Friday, August 26, 2005

that show sucked!

It's been recently pointed out by a friend of mine who reads this blog that my latest entries have sucked, and he wants me to pass him the g.d. clickerbox.

I started this blog to get in the habit of writing more often, and last weekend I started on another writing project. It pretty much used up my blog-writing energy. So from now on I'll be posting pretty intermittently, until I either give up on the other project, or finish it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

just take it slow, steady as she goes, one step closer and you be on my toes

That's a line from a song by Melwood Cutlery. What a name, huh? He played at the hootenanny, and Jenny Whiteley backed him up with harmonies. Her voice slays me. It's perfect.

Anyway, Melwood has a lot of hair. He has a big beard and long stringy white hair and round glasses. There's just a tiny little bit of face visible. He's basically what my friend John would call a Power Folkie, but with less attitude.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

does it frighten you? are you shocked?

WARNING: I indulged. This post contains ranting.

A young guy I know from work lent me a powercord for a laptop I'm borrowing from a friend. To pick it up, I went by his place after work. He and his two roommates had a friend over, they were getting drunk on G&Ts (not a thing wrong with that) and putting together IKEA furniture (arguably the best way to put together IKEA furniture). He kindly offered me a G&T when I arrived which to my surprise, I accepted. That is, with almost no appreciable desire to stick around, I found myself finishing the first thing I said ("are you kidding me?") with "I'd love one, thank you" (which was, after all, true).

The friend, Byron, was wearing large Lenny-Kravitz sunglasses inside. He had shaved armpits and wore a tank-top with fabric paint graffiti on it. He had artfully "distressed" jeans, with rips in all the right places. (And by that no, no I do not mean there was a rip in the crotch.) He was all about urban chic, and he had it down.

Now you know, I can respect and enjoy different styles -- some people care and some people don't care about how they put themselves together, and it makes no difference to me -- but I like best when people dress how they like, even if they're a fashion whore and it's straight from a magazine, or if they are a terrible dresser who wears white gym socks with black dress shoes. (I kind of draw the line at men wearing women's jeans though, because that's not even good drag, it's just a plain old bad idea. That's a rant for another day.)

Anyway instead of being fun and eccentric, Byron turned out to be the kind of intensely dull (that is, intense AND dull) guy who draws loud attention to the fact that he is plowing his drinks down so others will think he's a pro. When they went out for a smoke, (which I took as an opportune time to leave without creating a fuss), he actually shouted out "Hey Subaru, get away from my car!", so I'd notice his flashy BMW parked in the street. I'm guessing Byron doesn't have a happy bone in his body.

Byron said he worked for the Canadian Embassy in China for two years and is fluent in Mandarin. He said he's recently been on the phone with the CEO of Goldman (I assume he means Goldman-Sachs and that he's an investment guy, yay). The conversation with the CEO was to postpone taking a lucrative position with them in China, which he says he can do because he "has blue eyes but can speak the language, so I'm gold to them". He's now working for the UNDP, yes, for the environment supposedly. He asked me not to tell anyone he works with that he had five martinis at lunch on this, his first day. He kept asking me "are you scared now, that a guy like me is working for the environment?" or "does it frighten you that a guy like me is sitting down with the Russian ambassador?". I said no. I was asked something along these times so many times, and again on my parting, (was I shocked? was I disturbed?) that I finally just sighed, "No, no, none of this is new to me. This is all old."

Byron, the world is fully of silly people in positions of power, (real or imagined).

mi corazón

Today I drove to work instead of taking my bike, because I've agreed to be the driver tonight for a Cheap Tuesday Movie.

The El Salvadorian man who works in the parking lot sings to me whenever I approach his booth to pay. He hands me my change and calls me "mi amor". We laugh together and I pretend I don't quite understand. He assures me in English, "Nothing bad, nothing bad. Only good." When I ask him where I should park, he puts his hand on his chest and solemnly states "mi corazón". He is probably almost fifty years old and is shorter than me.

I don't mind.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Tonight, I am going to a bona-fide hootenanny! I am hoping there is at least one banjo.

