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Tuesday, April 30, 2002
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! [Note: to be pronounced exactly like Ben Kingsley as Don Logan in "Sexy Beast"]: It's so true. If WalMart's stores were like its web site, the parking lot would be a 10-block walk to the front door. [This wisdom swiped gratefully from the fine minds at, a mere 6 months after it was originally published.]
Monday, April 29, 2002
And another thing: If you don't have children yourself, you may forget that children are the most literal-minded creatures on the planet, and asking a flu-ridden 7-year-old, "Do you need to be sick" is going to be construed as "Let 'er rip!" no matter that you're driving in heavy traffic at the time.
Trust me, the worst time to find out that hockey roller blades don't have brakes is when you're careening down a driveway with two inattentive 6-year-olds directly in front of you. I managed to perfect my Superman "lead with the forearms" evasive manoeuvre, landing chin-first on the slushy grass. The children were spared. And highly amused.
Friday, April 26, 2002
Quote of the day, a.k.a. "Rock the South Pacific, yo":
"...this ain't no bass, this is an earthquake."
You just can't faze those hard-rockin' teens.
La poésie du Vendredi:
[Thomas Pfau, ©2002]

Aspiration's breath, millennial trance,
two-pointed ladder propped in a void;
busy buzzard claws, verbs on a leash,
slow blush of brain damage on a plate.

Stunned journey of dust. A holey sock.
Grind of an afternoon's axles, abandoned
juggernaut in a field; inhabited interval
with a pencil stub, curved strips of silence:

postbox for the inner ear. Tarantula's footstep,
a weight of light: inadvertent sky in the skull.
Wishbone couture: promiscuous secret,

peepshow in the street. Paraphrase of planets.
Ocean in a tablespoon.Ordinary in the ordinary:
nothing come of anything, matter unpossessed.

Thursday, April 25, 2002
Straight from the saxophone-enriched mind of Richard, aka Saint Caffeine, another term for the Pseudo Dictionary:

procrastinato, n. Mus. The act of thinking about practising music more than actually practising itself. Cf. procrastinato con brio, "I'm not practising but I don't give a damn"; procrastinato ma non troppo, "I'll put off practising until a day before my recital." Thanks, Reech.
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
Out come my lungs! Grant joins the poetry brigade with odes culled from spam. A quick look at my Hotmail account, and here's another verse:
Nasty Russian Teens
Get Your University Degree for Free
Don't Pay Anymore [sic] Taxes

Currently: The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman. [Brilliant. Just -- brilliant. I wish I'd had it to read when I was 13, but it's got me in a headlock as an adult, and remember, I'm not a fan of the fantasy genre. So it has to be pretty damned compelling to get me past the first 5 pages.] Also: Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain. [Imagine John Cassavetes in a chef's toque. Very, very funny, and I promise not to order the fish special on Mondays.] Just finished: (a) Sailing Alone Around the Room, by Billy Collins [I cannot express how much I love this poet]; (b) Stanley Park, by Timothy Taylor [a great first novel, and an interesting companion piece to "Kitchen Confidential."] Still plugging away at: Buddha's Little Finger, by Viktor Pelevin. [Dammit dammit dammit. I am much too dumb for this book...too dumb to give up on it, even.] Next up: How Buildings Learn, by Stewart Brand.
Tuesday, April 23, 2002
I'm with the banned: Turns out I've read 42 of the 100 Most Banned Books 1990-2000. I'll get right to work on the remaining 58, even though it means [erk] reading Madonna's book. Hmm, how surprising, "American Psycho" made the list. This gives one pause....was there a Grade X class somewhere who got that book instead of "The Hobbit"?
Just call me "Passepartout": I have been invited by my lifelong pal and hideously prolific author Nikki Tate to accompany her on a recreated Pony Express ride in Nevada in September. We'd start in Reno and carry on northeast past such metropolises as Wadsworth, Lovelock, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain and Elko. Nikki and her daughter, Dani, would be the actual Pony Express riders. I, Passepartout, along with Nik's publicist, would wrangle the trailer and motorhome from point to point, and generally act as groom, mucker, cook, driver, key grip and continuity girl, whatever the job requires, for three weeks to a month. I should point out that this kind of escapade with its vast, intimidating logistics, is nothing out of the ordinary for Nikki. That she considered me for a backup role in this escapade is a grand compliment. And also testament to her boundless optimism. Has she seen me interpret a map lately?
Monday, April 22, 2002
Today's entry for the Pseudo Dictionary:

Transwestite, n. An otherwise self-respecting Calgary business person who, during the 10-day marketing and animal cruelty frenzy known as The Calgary Stampede, dons outlandish "cowboy" garb: yoked and garishly striped or patterned shirts, crispy-fresh bandannas, obviously-just-bought Levi Strauss button-fly jeans, Bolo ties, enormous brimmed cowboy hats and Durango Boots that have never known the touch of manure [male]; ruffled blouses or striped/yoked shirts, ruffled denim skirts, brightly coloured denim pants, bandanna [the bigger, the better], big ol' hats again, rhinestone accessories, and often dainty c'boy boots with birdy heels and tassels [female].
This morning's deadly sin: Covetousness. My friend Laur in L.A. has a large shiny travel coffee mug embossed with the word "GIN" spelled out in rhinestones. I WANT I WANT.
And in other deadly sin news: Gluttony resurfaces with the discovery of a very tasty homemade stir-fry sauce. Envy is perking along nicely as there are many, many people in love who desperately need to be snarled at by an old bag. That takes care of rage, too. Sloth is a given. Vanity, though, has debunked, taking Lust with it. Both refuse to return until Gluttony cools it.
Friday, April 19, 2002
Poetry Friday:
[Turner Cassity, 2001]

Amusing, or appalling, that at my age love
Should seem a flawed, self-serving local miracle
Referred to some sophisticated Cardinal.
How not to certify, yet not deny outright?
The Virgin on a motorcycle, Christ in corn
As flip side of a burnt tortilla . . . none of these
Is less improbable than Eros late encountered,
Who, however much a scorch, will leave no trace,
A hoax among the others.

                    Are there witnesses?
Conversions? Cures? I am the Devil's Advocate.
I must point out that love, if it converts, converts
The pre-converted, and is held incurable.
A brief, small mystery, to be meanwhile a cult,
Unthreatening, non-binding. Elvis seen on toast.
Beatify. The canonizing keep on hold.
Oh yes, today we're a little bitter. Today we press our lips thin at the sight of those in love, and hurriedly click past the blogs of those who have recently found Their One True One. Because it's that wretched season, and our fancies are not turning lightly to thoughts of love, are they? No, they are turning rather to exhaust pipes, funnel clouds and clocktowers. But they are just fancies, and they do not last. Stupid spring.
Thursday, April 18, 2002
Random road images: A cargo truck with "Fletcher's Fine Foods" and "VanAlta" logos, announcing a new pigmeat initiative: "Transpork." As well, the two companies pride themselves on being "Partners in Porkgress." At first I thought I was hallucinating on a particularly long mountain hill, stuck behind the trailer in question. I awakened my two colleagues and made them read it. It's for real.
Of course, I still would like to read the transcript from the creative meeting at Hormel, back in WWII, coming up with "Spam." Up here in old Canaday we also had "Klik," "Kam" and my particular favourite, "Prem." I mean, "Spam" for "spiced ham" you can understand, right? Or "Kam" for "Kanned Ham." But "Prem"? What the hell? Pork Remnants? Mmm-mmm! That's fine eatin'! I bet, if they hadn't come up with "Soylent Green" in that Chuck Heston movie, they could have used it. "Oh my God! Prem is People!"
I am equally baffled by the etymology of "Klik." "Kanned Liver, Intestines 'n' Kidneys?" It wouldn't surprise me.
Monday, April 15, 2002
Off on another client scammeroo: the 3-day trip to Chateau Lake Louise, Jasper Park Lodge, and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort [Home of The Golden Eagle Express -- Canada's Highest Gondola!] starts in 5 minutes. Well, it would be starting then, but one of the away team has gone and left his wallet at home, the knucklehead. So! A bracing trip to the suburbs, then off to the mountains. See yez Wednesday.
Friday, April 12, 2002
Go straight to hell. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
Poetry Friday: Swiped from, with the following annotation: "Raferty, a Connacht peasant poet, while at some festivity, heard someone asking who he was. He was then blind and a fiddler. Turning around he made this perfect utterance."
I am Raferty the Poet
Full of hope and love,
With eyes that have no light,
With gentleness that has no misery.

