Monday, December 31, 2007

diy art galleries

I'm procrastinating on a few things I need to do for New Year's Eve. Clock is ticking. Argh.

So here's what I've been whining about today: yesterday I went to an art gallery in a city closeby. The building was big and beautiful, and it had all the trappings of a regular gallery, including a website, a flyer on the exhibits, and gallery staff. And yet...

First, my friend and I went to the bottom floor. We looked past all the framed pieces on the walls, searching for the art this gallery was supposed to contain. There was nothing else. We started to giggle in disbelief. The framed pieces looked like a bad version of the drawings and paintings I've been given by my friends' kids over the years. There were lots of portraits with disturbingly disproportionate figures, several questionable multi-media concoctions, and some other things I couldn't even identify. Wow.

We held out hope for the upstairs portion.

There were three rooms upstairs, each supposedly with its own distinct exhibit. Each room and each piece had a curator's explanation written on an 81/2 x 11 inch piece of paper, attached to the wall with that blue sticky stuff that everyone uses to hang posters when they're 19 and in a crappy rented place. Oh so professional looking (but they were typed - small mercies, I guess).

The descriptions of each exhibit talked in circles about nothing. Walking through each room, we tried desperately to understand why those pieces were chosen to hang together. The tenuous linkages became our new game show (since, strangely, we found ourselves all alone), which my friend won hands down. One room had two pieces with the same spelling error. Another had several pieces with mostly white space. The pieces in the third room seemed to have only oddity in common.

So, hey, if this place can call itself an art gallery and get listed in all kinds of tourism guides, we figure pretty much anything can. My friend and I have decided that in our next period of boredom, we should just redecorate her house, buy some flea market art, cobble together some multi-media installations using a few bottles of glue and some garbage, and write our own descriptions. Presto! We'll see if we can pull off our own art gallery.

I bet it'll rock compared to the one we just experienced. Really, shouldn't there be some kind of guidelines for this kind of thing?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

stupid hardwiring

Last night my cousin from out-of-town was DJing, so I packed up my best gay male friend and made a night of it. I forgot how fun it is to go out at 11pm and dance until your face hits the pillow at 4am.

I also forgot how decidedly not fun it is when (like me) you must have been that person in prehistoric times who held the responsibility of stoking the fire first thing in the morning. I'm hardwired to wake up like clockwork every morning at 6am--and I never learned how to fall back asleep. It doesn't matter what time I've gone to bed, it doesn't matter if I'm sick, and it certainly doesn't matter what I've had to drink. Now, I'm not much of a sleeper, but I do like to get my five or six hours a night. I can manage on four. I learned what it was like to live on less when I dated a 10-years-younger-rock-climber-who-loved-to-party a couple of years back. Fun, but miserable, all at once.

When my body bounded out of bed this morning after two oh-so-restful hours of sleep, my brain cursed it in every language it's ever heard. Because my body's conditioned to run most mornings, especially weekend mornings, by 6:30 I was all suited up and on the road, brain still cursing.

Post-run, I remembered that I had agreed to go out snowshoeing and snowmobiling with friends north of the city. Brain stopped cursing body and began to curse brain for making said plans.

I quickly ingested anything I could with caffeine, sugar and potassium. Gatorade. Candy. Coffee (ick, I never drink it). Bananas. Then I was kind of awake but I just wanted to hurl.

I had visions of being a mafia hit, as my feet in snowshoes felt as heavy as concrete blocks. And I think I actually fell asleep on the back of a snowmobile for more than a few minutes, which was probably pretty unsafe. No enjoyment was to be had, but I did manage to function on a minimal level. I think I even pretended to have some sort of fun, although I may be a teensy bit optimistic in writing that.

I just got home. 6am is already looming. Dread.

Friday, December 28, 2007

more hot yoga madness

I've been going to the crazy people hot yoga. I can't help it; I'm strangely attracted to freakishness.

There is so much amusement at the crazy people yoga. I could write pages about the outfits (or lack thereof) alone. But the best stories about the last class I attended relate to the ongoing scent-free debacle.

Since my first visit, I've managed to escape the superhuman sniffing of the crazy instructor. But in the class I just attended, she ordered two new students to shower with the unscented products beforehand. Like me, they complied.

About 10 minutes into the class, she told them rather bluntly that neither of them met the scent-free standards, and that they would need to leave the studio immediately. One of them was next to me and I didn't smell a thing, and it's not like my nose is freakishly useless. They looked around in a certain wtf way (familiar, since it was the same way I looked around when I was ordered to shower) and then left.

The instructor then ranted to us about the importance of no scents. "Remember that even your deodorant is bad," she said, "and that you can't put it on in the changeroom. You'll have to wait until you completely leave the studio to apply it." Visions of a group of yoga students applying deodorant while waiting for the elevator danced in my head.

Just when I was done giggling to myself about that incident, I caused another myself. You see, I get heartburn every time I do one particular pose, and it's brutal heartburn, the kind that burns continuously. I was determined this week to put an end to it. Without fully thinking through the implications, I stashed a Rolaids in my shorts and decided I would pop it before hitting that sequence of poses.

Well, pop it I did and about three seconds later, the instructor piped up with, "Somebody in this room smells like bubblegum or fruit. Remember, this is a scent-free studio and that will not be tolerated." I was discovered.

DO NOT MOUTH BREATHE, I told myself. Normally this isn't hard, but it's the most difficult thing ever when you feel your life at yoga class depends on it.

Crazy instructor lady pretended not to be able to localize the smell. I know that was all a ruse. She's now got me blacklisted.

I stopped on the way home and picked up longer lasting, unflavoured antacids. Next time I'll take one hours before, something I should have thought of before contaminating the studio with a fruit flavoured tablet. Combine that with my new scent-free shampoo and scent-free detergent, and I'm starting to gather quite a new collection of crazy yoga paraphernalia.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

whew, christmas is over

Ah Christmas. In my family, it's always fraught with conflict. This year, my I-take-entertaining-very-seriously mother cleaned her house and cooked up a storm for a bunch of people my sister invited over at the last minute - all while she had food poisoning. Yes, you read that right, my mother hadn't been able to hold food down for almost three days when all of these guests arrived. She put on her usual happy face, as she always does.

My extremely-self-centred sister, on the other hand, didn't have the courtesy to arrive early to help, nor did she bring a dish for dinner.

How can I not be angry about this stuff, especially when my parents are getting older? Whenever I speak up and try to explain to the sister why it's not right, my parents shush me, saying that "it's just the way she is." I can't even blame my sister now, since my parents enable her behaviour.

So frustrating. I can't dwell on it because I just get angry.

In other, more exciting news, Sunny's far away, in the desert in a country where nobody would insure her for travel. Sketchy but fun.

Monday, December 24, 2007

safety and sanity

I "worked" today. I use the quotation marks deliberately, as working on Christmas Eve day in my office entails dragging your butt in at 10am and leaving at 12 noon for lunch, conveniently taking all of your stuff with you.

I got invited to join some colleagues for a dim sum lunch. Yum. Better yet, someone else offered to drive, which is always a bonus in our office of scarce parking. Normally, if you go out for lunch, when you return you'll wind up parking out where Jesus lost his sandals.

However, en route to lunch today I realized this colleague was a major offender of one of my pet peeves: refusal to wear a seatbelt. After minutes of listening to her car beep incessantly, reminding her to buckle up, I finally asked if she was ever going to do it. Without a word, she sighed, reached over, unbuckled my seatbelt, and jammed it into her buckle.


So let's recap. Before: annoying noise and a lack of safety for her. Now: no more annoying noise, but a clear lack of safety for me. Improvement? Perhaps not.

When I asked her why she wouldn't wear her seatbelt, she said it was because she didn't like the feel of it. (Oh yeah, well do you like the feeling of crashing through your windshield?) This was reminiscent of the other colleague who refused to use her turning signals, one of my other pet peeves. When I asked her about it, she said she just didn't like the sound of them. (Oh yeah, well do you like the sound of your car getting rammed by someone who has no idea which way you're turning?)

Please buckle up and use your turning signal wherever you head to this Christmas. Stay safe. And try not to push me over the edge. Just this once, please, 'cause it's Christmas and all.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I love sampling snacks from other cultures. Not only is the yummy factor high, but snacks are usually indicative of their place of origin, which is attractive to a geek like me. For example, contrast British high tea with Chinese dim sum. So similar and yet just not.

Some of the oddest snacks I've ever had were in Mongolia. Fermented mare's milk and fermented bean curd snacks were everywhere. The fermented part comes from the lack of refrigeration in huge parts of the country, but when your snacks taste like rot I'm not sure that says good things about your nation.

