Saturday, October 30, 2004
The Tower of Babble
I also like it because it’s a gentle reminder that no matter how wonderful we thinks we are, we are all still at the whim of nature. We can build as many Towers of Babel to the sky as we like, but it is certain that eventually something is going to come along and obscure them; we’re lucky if it’s just fog.
Where I live in downtown Toronto I am surrounded by towers. There’s a surprising amount of green in this city’s core considering how high up the majority of this area’s population lives. For this reason, Toronto’s downtown is one of my preferred of all the cities I’ve seen. I’ve seen quite a few. I myself live high enough up that I can recognise these monoliths as towers and not simply as vast brick or concrete walls with a regular pattern of television screens, each with its own docudrama or soap opera. When I woke up this morning I couldn’t see one of them. I could have woken up in a log cabin for all I knew on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, for all I knew. There was no evidence to the contrary. It was pleasurable to admit that nature has power I’ll never get around and that I don’t control every aspect of my environment.
Another bit of nature I can’t seem to control is my cat, Noudnic. Noudnic (pronounced Nude Nick) is Yiddish and now Hebrew for something a little like ‘pain in the butt’. I like to think that this is my apartment. Such self-delusion; it is clear that Noudnic runs the household and I exist merely to bring home the bacon-flavoured adult hairball control now containing bromelain nuggets.
This morning, before I realised I had awoken into a ghost world, I could feel his eyes on me as he sat in the middle of my floor.
“Look, mate … ” I myself don’t say ‘mate’: I’m Canadian. But I think that if Noudnic could speak English he would have an Australian accent. I don’t know why. “Look, mate. I’d really like to have a chat about my foo … No! Do not fall asleep! [some sort of cat swear]!”
A little while later I opened my eyes and he was lying next to the bed, staring up at me.
“Listen. I reckon we really oughta talk about the situation in my food bowl … Listen to me! Do not fall asleep! [some other sort of cat swear]!”
Not so very much later I was unable to keep my eyes closed one more. I could feel an intense gaze upon me. I woke up and immediately jump back. All I could see were two enormous, glowing, yellow eyes piercing me with the intensity of a full moon. My bed is low enough that if he sits on his haunches right beside it the top of the bed is exactly level with the bottom of his eyes.
“Strewth, ya’ bodgy bludger! Get out of bed and feed me now! Now!”
His bidding done, I was dismissed with a little mew. “Very good. You may leave now.” Once again, nature proves its predominance.
Another bit of nature I cannot control is my love life. I don’t try too hard at it anymore; as the years trudge forth, it seems less and less worth it to make an effort for something that seems broken anyways. But my invitation for this morning seemed intriguing, almost enough to throw down my Cloak of Scepticism (I’m a super hero in that respect).
“Let’s meet for breakfast.”
Breakfast? How … how charming. How unique. Meeting for brunch is such a cliché. What’s more, the implication of a morning date is that, if all goes well, it can last the entire day and maybe longer, just like in those books I never read ever. It’s a not-so-carefully-guarded secret that I am a romantic at heart. The cynical surliness is just a front, scaffolding for the undeserving.
I was in the process of realising that every single colour in the spectrum makes me look wan and blotchy, while finally coming to grips with the fact that I have the bizarrest colour of eyes in the entire universe when I got the inevitable phone call that regular readers of this site saw coming as soon as they read the word ‘date’. As it turns out, he had accidentally stayed out too late last night and tripped, falling into an entire vat of beer. Oopsie!
“You were, no doubt, so nervous about our date,” I said in that way I have, “that you had to get drunk to calm your poor nerves.”
“Hahahahaha! You’re so funny! That’s what I like about you.”
Hahahahaha. I am the hilariousest.
I will certainly not call him again. If he calls me again I could be convinced to meet for coffee. Everyone deserves a limited second chance.
So I put my Cloak of Sceptism back on, knowing that I can still take it off anytime I need. I may not be able to control nature at large, but I can certainly control my own.
... Read the rest of "The Tower of Babble"
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Hobbits, Hunks, and Black Holes
Hobbits Among UsHumans are inherently egotistical. We believe that we are the only creatures in the world like us. We divide the universe into ‘man-made’ and ‘natural’, not realising that because we come from nature, everything we do is natural – even when we’re in the process of destroying ourselves and everything around us. I think it's because we have a more developed sense of self than do the rest of the creatures. We are aware of ourselves beyond just a survival instinct. We feel alone and set ourselves apart. Maybe I think this because I am a self-conscious and self-centred individual and am therefore constantly aware of my ‘self’.
