Friday, June 27, 2008

back on wednesday, and hopefully in one piece

I'm off to do some camping and whitewater kayaking. Unfortunately, once my adrenaline kicks in, it makes something in my brain believe I am invincible. With any luck, I'll come back with some stories, and all of my limbs intact.

Happy weekend.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

what does mugabe have on mbeki?

I wish someone would explain it to me.

Robert Mugabe's biggest allies through some pretty dark times have actually started to condemn him-- take Tanzania's Mkapa, Ghana's Rawlings, Uganda's Museveni and the British monarchy, for example--but South Africa's Mbeki just won't go there. I feel rage when I read this ANC statement:

It has always been and continues to be the view of our movement that the challenges facing Zimbabwe can only be solved by the Zimbabweans themselves. Nothing that has happened in the recent months has persuaded us to revise that view.

Mugabe has spent almost 30 years as President, pillaging, torturing, murdering and destroying Zimbabwe, and the opposition in the country still hasn't been able to expel him. What more proof does Mbeki need to revise his view?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

i hope their business cards say this

moving across the street
I'm not sure what verb they think they're using here (to patrionate?), but good on them for not letting the pesky problem of trying to find a real word stop them from thanking their customers.

Monday, June 23, 2008

call me an intellectual snob....

Heck, I do it all the time.

Last week a friend took me to the opera. I love the opera. This one was a French piece I had never heard live before, at a theatre I didn't even think existed anymore, and with an orchestra I had never heard before, so it was exciting and new. They pretty much had to bomb it for me not to like it.

Well, the first act started and o.m.g.

Well, the opera wasn't actually in French but translated into English. For real, people? Can the audience not just read the synopsis, follow along with the acting and then enjoy the music as it's supposed to be enjoyed?

But then it got worse. They actually abridged what I guess someone deemed the boring parts. God forbid the audience should be forced to sit through a part with a bit less action and excitement, even for a moment. The soloists talked through some made-up dialogue to advance the action.

And even more horrific... every one of the soloists spoke in his or her normal voice, with the exception of one of the men, who actually faked a French accent. A really, really bad French accent, the kind that makes six year olds laugh.

In what other place would an audience have to endure not just translation and abridgement of an important work of art, but also an insulting attempt at humour at the expense of another culture?! Argh. If I didn't believe in the dumbing of America before, I certainly do now.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

do i need to put a lock on my closets?

Yesterday I put on a pair of pants I haven't worn since last summer. It seems a pencil bandit struck at some point between the last wearing and yesterday. This is a close up of the left leg of my pants.

Hello to you too, pencil bandit, and thanks for not using permanent marker!

Now I have to embark on a pencil bandit unmasking mission.

Monday, June 16, 2008

the (corn) horror, the horror

I love corn on the cob.

I despise buying corn of the cob at the grocery store.

OK, so nobody wants to buy rotten corn. I hear that. But once you tear the husk open a tiny bit, you can predict with pretty good certainty whether that cob is good, bad, or ugly. And yet people--seemingly normal people--feel the need to rip all the husks off in the store to determine that every square milimetre of the corn is good. Like the $0.30 per cob (or whatever it is these days) is a ridiculous amount of money if that cob has even one kernel that isn't at its peak. Or like putting the effort into eating around a kernel at dinner might spoil the entire food experience.

And so now I feel strangely guilty buying corn, even though I'm not one of the crazy people (well, at least not one of the crazy corn-buying people). I feel badly because there's always some poor sucker employee who seems to be tied to a stake in the corn area by an invisible rope, poised with implements to clean up the inevitable corn detritus. I can't help but think what that poor person must do when he or she leaves work and tries to go to his or her happy place, wherever that might be, and inevitably some random cob of corn pops up. Tonight at the grocery store, I felt the need to say to the poor guy, "At least it's seasonal here." He didn't look as if he could summon up the strength (or the sanity?) to reply.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

guilt trips should be reserved for the guilty

So today I got up super early for a running date, showered and picked up a friend to go hiking. I got home from hiking, showered, then went out with friends for an early dinner. I got home at 7:30.

Today coincidentally was Father's Day. I spent a day with the parents last weekend so didn't feel the need to visit today. My plan was to call after I got home from dinner when I could actually talk to my father, rather than just yelling out "happy Father's Day" and having to hang up. And let me just reiterate that I got home at 7:30, which I think is a respectable time to call one's father on Father's Day.

