Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Yesterday a client called me

I am so lame with the cellphone. Well, that's not entirely accurate. I'm getting pretty good at the video and video editing functions on the phone. I created my own ringtone, which is nice except that no one ever calls me. It's startling when I hear it, "what's that loud music, I love that song, oh wait, that's my cellphone, duh, now how do I answer this thing." And then it's like a test, as I fumble with it in my hands and open it, and accidentally hit the button (god knows which one) that sends a "busy" signal to the caller. The screen cackles helplessly informs me of this as soon as I have a chance to focus on it. Then the phone comes alive again (I remarkably do not shriek and throw the phone in the air)and since I have the screen in focus telling me exactly what to do, I press the button that is indicated to me which answers it and then I put it to my ear. I laugh and explain to the caller that I am new at answering the cellphone, and that I have just failed the test. Again.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The adjective preceeding "cream" is important

"Ow, it's burning."

Serge is standing in the doorway to the office and I'm trying to ignore him, reading as I am, some beloved person's blog.

"What is?"

I ask disinterestedly while I continue reading and only marginally comprehend him when he says,

"My face. I put some cream on it and now it's burning. Look."

He sidles up next to me so that I am forced to look up at his face. It is red and greasy looking.

"What did you put on your face?"


"What kind of cream?"

"Foot cream."

"Honey, why are you putting foot cream on your face?"

"Because my face is dry, and we don't have any hydrating cream so I thought the foot cream would be the same thing."

"Gosh hon, I'm pretty sure when they came up with the title for the cream. they had a reason. Now go wash that off and we'll go buy you some face moisturizer."

And I am charmed as we walk to the drugstore together.

Monday, May 29, 2006

In the past 24 hours

Had this picture taken.

We earned sore asses from a bikeride. It feels like my two buttbones are bruised. Also, if males have perenniums, mine is sore.

I stuck my toes in the St Lawrence River. It wasn't too, too murky. I'll keep you posted if they shrivel up and fall off.

Ate all meals outside and was therefore bitten by mosquitoes, twice.

Made this video. (I need to stop this, you already know I'm gay and corny.)

I stepped in dogshit. It was my own dog's so it wasn't too dreadful.

Made burritos. Burritos, baby.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

How the sun gives instant happiness

We're having a marvelous weekend. I think the last seventeen weekends were rainy. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating and it was more like seven. But still, it was getting to be a joke, rain all weekend and then a nice day on Wednesday while everyone is trapped at work. So what happens in Montreal on this first summerlike weekend of the year is that everyone goes outside. It's as though a giant hand is squeezing all the residences and OHMYGOD there are a lot of people in this city! It shocks me every year when I see this, and I think how vibrant it is, how Montreal comes alive again each year.

So we walked to the public market always walking in the alleys, spouse and my special thing we do, until we arrived where it looked like half the town had the same idea. Bought a tomato plant and a few herbs to plant in pots. We went home and went outside to plant the things.

Restless, we went for another very long walk with the dog, we just had to be outside, the sun was so glorious. On our long walk we discovered a cruisy park that we didn't know about. Suddenly we were amongst men in broad daylight "hanging out" in little alcoves in the bushes.

Then, unable to be inside, we went to the rooftop at Sky, one of the clubs in the gay village here. I love it on the roof up there, they have a pool and jacuzzi. There's food and libations and some of the finest specimens in the city. Plus lots of hunky tourists from the states. I know I need a better camera, but here's a video from the roof.

It's sunny, I'm going to rouse spouse soon and then we're off on a bikeride. I'll bring the regular camera this time.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Just because

Something that makes me:

Laugh: Dry, deadpan humor. Like when t said that tubgirl could have used a big hunk of cheese. Oh how I roared.

Cry: The suffering of others, so during movies and the reading of books. I don't cry for "myself" anymore.

Enraged: Insolent kids. But then I remember about the parents, and hate them too.

Lightheaded: The first snow, the first 80 degree day, the first kiss, the dark.

Loving: A kind word or act. The expression of same.

Tired: Thinking about how screwed up the world is, and how I can't do anything about it.

Giddy: Electrical storms.

Revolted: Very little actually. Revulsion often inspires curiosity in me.

Scared: Snakes. Toucans. Wasps. Sharks. Tsunamis. Birdflu. Well, any flu actually.

Guilty: Pathetic made-up memes like this. That thousands of humans perish every day because their basic needs can't be met, and I can't stop it.

Friday, May 26, 2006


* Grasping a greasy subway pole is an instant recipe for heeby-jeebies.

* I require 60 minutes in the morning before I am pleasant to speak with.

