Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Immature, perhaps

I was watching Katie Couric on the evening news when the story of Brig. General Dorko's injuries were reported. Apparently this is the highest ranking U.S. officer wounded to date in the Iraq war. There was Katie with a picture of the general up over her shoulder, and under the photo was one word, "Dorko". Was it wrong that I burst into giggles? I felt less guilty about it when Katie informed us that his injuries weren't life threatening. I wasn't fast enough to catch the image with my camera, but gosh it was funny. Imagine walking around with the name Dorko. What torture high school must have been for this guy. And the military! I mean you always call one another by last names right? He must have gone through the ranks, lieutenant, captain, colonel. I don't know how the soldiers kept a straight face. I think I've actually been called "captain dorko" once or twice.

Oh yeah, and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I was checking out the interactive fire maps yesterday showing all the acreage burned up in the California fires. As you may know, I hail from the Golden State and thus have many family and friends strewn about the place. As far as I can tell, they are all okay though I suspect my cousin was evacuated for a spell. I haven't heard any bad news, so that's good news. But when I looked at the map of the fire near where I grew up, I was deeply saddened. It looks like half of Saddleback Mountain burned up and the last time I spoke to mom, she couldn't even see the mountain out her window due to the shroud of smoke. This mountain is 6000 feet high and is about 10 miles from home as the crow flies. Every day as a child, I looked out my bedroom window perfectly framing the mountain (an extinct volcano). You can see the darker colored forests at the top and each winter we'd get a storm or two that would leave her covered with snow. I was always fascinated by the snow line which is really an indication of the freezing temperature line. In my 18 years there, I only saw it snow down at my house once. In the summer, the desert thunderstorms butt up against the back of Saddleback mountain, and I remember driving up to the bluffs to listen to the muttering thunderheads behind her. I always felt this was her way of talking and I would crane my neck to try to catch her murmurings.

I remembered the time I took my stepdad's truck for a drive up the mountain where it had snowed the day before. "Hey Chris, do you want to go up to the top of Saddleback and see the snow?" I asked my 8 year old brother to go with me. We took the secret turnoff onto a dirt road to wind our way up her steep skirt of brush covered hills. Switchback after switchback to get to the top. The one lane dirt road had little turnouts along the way to let cars traveling in the opposite direction pass. At one point on a curve in the road, we came upon a car traveling down. I started to back up to get to a wider place in the road when CLUNK, one of my back wheels slipped over the cliff. If the car had gone over, I can honestly say I wouldn't be here today typing. It was straight down hundreds of feet. Being a teenager left me ill-equipped to deal with this situation, but I had to act like nothing was wrong since my little brother was with me. I don't remember how long we were stuck there, but some macho guys with a winch came along and rescued us. We continued to the top, threw a few snowballs around and made a pact never to tell what had happened. Here I am breaking that pact, but I figure the statute of limitations on such a thing has passed.

When I saw the map I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. My old friend burned and scarred, no wait, burning still! I thought of the life she nurtured, the bobcats, deer and hawks, the tuft of alpine forest at her crest. Gone. They say this fire was caused by arson at a moment when other fires had taken up the available resources. And anyway, it was mostly wilderness, alas, one of the last untouched bits of Orange County.

Monday, October 29, 2007

This n that

I got this shot last evening as we popped over to the botanical gardens to tour the "Magic of Lanterns" exhibit in the Chinese gardens. A friend of ours had suggested seeing the exhibit and since we're annual pass holders, it wouldn't cost us a cent. It took us about 20 minutes to walk around and ooh and aah at the glowing silk paper lanterns. And it was a mob scene since the event was coupled with the "Pumpkin Ball" event for the kids. What was astonishing was that it was $16 a person to get in, and it was packed. We'd have been very disappointed had we had to pay. (There's a sentence I'd dread having to teach the grammar of.)

