Month: August 2005

So we dance the sidewalk clean.

I have been feeling a sense of unease lately. A nagging, powerless, growing certainty that The Times, They Are A’Changing. I’m not a tinfoil hat-wearer, or a big conspiracy theorist. But I’m smart, and I read. I know about peak oil and that we in North America have had a whole lotta luxuries for a long time that most of the world has never had. Gas currently costs two to three times as much as it did ten years ago. The prices aren’t going to go back down again in any significant way. And it’s still considerably cheaper here than in the rest of the world. I don’t think Mark Morford’s future is going to show up tomorrow, but the odds are increasingly good that it will show up. And as luck would have it, friendly, northern, gay, pot-smokin’, unarmed, pacifist Canadian oil is a lot more convenient to the US than the black gold currently in residence under Middle Eastern sands. We will get to a point where it is no longer feasible to just get in our cars and go. For some people, public transit, bikes, and feet are already realities. For country-raised folk like me, you couldn’t get anywhere without a car, and I have a physical reaction when mine isn’t available. My freedom has been restricted; I am inconvenienced, and it bothers me. It’ll bother me a lot more when I get to choose between gassing up and buying groceries.

But hey, who knows, maybe soaring gas prices and a continuing lack of Kumbaya among the world’s oil-producing nations will spur the death of urban sprawl, of soulless suburbs and exburbs and big box parks. Maybe Mom & Pop businesses will come back and we’ll get to know our neighbours and there’ll be lots of great bike trails and bike lanes and pedestrian arcades in every city. Unfortunately, though, I’ve read books like A Short History of Progress and Guns, Germs, and Steel. Hell, even No Logo, Nickel and Dimed, and Fast Food Nation. I know what we’re doing to ourselves and each other. Wonder if Dana and Coffee will have some room left in their yurt…?

Oh, but that’s not all. Thanks, in good part, to our love affair with cars and air conditioners and plastic packaging, ice shelves and tundra are melting and frogs and trees are dying and scientists are wondering where entire egosystems off the west coast went. I know about global warming, too. We did this. “Bad hurricane seasons” like the last couple years could be coincidences, but they’re not. We’re making the weather that’s wiping out entire cities. There will be more hurricanes. Mother Nature doesn’t particularly care that we “can’t deal” with more disasters. She ain’t about human convenience; a few hundred thousand people in Indonesia and the surrounding area probably wouldn’t argue with that. New Orleans is basically a write-off, and there’s no guarantee the 20% of it that’s not currently under water won’t be within the next couple of months. What’s left is currently stewing in a toxic soup of dead humans and animals, raw sewage, and chemicals. The gators and poisonous snakes and fire ants are nothing compared to the potential for pandemic-level disease that’s coming. Oh, and when they do get the water out of there? Toxic mold will make remaining structures uninhabitable. And did we mention it’s prime West Nile season down dere in da bayou?

There is a certain kind of hubris there that I simply cannot understand. You get rich people building multimillion dollar homes… on sand bars, on fault lines, in areas where hurricanes come around as often as the Avon lady. How many times do people think they can make an insurance claim, rebuild, restock, and get on with it? How many times do people think they’re going to live through it? How great a sense of entitlement does that require? Perhaps as the ice caps keep melting and sea levels rise, the rich people are planning to raise their houses up higher using a support structure composed of stacked poor people. Hell, there’ll be hundreds of thousands of homeless, jobless, dispossessed people in the coming months in the American South. Shouldn’t be any shortage, unless the shooting is allowed to get out of control as people lose patience, hope, and their tempers.

I have difficulty, however, understanding the logic of habitation. I freely admit I cannot possibly fathom the devastation and loss that has faced, and currently is facing people who’ve gone through natural (or man-made disasters). However, using New Orleans as an example, there was a mandatory evacuation order. There was notice. Okay, there are going to be people who can’t leave. Too old, too sick, too poor. But the others? The ones who’re strong and healthy and currently looting? The ones being plucked off their roofs by rescue helicopters? The ones whose corpses are currently floating down the streets they lived on? What’s their excuse? They were going to save their homes, businesses, possessions, and loved ones by… sheer force of will? I don’t think so.