Well, apparently that was not good enough for my mother, who felt the need to call me at 5:00 today and ream me out. "It's clear that you don't love your father," she barked at me.

I give up. I am a bad child.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

wherefore art thou, language that i understand?

This evening I went to see a production of Shakespeare, performed in a myriad of South Asian languages.

I don't understand any South Asian languages.

Longest. Play. Ever.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

my parents will drive me to drink

I visited my parents this weekend. You know, my parents the compulsive alarmists. Now, I must state for the record that they are fabulous people and that I love them. However, sometimes they make me want to scream loudly, into a pillow, for several minutes at time.

Although my parents are complete alarmists when it comes to me and my life, they seem to enjoy rolling the dice when it comes to their own well-being and safety. I think I've complained before about how they have a shack in the bush at which they pass much time in the summers, and they refuse to get a phone. Not just a landline, they also refuse to get a cell phone. They tell me that if anything happens, they can always go to the house next door. Getting to that house actually requires sturdy shoes and I swear there are cobwebs in their front door. Of course, the distance and absence of signs of life does not bother my parents one bit.

Here is the latest conversation that made me want to poke my ears out:

Me: Hey, mom, what do you have on your nose?

Mother: Oh, no big deal. I had a pre-cancerous spot on my nose that the dermatologist had to burn off.

Me: Pre-cancerous? What?

Mother: Oh yeah, you know when your father and I were away we spent a lot of time in the sun. I thought since I've never burned in my life that it would be OK to not wear sunscreen. But then this happened.

Me: You were out in the sun all the time and you didn't put any sunscreen on, even on your face?

Mother: I don't know what you're getting so upset about.

Me: Pre-cancerous, mom. C-A-N-C-E-R.


Monday, June 9, 2008

things that have been said to me in an elevator, vol. 2

On Sunday I ran into my friend down the hall of just-borrow-my-Porsche fame. It's been a while, and I think he's been working on the lines. Here are my top 3 bits from this encounter. Keep in mind that this was all said (amongst other things) in an elevator over the space of about 20 floors. Also keep in mind that he is not someone anyone should take dating tips from, ever.

Mr. Porsche: OK, so for a second I thought you were with that guy who got into the elevator with you.
Me: That guy?
Mr. P.: Yeah. But then I thought about it for a minute and realized that no guy who was with you with any brain in his head would ever actually leave his apartment.

Mr. Porsche: Hey, I think you've got some new muscle.
Me: Thanks, but I actually lost more weight over the last couple of months. Boo.
Mr. P.: Well, if you'd just take all your clothes off, we could settle this once and for all.

Mr. Porsche: Wow, it sure is hot out, huh?
Me: Yeah. I love the heat.
Mr. P.: I just run the AC all the time on days like this. I can't stand to be outside.
Me: Too bad. You must hate summer.
Mr. P.: Ah, it doesn't matter. Nothing that I want to do to you involves being outside.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

i'm like medusa but with bugs

Yesterday I went on a long hike outside of the city. Nobody thought to warn us that the park we were in is a cesspool for mosquitoes at this time of year. Even with deet I got swarmed. Crappy West Nile virus is an asymptomatic infection so for all I know, one of those suckers may have passed it on to me. Argh.

At any rate, I got back in time to shower before heading to a concert. I put my hands in my hair to work in the shampoo and pulled out some dead bugs. I guess I slapped my head a bunch of times to stop them from biting me and they died and stuck to my scalp.

It's hard to gross me out but this was pretty icky.

Friday, June 6, 2008

flying to meetings is ass

Today I flew to another city for a 1 1/2 hour meeting.

I wasn't even the presenter at the meeting; I was merely one of many attendees. After my long morning of fighting traffic to get to the airport, waiting for my flight, getting on and sitting through my flight, and finding a cab and fighting traffic to get to the meeting, I could only think of how ridiculous it all was. My carbon footprint had grown, my company's purse had shrunk, and my patience had been strained - all for a meeting that could easily have been held by netmeeting or video conference. And I wouldn't have been forced to look at the presenter's icky sweat stains (which, btw, were both large and numerous).

Today's one happy event occurred when I was killing time before getting back on a plane. Thanks to some idle time-killing shopping, my house key is now garnished with this fantastic loungefly key protector (yes, that's a little bit of Florence in the background).

loungefly key protector
I've been flashing it around like it's some sort of Olympic gold medal. So far nobody's given me much of a reaction, except maybe the small child who stopped crying to squint his eyes, then managed to focus on the loungefly, and then started crying even harder. But he was like 8 months old and wearing a raunchy velour one piece outfit, so I'm not sure anyone should be listening to his pronouncements on design.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

maybe janez drnovsek wasn't such a crackpot

OK, bad dating choices are us. Normally though, I'm not masochistic enough to confront those bad choices in the flesh once it's over. Something possessed me this evening to break that rule and spend time with an ex from ages ago.