Much as I try, I can't get everywhere, so I always beg friends to bring me back snacks from their travels. Despite the stairs incident, the man vomiting on the edge of death on the plane, and the earthquake, Sunny still managed to bring me back some good stuff from her disastrous trip to the Caribbean. Witness the two examples below.

guava cheeseSugar cakes and guava cheese. I admired them for well over a week, letting the excitement about tasting them build. As you can probably see for yourself, the sugar cake looked like a muffin, and the guava cheese was the farthest thing from cheese, looking and feeling more like a gargantuan gummy bear squashed flat by a steamroller.

Even more perplexing though was the taste. Sugar led the ingredient list on each one, so I had prepared myself for sweet, but dang! After eating half of the sugar cake, I was talking at ridiculous speeds, causing people at work to stare at me kinda funny.

So what's the deal with this emphasis on sugar anyway? Part of me thinks this is a technique for staying active in high temperatures. Perhaps I should test this theory by eating some of this stuff, then partaking in some more hot yoga. Do you think the sugar in my sweat would pass the crazy people's scent-free sniff test?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

more races i will not be running

Running outside in the cold and snow sucks, as does running in the gym on a treadmill. I'm still looking for a race to take on so that I'll maintain some level of motivation through the winter. Here are a few I will not be running in 2008:

The Bare Buns Fun Run
Just look at the photos from this year. I'm not sure I need to say more. I swear this is where I would end up if I were relegated to hell.

The Big Man Run
OK, I'm really not clear on what exactly this one entails, but I'm getting the sense that this may not be for me. It seems that a bunch of large men run through city streets and stop a few times for beer and hotdogs enroute. I'm a lightweight vegetarian with a low tolerance for alcohol.

Olney Pancake Race
The pancake race dates back over 500 years and the description intrigues me: "Competitors must wear the traditional costume of a housewife, including a skirt, apron and head covering. They must of course carry a frying pan containing a pancake." Of course. According to the rules I'd have to move to Olney for three months before participating. Their town map is mysteriously "unavailable," which does not leave me with much hope that I would be able to amuse myself there.

Wife Carrying Championship Race
Wow. So in this one the male competitor carries the female competitor (who apparently does not have to be his legal wife) through a 278-yard course with obstacles to win the woman's weight in beer. Apparently, teams also have the option to have the male carried by the female if they so choose. Strangely, that's never happened before. I don't think the lightweight vegetarian should pave the route on this one.

Lots of freaky stuff and I didn't even look hard. There must be so much more out there.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

i want to pay as much as possible for a hotel room, please

Another travel photo.

I stayed at the Hotel Tibet Home, and I tried to explain to the owner why the phrase "rooms are available above 3 US dollar" isn't the best way to sell your hotel. There is only a very slim chance he understood. But perhaps that's for the best, since I think this sign should be enjoyed by as many people as possible.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

my city likes to help stupid tourists

Tonight, walking back from a massage (downtown) to my house (downtown), I was jolted out of my peaceful calm by a flag that said "downtown," and then, in big capitals, "HOTELS."

I immediately felt a complaint letter coming on. Here's how it's coming together. Inevitably, I'll rewrite it in my sleep and it'll look entirely different in the morning.

Dear City Councillor Friend,

I'm sad that my city is currently in a budget deficit situation. However, I completely understand that there are many important initiatives that scream for funding. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few examples, such as after school programs, public transit, and shelters for battered women and the homeless. After this evening, I have another program to add to the list. You see, tonight I discovered the delightful "HOTELS" flags downtown. In a word: wow.

So let's think about this for a second: most tourists coming into the city arrive by airplane or train. And the majority of the plane and train arrivals get into a taxi to get themselves to a hotel. The rest probably get picked up by friends, relatives or privately arranged transportation. I think we can safely conclude that plane and train arrivals don't need much help figuring out where to find a hotel.

However, as you seem to have most cleverly remembered, there are always those people who arrive by car or on foot or bicycle. Let's consider those people for a second: most of those driving in either have been here before or have a map and planned destination. Of course, there are probably some who have no knowledge or plan, but one has to presume that they would be able to recognize and read large signs that say such things as "Hilton," "Sheraton," and "Westin."

This still leave us with these people:
- complete morons in cars who cannot read signs. I have to ask why you as my city councillor would be encouraging those people to come here. Please stop.
- people who enter the city on foot or by bicycle. Now, I've never really met anyone who just upped and walked or biked in from far away, but I assume those people exist. However, if they do, I'm not sure they actually care which part of the city has the hotels. I'm thinking these people may eschew hotels for hostels, barracks for historical reenactments, or tents.

So, I'm sure those delightful flags are fulfilling an identified need. However, as you can see from this letter, I've thought long and hard and I'm a bit stumped as to what that need is. Perhaps someone from your office would like to put me out of my misery by dropping me a letter to enlighten me. I'd be most grateful.


Monday, December 17, 2007

on closed-mindedness

I spent a chunk of this evening in a heated discussion with a friend over the recent Bureau of Justice stats about incarceration in the U.S. Thankfully, drinks were involved.

It started when he proclaimed his belief that the U.S. was "far ahead" of other countries because it incarcerates more criminals than any other. This apparently proves the the efficacy of the American justice system. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I said he couldn't possibly believe the U.S. was superior to its northern neighbour because it incarcerates people at almost seven times Canada's rate. His response? Of course; Canada is soft on crime.

Then I tried the dictator comparison card. I said, but the U.S. is imprisoning people at a rate over six times that of countries that jail people for political reasons, countries whose prison system terrifies me, such as Iran and China. His answer? Well, they're just killing all the bad people over there so no wonder the rate is so much lower.

Good lord.

Since when is "highest incarceration rate in the world" a title to which a country should aspire? The U.S. numbers are shocking. One in every 31 adults in the U.S. was in one of the nation's prisons or jails or was on probation or parole at the end of 2006. How can anyone think this is OK? All right, I guess I figured that a lot of people think that's OK, but maybe not that those people were friends of mine.

Why aren't people asking why non-violent offenders, minor drug offenders and parole violators are stuck in the prison system? Most people agree that needless imprisonment not only costs big money, but also has serious societal impacts (e.g. inability to vote, get a driver's license, or find a job, not to mention the tearing apart of families and reduction in family income). Of course, my friend had an answer for all of this too: in his mind, "those people" wouldn't have been successful at any of those things anyway.

No wonder the American educational and health care systems are so crummy. No wonder Americans think it's OK to live in fear rather than in hope. And don't even get me started on the ethnicity issues related to incarceration (and capital punishment too). Honestly, it's hard for me to be remotely optimistic about the U.S.'s future when I hear stuff like this.

As I said, thankfully, drinks were involved.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

very cold and very hot

Mighty snowstorm. All of my plans for today got cancelled, so I was all about the self-indulgence. I worked out at the gym, watched a couple of movies and read a chunk of a book, then decided to hit a yoga class. I'm bored with the style I've been practising for the last couple of years, so I decided to follow Sunny's advice and give hot yoga a shot. I went a number of years back and and walked out feeling violently ill. But that was a long time ago, and Sunny's been swearing by it, so I decided to check out the studio that's a 20-minute walk from my house.

So much snow and whipping wind. I actually wore boots, a rare event for me in the city. The 20-minute walk easily became 30 since most of the streets weren't all that clean. But there were so few cars on the streets that I was able to walk down fairly major streets in the middle of the road, a lovely rare occurrence.

Then I got out of the cold and into the heat. I got to yoga and was immediately accosted by the instructor. "You're new," she barked in an Eastern European accent. She leaned in and sniffed. "You smell like perfume or scented detergent. What do you use?" When I told her that I disliked strongly scented detergents and certainly didn't use perfume, she leaned into my hair. "OK, it's your shampoo," she barked. "This is a scent-free studio, so I need you to wash your hair with our unscented shampoo before the class. Come back to me so I can double-check your smell before you go in."

Wtf? I did what she said, she leaned in for another smell, and then I was allowed to pay for the class.

But that wasn't the end of the madness. Then she said, "I'm sick right now, so I'm not actually teaching. I've set up a tape of a really good teacher so you can follow along." I walked into the room and laughed out loud. A crappy cassette player in the corner was playing Phil Collins. Eventually the crooning turned into some guy with a Spanish accent talking a group of people through a class. We followed along. Since dude was teaching a regular class, he threw in comments to specific people, like "Denver, make sure you bend your elbows" and "Lisa, I know you're feeling light-headed, but you have to get up and try." Insert snicker here.