But it goes back further than that. New Orleans was founded in 1718. That means people have been building on a Really Stupid Idea for just shy of 300 years. Alright, I get that the Mississippi Delta was well-situated for explorers and colonists and slave traders and rum runners and everyone else at the beginning of the 18th Century. And the soil is probably incredibly fertile there. All the lovely silt building up and up. So fine, farm on it. Don’t build a city on it. New Orleans is basically a bowl that is logic-defyingly placed on top of unstable, soft, leaky ground, and located in the middle of Lake Pontchartrain, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico. It is largely below sea level. The area has been prone to hurricanes since always. Hell, it’s part of the culture down there. So of course logic would dictate, if you were going to build a city in such an idyllic spot, that you would do everything possible to protect the city from Mother Nature, right? The question is not IF New Orleans will be salvaged and rebuilt, but why would you? Seriously, people, plenty of land available in Saskatchewan. And no hurricanes. Sheesh.

Oh, and, in perfect tying-together-the-ends-of-her-rants convenience, part of the reason that gas is currently over $1.20/litre is because of damage to the oil platforms in the Gulf. George W. says they’ll be releasing reserves to help out with that. Somehow I’m not holding my breath for the price of gas to drop much. Last I heard he was playing guitar in San Diego or something…

Oh, and by the way? Hurricane Katrina was ACTUALLY caused by God as punishment for abortions. Aaaand American soldiers are dying in Iraq because the US allows gay citizens to exist. Have a nice day.

I started a new book last night. Got into bed, carefully opened it (it’s a loaner from Sherry, they always look like no one’s ever touched them), and realized that the smell of paperbacks = Sherry in my brain. Newsprint and glue, that smell you get only for the first few pages. There are worse sense memories than new books. 🙂

Rehashing this was even funnier to me than when it happened. 🙂 Nothing like realizing you’re getting old… http://miserablebliss.ca/blog/2005/08/29/in-conversation-2/. Poor guy, being stared at at an intersection by some cougar in a bright green family sedan… Heh.

Today I don’t have to go to work. Today I get to go to Toronto for Movie Picking Day. It’s step three in the Film Fest process, following 1) buying the coupon book, and 2) researching WAY too many movies.

On Friday we had Chinese, and my fortune cookie said: This year will bring you great happiness. Funny. So I hollered, “I want this year to leave me the fuck alone!” and fed the cookie to the dogs. 🙂 However, I should have known better. I am now highly suspicious that it was Deb poking at me, cuz several things have transpired in the last few days that are… vindication, in a way, for certain things that were issues for a very long time. Not quite to the proportions of a French farce, and no one’s gotten hurt, but… good. Thanks Deb, you awesome bitch. 😉

Because I don’t feel like talking about the family picnic.

Stolen from Dana. (Who also stole it.)

Favourite toothpaste: Aquafresh Empowermint, although you can never re-create the first time you brush with it. As a kid I used to love Close Up’s green/mint flavour, too.

Singer that will most likely make me cry: It’s more specific songs than singers. The Dance, by Garth Brooks; Love, Me, Colin Raye; Don’t Dream It’s Over, Crowded House.

Most life-changing experience: Either the year spent in Australia, or this year. Much, MUCH growing up was done (is being done…)

Favourite colour of socks: Bright colours, fun patterns, like duckies or monkeys or whatnot.

Most annoying thing about sidewalks: When they’re uneven or not wide enough or end when you need them to continue. And cyclists on them. Hmph.

Favourite soundtrack for a movie I’ve never seen: Can’t think of one.

Reason that I would survive if I lost everything I have: I know where “stuff” fits in life. I’ve lived through a fire and lived in a foreign country for a year where almost everything wasn’t mine. You deal.

Favourite neighbour: Don’t know any of them very well. I don’t mind the ones next door up the street, since when Baloo has gone zooming across their yard they just grin at him. The ones kitty-corner are entertaining mostly for being trashy.

