursday, July 29, 2004

A Star is Born

 הראל סקעת / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usMy tenth future husband, סקעת הראל , has won the semi finals of כוכב נולד and Surly has been inundated with visits from now-disappointed Israelis searching for him. Apparently Surly rates higher on the search engines than his does. As flattering as that is, and as tempted as I may be to wax philosophically on the virtues of romantic destiny, I say this instead: הראל סקעת fans, אני מיצטער , and welcome to קנדה . Go פה instead.

Nope. Can’t be destiny.



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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Storm That Passion Did Begin

Amoretti VIII / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSent to me by my friend, Sexy Librarian, who is much too smart for her own good, is this poetry mood matcher. Here is my result - I have no comment as to the accuracy or lack thereof of the conclusion drawn by this cyber-robot/database other than to say, "Oh great. A love poem":

Amoretti VIII

More than most fair, full of the living fire,
Kindled above unto the maker near:
No eyes but joys, in which all powers conspire,
That to the world naught else be counted dear.

Through your bright beams doth not the blinded guest,
Shoot out his darts to base affections wound:
But Angels come to lead frail minds to rest
In chaste desires on heavenly beauty bound.

You frame my thoughts and fashion me within,
You stop my tongue, and teach my heart to speak,
You calm the storm that passion did begin,
Strong through your cause, but by your virtue weak.

Dark is the world, where your light shined never;
Well is he born, that may behold you ever.
Edmund Spenser (1552 - 1559)


Let the robot tell you how you feel today.


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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Un bon petit repas

Un bon petit repas / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usEntrée
Entrée in French gastronomical terms means "appetizer" and not "main course" as it has come to mean to English-speaking North Americans (and maybe English speakers elsewhere too; I don’t know) for some reason I’ve never managed to understand. It literally means "entrance".

In any case, check out my fancy new pointer (not available with Mozilla, apparently). Oooooo! Swish! And it only takes a few seconds to get annoying. But oh! the fun you can have on those few seconds. Try spinning it in circles and racing it as rapidly as possible across your monitor. This is my pretty way of saying that I need a new life.

Premier service
My major trip home – rather more appropriately "Home I", Winnipeg, as opposed to, Montréal, "Home II (The Return of Home! It’s not just back! It’s back with a vengeance!)" – I watch too much TV – for the High Holidays is booked and confirmed. I could almost hear my father telephonically fall off his chair when I agreed to go to shul with him. And I’ll fast bigger’n’better than the rest of them all on Yom Kippur too (in a contrite and observant manner, of course).

Deuxième service
Socks / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usDespite yesterday’s bloggie, I am not starving to death. What’s more, many of my socks are darnable and those that aren’t are damnable (buddum-chhhhhhhhhhhhh). Plus, I actually can afford to buy a pair or two every so often. I simply wanted to use an image that most people would be able to relate to and have a reaction to without reaching for the melodrama of, say, a top-hatted landlord twirling his moustache as he plans to tie me to the train tracks because I can’t pay rent. Manipulative imagery. Your sign of a Quality Blog®.

Of course, that way a Mountie, played by the first of my ten (so far) future husbands, model and Bollywood actor Ajay would ride up on his trusty steed, pop the evil landlord in the kisser and untie me from the tracks. We would gaze at each other as we rode off into the sunset, hoping that the horse knew where he was going since we were gazing at each other. And that’s my desert.


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Sunday, July 25, 2004

If I Were a Rich Man

If I were a rich man / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhen I was a kid I wanted to have a pet dinosaur. This was completely impractical, of course, simply because my parents would have never had enough money to feed a dinosaur. Children don’t worry about such practicalities. They just imagine what they imagine and although the big bad world starts ripping apart their dreams at birth, the effects aren’t noticeable until near the end of adolescence.

Pet dinosaur / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAfter years of adult pragmatism, I certainly have enjoyed being impractical. Now, however, I don’t want to face the fact that all my socks have holes and my savings are almost drained, my writer’s salary (the oxymoron, sign of a quality bloggie) allowing me to buy only one single sock once every six months. Good thing almost all of my nine future husbands are rich.

Harel Skaat / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSpeaking of which, I now have a tenth. His name is Harel Skaat ( הראל סקעת ) and he one of the finalists in the Israeli version of those horrid “we’ll turn you into a one hit wonder” vocal pyrotechnics shows, imaginatively called “A Star Is Born” (כוכב נולד). He’s a little younger than most of the men I regularly marry, but he’s legal.

One day I’m going to have to enumerate all my future husbands before there are too many of them.



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Friday, July 23, 2004

Cats Are Stupid

Complaints / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usStupid Week is drawing to a close, thank God. Let us now recap what we have learned during this momentous week. We have learned that while people are stupid as a group (well, we already knew that), men as a subgroup may or may not be stupid. If one happens to be a man who hypothesizes that men may indeed not be stupid, one must be prepared to see one’s daily hits immediately cut themselves almost in half.

