Thursday, June 30, 2005

the trip starts tomorrow

I am thrilled, nervous, terrified, blue, green, and pink. I am high-strung and overwrought.

Oh my god, the courage I must summon. On all fronts, for god's sake.

It is not enough to be feeling completely heartbroken, as well as shafted, confused, horribly excited and a wee bit drunk on Pinot Grigio, the finest summer sipping wine. I am a model of bourgeois self-indulgence. I think I will go read some Viktor Frankl so that I can be reminded what real suffering is.

Posting will be irregular for all of July because I will be on a remote Yukon river from July 7th to the 22nd, preparing madly for it in the days before, and recovering from it for the days after. In addition to that, the logistics are tricky because my sister has no electricity, so my addiction to suckling at the teat of the Internet will be completely disrupted. Isn't that wonderful, 2005 and no electricity? I think it is.

That should have been "Yukon hos!"

Hos, like multiple of "ho", like "whore". Maybe it is spelled "hoes", like the tool. Either way, not to be confused with "hose", as in "Hose of the Dead", a video game where you spray zombies with a garden watering system as they attack your perennials. Aim for their heads.

My sister and I are not whores, of course, but it's always funny to call yourself a ho, isn't it? Yes, yes it is. Or maybe "Yukon, hos!" (with the comma) sounds more like we're helpfully pointing out the glory of the northern territories to the whores. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Yukon ho!

Looks like my sister and I will be doing this trip on our own after all. It's too bad because it would have been fun to go with some new neato people, but on the other hand, I know she and I will have a blast.

She is mostly no-nonsense, like me, but we both agree that a little nonsense is also fine.

Exhibit A: we have decided that shaving our legs while out in the bush will be on the agenda. I don't mind hairy legs, neither does she, but during the growing-out phase it is so prickly and tickly that I can't sleep.

Add "shaving calves and bikini line" to the list of possible uses for the two pounds of beef shivs that I am packing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Clippy, you cunt!

This is actually from a while ago. I hope "Guy I Know" doesn't mind me publishing, but it was just so good to vent on this. We're not the first to do so, we're not the last.

Banjeroo says:

you know what I hate? I HATE with all my heart, (all of my cold black heart) MICROSOFT WORD. Sorry, not yelling, just emphasizing the HATRED I FEEL.

Banjeroo says:

it is pure stinking runny burning shit

Guy I Know says:

oh, fuck that piece of SHIT

Banjeroo says:

yes. fuck that shit. it is such a slice of hell on earth

Banjeroo says:

it so sucks ass. hairy stinking ass. hairy stinking unclean festering ass.

Guy I Know says:

i literally never use it unless i totally have to.

Guy I Know says:

which is far too often

Banjeroo says:


Banjeroo says:

glad we see eye to eye on this

Guy I Know says:

Jef Raskin (dead interface guru) uses it frequently to cite examples of egregiously bad design

Guy I Know says:

like, stop trying to fucking help me.

Guy I Know says:

it's like having a demented manservant who constantly misunderstands your needs

Guy I Know says:

puts toothpaste on your shoes, hides all your shirts

Banjeroo says:


Guy I Know says:

you CUNT!

Banjeroo says:

YES!!! fuck!!!

Guy I Know says:

and as for CLIPPY

Guy I Know says:


Guy I Know says:

"You look like you are having an embolism..."

Banjeroo says:

maybe, Clippy, just MAYBE, I wouldn't be having a fucking embolism if you weren't putting toothpaste in my shoes for the tenth time this week, and licking my cheek when I'm trying to work, and throwing out my wallet AGAIN AND AGAIN. I NEED MY WALLET YOU BITCH.

lacerated by beef knives

I made delicious organic beef jerky yesterday. It has been marinating since Saturday afternoon. I bought the meat already sliced, a lucky find that saved me hours of labour. It was sliced very, very thin and I think I left it in the dehydrator a little too long though, because now that it's all dry, they have become terribly sharp little tasty shards of meat.