In other boring news, I tweaked my back yesterday. While I was working out, it felt like one of the strings snapped on my nerve guitar. Now the only comfortable position is crooked. This is easy to do in bed, but walking around listing to the right is a bit odd. Sigh. I used to be so young, lithe and bendy like scarecrow, but the years seem to have morphed me into tin man. Anybody got an oilcan?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Costco rambling

Why did we go to Costco on Saturday? (Is that "t" silent? And do you omit the question mark for a rhetorical question?) I seem to remember making a pledge not to go there on Saturday in the past, but it was pouring down rain all day yesterday so we just had to get out. First thing we did was have a poutine in Rox's honor. They do make a mean poutine. Plus we always try to shop on a full stomach as that reduces expenditures enormously. The aisles were jammed, and I mean jammed with shoppers. It took us 2 and a half hours to snake our way through the place. Serge grazed at all the sampling stations while I focused on calculating whether or not things were cheaper. Just because it's a large quantity doesn't always mean you're getting a deal. I also calculate whether we can reasonably consume the items before the expiration date. As I've mentioned before, we have expired Mac 'n Cheese in our pantry that we bought there years ago.
Other questions came up while shopping. Do people really buy pants at Costco? There is no place to try them on, so how does one know how they fit? I always think about buying some jeans, but I need to try them on first, so I don't. Socks I can see buying, so we did.

We both weighed ourselves on the scales they were selling. Serge cracked me up with his standard line, "We need this." I gave him my stock response, "Define need."

I saw someone shoplifting too. Slipped an item right into his jacket pocket while doing a slow turn. It's true there's no detectors at the exit, just someone matching your receipt to the goods in your cart. Most things are in too big a package to hide on one's person, but not everything. I saw him do it, but I didn't do anything about it.

Today we've got to prepare for the hard freeze coming tonight and close the exterior water lines and bring in any plants we want to nurture inside until spring. Should be a scintillating day.

Friday, October 26, 2007

What I think about in traffic

Wouldn't it be great to have recompense for all those injustices done to you? Maybe this is too big brotherish but imagine a time when we've all got the identity chip in us that has a karmic add-on. How it would work is that for instance, if a driver cuts you off in traffic, you're automatically credited five bucks from the asshole's account. Or a new line at the market opens, and the last person in your line races over and skankifies you out of your next-in-lineness. Cha-ching! $20 you just made. Yes, I imagine the world would start to get much friendlier. Hell, we might even welcome injustices. In fact, we'd all probably be millionaires by now if someone had explored this business opportunity way back when. And Bush? He'd be a pauper.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Quick question

Every time I get a new class, one of the students will say something like this to me. "You said often." The first time a student brought this up, I had no idea what they were talking about. "You said often, instead of offen," she clarified. But I still didn't understand what this was all about. I thought about it for a moment and said both pronunciations are acceptable. I said them out loud, "I eat often. I eat offen." They both sounded fine to me. Apparently, everyone up here is taught that we don't pronounce the t in often. It's a silent "t". Everybody knows it and how strange that I say "often" with the "t" pronounced. So I guess my question to you is, am I a freak for saying often with the t, or is it more common than my students suggest?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Airport girl

Do you ever come across someone working in retail and you think, "If this person can hold down a job, then anybody should be able to?" There's a girl like that who works at a fast food place in the airport here. (I'm not going to be more specific, I'd feel awful if she stumbled on this post. Or not. Let's see where it goes) So this girl is like a walking, talking version of the employee manual. Every phrase she utters is a perfect example of exemplary customer service. We're often there for early morning flights when no one in a 10 mile radius is chipper, save her. "GOOD MORNING AND WELCOME TO ---------------, MAY I TAKE YOUR ORDER?" Bright smile, no bullhorn necessary. Once you've given your order, she repeats shouts your order. "WILL THAT BE CASH, CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD?" she asks with an anticipatory air, as if waiting for the final matching lottery number to be read. We love when the line is long and we can study her. We love especially when a customer asks a question. She's quite sharp and has obviously answered every query made before so she cuts off the question with her well practiced answers.

