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

Not My Archives

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

Tuesday, December 24, 2002
A true story: some years back I read a medical article detailing why humans should pay attention to oral hygiene for more than merely cosmetic reasons; there was a paragraph or two on the purported link between serious gum disease and coronary disease. I mentioned this at work to my musician friend Pete. He shot me a look, I got it, and we both immediately said, "Joe Strummer's in big trouble." We thought we were hilarious. Now it doesn't seem so funny.
I was a big Clash fan, and although I used to chant "Joe Strummer's teeth, Joe Strummer's teeth" to myself in a vain attempt to suppress my appetite, I always thought the man, as musician, was as brainy and bad-assed as they come.
My Highway 2 Holiday beckons: Off to Red Deer this aft., then up to Edmonton on Boxing Day. Plenty of child-tormenting dialled up, plenty of "what happens to this toy when you do this?" and plenty of refereeing, my nieces and nephews thinking that Boxing Day refers to the sport, not the charitable tradition. Have a good one, all.
Monday, December 23, 2002
I know better than this. I didn't get nearly enough sleep last night and am paying the price this morning.
I already knew Ian was a genius, but it's always nice to see extra proof, like when he agrees with me. I've spoken out for years about the need for No Talking Movie Rooms, even suggesting that while we're waiting for the soundproofed rooms to be built, complete with upholstered seats wired to give agonizing electric shocks to the nethers should you even whisper to your neighbour, I'd settle for movie chains dedicating one show a week to "No Talking" customers. Take your least profitable time slot, make it a No-Talking special, and even if it's in the middle of the day, I guarantee you'd make money. I personally would take time off in the afternoon to see a movie if it meant I wouldn't be sitting in the vicinity of The World's Stupidest People, defined earlier in Not My Dog as "those who believe that their voices cannot be overheard in the dark."
Why am I on this topic today? Well, last night I gave in and went to see "The Two Towers." I wasn't going to do this, figuring I'd wait until the first week of January, as I had done with the first movie. (Let all the Society for Creative Anachronism members and Fantasy Sci-Fi buffs get it out of their system.) But I was starting to lose sleep over the thing, so off I went. I thought the late show on a Sunday night would weed out at least some of the morons, but just in case, I brought my foam earplugs. About five minutes into the movie I was entirely thankful for them, as the woman directly behind me screamed every time Gollum moved, or Orcs snarled, or Uruk-Hais scratched themselves. People nearby said things like "hey, shut up, stupid b*tch, die screaming, etc." but they could have saved themselves the trouble. This was a truly Stupid Person.
Very, very glad I saw the movie, even though it was partly responsible for last night's lack of sleep. It's not a perfect film, but it is an exceptional example of epic moviemaking; I'm going to stop badmouthing CGI after watching Gollum and the Ents. Over three hours, I was tense, elated, thrilled, moved to tears, tired, wincing, bloodthirsty and thoroughly entertained. Though I understand why Tolkien purists don't like the way the story is told, I don't think anyone can disagree that this is a saga of magnificent scale. Will I see it as many times as I saw the first installment? Probably not, and this is good news for the bank balance.
Oh freaking joy...For those of you who know me, I did not write the latest ad for a certain hotel in the Canadian Rockies, described as "one of the most unique places ever created by man." It came from the client, in this case the tiresome Name Withheld, wannabe copywriter and appalling grammarian. Obviously she is unaware that "unique" cannot be qualified. Unique means there is only one such thing. So a thing is unique or it is not. It cannot be more unique than something else. "It's the most one-of-a-kind place on earth!" Nope, that doesn't work either. Dolt. [See? No sleep! I should set out flares around myself.]
