Not My Dog.Hmmm... Let me think about that.
Not My Blog

Not My Archives

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Wednesday, January 31, 2001
Just about exactly four years ago, I was laid off from a company called Carswell, the leading Canadian legal publishers. In January of 1997 about 37 of us Carswellians lost our jobs. We were summoned into a ballroom at the downtown Calgary Ramada, fed muffins, coffee, and juice, then drop-kicked unceremoniously from the folds. I especially liked how they flew the talking hairdos from the Toronto head office HR Dept. out west to "console" us through the "time of change." Then they watched like hawks as we cleaned out our desks--wouldn't want those old Saskatchewan hotel regulations falling into the wrong hands, oh, no. And can't trust those people who've worked for us for 8 years and more.
Today I heard that the remainder of the Calgary Carswell office is being closed, which means that another 15 or so extremely good and intelligent people are out of work. All of them long-term employees. Despite the stupidity of the upper management over the last 11 years (thank you, Ken Thomson, you callous billionaire fucker), Carswell was a family, really. All I can say is, don't lose heart, my old colleagues. There are jobs out there for you all.
To this day I still can't pass the Ramada Inn without shying like a spooked pony.
Speaking of stupid layoffs, there's a good article on this at this week.
And now, under the "Sometimes I hate being right about things" heading: we were handed papers. The same content was flashed on a large screen at the front of the room. And apparently it requires two different people to read out that information to the audience. Any questions?
Tuesday, January 30, 2001
Hey, I'm an auntie again. For the eighth time. My fourth niece, named Faith Mumble Farries (the middle name was lost as my brother was yawning over the phone as he left a message). Both brothers and their wives have been most fertile, I must say. But does that mean my father will stop expecting me to push out the progeny? Nay, not so.
On the New Movie Front: I've seen three recently. Snatch, which was just plain good fun to watch, excellent editing, and Brad Pitt didn't make me barf. Shadow of the Vampire which disappointed me greatly. It turned out to be just another run-of-the-crypt bite 'n' suck movie, when it could have been a fascinating story about the making of Nosferatu in 1922. Why was Max Schreck, who played Nosferatu, dressed as the offensive stereotype of the ravening Jew so often caricatured in the German press of the time? Hook nose, clawlike fingers, hunched back...I doubt it was coincidence. And why did F.W. Murnau have such trouble getting financing? Why wouldn't Bram Stoker's widow sell him the movie rights to Dracula (Okay, that's probably an easy one: because he was German, and it was a mere 4 years after WWI). There were just so many more fascinating real facts possible, but they settled for shock value. Hrmph. Anyway, Fearless really liked it, and it may be that I overthink these things. Finally, I saw Chocolat--and like my friend Vinnie in the States, I wish I'd written it. A clever script and brilliant casting.
The remainder of my artistic pursuits last weekend were watching six episodes of my latest shameful addiction, The League of Gentlemen. I'm afraid to recommend them to my friends. The show makes me bust out laughing, it gives me the creeps, it's often downright disgusting....fine family entertainment, if you ask me. The most famous characters, Edward and Tubbs Tattyrup, are unsettling, but no so much as the seemingly normal Auntie Val and Uncle Hal Denton, who breed toads. I will lend these videotapes to the curious, but I'm warning you all: this is bound to offend you somehow. Caveat videor.
The only problem with being told to "just be myself" is that I make lousy first impressions.
Friday, January 26, 2001
Okay, my hair's newly ultra-maroon, slightly shorter, and still there is no path being beaten to my door by eligible bachelors, young or old. Perhaps it's still the repellent personality thing.
Notes on the Jane Front: I have just done something to my life that I liken to Wile E. Coyote standing underneath a jammed bunch of boulders in the canyon, poking up at them with a stick. As his poking starts to cause an avalanche, he holds up a sign saying "What in heaven's name am I doing?" moments before he's buried by the rocks.
But it was only a phone call, after all. And the meeting on Monday is just an information session. I'll keep myself posted.
Another Dumb Day on Canada AM: So yesterday there's a terrible earthquake in Northern India, causing hundreds of casualties, a number which is likely to grow. There's destruction and terror everywhere, which the Canada A.M. newscast shows in great detail. Blood, dazed humanity, huge toppled buildings, and more. Then! They go straight to a related story: there's been an earthquake in the States that was also felt in Toronto...a whopping 4.0 on the Richter Scale. Cut to images of videotapes shaken brutally off the shelves. You can just feel the tragedy, can't you?