One must also be prepared to wake up one morning to read outraged, indignant emails while savouring one’s morning coffee. Since I’d already covered people being stupid in yesterday’s entry, and for a much more pointed reason, I simply clicked my heels in glee. I must really be a writer! I get hate mail now! Not my first, mind you, or at least not my first blog-related hate mail. This inspired that. Without realizing it, people who write to me expressing a strong opinion are treating me like the editor of a publication that has published an article that has struck a chord. Their hatred of me legitimizes my writing credientials. Huzzah! I’m like Dan Savage! What else could a bitchy aspiring writer wish for (aside from a little more money)?

Age of Aquarius / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usPerhaps it’s true, however, that I occasionally go a little overboard in my scathing reviews of humanity. After all, this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, which – according to that book I reviewed so scathingly and am now beginning to enjoy very much (mmm . . . my words are delicious although the writing still sucks) – is the dawning of humanity’s search for truth after the Age of Pisces which apparently was the Age of Being Bossed Around.

It may be true that humanity may be committing slow, painful suicide by poisoning its home and by cutting its nose off to spite its face. Humanity my be so bound by its own and various sets of ideologies and dogma that it cannot even begin to contemplate the truth, no matter how minor, of another point of view. It may willing to shout loud and even murder to stamp out any opposition to unconsidered dogma. Finally, humanity may have begun my day for me by sending me an email that began, “Dear f---face! [ed. note: “dear”?] You hate women!” but I still loves it . . . despite its stupidity.

And speaking of stupid, cats are stupid. My cat, in particular is stupid. Thus far I have painted him as a clown, as a predatory teacher, and as an interior decorator but let’s face it, he’s pretty dumb. Now before I get another tsunami of indignant emails (I love that I get to write that now!), starting, “Dear f---face! You hate cats!” let it be known that I love Noudnic with ever fibre of my being. When it’s his time, because if all goes well in my life I really should outlive him, I will be devastated and writing about for months. However, we are discussing a creature whose favourite game is to fish out crumpled pieces paper from the recycling bin and tear them to shreds, and whose second favourite game is to be tossed, purring with tail straight up in excitement, onto my bed and to scamper back to me, mewing for more. May we move on now?

Cold Comfort / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThat aside, Noudnic is stupid and here is the proof. After a very late start, Toronto is finally having the kind of summer to which it is accustomed. The mercury is busting out of the thermometers and people are crawling down the street, swooning under a humid layer of car fumes. I have no air conditioner, because I am morally opposed to them (as in, I don’t have enough money for one; they are therefore evil) and so I set up quite an ingenious system, if I so say so myself, system that actually had the desired effect.

I closed all the windows in my apartment to let none of my anticipated cold air out. I then filled my bathtub with cold water, which lowered the temperature in the bathroom by several degrees (both Centigrade and Fahrenheit). I then set up a series of strategically placed fans all over the apartment end voilà!, a cool breeze circulating through the entire place. As I said, men aren’t stupid.

Those who have already picked up on the keywords, “cat”, “stupid”, “fill”, and “bathtub” get a gold star and don’t have to read any more of this entry if they have other things they need to do.

Wet Cat / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThere I was, sitting comfortably at my computer, a cool breeze blowing though where my hair once was, sipping on a nice, cold iced tea, chuckling over the apparently deliberate stylistic choices of yet another vexed gender divide-related email (“When will you learn that women are not your jokes to make?”), when I heard scratch! scratch! scratchscratchscratch! SPLASH! splishsplashsplishsplash! Mew! Mew! Mew!. Half a split second later a pathetic, water-logged creature scuttled across the living room and into the kitchen where he promptly began to chase his tail. I suppose he didn’t recognize it as his own because it was so wet; since he was on edge, he decided that the tail would have to pay). Round and round and round he went without noticing that his little silver kitty maelstrom was sliding directly towards his food dish and boom!, little nuggets of cat food flew into the air as tornado collided with bowl. This was too much for his poor nerves. He hissed at his scattered sustenance and darted under the desk where he cowered, his ear flattened.

After I’d picked myself off the floor and the laughter cramps had subsided somewhat, I coaxed him out from his refuge and brushed him until he was only damp. He spent the rest of the afternoon purring at my feet, staring at nothing. But I think even he would admit that he was cool, even if he didn’t know why. Stupid cat.

That was pretty funny, eh? Even though we may all hate each other with blind, murderous rage, there is still room for humour and, dare I say it, love. Happy Stupid Week, folks! Go for a walk in the park and throw bread at the pigeons.

Beautiful World / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us



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Thursday, July 22, 2004

People Are Stupid

Video Shows 9/11 Security Check

All our differences will by smoothed away by the worms, our opinions carried away in the rising smoke / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usHave a look at how easy it is for both genders to be reduced to ashes. This is the world we're giving to our children. With the arrogant and dehumanizing justification of brutal violence on all sides of our poor world's latest pissing matches, those of us who aren't killed by invasion or blown up on our way to work will know someone who will be. All our differences will by smoothed away by the worms, our opinions carried away on the rising smoke.