Best experience on a rooftop: When we were kids, and playing outside, especially water balloon or squirt gun fights or whatever, my brother ALWAYS went up on the roof. He was like a monkey, could climb anything, so he’d just go up the tv tower and attack from above. I was also… greatly discouraged, from ever doing the same, since I was rather clumsy. So the first time I managed to climb up onto the roof and attack from above was Very Cool.

Nerd nerd nerdnerdnerd nerd nerd.


Pure Nerd
82 % Nerd, 34% Geek, 21% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally
smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up
all of the traits and tendences associated with the “dork.” No-longer.
Being smart isn’t as socially crippling as it once was, and even more
so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be
replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.

Congratulations!

Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you’re interested in either of the following:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

Love & Sexuality

Thanks Again! — THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 91% on nerdiness
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 35% on geekosity
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 22% on dork points

Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid

An interesting day. I got a late start because I ended up having a Messenger conversation with my Mom that was one of the deeper and more enlightening conversations we’ve ever had. It centred largely around adoption and the circumstances of mine and Chad’s. Apparently he was in at least three foster homes before my parents got him, and I have other biological brothers who were in or finished college/uni when I was born. Huh. We also talked about Chad’s sister Brittany a bit. Whew. There’s a fun situation.

Then I dragged my ass over to Chad’s house, SO not wanting to work on renovations. (The one blessing of the heat this summer is that it was a fine excuse not to have to do any work.) I was there for about ten minutes before heading out to swing by my house to pick up rubbing alcohol and eat soup, then hit Home Depot. I scraped down the kitchen/laundry room doorframe, and worked at getting the remaining latex off the door. It began to enrage me, and really, on close inspection, it’s not an attractive door, so I decided it had to go. I called Andrew to ask if he’d be so kind as to accompany me to Home Depot again on a door-buying expedition, and he agreed. So I hung around Chad’s place and chatted with him, and then with my parents when they arrived, and then was on my way out to my car to head home when Andrew finally pulled in the driveway. (Apparently something to do with Paula watching What Not to Wear made him late. What. EVER.) Realized at Home Depot that doors come in sane sizes like 30″ or 32″ wide. Chad’s kitchen door is 31 9/16ths” wide, and I ideally wanted one 31″ wide. Hrm. Gonna try the ReStore. We did, however, get grass seed, a mini rose, and an axe for Andrew at Crappy Tire. Axe shopping is fun!

My mother, upon realizing that I had been out in public in my raggedy renovating clothes, completely lost her shit. (Not like this is even remotely the first time I’ve gone to Home Depot on those clothes.) She was appalled that I would go out in public so unsuitably attired, and you just don’t do that, and what would people think, and how would it reflect on her, and how was I ever going to get a man going out looking like that? I was… flabbergasted. And amused. Hello? a) I’m 30 years old. b) I didn’t see anyone I know, and why would I care if I did? c) HOME DEPOT. d) Not so much a singles bar. e) The contractors are dirtier. Bloody hell. Sadly, this outburst on her behalf was worse because I no longer have a boyfriend. How fucking sad is that. Oh, and this was after my brother laughed at me cuz my hair is “really short”. Uh huh. And you just about have a bob, my dear, so who’s cooler?

I started my Film Fest research, and finished to Contemporary World Cinema by the time I’d had enough for the evening. I tried to find a synopsis, at least, for all the films, and attached a colour-coded rating to ones I’m interested in: yellow for “might be cool”, orange for “want to see that but it’s not essential”, and red for “really wanna see that”. I have ten tickets to my name and already almost ten reds, and I’m not even at the really cool movie categories yet. *sigh*

I had a truly glorious moment this evening. Andrew was bitching on Messenger about being stuck on the phone with his cousin, who is looking to buy a new car and has been wanting to talk to Andrew a lot because she’s thinking of getting the same car he has. I got to go into rant mode (it was a good-natured rant) that he is exactly the same, and hemmed and hawed and researched and obsessed for, oh, six months? before buying the car. And, in fact, he hems and haws and researches and obsesses about everything (see: ceiling fan), and that he should be the one to shut up, not his cousin, and that if anyone deserved sympathy, it’s me. Hah! Man, that felt good. Only problem is now I can’t just let go of the flood gates of rantitude. Argh! All rants in good time…

Tomorrow: family picnic! Please don’t rain, please don’t rain…

Spiderman.