Customer: Where is the -


And then she is on to the next customer. The problem is that many times the customer is still reeling from being cut off that they are unable to comprehend her answer, loud as it is. I don't know what it is, but she has this destabilizing effect on people. This is where it gets really fun because the customer must ask again. This irritates her deeply (since she just clearly answered the question) but it must say somewhere in the manual that displaying one's irritation to the customer is forbidden. So she responds with an even bigger smile and forced cheerfulness, "AS I SAID A MOMENT AGO, EVERYTHING YOU NEED IS AT THE COUNTER IF YOU'LL JUST STEP RIGHT SIR." She has that psycho look in her eye, it's the same look my dog gives me just before she decides to disobey. So funny. She's been there every time we've flown for the past several years and we always look forward to her little nutty show. We noticed last time that her name tag said "team leader". She must be doing something right, eh?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I'm still gagging from the smell of Pine Sol today. It reminds me of my elementary school's bathrooms. The whole house reeks of it. See, yesterday we did something that we haven't done in over seven years. We had our house cleaned. Neither spouse nor I inherited the clean gene, so our house is usually some shade of dirty. We do okay with the basics, vacuuming, tidying, dishes and laundry but we're not so good with the deeper cleaning tasks - dusting, windows, fridge and toilet. So finally we decided to get a housecleaner twice a month to do it. This was spouse's scheme, he knows I'm never really going to clean the toilet or fridge, yet he really appreciates the cleanliness of these things.

So what do you think spouse spent doing the night before and morning of the housecleaner's visit? That's right, he cleaned up for her. I shouldn't have been surprised because he exhibited this behaviour the last time we used a maid service in California. I had just forgotten. It all came back to me, along with my provincial mocking. He cleaned the toilet because he "didn't want her to have to do it." And he moved piles of accumulated stuff that haven't been touched in months. I'm more amused than anything, but I can't help taunting since that is EXACTLY why we are hiring someone. Ah it tickles me. Maybe I can schedule a fictitious maid and then he'll clean up for her and I'll just pour some Pine Sol in the sink, spray some Fabreze in the air and we'll save the sixty bucks.

(Spouse wants you to know that he didn't finish cleaning the toilet because he felt she had to do something. He sometimes calls me on it when I shift or exaggerate a detail in my storytelling. In my defense, I think I use hyperbole sparingly. I told him not to worry about it, that I just massaged the truth a bit.)

Monday, October 22, 2007

A trip to market

We are having the most gorgeous indian summer. (Wouldn't that be a politically incorrect term?) It got up to 74 degrees yesterday (23C) which is just unheard of. It has snowed a foot on this day in the past. We had to get outside, so we tripped around the farmer's market. Not surprisingly, autumnal products were bountiful.

Some are edible, some are ornamental.

That pumpkin was bigger than Serge.

It was all about the corn, squash and pumpkins.

And there were cauliflowers bigger than human heads.

I'd never heard of Jesus sausage. (Insert joke here.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Chops of lamb

Serge came home Friday with dinner fixins in hand. He set to work in the kitchen and I grabbed the camera.

After the video, he placed the meat in the oven for 20 minutes. Then he dished up our plates. Here you can see the plates as we sat down to eat.

Have you ever seen such thick lamb chops? Yeah, well me neither, but that didn't really register until I was half way through the meal when I noticed it was raw in the middle. Raw lamb should be redder shouldn't it? I went and dug the wrapping out of the trash and then I discovered we were really eating pork. Pork! I'm pretty sure that eating raw pork is a no-no, so we laughed at how lame we are (though Serge is especially lame since he bought it) and the power of suggestion. I swore I tasted the gamey lamb taste as I tucked into the chops. But no, it was pig all along.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I made the mistake of going to Free Republic yesterday. I couldn't help feeling shocked at the vitriol being spewed over there. I felt like I was a kid again, when all the adults around me disparaged the bleeding heart liberals and the homosexuals. It's all rampant condemnation and self righteousness over there. It made my blood boil. And I woke up this morning still rankled. So of course, I won't be going to that site anymore.

