Not My Blog
Friday, January 30, 2004
I swear, Boykani finds the funniest stuff sometimes. Some PhotoShop wizardry, some deftly written parodies, and you've got a brand new political candidate. I particularly loved some of Ronnie James Dio's platform planks:
Obligatory comment on the weather: Calgary is experiencing a bit of true winter lately, and no one likes it much. In fact, we're an entire city of suckbutts right now, whinging about having to plug our cars in, shovel snow, turn up the thermostat and so on. Somewhere in the mists of antiquity I can hear my high school-aged self laughing out loud at the news that some of my classmates' mommies had kept them home from school because of the cold. "It's only minus 35!" I and my friends said, shaking our heads in derision. A quarter of a century later, I curse those smug little teenaged Northern Albertan kiddies. It's warmed up to minus 22 today, as laughable as it is to say "warmed" and "minus 22" in the same sentence. For once, I don't mind the cat resting her bum on my head at night ... it's warmer.
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
I take it back. Nucleus, you give great service. Thanks for putting up with my dough-brained questions. And for trimming the torrent of Mydoom-spawned e-mails to a manageable trickle.
For Bryce, on the occasion of his 30th Birthday:
The GoonI kind of hate to think how long I spent on this, cackling away in my office.
I caught up with Bryce, Tabitha and the gang at the pub later on, and again courted dipsomania with the ingestion of two pints. Should you wish to stage an intervention, please contact me at the usual e-mail address below. [Okay, okay, okay: the curious little episode of my unknown interventionist is over. I'll let the subject drop.] And now, back to work.
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
And the answer is: "Piss off, Jane!" Sent via e-mail by the unknown "lsteed," who took offense to my offer below to meet in person to discuss her concern about my drinking habits. Oh, well, nothing new there. I quite often have that effect on people. Too bad in a way -- it could have been a very interesting meeting.
Tick-tick-tick! Time's a-wasting, Nucleus.com! How about setting up a firewall for that Mydoom virus some time soon?
Monday, January 26, 2004
Weekend Rodeo wrapup: "Nuit Blanche" by the dance company Corpus was whimsical brilliance, and I loved every second. "Rocketbox" by Jim Howley was an unadorned tribute to his friend, and tortured Vietnam vet, Billy: it was unsophisticated yet frequently very moving, and I will never forget how it felt to hold the bullet that had once been lodged at the base of Billy's skull. Chilling. Now I think: who will write the "Rocketbox" stories of Iraq? Finally, my second helping of "Bigger than Jesus" merely reinforced my conviction that Rick Miller is just about the most talented man on the planet. Damn, it's been a great Rodeo this year.
Give me lentils, they're what I want. Sunday morning saw Vinnie La Vin and I taking our Vegetarian Indian cooking course downtown, taught by a lovely woman named Tahera Rawji, whose cookbook was included in the course. She effortlessly and humorously guided us through Coconut Chutney, Sambal Dal, Channa Dal, Steamed Idlii and fried Bhakura bread. We feasted our heads off throughout the class. I'm a spicehead of old, and though Vinnie's palate is a bit more sensitive, we both enjoyed having chilies blasted through our sinuses. Then we headed to the Cookbook company to buy an assortment of dried peppers. Any flu or rhinovirus headed my way this week is in for a short, sharp immolation, that's what.
Throw some meat at them! Yep, another afternoon spent watching professional lacrosse at the Saddledome. This time the Roughnecks suffered defeat at the hands (wings?) of the Vancouver Ravens, and again we endured the spectacle of near decapitation when a helmeted head met cement-muscled knee. Good violent family fun! You can't beat it. I could do without the mindless thrash rock played continuously, but I believe it's there to drown out the players' cussing.
Denial? No way! Well, so apparently it wasn't an anonymous "spam" letter before. "Buttstick" wrote again [quoted here verbatim]:
I'm not a buttstick Jane. I care about you and am trying to help you. You do have a drinking problem and like so many people in yoursituation, you are in denial. Most of what you do or say has alcohol involved in it. Its way above what is "normal" drinkingOkay, well...hmm. I suppose it was a whisker or two shy of politeness to call you a "buttstick," lsteed. But then it's not exactly courteous to send unidentified e-mails to someone with such a risible overstatement as "Most of what you do or say has alcohol involved in it." I do not deny drinking socially, so label me what you will. Anyway, here it is: if you really care about me, and you're so sure I'm in danger of being lost to the demon liquor, why not meet me face to face? Anonymous e-mails get so dull after awhile. Do we know each other? Then it's likely your words will carry more weight with me. I'd also like to know how you're qualified to diagnose alcoholism based on reading intermittent blog entries. There you go...I'm game -- are you? [Note: I also promise to keep all details of our meeting out of Not My Dog, if that helps. But if you insist on sending e-mails, could I ask you not to write the entire message in the subject line? It's hard to read on my old iMac. Thanks!]
