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Friday, March 30, 2007
Just in time: I managed to get a ticket to Spymonkey's "Bless" show tonight. The show's run ends tomorrow, so way to leave it to the last moment, Janey. Spymonkey is unique among all the troupes and bands I have seen in my long-ish life in that I have never come as close to hauling up stakes and following a group around the world as I have with them. How narrow an escape they have had.
Anyway, "Bless" is Spymonkey's take on religion, and if you've seen their versions of funerary rites and gothic romance, you'd know that religion is in deep, deep trouble. I cannot wait.
And speaking of religion, I just have to flaunt my efforts from yesterday, after being inspired by the "My Sweet Lord," a.k.a. "Chocolate Jesus" controversy that I read about on Those Fascists (thanks, Marc!). Frankly, I couldn't resist:
I don't care if it rains or freezes
'Long as I got my chocolate Jesus
Melting on the dashboard of my van
Blessed with flavours rich and mocha,
Crispy thorns and nails of cocoa,
He's a chocodreamy Son of Man....

Chocolate Jesus, Chocolate Jesus,
The sweetest treat in all the Holy Land
Sacrilegious? Sure, but hell,
with Holy Blood of caramel,
He's making a messiah of my van.
As Vinnie says, "I'm staying away from you until after the lightning bolts strike."
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Honour system? Huh? Listen, you two bone-headed teenage spazzes. I don't mind if you borrow my English saddle, saddle pad and bridle. I don't mind, in fact I appreciate, that you love horses and you want to help exercise the stock out at the farm. But: if you have a wreck, and during that wreck you irreparably damage the reins on my bridle, and lose one of the stirrups and stirrup leathers from my saddle, find and/or replace them. Yes, this is going to be on the test. Oh, nobody TOLD you that you were supposed to find stuff you've lost, or replace what you've damaged? Oh, you didn't MEAN to do it? Oh, you forgot. I see.
Well, in the words of Shauna the farm owner and me: grow the frick up, or get lost.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Asperger's? You're soaking in it! My new boomerang-shaped desk with its burkha-like screen is connected to the desks of programmers and web developers. Hail, hail Nerdonia, in other words. Don't get me wrong--I get and love the nerd thing, especially the "fixate on a few topics and anything that's related, no matter how tenuously, and leap in dramatically if any reference is made to your specialties in even the most casual conversation." I don't for a moment imagine that this describes all nerds, geeks and technophiles. But it's not an uncommon trait among the computer-literate, that's all.
Also not uncommon is, well, the impulse to make humorous small talk. I do not know how to respond when asked by the same man each and every time he walks behind my workstation, if I'm writing something. Or when his colleague asks me, when we cross paths, if I'm writing a brilliant headline. "Hey, every word's a gem" is my current reply, delivered in a breathy voice, to both.
But the question I now hate? "Hey, how ya like the new desk? Pretty small, eh?" This has been everyone's first utterance, not just the web weirdos (of whom I am all very fond, really). I hate it because I cannot say other than "It's pretty new!" or "Just dandy, thanks!" Because small talk forbids it. How I hate, hate HATE small talk.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Ah, how to celebrate? This past Saturday was the 52-week, i.e., one year, anniversary of my Bad Concussion caused by a rather spectacular spill off a horse. This past Saturday was also the day I saddled up the now completely healed Abbie for our first outing of the year.
This time I bumped the front of my head, and not very badly. Must remember to write in diary of life: Um, perhaps we're not a very good rider despite the many lessons and lifetime of horsey familiarity. Ah, well.
Brilliant. At long last I acquired and read "Borrowed Finery," the memoir of author Paula Fox. This is also the first new book I've read since the Void(tm) reappeared, so it's a good sign. Anyway, a book that is almost impossible to stop reading, since when I reached the last page, I immediately went to the front of the book and commenced re-reading.
In Other News: Jane in new cubicle, co-workers unkilled. So the move finally took place yesterday, and I'm now living in the "10 pounds mud, 5-pound sack" situation. This isn't really a cubicle, more of a wedge-ish interruption in an open area. I am, however, much closer to the coffee room. And that is good. Perhaps the sprites and gnomes can figure out what to do with all the books and files. 'Cause there ain't no room nohow.
Bon Cop, Bad Cop, seen at last. More like a TV show than a "fillum," but still quite watchable. And the Québecois slang was irresistible.
What's next, Janey? Well, tonight we're going back out to the farm where liveth the dippy mare to see if we can fall off without clanging the noggin. Also it's great exercise for the pups. This week also sees the last class in my Shakespeare scene study course. Juliet has finally learned about 90 percent of her lines. So we're where we should have been about six weeks ago. Ay,, eh? Kids is all. And who knows, perhaps another clang on the melon will have me forgetting my Nursie lines this week.
Oh, yeah. More brilliance. I went to see a play (also a sign that the Void is on the way out) on Friday, called "The Pillow Man" by Martin McDonagh. Dark it certainly was, but I was completely hollowed out by the incredible acting. It is not too much to say that I was watching art. As I sat in the audience, I thought, you know, Jane, you're fooling yourself--referring to the acting classes and the vague dream of getting up on a public stage somewhere, somehow...but what the hell, what the hell. The classes are an enjoyable part of this life. I will probably go to at least one audition this year, but I won't be destroyed by the outcome. Enough! I saw brilliant acting in this old oil 'n' gas burg, Calgary. And that IS a miracle.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
What do these three things have in common?

