Friday, December 30, 2005

Encore le paradis

Hey, it looks like they fixed this bloody keyboard somewhat. A whole sentence and no problems. I don't think I'll be trying any punctuation other than periods though.

We seem to have settled into a routine here. Get up leisurely and chit chat with the other guests at the hotel over the free breakfast. Then we go out for a long walk along the boardwalk, watching the waves and the people. Maybe buy a trinket or article of clothing. Eat tacos standing up. (I always look for where the Mexicans are eating, and then we go there) Make our way down to the beach where we hob nob with those we met on the drunken night before. Add beer. Add more beer. Go back to hotel and have a siesta. Get up in time for the sunset and go down to admire it. Then we make our way over to one of the martini bars for pre dinner libations. Once suitably oiled, we find a place to eat. We eat well. Then we go bar hopping until we can't go on - usually about 1ish in the morning.

I love this routine, though my liver is perhaps not with me on this.

We've met lots of fun people along the way and are having a ball. We've got 5 more days here before we head up to Los Angeles to visit family and friends. I hope everyone is well and I'll catch up on your blogs when I get back I promise.

Now, I've got some things to do (see above) Ciao!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


So I'm just going to tyype this without fixing all the things this stpid keyboard does. Some of the letters are eeven mismarked on the kkeyboard, and I don't understand why itt doubles some of the letterss. The backspace key alwwys erases two and , well, siggh.......

Ok,, so it took a feew ddays, but noow it sseems like true vacation mode. Laying on the beach all day amongst our peoplee (ggay beach( listening to the gossipp and the seex stories. And some poeople should be told that sspeedos are not helpful forr their image. *I'm such a bittch \i know..

goingg out for drinks and dinner, and then trying to go clubbinng, but not being up for it yet since nothing gets started til after midnightt. I think toniight will be the night for staying out late.

we still haave another week here and all is well.

byy the way, \\i got so annoyed with the hagling that we went to Walmart thus breakingg one of my cardinaal rules, but at least the price is the price there.

And mexxico isn""t as chheap as it used to be>

do you love this keybboard as much as i do?

i"ll cfheck in in a couple daays> hope eeverryone is well>

ta ta!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Checking in

I can't use the Spanish keyboard! Quick rundown thus far.

Travel time 17 hours UGH

Festive pinata celebrations everywhere on the streets upon arrival

Packed beach Christmas day, huge waves

Great food and martinis

I hate all the bargaining for everything

Tequila helps

Hope everyone had a great christmas.

*This took 25 minutes because I can't use this keyboard!

Friday, December 23, 2005


Well everyone, this is it. The last day before globe trotting. We thought we had planned well enough to avoid any Christmas dinners (you know by leaving on the 24th) but at the last minute, the mother in-law decided to "bring dinner" when she came last evening to pick up the dog. (She'll be entertaining our Sara for the next two weeks) Well, she also brought the family, and gifts and food and wine. This was all fine except that they arrived before spouse returned from work, and that brother in-law was already three sheets to the wind. I gave spouse a call on his cell:

"They're HERE. Where the #$% are you?"

"I'm on the bus, they're early."

"Your brother is drunk and I didn't even get to finish cleaning."

"I'm sorry, I'll be there in five minutes."

The evening progressed and brother in-law grew more and more belligerent and insulting.

(Insert huge family drama, screaming, crying, the finger being thrust into faces with huge "fuck you's", the final proclomation from Spouse for everyone to GET OUT, then the terrible guilt he felt for throwing his family out.)

Ah, just the thing we were looking to avoid. Christmas just really lets some people SHINE.

Puerto Vallarta here we come!

I won't be posting every day over the holidays but I will check in from an internet cafe from time to time (I'm guessing a couple updates a week, but no promises.)

Thanks to all the blogger friends made this year. You've made me feel part of a great big writing club, where we all encourage each other to keep it up. I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday (drama-free if possible) filled with good eats, good friends, and good times.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

HNT and stuff

It's my last day of work before the winter break. I'm so giddy I could spit. I've also been so busy I don't know which way is up. But it's all coming together, I've purchased pesos and US $, and I went out and bought a huge new suitcase for the trip. Tomorrow will be relegated to packing.