Craziness aside, the class was tough and I feel pretty good now, so I'm going back. I just have to remember to seek out the unscented shampoo first.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

suburban funnies

I had a Christmas brunch with some friends today. Since they're all suburban now, I had to drive a long way in Christmas traffic to get there, which sucked. But I did manage to see two funny things:

First, I saw a bumper sticker on a massive vehicle that read "My kid was student of the month at XY public school." Fantastic. You know that in our silly 'everyone's a winner' culture, every kid at the school who doesn't have a severe personality disorder has to win that thing at least once. Clearly this person's kid had only won it once, and he or she was so very proud. I couldn't help but snicker as I sped past the monstrous vehicle.

Second, I saw this sign:

danger due to
Now, I'm normally happy when someone's kind enough to warn me of upcoming danger. However, in this case, it's sort of a mystery what that danger is, since nobody filled in the white part. Doesn't it kind of defeat the purpose of the sign when you have to guess what's lurking ahead? I wondered if I should look for falling rocks, or rabid dogs, or maybe even UFOs. I actually stopped the car, planning to add something witty. Sadly, I was penless. It reminded me of the sign near the school by my house that says "wait for gap." At one point, some wry little student covered up the "ap" in "gap" and wrote over it to make "wait for godot." I think I laughed about that for months. And yes, I'm cringing as I admit that.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

yes, her again

Another convo with the colleague who sits next to me. This happened one day last week when someone had tickets to the game for her. The two of them were trying to figure out a way to get the tickets from one person to the other. Since my building's in a central location, the person with the tickets left them in my colleague's name at my front desk.

Well, my building's at a major intersection, and apparently the colleague can't figure out directions because she called me three times for advice on where to go next. That's a bit frightening, but, more importantly, here is the conversation the morning after the ticket pick-up:

Colleague: So your building's really nice, huh? I mean, I only saw the lobby, but it's great.

Me: Yeah, I guess so.

Colleague: And it's such an awesome location. You must love that. I'll bet you don't drive anywhere but work.

Me: Sure. It's just that I've just been there for a such a long time. I've been talking about moving for a while, but I can't find a place I like better to move to.

Colleague: Move?! But why would you? That doesn't make any sense.

Me: Well, I'm bored of the place and I think it's time to move on.

Colleague: I think you should stay there until you get married. Then you can move into a house somewhere.

Me [laughing]: Ummm... that won't be happening any time soon.

Colleague: But how do you know that? It might happen sooner than you think. [Pondering] You know, I could make some calls for you.

Me [heart beating in my head, sweat pouring out of all pores]: Make calls for me?! Oh no, that's OK. No, thanks. Really.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

thanks, i'll pass on the fetish party

Every girl needs to have at least one great gay male friend. I think that's a codified rule somewhere, although it may only be in some creepy yaya sisterhood. One of my faves is my hair stylist, who's been cutting my hair for about nine years. Said hair stylist and I usually spend all of my appointments laughing so hard we're crying, which means my hair has a tendency to turn out a wee bit lopsided. But it gives me character.

I have gone out with hair stylist in the past. He is great fun and exposes me to situations I don't normally encounter in my relatively sedate straight world. However, there are always two drawbacks: first, he forces me to wear makeup (ick) and second, he'll always ditch me as soon as he spots a hottie. This second drawback is another one of those codified rules: when you go out with a (normal) woman and she meets a hot guy, she'll say, "Oh, my friend is here, I have to make sure she gets home OK." When you go out with a gay guy, the minute he locks eyes with the hottie across the room, he's already forgotten you exist.

Two weeks ago stylist buddy sent me an email that said merely, "Fetish party Saturday?" Sadly (?), I had family obligations. So when I got my hair cut this afternoon, I asked how the party went. "I lined up to get spanked," he said. "The party was life-changing." He queued for a spanking?! I pondered this for a moment, then decided answers to any of the obvious questions couldn't possibly be satisfying. Instead I asked why the party was life-changing.

Apparently he walked in, alone, and made pathetic conversation with the first hot guy he saw. Hottie was wearing a kilt, and--of course--the conversation went to what was under the kilt, which--also obvious--was nothing. "Nothing" was explored, apparently for several hours. After all of this nothing, hottie said to my gay man, "You have to meet my boyfriend. He's upstairs." So they went upstairs. And a threesome ensued. And it was life-changing. I will spare you the details.

Stylist friend ended this story with, "So you see? Next time you should come."

What, pray tell, do you think I would have been doing at this party? I have no words.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

more tales of the needles

The flare-up during the weekend at the house of hell drove me back into the arms of acupuncture.

The Chinese kind seemed to be working. There were even a couple of weeks where I didn't have to go in at all because I was feeling really good. But then I was all intrigued when a colleague told me about her Japanese acupuncturist, and I've now been there twice. It hasn't yet given me the immediate relief the Chinese one gave me, but I think it's pretty cool, so I'll keep going back. I'm not sure if that's the way one should be choosing an acupuncturist, but I never claimed to be rational. Here are three fun things about my new place:

1. I called to make an appointment, then told the colleague I booked with the man. "Oh," she said, "I forgot to tell you. There is no man. There are only two women. She just sounds and looks like a man, but she's really a woman." A Japanese version of Pat? Well, I spent every minute (two appointments of 1 1/2 hours) searching for evidence of his/her gender. Facial stubble? Yes. Breasts? Seemingly no. Adam's apple? Not readily apparent. After 3 hours, the jury was still out. Apparently my next career will not be as a circus carnie guessing age, weight, or even gender.

2. The colleague neglected to tell me how to find the place. I had an address, but when I got there, there was no sign outside, just a house with a strange little stained glass specimen outside. When I (rather bravely, if I may say so) went inside, the room to which I was taken upped the sketchiness factor significantly. Three walls were painted an angry red... hardly a soothing colour for a acupuncture clinic. But--get this--the other wall consisted of insulation stapled onto what appeared to be the original interior wall. Just the insulation. I'm going to go ahead and guess that no interior designer was engaged.

3. The colleague also neglected to tell me about what Japanese acupuncture actually entails. The Chinese kind was just 18 needles being placed in the same places, then me relaxing with them in. The Japanese kind immediately seemed more frantic and activity-filled. It began with a bunch of needles going into various places--different ones from the Chinese--but then took a turn when Japanese Pat started mixing herbs, rubbing them around the base of the needles, then burning them on my skin. Yes, burning. There was fire. If I wasn't already weirded out by that, then he/she started picking spots to press in my skin that really, really hurt, then pressing into a corresponding spot somewhere completely different on my body that brought the original pain to an end. A needle was then placed in the second spot. Apparently a lot of my pain-ending spots are in my scalp. I'm not sure whether that's normal or whether I just have a magical cranium. I suppose I could do some research on this but it's more fun to speculate.


RainyBow update [Wednesday]: Have a burn mark on my stomach today. It's big.

Monday, December 10, 2007

my weekend in the house of hell

So this weekend I decided to do a good deed. A close friend is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Just to give you an idea, here are a few of the stressors in his life:

- a wife who's got a "disease" (sorry, I can't help myself because it's one of those diseases only recognized by crazy people), is addicted to Demerol, and hasn't worked a day in seven years because she's too sick to get out of bed. She doesn't do anything. Really.
- a small child <1 year old which the aforementioned wife does little to help raise
- a brother who's addicted to various narcotic substances and is currently in jail for a litany of charges that are too disturbing to explain
- parents who've decided they want nothing to do with said brother, one of whom is an alcoholic and insists on driving drunk--while the other has decided it's not worth trying to stop her
- 2 large dogs (one 70 pounds and one 95 pounds) and 2 cats, one of whom is losing his fur from stress himself. Wife does little to take care of them either.
- a massive mortgage carried on one crappy salary
There's more but you get the picture.

I decided to be a good friend and tell him and his wife to get out of the house and away for the weekend. Yes, the wife is one of the biggest stressors, but I couldn't really get her out of the equation without being an ass, so this would just have to do. Here's how the weekend went for me:

Sat, 4pm: arrival. Cats and one dog are restless. Second dog (my little buddy) is so thrilled to see me he will not remove head from my knee. Child is amusing self with paper envelope.

4:30pm: Doing once-around of house. Terrified. The place reeks, the kitchen table has disappeared under mound of random junk, the kitchen counter is completely covered with dirty dishes (while the dishwasher sits empty), the sink is full of brown, standing water, and the fridge contains things that move. There is dinner for me in the stove and I am terrified of heating it up within that den of grime. The bathroom makes me gag. Wondering how human life can be sustained here. Briefly consider hiring cleaning person to come in for day as Christmas present, but realize that he or she would need to come for a week or two to even put a dent in this. Insanity.

5:00pm: Child and I are playing mind-numbing game. I make shapes pop out of game, she pushes them back in. I make more shapes pop out, she pushes them back in. She does not tire of this. May lose my mind.

