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Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I could call it poetic justice, that as a procrastinator of repute I am now being forced to wait two long, stinking, horrible weeks for my new car to be delivered to the dealership. I think, however, I am going to call it "Getting my head messed with by the Mazda kids," and perhaps make a gently outraged telephone call to the sales chump tomorrow. Anyway, the car that is not yet here is a black car. How fitting, considering the recent psyche. From SoccerMa to BatMaz. If it ever gets here...
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The morning's discourse:

Three 20-somethings in store doorway. I walk past them:
"Nice Haaair!" one sneers.
"Ah, high school!" I warble.
(boymumble) ...fuckin' bitch...(mumble)
I rule.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Some few favourites:
  • Cussword: cocksmoker
  • Ice Cream: coffee
  • Vice president: Aaron Burr (because of that fabulous "Got Milk" commercial in the '90s)
  • Love song: "Everyone Says 'I love you' "
  • State: (tie) California and Oregon

Well, it fits in the garage. The new car is a Mazda 3 hatchback. I'll pick it up sometime in the next week. Apparently there are people on this planet who manage to pay for new cars all by themselves. I mean, did you ever hear of such?
On my planet, a new rule: There will be different grades of "thank you." On this planet, for someone who has helped you acquire a new vehicle, the word "thanks" is laughably puny. On mine, this sort of gratitude will manifest as instant organ/blood/labour donation to the beneficent one. With trumpet fanfare. And showers of rose petals.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Of course, who am I to call others gullible? I really, really liked the Mazda 3. Of course, working in the place I do, I've studied and written a great deal about customer experience and how it influences a purchase. The Mazda dealership was the tidiest, the people the politest, and my 5-minute wait yesterday morning the most comfortable. Oh, well, okay, also the test drive showed that Jean was right, the Mazda 3 was the quietest (and also the most responsive). Now to hear from Dad what a gull I've been and how he'd hoped I'd choose the Suzuki whatchamacallit. Now to see how to afford this--meaning, of course, how to pay back the Royal Bank of Dad.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Friday. We reflect on a life of halves. It's the kind of thinking my tiny monkey brain actually likes--and is responsible for, of course. My belief that I am concocted of opposing halves. Mom, born with perfect pitch; Dad, a tin ear. Gramma K., far too trusting and thus easily gulled by conmen; Grampa F., tighter than bark on a tree. Mom, a poet and reader of classics; Dad, a voracious reader with a pulp fiction palate. Mom, good with language; Dad, a mathematical savant. Grampa K., an impatient perfectionist and alcoholic; Gramma F., humble despite her unstoppable energy. Dog and horse lovers versus those uncomfortable around animals.
Result: me. Cold and hot, liberal and redneck, good at algebra, terrible at calculus. Will read just about anything (magic sword fiction the only exception). Love music, but can't play any instrument without the notes written down. Also a Gemini, for those who think that means anything. No middle ground, ever.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Jane dare anyone to make joke: Neanderthals, say yer scientists, were red-headed. They were also an "evolutionary dead end."
Where Jane put club? Club! Club good.
Will NOT be Seeing: The re-release of "A Nightmare Before Christmas." Not unless I want to find out if the new movie theatre seats in this town are conducive to napping. I recall seeing the film at the old Banker's Hall cinemas in 199-whatever, and I still remember thinking I had never heard such no-name-brand music--shortly before I head-bobbed my way to oblivion. I like a couple of Danny Elfman compositions, by the way, but these weren't them.
Timing definitely off. Yesterday saw me buying lunch for the beloved Mad Dad, then visiting a couple of car dealerships (Mazda, Suzuki)--in other words, the most time Dad's spent alone with me in many years. Dad's absolutely great at car dealerships, and I wish that was something I'd inherited from him. Car notes: I like the Mazda 3 and the Toyota Matrix, but Dad really liked the Suzuki Something-or-other, with the rationale that he really, really liked his Suzuki outboard motors. I didn't quite get the connection, I confess. The only flaw in our afternoon together was me, definitely not at my best at present. I was pretty forthright about it with Dad, for one of the only times in my life. Now I'm hoping he's not fretting about his dummy kid with the shopworn brain. I dropped Dad off at his younger brother, Jim's, house, and said a quick hello. I love my uncle Jim--he and my younger brother are two people who can always get Dad laughing--something he definitely needed after a few hours with the Null and Void. Dad and L. are driving back to de Island today, so I'll have to give them a call tomorrow to reassure Dad that this, too, shall pass.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
We Feast on Sour Grapes Today: Today the company creative studio went out for a fun lunch. But not everyone in the creative studio. This lunch was mentioned in the weekly production meeting, but the subject and its mentioner were quickly hushed--because not all of the people in the creative studio were invited. It made me think of P.J. O'Rourke's famous solution for sharing cocaine:
Nothing is more awkward than taking out a vial of “granulated money” in a bar or restaurant and having everyone you know expect to get some. If you try to pass the “powdered pole-vault” to some people and not to others, you may get slugged. And that’s rude. Instead, excuse yourself inconspicuously, saying something like “Well, I sure have to go to the bathroom and so do Robert and Susan and Alice, but Jim and Fred and Bob don’t have to go.”