After work today a group of us converged, once again, at The Keg in Waterloo for a send off for one of our own. Well, sorta one of our own. Colin is leaving Descartes and most of us don’t work there anymore. About a third of the people I didn’t know. Among the others, some left before me, some left after me, and a handful are still there. I think this is the last time Colin will be leaving (he’s left before when he’s been a co-op student and a contractor, etc.). He’s going back to school for his masters in information sciences. Cool. I hope he’ll find the Real Cool Kids to hang out with at Western. He’s shy, but the Spiderman backpack should help. 🙂

It made me a bit sad, being there. Well, initially it was awkward, making small talk with people I don’t know well and with whom I have nothing in common. In some ways, things were the same. The people don’t change. And the same people who intended to be there couldn’t make it, in the end. They sent their regrets via Blackberry, as usual.

The last few lunches we’ve tried to have have been a bit depressing. There comes a time when it’s just time to stop trying, you know? I guess tonight was also exacerbated by the fact that things are “in flux” at work. My team is coming apart a bit, a friend is leaving, there is Change, and I’m not sure I like it. I’m also in one of the downtime phases, where I basically have to keep myself entertained, and it’s not easy, and I don’t like it.

I don’t know what the next few months are going to hold, but I know that this year has been nothing if not tumultuous, and I believe very strongly in the ideas surrounding Jewish New Year. I look forward to the next few months with not inconsiderable trepidation. And a little sadness for all the things that are no longer.

.Lasher

In the ten years or so that I’ve been online, how the particular medium of the internet affects the behaviour of those who inhabit it has never failed to amaze me. I recall, from my talker days, what it would be like when mousey little girls suddenly realized that no one could actually see them typing away in their bedrooms. Voila! Instant femme fatale. Guys who probably spent WAY too many hours alone in their mother’s basements suddenly became the Cool Kids. Leaders of men, wooers of women, coders of totally nifty features.

Beyond that, people will frequently, upon realizing they’re invisible, take it as an invitation to act in ways they’d never act in person: like complete wankers. Since the internet has allowed communication between people there have been trolls. People who, for no human reason, will try to inflame, hurt, or otherwise disrupt the lives of others for… entertainment, presumably. Attention, obviously. I can’t imagine what it must be like for those who are “famous”, the well-known bloggers, for example, to receive this kind of abusive garbage in comments and in email on a daily basis. These bloggers are real, live people, and while I imagine you learn to mostly ignore it eventually, it has to corrode your soul. Many of these blogs are out there for a reason. Well, all of them are, but many are out there for people to talk about important issues in their lives – to get things off their chests, spread information, connect with others, etc. People who are dealing with depression, or infertility, or eating disorders, or breakups, or any of the myriad painful states in which humans find themselves especially don’t need the ministrations of trolls, some of whom say things so sick and so hateful it surprises even the most jaded among us (like me). Hell, sometimes the comments are more just stupid or ignorant, but it’s still wearing and frustrating. Can’t someone banish these assholes from the net?