I didn't have time to work on an HNT shot this week (and anyway, how could I beat last week's) so I asked my good friend if I could use a shot I took of her almost twelve years ago when she was pregnant with her first child. The lump you see is a beautiful young lady of 11 now.

Frankly, it's one of the nicest people pics I've ever taken. I was also blessed to be able to participate in the birth of the child, an experience I am so grateful for.


Happy HNT and the first day of winter!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A tale for the holidays

"Daddy, do you think the reindeer hold it when they are flying? Or is it like birds and it just comes out whenever?"

"That's a good question. You'd have to ask Santa about that."

"Have you ever seen a reindeer's?" ( At the age of seven, all things scat interested me. I had noted the differences in the excrement of birds, dogs, fish, rabbits and myself. Also, I refused to believe that "horseshit" really was. Looked like muffins to me. It wouldn't be until age 9 that I would actually see it "coming out"* and then there was no question about it.)

"Well, I've seen deer excrement and it's similar to a rabbit's pellets, only bigger."

"Ohhhhhh." I said, envisioning the larger version of rabbit turd in my head.



"If they hold it when they are flying, that means they must do it while they're stopped and Santa's delivering the presents down the chimney, right?"

"Well, I suppose so, yes."

"Oh boy, I'm going to check outside the house first thing Christmas morning!"

"Don't you want to open your presents first?"

I remember thinking about this hard. What a choice! I wanted to do both things first thing, but couldn't figure out what I wanted to do first-first.

"I want to check outside first." I finally said, knowing the presents would still be there, but maybe someone would STEAL any reindeer shit outside.

On Christmas morning, I went outside and checked for anything that might have fallen off the roof the night before. And I found something! Three little balls, just like rabbit poo only bigger. My heart beat faster and I picked up the three balls of reindeer dung and ran back into the house. My parents were there by the tree grinning wildly in their pajamas. The plate of cookies and the glass of milk that I had left out for Santa had been consumed. Dozens of presents filled the space under the tree.

"Mommy, Daddy look!" I ran up to them with my hands open displaying three precious reindeer nuggets. "It's reindeer bathroom from Santa's reindeer." (Bathroom was a code-word for shit in our house.)

"Here let me see." Mom said, taking one of the balls from my palm.

"Delicious!" she exlcaimed while popping it into her mouth and rapidly chewing it up. "Didn't you know that Santa's reindeer poop chocolate?"

My first reaction was horror, Mom just destroyed one of only three morsels that I had found. But then I wanted to taste it too. So I bit a little piece of one to make sure she was telling the truth. Indeed, it was chocolate.

"Wait, Daddy, you didn't say anything about that. How come?"

"Well, son, you didn't ask and anyway, I thought you knew. You only asked me if I knew where they did it. I've never met anyone who actually found some, but everyone knows they're chocolate. You're a lucky little boy."

My curiosity thus satisfied and my Christmas knowledge now expanded, I tore into the presents. I kept the remaining chocolate in my toybox for safekeeping.

The following year I learned at school that the Santa story wasn't real and that anything happening around Christmas with Santa was a lie. I confronted my parents who confirmed this.

"But what about the cookies and the milk?"

"Well, we ate them and drank it after you went to bed."

"And the chocolate? The chocolate that I found?" I somehow felt that I was a "special" kid because I was in possession of Santa's magical chocolate reindeer poo.

Sigh, "We put that out for you to find."

And then I mourned. And I resisted the knowledge and wished it away. I know that feeling well now. It was the first instance of the feeling of lost innocence.

*Other terms considered here include: emerging, cresting, issuing forth, crowning, seeing daylight, being extruded, finding Nemo, exiting, and squishing through. What? Don't give me that look. This is how I keep in touch with my inner child.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

On striking

Just days before Christmas, and I see that New York's transit workers have gone on strike. I have mixed feelings about strikes (I live in a place where unions have incredible power and strikes are common) because I understand the notion of standing up for what you believe, but at the same time, if you don't like your working conditions - go find another job. I myeslf have never belonged to a union, though I once voted not to unionize. When unemployment is low, there is no reason why people can't get out and find a job or an employer that will treat them better. There is this idea that if you work for an employer for a long time that you deserve that avenue of making money to be secured and constantly increasing. But for most people, this is not the reality. For most people, you're only as good as your last success, and every week the employee must prove that they are (still) beneficial to the organization. When unions get involved, it's like the employer has to be good enough for the employees.