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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Men Aren't Stupid

Hawking / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI’m not quite sure why I was surprised that no one rushed to defend men after my last entry, entitled in my usual delicate manner “Men Are Stupid”. After all, had I written something called “Women Are Stupid”, or even “Gals Are Vain, Insincere Flowers Who Need Our Guidance”, there’s a distinct possibility that I would have been pilloried, my blog burnt in effigy (what would that effigy be, I wonder) with my mother, bless her heart, leading the ravenous, blood-lusty pack. Before the lynching begins, please note that I do not believe that, I was just trying to make a point. That point is that while humour that pokes fun at women is sexist and evil, humour that pokes fun at men is politically correct and completely acceptable in all segments of society

Now before someone brings up the point that I myself am the one who scribbled an entry entitled “Men Are Stupid”, let me be the first to say that, in certain contexts, off-colour humour can be quite funny. I do enjoy the odd Jewish joke – I’m not talking about the Wise Men of Chelm here – and it doesn’t even have to be told by another Jew. But the context must be right.

The wrong context was last week when Médecin-sans-frontières and I were at a bar chatting with a bartender with whom we are acquainted. The bartender’s description of demanding customer was that he was “a typical J.A.P.” and the only thing he could back it up with was the statement that he wasn’t referring to me (a point that doesn’t seem to obvious to me), indicating that he might truly believe that such a description is an accurate one. The context was also wrong because he doesn’t know me very well and should therefore save his delicate humour for his friends.

But I was referring to men. I have another example. When I was still in university, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and God hadn’t yet invented grass or flowers, I took a seminar course led by a female prof with eight or nine female co-conspirators. Male jokes were told with glee and when I would speak on matters related to the actual course, I was often dismissed as I “thought that” just because I was a man. It was a linguistics course, which is mostly math, believe it or not, and therefore has no business in the Mars-Venus divide. At first I took it good-naturedly. But as the semester continued I began to feel increasingly uncomfortable. When I finally stood up for myself, I was told that now I “knew how it felt”.

Well, I grew up the butt of practically every joke at school until I reached high school where, for some reason I never understood but was very happy for, I suddenly became cool and popular. Unlike most people, I quite enjoyed high school, but maybe it’s because I was relieved. So I think I already had a fair idea of what it’s like to be dismissed in inane grounds. The statement that it was OK to treat me any way because of my gender was along the lines of saying to a woman, “Gosh! You gals are so cute when you try to use your little brains!” If it was indeed simply humour, which I’m not convinced it was, the context was inappropriate due to the fact that it was a seminar class and that this “humour” did not take into account any of the myriad of factors and past experiences that show us all to be human beings, not penises or vaginas with legs.

Einstein / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNow, back to “Men Are Stupid”. Since it was clear that I am a man and that I obviously don’t believe that men are stupid any more than I believe that women are wispy, simple beings, I suppose there was no need to rush to the defence of men or our brainpower although it would have been fun if someone had. So I guess, like most of what I write, there was no need for this entry. Now go back to work!


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Monday, July 19, 2004

Men Are Stupid

Men are stupid / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI should not at all be surprised at how superficial men can be. After all, I am a man and it therefore must follow that I occasionally suffer from the same debilitating lack of judgment, my brain cells impaired by that pesky y-chromosome, my neurons puttputting along in a valiant attempt to fire off and allow me to make sense of my environment. D’uuuuh . . . shiny!

The circumstance that has brought these thoughts to the forefront of my testosterone-addled brain – true intellect is always lurking back there somewhere in the fogs of pornography and . . . um, well nothing else, if truth be told . . . that pass as thought processes in my noggin – is the amount of male attention I have received since yesterday morning. I used to have no problem whatsoever with male attention. In fact, I enjoyed it when it was welcome and I had absolutely no difficulties sending unwanted gentleman callers on their merry way. I suffer some terrible stage fright, which was a problem when I was a musician, but I would enjoy walking down Church Street, noticing the heads are swivelling my way and remaining there. But aside from my Cabbagetown adventure, I hadn’t been experiencing so much of it recently. Until yesterday morning at approximately 10:17AM, that is.

Olof Malleberg / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us10:17AM is approximately the time when the clippers starting mowing off my gorgeous, ever-expanding locks, leaving me with 1mm on the sides and back and 1.5mm on the top. The greenhouse on my head was just too much for my poor delicate composition. Now I look exactly like the handsome young gentleman to the left of these words. Why is it that I keep finding pictures of myself on Swedish soccer sites? I'm no soccer star.

OK, I don’t really look like Olof Malleberg (thanks SparkleMpls for bringing him to my attention, by the way). I look more like I’ve just joined the Israeli army (I cannot imagine myself joining any army, by the way). But the lack of distracting tresses all every which way on and around my head shows – and it grieves me to write this stereotype – my nose to be somewhat more prominent than I had remembered. Plus, the sun has managed to break through the layers of sunscreen I slather onto every square nanometre of my exposed skin and my summer colouring does indeed appear to point to some ancient Middle Eastern origin.

Pesky y-chromosome / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIn any case, I digress as usual. My walk to the Starfucks’s after my Samson impression was an eye-opening one. Men whose gaze used to go right through me when I had a nice early-70s moptop going now observed me predatorily. Little did they know that I was impervious to their powers of trash and smut. Months as an ugly duckling have reminded me that there is attention and then there is attention. Those who found me undesirable when my hair didn’t fit an unwritten Queer Eye norm do not become more attractive to me simply because I pass evening gown contest in a silly beauty contast, all because my hair is now acceptable for a gay man. It’s just hair.