Going west upon my pilgrimage
By the light of my heart,
Feeble and tired
To the end of my road.

Behold me now,
And my face to the wall
A-playing music
Unto empty pockets.
Doublespeak du jour: From Nicke the account rep, who, when asked if the client had changed much of the copy I'd sent, replied: "Not really changed. We just took some stuff out."
Invention time: Either (a) some medicament that prevents olfactory adaptation in those who like wearing perfume/cologne, so they'll know just how much they're actually wearing and, more importantly, what they're subjecting the rest of us to, or (b) the "Who peed in the pool?" analogy: some innocuous aerosol substance for all public places [transit, elevators, theatres, etc.] that glows a nauseating yellow-green around a person who's wearing much too much scent. The resulting embarrassment will send them howling to the restrooms to repair the damage with special "Mias-no-mo" moist towelettes. Finally, if all else fails, (c) A special ester-eradicating spray to be carried by people who are tired of ending up with migraines from being in close contact with others who've marinated in essence of Calvin Klein. Simply aim atomizer at offending stink-carrier, deliver payload, and breathe in peace.
Thursday, April 11, 2002
I smell road trip, but first, some explanation. Every week I look forward to the new instalment of The Onion, hoping to be entertained/offended, and I am usually more than satisfied. But ever since a fiendish pal in California alerted me to the wonder that is the Arcata, CA, newspaper, I have been looking forward to the weekly Police Log with an intensity that overpowers my Onion craving.
The writer, Kevin Hoover, sums up the week's police reports and puts his own spin on them: street people are euphemistically termed "travelers." Unruly bar patrons are "reverse-welcomed" by the police. The local jail, an eyesore of rose-hued stucco, is called "The Pink House", and spawns many terms: drunk drivers/drug dealers, etc. are "pinked" or sent away for "pink time."
I love Hoover's more laconic moments: a huge brawl is reported as
"1:33 a.m. Buncha drunks in a restaurant." Or another scene:

"Saturday, December 1, 12:25 a.m. Someone got "mouthy" in a bar. Arcata, always on the cutting edge."
Other topics send him into fits of limericking and haikuing and Bulwer-Lyttonesque verbosity. I am way addicted here. And thus I intend to make a pilgrimage to Arcata before the year's end. I can see my article now: "Well-meaning but clueless Canadian attempts to engage traveler in conversation. She would like her rental car back, now, please."
And the gauntlet is thrown down: The Infamous 50-word Spelling Test. Thrown down by someone who is playing rather cleverly on my one abiding vanity. Yes, I think I'm pretty hot at orthography, even though my brain is growing increasingly traitorous as I age, trying to convince me that "renown" has a "k" in it, "glamorous" should be "glamourous," and "inoculate" spelled with two Ns. Anyway, yes, I spelled all 50 words correctly and I've been pretty damn smug about it all day, thanks. And I live alone why?
Tuesday, April 09, 2002
Okay, I think I've been patient enough since March 17, but come ON: où sont les splorpismes d'antan? Where Grant at? I am pining for his daily blognosis, his blogtificating, what have you. I understand about a tenth of what he writes (CSS? SQL? the hail?) but this sudden cessation of wisdom is just too much. Splorp, come baaaack! Come back, Splorrrrrp!
Monday, April 08, 2002
How first foray into cartooning, and I lose out to a talking asshole. Still, it was a lot of fun. Thank you, Boykani.
My weekend, inconcisely worded. Way, way too much fun on Friday night, with Bad Man and Jon and Rory, encountering various potables and comestibles, and then seeing the late showing of "Kissing Jessica Stein". (It was great: I honked, I cried.) And listening to floridly psychotic audio samples that Jon found at, and honking at same. And somehow, and I'm not sure how this happened, Jon and Rory bought the drinks and the movie and ended up driving me home. Well, if you can't take advantage of your chums, who can you take it of?
Saturday: A waste only if you consider spending all day reading a book to be a poor use of time. And if you do, you are definitely not Martini, The Volumptuous One, who didn't mind at all that there was something warm to sleep on for an entire day.
Sunday: Finished That Book. [A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.] Three hundred or so pages before it occurs, the ending is, surprisingly, blatantly given away. "Oh, no, it can't be that obvious," says Jane, Dimbulb Class 1. Dutifully I read the remainder. Wrong, wrong, little literary detective, it was that obvious. Well, yes, the book is readable, I can't argue with that, seeing as how I spent the better part of a week flipping its pages. And it's got everything that an Oprah's Book Club selection needs: downtrodden masses, overbearing authority figures and a misery-soaked ending. I hated the way it began, all plot-driven and mechanical, then I found myself getting caught up in the middle, starting to love it a lot, and then -- smacko -- the ending thoroughly hosed me. I see why people love this book, don't get me wrong. But I'm a fussy reader and prefer my books to be much smarter than me, usually. And they usually are: you should see me trying to read Viktor Pelevin's "Buddha's Little Finger"; I don't know whether to take out a manual of political theory to help me along, or throw the book on the floor and dance about it, hooting and swiping at it with the femur of an antelope.
So anyway, certain scenes from A Fine Balance will stick with me, but it's going to take awhile before my fury fades at having been manipulated so.
The weekend ended on a glorious note, with two spring rituals: the first robin and the first feed of asparagus. And Fearless, bless her, understands that cilantro is a condiment and respects its power. She barbecued salmon fillets with cilantro and lemon and other wonderful things, and they were a crescendo of taste and beauty. How refreshing to find cilantro used properly, not like kudzu overtaking one's entrée, but as an herb to enrich the taste of the main item. It was the best meal of the year so far. And I don't think I managed to wreck anything else in the rich people's house. A fine way to end the weekend, I must say.
Friday, April 05, 2002
Almost, but not quite 6 gallons of blood products have been siphoned from my veins over the last 21 years. I thought I was hitting the 6-gallon point today, but I'm a pint shy. Frankly, at 47 donations, it's time to install the spigot. Although with veins like subway tunnels and a big horsey heart, it's not like I need to save time. I can fill a 500ml bag in under 5 minutes. Today it took 4:11:05, according to Pruny Nurse Who Lectureth Me on Drinking Coffee and Not Water Betimes. Shut up: don't you have a church choir to harangue, or something?
It's much more fun when I get the sporting young doctors who are there for some practical experience. They cannulate veins like practised darts players lobbing a casual bull's-eye, and keep up the cheery backchat at all times. Oh, and today we had a fainter, which provided a little amusement and (phew) distracted the Pruny One from her scolding. ("It takes TWO cups of water to replace ONE cup of coffee! Never drink coffee on donation days!")
For the 47th time, then, I wonder where my blood goes. I wonder how many people of A-positive or AB-positive blood types have tiny bits of Janey goodness coursing through their systems. Though I have been told by those close to me that this is a frightening prospect.
Oh, that explains it. It's National Poetry Month here, too. That's why there's poetry posted in public transit. I thought it was more magical than that, for a brief instant.
Anyway, on to more verse:

Poetry Friday:
[by Li-Young Lee]

In the dark, a child might ask, What is the world?
just to hear his sister
promise, An unfinished wing of heaven,
just to hear his brother say,
A house inside a house,
but most of all to hear his mother answer,
One more song, then you go to sleep.

How could anyone in that bed guess
the question finds its beginning
in the answer long growing
inside the one who asked, that restless boy,
the night's darling?

Later, a man lying awake,
he might ask it again,
just to hear the silence
charge him, This night
arching over your sleepless wondering,

this night, the near ground
every reaching-out-to overreaches,

just to remind himself
out of what little earth and duration,
out of what immense good-bye,

each must make a safe place of his heart,
before so strange and wild a guest
as God approaches.

