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Tuesday, June 29, 2004
A bit of a start early this morning on the first of three daily dog walks: not half a block from El Condo Non Grande, a large coyote sauntered across the street and into the wildlands reclamation area. Of course, it sent Piper absolutely crazy, and I had to think fast and move faster to get to the gate before she did, so she couldn't chase after it. That's how most domestic dogs get killed by coyotes; they follow them a distance and get ambushed by the coyote's pack. I managed to wrestle a leash onto Piper's collar, and our walk resumed. In an unfortunate confluence of details, the next thing I spotted was a poster for a missing cat in the neighbourhood. I'd say there won't be a happy ending there.
Yeah, so...the federal election. The best thing about it is how different it is from American presidential elections, where the electioneering starts more than a year ahead of time. All we need up here is about 6 weeks, but then we do only have about a tenth of the population of the U.S. Anyway, yes, I exercised my voting franchise, pointlessly as usual (my candidates don't have a hope of success in Calgary). I was highly amused at the polling station by the temper tantrum thrown by a voter who insisted he had already registered to vote, although his name was nowhere to be seen in the rolls. "You guys are in the pay of the feds! No wonder you're so fucking useless!" The registrars were not charmed. I muttered something immortal along the lines of, "Well, of course they're paid by the feds. It's a federal election, you dolt." This made the man beside me laugh. "Yeah, I don't think he'll be voting Liberal, eh," he said. Thus was the mood temporarily lightened.
Forgive the hackneyed format, but... Dear People Who Don't Know How to Proceed Through a 4-Way Stop: Hand your driving licenses the fuck over. You are too stupid to be in control of a moving vehicle. But thanks for the prolonged honking and bird-flipping.
Oh, yeah: The hair's gone. Chopped and packaged and ready to be sent off to the wig-makers. I took before and after pictures, and as soon as I've reconciled myself to how old I look, I'll post them.
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Forgot to close the bedroom closet doors last night: make that two pairs of jeans irreparably snacked on. Owner am not smart, no.
Turns out there is a bit of a benefit to having psychotic skin: cool baths morning and night. They're also doing great things for my mood. No wonder authors such as Honore de Balzac and Victor Hugo loved writing in the bath. For such a small space, it's delightfully freeing. I've been, ha, soaking up the books over the last month, too. And those unsightly cracked heels? Gone.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Bogus Caption du Jour: Someone at CNN needs a wallop upside the noggin. I was reading an article about a national hearing, held in Florida, regarding child safety in swimming pools and hot tubs. There was a picture of a bereaved mother whose 5-yr-old son had fallen into a pool and been rendered severely brain-damaged. The caption?
[NAME] shows a photo of her son who was left brain dead after almost drowning during Monday's hearing in Tampa.
Sigh. Clause placement is a lost art.
But wait!
This just in from Jon: Looks like they changed that clunker:
[NAME] shows a photo of her son who was left brain dead after almost drowning.
Thank you, CNN.
What Have We Chewed Lately? Crappy sports sandals from Walmart [minor waah]. The left leg off a brand new pair of jeans [major WAAAH].
Monday, June 21, 2004
We're gonna' die! We're gonna' -- oh." It is noon and I have just entered the elevator with the dog. As we reach the third floor, rhythmic booming can be heard. The more we descend, the louder it gets. Something mechanical? Suddenly, the ground floor button goes out, and the booming is now so loud I can't tell if the elevator is still moving. So this is death by elevator, I think. Shit. Now wailing can be heard. Ah. Hah. It's a cultural event in the lobby, a Siksika Nation prairie chicken dance, accompanied by drums and singing, put on for the Catholic school board staff. Please pardon the pale trembling lady and her freaked out dog as they walk on jelly legs through the crowd.
Friday, June 18, 2004
Check Stops are a fact of life in my neighbourhood, since the main drag (9th Avenue) offers a convenient backstairs route out of the downtown core. When I lived on 10th Street over in Sunnyside, I never saw a single checkstop in nine years. I've lived in Inglewood for nearly three years, and this is about the 8th checkstop I've driven through. I'm glad the police recognize 9th Avenue's allure to the sozzled driver, since they seem to catch quite a few of them each time. There is always someone earnestly insisting that "there's no way I'm drunk, man, there is just no way," without realizing that arguing with an officer who is holding a breathalyzer kit isn't precisely the action of a sober brain.
