Friday, March 31, 2006

nope, I don't yet have Lost: The Complete Second Season

... but I guess I could concede that I am PERSONALLY kind of lost, as I have been for innumerable seasons. Does that count? Sorry Rock. But I will let you know as soon as it is available, and then ship it to you wherever you are.

(I know there are supposedly all kinds of ways to download things like that but I am both a) not technically savvy enough and b) not in any way inclined to do so, because isn't it illegal? I'm not clear on that. Plus, I have shit to DO man, like oh, since it's 9 AM on a Friday, get in the shower already and prepare to haul myself into the office.)

So in today's headlines: ME. Yes, it's my birthday! Which I share with Christopher Walken:

and Ewan McGregor:

Happy Birthday, boys.

So I'm going to try to let the day unfold in a pleasant way instead of being morose about taking one step closer to death, since really, I do that every day. (Oh, not be morose every day, just take one step closer to death every day.) Today I'll focus on being grateful for all the good things in life. And if you cover me in smooches and give me presents and cake, I'll be even MORE grateful.


p.s. And in the spirit of generosity, I give you this link to this terrific poem by Jane Kenyon.

Monday, March 20, 2006

lets hope it's this pristine for the next generations

I can't believe I'm posting pictures from last July NOW, but it's time to start planning the next trip and dreaming of summer, so let's get it ON!

The single Otter plane, flown by Ernie (not shown), who has white hair and beard, huge sunglasses, wore dirty black sweatpants, joked about being horny, and who is one of the best pilots in the Yukon. Note that the two canoes in the foreground are actually three, since two are "nested". (We took out the seats and thwarts and put one canoe inside the other.) The canoes were strapped to the legs of the plane (not sure if that's what they're called -- but whatever connects the body of the plane to the skis or pontoons).:

A pretty bend in the river:

A stump and roots after many long winters, spring melts, and hot sunny summers:

This is what that place looked like:

I'll post more later. Ain't it purty?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

gittin all tourettey on the movie sound bites

I watched Brazil again, (director's cut) because it is SO GREAT. I can't stop saying Jim Broadbent's line as the plastic surgeon Dr. Jaffe, after he reveals Mrs. Lowry's new face... and 10 points to whoever can tell me what type of British accent it is (Rik, Adrienne, help me out). I'm dense about those things.

Just me and my little knife! Snip snip, slice slice.... can you believe it?

He says it slowly and self-adoringly, with eyes and lips all glassy and moist. I can't get enough of it.

The other movie I watched recently was On the Waterfront, with Marlon being all methody up in yo ass.

And while the whole "I coulda had class, I coulda been a contenda, I coulda been somebody" line is of course great, I can't stop mangling these lines instead, doing them over and over:

Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and you said, "Kid, this ain't your night. We're going for the price on Wilson." You remember that? "This ain't your night"! My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors on the ballpark and what do I get? A one-way ticket to Palookaville! You was my brother, Charley, you shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn't have to take them dives for the short-end money.

A one-way ticket to Palookaville!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

happy inner child, 32% eeeeevil

I think got this answer because I chose "my ideal birthday party is: a wild party where everyone throws cake at each other":

Your Inner Child Is Happy

You see life as simple, and simple is a very good thing.
You're cheerful and upbeat, taking everything as it comes.
And you decide not to worry, even when things look bad.
You figure there are just so many great things to look forward to.

They totally missed how I tend to overthink the future. But hey, it's a five-question quiz on the weinernet, not a day with a trained specialist.

But I think I got THIS answer because I have killed bugs, done illegal drugs (I'm pretty wholesome, I think you can guess which ones), and have called someone the "c-word". (There was no way to qualify on the test that it was said lovingly, respectfully.)

You Are 32% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.


Friday, March 17, 2006

though some unverifiable story about some religious guy in sackcloth chasing snakes off an island is sort of a dorky excuse to drink

I'll wish my vast reading audience what my friend Pier calls a "good ol' green, pig under one arm, bowler hatted, fighting in the car park, shamrock/leprechaun" St. Patrick's Day, soaked in whiskey.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

for the love of Little Rock, Arkansas

I have this friend who is brilliant, charming, pretty, hilarious, and a self-admitted total adrenaline junkie, but she's trying to kick the habit. She works for the International Committee of the Red Cross. Right now she's in Sudan. Yup, Sudan. Where something like 80% of aid workers leave after under a year of service for stress-related illness. I guess war zones are like that. I keep coming across news articles that describe Sudan as "hell on earth". (Maybe Kofi said it first?)

Last year she was in Haiti. When she'd come home for a visit, and we'd ask what it was like, and it would all obviously be too much to describe in a couple of hours - the logistics, the situation, her impressions and experiences - and no one would want to push for too many details because for God's sake she was on vacation.