Two years ago there was a transit strike here. It was all because the custodial workers in the metro stations walked off the job, and then the drivers and mechanics walked off in "sympathy". So the whole transit system shut down essentially because 130 workers on the cleaning staff weren't happy with $20 an hour, they wanted $25 after all that's what their counterparts in Toronto get. (Shh, let's not mention that the cost of living in Toronto is much, much higher than Montreal) The impact was terrible for me, as I use the transit system to get me to all my various lessons. In the first week of the strike I lost $300 due to classes I wasn't able to get to. So as you can imagine, I was quite bitter about losing income because of some whiny workers who feel they are entitled to a 25% raise.

I can't wait to read New York bloggers and their experiences this week. I predict wild ranting. Should be juicy.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Quickly 'came lame

'Tis the week before Christmas
And all through the town
The people are stressing
And dressing a frown.

The work parties done
The credit card maxxed
It'll be six more days
'Til all is relaxed.

(And those who have waited
To purchase their gifts
Will find choked parking lots
And nothing that fits.)

The time keeps on ticking
And if you're not done
Accept my condolences
You'll be having no fun.

So in an effort
To spare you such pain
Take my advice
It's quite simple and plain.

Sit at the computer
Credit card in hand
Buy from a company
With a well known brand,

Once you have finished
Have a stiff drink
Pat yourself on the back
And give yourself a wink.

Then spend 5 days
Marveling at the lights
Smiling at your brethren
And taking in the sights.

This is how I wish you
A beautiful week
Full of little moments
To brighten your cheeks.

(What started out cute
Quickly 'came lame
And now I must go
Riddled with shame)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Doing the lord's work

Ding dong.

The dog goes crazy barking and wagging her tail in anticipation of fresh new smells entering the house. It's Saturday morning, who could this be? Serge is still in his robe, but I'm dressed, so I go to the door to answer it. There I find an older couple all bundled up in the cold clutching printed material in their gloved hands.

"Good morning, sir. We are passing through the neighborhood to talk about some things." Warm expressions of psychosis compassion fixed on me.

I have now remembered that you should NEVER answer the door on Saturday morning, and have spotted the title of the magazines in their grip - The Watchtower. I try to interject, but he has his schtick well practiced and doesn't stop talking but pulls out something that looks like a Bible, and then shows me and reads to me a passage that he would like to discuss. Something about "bounty" - I'm not very well versed in French Biblical wording. (nor am I so good at puns.)

Finally, I was able to speak, and I said simply, "I don't want to talk about that with you."

They wished me good day and went on.

The dog was bummed when I closed the door. I thought about how they were convinced that they were out doing the lord's work. Freezing their little butts off to pester people on the last weekend before Christmas. Spreading irritation and inconvenience wherever they go, I wonder if they get the irony of their manner of "spreading the word".

Religion is like a virus that renders you mentally ill. It relieves you of your duty of "thinking for yourself", (this is what they mean by "faith" - don't think about it too much or it won't ring true, so just have faith) and robs you of the chance to experience all the possiblities in life.

That is not to say that there are not good lessons or messages in any religion, it's just that they are lessons, not mandates for living. (In my opinion.)

Here is a little game pointed out by em which can show you any flaws in your "god logic". I did very well biting only one bullet, but receiving no direct hits. If you don't get that sentence, go try the little quiz here.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Chatty Saturday

Good Saturday morning to you. As is my habit, a little casual update on the week. This cold week. It was hideously cold all week with temps below 0 degrees F. I took this shot on my way to work Wednesday morning when it was -4F. This is much colder than normal for this time of year and with my sickly disposition, it sucked. The sunrise was pretty anyway.

I've been fighting some bug all week which helped me lower my inhibition enough to post an HNT shot on Thursday which ended up generating the most traffic and comments ever for the blog. I guess sex really does sell.
Here I am in the same location as the sunrise pic . We had a huge snowstorm yesterday which brought the city to a virtual standstill. I don't think I've seen such a big dump in such a short time (during one hour yesterday morning, 7 inches fell, we ended up with 16 inches total) and the snow removal teams just couldn't keep up.