Friday, January 23, 2004
Who shezz I have a dringing prollum? Some buttstick sent me an e-mail earlier this month, via the "bitch" address, to inform me that I have a drinking problem and am in denial. Well, I am here to tell you that I am on my second Cold Front of the afternoon [raspberry vodka, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, toner] and am still able to function, so bug off. It just so happens that I don't *want* to write those gas compressor ads, not that I can't.
Triple play for Janey: Tonight I'm off to see "Nuit Blanche" by Corpus, "Pocketbox" by Jim Howley, and a second viewing of "Bigger than Jesus" by Rick Miller. No matter what else happens during this year's High Performance Rodeo, I'll be glad for the rest of my life that I saw Rick Miller as Jesus, and Daniel McIvor in "Cul de Sac."
You're only laughing 'cause it's Canadian. I'm in full agreement with Ian that Rick Mercer, mainstay of CBC's "hip" comic offering, is no match for Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central. Rick Mercer isn't without talent, but frankly, his most famous shows, "Talking to Americans," always pissed me off. The premise is to present outlandish statements about Canada to American politicians and people in the street and ask for their reactions. Like, we've repealed the law on stranding our old people on ice floes, how do you feel about that? Har har HAR. You know what would make me laugh? If Rick Mercer were to ask the same questions of Canadian "people in the streets". Because I guarantee you, you'd get the same reactions from practically the same amount of people. I had a roommate in university who firmly believed that Hitler started the first world war. The point is, ask an outlandish enough question, and you'll get someone who figures it must be true, because, hey, why else would a TV reporter be asking him about it? Which is funny for, oh, about 30 seconds.
And while I'm trawling through blogs, I have to say that Sean's blog about his aging dog made me think. I've known people who've kept a pet alive far past the time when it would have died naturally, because they couldn't bear to say goodbye. My older brother made the decision to have our most beloved Labrador Retriever, Tar, put down when she was only seven years old, because her hips had deteriorated so badly. We could have spent thousands to have her operated on, but the vets were blunt: she wouldn't be the same dog. And she was in such discomfort, and so depressed, that the dog we had loved had already died. So when Martini, my high maintenance feline, reaches an age where she's no longer able to do the things she loves, that's when I'll know. The spark will have gone out. Bottom line: I believe that if your pet deserves your love, it deserves a dignified death.
What? I'm getting morose? Thish cannot be! Rashberry vodka t'the rescoo.
Monday, January 19, 2004
An intensely great weekend. Started with prawn and mussel risotto courtesy of Schmuke and Vin, accompanied by sparkling Zinfandel. Saturday was a day of play, play, play: taking old friend Cherine in the van, in the fog, to Three Hills to surprise Karyn and Andy at the tea shop. They look a little burned out by their last 9 months of unrelenting labour, but still glad to see us. Andy mentions that he has finally begun playing hockey again, and I remark that I am surprised there are enough teams in the region for a league. He informs me that there are four teams in this small, very religious town. What's his team called? "The Bethel Evangelical Missionary Church Bombers." I laugh so hard, I nearly pass out.
Back in Calgary, Cherine and I head out for premium wine and cheese, stuff our faces, then catch a showing of "Lost in Translation." We love it utterly. Back to finish the wine and cheese, and I keep Cherine up far too late because once again she's asked if I'd like to play Trivial Pursuit. By this the careful reader can discern that Cherine has not yet learned what all my other friends have learned, i.e., Never Play Trivial Pursuit with Jane, because She is Insatiable. It's the Labrador Retriever side of my nature coming out -- but rather than chasing tennis ball after tennis ball, I just want to get asked question after question.