5:30pm: To distract child from I.Q. sucking game, have now retrieved toilet paper roll from garbage and am balancing it on nose. Child appears to believe this is funniest thing ever. Belly laughter. Note to self that must come over and do this whenever self esteem is low.

6:00pm: Pack up child in Baby Bjorn. Child appears to be teething and unhappy. Am now covered in drool. Leave house to take dogs on walk. 95 pound-dog tries several times to tear my arm off. 70 pound-dog takes pity on me and gives her crap. Passersby find scene highly amusing.

6:30pm: Exhausted from 1/2 hour walk. Feed dogs and cats. Dogs gorge themselves and one cat munches disdainfully. Other cat refuses to eat. I take pity and huge chunks of fur come off in my hand. Cat is clearly very ill. Feed child. Thankfully, child appears to love food. No games are necessary, nor is much wiping. Joyous moments.

7:00pm: Place child in play area. Smaller dog approaches and pukes next to leg. Briefly consider not cleaning up puke since with house in this state, friends may never notice. Then dog begins to eat own puke so I retrieve cleaning implements. Strangely, they are not hard to find.

7:30pm: Back to playing mind-numbing shapes pop-out game. Contemplate whether my repetitive role in said game may cause carpal tunnel syndrome. This could lead to "disease" where could lie in bed doing nothing for years. Interesting option.

8:00pm: Child poops, changing child. Child apparently prefers to be naked. Changing proves to be more difficult than 108 piece swirls puzzle I tackled the night before. Stressed-out cat hisses at dogs. Dogs are frightened by apparition of furless, crazed cat and start barking. So much barking. Kill me.

8:30pm: Give child bottle, put child in bed. Much fussing.

9:00pm: Dinner, movie, snacks. Cat on lap, dog's head on knee. Send text messages to ensure sanity is intact.

11pm: Dogs restless. Strap on baby monitor and take dogs out to pitch black, creepy backyard. Neighbour decides to open back door while am outside and I practically crap my pants. Find amusement in fact that I am supposed responsible adult in this situation.

11:30pm: Alcohol. Needed some.

12:00am: Read some of book, drink tea. Cat back on lap, dog's head back on knee.

1:00am: Hit the sack. Concerned about level of cleanliness of sheets, so am wearing lots of clothes. Ick.

2:00am: Wake up. Eyes on fire. Run to bathroom and see in mirror that eyes are blood red and bags under eyes have swelled to give appearance of ogre. Eager to scratch eyeballs out. Would scream but am afraid to wake child. Dirtiest house in the world has caused massive allergic reaction (I know it is not animals as I have been tested and came up negative). Rummaging through bathroom drawers, looking for allergy meds. Panicking as it is late and cannot pack up child to drive to 24 hour pharmacy.

2:15am: Text any friend who may be awake at this time of night, hoping one will be bored, sober and take pity. One calls immediately and offers to deliver Benadryl. Fantastic, life-saving friend who I will cherish until the day I die.

2:30am: Thank friend profusely, tell several stories about evening, go back to bed.

3:00am-6:00am: Restless night. Little sleep. Bitterness level very high.

6:00am: Child screaming. Eyes have improved but still want to die. Need to get out of house of hell. Pack up child and dogs and head out for long walk.

6:30am: @^%$ cold. Cannot feel butt. Must go back to house and find warmer clothing. Am afraid to wear clothing as it too cannot be clean, but must preserve warmth to remain alive.

Wow, huh?

When my friends returned in the afternoon, I pretended all was well, as any good friend would do. They had a nice little weekend while I struggled to stay alive in their house of hell. Good deeds truly don't pay.


important information

Tonight, I got an email from my gas company that says the following:

Dear Customer

Inadvertently your recent November bill did not include some important information from Sears. This information has been attached for your reference.

Please accept our apology for this oversight.

Now, I'm not sure why Sears would be sending me some important information through my gas company or what this important information could possibly be, but I find it very curious. Perhaps there is some obscure insurance I don't yet have. The possibilities are endless. Needless to say, the information is not attached.


RainyBow note: I'll bet some poor sucker lost his or her job because said important information wasn't attached. Thank goodness for that.

vanity plates might as well say NOTKUL

I am on my way home and dude in front of me has license plate NKDBRNCH. Eeeeew.

I may cause an accident or two trying to get a look at him. 20 bucks says he's got a rug.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

scale hell

Well, I've had a long weekend babysitting. (Brace yourself for that complaint later, once I've had a chance to process.) I was really looking forward to a rare evening at home tonight, alone. After the last few disappointing books, I had a more promising one and some yummy snacks in hand.

I had just settled into my chaise longue (by the window, under a blankie) when the madness began. Piano scales. Now, I probably enjoy the piano more than the average human being. I played for over an hour virtually every day of my life from the age of around 5 until around 18. I studied piano theory, I passed the teaching exam, yadda yadda. So at the beginning the scales were somewhat enjoyable, as they brought back some fond memories. They also proved to be a bit of a quiz; for a while it was fun to name the key of each scale.

Well, now it's been a few hours and I'm ready to lose my mind. Who brings a piano into a condo building? And who practises scales for hours? Do these people not understand that they share every wall with someone else? There are plenty of keyboards you can get with headphones for these types of living arrangements... or you could buy a house.

I'm going to admit that I'm a bit of a crazy person. I've already complained to the concierge downstairs, left a voicemail for building management, spoken to one of my neighbours, and re-read the condo regulations to determine if this is indeed a recognized noise violation.

I'm giving up now and going out for a drink before I hurt someone.


Friday, December 7, 2007

i'm not sure my dorsal would enjoy "stamping"

I was thinking on my walk home tonight that I could really use a massage, when I stumbled on this sign.

You can tell me all you want that it will relieve fatigue, but I'm not sure I'd want someone to "push the oil" or "stamp on the dorsal." Just sayin.'


Thursday, December 6, 2007

now we're dropping full syllables?

In a meeting today, a colleague said, "Given that this is a top priority, I'll prolly be able to push it through."

Prolly?! Of course, I've heard "probly" spoken in the past, but never "prolly."

This is either due to laziness or a lack of pride in the language. Or maybe both. It's definitely not a case of the language evolving to meet modern realities, like the recent reigning in of hyphenation.

Whenever I rant about misuses such as this, someone inevitably comments that more people speak English as a second/ third/ fourth language than any other language in the world, which is supposed to explain some of the bastardization. But in my experience, those who learn later, who learn the language not just because it's there but because they've chosen to, are the ones who actually take pride in it and speak more correctly.

I vote we get ourselves some language police. Did you know the French refer to the members of their Académie française as "the immortals?" Yup, that more than a bit weird, but at least it's a sign of how much they value their language... prolly.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

a sure sign your day's gonna suck

I (stupidly) decided to turn up the hot water in the shower this morning. With shampoo on my head and running down my face, I couldn't really see, but I reached down and turned the faucet.

The hot water thingamajiggie came off in my hand.

Water everywhere. Hot water. It took much time and cunning to get it off, or at least sort of off. (Yes, I tried the main water switch but I couldn't budge the thing. Brute force is not exactly one of my attributes.) I'm glad nobody--especially small children--was here to see and hear me as it wasn't my finest moment.

I love home ownership. Now I'm waiting for the plumber...


RainyBow update (mid afternoon): I live next to a major hotel that's always teeming with activity. Today, staring out of my window in a moment of work boredom, I saw a procession of limos (20+) parking outside. Curious, I popped down to see what was going on. On my way back up (sadly, without even a tidbit of exciting information), a guy in the elevator with me hit the button for his floor, then spilled coffee all the way down the elevator buttons. This seemed to shortcircuit something and the elevator stopped. Not one of the buttons worked. Thankfully, we were able to get the concierge to restart the elevator manually.

Ridiculous day. Seriously. I'm afraid to go to my planned dinner out tonight.

Monday, December 3, 2007

facebook foolishness

My cousin got a puppy recently. Let me explain about my cousin first before I get into this post. She is quite possibly the vainest, most selfish person alive. She is also one of those people who is constantly complaining that she has no money and can't afford anything. You might be feeling sorry for her about now, except that she makes about $1oo/hr, has no kids, and her car is fully paid for. She lives in a apartment that is super cheap while she is waiting for her condo to be built. She's a label whore. A pauper she ain't.

All I have been hearing from her is how expensive dog food is, how she doesn't want to pay for a dog walker, how expensive it was to leave the dog for a week while we were away and on and on.

Anyhoo....Her sister was telling me that she got a 'poke' on Facebook from the dog. errkkkk. Rewind. I must have had a 'what you talking bout willis' look on my face cause she repeated herself. Turns out that the vain cousin has put up a Facebook profile for her dog. The dog sends email, updates his page, and has 29 friends. I am not making this up.

