Not My Blog
Saturday, March 30, 2002
I am unreasonably excited -- or is that unreasoningly excited -- about seeing one of my full-page ads printed in, among others, the Smithsonian, Condé Naste Traveler and National Geographic Traveler magazines. I wasn't excited by it when I wrote it. But seeing it in fairly well-known magazines, well....suddenly I am 13 years old and getting my first poem published in the school newspaper. Yippee!
This Easter, we learn a thing or two:
Thursday, March 28, 2002
Early Poetry Friday: See you Monday.
The Easter Tradition: Some may hide Easter eggs. Some may roast turkeys, hams, or legs of lamb. Some go to church. Some wear festive bonnets and parade down main street. To phooey with it all, say I. About six years ago I discovered the best way to kick-start this religious fest: awaken at 5 a.m. on Good Friday and pop "The Exorcist" into the VCR. Aside from being one of the best movies of the '70s, it's also a quintessentially religious flick. God wins, you see. Yay, God! Go, big guy! See the Catholics lean into the pitch and take one for the team! Should you adopt this tradition for your own, we recommend that you nix the pea soup option on the subsequent weekend menus.
Birthday salutes to two of the finest men on the planet: my younger brother, Colin [who does not have a computer and thus will never read this, so my facade of emotional distance will be maintained]; and Grant. [Who does have a computer and may read this, but who cares! Grant, you rock! You're aces!]
Wednesday, March 27, 2002
Mommy was right: Some people are an accident waiting to happen. I first noticed the old blue truck at the crosswalk, as it had just finished nearly running a bunch of us down; then it backed up and nearly hit the car behind it [SFX: outraged honking]. Then it pulled around the corner straight into traffic and nearly T-boned a minivan. I caught sight of the driver: a middle-aged working type, thoroughly dishevelled, fixed stare ahead. "Boy, that guy could sure use some driving lessons," someone quipped. I round the next block and hear a terrific crash; the C-Train has collided with -- you guessed it -- an old blue truck and pushed it a couple of hundred feet up the track. The C-Train itself has partially derailed. The truck was initially on fire, but bystanders and track maintenance crew have rushed to put it out. My building is right beside the tracks, so all of us at Karo been watching the rescue and cleanup efforts with interest. Sure, it could have been another old blue truck, but what are the odds?
Tuesday, March 26, 2002
Serendipitous transit advertising: The bus card with the copy "Pregnant? Scared? " is placed beside "Kentucky Fried Chicken: We deliver!"
Doubtless, somewhere in Calgary tonight, someone else is blogging: "Geez there was this crazy old bitch on the bus tonight, pointing at ads and laughing, what a freak."
Eavesdrop du jour: "Your mind may be beautiful but the rest of you's an asshole!" Cut to me, having inhaled a lungful of coffee, trying to conceal my reaction from the speaker. It doesn't work: one lung implodes and my mirth is revealed.
Monday, March 25, 2002
God bless you, Bill Barol! "Love's Fresh Lemon" was the 1970s shampoo with the plastic lemon for a cap. My quest is fulfilled. I can rest.
In this morning's raft of e-mail,one subject line caught my eye: "A Sympathy Card for You!!" One screamer is bizarre enough, but two? On a sympathy e-card? Book 'em, Netiquette cops.
The card was from a neighbour, consoling me in the recent loss of the affectionate orange thug, Vinnie. On a related note, I picked up Vinnie's ashes from the emergency clinic yesterday. It's an activity they get you through as soon as possible. After all, you're walking through a waiting room of hopeful and worried pet owners, and you represent Their Worst Fears, walking by with a small box and a card. Yeah, a card from the animal crematorium, complete with consoling poem and panoramic image. Well, anyway, it's done. I have considered rewording the old saying "it's the cat's ass" to "it's the cat's ashes," just because I know it's in bad taste. But I won't. And I realize that if I chose the most appropriate place to scatter Vinnie's remains, I would have to sprinkle them underfoot, seeing as how I tripped over that cat on a daily basis. The hardest part, lately, is catching myself looking out for him so as not to fall over him or kick him accidentally, then realizing I won't have to do that any more.
