It's no use hiding it, I'm a smoker. Part of that whole sick/depressed episode centered on my disgust for my failure. It reminded me of my adolescence, and the self-loathing for my attraction to men.
This next part is complete bullshit and a cowardly rationalization.
Two times now, I have quit smoking yet spouse didn't. Both times I lasted about five months as a non-smoker. I just don't seem to be able to "keep the strength" when faced with it morning noon and night. If only he would quit too.
And this part is hopefully not complete bullshit.
I'll be trying quitting again in the upcoming months, but after the stress of sinking the life savings into a property diminishes. (Incidentally, "diminishes" would be in the future tense, were you speaking French.)
Black market cigs are $20 a carton. I like to think of this as an opportunity to stick it to the man.
(Please don't flog me - I've done enough of that to myself.)
For me, the first week of school is pretty easy. This is because we sit around and talk about what the students want to get out of the class and generally catch up or get to know one another. The big crunch is this weekend when I have to coalesce all this information and plan the next 14 weeks of classes. (Thank god for templates.)
I have a good schedule in the financial sense, but the fact that I have to leave the house at quarter to six on Tuesday and Thursday is regrettable. And by regrettable, I mean suicide inducing. True, I am a morning person, but not really the pre-dawn kind.
Yesterday was the first test of the new before dawn routine and true to form, I tossed and turned the night before unable to sleep. I arrived bleary-eyed (what does that mean really? I'll go look. Okay, it means dull or dim relating to sight.) Two of the students were on vacation, so I had a private class with Khalil. We had a good long talk about the Middle East conflict and then we talked more about religion in general. My job is to get the students talking, it is not to argue points of view with the students. It was very difficult to hold my tongue at a couple of points:
Q: Hey what do you think about that story in the paper today about the five guys who were decapitated in Saudi Arabia for possession of hashish? Don't you think that's a harsh punishment when there isn't a victim?
A: I don't see anything particularly wrong about it. You know if you have a rotton tomato and you put it into the bag of good tomatoes, they all go bad.
Q: If all religions preach against killing, why do you think people kill others in the name of religion?
A: God says we must protect life and religion, because without life there can be no religion and vice versa. When either one is threatened, God says we must do what is just. (read: blow people up)
He went on to allude to the idea that anyone who isn't Muslim isn't really alive because life is pointless without Islam. The funny thing is that this guy is a warm caring funny individual who adores his wife and son. Also funny is that I am much more tolerant of this kind of fundamentalist talk than if it came from a Bible thumper. Still, it was all I could do not to roll my eyes when he said "God says...".
Directions for use: Apply freely morning and night and after each bowel movement. Lubricate applicator before each application and thoroughly cleanse after use.
First of all, freely isn't quite the concrete kind of word I would expect for "medication". I suppose it's something like "liberally" which I can get down with. If the BM is in the morning, does that also count as the morning application?
What the hell is an applicator? How do you lubricate it? (Oh wait, I learned that one in Brokeback Mountain. They must mean spit.) And is that so you don't have to use your own fingers? I think I'd rather just wash my hands after and do away with the whole "removing the excrement from and cleansing the applicator" part.
Grab the nearest book. Open the book to page 123. Find the fifth sentence. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
Of course, all this does not mean that the image "more is up" is wholly arbitrary. When water is poured into a bottle, for instance, the more water there is, the higher its level. And if apples are piled up in the larder, the more apples, the higher the pile, so the image "more is up" is clearly rooted in real life and based on experience.
This comes from "The Unfolding of Language - an evolutionary tour of mankind's greatest invention". I find this topic fascinating. I think language to a large extent determines many of our thinking mechanisms. If you don't have "have" or possessives (hers, his, ours etc.) in your language then you don't really understand the notion of ownership.
Sometimes I wonder if it's possible to have an ego without language. Because if it's not, then ego is born of language - and therefore "unreal".
Incidentally, I didn't know what a larder was either. (It's a synonym of "pantry")
If you feel so inclined, feel free to do this one. Thanks to Daniel who made this morning's topic hunt so eaaaaasy.