Only one day later and I find it inconceivable that I, a strong-willed, independent person such as I am, should have ever regretted lack of attention from these self-centred bozos. But I wonder how many intriguing guys I’ve glossed over simply because I didn’t like their hair or clothes. Stupid y-chromosome. D'uuuuuuh . . . pretty!


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Friday, July 16, 2004

Scrumptious Éclairs

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usYesterday I went to see a mediocre yet well-intentioned film called "La Finestra di fronte" with occasional lurker, Sexy Librarian. It appeared at first as if it were going to be about an elderly Jewish gay concentration camp survivor with Alzheimer’s who returns to Rome sixty years after the Nazis swept through that city and sent the entire Jewish Ghetto to the camps. He returns, lost and confused, to face the demons of his past, including that horrible night (obviously) and searching for the boyfriend he’d abandoned that night in an effort save fellow the very Ghetto residents who had scorned him his entire adult life because of his homosexuality. Now that would have been an interesting movie! Instead, it turned out to be about a woman who tries to save her marriage to one of my future husbands by having an affair with another of my future husbands and then by becoming a pastry chef. Incongruous? That’s what I thought as they tried to draw the various themes together towards the end.

Ivan Bacchi / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usFilippo Nigro / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAs you may have noticed, I got myself a whole bunch of future husbands in this movie. There was Massimo Poggio and Billo Thiernothian who appear so shy in my presence that they have posted no pictures of themselves on the net. Then there was Ivan Bacchi who spent far too little time onscreen and far too much time wearing clothing. And then there was butch mechanic with a soft and squishy heart, Filippo Nigro; I’d save my marriage to him by becoming a pastry chef too, preparing for him the most scrumptious éclairs ever. Finally, there was Raoul Bova whom I’d admired since I first began stalking him after seeing him on a commercial for "Under the Tuscan Sun". After I’d seen the movie just for him (and believe me, he was definitely the only reason to see that drivelly piece of fluff), I still wasn’t sure if he liked me "like that". Now, however, I know that he does like me in that way and I greatly look forward to our blissful life together.

Raoul Bova / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNow speaking of "Under the Tuscan Sun", the most entertaining part of the entire movie, aside from Raoul of course, was listening to the people in front of me buy their tickets. They strode up to the wicket, slapped down the forty trillion zillion dollars and seventeen cents it costs to see a movie these days, and proudly asked for two tickets to – I am not making this up – "Under the Tucson Sun". Both the nice woman selling tickets and I managed to maintain our composure until I asked for a ticket to "Under the Albuquerque Sun" (yes, I know they’re in different states). She told me I’d made her day. Hmmm . . . maybe you had to be there, but it was really, really funny!

But back to the real Italian movie I’d been talking about. Sexy Librarian, who’d liked the movie slightly less than I did, still found it pertinent to scold me for all my husband-hunting throughout, unjustly accusing me of superficiality. But as the movie was so much less than it could have been – the two separate storylines never gelled and, in fact, detracted from one another – I was forced to look elsewhere for the movie’s strong point: a whole buncha really hot men to towering twenty feet above me as I sat in the darkened theatre. Always look on the bright side.

Old and Alone, Massimo Girotti / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usBut the movie did get me thinking a little. In North America for the past year or so the media has been diverting much of our attention from the fact that we maybe blown up at any second or arrested or invaded for not agreeing with a certain government on how to deal with the fact that we may be blown up at any second to the issue of same-sex marriage (for an interesting discussion on the recent failure of Bush’s failed Constitutional ban of same-sex marriage chez my neighbour to the south on Hot Abercrombie Chick. Then check out my brilliant, thoroughly under-appreciated comment on the post – it was the wrong audience for me). Much of the discussion has revolved around the view that the sole purpose of marriage is procreation. This seems simple-minded to me, but then again I have never procreated nor, I suppose, will I ever. This certainly does explain, however, loveless arranged marriages (whose actual purpose was to create alliances between clans and amass wealth) and it does not address right of married couples who cannot or chose not to reproduce their little devil DNA mergers, running to and fro terrorizing cats and eating bugs. It seems to me that marriage is really about stable and loving companionship and sharing throughout the course of one’s life.

One scene in the movie demonstrating this beautifully was towards the beginning when the elderly gentleman has a little breakdown in front of a store closed for the night, crying to be let in, that we later discover was owned by the boyfriend he hadn’t seen since 1943. No one wants to be that man, having lived a full life yet ultimately alone. The fact that I am almost 34 and just found last week a white pubic hair (I enjoy the gradual silvering of my temples but it is completely unnecessary for the rest of my body to age as rapidly) leads me to believe that I may indeed be that man in forty years. Now before you say, "No way, Surly. You’re brilliant and witty and kind and, like, totally hot! Any guy would be lucky to snag you!" let me say thanks but a) you don’t know that for certain, especially since gay men are generally much less forgiving than women are of the slow disintegration of others' beauty due to age, b) I will never be ultimately alone since I have very many excellent friends and a pretty cool family to boot, and c) that’s not really what I’m writing about.