So sharp that in the process of packaging it for the trip, I got my right hand covered in little gashes, like paper cuts. Forget bringing knives to clean the fish we catch. We will be able to gut fish, fend off grizzlies, spread peanut butter, and cut rope with the jerky.

My left hand, well, I crushed the fingertips in the garage door yesterday. So my hands are not feeling great.

The other thing is, one of the women backed out of the trip at the last minute. I think I went a little Don Corleone on her on the phone in response (but I don't think I said anything mean, cruel or otherwise inappropriate) -- I just couldn't believe that she was backing out like this so close to departure -- shafting her paddling partner (no pun intended), and putting all of us in a very awkward position.

She says she doesn't feel comfortable with the risk factor introduced by my sister and her broken/healing leg. Even though my sister's surgeon and physiotherapist both said it was completely fine, and my sister is walking and biking everywhere, and the trip is two weeks away, by which time she'll only be more healed and mobile. We will have a satellite phone and that puts us within one day of rescue in an emergency, no worse than paddling on a daytrip.

It makes me think this woman was just waiting for a reason to bail and was never that committed, which is a really bad game to play. Now she's going to miss an incredible trip in a really beautiful area with some really fun nice people.

But in the meantime, my sister and I may be doing it just the two of us -- and we are still looking for person #4 to come along! Or for a solo boat that we can take turns paddling, and go just the three of us. Any takers?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Mr. Horror

My mom's dog, Charley, he has beautiful big white fangs.

His breed is considered a "soft mouth", meaning they don't tend to like to bite or chomp, and for that reason they are sometimes used as retrievers because they wouldn't bring back a duck carcass in, say, bloody ribbons.

Still, ever since he was a tiny puppy, she has been getting him used to two important things: 1) having other people open his mouth and touch his teeth and poke around in his mouth; and, 2) that putting his teeth on humans or their things is never ever okay.

The other day, he was lying on his back, and he was showing his big scary teeth in a playful, non-threatening way. She went up to him and stroking him around his head said "Oh Mr. Horror, aren't you straight out of a horror movie. Show me your horrors, Mr. Horror."

Add Mr. Horror to his list of nick-names which already includes: Charley-Bones, Boney Charles, Bonesy, Boneyard, and Boneyard Kipling.

it isn't the gesture that lasts

Well I went to a camera place on Tuesday, a place run by this one family for the last couple of decades. I'd rather buy from them than from some big box, and I trust their advice about things. Plus my friend J. only goes there. J. is an attractive and charming gay friend of mine who calls me babe and kisses me on the lips, which I like. He's an excellent photographer, and he is quite particular, in a good way. (I don’t need to go on here about how much I love him and his husband, because I see them lots and they know how much, but I will say this: I love them A LOT. And don’t you love that in Canada, “his husband” is becoming a perfectly common thing to say?)

So I went into this shop with this idea of talking about three comparable cameras then going away and thinking about it, and then coming back in a few days after lengthy consideration to buy one. The joke is I have already done this three times before over the last two years and never bought a thing. I think I was getting on a 6-8 month cycle. It is hard to lay out that much cash.

Plus, while I appreciate all the excellent advice and information available on the web about different digital cameras, and despite the fact that I have a noggin that really can handle technology, the truth is I get bored reading all the reviews.

The mind-numbing detail, which I recognize as useful and important on the rational plane, arouses one of two reactions in me on a more instinctive level: 1) the lightly panicked, which makes me want to run away shrieking to block out the memory of words like "aperture" and "white balance"; OR 2) the calm, where I simply space out and start day-dreaming about delightful things that have nothing to do with cameras. It is the one area of my life, I recently confessed to a friend, where I really just want someone to step in and kindly tell me what to do.

Anyway, after some talk with the kind, mild-mannered and knowledgeable fellow helping me, who was in his sixties, tall and gangly, with enormous glasses and quite strong B-O, I surprised myself by saying "I think I'll just take it now", about a camera I have been reading about and seriously considering for some time. I also bought some rechargeable batteries, some lithium batteries, a case, and 1GB memory card, which was the big splurge, but I just liked the idea of being able to take as many higher-res shots as I want to on this Yukon trip and not giving a red hot damn.