When I had my first private banjo lesson, I noticed that my instructor Chris had really fascinating fingernails. They were yellow and very thick. I wondered if he had some strange nail disease, but I thought, how fortunate for him! Because whatever necrotizing affliction it was seemed to have resulted in fingernails so long and so thick that it made hitting the right strings much easier, and what luck for a professional musician.

I was so curious, but not wanting to be rude, I broached the subject by saying, "I'll have trouble keeping my nails long." (I bit my nails as a child and for longer than I'd like to admit after that. I still like my nails short. I have to work hard to cultivate, at the very least, a long right index fingernail so I can play.)

He said, "Well, you can always do what I do, and get fake ones. The ladies down the street at the parlour do these three fingers up for me because I can't afford a broken nail." That was when he put his hand out for me to see that it was only the first two fingers on his right hand and his thumb that had the Frankenails.

Most banjo players focus a lot on their left hand, doing fancy and fast fingerwork, ornamentation -- pull-offs, hammer-ons, slides, bends, all that good stuff. Chris is just about the nicest and least pretentious guys I've ever known, and though he could play that banjo in circles around most people, he emphasizes playing what sounds best and feels best, not just what might impress. For him, it's all about the right hand because that's where your rhythm comes from, how you make the banjo ring. Sure, the left hand stuff is fun, and even important, but you sound like a hack if you start showing off too soon.

Monday, August 15, 2005

my mom just sent me a fax at work, and spelled my name wrong

That's all. Just reporting the fax. HA HA HA.

Well, she also did it in silly lettering, and put two exclamation marks, and made the dots in the exclamation marks the eyeballs of a smiley face. It's 100% guaranteed that she did it on purpose. She is that excellent. (I love my mom!)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

cloud cover is a wet blanket

So, no meteors for me. Cloud cover. For the next few days.

My only hope is to drop about $2000 on a plane ticket to Vancouver, where they have sunny skies.

But for roughly the same experience and for a whole lot cheaper, I'll just hold my breath until I pass out and I can see the shadows of popped brain cells glowing and floating around the inside of my eyelids.

plaster teeth

This might not be funny to anyone else.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

shooting stars and storms

Perseid meteor shower is happening right now, but tomorrow night and the next is when it is peaking.

Tomorrow evening a friend of mine and I are going to go drive out of the city and maybe even pitch a tent in a field somewhere so we can fall asleep as soon as we are too tired to watch any more chunks of debris ignite and vaporize as they blast through Earth's atmosphere.

We had some terrific storms come through town today. I like so much that people in my office are the sort who are all happy to go to the window and watch the lightning, talk appreciatively about how loud the thunder is, and notice the rain running in rivers down the gutters. I have worked in unspeakably sad offices where people only ever could talk about what they saw on Seinfeld the night before, and if a storm came through the only thought that would come to mind would maybe be to click Save in case of a power outage.

Monday, August 08, 2005

explain to me how...

I can paddle 300km+ in three days, and then not be able to open a new jar of blackberry jam this morning?

Sunday, August 07, 2005


How does Margaret become Peggy? How does James become Jack? How does Richard become Dick? (Rick is less of a stretch, but DICK?)

Anyway, we were sort of idly discussing this in the water today, cooling off on a hot day, and my dad announced, "Well, I'd understand Peggy if the name were Pegaret, but Margaret makes no sense."

I've shortened it to Pegret as a name to use for my niece on this blog. I will have to think of something for the nephew...

charmed and disarmed

Just back from a weekend at my family's cottage with my ma, pa, sister, bro-in-law, and their two kids. My niece is almost 3 and my nephew is 1.

Last night, sitting up on a big flat high warm rock that overlooks the little bay and the sunset, my niece sat in my lap, snuggled in close so her curls were brushing my cheek as we talked in low voices to each other. Some ravens were having a loud and lengthy negotiation, hidden in the trees, their gravelly calls echoing across the water. The sky was pale blue and looked high and flat. There were pink clouds in the south. Other than the ravens, the evening was quiet and still.

When the ravens stopped, we had a few minutes of chatting over the silence about tomorrow's possible adventures (canoeing, swimming, looking for blueberries), when a loon started singing. In a hushed voice I said to Pegret, "Oh listen Pegret... loons! I love the sound of loons." "Why?" Pegret asked (because she is that age). "Because I do. And one of my favourite things is to fall asleep listening to loons." "Why?" "Because I always have good dreams when I fall asleep thinking of things that I like." She thought about this for a second, and then replied very seriously, "I like trees." Oh, me too Pegret.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

"During asparagus season members are requested not to relieve themselves in the hatstand."