In case you need a refresher, I detest Facebook
. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why a dog needs a facebook profile; I have enough trouble figuring out why a human does. What is this world coming to.

For the record, my dogs do not have web profiles or email addresses.


RainyBow note: Ah, delightful facebook. Last week I was poked by someone I apparently went to school with when I was seven. I say 'apparently' because I recall neither his name nor the name of the person he says was our teacher, most probably because I was seven. At any rate, I clicked through to his profile out of sheer curiosity. Although I have no idea who this person is, it's great that he's gay, out and proud of it. His page is littered with photos of and references to his many conquests. This is lots of information, given that I really have no clue who he is.

(And I'm not gonna lie; I shuddered a bit, thinking of what a similar page would look like for me, should I ever succumb to facebook tmi syndrome. Ugh.)

another office convo: kissing gay strangers

OK, I know I goad her, but your-boyfriend-might-turn-gay colleague amuses me so. Here is today's conversation.

Colleague: You know, I had the strangest dream last night.

Me: Oh yeah, what happened?

Colleague: Well, I was in this Japanese restaurant sitting on the floor with no shoes on, you know, in one of those private rooms, and I was with these two gay guys and they kept trying to kiss me.

Me: Gay guys you know, or gay guys you don't know?

Colleague: Complete strangers.

Me: So was it a peck on the cheek or a stick-their-tongue-down-your-throat experience?

Colleague: The tongue thing. And I kept trying to fight them off but they kept trying to kiss me. [giggling] I wonder if that makes me gay.

Me: Well, I'm not sure it makes you gay, since you're a woman and you were kissing men. But it might make you transsexual.

Colleague [giggling]: Oooh, that's a good explanation.

Me: ...except that you've had biological children, which means it's impossible for you to be a transsexual.

Colleague [sadly]: Oh, really? That's too bad.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

ultramarathoning or candy?

Rash update: left arm all better, right arm improved but not quite there yet. I've eaten a lot of candy this weekend.

To get myself pumped up about (eventually) getting back on the road, I've been thinking about training for a new race next year. I did some research and found some pretty weird stuff. Did you know there are a handful of people who run a 3,100 mile race around one city block in Queens, New York, every summer? Yes, 3,100 miles, otherwise known as almost 5,000 km. They do this over 51 days, logging over 60 miles (yes, that's roughly 100 km) a day.

I'm breaking out into a bit of a sweat, btw, because this post is getting kinda math-test-stressful.

Every day, the crazy people start running at 6am and they stop at around midnight. And they keep circling the same block continuously, for the full 51 days. For added fun, this is in the summer, and NYC can get pretty darn hot.

Who the hell are these people? Seriously. I feel they should all come to my house, lie on one of my couches, and eat some candy with me. As I've learned over the past few days, candy is delicious. Running over 60 miles a day for 51 days is not.

It's called the Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race, which imho is a pretty crappy-sounding name when compared to Sour Patch Kids or Swedish Fish. The race is the brainchild of this guy, Sri Chinmoy,

sri chinmoywho was (he died recently) a meditation centre owner of Bangladeshi origin. The first fact you need to know is that he claimed he could live on 90 minutes of sleep every day and lift more than 7,000 pounds with each arm. The second fact you need to know is that he didn't seem to actually do the runs himself.

Candy, people. Delicious. And my couches are pretty darn comfy too.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

world AIDS day

I was lucky enough to be in South Africa earlier this year. I loved what I saw of the country, but also found it hard to visit a country so ravaged by HIV/AIDS. Experts estimate that somewhere from one in four to one in five people in the country are infected. Shocking.

There are so many frightening stats, too many to list. In a snapshot... About half of all deaths in the country, and 71% of deaths among those between 15 and 49, are caused by AIDS. Two years ago, there were an estimated 1.2 million children orphaned by AIDS, and over half of the country's 15 year olds are not expected to reach the age of 60. South Africans spend more time at funerals than they do having their hair cut, shopping or having braai (and they love their braai!).

These are shocking numbers for a country with the infrastructure and wealth of South Africa. I can only start to guess at some of the many contributing factors:
- social instability in a country that's been distracted by major political changes
- poverty amongst the large rural population who have little to no access to medical care
- something like 14% illiteracy
- a high incidence of rape, leaving women frequently in unprotected situations. Not that long ago, one in three women in the country reported being raped in the previous year
- the fact that the virus hasn't affected those in power, both politically and in business, as much as it has the rest of the population. Estimates indicate infection among whites is as low as 0.6%

Perhaps more fundamental is government inaction, compounded by ignorance among those in power. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence, President Mbeki may still not be convinced that HIV causes AIDS. His former health minister promoted a beetroot, garlic and lemon diet as a means of treating HIV. And his one-time deputy President publically stated that he showered after sexual relations with an HIV-positive woman, believing that this would reduce his chances of contracting the virus.

The tide may be turning; Mandela is now more of an advocate since his son died of AIDS in 2005. South Africa is also investing in a national advertising campaign, some of which I saw when I was there.

don't want HIV generation
But it's too little, too late, for so many people in South Africa. How sad, for a country that could have and should have done better for its people.

In unrelated medical news, I keep reading about this poor guy with his botched colostomy reversal. How much would it suck to have your surgeon mix up which which stuff comes out of which end? Did buddy miss that class at med school?


Friday, November 30, 2007

want an icy stare?

Sunny can give you the goods on this one - I ignore other drivers on the road. Before you freak out and call the DMV, hoping to get my license revoked, that doesn't mean I don't pay attention to other cars, it just means that I don't look at who's in them. After years of lewd gestures from truck drivers and teenagers, I started to drive in my own world. Because of this, friends and relatives commonly drive beside me for miles and I have no clue.

This morning, crawling in my car to work (people keep telling me that I commute against traffic, but I have yet to see that), I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. Thinking someone needed to change lanes, I looked over, ready to wave him or her in. Mistake. Some guy had his Treo out and his window lowered, and was gesturing to me to lower mine too.

What, did you want to beam me your business card? See if I can fix the problem you've been experiencing with wireless email? Show me the latest photos of your child? Or maybe you just wanted to show off your latest high score on snood?

I'm the first one to admit that commuting is boring, but I wish people would find ways to amuse themselves that don't involve me.


Thursday, November 29, 2007


(So much pressure to continue the one-word titles.)

Last week I went to another charity event and bought something at the silent auction. For this, I was handed a bag of (questionable) parting gifts. A lingerie club membership. A book about closets. A tube of lipstick. A gift certificate for money off a Botox injection. A complimentary one-year subscription to a newspaper.

I haven't subscribed to a paper edition of the news in about ten years. My lifestyle was very different back then, and I relished mornings spent poring over the stories with a pot of tea. Then my schedule went haywire and I could only read bits here and there. By the time I got to read some of it, the news was already old, and I started feeling guilty about all the trees I was killing. I discovered the news online and it was love-at-first-sight.

(Plus it doesn't help that the paper they decided to send me is the crummiest newspaper in existence that costs money. This paper, which shall remain nameless, doesn't actually employ more than a handful of journalists, but just buys all of its stories from Reuters or AP.)

So the newspaper was delivered every morning for almost a week. I actually procrastinated on leaving my house to go to work (dangerous, given the parking situation at the office these days). I dreaded opening my door and finding it there. I'm looking at the stack of papers while I write this and I don't think I opened a single one. Also, one morning the paper even woke me up when it slammed into my front door (which, btw, is located far, far away from my bed), so my gut says my delivery person may have some kind of anger management issues.

Yesterday I wrote in and begged them to cancel the delivery. This kind of stuff always takes days, so I opened my door this morning with the same feeling of dread. Miraculously, no paper awaited me.

It's small things like this that make life so good.



I am in the country where I was born to attend a funeral. Here are a few highlights of my trip since I left yesterday morning:

1. They no longer serve food on the plane - it's a 5 hour flight. You can purchase beef sandwiches for the low price of $6 if you feel like eating that at 9:30 in the morning. No thanks. I was starving when I landed.

2. You have to purchase a blanket if you want one. I was sitting in the exit row so it was extra cold but I refused to buy a blanket just on principle.

3. Halfway into the flight, I stood up between the pass-through to stretch my legs. A man walked by and reached out for me and then his eyes rolled back into his head and he collapsed. He then lost consciousness and when he regained it, threw up for 30 minutes straight. Despite the urgent calls to see if there was a doctor on board, none appeared. The flight attendant brought out the biggest first aid kit imaginable and tried to help him. I was sure we were going to have to make an emergency landing but they made him lie down in the last row and he was able to last the rest of the flight. I think he's ok.