* Speaking of morning, sometimes just the smell of the coffee compels a movement.

* My memory these days is like an old dog's milky eyes.

* The thing that chapped my hide last year was that as soon as my garden vegetables were ripe, the market was selling them for pennies.

* This is not worksafe. Tubgirl.

* I don't think there is a cheese I don't like. Said another way, I like all cheese.

* I have never used face cream or moisturizer of any kind. I will put on sunscreen, but reluctantly.

* Serge, on the other hand, does. He brought home a new facial product lately, and I took a video snippet of him.

* Note the final look of death he gives me.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Chicken Little or sage?

It is only a matter of time.

Perhaps not in your lifetime, but all logic and reason point to our eventual poisoning of the planet so much so that our numbers will decrease dramatically. Whether it's terrible climate change or a disruption in the balance of oxygen in the atmosphere, we are continually adding to the risk of major disruption.

The hourglass has been turned over, we just don't know how long the hour is.

How much mercury do you have to ingest before it's toxic? Well, that's a bit different for every creature, but at an eventual level, it kills all living things. So it is with the Earth. We have been pumping gases and chemicals into the atmosphere continuously and in increasing quantities since the beginning of the industrial revolution. I am the grown up when I say, "Hey, don't you think we ought to stop shitting in our own bed? I mean, eventually we won't be able to sleep there, right?"

To those who balk at the specter of climate change, and to those who pooh pooh the dangers of slashing the Amazon rainforests and decimating sea life, and especially to those who insist that the world continue burning fossil fuels until the very last drop is extracted from the earth, I say


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Earth calling Torn

During the hell of insomnia that I was experiencing recently, I noted a huge increase in my clairvoyance. I probably shouldn't find this surprising as I know that the more you get away from your "control of reality" the more you can see what's really going on.

This is where some people might wish to roll their eyes or click away and denounce this *baloney*.

If you've stayed, perhaps you are keen to know what I'm talking about. It's about our consciousness and its ability to create the world around us. It is true that the more people can agree on the reality, the easier it is to function within.

But what is really going on?

All I know is that when I'm deprived of my usual energies, such as I was during the two weeks of insomnia, I found it was all I could do to pay attention enough to get through the day, ride the bus, describe grammar, feed myself. And I couldn't give any attention to my emotions, what a luxury emotions are I realized, no I could only try to function and *act* normally. But what kept happening was that I got flashes of scenes and "heard" words before they were spoken. It was like I was ten seconds ahead of everything as it echoed back in time at me.

I'm not shitting you, this is what I experienced. Now I'm open to this kind of thing, so that could have helped, but I promise you I didn't have the energy to make this up. It is a mystery, the nature of such hallucinations, but once again I am reminded that there is much more going on in this world than meets the eye.

My good friend Em recently returned from a journey out "on the hill", a kind of native fasting in the nature ceremony. Two sweats and two days of fasting, including water privation she endured in an environment far from our 21st century reality. She had some interesting things happen, and if we're lucky she'll share some of them with us...(It looks like she's started)

Even though I hated it, I am humbled by my insomnia experience, I want to be closer to the mystery and yet the only way to get there is to suffer in some way, get out of your comfort zone, challenge the senses you don't even believe you have.

Okay then, I'll be back on earth tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I probably shouldn't be so bitter

I got that Social Security statement this year from the states that you get every few years. It's an update of how much you've paid into the system and how much you can expect to get upon retirement. Depending on when I choose to "receive benefits", I can expect from $550 to $970 per month. And this is assuming I never work in the states again. That seemed like a lot until I saw that until the year 2000, I had already contributed fifty thousand dollars to the system. And I've still got 25-30 years before it's benefit time. They would have to be very bad investors AND I would have to live longer than anyone ever in my family for them to lose money on this deal.

Oh, and then right there in bold print, they say this:

*Your estimated benefits are based on current law. Congress has made changes to the law in the past and can do so at any time. The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2041 (I'll be dead 76) the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay only about 74 percent of scheduled benefits.

Maybe if they hadn't robbed the gobs of money in the SS fund and truly invested it and treated it like an asset to grow, we wouldn't be "predicting" the shortfall. Now I can't help wondering what if the Iraq war trillions had been used to shore up SS ? I would certainly have felt better about taking care of old Americans who had worked and paid into a system all their lives than seizing control of an oil rich country and slaughtering thousands of its citizens.

But then again, maybe I'm over simplifying things.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Kindling or live plant?

I don't know if you remember, but 16 days ago we bought a hydrangea to plant in the back yard. Now I really shouldn't be calling it a hydrangea because, thus far, it is only a brown stick. Now you may be asking:

Why did we buy a $60 brown stick?

