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Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Unhand my breast, you. The Procedure went off without a hitch this morning, all part of the joy of discovering a meddlesome lump in one's early middle age. Should women readers wish to anticipate their first mammogram, they should somehow contrive to feed a breast into a banking machine. Standing cheek and jowl against a cold metal machine while an unsuspecting part of you is pulled and inexorably flattened between a plastic shield and an xray plate is...well...pretty damn fascinating, actually. Not exactly painful, but nothing you could nod off while doing, either. I was less enchanted with the ultrasound, since the conduction gel ran down my chest and neck and was a chore to wipe away afterwards. Overall, it's just plain weird to have the bazooms on view for strangers. Anyway, the point is, the all-clear sounded. One of the old dames has a blocked duct, that's all, nothing serious, and it should reabsorb over time. Phew.
Joy is unconfined, and if he's lucky so will Theo, the hound of my heart, be this weekend. I get the furry gent for an overnight visit, so all the squirrels in Inglewood better look to their tails. Trouble's a-comin'.
Soccermom, or "the vehicle least like a Toyota Corolla," is closer to being a reality. Sometimes I wonder just what the hell I'm doing. I went to buy a small bungalow with a yard two years ago and ended up with a condo with no yard. I swore my next vehicle would be a smaller car. Instead, a matronmobile. So, if I've got this straight, the man of my dreams will not be an intelligent, funny, ragingly sexy beast, but a tiny, prim accountant who lives to do "Word search" puzzles in the Sunday Sun. [Not that there's anything inherently wrong with such a person! Just that I'd probably kill him inside of an hour.]
Monday, April 28, 2003
Well, it *rhymes* with "Jane," anyway. Two weeks early, and making things difficult for his parents by trying to enter the world elbow first, my newest nephew, Zane Farries, is unleashed on his innocent brothers and sisters. Particularly hard on the sisters, since the boys now have a majority in all future disputes.
Dear Online Tax Filing Services: Mac users pay taxes, too, you Microsoft-wared poorly designed assheads.
Headline from the Garage Gazette: The beloved Dadmobile may soon make way for SoccerMom.
You say head cold, I say SARS: that was my weekend. Flattened by a cold, stuck indoors because of the annual Calgary Spring snow-in, and nothing but hockey and a loud cat for company. Missed the Co-Dependents cabaret and the "Bjorn Again" ABBA tribute. Wah wah wah.
Thursday, April 24, 2003
I still say it's a good name. Calgary still hasn't quite recovered from the Irish pub craze of a few years ago. Downtown is still full of your "Céilìs," your "Molly Malones," even your wretched "Finn MacCools." The Irish pub was sort of the discotheque of fin-de-siècle Cowtown. Of them all, I'd say Céilì's is the least offensive name, since like its Scottish counterpart, "ceilidh," it means a good time, a gathering of friends, etc. But! The mark of a grand Irish céilì has to be the "craic": the good chats, good company, the local buzz, and so on. So my Irish pub is going to be named "The Craic House." Pronounced, as any good child of Eìre knows, "crack." I suppose I could even work in a salute to legendary Irish poet W.B. Yeats by calling it "Crazy Jane's Craic House." Crazy Jane sells a Pint to the Bishop. I'm sure that would have been his next poem.
Tuesday, April 22, 2003
Taxes? Oh, right. Those.
I don't like endings. I don't like recognizing when something is over. I sometimes won't even finish a nearly-empty shampoo bottle, jar of pickles, what have you. [Though bottles of wine certainly seem to be exempt from this.] That is why I find comfort in the saying, "No great work of art is ever finished."
One week to The Procedure, and counting. Deliberately vague here, sorry. I think I'm writing it here just to remind myself.
Best headline du jour, thanks to pal Vinnie: "Hong Kong Optimistic SARS Under Control." Optimistic SARS. Great news! You're quarantined!
We figured it was a message from the Catholics, whose school board building we share. We worked all yesterday in a sauna: no air-conditioning. No one to call. Because the Catholics were off for Easter Monday. By 2:30 p.m. we were all sweltering. I was exceptionally glad that I'd chosen that day to wear a long-sleeved thick cotton sweater, as suffering is a prereq to Paradise. Ah hah! The answer: to punish us for working on Easter Monday, the Catholics were giving us a foretaste of the burning fires of Hell.
Though why the air-conditioning still isn't on this morning beats the living hell outta' us.
Of the dozen or so things I swore I'd accomplish over the long weekend, I managed exactly one. I watered and fertilized my plants. It's all really a matter of making the right plans, I realize. Next time, I plan to watch a lot of hockey and read old New Yorkers and another Julian Barnes novel and drink much too much coffee.