Thanks to the cheese and wine, I enjoy a lovely long sleep with the cat, and my Sunday doesn't really begin until I head out to catch my second viewing of The Return of the King, with Fearless. We love it. I could go on and on about all the reviews I've read, or all the people I've talked to who found fault with the movie, but I'm not one of them. I think it's a great epic and does great justice to the spirit of the book.
Next: steal Theo the Wonderhound from Bryce and Tabitha and head to the ice-bound, poop-studded plain that is normally a great off-leash park in Calgary. After an eternity of sliding on ice and hopping over excrescences, we finally find some not-bad terrain, and tire Theo out with an hour of ball-throwing. What's more, the very, very naughty Bryce and Tabitha have surprised me with a gift of red wine and the complete Simpsons 2nd Season on DVD. Holy frijole! And then off we went to Fearless's condo for more frijoles, sloshed with tomatoes and ginger and onions and garam masala, and served over rice. Suddenly my three days worth of indulgence catch up with me, and I begin to nod off in mid-sentence. Night-night, Fearless, and back to the cat, who has been growing a carbuncle on her chin over the past few days that has now reached Krakatoan proportions. Do we want to end our weekend on such a dermatological note? No, we do not; we leave the cat's Krakatoa to the cat. [Update: The cat was duly bundled and disinfected and relieved of her burden this morning by a resigned me, who has grown used to having a cat with bad skin.]
Friday, January 16, 2004
High Performance Rodeo, High Blood Pressure. I believe in supporting theatrical innovation. I always do and I always have. That was me back in 1983 at the Edmonton Fringe Festival, watching two characters in greatcoats sit on a series of balloons in ascending sizes. That was my forehead that was bruised by the "Baseball Glove of Truth" in 1986 at the Off-centre Centre. Freeform dance, tone poems, stream of consciousness monologues -- I'm all over 'em. Unless I've seen the same thing done over and over and over again. Which brings me to the worst 90 minutes I've ever spent in a theatre, watching "The Beast" at the High Performance Rodeo on Wednesday night.
I had really wanted it to be good. My friend, Rachel Wall, an incredibly talented singer/songwriter/actor, was in it, and she'd already let me know that this wasn't going to be your usual "Kids, let's put on a play" kind of show. Rather, it would be more of a collaboration between the three individual performers and the director. Fine, I thought, having enjoyed such improvised creations before. And then I read the program while I waited for the show to begin, and immediately fugued into Rational Jane, Raging Id, and oddly, Tom Servo from Mystery Science Theatre 3000.
RAGING ID [reading the program notes]: What the hell? 'We chose a performative approach, in support of the many disciplines at work'? I think I'm gonna' have a vomitive reaction.
TOM SERVO [also reading]: Oh, look: 'The thematic dialogue explores meta and nano analysis -- [Mork voice] -- Nano nano!'
RATIONAL JANE: Oh, lay off, you two. At least wait until it's started.
RAGING ID [still reading]: Oh, for God's sake! 'One communication can't be replaced by another, each are unique unto themselves'? Each 'are' unique? Once again subject/verb agreement is an untouched frontier.
RATIONAL JANE: Stop!
RAGING ID:What the hell are we in for, anyway? What's this mean? 'By exploring the convergence between the performing body and technology, we have developed interactivity components which present unique relationships between the performers and the projected images.' So they're going to be yakking and jumping around in front of a movie screen, huh?
RATIONAL JANE: Shhh! It's starting.
[30 minutes pass.]
RATIONAL JANE: Okay, I admit I'm hating it, and I think Rachel's time and talents have been sadly wasted -- but to be fair, I probably would have reacted differently if I were seeing this in my early 20s.
RAGING ID: You mean, back when you were stupid?
RATIONAL JANE: No, it's just that I wouldn't have heard the same message so many times by then.
TOM SERVO: Oh, yeah: the message that "everything that people in the West do is self-serving and callous and responsible for all the grief, horror and suffering of the rest of the world"? Wait: is The Beast supposed to be the United States?
RAGING ID: Oh, how precious! Using images of the terrorist attacks layered with blood dripping across the screen! How lucky you were to be able to use this footage to make your moronic point!
Rational Jane: I agree it's tasteless, but it's also forcing a reaction from me, which is sometimes what this kind of performance is about.
TOM SERVO: I think I'm about to present a unique relationship between the audience and projectile vomiting.