It is at these times that I am happy to be carless. Everyone was out cursing as they tried to unbury their vehicles. So many cars were stuck in snowbanks, it was comical. As for me, I just trudged through the snow all the way to work. Even the buses couldn't keep their schedules. It was really quite beautiful.This should keep us refrigerated for a while now and ensure a white Christmas around here.

A week from now, we'll be on a plane heading to Puerto Vallarta and leaving the cold behind. There are too many things to get done before then and I'm sure I'll be whining about it later this week. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Pity the fool

Here's something I've been working on for a long time. And it is especially difficult to achieve during the holiday crunch time, which is why this is a good time to bring it up. When someone pisses me off due to their words or actions, I try to feel pity for them instead of hatred.


Well because frankly, it feels better to pity than to hate.

Imagine seeing a dog hit by a car, now imagine that the driver is George Bush. Both provoke strong emotions.

I don't know about you, but the pity response feels less, um...dirty?

Plus, every time I've lost my temper in life and gone off on someone, I later feel shame at my lack of emotional control. And the result of these outbursts is always less than optimal.

When I started this self-work, I set out to rid myself of anger. Anger feels lousy, I don't care how you defend it. It's shitty I tell you, shitty.

But. Then someone jumps in front of me in line, or pushes me in the metro, or sprays me with dirty slush as they careen around the corner in their monster SUV (MOTHER F$%KER, I'M TALKING TO YOU) and the natural rise of anger colors my face and tarnishes my heart. It's normal to feel angry in those situations I suppose, but I'm pretty sure I could change that. (Farting is normal and natural, but we learn to control that.)

This is where pity comes in. Because if the person doing the rude, aggressive, selfish thing is feeling rude or aggressive, why that's not an enviable state to be in. I know I'm not feeling good inside when I'm bitchy and mean to people.

So, pity that person.

And if you work on this for a while as I have, you'll actually start to laugh when others sport such poor behaviour. It's like when you laugh at the guy who gets hit in the nuts with a ball. You feel pity and you laugh. After all, holding on to anger and resentment is only hurting oneself.

It's not easy. No, even now, after many years I am only successful half the time.

But I've also decreased my anger by half.

Trust me it's worth the work. (And I'm as much saying it to myself as I am to you, did I mention the SUV guy and the slush spray?)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

An HNT to raise your spirits

So this week's HNT should be more in line with regulations. (I used bus advertising last week if you'll remember.) I actually took this shot last week, but then didn't have the required ball girth to post it. Today I'm feeling sick, I've been around a lot of sick people lately and I guess it's finally my turn. You know how when you're sick you don't CARE about anything (except the bed maybe), well that's why I don't mind posting an HNT shot which pretty much represents "as far as I'll go" with it on this blog. (You know some of my family reads this thing.) Anyway, all the naughty bits are hidden........

(The picture of me that generated such comment volume has been removed due to "you snooze, you lose" policy. Ahem.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

In which I reveal my freakishness

So, to prove to you that I'm truly a freak, I'm going to make a confession: I like bruised fruit.

"Sure, Torn, that's a bit odd, but certainly far from freakland," you may be thinking.

Well let me tell you why I like bruised fruit. In the market, I watch as people endlessly handle the fruits and vegetables in order to find "the best" one.

I don't know why people do this, we all know that color is often manipulated by the distributor, so it is not the conclusive indicator of flavor/freshness as in times past. And anyway, unless there's a worm hanging out of it, the whole batch tends to be similar.

But how I see it is that hundreds of people handle, inspect and then reject the bruised fruit in favor of the more visually appealing. (I think people must feel they are ENTITLED to the finest specimen for the money, but the whole entitlement thing is another post.)

How does this make the fruit feel? I mean its whole purpose is either to provide nutrition or make a new tree and all the bruised ones get is rejection, rejection, rejection.

Rejection feels shitty and I swear the bruised fruit tastes better because it appreciates the chance to fulfill its purpose.

Yes, I believe the fruit is grateful, and therefore tastes better.

See? I told you I'm a freak.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

5 simple pleasures

As recycled from Epicurist and St Dickeybird:

1. Watching reruns of I Love Lucy. Over 50 years old and still funny and surprisingly current thematically. I just opened an early Xmas gift (I won't be here on Xmas day anyway) which was the first 3 complete seasons. I have only watched one disc (out of 17) and spouse is already tiring of it.