I've got no clue what to write about today. Distraction defines my current existence and it's all boring adult shit that's distracting me. They are calling for rain all day, and this is pleasing because I can ditch the whole "getting dressed" routine and putter about in my jammies. Spouse won't be stirring until noon.
Do you ever have that block when you have to do something? Like it isn't bad enough that you procrastinated, but then when all possibilities of further procrastination have been exhausted you simply refuse to accept the reality? And then you resent the task and yourself and you get yourself all worked up into a tizzy of hate? No? Maybe that's just me then.
I used a bread knife to cut a tomato and sliced open my finger instead yesterday. Spouse took the time to lay blame, charmer that he is. I still maintain that serrated edges are required for tomato cutting.
All right, if I keep going it will just degenerate into some kind of scatty talk. I'm going now.
Summer vacation is over. It's back to school for me and many others on Monday. I'm broke ready. The road trip was a great way to break open the head, get out of the routine, and change focus. It was a lot of work and rain, but it doesn't matter, escaping the daily trap is all that really counts. The daily regime now seems new and appreciated again.
We signed papers at the bank yesterday AND there is a "sold" sign on the property now. I guess it's really happening. Friday we get the keys. And in a couple years we'll move in there. (We still have to finish fixing up here before we can move there.)
My mind is living in next week, even as I know there are still two free days to enjoy before it starts. Unfortunately I can't enjoy the now when my head is in the future. The kid inside me is gone that can ignore tomorrow. That takes drugs to achieve now.
What else? I dunno. I actually have Preparation H on my list for the drugstore today. True story.
* New Brunswick is officially a bilingual province. Being a bilingual couple, we found ourselves speaking Frenglish with most people. The Acadians speak French but it is kind of anglisized. The accent was very interesting. Everyone in the province seemed able to communicate in either language. I kept thinking how harmonious the different subcultures seemed to blend together.
* Everywhere you look, you see the name "Irving". From paper mills to gas stations to nature preserves, you can't miss this name. I began referring to them as the "treekillers". To be fair, there seems to be nothing but forest for endless miles in New Brunswick.
* On our 13th anniversary of meeting one another, we donned bibs and gleefully devoured fresh snow crab. Prior to that, we stopped in at the Hilton for a martini in Saint John. It was $35 plus tip for them. I found this gall offputting.
* 1282 feet long.
* Some signs indicated you to turn just before the intersection, while other intersections had the signs posted on the corner after the intersection. This increased the spousal hostility level in the car. They should probably codify the placing of the signs. Just a suggestion.
* I insisted on following the signs to the world's largest axe. It was a small detour off the highway in a little podunk town. I couldn't picture the axe in my head, "Was it a REAL axe that a surly lumberjack used? Was it displayed inside of a case of some sort?" And then we rounded a corner and POW, this gigantic statue of an axe, or axe if you will, stuck in the ground at the top of a small riverside knoll. A smile inducing detour.
* There were "beware of moose" signs everywhere. Apparently collisions with the beasts kills hundreds every year. We never saw any though.
* It was pouring rain, and we went alone to see the Moncton tidal bore at 9:45pm as listed in the newspaper. It arrived ten minutes late just as we were about to give up. It was just a couple inches but thrilling nonetheless. We ran alongside it as it moved up the riverbed. Total geekdom.
* The ride from Miramichi to Grand Falls is one of the most grueling stretches of highway. Bumpy, curvy and solid forest on both sides of a road for HOURS with no towns or anything in between. You don't want to break down out there.
* I was fascinated by the whole "tide" thing. In Saint John, the river flows over some rocks into the bay. But when the tide comes in, the water flows over the rocks upriver. This is called the reversing falls. I dragged spouse down to the lookout points four times to see it during "stasis" (no movement) and at low and high tides. Finally he said, "Okay, this is the last time and then I don't want to hear anything more about the tides!"
* All in all a great trip. Next time though, we're flying in.