Tuesday, January 23, 2001
Right Up There on the Frustration Meter:Having to attend seminars intended to explain new corporate procedures where the explanation consists of handing out pages to the audience and then reading those same pages aloud to the audience. Thank you, but I've been successfully reading to myself since the 60s, all right?
Granted, I read a little bit faster now.
Permission to panic, sir? Permission granted. AIEEEEEEE.
Permission to say "Holy crap!" sir?
Granted. "Holy Crap!".
What's that, soldier? I didn't hear you..
That's better, Private.
Oh, it's nothing, just a near-total 180 on a month-old concept. I hate to say I told you so, but not enough not to say it.
Monday, January 22, 2001
Hmmmm...."Otis Redding makes me crazy! I've got to get away!" turned out to be "Oh, this weather drives me crazy! I've got to get away!" These auditory slipups are starting to happen more and more often. I blame my parents for making me play the bagpipes as a pre-teen. That bass drone totally *ruined* my auditory cilia, I tell you.
Did a movie binge on Saturday, watching "Saving Grace," "Small Time Crooks," and a recent guilty favourite, , "Drop Dead Gorgeous." As for the first two, I will never *not* find the sight of two grannies getting high completely hilarious, and Tracey Ullman is the funniest actor alive. And the third is a bad, bad, amoral, sick, dark, wrong, and very funny movie. Naturally it's on my "Top 10 of 1999" list.
The slightly eerie thing. Which involves a tiny confession. I was dog-sitting the great Theo on Saturday, at Bryce's house. Bryce has two paintings in his living room, both of which he painted. One of them looks uncannily like my dad; same huge nose, same overall facial shape, same crumpled hat. It always gives me a wee start when I see it. Later I was in the kitchen, making a mess, and saw a birthday card to Bryce on the counter. I peeked inside (that's the confessory part). His mom's handwriting is uncannily like that of my late mother. I had a few moments of the shivers over it.
Not that I'm complaining: My textbook, "Macromedia Flash for Windows & Macintosh" just arrived. It's the companion book to the 2-day seminar I finished attending on Friday the 19th. I would have found it slightly more helpful to have had the book *while* I was in the class. I'm a dumbass and often have to ask the same question more than once if I don't have a book I can refer to. And it (the book) also has that sadly overused font Lithos on the cover, but I'm sure it's a fine reference tool nonetheless.
Monday, January 15, 2001
So much for the much-vaunted work ethic. Just because I worked on the weekend, I think I'm entitled to dawdle at home this morning, sipping a latte, reading another chapter of the fourth-book-started-in-4-days, "Complicity." (Incidentally, says this book is out of print. They lie. It's o.o.p. in the US, but not in Commonwealth countries. I found it at just recently.) I check the clock: 9:10 a.m. Hmm. Deciding against a second cup of latte, I heave myself off to work. My co-workers are not at all supportive, and several times I hear the words "slacker", "lazy slob," and "thinks she's all *that*." Thank you, Duane.
Update: for the fourth consecutive week I haven't written a single word on my "performance piece."
Sunday, January 14, 2001
Weekend so far:
Friday: Spend day in Flash seminar (thanks to generosity of employer). Distinguish self during coffee cup animation by being only one in class whose steam falls into cup from above; said cup then promptly disappears. Come up with interesting idea for copywriting software, though: copy "tweening." You supply a headline and a closing zinger, then hit the "Copy Tween" button. All the intervening copy is then filled in. Attention, Duane--this is where you say "Gee, weren't you doing that already?" or some such.
Saturday: lounge in bed with cats. Drink too much coffee. At noon, put down fourth book started in as many days, and sit self in front of computer. Work steadily until 7:00 p.m. Then rent movies: "Mifune", a Danish film, and the 1998 cult special, ."Zero Effect." I wasn't thrilled with the first, but I really liked the second. The subtitling for Mifune was done in the UK, so the slang was different: "Your clothes are naff, man." (But not hard for anyone who's ever read Irvine Welsh, John King, Iain Banks--or even Graham Greene. Or watched any independent UK films lately.)
Sunday 6 a.m. Debate getting up and heading in to office. Decide to sleep it off. 9:30 a.m. Hurl out of bed, convinced it's Monday, and accidentally launch both cats, protesting, off the duvet. 11:30 Still not at work. Reading takes my mind off sloth. 12:30 Make tuna fish sandwich and spend next half-hour fending off the pets. 2:00. Okay, okay, into the office. But first to Safeway, where I've obviously hit Weirdness Hour. A man collapses by a food sample stand. Then two native men are chased through the store by stockboys. 5:30 p.m. Convince Duane to come for Vietnamese food. He pays, so my subliminal suggestion lessons were a good investment after all. 9:59 p.m. Decide to blog. I did promise I'd get *some* writing done this weekend, didn't I?