This question is especially salient considering every other offering at the nursery had at least begun to show blossoms or leaves. No, we had to zero in on the one thing that was still dormant. Great idea Charlie Brown!

Still, at that price and with the good reputation of Home Depot, we bought it, Serge feeling good we didn't cheap out and get the 30 dollar fruit tree (I was gunning for the plum tree too) and me feeling good despite the expense, because I've always had a thing for hydrangeas.

So, that's how we bought a $60 brown stick.

And sixteen days later, okay sixteen rainy days later, it still has shown no signs of stirring.

Are we fucked? Have we been royally had?

Here's me showing the hydran, er, brown stick. The sun (during it's five minute appearance yesterday) was in my face, hence the squinting.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

346 posts in a year

Warning: sappy, sentimental tripe ahead

This calls for Dairy Queen.

One year ago today was my very first blog post. When I started, I set out to write, because writers write, and also because my Uncle (a published author I'll have you know) said that the best piece of advice he had was from his first editor; "Write three pages every day, it doesn't have to be good, it just has to be written."

Now, I don't write three pages, surely if I did, I would have zero readers or a book deal. (I can dream, can't I?) Still, I have found the daily regimen of writing has produced some wonderful side effects. The first is how much more I'm "into" my life. Not in a self-aggrandizing, narcissistic way, but in that I feel like I'm a much more keen (keener just sounds wrong) observer. There's always something interesting happening if only you pay attention.

And what about the other denizens of the blogosphere that I have made connections with? I think that has been the most unexpected part of it, that I have let myself be drawn into so many different daily lives, and I find myself wondering about my blog friends, praying for them when they're down and cheering for them when they're up. And of course many of those weigh in on my life too. Like a big fan club collective, this blog phenomenon is.

Here's the nut of it: I am one point of awareness, filling one space on the planet. I can share my unique perspective from my unique place and take in the other points of awareness' unique perspective, and in doing so, we all discover that we are far more similar than different. And then we celebrate in the comments section.

So as Sticky Crows heads into its second year, I invite you to stick around for the miraculous ride that is life. It's gonna be fun, I just know it.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Julia's bread

It was 1995, and I was working at a hot LA restaurant. It's closed now, as so many "super hot" restaurants eventually do. I was the opening waiter and so I had to prep the dining room before the others arrived. I didn't mind, this meant I was first off and I preferred that. (tips were pooled anyway) This particular restaurant also had one of the first "artisinal" bakeries, a concept that has since become ubiquitous. One day, I was daydreaming and polishing wine glasses when I heard someone clear their throat behind me on the other side of the room. You know, the kind of throat clearing that really means, "Hey, butthead!" And so I turned to see a hooded female figure with sunglasses and grey sweatpants standing at the bakery counter. There was no one at the counter. My first flash of irritation. I looked to the kitchen to catch someone's eye. Nobody. Hot angry flashes. Now, it wasn't my responsibilty to man the bakery and yet I was the only visible human in the place, and so I had no choice. Happy, I was not. I let out a very big sigh and put down my glass and cloth brusquely. I walked around the counter and behind the bar to the little bakery counter and looked at the girl and said, "What can I get you." Icy would work for my tone of voice. "I'd like the cranberry oatmeal bread. And could you slice it for me too?" said Julia Roberts from behind the sunglasses.


And I set right to work getting the bread, oh my god, it's Julia Roberts, I have to tell someone, but who? I looked around and still saw none of my colleagues. I took the loaf to the back to put it through the bread cutting machine and there was nobody around. (Later, I would discover that everyone was out looking at the chef's new car which he had just purchased.) Nobody at all and I brought back Julia's bread and she paid, smiled and said thank you. My heart was all aflutter. She really is nice! Nobody is going to believe me.

As soon as she left, I ran in the back to tell everyone the news. People were reluctant to believe me. But true, true it was.

(Thanks Peter for the inspiration today.)

Friday, May 19, 2006


* I am not anonymous because I am not afraid.

* The only difference between good and evil is perspective.

* The downside of "perfect customer service" is that we are training everyone that they can have what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. This can't be good for people's ability to adapt and make do.

* Gummy brains

* The older I get, the more I like fish. What's next, pussy?

* This is what I'm talking about. A simple idea worth millions.

* When I find out a famous person has a blog, I think, "Hey, no fair, you've already got an audience, give us obscure voices a chance."

* Everywhere I look these days, I'm smacked in the face with ELECTRIC GREEN. I adore spring.