RAGING ID:What the fuck is the big red exercise ball about? Is the red ball supposed to represent sex? Is that why the dancer is bouncing on it and moaning? Is The Beast sex?
TOM SERVO: Ah, yes, The Sexy Beast. I thought Ben Kingsley was quite good in that, didn't you?
[1 hour 10 minute mark]
RATIONAL JANE: I think this kind of thing works better if it's not quite so long. They really need an editor.
RAGING ID: That's what you always say whenever you don't get something. Can we go?
[1 hour 30 minute mark]
TOM SERVO: END! END! END! END!
RAGING ID: END! END! END! END!
RATIONAL JANE: [muttering] End! End! End!
RAGING ID: I'm not fucking clapping for this piece of crap.
TOM SERVO: What the? The audience is whistling and applauding! All hail stupidity! All hail mediocrity! Yahoo!
Rational Jane: Hey, hey, hey...maybe it's made a few people think about stuff they've never considered before. People have to start somewhere. But still...poor Rachel.
Fearless hung around to talk to Rachel after the performance, but I high-tailed it for the exit before I started demanding my money back. As I said to a few people the next day, the one good thing about a show like that is that it gave me a new benchmark of wretchedness against which to measure all subsequent shows. So it wasn't a total loss.
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Update: Cousin Rob biffed out an e-mail about the previous post, commenting that the "chucking together of the two incidents" was also rather insulting to the families of the victims. Another of my colleagues insisted that the comma usage is correct, though perhaps unfortunate. I will only say this: if the writer had just moved the word "Both" to the beginning of the sentence, and changed "as well as" to "and," all would have been well.
Oh, no, no, no.... Early Candidate for Worst Clause Placement of 2004:
[Calgary Herald, Tuesday, January 13, 2004]A hobnailed boot to the head for the writer and copy editor. That just shouldn't have been missed.
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
You couldn't really say I've hit my stride over the past three years. More of an endearing shamble.
I saw your eyes tonight
Monday, January 05, 2004
Someone who believes in horoscopes left a copy of a lengthy "2004: Year in Preview" astrological forecast on my desk. It says all the right and flattering things such as "You like witty people, lively conversation, pens, maps, bookstores, magazines, travel, elegant sports, literary pursuits and the outdoor life." And points out some minor flaws: "You are argumentative, fickle, deceitful, nosy and inconsistent." [Yeah? Well, "fickle" and "inconsistent" are repetitive, bonehead.]
My question: who out there really doesn't like witty people, lively conversation, pens, maps, bookstores, magazines, travel, elegant sports (lawn bowling! damn straight), literary pursuits and the outdoor life? And who cannot say that he/she is, to some degree, argumentative, fickle, etc.?
I get into such trouble making fun of horoscopes. I've quoted the Penn Jillette axiom more than once: "I believe in the simple fact that astrology, lotteries and psychics are simply schemes to steal money from people who are bad at one or more branches of math." Only to hear from miffed astrology fans that "not everything can be explained by science, you know." I always agree, except that I add an emphatic "yet" after "science." But horoscopes are silly and fun, and as long as you don't actually believe them, I guess there's no harming in stroking the old ego once in a while. Oh, yeah: I've once again been banned from reading out other people's horoscopes in the lunch room at the office, because I insist on purposely reading the wrong horoscopes, just to see the listener's reaction. It works every time, but I have to admit, it is kind of rude.
So, okay: horoscopes are silly. So are New Year's resolutions, of which I've made five: To be less bossy around my nieces and nephews, so they won't grow up hating me. To take at least one picture a week with the digital camera. For every book I re-read, I must read one new book. To finish poems. To return to Fossil, Oregon. There. Silly but attainable. Unlike "Late 2004 and all of 2005 are the best times in over a decade to find your true love." Yeah, yeah, sure....
Friday, January 02, 2004
Never drink and blog. I did blog over the holidays, I really did. I spent about an hour hammering out a screed of details about the Island vacation, pausing only to steal more of Dad's Yuletide Scotch before returning to the keyboard. I hit "Post and Publish," and -- nothing. You may want to send a short note of thanks to Blogger.com, because when I drink Scotch, I think I am lyrical.
Your luck, however, has just run out. Here are Jane's Holiday Highlights, written in doleful January sobriety:
Copyright © 2000-2014 Jane Farries
All blandishments herein are property of the proprietor. There you go.