Taye Diggs / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhat I really mean to say is that most humans want companionship and even the most antisocial of us emerge blinking from out lairs every once in a while. The basis of this loving institution is love, not "The Brood". We all want companionship and because humans are social creatures and basically insecure, we all want out companionship to be recognized by those around us. This is one reason why civil union is not enough and why just living your life with someone isn’t enough either. Straight couple may choose common law, and it's their choice. They can have their wedding or they can choose not to have their wedding. In most of the world gay men and women do not have this choice in most of the world. Gay men and women merit the consideration of the rest of the world and the recognition that our relationships are based on the same emotions and the same dreams and desires as straight relationships. All . . . um, how many are there now? . . . nine of my fantasy future husbands agree and my real fantasy future husband – Taye Diggs’ gay, Cabbagetown-dwelling doppelganger perhaps? – agrees as well. So all in all, I guess it was a pretty good movie.


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Thursday, July 15, 2004

O Frabjous Day!

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Yesterday this happened and then this happened.

And so I chose for once to concentrate on the good things that happened yesterday and not the bad.


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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Mona Lisa Riled

[My apologies to those who enjoyed the subject matter of the following post. I am often, as you have come to realize, an impatient, judgmental kinda guy]

Mona lisa Riled / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usEven though I was warned by many not to do so, I have started reading The Da Vinci Code. My friend Médecin-sans-frontières lent it to me, telling me that I would be completely appalled by the writing, but that I would thoroughly enjoy the story. "Oooooo," I thought to myself. "A thriller set in Paris about the Knights Templar, other secret medieval societies, and the Mona Lisa! How bad could it possibly be?"

Well, the writing is often so bad that at times I want to gouge out my eyes with the book's pointy corners before casting it and then myself out the window. Here is an example (and it is paraphrase and parody, not an actual extract):

They rounded a corner to find that a hulking guard, his large arms crossed in front of his massive chest with a steely look of determination on his broad features, was standing in front of the door.

The entrance is blocked and none shall pass

Langdon looked at the guard and then back at Sophie. "We won’t be able to get through the door. The guard is blocking our path through it," he exhaled.

Sophie looked at the guard standing in front of the door, impeding their way, and then fixed Langdon with a gaze of complete desolation. "Yes," she sighed mesmerizingly through her slightly pouted French lips. "He will stop us from getting through that door."


I acknowledge that it’s in bad form to attempt to make oneself look better by making another look bad, but the author of that book is making millions whereas I have holes in every single one of my socks (which is my fault for not having a real job, I know! But I just want to see where this takes me). So I suspect my criticism would mean very little to him.

But my question is this: if books such as that are published and become bestsellers, does that strengthen or weaken my chances of every being published (aside from the odd letter to the editor in the Globe and Mail – four in the past six months!), once my style is mature enough?


... Read the rest of "Mona Lisa Riled"

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True Loneliness

To the gay Middle-Eastern blogger to whom I’m not sure I should link because of the recent Internet law passed in his country, the one who said "I never had a friend" when a robot told him to talk to his friends about being gay and lonely, this is what I say to you: you are not alone, my friend. I hope you come back and read this, again and again if need be. Come back soon.


... Read the rest of "True Loneliness"

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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Emperor of the Universe

Yesterday’s weather continued to be glorious, unlike today’s dreary goop and I decided it would be the perfect time to make the long quest to Queen & Bathurst for my regular hit of Serbian pea soup. Unlike my first few encounters there, the nice ladies who work there now know me and love me. Yesterday when I entered I was greeted with a chorus of "Oh Handsome! We are out of pea soup today!" I was instead convinced to buy a delicious vegetable soup and an even more delicious gooey mushroom blob with bits of politically incorrect baby cow. Now before you get all in my face about baby cow, I have dealt with very formidable individuals on this issue and I still eat it on the odd occasion. Show your love for all God’s creatures by beating me up some other time.

Skirt of Evil / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOn my way there I saw whom I swear was the same woman I saw walking down the street discussing Heidigger almost exactly two months ago, wearing one of those skirts I thought were all torched once the 80s were finally over (if we witness the rebirth of acid wash jeans, folk, I’m packing up and heading for the Arctic). In any case, this time she wasn’t yammering on her cell while applying lip-gloss. This time she was strutting down the street with her laptop open and balanced on her shoulder, blasting rap through the littered streets of downtown Toronto. Her laptop . . . just like we used to see with boomboxes (I refuse to call it that other thing we called them in the 80s). And I swear it was the same woman

At first I thought, "What a brilliant modern adaptation of an old cliché!" And then as I passed her and almost had my ears singed off and my eardrums exploded I thought, "This chickie just desperately needs to be noticed".

If I told her that she is rapidly becoming for me a symbol of all that is shallow and vapid about the West as it struts along, blasting its music, babbling into its cell, applying its makeup, and completely ignoring all around it, would she care? And before I am accused of misogyny, the equally apparent male equivalent is the guy I the teeny-weeny (note the emphasis on "teeny-weeny") car that’s been fitted with subwoofers under the seats so that all you can hear when it comes within a block of you is BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BA BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM.

The world will be a much different place when I become Emperor of the Universe.