As a guilt-based organism, I knew I would confess about the two glasses of chardonnay I'd had at Vinnie and Schmuke's place. The police officer staggered back when I rolled down my window. Uh-oh...I'd forgotten that I'd had the infamous Red Flame Special from Famous Pizza for dinner, distinguished by its abundance of fresh garlic slices. Delicious, yes, but deadly to the uninitiated. Needless to say, despite my confession of drinking, I was waved on rather hurriedly.
The rest of my evening was spent batting away the cat, who loves garlic breath, and kept trying to curl up to sleep on my collarbone. I finally fell asleep with her draped over one shoulder, purring dementedly. I awoke at 6:15 a.m. to the sight of the dog snacking on my expensive bra, which she'd filched from the laundry basket. She's in the destructive chewing phase at present, and has gone through two leashes, a shirt, a book, and the bra already this week, all the while surrounded by chewable dog toys. Damn. She's forcing me to keep the condo tidy. What a trick that is.
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
How are things looking? Up, for the most part. Sometimes it really is as simple as just putting your head in basic Maslow mode [air, water, shelter, food, etc.] until the situation no longer smells like Charnel No. 5. Of course, having a hilarious dog helps. She will keep conking out in my office, on her back, with her nethers pressed against the ceiling-to-floor window beside the door. Welcome, Karo visitors. This is our copywriter, and this is her dog's hoohah.
I met Jon for a birthday exchange and quick Scrabble match last night. I lost on two counts -- he already had the latest David Sedaris book, and he achieved the Scrabble equivalent of pulling my lungs out through my back. It was great fun, though, and I definitely got spoiled with the two CDs he and Rory gave me. One of them was "Air," thus keeping the Maslow trend going.
Two things to enliven the crushing ennui: First, swiped from Darren: what timeless/tedious pop songs were No. 1 in the UK and US, respectively, on the day you were born? [Mine were beyond lame: "It's My Party (and I'll Cry if I Want To)" by Lesley Gore, and "From Me to You," a forgettable Beatles tune.]
The second, swiped from U.S. writer John Moe: Dubya's unkillable running mate! [Do check out the campaign slogans. I honked good and loud over most of them.]
Sunday, June 13, 2004
Communication among the elderly, or how Vinnie and I have managed to remain good pals despite ourselves. Vinnie and Schmuke took the bullet for the rest of you and had me over to their house yesterday, not once, but twice, for breakfast and dinner. The cooking of breakfast was an ideal example of Vinnie La Vin's and my communication styles. A sample:
Vinnie: This pancake batter looks too thick.
Jane: It's fine.
Vinnie: Should I add water to it, do you think?
Jane: Why don't you try cooking a small pancake first, to see how it turns out?
Vinnie: Okay, but should I add water to it?
Our conversations over the years have evolved into a blend of telepathy and sudden hilarity, with occasional turbulence. It must be annoying for Schmuke to see his lifemate and her ever-present pal suddenly honk and scream over seemingly nothing, and as for me, I hope I'm not teaching tiny Lief that wheezing is part of normal human speech patterns. Vinnie's mother, the luminous SuperBeryl, is as bad as Vinnie for setting me off. Come to think of it, Schmuke has reduced me to helpless cackles on countless occasions. No wonder yesterday turned out to be a grand birthday, despite the four hours I spent in the office. Thanks again, youse two.
Friday, June 11, 2004
Although the next few birthdays are going to be what my cousin MaryAnn terms "floaters," i.e., unimportant occasions, they still represent an excellent reason to get stuff for myself. Of course, now "myself" has come to include the dog. So far, we've picked up the third season of "Coupling" on DVD, a medium nylon collar, Sondra Lerche's latest CD, and implausibly pink lip gloss that somehow does not make me look like mutton dressed as lamb.
Oh, charming. I've just been informed that I'll be back at the office tomorrow on my special day. But am I going to complain? Not on this blog. Jane, such a trooper.
Boy, am I glad this week is over, though. It's been one of those fortunately very rare times when I've hated coming into work, every single day. Sarcastic replies lurk just below the surface, and one of these days I'm sure I'm going to slip up and say something like, "No, no, I LOVE IT when I'm given a campaign to write for print and web on the same day it's due."