So what does this have to do with hobbits? Well, there appears to be evidence that a completely different species of human lived alongside homo sapiens in Indonesia until around 12 000 years ago. They were apparently around 1 metre (about 3 feet) tall and made intricate tools. They have been dubbed ‘hobbits’, although their stuffier name is homo floresiensis, named after the island of Flores in Indonesia where their remains were found.
More intriguingly, the island’s human, urm, homo sapien inhabitants reportedly have complex legends about a race of little people that once lived on the island. Of course just about every culture has legends about little people. However, if these particular legends are true, it implies that they lived – or still live – long after their hypothesised extinction approximately 12 000 years ago. I guess this means that what I wrote about Dan when I guested there last week wasn’t all that farfetched.
Hunky HitsWhen I started writing this at the end of March I thought it would be for me, family, and maybe a few friends. When I received my first comment from someone neither I nor my friends had met before. I was elated. I could talk to the world!
I soon realised I could track how was coming to my site. Now I have two metres at the bottom of the right-hand column that are set for public viewing, so click away if you wish. Most of the hits are from Blog Explosion people who stay their allotted 30 seconds of torture before clicking ever onward. One of the metres keeps a record of which countries my visitors are from, and I visit it regularly. It fascinates me that someone from Singapore, for example, may right now be reading what I have to say.
I was amused at what happened when I developed a crush on Israeli singer Harel Skaat (הראל סקעת ) and plastered his adorable mug all over the place; suddenly I was getting from almost as many hits from Israel, where I’ve never been, as I was getting from Canada, where I’m from, and the States, where much of the world appears to think I’m from. When I followed some of these referrals back, I was surprised to discover that good ol' Surly was #1 on a couple of Israeli search engines for a month or so when the key words were ‘ הראל סקעת ’ (his own site was #2). There was also some speculation in a couple of chat rooms as to how well I actually know Mr. סקעת (not at all, although a friend met him once and said that he’s quite nice).
When I added Canadian Olympic diver Alexandre Despatie to my pantheon of oooooo I wish! I wish!s and was consequently unable to post without a picture of him somewhere, the world came knocking at my door to see if I knew anything they didn’t about notre beau plongeur agile. As it turns out, I do. I have access to something most of the rest of the world doesn’t have: Quebec talk shows and the ability the speak Québécois French, which is to European French what white water rafting is to yachting. He appears to be a very sweet kid totally unprepared for the glare of the international press. Poor guy. I hope he survives.
So that was how I came close to touching the stars without, alas!, touching any stars in the process. But a few days ago when I noticed that in the same day I’d received hits from Mongolia, Malta, and Kyrgyzstan, I thought, “I wish I could put all this on a map”; not because I don’t know where Kyrgyzstan is. I think it’d just be fun.
So here’s my new toy:
Where are visitors to this page from?
(Auto-updated daily since Oct. 27, 2004)
It's updated once a day. Hopefully my little world will soon be covered with measles.
Event HorizonGo-getting blogger, Dantallion, has put together an interesting assemblage of some of his favourite bloggers in a very loose collaboration called The Event Horizon. Now, I reckon that if you’ve read this far down, there must be something about my writing that you like. In that case I invite you to go read my first contribution, where I write about how much I miss my mommy (I should be called Wussy Weepy instead of Surly Snobby for that entry). Read the others too. All the writers have a unique perspective and style; we’re all, like, rilly cute too! It should be a fun project to be involved with.
... Read the rest of "Hobbits, Hunks, and Black Holes"
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
A Brain as Big as an Orange
My cat, with a brain roughly the size of a mandarin orange, never gets writer’s block. I doubt that he would even be able to wrap his brain around the concept of writing since his verbal communication is limited to:
Pay attention to me now!
Feed me now!
Pet me more now!
Stop clipping my nails now!
I want to eat that bird / bug / thing I just vomited two seconds ago now!So even if he had opposable thumbs, writing would probably be a bit beyond him.
It’s also very likely that he wouldn’t volunteer for a local HIV/AIDS organisation as well. That’s something that I do. Even if he did volunteer for one, I doubt he would have heard this as he walked by the reception area:
... It’ll mean a lot of changes. Speaking of changes, I’d like to change him out of those clothes and lick ...... and the rest has been swept from my memory. Even if my cat hadn’t looked over to see the man’s crusty leer, it would have been clear that the comment was about him. Even if my cat didn’t have super-sensitive kitty hearing, he would have noticed that the comment was made loud enough for the entire reception area to hear. This made him an object but not a real participant in the discourse, a little like those websites where webcammed models will do whatever your e-mail tell them to do.