I kept thinking about the study they recently did comparing the brains of left wing and right wing individuals. Apparently the right wing brain is prone to knee-jerk reactions, while the liberal brain tends to take time before decision making. I read two editorials on the subject, one by a liberal and one by a conservative. The conservative lauded his knee-jerk reaction brain (when decision making in a life threatening situation is required, only quick thinking will do), while the liberal praised his brain's tendency to mull things over before coming to a decision. The study itself indicated that liberals' decisions were correct more often. It is all very fascinating. And it explains why the two will never see eye to eye.

What I don't understand is this. If it has been shown that our brains are wired differently, then condemnation is really not useful. It's like condemning a dog for the color of its fur. I might not agree with much of the conservative platform (though I must admit that I DO agree with some of it) but the worst I say about "them" is that they are cold-hearted. And I'd just like to say to them that it feels better to have a warm heart than a cold one. It is sad to live your life filled with hard feelings for others. There is so much to be happy about in life, it seems like such a waste (hi Anne , Rush et al) to spend it spewing hate.

Friday, October 19, 2007


* The Canadian dollar is worth more than the U.S. dollar these days. But retail prices are still 20% higher than prices in the U.S. They call this the "yawn" - the lag in time to adjust prices to changing currency values. For instance, a meal at McDonalds is around $6.75 here. Or $7 U.S.

* Scary news. A new superbug that causes ear infections has appeared that is resistant to all known antibiotics. It renders its victims deaf.

* Scientists have discovered a field where plants "talk" to each other. If a caterpillar starts eating the leaf of one plant, a signal is transmitted to all the other plants in the field which causes them to chemically alter the "taste" of their leaves so that they are distasteful to caterpillars.

* I've noticed a spike in my clairvoyance lately. I'll think about a person and then I'll run into them a minute later. Or I'll see the word my opponent plays before he/she plays it in Scrabble. Now if I can just tune this thing for the lottery.

* I read an interesting article on the differences between Canadians and Americans. It turns out that there really aren't any. It was interesting to note that North Americans as a whole believe that they are intrinsically good but do not hold that view for foreigners.

* I still don't have a portable digital music device. If I get one, I'll have many hours/days of labor getting my CDs ripped and transferred. So I probably won't get one.

* I won't drink Dasani or Aquafina. Coke and Pepsi make enough money.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A little HNT

For so long in my youth, I looked in the mirror and saw flaws. Now, I say, "Not bad for 42." Happy (rare) HNT.

And about Sara. I clip her nails religiously! Serge is afraid to do it, and sara doesn't really like it, but she has grown accustomed to the weekly ritual. I loved the idea about "grippy shoes" for the dog, I had no idea something like that existed. I'm going to have to look into that. Poor sara, we've had hardwood floors since we got her 13 years ago.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This n that

I was talking to em yesterday. She was a little shocked at the reaction to the truth or lie "embezzlement" bit. Didn't anyone have a youth she wanted to know? What, none of these people ever did something "against the rules" in their life? I assured her that everyone flouts the rules from time to time, but it is always rationalized. It's okay if I do it, but it's bad if others do it. In fact, I think the things that irritate people most are the very things they are guilty of. This certainly applies to me. But the recognition of it helps me work on my own shit instead of meddling in others. I agree stealing is wrong, but hey, half the country rationalized stealing the country of Iraq. Why was that again? I liked it in the Kite Runner when the father taught his son that all evil was a version of stealing. For example, when you speed on the highway, you are stealing security from those around you. When you lie, you steal the truth from someone. In those terms we have all stolen, I assured her. (I don't really remember what I said, but this is what I should have said )

Sara is too much these days. She's like a hypercripple. Her legs give out all the time, she can't hear or see well, but she behaves as though none of these things matter. The other day when it was food time, she ran into the kitchen, reared up on her hind legs, then her legs gave out and she collapsed backward and then thrust her hind legs again so that she flipped backward onto her back, flailing. Here I took a vid of food time. This was a very tame version of how she sometimes gets.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bubble bursting

Answers to yesterday's post:

1. I have been sexually harassed by a male boss. True! It happened a few times, always when trapped in an elevator with the guy. One day, I decided to turn the tables on him (what the hell, I was single) and he freaked out, lol.