... Read the rest of "The Emperor of the Universe"

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Sunday, July 11, 2004

Taye Diggs Me

Taye Diggs / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIf too-beautiful-to-be true Taye Diggs, or someone who looked exactly like him had smiled at you as you were walking down Parliament Street, all virtuous and virgin-like, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, what would you have done? Would you have smiled confidently, nonchalantly walked up to him, stunned him with your massive wit, fascinated him with the breadth and depth of your knowledge and interests, but only enough that he was left wanting more, before exchanging phone numbers and emails and MSN Messenger nicknames (the Third Millennium so complex)? Alternately, would you have done what I did, giggle like a complete goof and scurry away, using as an excuse that you were on your way to a garage sale at the home of constant lurker and occasional commenter, Marqanoid, and you therefore had no time for such dalliances? I choose the second option.

I arrived at Marqanoid's to find that the garage sale was over and my "excuse" had been for nought. He was so sunstroked that he was all but passed out in his backyard, so incapacitated that he thought the squished bugs he'd rolled on were freckles. Such were the heights of his intellect this sunny Saturdaafternoonon. I didn't even get to snag the matching Wonder Twins salt and pepper shakers!

Taye Diggs / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI am surely losing my touch. The street pick-up has never really been my thing, but I'm certainly not opposed to walking a few blocks out of my way with an interesting fella just to see if a later date is possible. I've met some of my favourite ex-boyfriends that way. So no shakers and no Taye for Surly, who now feels both adolescent and incredibly old, and a bit of a loser, at the same time.

In honour of this non-event, I am not announcing my engagement to Taye Diggs, a straight actor whom I will never meet. That would be silly. Plus I already have four fiancés. Instead, I promise to smile brightly back at his gay, Cabbagetown-dwelling doppelganger if we ever cross paths again. I hope he's enjoying his burritos, wherever he may be right now.


... Read the rest of "Taye Diggs Me"

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Alien Bunnies

Alien Bunnies / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us"Alien" in 30 seconds, and re-enacted by bunnies

Blogger had a stroke and lost the first Alien Bunnies post I'd done, so here it is again. But this time it's even better because I've got a pic from the cartoon donated to Surly personally by the SuperGenius behind the 30-Second Bunny Crew herself! It's better than an autograph! Does this make me a groupie?


... Read the rest of "Alien Bunnies"

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Liberté Égalité Fraternité

Liberté Égalité Fraternité / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAttacking Gang Draws Swastikas on Parisian

There is an enormous difference between this and what I was complaining about a few days ago.

The fact that the other passengers did nothing only appears to reinforce the notion that French society tacitly accepts this kind of behaviour, as anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic acts are on the rise in that country more than in any other Western country. This is misleading, though.

Would we do any better? What would you have done had you been on that train observing this? I'm ashamed to admit that I probably would have been terrified into paralysis.

[Update July 13 - Paris Attack Victim Admits She Lied

It is truly unfortunate that this individual chose to twist a very sad and volatile issue and turn it to her own devices just for a little attention. It in now way lessons the danger of hate crimes against any group, not just in France but everywhere in the world. It is, however, an example of how these types of real crimes may be pushed aside easily. Attention. La prochaine fois c'est vous qui pourriez être victime d'un tel crime.
]


... Read the rest of "Liberté Égalité Fraternité"

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Saturday, July 10, 2004

A Deadly Lesson

Spiders are our friends / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usCats are generous creatures. With all the magnanimity they can muster, they graciously allow their humans to give them affection, feed them, clean their kitty litter, and open and close the door repeatedly while they sit moewing at the entrance. We forget they are wild animals as we pet them and coo at them in baby talk.

Noudnic the Cat is always considerate of my feelings. For example, he scratches endlessly in his kitty litter loud enough for me to hear him wherever I am in the apartment just to assure me that he uses it. He sits on the pile of clean clothing in the middle of my bedroom floor and not on the pile of dirty laundry just so I know which is which. Sometimes he rearranges my books for me. And a few days ago he brought me a gift.

Many people, and these are usually the people who give their cats names like "Smoofikins" or "Princess Pastel" and take pictures of them hanging adorably out of baskets, will swear up and down as if cats spoke English (ou français, o español, eller svenska, או עיברית, etc.), when their cats plop bloody, pulpy, half-alive creatures before them, that they have been presented with a precious gift of love. "My little poopikins loves me so very very much!" they will exclaim joyously as they nuzzle their faces through the cat’s fur. So far will people go to believe that everything in the world revolves around them.

These are usually the people who give their cats names like Smoofikins or Princess Pastel.../ Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNow, as much as I’d like to think that Noudnic lives for me, I acknowledge that he in fact lives because of me. I feed him and make him feel not to alone in the world. And when it comes right down to it, that’s about all one can say of most human relationships (this is my justification for being almost 34 and single again, or still, but that’s another series of stories full of serendipity and mishap). I don’t labour under the misguided notion that he does anything for my benefit out of love; he does it only because he knows he has to share space with me.

I recall reading once on a site I can no longer find that cats actually bring their human slaves little tidbits the same way that mother cats bring their kittens half-alive squirrels. It’s education: the kittens must learn to kill and devour and their prey is mostly incapacitated to make the slaughter a little easier. And the same goes for us: they observe our incomprehensible eating habits (by their standards) and they undertake our edification. It has less to do with "I love you" and more to do with "Eat this, stupid . . . "

There could be no trace of affection in the gift that Noudnic gave me a few days ago as I slept. I awoke in the middle of the night to see a slight fluttering inches from my face. I leapt out of bed as I realized what lay on my pillow. It was a spider only the size of the nail on my little finger struggling to run away and hide in a corner. But it couldn’t move because all but three of its legs had been ripped off. Noudnic lounged on the windowsill observing us and I had no idea what to do.