It’s a good thing that it was me and not my cat because he would have simply strode over and swiped at him violently his claws. That’s what he does to me when I rile him up. They’re pretty sharp. I don’t clip them often. My decisive action was to stand mute with very little going through my head. Then I walked away. A few seconds later a little angry string began to wind itself around my head.
I am rarely at a loss for words when angry. I like to say exactly what I think in as precise a manner as possible just so that there is never any confusion. I think that’s pretty considerate of me. It just makes sense to think ahead if you let the offending party know exactly how, in a memorable manner, they’ve offended, they may never do it again – to me, at least. I also like to allow myself my little rants every once in a while, and even on this blog I’ve shown evidence of it here and here and here, just to name a few. But this time I had nothing to say. I just walked away. Later, I talked about it with a few people, something that turned out to be of very little help at all.
One male friend responded was that if he had been hot, which he wasn’t by any stretch of imagination, I wouldn’t have minded. This leads me to believe that the man who said this actually think that he himself has the right to make these kinds of statements whenever and wherever he likes. This takes me back to my early and mid-20s when I looked much younger than I was – it wasn’t until I hit thirty that I began to look my age – and often had to fend off the assertive attention of older gentlemen, the stereotypes of whom had kept me cowering in the closet for several years. These charming encounters occurred in bars where you might expect such things to happen. In a bar you can leave, pour beer on the guy, or get your favourite bartender to kick him out. It’s very easy. What’s less easy is when it takes place where you don’t expect it, like in the middle of the reception area of an HIV/AIDS organisation where you volunteer.
One female friend’s response was, “Now you know what it feels like to be a woman”. My early 20s aside for the moment, I do live in a world in which both men and women frequently wear an article of clothing called ‘a wife-beater’, so I my thought process on this topic isn’t entirely vacant. But I do very much appreciate the implication that I somehow deserved it just because of who I am. That’s a great big help.
But they’re just words and words flow through you like air and then are gone. Most people, mostly women, experience far worse reactions to their sexuality, But they are words that, later, can elicit an incredible feeling of loneliness later on. The niggling suspicion that that strangers opinion of me is correct, that only my body is important, not my brain. This is a slight concern for as I age; the fact that I can now get married hasn’t yet opened a floodgate of proposals. My concern is that soon it will be true that that all I’m good for will be what he described me doing as if I weren’t there and that I will only be good enough for men like that.
I am certainly not opposed to a little attention. A little, furtive glance is alluring. A brief, bright smile is charming. A shy introduction may arouse a conversation. I don’t need to get married tomorrow or next year - or ever, for that matter. But lurid countdown of all the things you think I can do that will make you happy doesn't deserve anything more than a lip curl. For some reason, this embarrasses me. I’m not the one who should be embarrassed.
As I said, my cat who does things now! and has a brain the size of a mandarin orange would have turned the guys face shredded beef and would never be embarrassed. But this is a creature who runs into walls, falls into full bathtubs, eats bugs, and has been castrated, so he’s probably not a very good gauge in this.
... Read the rest of "A Brain as Big as an Orange"
I have to thank close friend and frequent commenter, AlefAlef, for the original idea for the premise, although I have modified it somewhat. He suggested it to me after reading yet another entry in which he was the topic where I'd bent te truth ever so slightly so make myself look be ... I mean, to highlight the humour of the anecdote. You'll see what I mean if you click here. That site is where I will post it as I write it starting Nov. 1.
And the truly observant will note that I do something on that site that I have never allowed before here. If you think you've figured out what it is, leave a comment on that site.
And while I type up yet another 'real' genius entry for this site, have fun with this little game. If that gets annoying, which it surely will, read this hilarious overview of the movie "Troy" that made me fall off my chair, much to the astonishment of my cat.
... Read the rest of "Thunderous Applause"
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Those of you opposed to visiting Dantallion on moral grounds – he has none – take this very cool tour of New York I stumbled into while trying to pinpoint exactly where various scenes where taking place in an episode of "Law & Order". At least I turn my brain to mulch in creative ways!
... Read the rest of "Brain Mulch"
Thursday, October 21, 2004
And over here, play with this for a few hours (pillaged from Daniel). Try to spell words by clicking and dragging a letter, while the rest of the Net tries to do the same thing. Turn your brain to mush with panache!
Sorry. Nothing more to read. There was no good place to place a break.