[P.J. O'Rourke, "Modern Manners"]

Hail to thee, Zombie scofflaws! Despite not having a permit from the Calgary bureaucretins, Calgary zombies turned out in force on Saturday--making me very sorry that I didn't show up.

Monday, October 22, 2007
Rude bumper stickers of the week:
  • [A Washington State licence plate]: I'll hug your elephant if you'll kiss my ass.
  • [Alberta plates, rusty old boat of car]: You say 'tomato,' I say 'fuck off.'
    They made me laugh.

The Terror of the Pharmacy: You must be a new pharmacist. The keenest one on the block. How vexing for you that this morning you cannot convince me that I've never had this medicine before. Apparently I'm confabulating about having first had this elixir back in 1999, and about having been recently upgraded, because I tell you today that I need elixir 1.0 PLUS elixir 2.0. Yes, the same concoction, but in different strengths, so I can play "gohzintas" every morning (75 gohzinta 150 twice! whee!)--and although I show you a neatly laid out piece of paper from the beloved GP, you are still dissatisfied. "It doesn't say here that you've ever had Elixir 1.0," you repeat, pointing at your computer screen. That look on my face is the way I always look when I'm calculating how best to complete a full-body lunge over the counter. Oh, hello, seasoned Pharmacist just coming back from a break. Yes, there's something you can do.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Bureaucrats: the miracle Zombie weight-loss secret.* Damnation. Thanks to the bureaucratic dolts at Calgary City Hall, this year's Zombie Stroll has been cancelled. The very capable and very disappointed organizer explains:
One department at The City (Parks and Recreation) gave us some bad information about the processing time for a parade permit... basically, we were told it could be processed in seven working days. As it turns out, though, parade permits are processed by the City Roads division and take up to 90 days to process. When we inquired last week on the status of our application, I was told it wouldn't be ready until the first week of December.

We inquired at Parks & Rec about this months ago. We had everything in order and submitted the paperwork (including the event insurance, which cost a pretty penny and is non-refundable) weeks ago, only to find out now from another department that it takes a lot longer for approval than we were first told. We're tied up in red tape and one City department not knowing what the other is doing. Your tax dollars at work!
Those unbelievable joy-killing City Hall asshats.
*[Zombies eat brains. Gettit?]
My Random Act o' Kindness: I went to the beloved GP's office yesterday, and I'm not going to tell you all about it. Thank-you tributes can be made to the charity of your choice.
In which the Mad Dad Keeps Us on Our Toes: Dad was in town for an hour today, at the airport, before he and L. flew off to Ottawa for a week. Dad's still clear of cancer, but had a recent dental procedure that has become infected [hey, I said I wouldn't share MY medical details with you, not my pa's]. Poor old devil. Maybe rethink the timing of dental procedures and travel, eh? Anyhoo, Dad, who does not have the highest opinion of my financial acumen, and yes, that makes two of us, wants to help me in the new car scenario. Whuh? Huh? He who grimly chuckles at my occasional shortfall? I don't get it. I just don't. But I think that no matter what decision I make, I'll find a way to feel terrible about it. That much I can predict! Guilt rules! Woot!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Something REALLY scary. Okay, what makes this story scary is not that it was a nearly-crushed-by-train true story. It's that this spacey twit was given a driver's licence in the first place.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
A weekend stagger, perhaps? The 2007 Zombie Walk is going on this Saturday afternoon. I take particular delight in their slogan, "Walk the Dead Mile," a parody of the 17th Avenue "Red Mile" overflowing with drunk Flames fans. It's quite a good walk, too, through downtown, over to the south side, then back north to the skateboard park. Exercise does a mouldering corpse good.