2. Observing thunderstorms, preferably outside. As anyone can tell you, I am kind of "out of it" during a thunderstorm, and go into a kind of trance where I can't focus on anything else. I want to SEE the lightning strikes, so I am constantly craning my neck and scanning the sky. It is a deep passion, however irrational.

3. When I can walk down to the Dairy Queen in summer and get the Banana Creme Pie Blizzard. The walk there with the anticipation, then the deliciousness, and after, the sated walk home. I think I did that 5 times this past summer.

4. When I happen upon an item I regularly buy that is on special 2 for 1. Such a thrill! For example last week, my frozen orange - tangerine juice I like was 2 for 1. (I practiced restraint though and only bought a dozen.) Does this make me an old fuddy duddy?

5. Hanging around the house with spouse. Each of us doing our own thing yet sharing the musical environment.

Monday, December 12, 2005

As promised!

Well it's over. And I am now officially a Canadian citizen. Aside from being a lesson in the inefficiency of beaurocracy, (I'd say my presence was necessary for about 37 minutes of the 4 hour experience) it was unbelievably easy. They allow 30 minutes to answer 20 multiple choice questions of which you are only required to answer 12 correctly (60% for the mathematically challenged). I finished in 4 minutes. Really, even if I hadn't studied, I could have aced it. Here was one of the questions:

Of the following rights, which one is accorded only to canadian citizens:

A. the right to drive a car

B. the right to vote

C. the right to own property

D. the right to have children

They were all similarly worded so that there was only one obvious answer. And to think I actually studied for it!

The ceremony was cool though, there were 52 of us from 32 different countries. I loved the judge's speech about our responsibilities: to help your fellow man, to stand up and fight against discrimination and injustice, and to protect the environment.

I wonder what the judge's speech is like at the US ceremony. Maybe he demonstrates how to stick out your tongue and make dumbo ears while saying 'Nah, nah , nah, nah, naaaaaaaaah, nah" to the rest of the world.

Ah, it feels good to be here.

The beauty of brevity

See, you're already done with this post.

(I'll make a rare second appearance later to let you know how it went.)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Table 11 and the scampi lady

My first hotel job was at a Hyatt Regency where I was hired as a busboy and worked my way up to waiter. I worked in the fine dining restaurant which overlooked the Long Beach Harbor and the Pacific. It was a stunning view and since the hotel was located next to the performing arts center, on theatre nights, we got a good early rush of diners (some with walkers and oxygen tanks). It was during one of these theatre rushes that the most unfortunate thing happened to one of my customers.

Just before we opened, the manager called line-up to review all the specials with the staff and to do a uniform and grooming check. (We had an uptight manager who was known to send people home for dirty fingernails.) Having finished the line-up, we were dispatched to our stations to await the opening of the doors and the mad geriatric rush. (I think it was opera that night at the theatre.)

Within about 15 minutes, all the tables in my section were full, and I knew I had to get them all fed and out the door in time for the show. It was a mad rush, but we didn't mind, these nights tended to be profitable. About halfway through the madness, I was waiting in the kitchen for one of my orders to come up. Just as the chef was putting the finished plates in the window, I noticed a little tickle in my nose, and as I wiped the rim of the plates to place them on the oval tray, I sniffed and snorted a bit to make the tickle go away. Then I picked up the tray with the four plates and started to head out of the kitchen. My nose still tickled a bit like there was one skinny booger attached inside the nose with the free end quivering with the flow of air. Each time I breathed, I felt the little tickle and so I errantly tried sniffing and snorting some more to dislodge the thing, or at least get it to stop tickling me. Truth be told, I wasn't even thinking about it, it was like an itch you scratch but aren't even cognizant that you're doing it.

I arrived at table 11 and set down the tray jack and placed the tray upon it. I picked up the two plates destined for the female customers and it was then that the source of tickling dislodged and I watched with horror as it flew directly into the plate of scampi that I was holding in my right hand. (It was amoeba-like with a nosehair stuck in it) It seemed like time stood still for me as I held that plate, wondering what to do. I thought about how I could make up an excuse and whisk it back to the kitchen. I thought about the appreciation the chefs would have for my predicament (they would have thrown things at me) and I thought about how to explain it to the customer.

"Waiter, is there something wrong?"