* Mobius staircase

* I saw the sun once this week, for a couple of hours last Sunday. Otherwise, rain.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Maybe I should go back to doing HNT

A big reason that I can't really work for the man anymore is that I'm unable to filter information. And by filter information, I mean lie and be fake about things. (If you approach me and ask me if I can keep a secret, I will tell you, "No.") Well, can't isn't really the right word, because I can, that has been proven, but it so deeply bruises my soul (for lack of a better word) that I refuse to play that game any longer.

Being a contract worker where I decide which classes to teach, I'm pretty well insulated from the politics of the corporate milieux and exempt from the hellishness of sales and marketing.

Still, the sticky fingers of the white collar environment somtimes catch me, why just last week, I was reprimanded for having spoken about confidential information. What was that information? That a student dropped my class. Why was that confidential? Because it was the HR Director who had dropped the class. (wouldn't want my bad example to be known by the other employees, better try to muzzle the teacher.)

People I'm super wary of: Salesmen of any kind, Human Resources (anyone in the department), Politicians, lawyers, and even closeted people living double lives.

These kinds of jobs/situations require the candidate to lie about things depending on the audience.

I don't do that. And it's nothing about loyalty or integrity, it's just too stressful. So I won't ever make "the big bucks" because I can't "grow up" and reconcile with the man.

And that's just fine with me.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Just wrong

Okay, so you write about your life for a year, you pontificate, you try to be funny, clever, sentimental, and whacky. And you practice your writing, noting the things that work, and the things that don't. You dig on the whole "cadre of readers" you seem to have attracted. You are perhaps a little too fervently tending to the blog. No matter, the rewards seem to outweigh the teetering on the brink of obsession part.

And then you realize that much of your traffic results from Google searches. These three searches have come up more than once just in the past week:

How to make yourself faint. (This is the most common search that leads here.)

How to make perfect french fries.

Why do I have brown specks in my urine?

(Can I get an ewwww?)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The reveal

*If you haven't read yesterday's post, do so now so the following will make sense.

1. True. When I was young, my friends and I were playing, and one day we got the idea to tie a rope to a bicycle and then tow someone on a skateboard behind it. When it was my turn, my skateboard hit a small pebble and stopped. Unfortunately, I didn't immediately release the rope and I went flying, slid about 20 feet and then my chest kind of stuck to the asphalt but my legs still had momentum so my body flipped up and slammed my face down into the street. Result, a third of both front teeth broke. They made some kind of mold and "remade" them, but if you look closely, you can still see the slightly different color of the fake part.

2. True. For one long summer I worked graveyard at a company that archived paper documents onto microfiche. My job was to remove the staples from the files before they were sent to the microfiching station. Getting laid off from that job was one of the happier moments of my youth.

3. True. I went with my family on a 7 week tour of Europe in 1983. When we drove to Spain from France; we stopped in Andorra, a place I didn't even know existed before then.

4. True. Once at Prentice Park Zoo in Santa Ana, California, there was a kind of workshop about milking. That day was the goat demonstration and I had a chance to try my hand at the udders. It was very difficult to squeeze it just right.

5. Lie. C'mon, do you know anybody who has seen them? I didn't think so.

Congratulations to t, scotty, em, dirk and bob for spotting the lie!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Spot the lie

1. I once broke both front teeth in a skateboarding accident.

2. I once had a job as a staple remover.

3. I've been to the country of Andorra.

4. I've milked a goat.

5. I've seen live siamese twins. (I mean conjoined, siamese is pejorative apparently)

* Answers coming up tomorrow, leave your guess in the comments. There are four truths and one falsehood.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Patronized instead of pampered

So after I posted about being brainwashed the other day, I tried to verify if I had remembered the Ritz Carlton credo correctly. (I did, verbatim) In doing this, I stumbled upon the handbook that is given out during orientation at the hotel when you are hired. It includes the 3 steps of service, motto, credo and the Ritz Carlton Basics, all of which are to be memorized. You can see a copy of it here if you like. (I still have my copy from years ago, but it has changed a little since) Some of the elements of the dogma were the source of much sarcasm once you were a seasoned employee. "Smile, we are on stage," comes to mind.

I was a model employee at first, a real gung ho Reese Witherspoon. I was so proud to be Ritz material. (gag) One of the things we were supposed to do was escort guests instead of giving directions to things in the hotel. I always did this, losing my time on more important things, and annoying many a guest in the process. Do people really want to be escorted to the bathroom? No, no they don't. I think people felt patronized instead of pampered.