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
My haemoglobin works for the Federal Government. Not surprisingly, in a sedentary job, my blood likes to pool in my lower extremities while I sit at my workstation. When I suddenly stand up and walk through the office, I'm okay for about 10 seconds before I get the black curtain of impending doom. My brain can make it that long without the slacker blood cells, who are gathered around a water cooler somewhere in my ankles. The alarm sounds. "Oh, shit, supervisor on the floor! Get back to the brain!" It's become somewhat of a company joke, to see me exit my office and make it halfway across the studio, or to the doorway of an account exec's office, before having to bend over at the waist and stay there for a few seconds. "Lose a contact, Jane?" "No!" "Hello is good enough. You don't have to bow." "Funneee."
So, I figure if I ever do get guillotined, I'll have 10 seconds of being really pissed off before the lights go out.
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Score! The elusive, rarely-seen-in-public "Double Mullet" was spotted in its natural habitat, the Forest Lawn bus, early this morning. It was a thing of beauty: your male specimen, sporting the "top" mullet of wispy bangs, short sides, and abundant long,curly hair at the back. Then the Lower Mullet: beard neatly trimmed along the jawline to the apex of the chin, where there flowed so lush a torrent of beard that ZZ Top would have puked with envy.
Tea Thrills in Three Hills: Sunday afternoon saw me bumming a ride in McDoom's deadly fast Acura through the farmlands to Three Hills, where pals Karyn and Andy and 10,000 of their close friends were celebrating the opening of their new business, the Nilgiris Tea Shop. I'm more of a coffee person, usually, but I have to say that the cup of tea I had there was the best cup of tea I've ever had in my life. Great vaudeville moment: I tried to get past two chatty and deaf old ladies who were standing by the refreshment table. I hip-check a layer cake off the side. Ten and a game!
Lacrosse update: The Calgary Roughnecks game was fast, violent and high-scoring.** The mascot, "Derrick," a square-jawed plaid-shirted oil rig worker, was pretty funny, actually. The cheerleaders were pathetic. Please may there never be cheerleaders in pro hockey -- excepting only Long Beach, CA, where the "Ice Bitches" provide between-periods entertainment at all Ice Dogs home games. That's just too good of a name to let go to waste.

**[So of course I'll be going again.]
Friday, April 11, 2003
The latest news on my uncle is that he's holding steady. He even managed to talk on the phone this morning to a granddaughter. So, while he's not out of the woods yet, he's giving us hope. Banner work, Uncle Al.
Blood donation No. 53 and the first messy one in 10 years. I was fine until I was jamming down some cookies afterwards, and noticed that the edge of my rolled-up sleeve was steadily wicking up blood. No big deal, but if the nurses notice you've sprung a leak, they throw a hairy and you have to lie down and have cold compresses, etc. etc. Really unnecessary for a veteran donor, but you see why they do it. Anyway, I did a little surreptitious stanching and then left. Forgot all about it until I was back at the office, getting a coffee, and the receptionist asked me what I'd spilled on my shirt. I told her, forgetting that she's the most haemophobic person I've ever met. She immediately went pale, grabbed the back of a chair to steady herself, then bolted from the lunchroom. Sorry about that, Cill.
Readying our excuses: No one at work is heading to the Ad Rodeo tonight, even though we have a few projects entered. "We're not really a classic ad agency, you know. We're more of a design firm," said Michael, the creative director. "Yeah, that's what I'm going to say when we don't win even a merit award," I said. But the Veerdos are going, so many good wishes and best of luck, kiddies.
UPDATE: We were blanked completely this year. Good thing we don't care.
Commercial overload: I headed out to see the last showing of the 2002 Cannes-Venice Advertising Festival at The Plaza last night. There's no way you can remember 100 commercials run one after another, but there were some outstanding pieces. A UK commercial about Foot & Mouth disease was absolutely heartbreaking and did me in for the next few ads. New Zealand, as usual, had magnificent public service announcements. Canada scored with some funny beer ads. And there were also the requisite "naughty" spots for condoms. I thought one of the best series was the "Truth" campaign in the U.S., against tobacco companies. And the jeans commercials were all just plain dumb. So dumb that a Brazilian telecom company did a spoof of one of them -- but it was shown before the jeans ads, so the audience was understandably confused until the end of the real ad. Other highlights: Xbox's "birth to death" ad, Budweiser "Heroes" ads, Ikea's "Clean up. If not for your sake, for others" series. [I hope their current campaign "Do you feel sorry for this (insert name of furnishing)? That is because you are CRAZY" wins something next year.]
Say...I just checked the current Calgary movie listings and last night wasn't the last showing of the Commercials awards! Good, this means I can see them again.
Another busy weekend, starting with a Roughnecks lacrosse game tonight at the now very vacant Saddledome, the Flames and the Hitmen having bought the farm a little early this year. My brother and his sons are heading to town for the game, since both boys play lacrosse. I think it's an ideal sport, since it's exercise and keeps the dog entertained at the same time, chasing lacrosse balls. But the Roughnecks have succumbed to a pointless pro sports tradition of having a mascot. I don't know what it is, but it should be something with a lacrosse stick through its head, if there's any justice. "Sticky" would toss Band-aids® and ammonia capsules to the little children, and have to run the gauntlet of the opposing team at the start of each period. Come to think of it, every mascot should have to do this.