4. We landed just after two gigantic planes from Europe so I spent an hour in the line up for customs. This foiled my plan of not checking luggage and breezing through with my carry-on.

5. My father picked me up and asked me if I wanted to go to A (where I was staying) or B (to visit). I said A because I wanted to nap, shower, and change before I had to go out later. He said 'why don't we go to B'. Great. Turns out, I didn't make it to where I was staying until midnight and I had been up since 5:30 for the early morning flight.

6. When I finally got into bed to go to sleep, my sister decided it would be the right time to have an msn conversation with who knows who. She tapped away for a good 20 minutes through my incessant pleas for her to go into another room. She doesn't have a drop of common courtesy in her body.

7. Migraine

8. I fell down the stairs this morning. I didn't just fall down the last stair, I fell down the full flight of stairs. My sister, of course, asked me to hurry up.

9. Funeral

10. Earthquake. 7.3. I could not make this up. We could barely stand up, much less run away from the house. It felt as if we were on one of those things where they make you stand on a surfboard and it moves all around. We stayed out on the lawn for a very long time, and even now, I'm right beside the door in case we get some more tremors.

I'm leaving tomorrow. Hopefully I'll make it home in one piece.


RainyBow note: Harumph. I'll stop trying to garner sympathy for myself while you're gone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I've got rashes. Nasty ones, running all over my armpits. Burning, itchy, on fire.

It's a running-related condition I get twice a year. In the spring, because of the return to tank tops for the first time in a while, the sweaty skin on sweaty skin chafes like crazy. In the late fall, man-made materials combined with sweat prove to be foreign to my skin again, rubbing and scraping. I've tried taping, I've tried Vaseline, I've tried creams. Nothing that's supposed to help actually works.

Last night, I attempted to sleep in the position of crucifixion, minus the crucifix, of course. It got more than a bit frustrating.

After a day of feigning normalcy at work, I've spent the night at home in my wifebeater, my armpits slathered in Gold Bond. I'm currently testing a new typing technique designed to minimize the rubbing action. It involves a strong elbow bend and some very challenging angles. This is going about as well as the crucifixion sleeping.

But the biggest problem with this rash isn't trying to get the regular stuff done. You see, I'm kind of addicted to the adrenaline of runner's high, and it's an addiction I've been indulging for a very long time. When I spent a week horizontal on my couch during spring rash season this year, I took up chain-smoking. The smoker's high was pretty damn good, although I smelled kinda raunchy and was wheezing a bit when I got back into running again.

I've promised myself I'm not going the nicotine route again. Tonight, on the way home from work, I stopped and bought one helluva lot of candy. I figure sugar's got to give me a high and it can't be too addictive, right?

So I'm writing this while munching on a delightful combo of chocolate and sour, chewy candies. Experience tells me I'm benched until about Monday. I think I had dreams about being an adult and eating ridiculous amounts of candy for days on end when I was a kid. It's good to accomplish your dreams, no?



The bad news: The scintillating SunnyShine is out of the country at a family gathering.

The good news: There will inevitably be more great rants under the "family obligations" tag upon her return.

Looks like I'll be flying solo until Sunday. Lately, I've gotten into the groove of posting daily so maybe this won't be so tough.

Am skeptical but optimistic.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

open concept work update

Note: I attempted to draw a diagram to make this post more understandable, but that went horribly wrong. I was going to add it anyway, just for fun, but decided it would only distract.

Here's my current work sitch, based on a N-E-S-W grid:

N: The printer. Thank goodness. My father would tell you it's the most dangerous element of my workday but, despite all the swearing, slamming and exasperated breathing that happens there, it is relative sanity.

E: A woman who's been my neighbour for years and has spoken no more than 50 words to me, total.

S: Watch-my-birth-video, I-follow-my-kids'-schoolbus, people-suddenly-turn-gay colleague. While she amuses me, she is indisputably a bit unhinged. Today, in the midst of our office, she lifted her shirt for me, right to the neck. I've never been so happy to see someone wearing a bra. She did this, she told me with a big smile on her face, to show me the contraption she's been wearing that allows her doctor to monitor her for a possible mini-stroke. Or something like that. The surplus of bare skin may have prevented me from grasping the full story. So. Much. Bare. Skin.

W: Previously occupied by guy who married a Cuban woman (still living in Cuba) and then proceeded to spend a year of his (and my) life learning Spanish at his desk and discussing the possible courses of action with a myriad of immigration lawyers, friends and colleagues in great detail. One day he just disappeared. He may be in Cuba, or maybe not. It was incredibly dramatic at the time but I lost interest quickly. My travel Spanish now rocks though.

Yesterday, a new woman claimed the ex-Guantanamo Bay area. Her name is Rachel Rackale or Sarah Sloane or something equally pretentious with a superfluous E on the end. We've yet to exchange anything beyond hello. And yet, over the last two days I've managed to learn this about her:

- the credit limit on her Mastercard
- the amount owing on her Amex
- her son has ADD
- her daughter is terrified of speaking in public
- she needs to drink coffee every day at 2pm sharp
- she's fighting with her mom over how to celebrate her dad's birthday this year
- who she hates at work.

Most importantly, I know that she uses 'xylophone' as an example of usage of the letter Z, as in "no, Z, as in 'xylophone.'"

Does it not seem wrong that I know more about these people than I do about my actual friends and family? And am I correct in my occasional suspicions that there is a small man hiding in my plant, filming all of this for a bad reality TV show? Are you all watching it right now?


care for a smothie?

This place moved in down the street from me in the storefront-where-nobody-can-sustain-a-business. Well, apparently the new owners are as bad at spelling as they were at researching the property.

I wonder if this new spelling with only one O indicates that it's only half as smooth as a smoothie?


Monday, November 26, 2007

i finally know how to relieve constipation

Went out with friend-of-the-34-hour-date fame. He's still dating the girl, and I think I heard something about it getting serious. I have to admit that I'm not quite sure as I blanked out several times during our conversation. I wasn't hammered or even remotely inebriated. As has been the pattern over years of friendship, tonight he was the girl, talking endlessly about his relationship, his feelings, his hopes and dreams and his biggest fears. I, on the other hand, was the guy, grunting, cutting in and out to my fantasies of the hot new guy at the gym (far too young but with a delightful devil-may-care look), and picking a little fight here and there to show I was still listening.

Now and then, I'm reassured that my buddy's still a guy when he gets on the topic of his beloved car. He'll insist on driving me to a pizza joint in a whole other city just to show off how his car handles varying driving conditions ("Look at how she takes this turn on the side road. See how this is different from the city streets we were on earlier?"). Then, the pizza will be a bit raunchy and "to make up for it," he'll insist on driving me to a completely different city for a drink. He cannot be convinced to park the car and walk somewhere for pizza and a drink in the downtown core of the city in which we live.

These days, my buddy's biggest obsession with his car is with the heated seats. As he will tell absolutely anybody, he's convinced that they rid him of constipation. That's right, in his mind, heat on one's backside is a catalyst for bowel movements. Tonight was nasty and rainy here, and when I went to turn on the heat for my seat, he cautioned, "Wait, do you really want to do that? You know what'll happen."

I told him I would chance it.

I've asked many times what scientific basis he might have for said theory, and he says it's trial and error. Huh?



SunnyShine note: This is complete crap. (hee) I love me a heated seat and I keep mine on all the time. I love them so much, if the heat thing ever broke and could not be repaired, I would have to go out and buy a new vehicle immediately. I'm not kidding. Never once have I had this heated-seat-related-bowel-issue. I think men are just sensitive to heat on their posteriors. My main 'mo has an issue with them as well; his old car had some kind of issue with the heated seats and he burned his backside. I still laugh every time I think of it. Whenever I drive his car, I turn the seats up to max and purposely leave it on for him. Good times.

RainyBow note: Burned his backside? Lmao. 34-hour-date boy must never hear of this.


SunnyShine note: Funniest-thing-ever. When you meet him, I'll get him to tell you.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

please, may i park in the royal parking lot?

I've been looking for a new place to live for quite some time. Not seriously, of course, because I'm extremely picky and nothing seems to be good enough. I can't live in a house because the yard would quickly fall into a state of disrepair and my neighbours would despise me. In the interest of not finding dead bunnies on my porch, I'm looking at condos and lofts. All in all, my current place is great, and I'm really not home enough to care, which is probably why the search is going so slowly.

Well, a new building is planned 4-5 blocks from where I currently am, and there is much associated fanfare. Prices skyrocketed before units ever went up for sale, and the building won't even be completed until 2011. Yes, 5 years from now.