I hate the smell of asparagus pee. That's all. I just wanted to announce it to the world.

I just confessed to a friend that I flush while I'm peeing asparagus pee, I dislike the smell that much, and he subsequently supplied me with this link.

Now if you're scowling at your screen and muttering, "My pee doesn't smell like asparagus," first ask yourself if you eat asparagus.

Lovey Thurston Howell III

A dear friend, who for her own protection I will henceforth refer to as "Lovey Thurston Howell III", and I had dinner last night. She is completely wild but totally responsible. I adore her and trust her deeply.

Lovey was the name of the coddled millionaire's wife on Gilligan's Island, and Thurston of course was the millionaire, but we’ve worked out that MY Lovey Thurston Howell III is entitled to both names because she clearly has enough personality for at LEAST two people. (I think several more, actually.) It’s also fitting that she gets a man’s AND a woman’s name because one of her primo personal specialties is raucous gender-bending. I can’t keep up with her in that regard very easily, but then, few could, (and really there’s no need to).

Sometimes when we’re joking around, (which frequently involves using silly voices and invented characters), both Lovey and Thurston emerge and make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts.

The Thurston side can be imperious and narrow-minded, the Lovey side can be self-indulgent and oblivious – and although this may make my Lovey Thurston Howell III sound repellant, it makes her exactly the opposite because she reminds me how important it is to acknowledge and satirize the universal human capacity for these things. (Even the Dalai Lama knows he COULD be self-absorbed if he gave into it.)

What started out as a fairly adult-flavoured evening (and by that I mean calm and "mature"), by the time I parted company with Lovey Thurston, I was so hyper from eating, laughing, and our wild-eyed antics that it took me two hours to settle down before bed.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

headaches and better things

You know, one thing I've learned in my 32 years noodling about this planet is that there are some people who can make me sick.

I know one person, fortunately in my past now, who even the thought of consistently gives me a splitting headache. When this person was a part of my life, I had the same splitting headaches regularly, but I explained it to myself as a work-related issue, because as a writer and editor I spend a lot of time sitting in one position. But I'm still doing that kind of work and it's clear now that I don't get headaches from it.

Even now, whenever I think about this person I get a headache, but because I'm happily going along and generally enjoying my life, it sometimes takes a bit of time to put two and two together.

As in:

Q: Why do I have this terrible headache all of a sudden, when I'm actually enjoying life quite a lot right now?

[confused pause during which I ponder why? why? why?]

A: Oh right, I made the mistake of thinking about that person for a bit.

Anyone else have someone like that?

Though I think overall it's been good for me to have encountered difficult and challenging personalities, I'm glad this particular one is out of the picture.

On a happier note, I just finished reading Love by Toni Morrison. She's so good. She's a genius! Although completely bowled over by her talent and her glorious brains, I will still dream (-- because what's the harm?) of writing as well as she does (-- though never like her, impossible) -- and I am mildly comforted by the fact that she wrote her first novel at 39.

parallel universe

Tonight my mom and I were alone together, which meant drinking wine, and cooking and eating dinner before 8 PM. (My dad is notoriously late for the evening meal, which means it isn't uncommon for my parents to eat dinner starting at 9 PM, so very continental.)

We ate about 30 barbequed garlic shrimp each. They were delicious. I mean, so delicious I felt grateful to be alive and able to taste them.

As I was cooking the shrimp, standing out on the patio, looking at my mother's beautiful garden that she works so hard at, all in the height of its long summer glory, I turned to her and asked, "Did you ever, of all the ways your life could have turned out, imagine that you might have been living in a house like this, with a garden like this?"

To which she replied, "I never wanted a house or kids. I was never going to have either, you know that?"

So I said "Well, I always expected I'd have a family and a house, and I'm sort of thinking, maybe I won't, maybe that's just not how it will go."

And she cheerfully responded, "Yup, I mean, you might just end up a street person for all we know!"