2. I successfully fasted for three days while working in an ice cream shop. True! I was 17 or 18 at the time. It was one of the most difficult experiences I've lived through. When I broke the fast, it was with a plain cone (no ice cream in it). To this day, it is one of the most delicious taste experiences I've ever had. And I have ordered plain cones for my ice cream ever since.

3. I have had sex at work. False! I have never done it at work. Too stressful! Way to go Ed, lemuel, JP and tt.

4. I have been fired for embezzlement. True! I knew this would trip everyone up. Sometimes, I like to burst people's squeaky clean bubble about me. I was in my early 20's and worked at this place. A gang of us servers had the perfect scam going, pocketing cash sales.(Taught to us by one of the manager's sisters - ah what a soap opera that place was.) It was a complicated manouvre but we went undetected for over a year. The owners were treacherous and stupid. (Later, when I became a boss, I remembered these guys and what not to do when managing people. When you treat your employees badly, they steal from you.) This made stealing easy on the conscience. Their lamest move - didn't want to spring for a computer system. All tickets were hand printed. In the end, I took the fall because I had become lax and left around some incriminating evidence. (I think I felt most guilty about that - ruining the scam for the others.) When confronted, I quit, saying I would reimburse the $ amount on the evidence and that I had no explanation for it. I would have been fired anyway. It's embarrassing to admit, and certainly not something I feel proud of. Also, having learned from the experience, I'm grateful for it.

5. I have quit my job while throwing my uniform in the boss's face. True! While working at this place. The boss, who was also a friend, cut my hours in half one week to accomodate another friend of hers. I told her that was bullshit, announced my quitting while squirming out of my uniform shirt, and threw it in her face. Later, at home, I called her up to apologize. She asked, "Does this mean you still want your job?" I said, "No, but it was wrong of me to throw my uniform in your face. That was unprofessional of me."

Now. In honor of blog action day for the environment, I'll go ahead and purport some of my beliefs on the subject. Basically it's this: The more we pump unnatural chemicals into the seas, atmosphere and earth, the closer we get to rendering a major readjustment of life on the planet. The more we deplete the limited resources, the closer we are to collapsing many of the engines of our society. Look, if you put a drop of poison in a fish tank every day, eventually all the fish will die. It's a closed system this planet we're living on, and for this reason, it should be on everyone's mind in their daily activities. Use less, conserve more, recycle. Compost (which I've yet to start) carpool, use public transport, turn off the lights when you leave the room. It's not all that much when you make it a habit. So......make it one!

Oh and Happy Birthday Cooper!

Monday, October 15, 2007

A little truth or lie

I'm in a bit of a creative slump. This might be a reflection of the season like the slate gray sky is reflected in the puddles. A whole lot of blah. Plus it's Monday, the most blah inducing day of the week. So why not pull an old game out of the hat and play truth or lie. You know how it goes. There is one falsehood in the list below. Can you spot it? Today's category: Work history

1. I have been sexually harassed by a male boss.

2. I successfully fasted for three days while working in an ice cream shop.

3. I have had sex at work.

4. I have been fired for embezzlement.

5. I have quit my job while throwing my uniform in the boss's face.

Tomorrow, I'll reveal the lie.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

We've got graffiti

Isn't that lovely? Right on the corner of our building. I was pretty steamed about it. I mean it's our house, not some bridge or pole or tunnel. I took the time to paint over it yesterday and wrecked a shirt doing so. I always think I can use paint without getting it on my clothes, but that is never the case. I need to stop thinking that.

This isn't the first time that we've been graffiti tagged. Though it is the first in Montreal. When we lived in Long Beach (California) we were tagged several times. The tree trunk, the tailgate of my truck, and the "for sale" sign within 12 hours of erecting it. Sigh. Another example of teenagers uglifying the world.

In other news, there's no news. It's a boring chore filled weekend and the weather is grey and cold. Here's something. Serge in his new glasses reminds me of my ex. This alarms me. They say you always pick the same person, and in a lot of ways it's turned out to be true. I had thought I disproved that adage. Guess not.