Friday, December 20, 2002
A much-needed and long overdue interlude with The Hound of My Heart, Theo, last night. Back occupying his rightful place, the entire back seat of the Dadmobile, puffing and slobbering after 40 minutes of sprinting and crack-turns on the grass at River Park. It was so much fun that not only will I schedule at least monthly visits with Theo in 2003, but I've also revised my Wish List for Life:
  • A dog with a sense of humour
  • shoes that fit and look good
  • A better Scrabble game
  • Lively red wine, parmesan cheese and dried figs
  • Convincing the world that fundamentalism of any kind is just fear and stupidity in disguise
  • Perspective in all relationships
  • and the old standby, to go in mid-sentence.
Just been swilling sluttish red wine and yakking with the intrepid few Karovians who have not already scampered for the holidays...much talk about past lives and spiritualism, and for once, yay, the big mouth stayed shut. I know I believe in an equal sharing of opposing views. But other people think I'm attacking them. Sometimes I think it's just a difference of terminology (you say "sixth sense," I say "sense memory"). Mostly I wish people were aware of just how suggestible the human brain can be (I agree with the theory that successful hypnotism depends on the suggestibility of the subject). Question: if everyone has several past lives, why were we all witches who were condemned at the stake? Why is our present life the last go-round? Are spiritualists all reading from the same manual? But there I go, getting sarcastic when I promised I wouldn't. Certainly I don't have all the answers...but neither do they. Such as: why is it that when I cannot consciously remember a particular passage of music on the guitar, my fingers can? If I just distract my "awake" mind and let my fingers go, they remember where they're supposed to be. Could it be a memory from my past life as a troubadour? Or a different level of remembering, involving more than just top-level cognition? Memory is so much magic, anyway. Jane has spoken. [Of course, Jane has been into the Spanish reds and is feeling profound.]
I believe the above can be easily condensed into three words: blah blah blah.
Sigh. Unlike 99% of my colleagues, I'm in the office on the 23rd and 24th. Expect lots of aggrieved blogging then.
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
No words suffice. Grant, my friend, I'm praying hard.
Charity, charity, all is charity. I just overheard two colleagues who were griping about (a) the decided lack of chocolate in our office [last year we couldn't move for the stuff] and (b) the decision of many of our suppliers not to send out gifts this year, but to make donations to charity instead. "Yeah, people are really cheaping out this year," said one. No, no, no! That's how it should always be! I'd be overjoyed to see the trend move away from corporate gifts to corporate contributions to charity. Who needs another goddamned travel mug, anyway?
Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn't want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn't want them back.
[Samuel Beckett, "Krapp's Last Tape"]
Charitable Inclinations, or The Tale of Two Turkeys. While we may not surpass the frontline goodwill of my old colleagues at Veer, the heartwarming details of which I read about here, my company, Karo, makes a point every year of adopting families through the Christmas Bureau. This year was slightly different in that we adopted two single women. The bureau sends us a profile of what each person likes, what size clothing, etc., what sort of household and grocerial items are needed, and we sign our names beside each item before heading out shopping.
My original contribution list sounded like something from "The 12 Days of Christmas": Four boxes pasta, three of tea and coffee, two bags of stuffing and two turkeys graded U-til-i-teeeee. [Also some garbage bags and rice, but they didn't scan so well.] Anyhow, there I was in Safeway, and while I was hunting for my list items, an epiphany struck:
  • It's bad enough to be on welfare without suffering the indignity of no-name brands.
  • What is a turkey without a roasting pan?
  • You cannot have pasta without sauce, can you?
  • And what's tea and coffee without cookies?
  • You might have some friends drop by -- better get some nibbles.
  • Hey, cranberry sauce. Yeah.
  • Even better, cranberry jello!
  • What, no chocolate? You can never have too much chocolate at Christmas.
Upshot: My budget was $60. I spent double that.
A special note of thanks to Darren at Boykani for solving my annual Christmas shopping dilemma with one link. [And thanks to his pal, Stan, as well.] I'm looking at the cat in a whole new light thanks to this.
Monday, December 16, 2002
Hell’s Elves Comeback Tour 2003: Four hours of raging Yuletide carols, hit ‘n’ miss harmonizing, and disagreements as to what key we were in. A classic. My fingers are exhausted. My voice is raspy, as though I’d spent the night gargling Tequila in a grass fire.