Unfortunately, time hadn't stopped still for them, and they didn't understand why I wasn't putting the plates down already. Clearly they could see I was holding the scampi, the very thing they had ordered, and I just couldn't think on the spot fast enough to explain why I needed to take it back to the kitchen. So, I went ahead and put the plate down in front of the customer. The scampi, with it's garlic and butter and herbs was the perfect camouflage for such an addition to the recipe.

I felt really bad about it, but there was still the matter of getting the food out to my other tables and off I went to get through it.

"Enjoy your dinner folks!"

When I returned to check on them, they had finished their meals. The scampi lady was soaking up the last remaining liquid on her plate with bread, every last solid morsel already consumed.

This was twenty years ago, and to this day, I still feel guilty.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Saturday roundup

The snow has returned. Which means all the trees are flocked. Very Christmas-y. But snow also means cold, and it has been cold this week, the kind of cold that makes your nose run uncontrollably.

When I first moved here, I was not accustomed to such temperatures. (It never gets below freezing where I grew up in Southern California.) The first time I had to walk to the metro in 20 below weather, the snot ran from my nose and froze on my upper lip. What's more is that I froze all the little delicate membranes in my nose from breathing through the nose. This caused a lot of pain for the ensuing week.

After much mocking by spouse, I learned that you breathe through your mouth when such temperatures are present. Who knew?

And I think I'm the only one here who wears long underwear all winter. Natives laugh at me when I tell them. I get the feeling that it's namby-pamby to wear such garments. But when it comes to comfort, I don't really care what message I'm sending.

This weekend is the final study weekend before the test Monday for citizenship. I've got all of it pretty much down, but I will review it a few more times and practice answering with Serge.

So there's no earth-shattering news this week in my world. Trying to get all the loose ends tied up before we depart for Mexico on the 24th. Only 2 weeks. It is this that keeps my chin up.

Good weekend everybody!

Friday, December 09, 2005

At least it's not a cold whine

The workers arrived yesterday to erect scaffolding in front of our building. It's finally happening. We've spent months chasing masonry contractors around for estimates and in October, we hammered out a deal with one of them. Then we heard nothing. When it turned brutally cold this week, I thought "Construction time is over, they'll probably come in the spring."


No, we're going to remove that-which-keeps-your-homes-protected-from-the-elements and then we're going to leave it that way for weeks before we get around to putting it back up.

See, here's the deal, the stone facade must be dissassembled, and then later, reassembled. Oh and did I mention that we could have a brand new car for the price of essentially breaking down a wall and re-erecting it with the same materials. In fact, it costs extra to use the same materials. (?!)

Thankfully, we will be gone during the holidays but I fear for our tenants. Tenants? Oh yeah, we own the bank owns the triplex we live in and the two apartments above us are rented. It's a great deal except when you have to alter your retirement planning to tear down a wall and rebuild it.

I'm not telling you how much we're paying, but I will say that one of our estimates was (gasp) forty-eight thousand dollars. Oh how I laughed when we received that one. The kind of laugh that leads one to the kitchen to play with the big knives.

And just because, here's a picture of our next door neighbor's house. Although you can't see it, the Christmas dog moves and carols are emanating from hidden speakers. I feel the urge to ridicule but that's not very charitable, is it?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

HNT etc.

Well folks it's Thursday. That means HNT. And just my luck that I was stuck waiting for the bus in BITTERLY COLD windy weather when another bus pulled up with the following advertising on the rear. It's half-nekkid advertising.

Now, clearly this is a rip-off of the Hooters chain in the states. I've seen this kind of thing before, there was a pool bar close to my French school that was called Boobeez.

Anyway, I found it odd to have tits and booze advertised on a city bus.

I feel a cold whine coming on......

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

For example

A big problem I have with fashion: Complete counterintuitive clothing.

Every era and group seems to have it. I go to a club where people might be expected to dance, and half the people are wearing the same GIANT construction boots. A real construction worker, (who would have a logical need for such boots) would never wear his "work shoes" for a night out. But this has become a staple of late night (insert favorite gay euphemism here) haunts. There was a time when I lusted and craved those boots, and went so far as to try them on, but as soon as I did, I thought it was like having ridiculous bulky weights on the feet. (Plus, there was this voice screaming in my head, "You pathetic sheep you, you're not going to buy such impractical things now are you?") I have hiking boots, but hiking boots don't cut it now, do they boys?