The "basics" are really a great tool to give management firing power over the employees. You can be written up for practically anything since you sign a document stating that you will uphold the standards and basics of employment there. So. If we look at the list of "basics", we find things like "No negative comments" (which I see has since been removed from number 9). This is (was) one of the basics. If you complain, that's bad. But you must point out any hazards, and ask for equipment and help when necessary. That's good. So, you can't say, "Why has it been three weeks that the cappucino machine is broken?" However, the moment it breaks, you must inform your supervisor. No complaining after that though, boy, because that's negative.

Oh and I just remembered, we were never allowed to use the word "problem", instead, we had to use the word "opportunity". Seriously. In the restaurant, "the lady on table 15 has an opportunity with her swordfish" was exactly how you were expected to inform your supervisor.

Anyway, maybe this gives more insight to # 37 : I can hate you viciously while smiling.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The upside of lanky

* Those who do not want "too much information" might want to skip this post, sexual in nature as it is.

"Dad?" I asked one afternoon in the car on the way home from sixth grade, "What does masturbation mean?" A new kid at school had made a joke using this word. I had laughed even though I didn't get the joke. My parents had always encouraged open communication and so my father said without batting an eye, "Well, it's when you give yourself sexual pleasure."

Now sex was something I knew of. I didn't see the attraction to it yet because I hadn't reached the proper nut-ripened age.

"But how?" I asked, understanding the general idea, but clueless of the mechanics.

Dad made some kind of gesture with his hand that I didn't immediately grasp. I looked at him quizzically and he made the same gesture again. I guess I knew what he meant then but I was still a bit confused. (My penis still wasn't really big enough to work with the hand thing like he was demonstrating.)

Somehow, the subject got changed and we talked about other things until arriving home.

What do you think the first thing that I did was upon arriving home? Right, I went directly to the bathroom to try out dad's tutorial. About twenty minutes later, dad pounded on the door and said, "Ricky, I know what you're doing in there, now come on out." I had met with little success anyway, but from his tone of voice, I stung with a bit of shame thinking that talking about it must be okay, but doing it must not be. I came out and practiced later in the safety of my bedroom at night.

Still, it would be another year before I would truly be able to pleasure myself. By the beginning of 7th grade, I had already given up on dad's method which had lost its allure months before (since it didn't seem to work.) At this point, I was back to doing crazy boy shit; sticking paper clips into my urethra to see how far they would go, blowing air through a straw and into my bladder via my peehole and then "penis farting" the air back out, and finally trying to bend over and reach my penis with my tongue.

The last item there proved quite challenging. For weeks, I practiced touching the head of my penis with my tongue and then pushing farther and farther until I was able to get the whole kit and kaboodle in my mouth and even trigger my own gag reflex with my penis. It's hard to explain why I was doing this, the best answer I can give is boredom.

It was during one of these "exercises" that a crazy, scary feeling invaded my genitals and squirted something into my mouth. I was totally taken off guard and didn't really enjoy it because I thought something bad had happened. But after the initial shock, I put two and two together and realized I'd had my first orgasm.

Guess what I did everyday after school in the 7th grade? Guess what I became an expert at by 8th grade?

Friday, May 12, 2006

I'm easy to brainwash

Gee Wye Bee Are Eff Vee. GYBRFV. Get your bedroom ready for vacuuming. Instilled at a young age when dad called this acronym out in advance of his weekly chore. I still think of it now as I pick everything up off the floor getting ready to vacuum. (one of my chores)

The Ritz Carlton Hotel is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission, we pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guests who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambiance. The Ritz Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being and fulfulls even the unexpressed wishes and needs of the guest. (This is the credo - from memory, I swear I did no googling. Every employee must memorize it. I ceased working there in 1994.)

Why choose unhappiness? This also came from my father who would say this after I had, oh I don't know, smashed my toe in the car door or something. It used to infuriate me. Then it just poisoned my mind and so now whenever I'm unhappy, I'm forced to look at how much of that I'm choosing. And let me tell you, it's a lot of choosing. I've also learned since that other people do not really want to hear this either, especially after traumatic events. (You don't want to know.)

Once I read that milk was for babies and that nowhere else on the planet do we have adult mammals drinking the milk, (I'm smiling about using "the" right there, but I don't know why) I immediately gave it up. The only milk I'll have now is if em's chocolate cake is in the glass at the same time.

No Pink Chicken, Ever. After the food handling course and certification in California, I'm a chicken preparation nazi and rarely if ever order it out. Rarely have it in for that matter. And anyway I hate the whole bone thing. I have to be ravenous to chomp on a drumstick or eat spareribs. Bones are ucky. Precooked, pressed, frozen chicken fingers are okay. (I know, so white-trashy, what can I tell ya?)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sometimes writing is like fixing oatmeal and then realizing you're out of sugar

Whenever I feel like I have nothing to write about (like every time I open my journal), I remember that a true writer can transform the mundane into magic. The late Canadian author, Carole Shields, was a master at that and her "Stone Diaries" is still one of my favorite reads. Yet, if someone pesters me to know what it's about, I'm stuck saying, "It's about an ordinary person leading an ordinary life, but somehow she makes it extraordinary."