I want to be a dolphin:
Every animal sleeps, but many do so in ways that humans would hardly recognize. Cows stand stock still on their four legs; dolphins take a separate nap in each hemisphere of their brains so they can keep swimming. Even fruitflies catch forty winks now and again in their short lives.
[from Nature Magazine, in an article by Emma Marris]
I loved the article's title, "Fish Insomnia Sheds Light on Sleep." Fish insomnia! Oh, and I'd really like to know why domestic pets evolved a pattern that works best when they sleep junk-up. Less than a foot away from my head. G'mornin!
Monday, October 15, 2007
A sunny, breezy, beautiful Saturday walk with the hounds, the leaves drifting through the air, the sound of rustling and quacking as the retarded dogs run through thick carpets of leaves to chase waterfowl, who easily elude them. Something, a leaf, I suppose, hits my hair and seems to be caught. I reach up a hand to lazily brush it awa--OW DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT--A WASP! Well, now I've been stung by a wasp for the first time in my living memory. It hurts a lot more than a bee sting. But it's less itchy.
Movie update: Superbad got the teenage thing right. Loved it. "Hotel," by Mike Figgis, reinforces my dislike of split-screen narratives and the annoying Dogme "anything goes" lack of coherence. But if I'm going to be a Rhys Ifans completist, I'll sit through it. "Le Samourai," on the other hand, shows why some films will never be anything less than cooler than cool, no matter how old they are (this one was from the '60s). Question: do the French call it "film noir," or "dark cinema"?
Friday, October 12, 2007
Conquest Scorecard 2007:
  • "Please RSVP" is redundant. No, it isn't, say two M.A.s and one B.F.A. Is it really? asks a B.Comm. I explain that what they're saying is actually, "Please respond, please." Oh, say all.
  • "Straightforward" is one word when you're using it as an adjective. As two words, it acts as an adverb. Well, we're not changing our tagline, says an executive. Of course you're not, I think.
  • "Advance Reservations" is also redundant. You always make reservations in advance, unless you have mastered time travel, Einstein.
The foregoing to be part of The Petty Chronicles, J. Farries edition.
Will She NEVER Shut Up? Last night, business meeting with community group, it's my turn to speak. I have done a careful accounting of monies on hand and monies stolen. By my triple-checked calculations, I'm pretty sure I owe the group $333.33. Yes, quite a cool number, hey? The group, however, has had enough. They take a vote, and it's 7 to 1: I do not have to pay back the group for my careless mistake, and could I promise never to bring this up again, ever? Please? Because if I bring it up again, they're going to start hitting me.
There is one small, small part of me that's wiping sweat off its forehead and saying, "Phew." The rest is still trying to come to terms with being forgiven. Damn, it's hard.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
So selfless. Such a trooper. Yeah, that'd be me giving up an evening of a private concert with that cool old Harry Manx and cool not-so-old Kevin Breit. The yearly client event, in fact. Giving it up so I can go to a business meeting with the community group that forgave me for letting its cash banknotes get swiped. You know how DNA is made up of the CAGT genes? I think the "G" stands for "guilt," not "guanine."
What else done got stoled: my "Band of Brothers" DVDs. Two packs of gum. Dern you, bad guy(s).
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
"Thanksgiving is good. Thanksliving is better. Well, thank YOU, Woodynook Reformed Church, for helping me enjoy my drive to the farm just that much more yesterday. I might have to see if any of your [completely unoriginal] sayings made it here.
Anyway, going to the farm is the best. Gyred and gymbled with various farm animals, watched as Jem the Belgian mare took herself for a drive along a country lane [no harm done, but all our eyes opened really wide], discovered the extreme comfort of the Australian stock saddle and must figure out how to steal Jean's, and fiddled a bunch of herbs, vegetables, spices and shredded pork together for a casual Thai din-dins. Feted and feasted and fabulous on this second consecutive turkey-free Thanksgiving.
Favourite time of year, my: right now. Golden countryside, sharp, cold sunlight, sweaters are always the right thing to wear, the night sky is intriguing even in the city, and mostly no mosquitoes. Also there's a lot of delicious squash varieties in the produce section of groceries. I love them thar gourds.
Friday, October 05, 2007
I didn't want to be honest. I kept coming up with plausible excuses--oh, my van was broken into! While I was working! I thought I'd save time by keeping the money bag in my van! Bad people abound!