Oh, yeah, the Oscars: Here's what I liked:
Bravo did a neat thing again yesterday, playing a few Best Picture movies. "The Greatest Show on Earth" was certainly a spectacle in 1952, but years later you realize that, as a story it was "a bool shitt," as my old professor Dr. Bresky would say. I can't watch "Platoon" any longer without wincing at the acting style. Just as artificial as commedia dell'arte. Only instead of Pantaleone and Columbine you have Deranged Sergeant and Heroic Recruit.
But quality is the least part of the Oscars, unless like me you are an idiot and feel that they should actually represent the best achievements in film and performance. No! Get over it! The concept of having a "best" anything, given that the stories and genres can be so radically different, is ludicrous. You have the Oscars so you can have good friends over, drink a little too much and eat cheese sticks. So you can accuse Gwyneth Paltrow of smuggling wet gym socks with sand in the toes under her dress top. So you can fill out a ballot and only get 7 categories right out of 24.
But for the record: Peter Jackson wuz robbed, I tells ya.
Friday, March 22, 2002
Those f*ckin' clients!
"Delectable selection of breakfast goods, interactive stations, flambes, and an outstanding selection of regionaly inspired cuisine. From the traditional eggs benedict to our decadent array of desserts, our Brunch promise a perfect end to your weekend."Check your scorecards: No verb in the first sentence, then a mixed modifier [A "delectable selection of interactive stations"?], then using "selection" twice in the same sentence, then misspelling "regionally," then an endearing Quebecois verb structure: "Our Brunch promise a perfect end." Mm-hmm...client-written copy...you just can't beat it.
That 70s 'Poo: How could I have forgotten "Ultramax"? "It's going to go where you want it to, flow where you want it to...."
The Wild Swans Skip School
Lather, Rinse, Repeat: Shampoos of the Seventies, redux: M. le Mangue adds two more to the list: Wella Balsam and Clairol Herbal Essence. I wasn't clear that yesterday's list named only shampoos not extant. So that's why you don't see shampoos that were born in 70s and are still around, like Pert. ["Bouncin' and behavin' hair!"] But what was that stupid lemon-capped shampoo called? And did "Love's Baby Soft" also have shampoos? The Internet is disappointing me severely on this oh-so-vital matter.
Thursday, March 21, 2002
She Who Puts the "Moron" in "Oxymoron": Did I actually just write the term "assisted independence" and mean it? Did I really? Is the mere act of writing a brochure for a retirement home enough to bring on dementia praecox? My own predilections are coming into conflict with the clients' wishes: they want me to write about quality of life; I want to add "Banana-free dining." Having worked in a nursing home, and visited several relatives in nursing homes, it's my experience that the dreaded banana makes an appearance at every meal. For some reason people think the goddamned things are easily digested. Even good for you. All I know is, for me, the list of Fears of Growing Old, including Reduced Mobility and Galloping Forgetfulness, has now been increased by one: "Enforced Banana Consumption."
Whatever Happened To Shampoos of the Seventies? Presenting a far-from-complete list, cudgelled from the data banks:
Wednesday, March 20, 2002
Spring Rituals to avoid: The Karo "Welcome The Equinox" 3:00 p.m. Pissup: Baby Duck Sparkling Wine and X-brand Chocolate easter eggs. To non-Canadians, Baby Duck is the drink that EVERYONE got bombed on when they were 13. It's basically fruity pop with ethanol molecules, and you *will* barf if you drink enough of it. Oh, and it's minus 25 degrees Celsius in Calgary today [for US readers: it's not as cold as your minus 25, but still damned chilly], so happy frolicking in the snow, spring chickens.
Many thanks go to the people who phoned and mailed yesterday. Each offered words of comfort and understanding, and they help. They do help. I will probably always struggle with having made such a bad decision not to take Vinnie in to the vet immediately, once I noticed he was ill. And I am still tortured by the thought of having caused his last hours to be so painful. And by the feeling that even though I loved that little bastard (and he was a prime, destructive bastard among cats), ultimately I failed him.
Still, I am better able to cope with the reality of my major misjudgment today, thanks to good friends, and to Fearless in particular who sat with me in a coffee shop last night and watched as I progressed from stoic silence to cascading grief in one sentence, and stood by. And to Laur, the eponymous "Vinnie" herself, who phoned from Los Angeles.
Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Vinnie died of acute renal failure at 2:10 a.m. He had not been poisoned; rather, he had a severe case of feline urinary syndrome. A condition which my bad decision, that being to leave Vinnie to rest in his kennel throughout late Sunday night and yesterday, aggravated to the point of no return. He deserved a better owner. I should have taken him in on Sunday night. It's one thing to make stupid decisions; another to make them and have something you love die as a result. I can't stand the thought of having caused him to suffer. I know he was a cat, and cats die. But he didn't have to die this time.
Monday, March 18, 2002
Arrived home last night to a very, very sick animal. The microcephalic Vinnie had helped himself to something in my absence, and it's poisoned him. He's drinking a lot of water and keeping very still. When I moved him to the litter pan, he retched strenuously for two or three minutes. Later on I found him stretched out beside the water dish, asleep on the cold, bare linoleum. Lovely; just the sight to cause every guilt synapse in your head to fire simultaneously. Generally, when my cats have eaten what they oughtn't, time and rest is what they need. Here's hoping he'll be perkier at the end of the day. If not, off to the vet we go [and I'll just insert another quick prayer in here that it won't be too late]. Stupid cats. Why do I have them? Why, with all my bluster about retarded cats, my abiding awareness of their many shortcomings and frequent annnoyances, am I so worried about the dumb little things?
Sunday, March 17, 2002
Uh-oh. I don't feel very well so much right now.
How to know when the staff at your local Tim Horton's has reported for work directly after leaving the rave:
Customer: I'd like a half-dozen fruit muffins, please.Red Deer Chronicles: The Literal Life of My Nieces and Nephews, Explained: When Auntie Jane asks "Are you kids watching the puppy?" and all four of you answer "Yes, we are," Auntie Jane does not mean are you watching the puppy chew both rockers off the rocking chair. Just so we're clear. Oh, and chewing Trident Dental Care gum is not the same as brushing your teeth. And yes, you did put your dishes in the dishwasher, like you were asked, but next time let's make sure it isn't full of clean dishes, shall we?
Friday, March 15, 2002
I am off to take a bag of joints to KB, who's just come out of the hospital. She's going to try to pay me, and I'm going to resist, tactfully. In fact I'm going to ask her to grant me the favour of letting me think I'm doing something helpful. It's selfish, and I know it. But there is literally nothing else I can do for her at present. Except give her something to quell the nausea and perhaps spark her appetite. Something which, in a better world, she should be able to buy in the produce section at Safeway.
Poetry Friday Double-Header courtesy of Delmore Schwartz, and perhaps the finest poem ever written about being fat:
"The Heavy Bear Who Goes with Me
For K., Whom I Did Not Marry
Thursday, March 14, 2002
I so dig the Internet: you know why? Because with one exception, every time I've written to a blogger to say "Hey, dug that blog," or something equally salutary, I've had a reply within a day. Well, actually, this doesn't include e-mails to the people who know me personally; for instance, it's common knowledge among his fans that you can fling any number of e-mails at The Bad Man without hope of reply. My other friends are, thankfully, adept at the quick response. But that people who don't know me will actually reply to a gushing e-mail! What riches. The Mango, Mr. Kani,Herr Blather, the Gaijin, Mr. Nimby, Rik the Meme, Her Harrumphship, even the sought-after Dean of Blogs, Prince of SFO and King of Bleats -- each of them has, at various times, made my day. And today, after I'd written to thank him for turning me on to John Berryman's poetry, two messages arrived from Mr. Barrish. I'm also thrilled that this still thrills me, getting messages from people whose writing I admire. I don't ever want to get over that.
Well, the below entry was a tad whiny. Upon re-reading it and wincing, my instinct is to delete it, but I over-edit my posts as it is. And anyway, if this blog/journal/rant is going to be a true record of my, um, mercurial temperament, I'll just have to put up with the wincing. (Saying to myself, each time, "Oh, whine much? Get a helmet and shut the hell up.")
Tuesday, March 12, 2002
An e-mail from the Melvinator has just arrived, and surprise, during his upcoming week-long vacation to Alberta, he can "try" to get together with me for a quick lunch on the Friday -- as long as I can arrange to meet him later in the day rather than sooner. He still has not seen El Condo Non Grande, and apparently plans to keep not seeing it for one more visit. This time, though, I find it comic, not pathetic. We have observed the rituals: I can't say he didn't try to see me, so the familial gods are appeased. Hmm. I wonder who's going to crack first? Will he ever travel into deepest, darkest Inglewood to see the beige wonder of the condo? Or will I hop a jet to the island? Stay tuned.