Before dinner, I went for a walk around the lake near my house. It was grey and rainy when I set out. The air smelled sweet and a little soapy from all the chamomile, which grows everywhere. On the other side of the lake the scent changed to cut grass and blossoms and the rain stopped. There was also a spicy sweet smell by the marsh over there that made me stop. I stretched out my aching back (still sore from the paddling, can you believe it?) and stood breathing in delicious air. Red-winged blackbirds were swooping about and a small grey rabbit darted into the brush when a cyclist suddenly appeared.

As I came around the side of the lake, the setting sun suddenly blasted through the clouds and there was that wonderful period of a few minutes, I am sure you have seen it many times in different places, where the sun bathes everything in golden light, and greens look extra green, and the dark clouds behind look almost black. Did I have my new camera with me? No. But I had my eyeballs with me. Thank god for eyeballs.

Monday, June 20, 2005

lovey me muscles

When I was a kid, one of our closest neighbourhood friends loved to play at being macho. He liked to roll up his t-shirt sleeves to the top of his arm and shoulder joint, flex his ropey little-kid biceps and say "Lovey me muscles" in a fake manly voice. Then he would kiss them, his biceps, one at a time, making a loud smacking sound each time.

One time, at our cottage on a hot summer day, he found a garter snake basking in the sun. He caught it and wrapped it around one arm, then flexed, and did the lovey-me-muscles thing.

I'd seen the act before, of course, and though the snake added an element of drama and danger (despite being only as big around as a dime), I was kind of tired of it I guess. When the snake got tired of it too, it bit him. He yelped and dropped it, and I felt a mixture of sympathy and relief, for him, for us, for the snake.

This friend and I, being of strangely similar temperaments, used to compete for attention. He was clever and charismatic and older, so I had to work to keep the challenge going. I can't remember what I did to try to keep up that time, but I am sure it was silly and not particularly well thought-out. Ah, the heedless and fragile egos of children.

So I went on a second paddling course this weekend, a women's solo canoe thing. It was great to be instructed by a woman, who, like all good paddlers, looked like a dancer when she executed those smooth perfect strokes with proper torso rotation and changing angles and placement of the paddle.

The first day though, I arrived exhausted (mentally and physically), a little emotionally overwrought, and hormonal. I also, conveniently, was stricken with the runs starting just after lunch. So I was not in fine form. When I wasn't fretting about possibly dumping (myself) in the water by executing a turn in fast water in some incorrect way, I was clenching my ass cheeks together and fretting about possibly dumping (watery shit) in my neoprene pants. A bit much.

On the first day, the women I was with and I commiserated that at moments it honestly felt like we'd never been in canoes before, despite, I am sure, having logged thousands of kilometers between us, in canoes. The solo white-water boat feels so different though, it was quite disorienting at first.

Fortunately, the second day was wonderful. We all did well. I still made mistakes, but at last it started to feel like I was actually in a canoe and that I had some control over it. We made it through many crazy big sets of rapids, executing neat little eddy turns, and hooting and laughing ourselves hoarse as we blasted through some huge standing waves.

My whole body aches from working so hard and it feels so good. My shoulders, my arms, my stomach, even my legs -- because you have to use your quads to change the angle of the boat to stay in control.

Today, I am flexing my biceps for anyone who will humour me and look. That has included a great number of co-workers. But I only kiss them and murmur "lovey me muscles" to them when I'm alone in my cubicle.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

a favourite poem

Most people hate egotists.
They remind them of themselves.
I love egotists.
They remind me of me.

- R. Smullyan

sister act

My sister had her surgery today, to fix her broken leg. Because Whitehorse doesn't have massive waiting lists, the doctors did an optimal-but-rarely-done surgery, specifically, they put a screw in her bone and then a metal plate to hold it together. In any other place in Canada, practically, they'd just slap on a cast and say enjoy the codeine.

