blessed are the easily amused

Thursday, September 30, 2004

beauty routine

Did I ever tell you about the time I was doing homecare for old folks? It was one of the few times I've actually felt my work was of use to anyone. But it was also fertile ground for funny stories about defenseless seniors who are losing their memory.

Walter was a really decent and amiable man who happened to have Alzheimer's. His wife had gone away for Easter weekend. I was to hang out at their place and help him remember to take care of himself. "Just basic personal hygiene." Pretty easy work, frankly. I watched some TV, cooked some pork chops, and strolled around with Walter as he told me stories of his pilot days with the RCAF. Fantastic stories. He once rescued a maiden from a moose-infested jungle with nothing but a pair of tweezers and an autographed Rocket Richard hockey stick.

In the morning, I would check to see if he had performed the appropriate old-guy ablutions.

"Walter, did you shave?"

He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Yup, I did."

"Didja wash your face?"

"Sure did!"

"Hmm, what about your teeth. Did you brush your teeth?"

He paused for a second. "Nope. I didn't brush my teeth." He turned around and shuffled back toward the bathroom to rectify the situation.

"Hey Walter. Hold on a second."

He turned.

"Could you smile for me?"

He hardly hesitated at all, as he was prone to smiling anyway. And as the beatific grin spread over his freshly-shaven face, I noticed that it contained not a single tooth.

"Don't worry about the brushing, Walter. I think it's fine."

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Hey, all you American bloggers

Stop breaking my heart with your dire predictions. It can't be as bad as all that. Can it?

Friday, September 24, 2004

photo friday - 'furry'

Click to enlarge.

xavier Posted by Hello

Thursday, September 23, 2004

the cards know all

You may not know this about me but, in addition to my many startling and useless talents, I'm a fortune teller. No, seriously, ask me anything. It's uncanny.

Last night's tarot reading:

past - princess of cups (page of cups)
present - lust (strength)
future - 2 of cups

Basically this indicates that my past as a passive, invertebrate loser in love and my future in a satisfying relationship with a wealthy 95-year-old are separated by a brief stint as a dominatrix.

Hawksley Workman knows all

You can tell by the wind
by fresh cut wood all stacked to dry
that autumn's here
and it makes you sad
about the crummy summer we had

Friday, September 17, 2004

ride the zipper

No, not my zipper, perv. The giant iron zipper that stands and spins at the fair, a neon sentinel on the prairie summer horizon. When you're a child, it's scary. When you're grown up, it's just hard on the insides.

I'm talking (metaphorically) about the joys of contract work. Because it's my last day, for now, on the Mothership.

See, you avoid getting a real job because you know your short but tyrannical attention span would never forgive you. It would get straight to work, instead, perforating your stomach lining and beaming you fantasies you wouldn't even hint at in your blog. So you do a little of this, a little of that. You liken it to going from ride to ride at the small town fair that was the brightest and noisiest part of your adolescent summer. Even though that's a considerable stretch in terms of excitement. But if you squint, you can see a parallel.

A disfigured carnie stuffs you in a tippy cage smelling faintly of vomit. He looks at you like questionable leftovers going into a microwave. He closes the door. You wait. You get elevated and you feel good. Hey, you can see the whole fairgrounds! It's great, right? You get shaken around and it's interesting. You get shaken around some more and you feel sick. You get spun around and you scream an oscillating, nauseated scream. You get hair in your mouth. You plummet towards the earth. You see the world from a fucked-upside down perspective. Repeat.

You get off, wobbly and exhilarated.

It's amazing how as soon as they let you out, you remember the fun and forget the undignified prospect of dying amid the sleet of collective puke.

I think I'll try the ferret-toss next. Maybe I'll win a nice, big poster of Shania Twain.

Thursday, September 16, 2004


We turned off our video cameras out of respect for the first part of the ceremony - the sacred sweetgrass smudge, the elder's prayer and the drumming and singing of the victory song. It was pretty quiet in there, for a press conference. I guess something about the room and the air in it had settled the media pack for a moment. No sense being impatient. Just breathe and let it be. The singing was big-hearted, organic; it felt like a hot, dry prairie wind blowing sage and sun through the room. Those drummers cast a spell over us for a moment.

Until the perky and polyphonic chirp of one of their cellphones snapped us out of it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Franz the Surly and Moustachioed Co-Worker

snaps and chomps his gum in an unbelievable display of speed and rhythm. I think he must have been practicing this since long before his moustache turned silver. The sound is like the percussion in 'Cecilia'. How the hell does he do that, I wonder from my frozen-with-fear position in the passenger seat. We are on another zany newsgathering safari, always made more exciting by Franz's gum-chewing, creative cursing and breakdance-style driving. It's all choreographed into a beautiful high impact performance - the snaps in crisp counterpoint to the brakes, the chomps accentuating the jesusfuckingchrists. Tires actually squeal, I learn; not only on TV but on a simple trip to the goddamned airport to attend a boring press conference that he knew about 20 minutes ago. But leaving earlier would compromise the intensity of this performance, I imagine, as I'm pasted against the window by the centrifugal force of a nicely executed left turn. I digress. His dexterity is marvellously specialized. Years of practice make him able to multitask and scare the living shit out me with the utmost precision - like the amazing Cirque du Soleil contortionist or the Tuvan throat singer, he has earned my wonder.