Thursday, April 04, 2002
Ah, yes, Ted Rall. The whining mosquito inside the leaky tent of pseudo-intellect. For the record, I was an avid fan of Ted Rall's cartoon strip, and I can even forgive him for the infamous "Terror Widows" offering, because he's made a name for himself tackling the sacred and profane. I was bound to be offended sooner or later, following The Onion principle.
When I found out he was writing political commentary, I was thrilled. Briefly. Then I read his column. He's energetic, he's hip, but! accept him as an informed journalist, I cannot. Reading his articles is like reading the cynical rants that the late would often publish as social commentary -- and publish a little too frequently for my taste. Which is why I stopped enjoying, though I kept visiting, -- and why I don't mourn its demise.
Anyway, Ted Rall. He reminds me so much of people who show up at protest marches just to protest -- without having done any research, or considered both points of view, or -- quelle nouvelle idée --offered any alternative. In the words of James Lileks, Rall "is against whatever it is he's talking about at the moment."
I still like Rall's comics, because they're the proper venue for such two-dimensional thinking. And there's a part of me that wonders, hey, how did a cranky-assed cartoonist get his own op-ed column? I'm a bit jealous. And another part that says, well, Rall may not admit it, but he's the product of a society that welcomes free speech -- and among its many sins of imperialism and overconsumption and botched foreign policy and crappy health care and environmental destruction and all the other things to hate about living in the western society -- only in such a society could Rall be allowed to draw and write his warped perspective. I bet that sticks in his craw.
By the way, though no one asked, the above opinion is quite brave of me. It disagrees with the opinion of a fine mind that I have been awed by for years. I'm not used to disagreeing with brains I consider superior to the lumpy bits of lava rock, snagged with tendrils and tatters of useless facts, that rattle in my head. For the moment, I hold my ground, though cringing just the tiniest bit. I'm not much better at debate than old Ted.
Wednesday, April 03, 2002
Easy Logo Creation, Canadian Government-style: Lessee. You got yer stylized globe. You got yer maple leaf. Put 'em together, and you got yer meteor hitting the NW hemisphere of the planet.
My "Blog or be nagged" policy pays off: She lives! A bit of a gap between December 21 and today, but who's counting?
Tuesday, April 02, 2002
The Online Version of Monty Python's "Cheese Shop": that would be Chapters-Indigo or "Chapped-Go" or "Chindigo" or "We'll say we have that book/CD/video in stock until you actually try and order the stupid thing." I have waited weeks for orders to arrive only to get an e-mail saying "Um, we *thought* we had one, but actually we don't, so here's what we'll do: we'll cancel your order. You're okay with that, eh? Good."
I used to get steamed at Amazon for telling me that certain books were out of print, when in reality they were only out of print in the United States, yet available in the Commonwealth. But Amazon's got it licked where customer service is concerned. Only once have they not been able to fill an order -- and then they sent me a discount code for 30 percent off my next purchase. What do I get from Chapters? Well, they're fond of telling me that I can be among the first to get my hands on the next Harry Potter book. "" or "" would be much better URLs for them. Buggers.
Little-known facts: When he's not collecting Oscar nominations, apparently Geoffrey Rush pilots Westjet flights.
Heads up, poetry freaks: Don't miss today's offering at FTrain. In fact, I suggest you bookmark FTrain if you haven't already, and check the poetry anthology daily.
More signs that poetry is "in": What's this I see on my shabby little Inglewood bus? Poetry? Mein gott! The new "Poetry in Motion" initiative, wherein local poets get work published and posted on bus cards. I am stunned. Is it possible? My oil-soaked, money-grubbing little burg does have a soul after all. I'm hoping the poems will be posted on the transit web site at some point; my memory is a little too unreliable to try to copy them here.
Monday, April 01, 2002
Addenda to the Easter lessons listed below:
  1. When visiting the homes of the extremely well-to-do, I also burn the living fuck out of saucepans.
  2. The more trivial the contention between certain friends, the more prolonged and bitter the fight.
  3. The gods pay heed to my poor behaviour in the kitchen and ensure that the very episode of "Chef" referred to in the first list below plays, not once, but twice the following day on a local cable channel. EVERTON! I APOLOGISE!