When I was a child I would run away from daddy-long-legs / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI hate spiders. They terrify me. When I was a child I would run away from daddy-long-legs because it seemed impossible they be anything but monsters, tiny as they were. I was probably the only person who shivered rather than laughed through "8-Legged Freaks", rented by a cruel friend.

As Noudnic watched me coolly from his windowsill, his yellow eyes glowing faintly from the lights outside the window, I stared in horror at the creature struggling on my pillowcase. It quivered spasmodically as it struggled to raise itself up and then fell, tumbling off the pillowcase. It lay on my bed as its three remaining legs flexed and convulsed. The spider was obviously in excruciating pain as Noudnic gazed at us and I wrestled with conflicting impulses. Silly as it may sound, I felt compassion for it as it thrashed about through its torture, half of its body missing. I couldn’t bring myself to kill it, but keeping it alive seemed just as cruel. What kind of life could a mutilated spider live? I was grateful that spiders don’t make noise. It would have been screaming in agony.

Noudnic didn’t deign to watch me as I skulked out of the bedroom / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNoudnic didn’t deign to watch me as I skulked out of the bedroom. As I closed the door, separating myself from the small patch of wilderness my room had become, I turned and saw Noudnic rise, poised to leap onto the bed, his ears slightly flattened. My sleep on the couch that night was not a good one.

The next morning Noudnic chirped at me pleasantly when I let him out of the bedroom. There was little trace of the nocturnal hunter from the previous night. I stared at him suspiciously as I knocked about a crumpled paper ball he fished out of my recycling bin and chased it around my living room before carrying it to the privacy of the bathtub to rip it to shreds. After the night, it didn’t seem like such a fun game anymore.

There was no trace of the spider and I felt a little pang of guilt, and even a brief moment of sadness. I know how ridiculous to feel bad over a spider, but after witnessing its horrible fate I pondered the terror it must have felt in the last horrible minutes of its life. I can’t bring myself to sleep on the sheets on which it had been devoured, but it seems inane to throw them away over such a small affair.


You never know when Princess Pootikins will decide to educate you. / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI have a healthier respect for the being I share my space with. Sedate and affectionate, he has no interest in harming me, but he is still a wild animal at heart who would obviously know be able to survive if I weren’t here to pander to him. So to those who insist their cats are hardly more than sentient Carebears, watch out when you roll over at night. You never know when Princess Pootikins will decide to educate you.


... Read the rest of "A Deadly Lesson"

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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

My Kosher Burrito

Actual snippet of a conversation Surly had yesterday evening with a real life potential future husband, here named “That Hot Guy” for convenience:

That Hot Guy: Why do you speak Hebrew?

Surly: [wanting to discuss tongues other than linguistic ones] Well, my Hebrew is actually quite bad, but I speak it because I started learning it when I was a kid.

That Hot Guy: Oh! You’re Jewish. That explains it.

Surly: [innocently . . . yeah, right! In a fake friendly manner to elicit an elaboration of the statement and with a great big smile] What does that explain?

That Hot Guy: Oh . . . nothing.

My Kosher Burrito / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI never did find out what that explained. I can therefore only presume that it was a terrible thing not fit for polite conversation, as in "That explains why you look as if you drink the blood of Christian babies." That Hot Guy, who is indeed very hot, is Mexican and although he was the one who opened the conversation to ethnic quips, it wasn’t too difficult to restrain myself from sarcastically asking him where his sombrero was (although I admit that I did think it). My sarcasm would have led to an innacurate picture of my view of Mexicans; always take the high road unless your sarcasm is actually constructive.

Perhaps it was a joke. Certain things however, are just are not funny between two people who don’t know each other all that well. Someone who takes liberties prematurely gives the impression that their jokes are not entirely jokes. And some people are simply offensive, something to which Radmila can attest and that I have dealt with in my usual piffy manner earlier.

Maybe there’s a cultural difference. Recognizing this thorny issue, I didn’t press it. As much amusement as I have being pedantic, I didn’t have any inclination whatsoever to administer a lesson in cultural competency yesterday evening. People must occasionally take a certain amount of responsibility for their words without having their hands held.

So, his words had almost the same effect on me as if he had told me that one of his favourite vacation activities is to club baby seals in Labrador and wear their pelts as thong underwear (now that's an image!). In other words, that is one guy who will definitely never taste my kosher burrito.

Eviatar Banai / mage Hosted by ImageShack.usMaybe I should do what my Bubbi would have wanted, in a manner of speaking, and forget about all these Christian boys find myself a nice Jewish boy. Therefore, my brand new future husband is cute Israeli singer Eviatar Banai, sort of a straight Rufus Wainright in Hebrew. He, Ajay, Kamron, Justin, and I will be very happy together. But I think I need to find a bigger apartment now.