Interesting, not really. The pictures have come back from last week’s company holiday party, and if you’re wondering why I didn’t blog about the party at the time, it’s because, despite the glamorous false eyelashes and heavy 1960s eyeshadow, the massive glossy hairdo, etc., I just was not in a party mood.
I will say that the venue, the Kaboom Room (situated on the mezzanine level of the Uptown Movie Theatre) was great, like having a party in your parent’s unfinished basement in the ‘60s – lots of orangerie, floor lamps, Tiki accents, etc. I’m glad the pictures were taken before the traditional hike for hoots, which in this case necessitated a trot up 10 flights of stairs (I counted), to a landing with an open window. Yes, folks, grass is bad for you, particularly if you’re wearing heels. Anyway, had the pictures been taken post-hike, I would have pioneered Stoned Sweaty Glam. The band, SureFire, was a rockabillist’s delight, and had I been in the mood for dancing, I’m sure I would have flung myself out onto the dance floor with glee, along with most of my colleagues. Instead I chose to rescue my car from a time-sensitive parking spot, then once in the car, thought, ah, hell with it, and drove home.
[Note: false eyelashes, which make your eyes feel like you’ve got a baseball cap on each lid, should be classified as a driving hazard. Not that anyone would have missed the two morons who leaped into the road, whooping and slapping my car’s hood, but it would have been bad for my driving record. Oddly enough, this happened outside Cowboys bar. Must remember to write to my alderperson and suggest a barbwire-topped chainlink fence along sidewalk adjacent to bar.]
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
Okay, that's IT. The Canadian diamond industry has gone too far. [My thanks to Morton for the link.] So if you've ever been described as having a "multi-faceted" personality, now you can make it a reality.
Lugubrious Layout du Jour: I sweat over an ad for a stately hotel's yearly gift certificate specials, pointing out the thoughtfulness, the lasting gratitude, the undeniable goddamned specialness of it all. Client accepts it from first draft, and sends it to the Calgary Herald, who prints it directly below an ad showing a starving street person, whom you can help for as little as $2.49.
Now, before you start calling me heartless and/or hateful, callous, mean-spirited and what have you, shut up. I'm finding the whole thing hilarious -- and though I can't say as much to our very pissed off client (pissed at the Herald, not me, thankfully), the layout points out the enduring contradiction of the season. If it's a season of giving, who needs it more? It's kind of hard to defend luxuries in the face of despair -- but very easy to say, well, there'll always be poor people, whatcha' gonna' do?
Monday, December 09, 2002
Rudely awakened at 10:00 Sunday morning by the telephone. It was my younger brother, Colin, who was stunning everyone in the family one by one with the news that he and Shelley are expecting their fifth child. Huh boy. I can't remember the birthdays of my 8 nieces and nephews as it is. I'm thrilled and a little scared for them, since phew, 5 kids...but 40 years ago that wouldn't have been so big a deal, really, so maybe I'm fretsome for nothing.
Colin, who makes me laugh harder than anyone else on the planet, partly because he's got a deadly sense of humour, also because he's such a helpless giggler, wasted no time in setting me howling again. We were talking about how, in terms of birth rates, he and Shelley are Asia, our brother Lawrence and his wife Alayne (4 kids) are Europe, and I'm, well...Antarctica. "Aunt Arctica," said Colin. Had to lie down after that one.
Thursday, December 05, 2002
A New Standard of Giving... This morning Tamra, our production co-ordinator, came into my office to drop off the box of micro popcorn I'd bought to support her sons' Cub Scout troop. Her arms full of popcorny items for other colleagues, she turned to leave, lost her balance, and hit the window beside my door hard enough to break her nose.
While I was taping a frame around the smear on the window, bearing the caption "Tamra's nose was here," a thought occurred to me. From now on, anyone who wants my money for their own or their kids' teams, events, school trips, bands, etc. is first going to have to come across with a little blood, drama and spectacle, or by God I won't part with a dime.