... Read the rest of "Gone Away"
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Did I learn nothing from my childhood? I know the story of Hansel and Gretel. I know what fate could have befallen Snow White and Sleeping Beauty had they not been saved by random chance in the end. Rapunzel was imprisoned by a witch for something her father did. I saw “The Blair Witch Project” and survived. Do not anger a witch.
It wasn’t the kind of hysterical screamy trouble we would get into with Mme Lévesque, my grade 9 math teacher, who would holler at the top of her lungs if someone couldn’t remember the difference between sine and cosine. That kind of trouble just makes me roll my eyes and do whatever it is that got me into trouble, but with more intensity. This was more along the lines of the kind trouble Mrs Brown, my grade 12 English teacher, would give out: low, calm, with a little smile, dripping with beatific disappointment. She could stun and entire classroom into horrified guilt simply with the slight raising of one corner of her lips: Eeep! She’s gonna smile and give us a speech! This was that kind of trouble I got into.
“Really,” she assured. “I am in no way angry at what you wrote.” No? Um, that’s good. “It’s true. I found it funny!” she continued. Something tiny began to squirm in my stomach. “Humour is an excellent remedy for many ills.” Yup. I’m beginning to feel ill right now, as a matter of fact.. “If only …” I knew it! “If only you could have sent me a little link so I wouldn’t have had to discover what you’d written about my blog by stumbling into it. But it was really funny. Really.” Every single one of my Jewish ancestors stood up on their ephemeral spirit legs and applauded vigorously at this magnificent guilt-trip. And the best guilt-trip is the unplanned one that does nothing but speak the truth.
I made my apologies as best I could and figured that was the end of it. But I was wrong, I think, because all day weird things happened to me. First of all, after having just that morning traded quips with Harvestbird on her blog about who loved Hong Kong actor Tony Leung – with whom I have actually been totally gaga for since seeing this film – more (I do – so there, Birdie!). And then, not but fours hours later, I went to see this gorgeous movie, in which Tony Leung played a significant role. American actions stars are so proud when they “pull off” a serious role. Hong Kong actions flicks, unlike American ones, are all about heart and honour. The heroes agonise over practically every life they take, whereas American action heroes gleefully douse their enemies in toxic waste and laugh as they watch their skin melt off. “Hero” really is an incredible movie. It’s a kung fu action movie with a pacifist theme that will make you cry. Much of the tears come from good ol’ Tony, who has made me cry in practically every movie I’ve seen him in (Always the melancholy guys I have to go for – perhaps that’s one of the reasons I’m so surly). And the unexpected treat of Tony’s big, brown, liquid eyes was a pleasant coincidence.
Or was it a coincidence? It may not seem like much, but how often do a Canuck and a Kiwi babble over a Hong Kong star only to have him pop up again that day in a completely unrelated manner? Just bear with me.
All day I couldn’t get my cell phone to work. Then my cable went out for precisely four minutes. None of this along the lines of the time that I was at an isolated cottage in the dead of winter with some friends who decided it would be uproariously fun to improvise a ouija board; after fifteen minutes of ouija the electricity went out for no reason we could perceive. I shivered and not just from the cold. But still odd.
Then the counter for that particular post go stuck at 13 and wouldn’t move. That was a little creepy. Even though I figured out after a while there were indeed thirteen comments when I’d thought there were more doesn’t matter in the slightest. It’s all about perception and I perceives that my day was taking a very strange twist.
This Wiccan witch to whom I refer is kind of like Glinda the Good, but without that weird operatic way of speaking – I assume – and the awful dress with puffy sleeves - again, I assume. All I know about Wicca I gleaned from The Mists of Avalon
about two decades ago; in other words, not much. But it seems to me that Wiccans aren’t curse-layers; their style is more to sit back and watch as people dig their own holes. So there was no curse on me in any Blair Witch sense. It was just my good ol’ Jewish guilt relating everything in my day together; as a happy bonus, the core of the guilt happened to be an individual who is particularly in tune with what I would label ‘the supernatural’ (although she probably just call it ‘the natural’). Lots of stuff to play with! So curse or no curse, the perception was all-important.
This reminds of another movie I saw recently that attempts to question our perception of self as individual units and, well, fails pretty miserably ... although it’s still a fun way to spend a couple of hours (I know it doesn’t sound like fun, but it’s got Lily Tomlin in it). How do our perceptions affect the world around us and, ultimately, do we really exist? Philosophers and religions have been studying this for years. I don’t know much about philosophy but I do know a little about some religions, and they will give you very different answers if you ask them if we really exist. Buddhism says, “Who cares?” Judaism lifts an eyebrow and says, “Such stupid questions you ask.” I don’t know tons about Islam, but I have a feeling it says something similar. Protestantism says, “Yes. You exist. Now get back to work.” Catholicism says, “You exist and your misery lets you know you’re alive.”