I think the change from ordinary to extraordinary comes when the author can truly see the situation through the scrim of the characters' emotions.

But I also think that this is the key to seeing your own life as extraordinary.

After nearly a year at it, I can safely say that the more I blog and the more I probe how I think and feel about things, the more I see my ordinary life as magical.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Water Pavillion

On Monday, I stopped at the IGA market on Nun's Island again, where everything is shiny and glittering. Being human, I am attracted to shiny things. The lighting in the produce department is stunning there and I usually find something good or hard to get at my local market. Monday, it was killer-ripe avocados. Anyway, not only does this market have the whole station thing going on (ie deli, butcher, cakery, fromagerie, etc, each with own staff) but also has something I've never seen before. It's in a circled out corner near the checkout where one might expect the flower department (which is oddly after the checkout). It's the Pavillon d'Eau. The Water Pavillion. (I wish you could hear how sarcastically I'm saying the word "water".) But again, being human, I was enchanted by the bottom-of-the-pool design flooring and the white backlit shelves transforming the whole "pavillion" into one giant soft-white light bulb. Drawn, I was, like a child to a gumball machine. Look at the pretty bottles, check out the funky norwegian names. Ooooooh, preeeety. But then something started niggling at me, down there in my gut, just left of center. A little tug saying, wait, wait, waiiiiit. And then I started to think about the imbalance in the world. How millions of people don't have access to clean water and here I am staring at the most gluttonous example of consumerism. Water as commodity, as status symbol, as money maker. Then I made this little video.

I'm wondering when we'll have to pay for the air we breathe. Or when the real marketing genius will convince us that a tank with oxygen dragged around with us at all times is not only healthy, but fashionable. Imagine! The funky tank designs, the rolling apparati, the back pack versions. Oh and the mask that goes with, they could even be mask masks, and you could be your favorite celebrity for a day. And the possible air varieties, "Ah, yes I'm doing arctic this week, I like it, but it's a little stale, I don't think I'll do this one again. Post desert storm is my favorite." Geez, the accessories alone could be a billion dollar market.

It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside thinking about what our descendants have to look forward to.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Tulips for Tuesday

In Downtown Montreal, there is a cathedral that stands in sharp contrast to the steel and glass skyscrapers surrounding it. There is a huge mall underneath the cathedral as well. Each year, the place explodes with tulips. I took all of these shots yesterday at around two in the afternoon.

This was my favorite shot, with the guy feeding the pigeons, and the kids looking on behind him.

It took about five minutes before I could get this shot free of passersby.

My damn shoe is in this picture.

Then again, maybe I like this shot best. (you can click all the pictures for screen filling versions)

Happy spring!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Did I really write jerked off?

The patio set. Home Depot, Key Biscayne ensemble. Two swivel chairs not shown.

When I went to take back the earth killing machine yesterday, I had to fill it with gas before dropping it off at the car rental place. Gas here is 1.09 a litre Canadian. (Let's see, 1 US gallon = 3.7854 liters, so 1.09 X 3.7854 is about $4.13 a gallon Canadian. But if we convert to US currency, it's about $3.71) The highest it's gotten is $1.39 after Katrina. Anyway, for our little shopping excursions and then a ride out for brunch with the MIL, we totaled 120 kilometers. (75 miles) I had used a quarter of the Jeep Liberty's tank. It didn't seem possible when the pump continued after the twenty dollar mark and I was aghast when it finally jerked off at $29.75. I'll spare you the math here since I've already done it in my head, but it comes out to a quarter a kilometer for gas. When I got back to the rental car office, I remarked to the agent that I was suffering from shock after gassing it up, and she said, "Yeah, that's why we are doing the big SUV promotion. Nobody wants to rent them anymore because they use so much gas and it's so expensive, so we just have them all sitting there in the garage day after day."

When I left, I walked two blocks to the metro station, slid my $62 monthly pass through the slot in the turnstyle, and was whisked home with nary a stoplight. Feeling smug, I was.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Being good little capitalist consumers

When shopping goes right, a splendid experience it is. Saturday will probably go down as one of the most successful excursions to date. There was practically no squabbling AND no crowds due to the inclement weather. It's like everyone said, "Eh, we can go tomorrow or next weekend, there's no rush." So every place we went was empty, the cashiers calling out "Hey, I'm open over here" when we went with our intended purchases to look for the shortest checkout line. On a Saturday in spring, this is unusual. But pouring down rain it was, ha ha. We got wet shopping in the nursery, selecting the tree and bushes for the back yard. We decided on a Hydrangea for the "tree" selection, I don't know why, I've always known somehow that I would own one. And though there were many other trees at half the price, when spouse declared his desire for it, I quickly agreed.