* We bought no souvenirs. This is the souvenir. Moving on now.
The ride was long. 2500 kilometers (1600 miles) total. The first sunrise of the trip - Grand Falls New Brunswick.
It rained a lot. For the first three days we didn't see the sun. We did see the world's longest covered bridge though.
And the world's largest axe.
This church in Saint John reminded me of "Let's Make a Deal".
A view from the 18th century tower in Saint John constructed to protect against an American invasion.
Despite the rain, we managed to squeeze in 5 hikes.
The geese flying above a foggy salt marsh on the Bay of Fundy.
The Hopewell Rocks at low tide. This Easter Islandesque scene is created by the enormous tides. All of the green at the bottom of the rocks is seaweed. The tides vary some 42 feet every day.
When it goes out, vast mudflats are exposed. Serge went to investigate the mud.
We ate like kings. Crab, lobster and scallops were consumed each day. Spouse ate every bite of that plate.
Finally the last day we saw some sun and drove up the Acadian coast. Here, a two kilometer boardwalk straddles the beach and saltmarsh.
The water temp was swimmable. We just waded a bit though.
The flags of New Brunswick, Canada and Acadia.
We saw lots of lighthouses.
And an obligatory vacation sunset.
Tomorrow, a couple videos. Join us as we cross the world's longest covered bridge and as we prepare to view the Moncton tidal bore. No, we are not in our 70's. Oh and all the pictures are clickable for screen filling versions.
* I watched a squirrel scoot along the entire length of the backyard fence, dog-with-an-anal-itch style, either scratching himself or "expressing" something on it. Then some birds came along and started sharpening their beaks on the top of the fence. Fascinating in a gross kind of way.
* Once you give your self permission, quantity is not an issue.
* A six day road trip to New Brunswick is at hand. We will visit the place with the highest tides in the world.
* Me being a dork.
* I don't know why, but I was really sad when I read that Patsy Ramsey had died. I may have loathed/pitied/loathed/pitied her, but I never wished death upon her. Only 49 years old.
* The house deal got financed. Apparently, the fourth bank is the charm. Barring the unforseen, we take possession in a couple weeks. I refuse to have any emotion about it until that time. (Spouse is beyond excited)
* Yesterday's discussion was quite thought provoking. I feel like my mind expanded. Thank you.
* Fork booger: matter which continues to adhere even after going through the dishwasher. Often seen in greasy diners.
* Have you seen the tea party? When I see that, I feel like peace is really possible. Unfortunately, others see it differently.
Fellow blogger Peter recently had a letter published in the Globe and Mail, a national English newspaper in Canada. (I read it once on the plane and found it to be quite conservative. When I read articles with that "bent", I find myself wanting to yell at the paper. So I haven't read it since. Yes I'm biased, and that's why.) It's always exciting to have one's words in print, and I remember the letter of mine that the LA Times printed 7 years ago. (I wrote to protest the Pilot's union protest against the idea of cameras in the cockpits. The union said it was an invasion of privacy. Please, no more jacking off while flying the plane.) Anyway, it was fun to read Peter's words in print but then yesterday, an article was printed by a well known journalist here who had interviewed Peter. Her article was received badly by many attendees of the World AIDS Conference currently taking place in Toronto. In fact, protests were organized to denounce her words and demand a retraction.
I love me some good drama, and the comments are interesting to read. Brian also has some things to say on the matter. (As I'm sure many other bloggers do, I'm just too lazy to go look.)
From what I can tell, it is out of the question to suggest that anyone who contracts the disease may have had some responsibility for contracting it. Even though there are those who willfully engage in unsafe sex with strangers without even having a conversation about status, we are not allowed to talk about them. In my mind, we must talk about them, because that's reality. There are many other realities on contracting the disease, that is merely one of them. I see how the media should be more sensitive (that irresponsibility isn't the only factor, hey-accidents do happen) and balanced so that the general impression isn't that everyone who contracts it deserves it in some way. That I see. But I don't think there is anything wrong in discussing how to encourage people to be more responsible for their own health. (hypocritical drinker and smoker that I am)
I was talking with my ex the other day. We talk once or twice a year. He works in a hospital as an HIV treatment advocate. He was telling me how much better it's gotten over the years with the meds but that he still sees people dying. The big problem around there is crystalmeth and all the patients have to do is take ONE pill a day to stay alive, but they can't even do that, and they die.