Instead, my sister got to listen to Bob Marley (her choice) throughout the surgery, and she was hopped up on morphine, and the surgeon let her watch the incision, and then he jiggled the bone around for her, to show that it was actually a total break, not just some pansy-ass hairline crack. I am hoping she will write about how freakish that was. When our mama talked with her this evening, she was still pretty high. But it doesn't take drugs to make my sister brave. She would have watched the whole thing stone cold sober.

The nurses have all been really kind to her, asking if she was hungry, fixing her snacks. Where else do nurses actually get to do this?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I'm too drunk to eat lunch

Someone at work just poured me a glass of bourbon. The glass has a green stop sign on it that says "OOPS".

It is some mighty tasty bourbon. I have requested regular refills until 5PM, which will afford me a few hours to sober up before I drive to a cheap movie tonight (it's Tuesday, a.k.a. stick-it-to-the-man night).

I am about to write a chapter about managing SQL Servers, and it has been recently argued by my coworkers that a belly full of bourbon is the only right and proper state for this particular act of authoring.

So trip update: a couple of days ago, my Yukon sister "hucked her meat" * off a three-foot drop when she was in a fairly aggressive mood, and wound up breaking her leg. At first they thought it was a broken ankle. But no, is a spiral fracture of the fibula. She is having surgery tomorrow to put in some pins to hold her bone together. I thought maybe we were going to cancel the trip, or delay it, or shorten it.

But she just called to say we're definitely going. She just won't hike. She said, "For god's sake, I went drinking and dancing on crutches the night I did it, did yoga yesterday, and I'm paddling some class three rapids next week. I got them to give me a waterproof cast." She is unstoppable. The cast comes off a day or so before we get flown out in the Cessna.

*Supposedly this is mountain biker slang for taking a jump, though it sounds like it came straight from the pornolizer.

Monday, June 13, 2005

stocking up on firearms

It’s that time of year I suppose. If I’m already trashing my knees for no reason and destroying a month of perfectly reasonable jogging by going in that annual end-of-May 10K totally unprepared, then we know that hot on the heels of that particular piece of physical self-destruction is the dreaded but seemingly inevitable First Sunburn. This year I chose to specialize in arms and shoulders, instead of knees, face, and entire back. You have to mix it up a little, it helps inject a some life into the monotony of tradition.

No, it will not “turn into a tan”. It will turn into peeling skin, and maybe, a few years down the road, a V-shaped melanoma the size of my hand.

The freckles on my arms look green because the skin around them is so red.

What was my technique this year? Well, with the UV index screeching off the top of the meter, and the temperature at a soupy 31 degrees, and the humidex rating somewhere in the low 40s, I of course went for a bike ride on Saturday afternoon, and because I was already late for my friend, who was waiting for me, who often has to wait for me, who I didn’t want to make wait anymore, I rushed out the door without sunblock. But I think it’s like my dad said, “It’s 2005 for god’s sake. There’s just no excuse.”

The four-foot-tall Guatamalan guy who runs the parking lot next door to the office asked me this morning how my weekend was. I told him it was fine but I got a sunburn. He asked, “Do you have anyone to rub lotion on it? I will rub lotion on it for you.” I politely declined.

Friday, June 10, 2005

shaking the dust off

When I lived in Vancouver I had a habit of falling in love madly, wildly, secretly. My favourite was to fall in love with boys who were completely inappropriate for me, but who were well worth loving anyway. I think many of them suspected how much I loved them, but if they did, they had the good sense to never mention it.

I had a lot of love in me when I was younger, it was practically spilling out my ears. The reserve has been a bit low for the last year, but I can feel it is slowly replenishing.

One boy I didn't love but who I stood quietly in awe of was Joe, the best friend of one of my roommates at the time (who, incidentally, I did love). Joe might have been worried about being in his late twenties and having no education or direction and a 17 year old girlfriend, but if he did, it didn't show. Joe was gentle, and quick-witted, and lanky, and charismatic. We went walking around downtown Vancouver together once, and at two in the afternoon he suggested that we pop into a bar for a drink. "You know, to shake the dust off." He could really say things like that and not sound stupid or like he was trying to be cool.