... Read the rest of "My Kosher Burrito"

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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Gay Tin Can Ban

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSince I continue with my fascinating bout with writer's block, here's an article by Linwood Barclay I read in the February 20 Toronto Star that I've been saving for an occasion just such as this.

Bush tries for tin can dragging law

The Bush administration, sensing it needs a backup plan should it fail to get a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, intends to make it illegal for just-married gay couples to tie tin cans to the backs of their cars.

Feeling the heat from a court decision in Massachusetts upholding the right of gays to marry, and the recent flurry of gay weddings in San Francisco in defiance of California law, the White House is determined to make some aspect- any aspect- of marriage off-limits to gays and lesbians.

President George W. Bush has set his sights on the practice of taking tins- the kind that typically contained soup or beans or stew at one time- and linking them together with string, then attaching them to a car bumper.

"I think," the President said in a news conference recently, "we're all familiar with the joyous sound of empty cans rattling along the pavement behind an automobile as it pulls away from the church."

"It's long been recognized," said a White House spokesperson, "that this is a traditional aspect of the post-wedding. This adminstration is committed to preserving the tin-can tradition as a sacred aspect of the marriage ritual, and that it should only happen behind a car occupied by one man and one woman."

The Republicans, backed by the religious right and pro-family groups, believe the wholesome tradition of tin-can dragging is under attack from those who believe it's a suitable activity for gay and lesbian couples.

"When I see a gay or lesbian couple driving off on their honeymoon, tin cans trailing behind the car, I see the end of civilization as we know it," said the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

Gay Marriage is a Right / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe administration, still considering its options should the tin-can amendment fail to pass, is instructing its legal experts to determine whether it can ban, at same-sex ceremonies, such activities as rice throwing, glass clinking to make the newlyweds kiss, and bouquet tossing.

"Just leave us with something," the White House spokesperson said. "Understand, this adminstration believes in equal rights for gays, but we may have to draw the line, for example, at one gay person carrying another gay person across the threshold."

The Republicans say that while the man traditionally carries the woman across the threshold, if a woman wanted to carry her new husband across the threshold, and were capable of it (think Liza Minnelli and David Gest in happier times), they wouldn't pass a law against it. But if both partners are of the same sex, they should walk through the door together, then close it behind them immediately, lock it, and nail some boards across it if they've got a hammer handy.

"We don't think that's asking a lot," said the White House. "I mean, come on, throw us a bone here."

Asked for her thoughts, Britney Spears, a noted singer and dancer, said she believes strongly in the tin-can tradition, but pointed out that when she was recently married for several hours, there was not time to string several cans together and attach them to a bumper. Instead, she and her beloved tossed a few empy Coors Lite cans out the car window.

Right-wing groups in the U.S. have said they're prepared to go all the way to the Supreme Court over the tin-can issue.

Permitted Items / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe White House says it might permit gay and lesbian newlyweds to drag plastic containers- the kinds used for pop and maple syrup and fabric softener- which don't make as much of a racket, and wouldn't draw as much attention.

"The advantage here," the White House said, "is that many of these containers have built-in handles, thereby making the stringing process even more convenient. We're hopeful the gay and lesbian community will embrace this compromise."

Bush's proposed codification of marriage / Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


... Read the rest of "Gay Tin Can Ban"

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Monday, July 05, 2004

Worst . . . Post . . . Ever!

Worst...Post...Ever! / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usPhew! It's a good thing that my career is still in complete dissarray or else my life might look something like this (pillaged from the ever-charming Mr. V - you have to choose whether you want WMP or Quicktime, which take a little bit to load, but it's worth the wait).

On a completely unrelated topic, according to Maktaaq, I am Bitch Queen My Pretty Pony. And don't you forget it.

Finally, because I don't want to turn this into a reference page for silly personality tests (they're just not terribly accurate; even this HR site admits that there is a "lack of evidence to support validity of use of personality tests" in selecting personnel . . . before going on to try and sell its array of personality test to aid in the selection of personnel), I dreamt I had a pet this last night.


... Read the rest of "Worst . . . Post . . . Ever!"

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Saturday, July 03, 2004

The Truth Revealed

Ayn Rand / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usBefore I venture out into the sunshine, I decided to waste a few precious braincells on this highly illuminating personality test (pillaged from Crazy Jane) that is most likely used by some sniffy HR peon at a wanna-be Fortune 500 company in a vain attempt to classify human beings like so many kinds of kinds of cheese (sharp, creamy, or goat). Here is everything you need to know about me:

You are an SRCL - Sober Rational Constructive Leader. This makes you an Ayn Rand ideal. Taggart? Roark? Galt? You are all of these. You were born to lead. You may not be particularly exciting, but you have a strange charisma - born of intellect and personal drive - that people begin to notice when they have been around you a while. You don't like to compromise, but you recognize when you have to.

You care absolutely nothing what other people think, and this somehow attracts people to you. Treat them well, use them wisely, and ascend to your rightful rank.
Ayn Rand?! The Kurt Vonnegut portion of my personality rebels againt this assertion. However, the rest seems pretty accurate so I suppose this is one of those moments where I know I must compromise. I have no idea who those others names are.

Now, take the personality quiz, let me know your results, and then go outside and spend time with loved ones (which is exactly what I'm about to do).


... Read the rest of "The Truth Revealed"

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