Finally, hee hee hee...Someone at the Calgary Herald hates one of our clients. Again a snooty hotel ad was laid out next to an appeal for the homeless, underneath an animal shelter ad. But this time I'm chuckling, as it was one of my ads rewritten by the tiresome Name Withheld, so naturally it sucked so hard its cheeks caved in. [I am Jane, and I AM a professional, ha ha ha.]
Wednesday, April 09, 2003
Much-needed laughs today:
  1. From Daring Fireball's "About" page: "If Daring Fireball looks like shit in your browser, you’re using a shitty browser that doesn’t support web standards. Netscape 4, we’re looking in your direction."
  2. Aarn questioning my use of "military intelligence" as a proper example of an oxymoron, which sparked a short but funny debate and an accusation that I had peppered his Klingon battlecruiser of an argument with a full array of photon torpedoes, without warning.
  3. An enjoyable interview first thing with an English copywriter (Marcus McLaughlin, in case anyone needs a brilliant writer) where I saw the funniest business card, ever. It's the size of a playing card, and on the front is a picture of a hallway with a staircase, with Marcus's contact info printed on a series of steps. Next to the staircase is a pair of legs, dangling in the air. A suicidal business card! I nearly honked right there in the interview. I wish I had a great job to hand the man.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003
War is not healthy for oxymorons, etc. The coalition's recent Baghdad incursions have meant that the term "Republican palace" is repeated regularly on all newscasts. It, like "military intelligence," is a classic oxymoron, as "republic" is the opposite of "monarchy," the socio-political system most closely associated with palaces.
Special bonus points awarded if you knew that the old hippy expression "War is not healthy for children and other living things" is a prime example of litotes. Well, there you go...current events appear to be bringing out the rhetorician (or the beaky English teacher) in me.
Monday, April 07, 2003
More than anything today, I wish I could be in Victoria. I heard today that my uncle had two heart attacks over the weekend. Three of his children are with him right now. You want to say "let me know if there's anything I can do," even when you know you really can't do anything. I find myself thinking over and over how my uncle and aunt took such good care of me that terrible summer after my mother died, taking me on vacation with them to the coast. And the many other kindnesses since. A very good man, to the core. I hope he pulls through.
Saturday, April 05, 2003
Operation Bossy Aunt doing well. Have spent the last 13 hours at a volleyball tournament in the booming metropolis of Lacombe. Only one gentle volleyball to the noggin today; the most tiring part of the day is waiting waiting WAITING while other girley teams swipe femmily instead of spiking the ball and scoring a point, oh please, please, somebody hit the thing like they hate it -- oh, it's out of bounds. Marilla (my niece) had a great service for 8 points; that and french fries were the highlight of the day. Many female mullets in the crowd. Not so many teeth.
Enforced downtime, i.e., waiting for 13-year-olds to stop consoling each other for missed serves and ducking as though the ball is covered in snot, is great for meditation. Many things on the noggin today, but one thing is clear; the replacement for the beloved Dadmobile will NOT be a Hyundai Accent, as I have pedalled faster uphill.
Thought for the day: If it isn't over 'til it's over, when is it over?
Friday, April 04, 2003
Off once again to abuse my nearest and dearest, not to mention a bargain basement rental car. Operation Bossy Aunt commences.
Still laughing over the silliest things. Ad exec: "We need to change the street number on the proof to 555." Copywriter [deaf/inattentive]: "55--what?" Ad Exec: "5-5-5. You know: the neighbour of The Beast."
Thursday, April 03, 2003
This morning I awoke with the following words in my head: "She lay making sick woman sounds interspersed with the coming storm." No idea.
Actual conversation, 2:35 p.m.: "Jane, how do you spell 'furor'?" "You can spell it F-U-R-O-R or F-U-R-O-R-E." [Pause.] "No, like Hitler." It never occurred to me to ask why on earth someone in our creative studio needed to use "führer" [or "fuehrer" w.o. the umlaut] in a sentence.
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
I am alone. So very alone. I met with dismal failure today when trying to inject subject/verb agreement into an ad. The client wrote "a limited number of tickets are available." I changed it to "a limited number of tickets is available," because, hey, the subject of the sentence is "a limited number," singular. "No way," said the client. "Way," said I, armed with several style guides. "Tough luck," said the account executive, quislingly. "It am wrong," I scrawled on the proof. Protest registered. Battle lost.
Like a fool I thought I could continue to work while playing my new "Classic Connolly" CD, but found that the laughter would start somewhere near my kneecaps and burst upwards, causing me to throw my head back and bray and honk and cry. There were complaints. I put in a different CD.
Tony and Breezy's Wedding: Nik phoned from Victoria last night with the astounding news that she's bought a second horse to keep Breezy company, an 18-year-old gelding named Tony. She and her dad are trying to construct a barn and shelter in a month, before Breezy has to vacate her current premises at Nik's neighbour's place. I'm happy for all concerned that Nik has opened a rest home for old nags. Very handy as my declining years approach.