I don’t know what Wiccans say. Probably something like, “You exist over and over and over again because life is pure joy!” or something optomistic like that. But I doubt they care so much as to make my day slightly surreal. I did that all on my own. A normal day went berserk because I perceived it straight into the twilight zone.
So to clear the whole thing up I decided to write something in honour, in a way, of someone with some very powerful people skills. You were right, Robyn, your blog did make an impression on me.
And I purposefully made this post extra long so that anyone else whose blog I satirized will get bored and stop scrolling down (go ahead! Scroll down and check. I dare you.): I don’t know if I could stand another day of spirits and existentialism. A free Gmail account to the first six people who read all the way to the bottom of this and leave a comment. No cheating. There’ll be a quiz.
... Read the rest of "Bewitching Trouble"
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Hello Darkness My Old Friend ...
- I know that I talk a great deal about the love and light of the universe. I talk a great deal about the helpful spirits around us.
The Love and Light of the Universe is permeates all through all of us. The Spirts of Help want nothing but to aid us as we struggle valiantly in this conflict we just call Real Life.
- OK so like why do ppl say things like that???!??!?!??!!?!?! I was just siting by my self waiting for math clas 2 beggin and that skank RS came over and like totaly yelled at me!!!!!!!! Wuddup wit dat beeatch? Im like SoOoOoOoOoOo PiSsEd!!!!!!!!!!!
I love my friends! ByYyYyYyEeEeEeEeEe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- I had a dream last night that we lost to the [some sports team] 24-10. I woke up to a wet bed.
- Welcome to my first entry. I need to expel some demons.
- It is a hitherto lesser known fact that, as I have often stated in the past, as regular readers know due to the discussions of this all-too important fact and issue that I have mentioned on several occasions, you know the one I mean, in which dissenting views, which have been more than adequately enumerated here since the beginning of this discussion even though dissenters have not thought the facts through although I have clearly laid them out here on several occasions – as you well know – and I am still mystified as to how anyone could disagree.
- My cat Mrs. Floopikins is peeved at me again.
- Jesus hates those Democrat asses to Hell!
- Did everyone catch Bush drooling during the last “debate”? Loser!
- Ok, after a long time away I've decided to come back to Blogging. Finally something really interesting to write about. I'm studying Computer Games Software Engineering at [some university].
- The life of me, in a nutshell.
- [Cursor turns into a red, pulsating ♥ and then into a magenta unicorn, into a ♥, a unicorn, and so forth; miniscule baby blue font against a pink background; characters from Japanese animation in the corner ; giant pink banner flashes ‘LOVE TO LOVE’ ; “DID YOU EVER KNOW THAT YOU’RE MY HEEEEEEEROOOOOOO?!?!?!?!?!” suddenly blasts through my speakers] click [popup stating “You can’t leave me now! I’ll cry!”] CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! [‘right click’ and ‘back’ disabled; pop up stating “Where are you going?!?!?!?!?! I’m crying now!!!! BOO HOO HOO HOO HOO!!!!!”; speakers blast “YOU ARE THE WIIIIIIIIIIIIND BEENEEEEEEATH MY WIIIIIIIINGS!”; close browser and reboot computer for good measure; run spyware and virus check]
- This is a photo of my toenail just before it fell off. Gross!
Over the Rainbow
- But seriously, if you sign up for this thing, all your dreams will come true. All of them. Really!
- Who wants Gmail? Who needs Gmail? I certainly do; I’m cool and cool people have Gmail. I’ve only used it like twice, but I’m cool because I have Gmail. If you want to be cool too, e-mail me. What’s the matter? Afraid your mommy will find out?
... Read the rest of "Lollygaggery"
Friday, October 15, 2004
It needs a lot of work and I don’t feel like doing it. I enjoy editing my more serious stuff, none of which appears on this site. Reshaping the more light-hearted stuff inspires me to live up to my (online) name and I shake my head at my vacuousness. It also gives me intense writer’s block, and so here is an entry that is built mostly on other people.
Slander and DefamationAfter reading about Neonbubble’s experience at the auto body shop, I will definitely have to remember to watch my surly mouth. Imagine bloggers being sued for slander merely for expressing an opinion.