Remember when Sperry Topsiders were all the rage? Boat shoes. Shoes specifically manufactured for the vagaries of standing upright on a ship. Yet, there we were lining up for them because they were "in". I wanna be in, can I can I. ( What, too sarcastic?)

Obviously you'll agree that the male portion of the younger generation is fixated on wearing pants that are so long and so low that tripping is caused and walking must be altered in order to keep the pants from falling off. Still, it charms me in a way.

You know who got it right? It's the arabs. (Am I allowed to say that?) They all get to wear the same white gown. No tight-fitting belts or ties, just a lovely billowy thing that let's you move about freely and comfortably. Why can't that be the fashion? Something practical, something that can let me focus on the more important parts of you, like your mind, or if you're wearing any underwear under there.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Kinda all over the place

God, it was gorgeous yesterday. The sky was filled with cotton candy-like cumulus, with strands of precipitation descending from them like hair. The sun played hide and seek behind the clouds and since the angle is so low now, the rays poked through here and there as depicted in so many spiritual paintings. Where's the pictures you must be clucking. And a fine use of your clucking mechanism it is. Unfortunately, I left the camera sitting on my desk at home. That always seems to happen when there's really good stuff to take pictures of.

And I watched Groundhog day again. Only one more viewing left. But yesterday I started pondering what an illusion life is. I mean, no matter what you think you are, no matter how you define or label your characteristics, the vessel that is "you" has the capacity to be very different than how you imagine yourself to be. We humans can get used to anything. I myself have gotten used to many things that at a previous time would have been anathema to my very being. As have you, I'm sure.

And every time a change occurs, we rankle and squawk a bit, but it doesn't last long until we get acclimated and then the next change occurs. Like shifting gears in a car, some of us grumble louder than others. But why? Why do we cling to this or that notion of ourselves? Why do we resist change? Why is it so important to define ourselves?

Too many questions I know. And it always leads me to my problem with fashion. Huh? Non-sequitur? No, not really, because I think the whole fashion business is about defining yourself which causes my stomach to self nauseate. Like why is my drawer filled with black socks and ankle socks when a few years ago it was white? So lame. If you dress in style you're a sheep, and if you don't you are either a rebel or indifferent. Messages all. I hate that. We can't clothe ourselves without sending a message. And yet it's an illusion that we all buy into. Talk about mass hysteria.

This is what happens when you try to crunch out a post before dawn in 15 minutes. Scattered and ill-written. How many times did I use the word "stuff" and "things"? No, don't answer that. I don't want to know.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The truth revealed

Why not stretch this idea into two posts? Hey, that's what I said!

(If you haven't read yesterday's post, do it now so you can play too.)

#1. Is true. Of course I don't remember it. One moment I was building a fort with my friend and the next I woke up in a hospital in a green paper dress totally confused. The whole day had passed. Apparently after I fell, I went home and after a short conversation with my mom wherein she used my name, I said something like "Who's that?" Then the hospital. Diagnosis, concussion. Symptom, amnesia.

#2 Is also true. The blood stains on the white carpet were vexing.

#3. Again, true. This occured by accident when I was trying to show my friend Rebekah how many Othello pieces I could fit into my mouth. Ah, teenagedom.

#4 Must be the lie right? Right. The only body part I'm missing is my foreskin. (Sadly)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Spot the lie

Here is an activity we sometimes do in class. I didn't even think about it as potential blog filler until I saw Patricia do it. Review the following four statements, and determine which one of them is untrue. (In class, we ask lots of questions to see if we can spot the lie, you'll just have to guess.) I usually choose a theme too. This one is "Doctors and Hospital visits"

1. I once fell off a roof and had amnesia for a day.

2. During an earthquake, I woke up and cut my foot on the water glass that had fallen off the bedside table and broken. (This is something they warn you about too.)

3. I once swallowed an Othello piece and the doctor's advice was to examine my stools to be sure it came out. It did, two days later.