Sounds to me like taking crystal (I know of what I speak, I was young and crazy once) makes one completely irresponsible. Personally, I think this should be addressed and outed in the media more than "the people who knowingly engage in unsafe sex". It's the drugs, stupid. Or the booze.
Now I've talked myself onto the fence. Because how can I hold someone responsible for what they did when they were shit faced drunk or tweaking on meth? That's not quite fair is it? Still, I think the link between the shitfacedness and the contraction of the disease should have more prominence in the media.
I'm just thinking out loud here, feel free to do the same.
You guys are so cute. I couldn't help grinning reading all the comments yesterday and seeing how everyone thought maybe I was talking about their blog. It's charming because everyone showed their insecurity, their humanness. It's like when I went out to California last month. I was confronted a couple of times over some of my blog's "pronouncements" because "obviously" I was referring to the person confronting me. It made me smile.
There are millions of blogs out there people. And they are not all fun to read. But trust me, if I have you on my list, I like you. Kay?
The fact is that we are all the center of our own universe. And necessarily so - we are ultimately responsible for ourselves. But at the same time, we long for others to make us the center of their universe. Oh the cosmic irony of it all.
I got some great writing advice once: Start with yourself, but don't finish with yourself. I'm sure I break this rule on the blog quite often but it's definitely true for the best posts.
This is not one of the best posts, egocentric and insecure as it is. (wink)
In case you haven't noticed, I've been out of sorts lately. And there are several possible roots to the problem, most notable of which is the stinking cold virus I'm finally getting over. I see how the posts are getting smaller and smaller as I attempt to avoid the morass of moroseness. I'm not really all that fond of the "woe is me" kind of blogs that go on and on about problems. I'm sure they are cathartic for the writer, it just bores me as a reader (of course a witty pen will make up for that). I wonder if that has to do with upbringing. I come from a rather stiff lot, we empathize with your problems and then we expect you to suck it up. Anyway, I do not wish for this to be a place to moan about various maladies. Like the blister I got from the Pop Tarts frosting. (shut up, they were free with a coupon)
I prefer to paint my life with the "magical journey" spectacles. It's like Woody Allen. Does he really see his life as shown in Annie Hall and Manhattan? Yes and No. The reality surely differs, but the interpretation is probably similar to how he lodges his experiences in memory. I know my memories are stripped clean of all but the most negative of experiences. What's left is a meadow of sunshine with only a few black holes.
I'm certainly not going to remember how I felt sick and depressed for two weeks in August 2006. That is unless I come back and read this again.
And for the record, I finally feel like myself again today. Hooray!!!
Did you know that with all the research done to decode the human genome, scientists can now take any two individuals walking the planet, analyze their DNA, and pinpoint approximately (how's that for an oxymoron) when in the past they share a common ancestor. It's usually in the low thousands of years.
Sometimes I think about why we are all so off-kilter in Western society. I mean, you can hardly call us balanced when we work far more than we play and we need more and more aid from pharmaceutical companies to convince us to continue.
I wonder too, as evolution prepared us over the millenia, how our instincts to acquire food through gathering and hunting work against us in the artificial reality that we all agree to live in. If only our instinct was to acquire money, life would be so easy. Because then it would feel natural to start businesses and climb the corporate ladder.
Instead, we are the proverbial fish out of water. Only we have been brainwashed to think we're still in the river.
Now is the time for harvest and hoarding if we respect the calendar of our evolutionary roots.
Maybe that's why I'm in such a funk even though I've been off work for 6 weeks.