ANSWER: They've all been fashion crazes, past and present. And they all look like CRAP on everybody who wears them. I work in an office where I see otherwise beautiful faces, male and female, marred by narrow, rectangular eyeglass frames that remind me of Vogue "Fashion Don'ts" pictures with black bars obscuring wrongdoers' eyes.
And nobody, NOBODY, looks good in a cowboy hat. It is an unflattering design. Even silly.

By Jane, Fashion Outcast and therefore Familiar with Badness
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Phew. The Chinese character on my new jade ring translates to "Good Fortune," not "knob-gobbling harlot."
Language! What a poor example I set for the younger irritable copywriters of the world who are surfing blogs rather than concentrating on work.
Monday, March 19, 2007
The Perfectionist is "In":
  • Hey, Mr. CBC Reporter, that's "rhetorician," not "rhetoritician."
  • Hey, fellow Shakespeare student, it's not "austorishness," it's "ausTEREness."
  • Hey, Juliet, Who Still Hasn't Learned Her Lines, for about the ninth time, it's "unWIELdy," not "unwidely."
I have decided, by the way, that the only possible revenge to take against my slacker Juliet is to outshine her triumphantly in the next class.
That Gopher has Horseshoes up Its Ass: On a country walk on Saturday, Piper spied a gopher and gave chase. To the amazement of dog, human and gopher, she caught up with it. And caught it. Her success shocked her so much that she dropped the gopher, whereupon it scuttled down a nearby hole. Then she shot me an annoyed look before digging at the hole with all her might. Soon, Riven rambled up to see what all the laughing was about.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Because it made them think. That's why I didn't change the four-word brand promise even though it had initially confused my work team, but went ahead and let it confuse the v.v.v. important client team. Okay, so now it sounds stupid because they didn't fall down in joyous awe, but I tell you, it's grammatical!
Delicately vine-ripened, that's you, Vinnie La Vin. Happy mirror-image birthday.
I know I promised to shut up about my stupid health, but just listen to this: it's a good thing I don't have anything aggressively wrong with the entrails, because the earliest appointment I can get with the specialist is December 19th. Of this year, thankfully.
Copywriter evictions, a.k.a. the Ongoing Unfairness of Life: The office expansion is supposed to finish this weekend. On Monday I shall be brutally dragged from my current office and punted down the hallway to a shared cubicle. Shared with poor Tall Dan, a brilliant programmer who has no idea just how much he's drawn the short straw. The plan is to put the suits in the offices, the creatives in the environs. All I know is, first thing Monday morning, out come the Rollerblades. No prisoners!
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Upside the head with the OED! We made the final presentation today to the very, very, VERY important client for whom I gave up two days in paradise (cousin Les's house), three yoga lessons, and one Shakespeare class. I admit that I felt rather detached as we drove to the client's building this morning, since the team has been having many intense pow-wows at the office over the last few weeks, and every time I think I know exactly what we're doing, at the next pow-wow I see completely different approaches to our task. Repeated line: "Oh, we decided to change that. You'd already gone home by that time." So yeah, I am a horrid team player and so on. But I did my part in drafting a brand story, working from the brand pillars (what others would call "words"), and coming up with a brand promise, which in lay terms means "slogan."
Which I showed to the v.v.v. important client at 11:00 a.m. today. This four-word slogan involved a play on words based on a correct but lesser-known use of a common verb. In other words, How to Shoot Yourself Between the Eyes, by Jane, Grade VI:

"That doesn't even make sense."
"That's grammatically incorrect."
"It's the wrong English, isn't it?"