4. I've had one part of my body removed - my tonsils.

Obviously some of you long time friends have an advantage. I'll post the answer in the comments in a couple days.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Saturday morning blah blah

Only three more weeks until vacation. This is all that's keeping me going right now. In addition to the work schedule, I've got to finish the exams and evaluations, figure out Christmas and cards (no decorating this year, cards half done, gifts half bought) and get ready for the trip. Then I got my notice this week that I am to appear for my citizenship test and oath taking on December 12. According to the literature, I can miss no questions. They give you a little book to study, and insist that you find out who your local city, provincial and federal representatives are. (I still don't know mine yet) The test has questions such as:

What were the three main industries that helped the settlers thrive in the Atlantic region?
(fishing farming and shipbuilding)

What date did Nunavut become a territory?
(some day in 1999, I forget which)

Completely useless information if you ask me. I think some more useful information to know would be how to file a tax return, or how to make poutine.

Then, if when I pass the test, I immediately attend the oath taking ceremony and receive my citizenship card. This is when I have to pledge allegiance to the Queen of Canada, who is really the same person as the Queen of England. I am able to keep my US citizenship, and it would only be jeopardized if there were a change of policy or a war or something.

So now I've got studying to do as well.

What else? Got a busy weekend of chores ahead. It's cold again and windy. Brrrr. Vacation is coming.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Always look before you sit

I went out yesterday morning with mucho baggage. I had the portable DVD, the sack with the popcorn and basket, and my backpack with several books, folders etc. When I got on the bus, I saw that all the seats were taken and squeezed past a couple people with my stuff when an older man caught my eye. As soon as we locked in to each other, he rose as though offering his seat. I sat down and said "Merci". The bus stopped and he got off. Oh, so that was it, he was getting off anyway. And what' s that smell. It was stinky urine smell. I scanned those near me looking for the sort of person who may have woken up in a puddle their own pee. Seeing mostly working people, I thought maybe it was the guy whose seat I took, and the lingering of his odor.

But what's this? Is that moisture I feel? I rub my butt back and forth a little in my chair to see if I'm just imagining things. Squish, Squish.

Fuck. You're Kidding right.

Alright, calm down, it could be water or coffee or something. Whatever it was, it had soaked through my pants and underwear. What would the point be in standing up? I decided to stew in it until we got to the metro.

Unfortunately, I had taken the *last* possible bus to get me to work on time. When I got off I felt like a cat with tape on his feet. Gross, gross, gross. I descended into the metro and realized that the stinky urine smell did not follow me. Well at least there's that.

I rode the metro unable to concentrate on anything except that I was possibly soaking in another man's urine!

I finally arrived at work. I ducked into the bathroom, tore down my pants and saw the most beautiful sight I could imagine for that moment. Brown. I bent over to sniff. Yes! Coffee! It's just coffee! I am saved! Oh, how I love the world. And then laughing at myself as I cleaned it up as best I could before class. Took about two hours to dry.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

HNT plus Groundhog Day

Does this count for HNT? I went through the archives to find a photo with lots of skin, but the skin was either x-rated or the photo was taken in summer. Hence, this shot. In my favorite place with my favorite creatures. And no, I do not have a mini head growing out of mine.


The in-class film this term is "Groundhog Day". I chose it because I have many different levels of students and even if the beginners don't understand much of the language, the fact that the story is about living the same day over and over makes it easy to follow.

I've watched it five times in the last two days. In a strange kind of self inflicted irony, I felt confined by the repetetiveness of both my day and Bill Murray's.

On the surface, it looks like standard American Romantic Comedy fare, but it really has some deeper thematic currents running through it.

It wasn't until my third yawn-filled viewing that I sat up and said to myself - "Wait, it's a metaphor for every day of your life!"

Now you might be saying, "Boy, that tornwordo is pretty slow." And you may be right. But in my defence, I'm not usually priming my brain for philosophical ideas when renting a film from the romantic comedy section.

Every day can seem the same. Same routine, same people, same job. Get up, go to work, come home. Some of us find comfort in knowing the day ahead will be a repeat of some recently lived day. Others will find this bitter and hellish, feeling trapped by their repetetive lives.

The only real difference in these two views is attitude.

But wait, it goes even deeper. There's something closer to the "secret of life" being alluded to here.

Because no matter the routine, no matter the milieu, it is only in our choices that we can make a difference and grow, learn and find fulfillment.

How would you live today if you thought tomorrow would never come?

I bet it would be different than what you usually do.

I bet it would be closer to the thing you should be doing.

Let's think about it, shall we? (I still have four more viewings to mull this over. Gack.)