Bloggers already take themselves seriously enough as is it. I express the bile that shoots up past my uvula every time I stumble across a site where some person I will never meet blogger details the momentous buttering of their toast (“Today I left the crust on my toast!”) or regales me with their unresearched, uniformed political opinion, again … and again … and again … We all know that is posted on a blog is a personal reflection (or, in some cases, lack of reflection) and so to have someone threaten to sue is pathetic and dangerous. It isn’t just the government that has the power to stifle our opinions.
Someone Needs a HugOn the opposite end of the spectrum comes an article that comes down a little too heavy on bloggers and their opinions. He disses political bloggers for their self-proclaimed journalist status – and there is definitely some merit to his opinion – but then goes on in an offensive diatribe that shows him off to be nothing much more than an angry, bitter old man. Does this leave me open to a lawsuit now? What I mean is, he then goes off on an offensive diatribe that, in my opinion, shows him off to be nothing much more than an angry, bitter old man. (I can’t link directly to the article, but Andy can.)
What’s more, in my opinion his writing almost reaches the heights of the very lowest of blog stylings, and he gets paid for what he does! Why can’t I get paid to do that?
Stop ComplainingNow before I get too het up because some journalist I’ll never meet tried to make me cry, a friend from a far away land reminds me that I have it pretty easy. If the worst thing I have to worry about while writing a blog is a ridiculous slander suit that’ll be thrown out of court if it even made it that far, I have nothing to worry about. How enormous the world is.
Welcome RamadanThe Muslim holy month of Ramadan began yesterday at sundown, at least it did in North America. I have been reading up a little on this – with North America’s sizable Islamic communities I feel I should know more about them – and have discovered some very interesting things that go beyond simply knowing that there is a fast during daylight hours for a month. For example, true to Islam’s grassroots (for lack of a better word) beginnings, Te Holy Month of Ramadan begins at the first sighting of the crescent moon at this time of year. This means that it begins on different days in different areas of the world. I like the idea of a very holy period – one of the Five Pillars in Islam, in fact – intertwined completely with natural cycles of the universe.
CanonizationDantallion has been a close friend for a few years and I truly miss living in the same city as him. One of my favourite things about him has always been that he wears his heart utterly exposed on his sleeve. I don't have that kind of courage. This means that hanging out with opinionated, outspoken Surly Snobby is sometimes a little like having his parade rained on (not that he can’t dish it out very well, himself). It also translates into a gutsy blog that gets much more personal than I am willing to get (what you’re reading right now is about as far as I’m usually willing to go before making some sort of joke). Anyways, he’s in cyber vacation in Australia for a couple a weeks and guest blogging for a friend down under, so you shouldgo visit him.
I want to guest blog for a really cute Australian too!
... Read the rest of "Writer's Block"
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Dinosaurs Attack Local Hospital
I ran to the window and there they were, a herd of brachiosauruses attacking a building a short distance from mine. They were knocking out its walls by butting them with their heads and then pulling out the support beams until chunks the size of my entire kitchen came tumbling down from several stories up. “That’s odd,” I thought to myself as a complete ventilation system hung limply in the mouth of a brachiosaurus like giant ferns. “I didn’t even know that dinosaurs ate buildings”.
But they weren’t really dinosaurs, of course. Everyone knows that dinosaurs died out, except for birds that is. According to Steven Spielberg, birds are really dinosaurs with feathers and beaks instead of scales and razor-sharp teeth. He should know what he’s talking about. After all, he’s the one who let everyone know about the dangers of swimming off the coast of New England and about how aliens with strange manicures can ride bikes in a totally heartwarmingly manipulative way. Instead, they were giant tractors with really long, biting tractor bits and they were knoking down a hospital to replace it with townhouses and a set of stacked, towering condos.
They looked a lot like some dinosaurs I did really see once, though, on this very cool BBC documentary that was like a nature show but about dinosaurs. It showed them hunting and eating and pooping and having sex and everything. Only, it wasn’t really dinosaurs they were showing, of course, because everyone knows that video cameras hadn’t been invented yet when dinosaurs were pooping everywhere. Instead, they were CGI representations of dinosaurs, so it was these giant blobs of pixels or whatever were the things that were hunting and eating and pooping and having sex. This was extra interesting to me because not only was I a dinosaur enthusiast when I was a kid, but I never even knew that there was CGI way back in dinosaur times. You can learn so much by using science these days.