You meet people of as many varieties at the off-leash parks as there are dogs, which is one of the charms of those parks. Or one of the annoyances, depending on your mood. In addition to normal, likeable people, there are the "my pets are children" type; "I am my dog's guardian, not owner" type, and "I am the authority on canine obedience" type, to name just a few. Last night I encountered a lovely retired couple whom I've talked to once or twice before. They love to ruffle Piper's fur, and make her sit for a biscuit, and so on. Their dogs, a Shetland sheepdog and a Heinz 57 mutt (named, adorably, "Heinie"), are well-behaved and friendly. As we talked, another dog bounded up, soon followed by his owner, who proceeded to barrel his way into the conversation while simultaneously yelling at his dog. "Like I make sure my dog knows who's boss. I could tell my dog -- hey, Bullet! HEY! -- I could tell my dog to sit-stay, and walk down there a half-mile, and that dog will not move an inch." He made as if to demonstrate, only to discover that his dog was at that moment disappearing over the horizon, chasing after a German Shepherd. Long after Piper and I resumed our trek, I could hear distant shouts of "BULLET! HERE!" from time to time. Lucky for him, there are gun laws in Alberta, because otherwise, asking a bullet to come, when you're that obnoxious, is going to end in gunplay.
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Exactly two weeks after the first one, I arrived at the building this morning just in time to get caught in another fire drill. This time everyone came out, even the Karovians, and we were all treated to a visual collage of fire engines and Catholics. Turns out, there really was a fire: a server had overheated, ignited and set off the alarms. Oh, sure...just as I say I'm not going to respond to another stupid fire drill. A moment of unexpected humour: a colleague, Will, commented on the strangeness of seeing "Go Flames Go!" posters affixed to the fire engines. Which instantly made me think of other incongruities: "Go Oilers Go" on the Exxon Valdez. "Go Vikings Go" on the side of an Irish monastery. And then I couldn't think of any more, because it was a stupid train of thought anyway.
Ronald Reagan, lying in state? Wouldn't be the first time, yuk-yuk-yuk. I just can't buy into the current encomium that he was one of the finest presidents of all time, and that he ended the cold war. Um, no, that would have been Mikhail Gorbachev, but what the hell. Same decade, eh? And as for Aged Mad Ron (anagrammists, have at it, it's an oldie) having battled Alzheimer's for the last 10 years, well -- I think it's more accurate to say that he was fighting it for at least the last 20. He was pretty much just a stunned old actor waiting for cues in his second term, and had never really been much of an international statesman. No, I wouldn't wish Alzheimer's on him, exactly, but neither do I find it especially heart-breaking that a 93-year-old has died. That's what they tend to do.
Cheery! Cheery! little Thumper, no more cynical commentary from you, remember? Happy bloggy.
Bowled my first games last night, a week after the season started. The Myrmidons were smoothly disembowelled by our first opponents, whereupon we immediately sought the entrails of our second opponents as a replacement. The sub-zero temperatures added an interesting dimension to the game, as I invented several new and impractical bowling styles when my fingers refused to bend.
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Vancouver was great, although I couldn't appreciate it in true Jane fashion, not being able to touch a drop of the ol' goodness, as I was in thrall to this raging antibiotic, which smells strongly of asafoetida ["poo" in lay terms] and which still has me staggered four times daily. To its credit, however, it has also staggered the malevolent bacteria and put them on the run. A few more days of the pills remain, as it is unwise to yank the troops before the objective is completely won.
Is it too early to say, despite the 3-day Vancouver sojourn, that I cannot wait for this fucking month to be over? I won't, simply will not, go into detail, because this is already too much of one of those kind of complaining blogs. I will simply say "health," "job" and "finances," and leave the rest to the imagination. And if I can't blog anything nice, I won't blog anything at all. Oh, my, is it July so soon?
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Keenly alive to the irony of it all, oh yes. The insane skin [la peau agitée] took a sudden turn for the worse and I was again obliged to present myself at the beloved GP's consulting room. It was, yes, mildly gratifying to see both her eyebrows suddenly raise during the examination, since she could usually give Mr. Spock lessons in stoicism. However, I'm not quite as gratified by the diagnosis. Or the recommended treatment, which involves a staggering amount of antibiotics, four horse pills per day to be exact, for the next two weeks. Just as I'm off to Vancouver for a design conference, which translates as "free liquor" in everyday speak. And which I shall now have to forgo--the liquor, that is, not the conference itself. Well, considering the burden that my liver's going to have to process in the coming days, it's just as well. But damn, I hate it when the robust peasant health takes a holiday.