But the real truth, which I told without batting an eye, was: I was lazy and left the bag of money in my messy van. I was careless and didn't check to see that all the van doors were locked. The thief rummaged through my van and found the money and, being a thief, took it.
Now for the humbling part: last night, after my confession, my community group insisted that I am not responsible for the loss and do not have to pay back the money. Even after I told them how my careless laziness was responsible. I still insist on repaying the stolen money, though. I'm selfish enough to know that my self-respect comes before their kindness. There's another bit of inescapable honesty. More humbling was in store: last night's member donations to the kitty were twice the usual. That made me instantly weepy. As did one of the founding members, who told me about her legendary bookkeeping mistake that had cost the group a couple of thousand dollars. Damn. Who knew that being forgiven could be so hard?
Thursday, October 04, 2007
The lethal combination of carelessness and bad luck struck yesterday. I am the treasurer for a small community group that relies on member contributions. I had the money sack in my van, since my van is usually filled with boots, dog accessories and various paper trash bits, i.e., nicely camouflaged. I park behind a building in a lot that faces the railway, i.e., not the most public of spaces. I inadvertently left my passenger door unlocked yesterday, since my van is getting decrepit and the auto lock doesn't work on all doors. I forgot to check.
The money sack is gone. Yes, I searched through the clutter. It's gone. I am now in debt. I have to balance the loss against the ledger, but it's going to be a few hundred, anyway. Kicking self? Oh, yes.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Science, help us. So it seems like there are studies for just about every human activity combined with every human disorder or gift. Watching TV makes babies stupid. Drinking coffee is bad for your heart, except when it's good for your heart, and it'll reduce your chance for certain cancers. Eat more fruit. Exercise won't help you lose weight. Don't eat spinach. Wait, do eat spinach, unless you're prone to gout, oh no, scratch that, the e. coli'll gitcha' for sure. And so on.
So if there isn't already a study out there, I like to propose research on the following: Acute allergic rhinitis and the propensity of sufferers to be computer programmers. Does being a computer whiz contribute to snout troubles? Because honestly it's been Snork City here for the last month.
I will also be looking for the companion study about hack writers and skin troubles. Fair is fair.
To elucidate: It was a very personal question and definitely none of the asker's business. It was accompanied by a "tsch" and raised eyebrows, i.e., judgment. Set phasers on carbonize, Mr. Chekhov.
Oh, yes, I'm all better now. I forced myself to smile and make pleasant chat with Safeway personnel on my lunch hour, and there discovered a woman in a worse frame of mind than I'd been in. Now I'm back in the office trying to stay cheery. So far, so good.
We know PERFECTLY WELL why this has become a bad day. Because one of our coworkers asked us a question.
Good, I'm glad that sounds as ridiculous as it seems. Time to hit "rewind" on this day and carry on.
Monday, October 01, 2007
What we watched, walked, read and talked this weekend: A mere five years after it was in the theatres, I finally watched Dirty Pretty Things, and can now finally say that I am over the blinding rage that the "Amelie" Audrey Tautou provoked in me. She was excellent in this film. As were Chiwetel Eijofor and Sergei Lopez, the latter being Spain's answer to a pleasant night's sleep. Stephen Frears makes a damned fine film.
If, however, you want to cheer yourself up immediately after watching "Dirty Pretty Things," don't follow it with another BBC Film, this time The Mother. Having entered my own personal cougar age range, I thought watching a movie about a 60-something tangling limbs with a 40-something would be inspirational. Wrong, Janey, wrong.
Elated by Genius, or why, even if you're not a fan of graphic novels, you should still pick up Suspended in Language, about Niels Bohr, his discoveries, and "the century he shaped." Reading it is like following the occasionally wandering topics of a first-rate storyteller. Your brain is about to run a marathon, but won't get tired. I was pleased to be a human after learning what our jelly brains can conjure. (Also: Thanks to Lori Hahnel for telling me about this book.) (Note: add "Jelly Brains" to list of possible band names that will make you a world-famous rock star.)
Walk count, and The Shortcut That Wasn't: The dogs and their clever use of whining and paw-dabs had me out and about for nine walks over the weekend. And the short cut through the industrial yard, yeah, the one we've used for the last couple of years? Really doesn't work when you get to the other end to find that the buggers have locked the one and only gate. Back you go, trailblazer.
Talkies with the clever fox-daemon-sporting Nik took up an hour of time Sunday morning (her bill, sorry, Nik), but left a clearer path in their wake. Thanks again, me old.