When I was a kid I wanted a pet parasauropholus, not just because I figured I deserved one after learning to pronounce ‘parasauropholus’, but because I thought it’d be pretty neat to have a pet parasirpoopigas or whatever. But my days of cool dinosaur enthusiast (now there’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one; it's like saying, “‘Star Trek’ makes you sexy!”) have definitely came to an ignoble end a few years ago: once when I was all growed up, I was having a chat with my cousin, 17-Going-On-30 (at the time his name was 5-Going-On-17), when I happened to mention a dinosaur called ‘brontosaurus’. He rolled his eyes at me and told me in no uncertain terms that no one, absolutely no one, calls it that anymore and that the correct terminology was ‘apatosaurus’. I was no longer even cool enough to be a dinosaur lover.
Another thing he told me was that I was born just after the dinosaurs died out, so it’s not clear to me how reliable his paleontological facts actually are. He has just moved here to go to the University of Toronto and I’d planned for a while on using this last statement against him should he ever get too uppity, but I cannot for the life of me see how it makes me look good to state that I may have been born just after the extinction of the dinosaurs. Instead I’ll have to think up other threats such as sending letters to his mother detailing what he gets up to in his first year of freedom. That’ll keep him in line.
... Read the rest of "Dinosaurs Attack Local Hospital"
Friday, October 08, 2004
[insert witty title here]
Asparagus movieLast night Sexy Librarian and I went to see “The Motorcycle Diaries”, the movie about one year in the life of Communist idealist Che Guevara. As usually happens with movies I’m supposed to love because they are idealistic, artistically independent, and critically successful, I thought it was pretty mediocre but with some great shots of South America. I swear I am moving to southern Argentina.
Of course, the entire audience clapped and gave Sexy Librarian and me strange looks when we shrugged and talked openly – so, like, everyone could hear n’stuff – about how we thought it was mediocre.
“There was no dramatic tension in the climax of the movie: we know he’ll live!” she lamented.
“He had no flaws!” I pointed out over the head of the teenager in red Che Guevara t-shirt, glaring at me for daring to diss the movie about his supposed hero. “He was perfect in every way. Who wants to see a movie about an cherub?”
Sexy Librarian taught me a term I’d never heard before, an asparagus movie. It’s a movie you go to see because it is supposedly good for you, not because you like it; yet you tell everyone you liked it. Well, at least this one didn’t make my pee smell funny.
And at least at starred sexy Mexican actor and husband number eleven? . . . twelve?, Gael García Bernal. Even at the movie’s most painfully earnest moments, there was Gael.
so very CanadianEven our failed revolutions are polite. Canada’s federal government came to the brink of toppling last night, and yet it survived. Was the explosive ideal set to bring down an entire government the treatment of Canada’s aboriginal people? Was it Quebec independence? Alberta Independence? Nope. What almost brought down out government was the inclusion of the words “fiscal imbalance” in a sub-amendment of the Speech to the Throne. I repeat: a sub-amendment (and don’t even get me started on why we still have a Throne to which we need to give a speech).
In true Canadian spirit, a compromise was reached and everyone congratulated themselves on how open to compromise and negotiation they were. And even though I mock, I am very glad that these are the kinds of issues that can bring us down. There are far, far worse.
NaNoWriMoThanks to Mikevil, I will be participating in National Novel Writing Month in November. The goal is to write a 50 000-word (or more!) novel from midnight, Nov. 1 until 11:59PM Nov. 30. The goal, as they point out repeatedly, is quantity not quality. Quantity I can supply no problem. All you have to do to win is reach 50 000 words (not the same word over and over again, they caution) by the end of November. “No plot? No problem. ” Thanks, Mike!
Once I’m declared one of the winners (last year there were 5 000 winners), I’ll publish my masterpiece chapter by chapter on another blog (unless it’s way too embarrassing). Stay tuned for details.
... Read the rest of "[insert witty title here]"
Thursday, October 07, 2004
My Words Are Delicious
I often think thoughts like that. I have an enormous ego and I truly believe that the world would be a much better place if people either thought exactly as I do or if they did exactly what I want. Please stop curling your lip at me; we all feel like this sometimes. Why else would we roll our eyes with impatience when the overworked barista takes a whole three and a half seconds longer than we consider necessary to serve the person in front of us, forcing us to address the inconsiderate wretch in icy turns and rethink the 25¢ tip we were generously going to leave. (Oooooooo! Twenty-five cents! How generous!) We really are a petty breed.
So, I’ve talked about my giant ego and I’ve laughed at a friend who found himself in a particular predicament. Where could I be going with this?
Today as AlefAlef and I were walking though his new lobby, which, incidentally, looks as if Kandinsky were trying to paint someone being violently ill, but somehow let things get out of hand, when who should walk out of the elevator we were waiting for and stride across the lobby but Blair Underwood! Well, it wasn’t really Blair Underwood, but he may as well as have been.