Thanks Joel! (and many others who have already done this one)
1. One book you have read more than once: It's rare that I read a book more than once. One that I've read several times though is Going Native It chronicles my uncle's life living with a tribe in Washington state. There is knowledge there that we aren't normally privy to.
2. One book you would want on a desert island: A really really big book. Maybe 100 years of Solitude. Or better yet, ESO
3. One book that made you laugh: David Sedaris always makes me laugh. Choose any of his books.
4. One book that made you cry: White Oleander by Janet Fitch. (Also, one of the best books I've ever read, and it was a twenty something girl's first attempt at a novel. Bitch.)
* Sometimes I wish I could blame my crankiness on PMS. It's just so comeback-proof.
* Saw the lastest Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan. The news showed a home movie clip with the wife and daughter. I thought about how that girl had lost her daddy and tears sprung from my eyes. Then spouse mocked me.
* I never walk through the perfume section of a department store. It stinks there.
* Crow on a stick
* Do you think if the virgin Mary appeared in a cowpie, people would flock to see it?
* As I prepare to go back to work, I wonder why I didn't go into the Xmas tree lot business. Make your annual salary in a month. Then rest for 11.
* Soon paper hospital gowns will be the required outfit for air travel.
* The sign at the soup station at the Botanical gardens said, "Restaurant quality soup".
* Sara's vocabulary: Sara, bath, bone, ball, toy, cookie, hungry, manger, walk, sit, stay and down. She often ignores sit and stay though.
* Spouse seemed to be at the appropriate level of inebriation to dance. So I asked.
I'm always surprised by the power of really big emotions. I try to pay attention to my heart, feed it, listen to it, and make choices with it in mind. But really, I count on my mind being in control. And it usually is. But then something happens that really ramps up the emotions and suddenly the mind is but a gnat being swatted from one's face.
I forgot what a rollercoaster making big deals is. I'm so glad I'm married, because I don't think I could take falling in love and breaking up. I'm so thankful I can't get fired (since I have no boss) because that causes intense emotions too.
I don't mind strong positive emotions, gratitude, sympathy, joy. But I suspect you've got to dabble a bit in the negatives to truly have access to the positives.
Yesterday, I tried to run away from my emotions by going to the Botanical Gardens. Surprise, surprise, my emotions came with me.
But I did get this great shot of a Lotus in bloom. I don't think I've ever seen one in bloom up close. I would have sworn it was plastic. As I fell into a wonderous gaze, I forgot, just for a moment, the rest of the world. And in that moment, I found tranquility.
We were sitting in the mortgage broker's office and when it came time to reveal our salaries, she remarked, "How is it that you have so much in savings when you have such little revenue?" As we explained our situation, I couldn't help thinking how backhanded the compliment was.
Then later when talk of padding the revenues came up, we expressed our discomfort with her suggestions. To which she replied, "I know, we are Quebecers and we have that upstanding catholic upbringing. But you know, if I had a couple of Jews in front of me, they would be doing WHATEVER needed to be done to get this deal. Because you know you guys have found an awesome deal."
Well, it appears that I may have spoken prematurely. We met with the mortgage broker yesterday and it appears financing will be impossible to obtain. I shouldn't say impossible because there is always a crooked way to do things, but the wall we are up against looks rather solid and insurmountable. It all boils down to PMI. Apparently, we don't qualify for it, and the bank won't lend us the money without it. In order to qualify, we are short about 1200 a month in revenue.
It was suggested that we furnish documents substantiating the shortfall. The kind of suggestion with a wink and a nod. It felt kind of dirty, like talking to the car salesman.
So I find myself this morning downloading payroll software to fabricate pay stubs. And I don't like it one bit. (Just kidding, I would never do anything illegal.)
I'm also coming back to the conclusion that capitalism works great, if you've already made it. The fact is that it works against you as long as you are small potatoes. Whoever ends up with this property will need to be "richer" than us, and they are going to laugh all the way to the bank.
Then again, maybe we are greedy pigs. We already have the one building, perhaps the universe is telling us to content ourselves with that.