Oh, and I also have an Eddie Murphy and "That guy who plays the older guy on 'Ed'" degree of one. I love having a friend in the biz.
Great, just GREAT. Apparently the boldface instructions "DO NOT leave popcorn unatteded in microwave" didn't get through to the user. Or maybe this person, who is hiding like a coward, punched in 50:00 cooking time instead of 5:00. It happens: I blew up my soup last week by hitting one too many zeros. To replicate what I'm living through right now, wrap a dead chicken in hair and sauerkraut, then toss it on a barbecue. Breathe deeply, dammit.
Monday, March 11, 2002
Thanks to my enterprising, beloffed friend Laur, she who works in the CBS universe, I now have both a Neil Finn and Craig Kilbourne degree of one. They thrill me equally.
Innocent, I tell you, I am innocent. I am stockpiling local newspaper ads for retirement homes as research for our retirement home client. The ads are uniformly, amateurishly, awful, featuring actual residents as models. But there was no call for someone here to pen an impromptu caption for a picture of an elderly man who was clad in a vertical-striped sweater, Tyrolean hat and windbreaker, reading: "Don't worry, Grampa will have help dressing himself from now on." Disgraceful behaviour.
Oscar backlash: Too many quality movies lately ["A Beautiful Mind" excepted]. Brain full. So this was bound to happen. Last night I rented "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" and sat at home laughing like a loon for two hours. I think I was mostly laughing that I rented such an awful, awful movie. Unrelievedly dumb quote: "What the F*CK is the Internet?" But somehow I love Kevin Smith all the more because of the movie. Loving Jay has been my shameful movie secret ever since "Clerks" -- and lo, a quick scout of my preferred database reveals that he and I have the same birthday. So it must be fate, me being a fan.
Sunday, March 10, 2002
A ranting run-up to the Oscars, continued.
Monster's Ball: I have now added Billy Bob Thornton to the "DeNiro Rage" list of those actors whose portrayals of extreme anger give me the williams. There's one scene where he flares into a rage at his son, played by Heath Ledger, and I commenced to sinking in my seat to get away from him. By the way, teen hunk looks aside, Heath Ledger's performance really stayed in my mind -- a palpable though not visible presence through the movie. And Halle Berry's performance was either brilliant or a scenery-chewing aerobathon, depending on the scene. If she wins best actress, I'll be resigned -- she's unforgettable in a couple of scenes, I have to admit. Do I recommend it? Yes, but not if you're depressed.
However, if Russell Crowe wins for "A Beautiful Mind", I shall outdo myself in flinging orange peels at my television on Oscar night. I was predisposed not to like this film because I've had a look at the book behind it, and I knew before going in that the movie bowdlerized John Nash's life to a great degree. But even then I wasn't prepared for the paint-by-number portrayal of those wacky symptoms of mental illness, from an actor who's talented enough to give better. Fearless and I went to see the movie together, and came away quite pissed off. The whole point of the published biography was that the schizophrenic tendencies of John Nash's brain, those that wrecked his life and his family, and were passed on to his son, also enabled him to redefine economic strategy [group theory] in the latter 20th century. But, onscreen what do we get? A simplified explanation of Nash's mathematical breakthrough, which -- hey, why not, Ron Howard's directing the thing -- hinged on a flimsy "Happy Days"-like "girl rejects brilliant boy in bar" scene. And then there's nothing else about it until near the film's end. I guess it's just not as fascinating as schizophrenia. Shameful.
Slow down, slow down. I will be fair here. There are one or two great moments in the movie -- Nash's ability to spot patterns in seemingly random occurrences, for one. And the hallucinations were intriguing and tragic at the same time. But the whole movie was just mental illness played at loud volume for the inattentive mouth-breathers in the audience. Disease of the week schlockfest. Oh, and if Jennifer Connelly gets an Oscar for keeping her mouth slightly agape throughout the film, I really will lose it my own self and scream at my television the way she screamed at her bathroom mirror. She's a great actor, like Crowe, but what a waste in this crapper of a flick. Recommendation: if you must, see it, but only on video. Or read the book and learn the real story.