Said ex asked how I was doing. I gave some fluffy answer about trips I've recently taken, volunteer work I've been doing, and a course I've been taking. And then I decided to be honest and ranted a bit about the torment I'm experiencing in the materialistic world that surrounds me. I figure any self-respecting human being would at least try to empathize.

Instead, buddy cut me off with, "Wow, you look really sad. Why don't you tell me a funny story? That'll cheer you up."

Oh yeah, that's a great idea. I should tell you a story that would amuse you in order to make myself happy. Not surprisingly, the night never recovered after that.

Why aren't people allowed to just be tormented once in a while? Do I need to become a Slovenian hermit to be honest about how messed up I think things are?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

rampant materialism, continued

Lately I've been a bit traumatized by the materialism running rampant in my work and social circles. I'm not sure if it's gotten worse, or whether I've just become more intolerant. Last week I listened to a friend lament that the rock on her engagement ring (given to her by the man she lives with, whom she adores) wasn't worthy of her. Tonight this conversation occurred over drinks at a friend's house:

Friend #1: Well, we've been talking about having a second kid. It would be great for our little one to have a sibling, but, you know, Mark really wants his Jag.

Me: [swearing under breath after friend #2 kicked me under the table]

Friend #2: [laughing nervously] You're joking, right?

Friend #1: I guess so. I mean, yeah. Kind of.

For the unborn child's sake, I really hope they opt for the Jag.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

i was wearing jeans and a tshirt

Last week I went to one of the first showings of Sex & the City. In a word: horrific. But it was boring horrific. Not worth writing about.

Let's talk instead about the people who went to this movie.

Everywhere I looked there were women in dresses, tottering in high heels and scaring small children with up-dos and truckloads of make-up. Some were more dressed up than I think I've been for weddings (and I'm no slouch). And then I heard this from behind us:

Chiquita #1: Omg, like that dress is just awesome.

Chiquita #2: I know. I went out last weekend to find something perfect for tonight. And the best thing is that I think I might actually be able to wear it again.


What kind of ridiculous life do you lead when you think it's normal to purchase a new dress just to wear to a movie?! Newsflash, people: over 30 million people starve to death in the world every year. And you're dressing up to sit in the dark and stare at a movie screen.


Monday, June 2, 2008

a hate-on for the help desk

I work in a big corporation. As such, two things must be true:

1. Getting a hold of the computer help desk is an event to be celebrated. If the help desk calls and offers to help, one never, ever hangs up. A calendar page will need to be turned before the help desk calls again.

2. Layoffs are always handled so poorly that all productivity screeches to a halt.

My computer has not enjoyed the time since I last wrote. One day, when I thought I could not handle another moment of mind-numbing motherboard frustration, the help desk finally called. Unfortunately, on this same day, layoffs were rampant in my department.

All morning, my work group (divided among a few cities) had been monitoring who was still at work and who had been laid off by checking to see who was still online. If someone went down, the phone calls began. If the phone wasn't answered, reconnaissance missions were sent to his or her desk to see if he or she were still in the building. Names were flying.

In the midst of this, my help desk friend said he needed to log on to my computer to help me solve my problem. And so he took me down.

Two minutes later - no tall tales here - my phone began to ring. Of course, I was on the line with the help desk and completely unwilling to even look at the hold button.

Then the people started coming to my desk, pale faced. They saw me still sitting there, laughed nervously, and walked away.

OK, so this was funny, right? But it's also a bit messed up.

lost my blogging mojo there for a while

Sunny lost all interest. I started a great new volunteer job. I've been working out at a crazy new gym. I've also been recovering from working out at a crazy new gym. My computer crashed. The weather got better and I've been out on some great hikes. I've taken on a new role at work and I'm so busy my eye started twitching last week.

Enough with the excuses.

Thanks to all of you who wrote me emails which I never answered. That was quite rude, and I apologize. But I needed to come back on my own.

I like this blog. I like the blogs I used to frequent (probably yours, if you're reading this). I'm back. I may make some changes to structure or something, now that this blog is all mine. Suggestions are welcome.