Anyway, even as someone who is not a famous blogger, I have witnessed my share of what I will call anti-human behaviour online. Which is why, when one finds kindness, and generosity, and intelligence, and humour, and kindred spirits, it is especially exhilarating. Particularly given that a lot of the population of the net, I think, is people who are not overly extroverted. We like to think, and observe, and we write better than we will ever be able to talk to anyone in person. The net is our habitat. And it expands our horizons to include people we never would have encountered otherwise. The only problem with having a friend in Japan or Australia or Easter Island is that he or she won’t necessarily be online much of the same time I am, and it’s a bitch for trying to maintain a long-distance romance. (I know whereof I speak…)

Overall, it’s just nice to know there are people out there who just get it, even if I will never meet them. Even if I will silently enjoy their blogs and never send an email or post a comment. Certainly, there are people out there who are intimidating. Sometimes for their views. Sometimes for their personalities. Sometimes for their fame. Like the BlogHer attendees. As if they all weren’t smart and funny and famous enough, turns out they’re beautiful, too. (Dammit.) There are certain parallels to the Cool Kids in high school, and much as you might enjoy their writing or relate to things that happen to them, the more exposure someone like Dooce gets, the harder it is to relate to her on a casual level. When Jon posts that she’s got an inbox with 80,000 emails, how likely is that to make you want to zip off a note to her when you particularly enjoyed that day’s Chuck anecdote? But that’s okay, because it encourages further expansion. Further clicking of links and reading of blogs you wouldn’t find otherwise. Of discovering ideas and talents and humanity in places you never would have known to look. Of attempting and making connections to people whose comments sections you’re comfortable residing in. Of becoming more comfortable in being yourself, and letting that show through online so maybe other people will connect with you, and get it, and on it goes. And, conveniently, the more numerous and nebulous the connections, the strong we are against those who would corrode them with their abuse of invisibility.

The net has been described as the ultimate democracy. It is also, I think, an excellent expression and reflection of life’s insistence on balance as well.

1994 – the music

Stolen from LJ.

Instructions:

Go to MusicOutfitters.com.

In the Search box, enter the year you graduated high school.

The first item returned should be the 100 most popular songs from that year. Cut and paste them into your journal.

Bold the ones you like. Underline your favorite. Strike through the songs you loathe.

1. The Sign, Ace Of Base
2. I Swear, All-4-One
3. I’ll Make Love To You, Boyz II Men
4. The Power Of Love, Celine Dion
5. Hero, Mariah Carey
6. Stay (I Missed You), Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories
7. Breathe Again, Toni Braxton
8. All For Love, Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting
9. All That She Wants, Ace Of Base
10. Don’t Turn Around, Ace Of Base
11. Bump N’ Grind, R. Kelly
12. Again, Janet Jackson
13. I’ll Remember, Madonna
14. Whatta Man, Salt-N-Pepa
15. Wild Night, John Mellencamp and Me’shell Ndegeocello
16. Without You / Never Forget You, Mariah Carey
17. You Mean The World To Me, Toni Braxton
18. Can You Feel The Love Tonight, Elton John
19. The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, Prince Symbol
20. Fantastic Voyage, Coolio
21. Baby I Love Your Way, Big Mountain
22. Regulate, Warren G and Nate Dogg
23. If You Go, Jon Secada
24. Back and Forth, Aaliyah
25. Now And Forever, Richard Marx
26. When Can I See You, Babyface
27. Please Forgive Me, Bryan Adams
28. So Much In Love, All-4-One
29. Shoop, Salt-N-Pepa
30. Any Time, Any Place / And On And On, Janet Jackson
31. Shine, Collective Soul
32. Said I Loved You…But I Lied, Michael Bolton
33. Return To Innocence, Enigma
34. All I Wanna Do, Sheryl Crow
35. Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, Crash Test Dummies
36. Can We Talk, Tevin Campbell
37. Funkdafied, Da Brat
38. I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), Meat Loaf
39. Gangsta Lean, Drs
40. Because The Night, 10,000 Maniacs
41. Cantaloop, US3
42. Whoomp! (There It Is), Tag Team
43. Come To My Window, Melissa Etheridge
44. Stroke You Up, Changing Faces
45. I’m Ready, Tevin Campbell
46. 100% Pure Love, Crystal Waters
47. Anytime You Need A Friend, Mariah Carey
48. Because Of Love, Janet Jackson
49. Linger, Cranberries
50. Loser, Beck
51. Found Out About You, Gin Blossoms
52. Gin And Juice, Snoop Doggy Dogg
53. Never Lie, Immature
54. Streets Of Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen
55. Getto Jam, Domino
56. Endless Love, Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey
57. I Miss You w/ Aaron Hall 58, Understanding, Xscape
59. This D.J., Warren G
60. Cry For You, Jodeci
61. Keep Ya Head Up, 2Pac
62. Who Am I (What’s My Name?), Snoop Doggy Dogg
63. Another Night, Real McCoy
64. Your Body’s Callin’, R. Kelly
65. Tootsee Roll, 69 Boyz
66. I Can See Clearly Now, Jimmy Cliff
67. Never Keeping Secrets, Babyface
68. Crazy, Aerosmith
70. At Your Best (You Are Love), Aaliyah
71. Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through, Meat Loaf
72 Amazing, Aerosmith
73. Always, Erasure
74. Groove Thang, Zhane
75. Dreams, Gabrielle
76. Mr. Vain, Culture Beat
77. Mary Jane’s Last Dance, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
78. Anything, SWV
79. Beautiful In My Eyes, Joshua Kadison
80. Stay, Eternal
81. Flava In Ya Ear, Craig Mack
82. U.N.I.T.Y., Queen Latifah
83. Prayer For The Dying, Seal
84. Secret, Madonna
85. Here Comes The Hotstepper, Ini Kamoze
86. Everyday, Phil Collins
87. Don’t Take The Girl, Tim McGraw
88. Got Me Waiting, Heavy D and The Boyz
89. December 1963 (Oh, What A Night), Four Seasons
90. Indian Outlaw, Tim McGraw
91. Always, Bon Jovi
92. I’m The Only One, Melissa Etheridge
93. Back In The Day, Ahmad
94. Love Sneakin’ Up On You, Bonnie Raitt
95. I’ll Take You There, General Public
96. Always In My Heart, Tevin Campbell
97. What Is Love, Haddaway
98. And Our Feelings, Babyface
99. Bop Gun (One Nation), Ice Cube
100. I Wanna Be Down, Brandy