Friday, October 12, 2007


* Look! Serge got glasses.

* I got home late yesterday and Sara greeted me in her "I'm fucking starving" way. So I immediately tended to her nutritional needs. Then I went to check my email and there was a note on my computer from spouse. "Dog is already fed." I immdiately thought, "That little manipulative bitch." Then I smiled.

* I've had turkey for lumch and dinner every day this week. Frankly I'm getting sick of it.

* Why is socialized medicine such a bad word? I mean that's what Medicare is.

* When I was in first grade, my teacher informed us that it was "love" that made the earth spin on its axis. Such malarkey. Still, I don't have any better explanation. Do you?

* I believe men should be excluded from the abortion debate. It shouldn't be theirs to decide.

* The horn does not work in our car. This doesn't stop me from banging on it though. Rather retarded really.

* Something I've never done but have always wanted to do is go white water rafting. Something to add to the goal list.

* There's a woman near me in this cafe having an argument with an imaginary person. She pauses to "hear" the other person, and then reads him the riot act. (what a strange expression that is, I wonder where it came from) No, she is not wearing one of those bluetooth ear things. Yes, she is crazy. Oh and now security is escorting her out of the building.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The bedroom

Lewis invited bloggers to show their bedrooms. I didn't want to, but I'm lazy blogging so I've relented. I'm showing our bedroom. It's pathetic I know. We need new everything. But we did buy new sheets on the weekend and they are divine. Nothing like new sheets to sleep on/in, whatever. I've got the alarm clock on my side with my weather radio and discman, which I last used last year with a meditation CD. One day I knocked it off the side table and the disc got scratched. I've pretty much only dusted it since, and there it has sat. The comforter is down filled, which is probably my favorite thing about the bedroom. And there is absolutely nothing under the bed. Just so you know.

By the way, and I'm speaking from recent experience here, the one thing you can say in company that is sure to rivet everyone's attention to you is: "Were you a virgin when you got married?" And no, it was not I who posed the question. But I was all ears.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Autumnal display

I got this great shot as I walked home from work yesterday. Every corner I turned it was like POW with the oranges and reds and yellows. This is peak color week up here and it's just fantastic right now. I'm hoping for little wind in the upcoming days because too much of that always seems to hasten the process from clothed to naked. (For the trees, ahem)

Today's my hideous leave the house at 6am day. I listen to jazz radio and watch the sun threaten to rise as I go out to the burbs against the heavy traffic. It still sucks though because it's 6am.

This comment came in from a post last week concerning the question of "fully formed or pastry bag": Having recently had to make sure keys swallowed by my daughter had actually exited her body, I can tell you that everything is already formed. Think of it as little pellets formed after every meal,squishing against the earlier ones. I'm glad Vee cleared that up for us. Plus it had been awhile since there was a scat reference, and I don't want to let anyone down, lol.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Couple of pics

Today is our wedding anniversary. It's been three years since we signed the paper, though we've been an item for 14 years.

The Thanksgiving dinner yesterday was delicious. And there's plenty left over for sandwiches all week.

Here's the carpet we went back to purchase yesterday morning. Since we arrived when they opened, it took about three minutes to help us make our purchase. Talk about night and day!

(I'd chat more, but I'm already running late.)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Action de Grâce

Happy Thanksgiving! I suppose it comes earlier up here because the growing season ends long before the late November celebration in the states. Plus Columbus didn't really discover Canada. Here in Quebec, it's not a big celebration, it's more of a day off work, ala labor day. But this year I've decided to shake things up and make the bird with all the trimmings. I'll take a pic o the feast for tomorrow. The photo above shows the sumac blazing red. There are clumps of this stuff all around the island of Montreal. Like cherries on a Hawaiian pizza.

