blessed are the easily amused

Friday, May 28, 2004

freelancer feels pretty, witty, gay

My proposal for the national film board project has been tweaked and pinched, and now waits (like a grade 8 girl at a dance when 'Straight from the Heart' comes on) for the committee to raise their funding thumbs to it. My producer - holy crap, I have a producer - said in her irresistable English accent that she doesn't anticipate any problems.


Saturday, May 22, 2004

wanna know what?

I'm going to New York City. I'm going to write that again, because I really liked the little twitch it gave me. I'm going to New

(girl squeal)

I can't remember the last time I even went to someplace different for lunch. So this is pretty big. It's a different country and everything. People there, I'm pretty sure, are all worldly and tough and shit.

So here's where I need some help: what are the absolutely essential must-not-miss features for the first-time NYC gawker?

I just got that little twitch again.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Listen, lady:

The other day I overheard 3 ladies chatting at a cafe. Or rather, I overheard two of them, and the shrill voice of the third lacerated my brain.

That third lady was old and birdlike and proper. She was clearly running the show, doing all the complaining about the service and initiating all the gossip.

"That's right, Eileen. The streets are awful. Couldn't they get some of those welfare people to clean them? Why sure, they'd have to go and do their service and make the streets nice and clean before they could pick up their cheques. Instead of just giving it to them for free."

Well, lady, seven thousand kids in this town get their food from the food bank every month. Maybe that doesn't sound like much, but in a town of 200,000 I'd say that's significant. That's just the children.

The Welfare food allowance is 120 dollars a month. Same as it's been forever. Only with 71% inflation since the last increase, it's worth about $36. Why, more than a dollar a day, for free. Just imagine.

Welfare no longer provides a bus pass. Most recipients spend more than what's allotted for rent, dipping into that generous food allowance to make up the difference. Then they walk to the food bank from their ramshackle apartment on avenue W south with their toddler in tow. Once there, they stand in line with about 300 other tired, hungry people to get the basic staples they need to feed themselves and their children.

Yeah, lady. What those people need is to pick gum wrappers off your cul de sac.

Then she started in on inmates.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Silence is golden - my larynx is made of tupperware

Yesterday as I was sitting around waiting for some people to return my phone calls, I began a noisy lament:

"Jesus Christ," I said. "Why won't these people call me back? I'm trying to make these stupid commercials. It's like I'm prostituting myself. I'm standing on the corner freezing my ass off, and nobody's pulling up and rolling down their window. You know?"

I was just thinking how I'd really made good use of that metaphor when the Biggest Boss of All Bosses - a sweetly puritanical man - pokes his head out from behind the filing cabinet and says, "Who's on the corner?"

Timing like mine is a gift. Like scabies.

Monday, May 17, 2004

I bought a laptop.

So far I have changed the desktop background 7 times, tried to set the language preference to Canadian English 12 times (unsuccessfully), and toted it around with me nonchalantly 25 times. Hell, it's practically paid for itself already.

Also, the other day I met Booker Prize-Winning Novelist Yann Martel (TM). I interviewed him about fair trade - he seems to give a shit about that, which rather fits the persona. Then, later, he came up to me and said, "Do you work for Melvin TV?"

I was like, "yeah, actually I'm freelance, so sometimes I work for Melvin TV and sometimes i work for the Mothership; I mostly like doing features and stuff because I can get more in-depth..."

"So can you tell me how pay per view works? Because there's this boxing match I want to watch tomorrow."

Yeah. Boxing match. Huh.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Or maybe an etch-a-sketch would do

I need to go and buy an expensive laptop computer right now. I need to have my very own computer. You know why? Because writing on these workplace computers makes me write weaselly (word?). Honestly. I come to Melvin TV, or the Mothership, or some other pseudonym-bearing media outlet and use their computers and it all comes out squashed and guilty and brief. I want to write big, proud sentences with many commas - perhaps even the odd semicolon, but one wants to be careful with that sort of thing - and I want to do it on a Gateway laptop with a bazillion megs of ram or hzs of pzdtsrxs or what have you. It must be fancy, perhaps with a small marsupial inside who chirps when I've gone too far onto a tangent.

Kevin got one. And that clearly means that I should have one, too. Kevin is a famous blogger and probably the next goddamn Hemingway (or maybe Salinger. I hope that doesn't offend you, Kevin. I'm not trying to say that your writing could inspire assassins or anything. I'm just saying it reminds me a bit of Franny and Zooey in places. It's good.)

Hey, listen. Time's a-wastin'. I have to go to CompuSnare and get my semicolon machine. That line of credit's not doing any good just sitting there.

Look, Ma

I have always marvelled at the people who have rich dream lives full of adventure and detail. How do they do it? And remember it? Some people wake up and reach for a pen and paper so they can write down the song they just composed in their sleep. But that's never happened to me.

Until the other night.

I woke up pretty upset, because the most vivid part of the dream had been about this really sick (that's sick-disgusting, not sick-cool) bug. It was big as a scorpion and totally sentient. And it was after me, man, waggling its glassy blue thorax as it scuttled along in pursuit, no matter where I went.

Eventually, I escaped and found a friend with whom I could share this fresh horror. When I awoke, I remembered singing to her. I needed no pencil; it was branded in my memory as clearly as that first shitty Nickelback song of the day that complains out of the alarm clock. My song was ominous and campy, like something from 'Nightmare Before Christmas'. And apropos of nothing. It went a little like this:

Mr. Peanut, Mr. Peanut
Tell me how you do it
Mr. Peanut, Mr. Peanut, Mr. Peanut.

Hallelujah Sonofabitch, I've been given the gift of exceptional mediocrity. Stay tuned for dream-borne Pine-Sol commercials.

Monday, May 10, 2004

this is the funniest thing today:

the exorcist in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies

table dance

Melvin TV* is a pretty tiny operation - just a hole in the wall, really. The newsroom consists of about 5 full time reporters and their desks, 4 freelancers, a spare desk, and a table. There's a reason I'm describing the layout of the room to you, and it has nothing to do with feng shui. At least I don't think it does.

The table has become the focus of an ongoing territorial debate (that periodically erupts into a kerfuffle). Freelancers have nowhere to put their stuff. The table seems like a good place for it, being so handy and rectagular and all. But it turns out it's also the perfect place for the assignment editor to put her obsessive-compulsive disorder. Sharing is out of the question, because the aforementioned baggage takes up the whole table. The table, she maintains, must be kept empty. All 12 square feet of it. It might be needed for surgery. Tapes, scripts, pencils and the other detritus of the vagabond newswaif must be swept away. Sometimes the assignment editor takes these items and throws them into the garbage to make her elusive point.

I'm afraid this sort of dysfunctional mommy tactic could foreshadow soapy mouthwashing or withholding of pencil priveleges.

*guess what - it's not really called melvin tv.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Seis de Mayo

Here we are back at the beginning again. The fertile nothingness from which everything comes - a hangover. The real fuzzy kind. Wow. My hips hurt from trying to dance like the flamenco goddesses (damn Mennonite genes), my head swivels slowly on its stupid hung-over neck, and all I want is to sit in some anonymous, wood panelled dive and eat bacon.

Instead I sit at work and swivel my stupid head toward the sources of difficult questions. What are you doing on May 19th? Will you produce this show about old people this summer? Will you edit this thing? Jesus Christ, people. First, give me a minute to turn my head towards you. Now. What do you want again? Wait, have you got any bacon?