But as I become unpasted from the window, there's a little smile horning in on my face's expression of horror. Because I'm imagining the day when Franz's calculations are just the tiniest bit out. He'll brake when he should curse. He'll snap when he should chomp. And as he goes to nail that left turn he'll realize what has happened but it'll be too late - the gum will have grabbed onto his moustache and clung like a baby orangutan. Attempts to dislodge it will only exacerbate the situation, until his once-proud handlebars are completely tangled in saliva and cinnamon. Like Samson he will submit to the razor. Then he and his naked face will drive docilely, shorn of their power. And I, Delilah, will laugh. Jesusfuckingchrist.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

this will crack you up, as it did me:

movie trailers for everyday life at the morning news.

Monday, September 13, 2004

gettin' shit done

When you see some guy talking on the teevee news, in his own little box opposite the anchor's little box, you might think "how come there's a half second delay?" or "how hard would it be for them to just make the audio a little nicer?" or something sweetly naive like that. I can forgive you for thinking that, I guess. It seems like it should be simple. But it is really, really not. To just get that guy in the chair required frenetic phone calls between Ottawa, Saskatoon, Regina, Toronto and a goddamned sushi bar in Etobicoke. He had to be coaxed and coddled, have the wasabi wiped from his ample chin and a gps stuck into his tighty whiteys before being thrown into a cab. Then, when it was discovered that he didn't have security clearance for the location of the shoot, a series of even more death-defying feats had to be accomlished to get some other guy in there. Technicians in dark rooms full of murmuring, beeping machines had to communicate with human beings quickly and clearly, even though they haven't seen natural light or breathed a whiff of naturally polluted wind for months. Their tongues are atrophied and they've lost the use of consonants. The anchor had to be briefed and debriefed and rebriefed.

It's sort of like being in the army, I imagine. You get a real feeling of accomlishment from pulling it together at the last minute against stupifying odds. Then you realize that what you've managed to accomplish is a total crock. Some guy hedges and smarms around his message track on camera for 2 minutes. You blow up a village. Whose day is better because of this?

i wear the pants

It's just me and Slacks McBradley. All wearers of trousers, skirts, kilts or hip waders have fled the Mothership, leaving me alone with a well-groomed manager and a sinking feeling. There's no one else for him to watch, so my actions will be carefully scrutinized for the next 8 hours. Except, I'm obviously hoping, for this one. Blogging as an act of subversion.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

September 11th

On this day in history: 1963 - a baby is born who will grow up to become a kind, smart and dashing gentleman. He will play guitar with dexterity and flare. His knowledge of subjects varied and surprising will delight those lucky enough to sit at a table with him.

Happy Birthday, Cam.

Friday, September 10, 2004

my grapes are just fine, thank you

It's been an emotional ride. I'm glad it'll soon be over; my heart can't take much more. But this Canadian Idol thing has really brought us together as a society. Generation gaps have been wiped out! Families gather weekly in their living rooms, hearts beating in unison as they watch the drama unfold.

In this city, it's been particularly excruciating. Our very own homegrown talent hanging in the top two like a Christmas tree angel! We've all got the fever. We all dial until our fingers bleed to vote. Because the rest of the country is watching, and they must see that this have-not province is a have-got province now. She's ours, and she's done us proud.

Now take your hands from their prayer clasp and raise them in the air, all you who have actually gone out to hear our angel or any other local musician perform live.

Hello? Is thing on?

Will it be Theresa? Or will Kalan wear the CTV tiara? The end is near. The hooves of resolution are thundering across the plains, signaling an end to our agony.

I just want you all to know that, whatever happens, I'll always be my idol.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

it's cold out there

Children on avenue G are blown to school at 9:00 on a cold, cloudy morning. They start out meandering. But soon the kid with no jacket loses patience with the cold and begins to run. The rest of the pack follows suit, charging into the day. They are tough. They are adaptable. They are someone else's. There is no good reason for the sudden heaviness in my chest.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

good book

I'm starting all over again.

I can do whatever I want!

Blessed is she who wants to do something other than lie around eating cereal and watching M*A*S*H.


I hate the word slacks. I hate the knife-sharp crease it implies, the tucked-in smugness, the hands-on-hips indignation, all of it. Clearly, there's nothing slack about slacks. See how annoying that word is?

You all know I'm talking about Bradley.

Pants, man. Just wear pants and fucking relax already. The world is not calibrated to fit your precise and exquisitely anal retentive vision of appropriateness.

I shudder to think what sort of wretched filth swirls in the chthonic depths of your subconscious. Repression is very dangerous. I oughtta know.