So we'd get little snippets, like how she was friends with a kindly family who lived down the street, how the woman who helped around her apartment was an incredible cook who worried about how skinny my friend was becoming, how the office flooded once with a foot of water, how she'd sometimes have to adjust her route to work depending on where there were snipers and kidnappings.

Because her last name is Rock and she's sorta tiny, I call her Little Rock, Arkansas. Can you believe I was the first person to come up with that? Add that to the long list of things that are wrong in the world.

She and I are both in transition phases of our lives, where we're taking cold clear looks at our choices leading up to now, looking at what worked and what didn't, and figuring out how to start walking in a new direction, toward our heart's desire.

Last fall she was home for a few months between ICRC postings and we spent a lot of time together at a cottage she rented. She got me hooked on Lost, Season 1, which was one from a tower of DVDs she'd acquired for intensive mental vegetation purposes as part of her post-adrenaline collapse/relaxation fest. I don't have cable and didn't even know about Lost.

I was really sleepy this one afternoon that we were hanging out, so she offered to make dinner and insisted that to relax, I watch the first episode. Um, so maybe 30 seconds in I wasn't tired anymore. I was flooded with adrenaline from the opening plane crash sequence, and my heart was pounding. Then I had to borrow the whole season from her and get caught up. But because I had to wait a few days to get it from her, I read ahead a bit online, because I needed to know just a little of what happened next.

When I confessed what I'd done, she said (smiling and in her famous fake serious whisper, slightly falsetto and with a little tremble for dramatic effect):"Oh Roo, never read ahead, never read ahead."

I'm trying to remember that now, her wise words, that as I open up to new paths before me and feel a little scared doing it, and I want to know what happens next. I can't read ahead, I must never read ahead.

This whole damn thing might be scripted for all I know, but I've got to accept that I just barely know my fucking lines, there's no understudy, and the audience is using the darkness of the theatre to make out in the back seats or play Texas Hold'Em on their cell phones.

Come on back here, Rock, when you get a chance, and we'll turn this show into a delightful long-running farce. I'll make dinner this time. You can watch Lost, The Complete Season 2 on the couch, ok?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Love it. Isolatr. I've got to get me some of that IMolatr.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

"suspicion breeds confidence"

Watched Brazil last night, one of my favourite films.

I haven't watched it in almost 7 years, and was amazed at how much of it felt so contemporary, so much like Dubya-era political satire. The random terrorist bombings. The governmental paranoia, ruthlessness, and stifling bureaucracy that violently and unapologetically tramples human rights -- and the government using the random terrorist bombings to justify it. Society's self-destructive obsession with youth and appearance. The slogans. (I think of Guantanamo when I see the posters on the walls in Gilliam's dystopic offices that say things like "Trust in haste, regret at leisure" with an image of a man behind bars.) Interesting to note that many on the political right have instead concluded that Brazil is about the oppression of communism.

I say, same diff. Let's point fingers, sure, but let's not just point one. The movie is about how power corrupts, how governments of any stripe can get right out of control, can turn into narcissistic psychopathic orgies, how easy it is for truth and justice to be subverted in the name of truth and justice. It's also so fabulously darkly funny.

Have you seen it?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

we get this so-called "earthiness" from my mother

I don't remember much from the Highland Dancing lessons I took when I was about eight years old, except that we had to wear kilts and argyle socks and I think a white blouse with ruffles. Remarkably, I do remember a few of the basic steps, mostly hopping on one foot and pointing the other toe this way and that.

A while ago, rummaging in my old room at my parents' house, I found a little book with "My Diary" in scrolly gold writing across its burgundy vinyl cover. This was the book in which I recorded my most sublime observations and musings about life, in that year of being eight, also known as 1981.

My favourite entry, written in green marker, in carefully printed letters:

"Today in Highland Dancing I farted FOUR TIMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I actually remember that night as a highlight of the year. I'd sort of just discovered farts and farting, mostly in their interesting capacity as a social faux-pas, and at the time felt like I just couldn't do it enough for my satisfaction. Farts were amazing: sometimes smelly, sometimes mildly stale, sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, but ALWAYS FUNNY.

I couldn't fart on command, so getting to fart, with the potential result of delighting myself and possibly others, was always a pleasant surprise. Four in a row, while I was toe-pointing and jumping up and down in a kilt, was the pot of gold at the end of a long argyle rainbow.

Eventually I hit puberty and public farting became embarrassing -- then, as now, only occasionally revealing its (albeit diminished) power to delight me, and its (perennially questionable) capacity to delight others.

Monday, March 06, 2006


Scene: Making toast for breakfast at work last week.

Because I offer to make him some too, my friend Ken offers to butter mine for me while I steam some milk for our coffees. As he lifts the knife laden with butter and directs it toward my toast, I say, "Go lightly though, I don't want too much please."

He replies "What, you don't want the butter to spray up into your face when you bite into it? Because that's how my grandma does it."