A hydrangea, (what a chewy word, I like saying it over and over - high-drain-jah.) I'm going to try to make mine make blue flowers. Maybe not right away, but one day.

Then the patio set we got at Home Depot. We both saw and wanted it because it came with six chairs, two of which were swivel chairs, mmmmmm, swivel chairs, next stop convalescent home.

And I got my air conditioner. I saw a portable 12000 btu for $750 and jumped on it. I will not suffer this summer like I did last.

We stuffed the SUV full twice and dumped nearly two grand for the day. It's looking more and more like we're setting this place up to stay. Maybe we should skip the whole moving out idea and just enjoy a small place decked out in everything our hearts desire. Today, we're off to brunch with the mother in law and hopefully we can get things planted later this afternoon.

Here's a little video of the dog. Why? Because the new patio set video is lame.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Offroading at Home Depot

I've rented an earth killing machine this weekend. When I got in it, I stared blankly at the 4-wheel drive apparatus. Having scant contact with such a thing, I didn't really understand how it worked. "What if I need to use it to get out of a situation?" a small panicky voice inside asked. "Yeah, right, you're going to be off roading this weekend are you? Think there'll be a freak May snowstorm and you'll get stuck?" and then I snickered at myself.

It's a Jeep Liberty. And as I was driving away admiring the smell of new leather seats (can I get an essential oil of that please) I thought about the usefulness of the four wheel drive. But all I can come up with is ego, vanity and perhaps masculinity building as the possible uses. I mean when do you need to shift into the four wheel drive mode? Shouldn't we be avoiding places where four wheel drive is necessary? Wouldn't these places tend to be wild and untouched? It's wasteful already to have a big old SUV (I usually see one person in an SUV), the 4WD seems like a superfluous addition. Like a bra for a Hummer.

Still, I'm thrilled to have rented it, the size will come in handy this weekend as I have succumbed to the wheedling, and we will be getting a patio set. Thank god we have to get a small one (due to the size of the deck) so we won't have to spend too, too much. Also, a tree! I predict squabbling over the selection of the tree. Apparently we both have an idea of what we want the back yard to look like, but we formulated these ideas independently so they do not resemble one another. Hopefully, neither of us will be intractable.

Friday, May 05, 2006


* This is what I do Fridays. I list morcels from the journal that did not make it as a blog post.

* How do competing technologies benefit us? It seems like a big waste of time. Beta/VHS, Cassette/8track, Plasma/LCD, IBM/Apple. Maybe technology would progress that much faster if we didn't have to wait for the competition to play out. And we wouldn't have to fill up the landfills with the losing technology.

* I have been cigarette free for 50 days. I have been nicotine free for 5 days.

* A wart used to grow on my finger. I bit it off 3 times before it didn't grow back. (My aversion to doctors and medicine began long ago)

* My mother catches fish that weigh twice as much as her.

* You know people who have a part of their eye that's a different color? That's a glitch in the software, as, I believe, is homosexuality. The question is, "How important are the glitches?"

* I was once highly skilled (expert!) in auto-fellatio.

* Most adults will be dead and gone by 2070. Why people get so narded up about some issues is beyond me. (immigration for example)

* A sign of maturity is the ability to feel genuine pleasure for the good fortune of others.

* My parents used to frequently answer my whine with, "because Life's not fair, that's why." And it's true, they just forgot the part that it's possible to live on the good side of "unfair".

* Spring has sprung and I made a corny video snippet of myself in public.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Way back half nekkid good night's sleep

Most people know that I don't like taking any kind of medication. I loathe going to the doctor and usually trust that time and rest will work most things out. There are times, however, when I will take pills, like aspirin for headaches. Yesterday, I received several sleeping pills in the mail from one of the (now favoritest) bloggers who visits this site. The gratitude I felt when those were in my mailbox was immeasurable. Sleep was on the way. I haven't figured out how to properly thank this person, but thanks are coming in addition to this one. Long story short, I slept for nine hours last night. And despite a slight grogginess this morning, I feel like weeping with joy.