Yesterday, spouse and I went shopping. I took him to the new fancy shopping center deep in the suburbs. As we neared the Dix30 (so named because the shopping center lies at the intersection of two freeways - the 10 and the 30) spouse said, "I feel like I'm in California." Indeed the place looks like it would be at home in (insert any upscale suburban setting) except for the lack of palm trees. As spouse noted later in the afternoon as we hauled our haul around, "There's no beggars here." A world insulated from reality. I couldn't help but enjoy it though, we found a rug for the living room which we are going back this morning to purchase. We're going when they open because yesterday, no one seemed to be available to help us. (Insert bitter shopping experience here. Can I just say LAME is when you are ready to part with hundreds of dollars and yet there are no staff to help you, despite repeated insistence that there were staff to help? Just wait for the man in the carpet area. Just wait in the carpet area and an associate will assist you. All you have to do is wait in the carpet area for assistance. Can you help me? No, we have someone on the floor to do that, just wait in the carpet area. 45 minutes of that. I guess I inserted the bitter shopping experience for you.)

My favorite purchase yesterday was the meter long shoehorn. I fell in love with this thing when I was teaching at a Japanese family's home last year. They had one and it was so much more refined to slip your shoes on in a standing position. I loved it and have been looking for one since. I squealed in the store when I saw them. Spouse laughed and mocked me. "You're so lazy, you don't even want to bend over."

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Hands off my language

Here's the new billboard they put up yesterday across the street. It immediately irritated me. Why? Because of the "un". You see, up here in Quebec, the francophones (French speakers) borrow and adopt many of our English terms. The thing that bugs me is that if it is a noun they are hijacking, they also assign a gender to it. So according to the sign, "open house" is masculine. Plus it doesn't mean "open house" like we might use it, you know - to clean it up for looky loos in order to sell the house. They are using it more to mean an impromptu party. But why is it masculine? House is feminine in French, so who decided the English house is masculine?

The other day I heard spouse use the hijacked word "patch". We were speaking French and I too used the word "patch", except apparently I screwed up the gender. "Une patch," he shrieked, "Not un!" To which I firmly replied, "Fuck you, it's an English word, don't tell me the gender. Clearly it should be masculine because it's easier to say "un patch" than "une patch"." (The n is not a hard "n" in "un" before a consonant if it's masculine.)

I can't win the argument though, it's me against 7 million of them.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Cuz I get fired up sometimes

Here's the problem with "for profit" healthcare. It's in the doctor's best interest to KEEP YOU SICK. Putting the question aside as to whether a public or private enterprise runs more efficiently (clearly private enterprise does) the real question here is one of "conflict of interest". Where is the incentive for the profit making enterprise to heal people? Because if they succeed, they will then go out of business. In the US, where most people have health insurance (most meaning 84%), you would think that this would balance things out. After all, they are profit making enterprises too. And it would be in their best interest to have payers who do not get sick. So..... they reject certain people for coverage. They find ways to wiggle out of paying claims too.

I was declined coverage once. At the age of 29. 29! Why? Hard to say, but the broker had to coach me then on my answers to find another insurer. Basically, I had to lie. No I never drink alcoholic beverages. No I haven't smoked in the past year. Etc. I imagine if I had truly fallen ill once approved, the insurance company would have done their level best to find out if I had lied on the original form. Aha! We found this picture of you with a glass of wine in your hand from Christmas posted on the internet! You're on the hook for that chemo. Claim denied.

When coverage is universal and "not for profit", the incentives change. Keeping the population healthy becomes the only one.

Friday, October 05, 2007


* Everything is going pretty well these days, but I still find myself getting angry at things. Little things. Like I know I'm capable of being charmed in a situation like this, but my head nearly exploded as the old woman in front of me in the market line counted out 17 pennies fished from the bottom of her purse, one at a time.

* Low expectations. One of the secrets of life. - Anne Lamott

* I'm just guessing, but I bet the first kind of paper that was invented was what we call toilet.

* Considering oneself lucky is healthier (and truer) than considering oneself deserving.

* Is it just me but isn't it a bit hypocritical to ban outdoor smoking at a sidewalk cafe when the exhaust of hundreds of cars surround you as you're eating that croissant?

* I discovered these at the Dollarama. (My favorite place to shop.)

* It's funny that when playing Yahoo's version of scrabble, "tit" is allowed. Tits, however, is not, as it's "vulgar".