I remember after we had a couple of drinks we walked around the lower east side, where every person you pass looks like they are about to die, or like they have recently risen from the dead. We went into some pawn shops. They were large, high-ceilinged, flourescent-lit. Some were packed to the rafters. Some were sparse, with items laid out on round glass-topped tables like a lady's parlour decorated with knick-knacks. I can't remember what he was looking for.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

that sweet little number

Well, the canoe trip is definitely on, fast approaching, and requires me to:

1) make a list of things to do and pack

2) start using the list to do and pack things

Not a bad start.

In another stroke of synchronicity (a theory I don't entirely buy yet by the way) I have just had a couple of emails from the other women going on this paddling adventure (all four of us are going for sure! whoo hoo!)... and what are they sending me? Their packing lists! We are sharing them and discussing them and making sure we are all organized. I love these gals already.

There is nothing worse than sitting there on the tundra or whatever, watching the Cessna that has just dropped you off with your stuff turn into a speck in the sky, and then discovering that:

1) you forgot your cup


2) no one brought whiskey ("Scotch! The drink of champions and drunkards alike" as one of the gals noted on her list)


3) you will be managing your period (that will undoubtedly and uncharacteristically come a week early) with clumps of moss stuffed in your underwear and fervent, hopeless wishes that your uterus would just STFU already.

Anyway, the heartening packing list frenzy has reminded me of one of my favourite emails of all time, received from my (at the time, 18-year old) cousin Daniel from BC, who a few years back was flying out here to Ontario, and as part of his visit I was going to take him on a little weekend flatwater paddling trip. Here's what he wrote, and I hope he doesn't mind me sharing it with the seven people who read this blog:

Daniel here, with a little request. Do you guys still do that sweet little number, "I packed my canoe and in it I put," if not please compose immediately and send me a lyrics sheet. This way we can avoid exchanges like:

"gee you sure pack light Daniel"

"yup I figured I'd just fashion everything I needed from the natural resources of the area with the use of my trusty HAMMER."


"you know like in that book hammer with the plane crash in northern canada, we're in the land of milk and honey comparably. I remember that book pretty well."

"you mean hatchet"


Love Daniel

Monday, June 06, 2005

ring the bells that still can ring

I have just had such a good laugh over this poem, sent from a friend. It's by Leonard Cohen. It is the best kind because it makes me laugh, and then feel a bit sad.


Friday, June 03, 2005

some people love movie popcorn but I think it's salty horseshit

It's funny, I only recently confessed to my friend Mike that I sometimes bring my own popcorn to movies, and just now, my friend Drew has confessed that he thinks "movie popcorn is another incarnation of Satan".

So with all this Jungian synchronicity happening, clearly it's time to go public with this. I bring my own popcorn sometimes.

I'm not cheap. I'm just a hedonist and I think it's better. It tastes better. It has real butter. It has the right amount of salt. It's air popped. It doesn't cost a fantastically ridiculous six dollars or whatever. It costs ten cents. It won't give you a coronary. Just put it in your backpack and crack it open when the previews start.

Even better, bring your own popcorn AND soda on a Tuesday night (at least in Ontario, that's when tickets are half-price). That's right -- stick it to The Man!

seizing the baton

Like chain mail, only more self-aggrandizing in the way that you get to reveal what good taste you have. Yee-haw!

Total volume of music files on my computer: My computer is in a box right now so I can't check, but in referring to my iPod it's safe to guess a little over 3000 songs.

The last CD I bought was: Blacklisted by Neko Case and Her Boyfriends because I got hooked on If You Knew, a song that I found on 3hive, and which is on her live album, but which reminded me how much I love that woman. On If You Knew, the way she sings these lines kills me: "She spends her daddy's money and she drives her daddy's cars, and what's crazy is the way you think that's style."

Song Playing Right Now: I'm 9 Today, by Múm.