I don't have anything planned for the blog today. And since it's Thursday and yesterday was Wednesday, here's a way-back-half-nekkid picture that represents the time I consider to have been my "top shape" year. It hasn't been exactly all downhill since then, but hairiness and wrinkliness are on the rise, as are the proliferation of freckles. (You do know that a tan is evidence of skin damage, right? I tanned a lot back then.)

Age 33, 1998. 180lbs

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Is this wrong?

So I had been thinking about the surreptitious filming opportunities with the camera phone. What if I could use the phone as though I were talking to someone and just point my ear at what I wanted to be filming. The filmed wouldn't know right?

Then hot hunky guy got on the bus and I tried it.

Am I in trouble now?

* Update: Youtube removed the video for "inappropriate content" I guess you're not allowed to say that you secretly filmed someone.

In which I expose the extreme profundity of my bleeding heartedness

1. What would the US look like if we gave all the illegal immigrants amnesty?

2. In what way would things change if the US national anthem were sung in more than one language?

Frankly, I'm shocked that even my gay brethren are "offended" by the translation of the anthem. Honestly, it's the same argument people are giving to prevent gay marriage - that adding a new version to the existing one somehow sullies the original. I don't get it. How does the translation of the song, and the subsequent singing of it affect you? Why are people choosing to be outraged? Utterly pointless, in my opinion.

And my heart was with every one of those protesters on Monday. Having lived my own illegal immigration story, I can definitely put myself in their shoes. And what a specious argument that the fact that they entered "illegally" renders them undeserving of any special consideration. Come on now, there really was no other legal avenue for them to enter. Do you think the US is just handing out immigration papers to people who are simply qualified for basic manual labor? If you do, you better go do some homework. The only hope for the poor and unskilled is the immigration lottery. Sorry, but the immigration lottery doesn't have enough spots to satisfy the labor demands in the US. Specious. (We need them here but we're not going to acknowledge that, we're going to vilify them for being here)

Those of us who were lucky enough to be born on US soil should be thanking these people, not threatening to fire them for not showing up to work on Monday. We've had it way easier than these people, and it only takes the weest bit of open mindedness/compassion to realize it.

Compassion people, say it with me.

(Just to make you love me more: English is one of many languages that have been spoken within US borders since the country's birth. What would the US look like if English and Spanish were the two official languages? Wouldn't that be an enriching experience for everybody? I just don't get the knee-jerk hostile and negative reactions. It must be fear based.)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Here's the deal: I don't want to use this space to whine about my ailments. Sure, here and there like a normal person, but this last week and a half has been unlike anything I've ever experienced. Actually it's similar to staying up for days on methamphetamine (not that I would know a thing about that, shhh), and then suffering the come-down with the added bonus of continuing inability to sleep. I think I'm starting to know what it's like those first few months (years?) after the birth of a child. Anyway, Saturday was 100% sleepless, and Sunday I slept three hours and then took a sleeping pill, which, goddamnmotherfucker, didn't work. Monday I felt so tired. This morning, I've been awake since 3. Oh and there's a difference between tired and sleepy, this I can say with certainty. I'm very, very tired.

Don't look at me like that, I took your advice!!!! (and also felt great love for all the suggestions)

Worked out in the evening - nope

Took Gravol - no dice

Drank extra alcohol - bad idea

Drank no alcohol - worse idea

Smoked pot - negative, dude

Took Benedryl - made me buzzed and angsty, and my scalp tingled

Took three spins on my own little slot machine - fun, but no help in the sleeping arena

Can't get Melatonin here but the Valerian Root didn't work either.

So anyway, as I said, I don't want this to spiral into some kind of poor me blog. Therefore, if I'm sick or insomniated, I'm not going to post. If you don't see a post for a day, now you know why.

Oh and by the way, I discovered that Benedryl and Unisom are both peddling the same exact drug in the same exact size/milligrammed capsules. It's just that the Benedryl box is promising allergy relief and the Unisom box is promising slumber. Oh, and you get fewer pills for the same price when you buy the Benedryl.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Fun near the bottom rung

There is some kind of law here that the merchant has to display the product price (either on the package or on the shelf), and the price, if scanned, must match the displayed price. If this doesn't scan correctly, the customer is entitled to the product for free up to ten bucks.

So when I do my grocery shopping I pay attention to the prices of things (especially if they are on special, you'd be surprised how often the "specials" somehow don't get entered into the system) and try to watch as the cashier scans everything. Sometimes it's impossible to watch and unload the basket at the same time. Saturday, I couldn't do both and when I got home, I noticed that the swiss cheese fondue had rung up at $5.99 instead of $5.79. So I went back again on Sunday, bought the cheese again, pointed out the error, and got it for free. Tee hee.

Free cheese, you gotta love it.