I went to the grand opening today. The air reeked of desperation. People were scrambling to buy whatever they could. And the prices were stupid, along with the fact that you have to pay a significant amount upfront long before even the building's foundation is completed.

But the thing that makes me the most crazy about the building is the parking. Here is the situation:
1. you can't get a parking spot unless you spend a minimum of $840K on your unit
2. the parking spots (for those who are allowed to purchase them) cost $50K.

I just want to point out that I don't live in NYC, Tokyo or London. When I mentioned to the guy that I currently live 4-5 blocks away and parking in my building regularly sells for $20-25K, he scoffed and told me that my building was clearly not that prestigious.

So I guess the price tag for prestige these days is $50K (not to mention the associated more than $800K for a unit).



you wanna ride?

When I travelled on business the other day, I had checked in online and printed my boarding pass. Because I had checked in early, the gate number was not printed on the boarding pass. When I got through security, I walked to the digital screens to see which gate I had to go to.

As I was looking, I heard someone behind me say "You wanna ride?". I didn't pay much attention cause why would someone be asking me this in an airport terminal. I then heard the same question, only louder. I turned around to see a middle aged woman on one of those carts they use to drive older passengers, sick people, and unaccompanied children. She asked me again. I laughed and told her I was just looking for my gate and I was ok. She then commanded me to get on the cart so she could drive me. Commanded is the best word I can think of cause it didn't seem like I had a choice. Quite frankly, she scared me.

So here I am - perfectly capable of walking - being driven down the terminal by this crazy woman. I was mortified enough as it was and then she started honking the horn. Beep beep. Beep beep. She was making people jump out of the way during the entire ride. I was completely petrified that I would see someone I knew - EVERYONE in the terminal was looking. I'm sure they were wondering what terrible ailment I was suffering from. She pulled up and did a u-turn right in front of all of the people waiting at my gate. I saw a few smirks.


RainyBow note: I wish I could say that I called ahead to arrange this.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

tax on the poor

Yesterday, I went to a variety store to buy some mints to mask my garlic-laden lunch. There was another customer ahead of me at the counter; a man in his seventies or perhaps early eighties who was buying lottery tickets. I wasn't really paying much attention until the cashier told him it would be $122. I couldn't believe my ears. The man paid with a $100 cheque (already filled out) and $22 in cash.

Now, I don't know where you live, but here, you can't just walk into some place and pay with a cheque. I don't even think I could name a place that accepts personal cheques. This leads me to believe that this is a regular weekly visit for him and he has something worked out with the store owner.

Thinking about this man breaks my heart. Lotteries always prey on people who have less than others. They use fancy adverting to show you how much better your life would be if you won millions of dollars and could live on a yacht. You can't win if you don't buy a ticket. Hey, even better to buy several tickets to increase your chances. This is how the cycle starts. So, a man who is on a fixed income is spending $500/month on a dream. Is he skimping on food or heat to afford this? Ugh.



RainyBow note: If only you didn't despise gum so much. If you were a gum aficionado as I am, the wide selection you would have with you at all times would have precluded this yucky convenience store experience.

Just sayin.'

one month left, people

I just have to get through one month. That's all I'm saying.

so how do men ever get things done?

As I mentioned earlier, one of my car headlights burned out this week. Trying to get the stupid bulb replaced was a comedy of errors and I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that I finally got fed up late this week and took my car into the dealership.

I called ahead to ask if I could bring it in after 3pm. The woman on the phone said to bring it by any time in the afternoon before 4pm. However, when I arrived at 3:03pm, the place was a madhouse and the woman behind the counter said they just couldn't help me.

As I was about to leave, the man beside her took over. "Is it just one of your headlights?" he asked. "Yes," I said and gave him a helpless look, batting my eyelashes. "I've tried to get it fixed so many times and I just need my headlight to work. Is there any way you can help me?"

He offered to install it himself, so that I would only have to pay for the bulb. He then walked me out to my car and chatted me up while installing it. I smiled, thanked him and drove away.

I'm shameless. Over the years I've managed to get all kinds of stuff done by flipping my hair and batting my eyelashes, from getting oversized luggage on a flight at no charge to doubling the amount of butter on my movie popcorn (which, btw, didn't go so well because I put the bag on my lap and it drained out onto my jean skirt, leaving a nasty stain). But all of this leads me to wonder: how do men ever get things done?



SunnyShine note: Men throw money at the problem. 'Will $100 take care of it?'

Friday, November 23, 2007

it's like where's waldo for crazy people

Recently there was the towel, the fire in Poland and the seeds of an eggplant. There's never much time to wonder where someone's going to spot Jesus again.

This week some bored people in Florida found Jesus in a pancake. It seems fitting that that pancake was made from a mix bought at Wal-Mart, clearly my choice for holiest of holy stores.

jesus pancake
As the woman who first spotted the likeness told the interviewer, "I know it's Jesus and Mary. It's unmistakable." Apparently, the halo over one of the figures was the big tip-off.

The woman believes her deceased father was speaking to her through the pancake. She was nonetheless willing to sell the divine creation to the highest bidder on ebay, so perhaps her father wasn't saying much beyond hello. In the end, the pancake went to the top bidder for the bargain price of $29. As the writer of the article states, "religious images that hop out of the frying pan just don't get respect anymore."

Maybe not, but we'll keep posting 'em on complainaway....


SunnyShine note: I'm not sure if these people are bored, or if they're blind. I can't see Jesus in this pancake. Maybe they have x-ray vision or night-vision goggles (typed google again...hee) that help them view these things. I can only see a camel with two humps. Maybe I'm anticipating.....


RainyBow note: To me, it just seems kinda gross. Even when this was fresh, I think you'd still need to have paid ME the $29 to get me to eat it. Ick.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

motto i saw in a store today

Joy is a flower that blooms when you do.

(Really? What kind of people actually find this meaningful?)


princesses don't walk in the rain

It's been raining a lot lately. I have no problem with rain myself, but Princess The Dog feels it is beneath her to have to go out in the rain. Jethro The Dog, as you can well imagine, doesn't give a fig about what is happening with the weather, he's just excited for the opportunity to chase small 4-legged animals. I dread rain.

When I open the door and Princess assesses the rain situation, she starts to back up into the house. (Most dogs turn around but she enjoys backing up for some reason.) At the same time, Jethro has flown out the door and is pulling my arm out of the socket. I have to drag Princess out the door and down the street. I end up walking like a scarecrow with one dog pulling and the other dragging. She also makes these lovely choking noises to go along with the drag so I feel extra badly for her. Little does she know that I really don't.

Jethro always does his business right away. He has other things to do so he gets it over with very quickly. Princess is never fast to begin with, but when it rains, it's near impossible to get her to do anything. I stand there and reason with her but she doesn't seem to get it. If she got down to business right away, she could go right back inside to her comfy bed, but nope. Stubborn. Sometimes, we've had to spend nearly an hour getting wet before she decides to get on with it. We've gone through this song and dance for nearly 6 years but it hasn't changed. And, don't advise me to get her a coat cause I've tried everything. Clearly, I just need to accept it.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

ever heard of thirst?

Once a month I get together with a handful of people and engage in some heated debate. OK, I engage in debate quite frequently, but this is the same group of people, and the genesis is always a book.

This week we touched on whether cultural relativism is ever defensible, whether superpowers have any clue their dominance inevitably has an end date, and how the demise of face-to-face combat has changed the nature of war. It gets a bit animated because everyone who shows up is pretty bright, and the same woman always hosts at her place.

Sounds good so far, right? Now, here's the complaint: never once have I seen the host offer anyone food, snacks, a drink, or even water. Nor have I seen anyone else bring any such items, not even a take-out coffee. People sit in their designated seat and engage in debate for three hours at a time and nobody eats or drinks. Last time I brought a tea in a safe, lidded, take-out container and I think I saw a few frowns.

Admittedly, I'm not the normal house guest. I grew up in a decidedly-non-white-bread household where food was a huge part of any social gathering. I've learned not to expect everyone to serve a six course meal for anyone who crosses his or her threshold, the way my parents would. But having guests at your house for three hours, without even offering up some tap water just seems a bit gauche, no?

This group has predated me for quite some time (I've only joined in the last few months), so there may be some fantastic explanation for this dearth of food and drink. I've spent an embarrassing amount of time amusing myself with potential explanations. Perhaps a particularly heated debate provoked a nasty food fight, leading the banning of food into perpetuity? Or they discovered that half liked peanut butter, the other half chocolate, but no accidental combination of the two ever happened? Or perhaps the drinks were mysteriously spiked one night, leading to a strange round of strip debating? I could go on and on.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

all you need is... makeup

be yourselfForget spending tonnes of money on therapy and searching the world for your true self. Just get makeup!