* Is it natural to be jealous of other people's good fortune? Or simply petty and childish?

* More oxymorons: British Chef, Lithe Sumo Wrestler, Warmhearted Republican

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thank you for cleaning up!

I had a little emergency yesterday. You know the kind. You're not at home but you sense crowning going on down there. You'd rather take care of this business at home, but in an emergency, only the closest facility will do. So that was me yesterday just before my lunchtime class. I ducked into the nearest bathroom and quickly sat down. It was then that I saw what hung on the wall at eye level for the person sitting down. I had never noticed this strangely placed sign before.

Oh how I found this amusing. Because pictograms are always fun and speak a universal language, and also because of the 4th panel. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure the toilet seat does not look like that when I get up. I don't think it ever has. It makes me wonder who designed this thing and where they got the idea for that 4th drawing. Someone's pastry bag must have a lot of holes in it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Nature's graffiti

While walking home from the subway station yesterday, all the trees were letting loose their leaves, like a psychedelic rain. I smiled as I walked up the hill, seeing the eddies waft the leaves to and fro in what can only be understood as dancing. I stooped to pick up some of the prettier leaves, each one a guaranteed original, no other one quite like it on earth. (and there's far more leaves than humans) Sometimes the leaves toyed with me, just scooting away as I reached down to grab one. I said, "I'm only going to try to get you three times." If they don't want me picking them up, hey, I can hang with that. Some of them heard me though or just let me pick them up. I brought them home to show you.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'm all questions here

Copyright and trademark law is so bizarre. Not that I know that much about it. It seems the music and film companies are highly fixated on it though. If I understand correctly, you are allowed to take a picture or record a video of a TV show, but you are not permitted to show it publicly. To your friends is fine, and maybe friends of friends, but that's it. The same apparently goes for taking pictures and videos in public. I've had a couple videos removed from youtube because I admitted in the description that I didn't know the subjects in the video. (So now I never mention that.) And now we see constantly blurred faces and logos on clothing on TV. I thought the whole point of copyrighting was to get a cut of anything others might make off of the material. How can strangers passing in the background constitute a way of making money? Don't you find it a little niggling all this blurring of everything? This world on so many levels is looking more and more like the world in the film Brazil.

Is it the litigation? The blurring of the logos? Is it just the media companies being petty and not wanting to give "free advertising" to any one company? Do you think there are lawyers huddling in front of the television waiting to contact any non-blurred individuals that appear in order to help them sue for damages? Libel? Unlawful use of my image? Doesn't it all seem a bit ridiculous? Can you imagine suing someone for filming you when you passed by in the background? Wouldn't you announce to all your friends instead that you had been on TV?

I searched for answers and I got a lot of supposing. Couldn't really find a layman's explanation from an expert.

Still, I found some interesting links as I searched for answers:

How to blur a license plate or other region on the video.

How to then copy and extract the information from blurred check or credit card numbers!

Very interesting, but a lot of hot air I suspect.

Monday, October 01, 2007

What a difference a year makes

One year ago, we moved into our current residence. At that time, we had just bought the place and had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into. For that is when the saga of nude dancer began. All the tenants have since changed and where last year dread and anguish filled my days, today I find living here very relaxing and comfortable. But I don't need to tell you. It's all laid out in the posts from the last year. I'll take a moment to gather those posts. Moment wasn't really the right word. Hour was more the right word. But here the most important ones are. It's funny because reading them, I sound so much more together than I felt at the time. Those months were swirly months, insomnia months, pushing through my boundaries months. I dedicated 17 posts to the topic, and sprinkled other tidbits in others. Here are the dedicated posts:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17

I'm so glad he and all the others are out of our lives. Yesterday, 5 of our 7 tenants stopped by to pay their rent. This is the way it's supposed to be. The other two tenants always pay on the first. Which is today. I feel pretty good that we've been able to turn this place around, and filled it with respectful, responsible people. I don't think I would appreciate it as much as I do if I hadn't gone through the miserable experience of getting all the deadbeats out. And for that, I'm truly grateful.