Five songs I am listening to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:
(Like Rik's list, wildly arbitrary, and would vary from week to week)

  1. Ego Tripping (Self Admiration with Blow-up Mix) by The Flaming Lips, another song I have nearly ruined.
  2. Autumn Sweater by Yo La Tengo, but I listen to all their heartbreakers frequently.
  3. I'm Looking Through You by The Beatles because it's not only a brilliant song by itself, but it also captures exactly how I feel about my life right in this moment, (and how I feel about he who shall not be mentioned because I've wasted enough breath and time etc.)...
  4. Get a Move On by Mr. Scruff, (whoever that is), compiled by some guy named Stephane Pompougnac, from a mix a friend pulled together for me, it's a great late-night driving song, and one I had on repeat on the lone drive up to that paddling course a couple of weeks ago.
  5. Don't Let It Get You Down by Spoon.
Now, I have no idea who to pass this on to. No one else I know blogs or has an iPod.

ripe melons

Unleashed. It's about a man raised as a dog in a cage and trained to be a mindless killer -- but the dog is Jet Li, so he's a karate-kicking human dog.

Then one day his master is killed, and he stumbles wide-eyed and hungry for human affection into the lives of a blind piano tuner and his step daughter, who is studying at the conservatory.

Then he gets to be part of their "family" and learns how to sleep in pajamas and eat with utensils and pick out ripe melons in the grocery store.

Then it turns out his master isn't dead and is looking for him, and there are some terrifically violent and well-choreographed fight scenes, one in a very narrow and small European bathroom, as the dog-now-human fights to protect his new life and defeat his former evil master.

There. Now you don't have to spend money on it. I just saved you somewhere between $7 and $13 dollars. What have you ever done for me?

OK I confess, I cheated and lifted 80% of this straight from an email I sent to a friend - it's a recycled entry, and it felt so good I might do it again. And again. But I'm going to the Yukon in a month and have work to do in the meantime, you know?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

There's just no telling.

Well, my post-10K knee is better, or seems to be. Thank you Satan, for leaving my joints so promptly.

(Now stay out!)

Some of you don’t know this yet, but I am an itinerant this summer. Since early May, I have already lived in two places. I am moving again tonight, then moving again in a week (June 8), then going to the Yukon for all of July, then moving again to live with my parents for August, and then back to where I started in September.

I did a terrible packing job with most of my things. Pick any box and you are likely to find combinations like: bathroom scale, sports bra, bag of 100 tea lights, pair of heels, four folded pillow cases; or two sweaters, sieve, stack of books, butter dish. It’s inexcusable.

I also just cut all my hair off because I am not going to get it cut for two months at least. It’s a bit corporate/preppy looking right now, not really my look, but what the hell, give me a month and it will be a shaggy mess again. I was going to wear my collar up all day, just to be a complete ass about it, but I chickened out.

In the Yukon, my sister and I are going to paddle down the Wind River and the Peel River to Fort McPherson (in the Northwest Territories), with a bit of hiking on the side. Then we’re going to the Dawson City Music Fest, where we’ll see our friend John the unbelievable fiddler play in his kick-ass band The Creaking Tree String Quartet.

For the paddling/hiking trip, although there were originally four of us, it increasingly sounds like my sister and I will be on our own. Unless there are volunteers to join us? Applicants must be able to take off to the Yukon for three weeks minimum, be able to endure or enjoy: 1) lengthy periods of complete silence, 2) rehydrated food day after day after day, 3) aching muscles, 4) merciless clouds of huge fanged mosquitoes, 5) making up new words that can’t be spelled with the regular alphabet, and then working them into extemporized songs, 6) crapping outside, and 7) the heart-breaking gorgeousness of the world.

A friend who heard about the original four-woman trip suggested that it was highly possible by the end of it we’d be completely mad, and doing wild shrieking kicking howling dances around the campfire and smearing menstrual blood on our faces. Another male friend alternatively suggested we’d sit around at the end of every day and bitch about every man who’s ever done any of us, or any friend of ours, or any woman living or dead, wrong.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

(But more likely, since my sister and I generally enjoy the company of good and interesting men, we’ll just take a lot of pictures, get really buff and serene, invent some new words, and start communicating telepathically. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll both master the art of pissing standing up.)