Wednesday, December 04, 2002
The "Hell's Elves" concert is a mere 8 days away, so last night I hauled out the guitar and commenced to work through the binder of Christmas carols [sorry -- reading the Bad Man's blog, I guess I should say "the binder of Giving carols"]. Fearless came by, as she has designs of dragging her guitar down to Virginia over the holidays and serenading her family. Together we gamely tackled ancient ballads and modern ditties.
How did the evening's practise go? Let's just say that there are some new versions of some old favourites out there:
Together: The (strum) Fi-r-r-rst (strum) Noh-hoh-hell --
Me: What the hell is a C#Min7?
Fearless (flipping through chord charts): What key are we in?
Me: Hell if I know.

Together: We Three Kings of Orient... (pause while both try to find F#Minor on frets) ARE....

Together: Good (strum) King (strum) Wen(strum)ces(strum)laus(strum) looked out --
Me: Who the hell puts a chord transition from A Minor to B7 in a single syllable?
Fearless: [Silence. Guilty look.]
I don't think we're putting the Cambridge Singers out of work, exactly, but no matter. Hell's Elves isn't exactly the pickiest Yuletide band out there. My friend Andy has played with us for the last ten years using only two chords. He just waits for them to come around in the music, strums manfully, then sits back smiling.
I'll willingly admit that I am still the least Christmassy person out there (well, in Christendom, anyhow), except for the music, the feasting, and the get-togethers. I'm hopelessly bad at Christmas shopping -- but this year I lucked out, as the family says all they want for Christmas is for me to stop playing the damned guitar.
Tuesday, December 03, 2002
Yeah, I know Quaker Oats is mighty proud of its new product, "Oatmeal to Go," but I still think "Porridge Plank" is a catchier, or at least a more accurate, name for the new cereal bars. Yet another foodstuff that relieves me of the intolerable burden of pouring cereal and milk into a bowl, and using a spoon. Phew.
Pointless Celebrity news: According to the Entertainment Weekly newsletter, which has been failing to capture my attention on a daily basis, "Tommy Lee gets trial date in pool party wrongful-death suit." Wow. Where can I get one of those suits? I want one. In powder blue, please.
Further annoyance, newsletter-style: Spot the clanger in the Life Network e-mail: "If you are lucky enough to have skills when it comes to the illusive sewing machine, knitting needles, or embroidery hoop, much respect." I'm afraid my sewing machine, greatly unused though it be, is very much a fact. Could you have meant "elusive"?
Oh yeah yeah yeah....we're so perfect here in Jane land that we pounce on these gaffes rather in the same way a cat pounces on a mouse, bats it around, pretends to let it go, then mauls it to death. What can I say? This season does not bring out the best in me.
So I was very very glad to laugh myself to tears over "Kennooth, what is the fooquency?" seen on Splorp t'other day. Thanks, GH, funny funny man that you are. And it's a great domain name, too.
Monday, December 02, 2002
Breath-taking. Unforgettable. Spectacular. Magnificent. Heart-stopping. Majestic. Natural. Incredible. If you use two or more of these words in a sentence, you are probably writing an advertisement for a mountain resort.
Why Janey Sighs So: She must explain to a client that to write "an MBA" is incorrect, because we don't say "I'm taking an Master's degree in Business Administration," but "a Master's." Oh, and quit using your U.S. spell-checking program to tell her that her Canadian spelling is incorrect, knucklehead.
Notes to Self: (1) Nominating yourself anonymously for the company's "Citizen of The Year" award, which comes with a $1,000 bonus, probably isn't a brilliant strategy now that you know the president is meeting with everyone privately to discuss nominations. Damn. (2) Greeting an avalanche of poinsettia in the reception area with a sour "Weren't we trying to save money this year?" is tempting, but don't. Just don't. (3) You cannot fit into that dress by Friday. Attempt to understand.