Because I am full of intellect and higher learning, I intelligently and entirely rationally turned my entire body around to follow him with my gaze as he walked out the front door. Once he was gone from view, I turned back and whooooomph! walked straight into the now-closed elevator door. I rubbed my forehead to regain my equilibrium while abstract, multi-coloured Kandinsky birds tweeted around my head, but no sympathy was to be received from AlefAlef. He just raised an eyebrow and shook his head, walking into another elevator that opened in front of him. How humiliating it must have been for him to be associated with a fool such as me.
And to return to my original point, I think that the world would be a happier place if everyone were able to make a public fool of themselves occasionally. A little humorous humiliation is great for the soul, even of the body – like one’s forehead – suffers.
... Read the rest of "My Words Are Delicious"
Monday, October 04, 2004
A Moving Friendship
“I’ve decided to fire my movers for tomorrow and I’ve rented a van,” AlefAlef informed me at some ungodly hour this morning. “It'll be way less complicated this way. Can you be here this afternoon?”
“Uh . . . sure . . . ?” I was vulnerable and incredibly stupid; he’d caught me in a pre-caffeinated state.
“Great! Oh! And can you bring boxes?”
“Um . . . You haven’t finished packing yet?”
If, when I arrive at to help at a move, the movee is still frantically thrusting things into boxes and rushing about looking for the packing tape, I turn around and go home. I’ve lived the hell of packing and moving enough times that I don’t need to live anyone else’s hell with them. Except maybe for AlefAlef. Not only is he the best cook I know (and his mother bakes the best cookies ever) and I would be cut off for an indeterminate length of time if I didn't help in the move, he is also the kind of close friend with whom you don’t quibble over the small stuff (like a disorganised move – very minor in the grand scheme of friendship); you write blogs about the small stuff. Plus, he’s helped on two of my moves so I owe him. But my moves are easy: they are spectacularly well-organised.
I start packing weeks beforehand and I’m finished and scrubbing the floors already the day before. I ask everyone I know to help – I’m not shy about favours! – knowing that maybe half will say yes and of those, approximately half will actually show up (although one time everyone who said they would show, showed, and the move was over in less than an hour). That is about all it takes for a smooth, successful move.
Not that there aren’t still glitches, no matter how successful. One time a mover cancelled on me the day before my move and refused to relent. No amount of reasoning and pleading worked – and neither did yelling, swearing, and cursing his children, both unborn and born. Those kind souls who appeared for the move were very surprised to learn that they would be moving me in their cars. One of those helpers, who is himself most likely the most disorganised movee ever, has exacted his revenge on me a number of times over the years since.
But the very worst move was the one where my friend-with-a-van arrived at my apartment one hour late and on a bicycle. “This can’t be a good sign,” I though with great intelligence to myself as I spied him peddling towards me. He was there merely as a courtesy to let me know his van had caught fire and that there would be no moving me that day or any other day for all eternity. Panic! Chaos! Cacophony! Fire! I went mentally through all the Ten Plagues to determine which one(s) I’d most like to see visited upon his head.
I moved two days later - much to the consternation of the woman who was to move into the place that day - in a plagueless van; there wasn’t too much she could do since I was doing her a favour by allowing her to move in a couple of days before the first of the month. The two days we lived together among the mountains of boxes were bliss.
So I suppose that AlefAlef’s move will be easier than that. And I had better get an amazing meal out of it.
I found out where Mr V is (see previous entry). I wish him strength, health, and good spirits in his difficult time.
... Read the rest of "A Moving Friendship"
Saturday, October 02, 2004
Mr V, Where Have You Gone?
a little colour in the white
Alexander Demianchuk / REUTERS
Alexander Demianchuk / REUTERS
Pillaged from Dr. Vodka (great name).
i don’t read them eitherThe button on the top right hand of the monitor has its hazards.
Pillaged from Harvestbird
speaking of which . . .all ignorance toboggans into know
and trudges up to ignorance again:
but winter's not forever,even snow
melts;and if spring should spoil the game,what then?
all history's a winter sport or three:
but were it five,i'd still insist that all
history is too small for even me;
for me and you,exceedingly too small.
Swoop(shrill collective myth)into thy grave
merely to toil the scale to shrillerness
per every madge and mabel dick and dave
--tomorrow is our permanent address
and there they'll scarcely find us(if they do,
we'll move away still further:into now
- e.e. cummings
and then . . .. . . um, e.e. on acid? Scroll down this one a little. Have a party.
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