I should point out that my work team had had pretty much the same first reaction. My defense, though not phrased in these exact words, was pretty much: hey, assfaces, it is correct English, read a book, why don't you--and it makes you think, which was what we wanted, yes?
Oh, yes, yes I know, this line is doomed. But it's grammatically correct, dammit.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Checking the scorecard, we note the following entries:
  • Australian Shepherd puppies = heroin. I stopped in at Jean and Tyke's place on Sunday to introduce the city mutts to the newest pack member: tiny red Peggy. Oh, dear. I am your slave. I give to you my nose, that you may bite it again. And again!
  • Note to self: draft letter to Kong Co., makers of dog accessories. Dear Kong: Next time, use an Australian Shepherd to test your "dog resistant" rubber frisbee. Fifteen bucks down the pipes after one stupid catch by the mighty Riven. Sheesh.
  • Surprised, shocked even, I was, by the beloved GP during my recent physical. Most everything in good working order, and we're not anywhere near THE CHANGE, really? Wow! But but but--another frickin' lump has shown up along with the other minuses on my report card. Back to the mammographic squish machine. Off to the gastroenterologist. Sigh oh sigh...these middle-aged carcasses, what to do with 'em? Besides yap about them incessantly.
  • Calgary, mid-March, a.k.a. "Made you look." Shirtsleeves yesterday noon. Parka, toque, scarf, mittens, snowboots and plenty of curses yesterday evening. Abundant snowdrifts this morning. Slurpeeville today noontime. Springtime in Alberty, joy of joys.
  • Juliet, Juliet, wherefore have you not memorized your friggin' lines yet, Juliet? At rehearsal yesterday I listen quietly to my scene partner's harangue about "we" being behind in our preparation, how "we" are not comfortable with "our" lines yet. I interject: so! Do "WE" have our lines down for this rehearsal, then? Oh, "WE" don't? Well, "WE" are getting seriously annoyed. Any chance of "US" having "OUR" lines down for the next rehearsal? Oh, yes, "WE" promise. Just like "WE" promised the last 10 weeks. Goddammit, i'faith.
  • At last, lunch with the mad dad. He who has recently met with one of the province's most experienced oncologists. Upshot: people diagnosed with his version of melanoma have a 90 percent chance of metastasis. But it's been five months since Dad's initial diagnosis and so far so good, meaning his outlook's getting better with each passing month. But still: metastasis could happen at any time. Schroedinger's Dad, in other words. I compared Dad's condition to living in wartime London, you know, yeah, the bombs are falling but you haven't been hit yet. So we'll just be glad the Luftwaffe's not that accurate and get on with things.
    He didn't grimace at my muted pep talk. It was a nice lunch and chat. Thanks, Dad.

Thursday, March 08, 2007
Do we give back? What do I give to the world?
  • Platelets and plasma
  • volunteer-earned casino money
  • dope-checked speedskaters
  • basic public consideration and courtesy
Oh, perhaps I could do a tad more. You know, like recycling, which I'm frickin' paying for, anyhow.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Into each life a little fruitcake must fall. I took a workshop on meditation on Monday night, and am taking a second one tonight. The gist of this particular meditation is how to become completely still, and apparently it takes more than a little while to learn. But along the way it's supposed to silence the negative inner voice and leave the practitioner more centered. Both worthy goals. So I don't mind sitting through the accompanying fruitcakery of spirit worlds and auras, precognition and projection. There are, after all, more things in Heaven and Earth--and as annoying as it always frickin' is to remember, keeping an open mind means being open to things that may make you snort.
The point is the meditation, the quest for calm. Six months, the teacher says, try it for six months. Then criticize. So we'll see how we feel on September 7th.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
The surest sign that Mad Melvin is 100 percent back in action: he's in town, but somehow his schedule is too busy to get together with me. That is, unless I can take the afternoon off work...? He's BACK, ladies and gentlemen! Mad Dad is back!
[Note: yes, I'm indulging in a little humour at my dad's expense. But it's fuelled by relief, truly. Relief!]
The Scoreboard de la semaine:
  • Dang it, the actor playing Juliet to my earthy Nurse still hasn't learned even half her lines. We're on week 8 of 12. Nurse about to lose it. Stay tuned for news item about a woman garbed in Renaissance Italian gown smacking the snout of 20-something acting student.
  • Urine Culture, or regional variances Jane observed while volunteering in Doping Control (sorry--Anti-Doping Control, she means) at the recent World Cup Speedskating event in Calgary. Occidental skaters: jar in front. Asian-Pacific skaters: jar behind.
  • Attention, monolingual anglo-Canadians: If a non-English speaker doesn't understand what you're saying, repeating it in a louder voice Does Not Help.

Monday, March 05, 2007
The void has been buzzing solidly away for some time now. But I only recognized it as such this past Friday. It has been a handful of years since the last one of similar magnitude, and I guess I failed to recognize it earlier because I figured my pharmaceuticals would have been on the job.
I have certain friends and family members who have no understanding of what depression actually is. Some think you should just be able to pull yourself out of it--huzzah!--and that's that. And what do YOU have to be sad about, anyhow? Others think that it's something you actually must have wanted, or it wouldn't, you know, be there -- and you're probably putting it on just to get out of work, anyway. The ones who do understand know that it's a chemical imbalance and nothing to do with emotion. I'd use the analogy of diabetic/insulin-deficient except that I've used it too many times already.
Chemicals, those mofos. Well, I must say it's kind of deeply funny again that the void buzzes just as I'm expected to come up with brilliant solutions at work, as opportunities trumpet in the background, with only the slightest fortitude required to see an entirely new tempo to life.
Well: I know what's keeping me asleep so much. I know it's not the job that's soulless, it's me. I know the dogs and the crabby old mare are a great help. I know keeping busy is the only way to keep going. Somehow regular broadcasting shall resume.