The hydrangeas are blooming all over town. I haven't seen any "blue" ones though, they all seem to be white. (Ours is still in the ground and it is still in "brown stick" status. Yes I know that means it's dead, but it looks all Ikebana in the garden, so it's still there.) We bought a blooming jasmine to replace the dead stick we bought, only to find out that they can't survive outside for the winter so we can't put it in the ground.
It looks like we are buying that property. Both spouse and I are very excited about it. We are using all of our means to acquire it, and even though the property will have a positive cash flow, I'm going to go into extreme spendthrift mode, I just know it. I get nervous when the savings fall below a certain level.
A long time ago, I chose bankruptcy to eliminate all the debt I had accumulated in college. What were the credit card companies thinking? In the end, they "gave" me over 50,000 dollars in credit for a student working as a busboy in a hotel - part time. I lay the blame squarely on them. (It feels better to blame them than cop to being irresponsible.) It was the easiest thing to do, fill out a few papers, make sad eyes at the judge and POOF! No more creditors.
But then, you must live within your means for 10 years as that's how long the black mark follows you around. And so I did, and continue to do so. I have credit cards now, but I never let them carry a balance. Ever.
How did I get from flowers to here? I have no point. Really. Enjoy the day.
I've had little rest. As the virus achieves its summit within my body, much like the August sun pervades the atmosphere, I am cooked. Here I am pre dawn, unable to sleep nor breathe really, my head aswirl with thoughts of the venture we are embarking on.
So this is one of the neighborhood streets in the gay village of Montreal. You know, I wonder what the thinking was when the 9th and 10th people decided to put flags up. "Just in case it's not clear that this is a gay street, we better put one out." (I mock, but I really don't care that much, whatever floats your boat yadda yadda)
The festivities and the heat around here have conspired to take me down. Yesterday's sore throat has now become a full blown cold. Fuck. Summer colds are the vilest. Watch now I'll get a cold sore to boot. (Also known as a fever blister, but we all know it's HERPES)
One of my favorite bands is performing in the park Thursday and it's FREE! Los Amigos Invisibles hail from Venezuela and they sing rock slash pop slash latin style music. Spouse hates some of the tinny Mexicany music sounds, but I find that to be part of the charm. (Plus, who can resist a group of guys who sing a song titled "Masturbation Session")
Last night we saw the most violent thunderstorm here ever. I've seen one similar crossing the Mohave desert, and spouse saw one like it in Hong Kong, but never here. It was the kind where the lightning is constant. And therefore, the thunder is constant, coming from near and far, crescendoing and waning. It didn't come out very well on the video, but I'm posting it anyway. I love how the final frame is during a lightning strike.
Saw the "Queer Comics" show last night and I have sore tummy muscles today from laughing. I had no idea lesbians could be so funny! This one girl, Julie Goldman, had me crying laughing from the beginning to the end of her set. Since recording devices were forbidden and I have the memory of a pimple, I can't give you any one-liners, but if you ever get the chance, check this girl out.
The Kinsey Sicks made an appearance as well. They have their proper show "Dragapella" which is also playing in town. This is a group of singing drag queens. They sing four parts, barber shop style - ie a capella. The songs were funny and pointedly caustic toward Bush and republicans in general, a topic only slightly lost on the Canadian audience. (Note to visiting comics - try to get the name of the Prime Minister right, you're only reinforcing the perception that Americans are ignorant of all things outside their borders.)
We had some righteous downpours again last evening. It's supposed to be the hottest day of the year here today, and super humid to boot. I was marveling at the quantity of rain that can fall in a few short minutes in the summer. Over half an inch in 10 minutes is pretty impressive. Well, I was impressed, I'm sure most people didn't even ponder it past the nuisance level.
What else? Oh yeah, I'm joining the team of bloggers over at metroblogging Montreal. I'll be posting over there regularly now, and I'm looking forward to vaunting the city I love. Don't worry, I'll still do my regular schtick right here. Peace!