Friday, March 08, 2002
Right up my nose, personality-wise: Specimen 1: The Office Conscience. Meet Sandra. You really want to hate her for many reasons, but you can’t. Sandra is earnest. Sandra was born without joy. She knows that the lunch you’ve just enjoyed has its origins in the destroyed rainforests of the Amazon. The chocolate chip cookies you’ve baked and lovingly given to your undeserving colleagues are edible postcards of child slavery on cocoa plantations in Sierra Leone. The hairshirt Sandra began knitting at birth is one size fits all. She sends regular e-mail reminders of our failure to be considerate to one another at work: someone has kindly borrowed a cutting board, but unkindly kept it; someone else keeps letting the printer run out of paper; and yet another egocentric has dared to put techno on the office stereo. Do we not know, are we that selfish, couldn’t we just?
But then: Sandra organizes the yearly donations to needy families at Christmas and other holidays. She volunteers countless hours at community recycling swaps. She reads opposing points of view. Damn her, she puts her money where her mouth is. If only that mouth would curl up at the corners once in awhile.
Poetry Friday, or "Uh-oh, I'm hooked":
Tuesday, March 05, 2002
Those who think that poetry should serve to soothe the spirit or lull the madness wrought by daily life would do well to avoid this poem reprinted on Mr. Barrish's web page [scroll down a bit -- about halfway]. Me, though, I find it creepily beautiful. But then I count The Wasp Factory as one of the best first novels I've ever read. So I guess you could say that I'm not turned off by twisted imagination. The more tortuous, the better, in fact.
Oh, and apropos of poetry: Being able to rhyme words does not make you a poet, any more than knowing the alphabet makes you an author. This axiom brought to you by Jane, Hater of Doggerel. [Not My Doggerel, har har, beat you to it, Fearless.] Actually, there’s doggerel and there’s doggerel. You’re allowed to write it if you’re as talented as Les Barker, writer of many wonderful verses, including the following on the French Revolution:
They began to behead the nobility;More imagination: I want to meet the creative team behind the new series of VW Passat commercials shown up here. First there’s the man lovingly washing the Passat in the driveway; at the end of the ad we find out he’s not the car’s owner, and the tagline reads “Get your own Passat.” Then there’s the tropical bar in which the bartender’s watching a game show during a blinding rainstorm, where the contestant chooses a tropical vacation over a new Passat. “What an idiot,” says the bartender, turning to see the same contestant seated at his bar, staring balefully, as the rain beats down relentlessly behind him. And then, oh joy, the ad I saw last night, where a prospective buyer puts “lick guard” on a silver Passat in the car lot to keep other buyers from viewing it. Hail to them for being so joyously silly.
Monday, March 04, 2002
Hard to believe, but I've been at the new job for exactly a year. A very good year, overall, world events notwithstanding. The creative director has just handed me a "You're still here?" gift, comprising:
Relax, puritans. I am rarely able to take advantage of rolling papers these days. It's not because of morals, it's because of my Achilles heel -- or more accurately, Achilles lung. The weak right lung, a souvenir of premature birth. Oh well. At present I'm wheezing like a gutshot accordion. But a gainfully employed gutshot accordion, by God.
Saturday, March 02, 2002
Well, it's like this: I took the freelance jobs because I am getting very worried about the massive income tax bill I'm facing, as well as the property tax on my raving little condo. But then the day job went critical, and the one brochure I was supposed to write on mezzanine financing [don't ask. just -- don't.] morphed into three. They're supposed to be distinct from one another. I am now taking the words "equity" and "senior lender" and lobbing them at the text, hoping they'll at least look impressive wherever they stick. Then it occurs to me that math is not my long suit, and that the money I'll earn -- if I can con the client into paying me -- is mostly going to be eaten up by the Feds anyway. So I am spending this weekend writing about money, a thing I won't be earning. My earlier plagiarized comment about copywriters being halfway between killer and poet is no longer applicable. As a hired killer I'd hand the gun over to the victim and say, "Here, you do it." As a poet I'd be churning out doggerel.
It kills me that I never, never learn.
Friday, March 01, 2002
Oft-imitated (which is increasingly appreciated) Poetry Friday:
The God Who Loves YouAnd if I were to post two poems today, I'd copy that bugger Morton and post the same poem by Lucille Clifton that he did. Oh, and Mr. Ford over at Ftrain is calling for favourite poems to be e-mailed to him. This I like to see.
Copyright © 2000-2014 Jane Farries
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