Thursday, January 11, 2001
Is this mine, or did I unconsciously plagiarize it?
"Typographers are artists whose genius allows the world to express itself."

Well, it's mine now.
Everyone's being so terribly kind. I know virtually nothing of HTML, despite my expensive book, but everyone's helping me around here. I wish I were more like Splorpamatic-Splorp-The-Dice or His Crapness, i.e., self-taught geniuses at this sort of thing. But I am the personification of that ol' deadly sin itself, sloth.
Tuesday, January 09, 2001
Oh my, oh my....I actually wrote last night. Wrote *fiction*, that is. This hasn't happened for quite some time. It's all Duane's fault, since he's been writing some fine stuff lately, and he also went and gave me a beautiful damn blank book for Christmas. And what did I get him? The Updike-edited Best American Short Stories of the Century. In other words, he gave me a book of potential, and I gave him a book of "These people have all been published, why haven't you?"
Note to the Man of Shadows: Please don't leave.
Monday, January 08, 2001
I made one resolution, which was not to backseat drive when Fearless is behind the wheel. On the way out of the city I damaged it fairly early, but bit back the words "Where in the hell are you going?" before it was taken as driver criticism. I noticed the speedometer creeping up to 80 km/h in a 50 zone, and again, nearly said "Um....foot fallen asleep on the pedal?" But no, I managed to stifle myself again, just as the flash of the Multinova camera met our eyes, and the policeman offered a jaunty wave. Now I am in trouble for not nagging.

Wednesday, January 03, 2001
How aggravating. Yesterday I wrote a soulful, profound blog about my experiences of the past year, my hopes for 2001, and what happens? Blogger locks up and keels over, and my sentiments are lost.Not the most auspicious way to start a year of blogging. Anyway, here's a recap.
I was watching early morning Canadian television on December 29th. The topic was "What to Do on New Year's Eve? One of the activities was the "Reflection Game". You get together with your friends and ask five questions: What was your greatest moment/lesson/purchase/read of 2000, and what's your greatest hope for 2001? So here goes:
Jane's Answers to the 5 New Year Questions:
  1. What was your greatest moment of 2000?Without doubt, it was when I took myself off to San Francisco and ran in the Bay to Breakers Road Race (12 km) in May. Just me and a humble crowd of 75,000 runners, a record heat wave, unbelievably intricate costumes on many of the runners, centipede teams, and a terrific folk festival after the run. Oh, and a pretty amazing sunburn. Ouch. If I'd been asked for my greatest vaudevillian moment of the year, it would have to be when I fell into a giant mud puddle on my birthday while leaping to catch a frisbee.
  2. What was your greatest lesson of 2000?Well, the answer to this would depend on when you asked. In June it would have been "Hey, you can do more than just look at the mountains through the car window--you can climb them!" In August, it would have been "Don't trust anyone." At the end of the year, however, it would be this: Learn to accept help when it's offered. Yes, it's purposely obscure. But I know what I mean.
  3. What was your greatest purchase of 2000? Well, since they just saved my life in a blizzard, I'd have to say the four new tires and the brake job for the Dadmobile. But the zippy new bike jacket I bought would be pretty high up there, too.
  4. What was your greatest read of 2000? Unquestionably, "Underworld" by Don DeLillo. Technically I started this in 1999, but the brilliant writing and immense scope of narrative actually frightened me off. Finally I grabbed the book in January and read it through in a week and a half. I'll never forget how I felt finishing the last line, that I had never felt precisely that way before. It changed my outlook. And I also have to mention the other book I'll never forget, "Close Range: Wyoming Tales" by Annie Proulx. Possibly the best short stories I've read, ever.
  5. What's your greatest hope for 2001?To be not quite so gutless about things.
And finally: it was a memorable New Year's Eve. Naughtily sneaking a bottle of champagne to a community ice rink. Listening to the carillon of bells from the nearby Anglican cathedral, watching fireworks, and swigging bubbly while skating and tossing a frisbee back and forth with Fearless. We skated until 2:30 a.m., and then were sober enough to get home and make a metric tonne of nachos, which we promptly gutted down, along with more champagne, watched a movie, and then I did the usual and conked in mid-sentence. And no hangover! Highly recommended and will repeat next year, weather permitting.