Thankfully I found this sign today and am turning over a new leaf.

However, since every makeup brand will tell you to remove their product before going to bed, I do have to ask: do you wake up as something less than yourself? Or perhaps you wake up as someone else?



SunnyShine note: Isn't the goal to wake up with someone else?


RainyBow note: Hmmm... yes, but then what happens when that someone else wakes up next to you but you look totally different? Am puzzled. Need a girly girl to explain.


SunnyShine note: There are two possibilities. 1) He is gone by the time you wake up so doesn't have to find out. 2) He doesn't care because he has already gotten the proverbial milk. Why buy the cow....


RainyBow note: Hey, don't you have a friend who does absolutely everything in makeup? I seem to recall from the hot yoga discussion. Do you think her skin, under all that, still resembles skin?


SunnyShine note: I have no idea because I've never seen it. She even lived with a guy and he never saw her without makeup; I don't think anyone has. I'm not sure if she gets up to reapply in the middle of the night or what. I can tell you that she stopped by my house full of sweat after 3 classes at the gym, and even then, she had a face full of makeup on.

RainyBow note: Methinks she should win an award for that. It's freakishly impressive. I got made up for a wedding once (yes, the one where the make up artist actually drew in an upper lip) and I swear the gunk was all gone within the hour. Maybe one's skin must be trained-?

no force on earth can move this mountain

A good friend of mine is addicted to his car. Not addicted in the sense that he shines it every day or has given it a name; addicted in the sense that he will drive to the corner store instead of walking. As well, he is forever complaining about driving. He's a nervous Nelly and I hear daily stories about the idiots on the road and the horrible traffic he had to endure on the way to work. His commute is about 15 minutes through the city streets, against the flow of traffic. If there are 2 cars on the road with him on the way to work, I would be surprised.

Same friend would never lower himself to get on public transit. He boasts that he used to take it all of the time however I have yet to find any corroborating evidence.

We live not far from each other, east of the downtown core. Whenever I have things to do downtown, I take the subway or streetcar. You can park free at the subway on weekends or after 3pm so it is very convenient. Finding parking downtown and dealing with the traffic is not so convenient.

Last Sunday when I went to the ballet, I took the subway. When I got home that evening and was talking to my friend, he went off on a tirade about the traffic that day. Clearly, he knew that the Santa Claus Parade and two professional sporting events were on, so I wasn't feeling so sorry for him. Then, I made the mistake of asking him where he went. He drove right into the middle of downtown, into the area of the parade. I was stunned and told him he was an idiot. Then he started to say that it really wasn't that bad. Oh really?? Please. If he didn't bother to take transit downtown this past weekend, there is nothing could get him to do it. (BTW, the streetcar stop is right outside his door and the streetcar goes directly to where he was going.)


Monday, November 19, 2007

again with the global warming

Around these parts, we have full colour on our trees in October and, for the most part, all leaves have been raked and picked up by the beginning of November. I would just like to point out that the massive 70 year old maple tree in my back yard had not dropped one leaf until Saturday. Also, the leaves were completely green until the end of last week. In two days, all of the leaves turned yellow and then fell. It was raining yellow leaves in my yard all Sunday. Believe in global warming yet?

This gives me only 2 weekends two rake and bag all of the leaves before the city stops picking them up. Now, this may not seem like a difficult task, but my back yard is like a landing strip and the tree is gigantic. I usually take a few weekends and do it in stages. I don't like being under the gun for these tasks. Rainy has some sketchy mould allergy so she can't help. How convenient.


please don't call me at work

My father's one of the smartest people I know. He multiplies five digit numbers together in his head for fun. He disassembles then reassembles things just to see how they work. He loves physics and often drones on about the forces that cause objects to act in certain ways. However, he is unable to perform the basic yet essential task called listening.

This makes my dad officially the most frustrating movie companion in the world. Because he doesn't listen, he picks up on major plot revelations or twists long after every single other viewer, including small children and dogs. Halfway through E.T., he actually said, "Oh, I get it, E.T.'s trying to phone home." I wish I were kidding.

Although I have repeated the work phone rule 40 million times, he apparently has not listened to that either. The rule is this: I work in an open concept office and I listen to other people's personal issues ad nauseum. I know, in great detail, who is fighting with his/her spouse/significant other/child/parent/shrink/dog groomer/investment banker/hairstylist. This has become so tedious that I have begged friends and family to email or IM me if they need to reach me during work hours. In case of emergency, I've asked them to call my cell phone, so that I can take the call in a boardroom or on a walk outside the building. Under no circumstances are friends and family to call my work landline.

Today my father called my work landline. I immediately thought this to be the biggest emergency ever.

Me: What's wrong?

Father: Nothing, I'm just calling to see how your car is.

Me [forgetting that I had a brake job on the weekend and thinking that my dad had somehow divined that one of my lights had blown this morning]: Oh, well, you know, it's just a blown headlamp. I'm going to go pick up a replacement after work.

Father: Blown headlamps? Oh no! You didn't drive to work, did you? You can't be driving around with no lights. You're going to get hit! Tell me you didn't drive yourself to work. You need to get the car to a garage. DON'T DRIVE ANYWHERE.

Me [cringing at my obvious error and trying desperately to get out of this conversation that is clearly descending into my father's usual paranoia. Also conscious of the fact that every one of my work neighbours is listening to my end of this conversation]: Dad, stop talking for a second and listen, please. I said ONE blown headlamp. It's my front left. Everything else is still working, OK?

Father: I can't believe you drove to work! What were you thinking? Your car is clearly broken! I saw you on Saturday and all of them were working and all of a sudden you have no lights! You need to take your car in! There is something wrong and you're going to get killed on the roads! You need to leave work now!! Drive your car to a shop near me right now and I'll come pick you up.

Me [voice rising in frustration]: You're NOT listening. I said that ONE light has blown. I'm only missing my front left headlamp. I'm going to pick up a new one.

Father: What do you mean "going to pick up??" You CAN'T drive like this. I can't believe you're telling me this. What's wrong with you? You never listen to me. You think the rules don't apply to you. You're going to get yourself killed and then we'll see who's right!!!

Me [practically yelling, and speaking very, very slowly]: You're the one who's NOT LISTENING. They're ALL working EXCEPT ONE. Everything is FINE. Please LISTEN to me. ONLY THE FRONT LEFT IS BROKEN.

Father: Oh, it's only your front left headlamp? Well, you can just stop by the store and pick up a replacement. That's no big deal. Why didn't you just say so? And you don't have to yell at me, you know.

Me: I have to go. Bye.

In typical open concept office style, three people came by afterwards to chitchat about this conversation. One said, "Wow, I've never heard you raise your voice like that before. That had to have been family."

Why, dad, why?


Sunday, November 18, 2007

foiled by foil

I attended the ballet this afternoon. I'll steer away from complaining about hordes of people taking the subway downtown to see the Santa Claus Parade. I'll also steer away from complaining about the Santa Claus Parade itself.

This post is about gum. More specifically, the fact that it is now pretty much exclusively packaged in the noisiest foil packaging ever. What happened to the quieter paper packaging? I miss that packaging.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that I hate gum. I hate seeing people chew it. I hate HEARING people chew it. I hate it when people talk to me while they are chewing it. I hate hearing people snap and pop gum. I find it cheap and tacky and I use it to judge people. Don't hate. We all have our things and this is mine. I'm sure you have skeletons in the closet too. (Have I posted about this hatred before. I might have. Who can remember?)

Today at the ballet, everyone seemed to need gum approximately 5 minutes after the beginning of the production or 5 minutes after the end of the two intermissions. (OMG, there is a Dentyne Ice commercial on right now. First visual is a piece of gum popping out of foil. Princess has just kissed frog with fresh breath. Gum is haunting me. grrr) Why they couldn't manage to pull out the plastic and foil package during the 15 minutes of intermission (x 2) is beyond me. Do you have any idea how loud and annoying those gum packages are while you are hearing Chopin and watching two dancers dance a Jerome Robbins piece? Where have the manners gone? At the very least, they could have waited for some clapping during the piece and quickly taken a piece then. Selfish.


RainyBow note: You have most definitely posted about this before. I, on the other hand, am in a permanent state of gum DEFCON 1, on alert with maximum readiness to fight random gum cravings. I normally carry 4-5 packs of gum, with a full array of flavours from fruity to minty. Most days I'm good with just Chiclets Sours, the greatest gum ever invented (except that I don't love the weird blue flavour, and I'll actually open the packages to ensure I buy the ones with the fewest blues).

My most similar (and way less rational) pet peeve is with people who eat tomatoes like they're apples. You know, those people who'll bite into a tomato and let the juice run down their chin? Ick.