A Fascination with Lego.

Sometimes, life throws you a small mercy. Like when you spend three days miserable that something didn’t work, and you really wanted it to, and then you finally get it off your chest and… you get called a cunt and all seems well enough with the world. So there. 🙂 (Andrew did not seem to approve of me being called a cunt. Whatever, buddy. Do you think I’d even talk to him if I thought he meant it? Thanks for the credit.)

Dana sent me a link to this: http://81vaginas.blogspot.com/ and I am finding it fascinating.

This afternoon I scribbled this down. Not sure when and where it came from, or where it might go.

Perusing some blog. A little entertainment after a long, boring day; a friend had sent her the link. Her nose felt vaguely runny, so she wiped her hand across it, not really thinking. Only problem was, her hand came away streaked wet and red.

Chez Miscarriage is done, at least in its current incarnation. That depresses me. I don’t know jack about infertility, but the woman’s funny and can write. The net needs more of that.

Sherry pointed out to me this weekend that attraction is not a single entity. I know this. I was obsessing, and forgot. There is physical attraction, which is basic, recognizable, and important, but wanes. And there is intellectual attraction, which is more rare, and more powerful, I think, but also easily mistaken at certain times for physical attraction. One must be cautious. And only the greatest and most intoxicating of relationships, the true fairy tales, have both. Unfortunately, they are as uncommon, I think, as they are glorious. It is, of course, the privilege of the lonely to seek for glory. As Mr. Proust said, “Only that which is absent can be imagined”.

I am almost to the point where I have to give up my favourite jeans. Last week at the Humane Society I was running around and a bit sweaty and had things jammed in my pockets, and they were nearly falling off. This morning I was not running around and not sweaty and had nothing in my pockets and they were nearly falling off. As I do not own any boxers and am not 14 I cannot attempt to wear them without risk much longer. Besides, except for the first time I tried them on in the store, they’ve always stretched out quickly after washing, and been a bit baggy. They make me look dumpy. It’s nice to finally not want dumpy anymore.