Saturday, December 24, 2005

'Tis The Season To Sit In One's Own Filth.

Today I didn't shower. I didn't get dressed. I don't think I even brushed my hair. Nope, I didn't, I discover after trying to run my fingers through it. The closest thing to person hygene today was a quotidian tooth brushing.

I bought 6 movies yesterday at Blockbuster for the grand total of $40, and I watched three of them today while I sat and knit. Knat. Knitted. Anyhow, I watched Birth, with Nicole Kidman, which was a solid ok in my books. I also watched the remake of The Goodbye Girl with Patricia Heaton and Jeff Daniels. I still prefer the original with Richard Dreyfuss. This one wasn't very different from the original film at all. Well, they're both adaptations of a Neil Simon play, so I guess they wouldn't want to stray too far. Finally, I watched Charlie Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux, which I'd seen before, but couldn't pass up on sale. None of my family members recognised him out of his Tramp costume. I mightn't have either.

Tomorrow I'm going to (a) shower, (b) get dressed, (c) venture outside. I think I'll visit my long-lost roommate Jeremy while he's in town.

Monday, December 19, 2005


I arrived at the airport at about 8:45am. My flight was at 9:45am. The serpentine queue was filled, and I couldn’t find my confirmation number that would allow me to check in at the speedy kiosks. After digging for a minute or two, I decided I had enough time to wait out the line. I swung my bag to the end of the line, and who was there but a hometown celebrity who used to make my heart go pitter-pat. No, I’ve never flown with him before, which excludes the now-married (!) J.Mo. (Jimmy Morris, star of the UPEI Varsity Men’s basketball team). (God, that time I flew on the same plane as Jimmah he was wearing a pair of utterly disgusting jeans. Not quite dirty denim, but close to that wash, with insane OCD-rubbing distressing on the front and back of the thighs. I still kinda thought he was dreamy, but those jeans sure did take the shine off.)

This time it was the ever-lovely Mike Ross. I hadn’t seen him in a long time. Well, no – I guess I saw him briefly on-stage in the Charlottetown Festival production of Canada Rocks! this past summer. He was with Nicole, who I assume is still his girlfriend, if not his wife or some state in between. I sorta knew her from the UPEI music department. They both remembered me, if not my name, by association with the UPEI Wind Symphony and the Charlottetown Festival.

I used to have a big crush on Mike Ross. (Never just Mike – there are too many Mikes in my life to not differentiate.). I can still see why. He comes across as so kind. Sure, the fact that he’s mind-blowingly talented doesn’t detract. There’s something about brown eyes for me. I don’t really know a lot of people with brown eyes, so I find them very striking.

Anyhow, the three of us chatted about what we’re all up to (Mike’s acting in Toronto and Nicole is an accompanist at the U of T, and I’m an unemployed under-entertained Renaissance Woman, but you already knew that) and then conversation petered out. Great. A couple more twists of the serpentine with one of my non-celebrity mind husbands (who I’m pretty sure couldn’t remember my name), his girlfriend/wife, and nothing left to say. Still, it made me fuzzy inside to see people I knew so early in my homeward-bound travels.

Brokeback Mountain.

Ang Lee is not a director. He is a painter.

Brokeback Mountain is one of the most bitter-sweet movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a story of love that can’t be, but not in a Montague and Capulet kind of way. These two men are so trapped in their lives and times and circumstances, it’s a pity.

I wish the story wasn’t getting so much media coverage for being about “gay cowboys.” Why isn’t it billed as a love story? These two characters are stuck in stereotypically super-heterosexual roles, but their relationship doesn’t become a spectacle. It’s not like this a porn featuring the Village People.

I won’t go into the plotline, because the trailers don’t give it all away and I want others who see this to have the same experience that I did.

Heath Ledger is already being focussed on as best actor in all the awards nominations that have been announced. He is, I suppose, the main character – Ennis. His stoic sensitivity is heart-breaking, and he’s put on a mumble that would put Vito Corleone to shame. His character is engaged when the story starts, and has two children soon after (with his wife, playing by Michelle Williams, who is great, and not just because he’s from the Crik.).

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jack. Sometimes I can’t decide if I think this guy is handsome or not. Jack marries later than Ennis and indulges in homosexual encounters when he’s not on “fishing trips” with his buddy. (Both wives are perplexed by the dearth of trout upon their husbands' returns.) Jack is not as meek as Ennis, and his sexuality is sometimes beyond his control. I think his character is just as compelling as Ledger’s, but I suppose he is in a more of a supporting role – a bottom, if you will.

Please see Brokeback Mountain. Movies like this are rarely made (hell – the script for this has been shopped around since 1997!) and it is an excellent opportunity to see wonderful, heartfelt performances. Ang Lee’s directing was fantastic. He seems to be especially sensitive to textures. One of the first shots is of mountains and foothills early in the morning. Whereas with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon he might have worked with greens and Sense and Sensibility was all pinks and greens and haze of the English countryside, there were a lot of muted neutrals in this film. Layers of grey mountains, entire screens of creamy sheep, and shadow and focus went a long way in setting the mood of the story. Breathtaking.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Some Serious Movie Watching. And Some Silly Ones, Too.

Holy cow, there's nothing as good as visiting Holly and John to get my movie prescription filled. What have I watched since I arrived? Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters, for one. I like Allen movies. Little character studies. Me likey. Holly wants to make brain babies with Woody, and I don't think there's much wrong with that.

We also watched The Cocoanuts and the previously-mentioned Duck Soup by the Marx Brothers. Both are very good. I can see why people were so influenced by them.

We all watched The Seven Year Itch, which I avoided seeing for years because I thought it was all about Marilyn Monroe and thought it would be annoying. It most certainly was not. It was excellent and I would whole-heartedly reccommend it to all.

John and I watched Star Wars Episode III, which is fitting since the other two times I've seen it was with him (and Mike and Holly and Mark, besides him, but John is now the one common denominator).

Then John and I watched the original Boris Karloff Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. I fell asleep in the last minutes of Bride, and therefore missed her, since we apparently don't see her 'til the end. Weird, huh? It reminded me of Rosemary's Baby when she wasn't even freakin' pregnant until 45 minutes in. Jeez.

I think that's it, but that's really a lot of movies in a short span of time. Holly is now working hard on her last paper, and John is done. I still want to see The Believer, but I don't know if I'll watch it before I leave for Toronto this afternoon.

Friday, December 16, 2005


I forgot earlier: If anyone cares to/can, can someone tape SNL for me tomorrow? I think Jack Black, a.k.a my lame summer crush of 2004, is hosting. Last time he was on was good, and this season is already a lot better than it has been in recent years.

The Circuitous Route Home.

I’m now in KW with Holls and John. John’s off writing an exam and Holly just finished her second-last paper of the term. Last night we watched Duck Soup for the first time. It was excellent. Holly keeps watching movies with me that turn out to be hilarious. Actually, I had wanted to see Duck Soup for quite some time. Groucho Marx’ character reminded me so much of Hawkeye Pierce. Oh, Hawkeye.

The train ride up was long, but good. I took the cue of the Will character from About A Boy. He fills his day with 30-minute units of time. I filled the 7-hour ride with 30-minute units of reading two books, jotting in a notebook and knitting a scarf for my sister. I wrote a short story about a cute guy sitting kitty-corner to me, and I had a talk with a cool lady from England who is a food critic for the Toronto Star. My butt didn’t fall asleep, but my knees started to ache from keeping them at a constant 45-degree angle.

On Sunday, I’ll head into Toronto for a supper with Marianne, sleep at her place, and not miss my flight home to Charlottetown on Monday morning. If I say I’m not going to miss my flight, then I won’t miss my flight, right? Positive thinking, yo.

I don’t know what we’ll do today. John has to study for another exam that’s up tomorrow, but I think we’ll walk up to the grocery store and get some foodstuffs. Then we’ll, oh, I don’t know… watch movies, or tv, or play games or whatever. I dunno.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Salt In The Wounds.

Did you know that the medical term for uncomplicated acne is acne vulgaris? Now, at 26, I understand its etymology – vulgaris means "common" or "ordinary" in Latin. We see that in the common Latin translation of the Bible, which was called "The Vulgate." It is the root of our word "vulgar," which now mostly means rude or indecent.

Now imagine you are 13 years old, unread in Latin, and staring at your first prescription bottle of topical acne treatment.

Talk about insult to injury.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

This Is Not Here.

It’s not even funny: I was debating the virtues of writing tributes on an anniversaries (especially ones that can be divided by five, i.e., the most important ones), and I turned on, as I often do. The first song they play (as I type this) is "The Ballad of John and Yoko."

It seems too "done" to write about John Lennon. I normally probably wouldn’t, because I hate doing things that are "done." But, this year, I’ve found my mind wandering to his death quite often. Strange, I suppose, considering he died before I could speak, or, more importantly, sing. Maybe that makes it harder - my generation was cheated. I guess it shouldn’t make me any sadder than any other person shot to death when he or she is 40, but I don’t know them. I didn’t have a relationship with all those others. I had a relationship with John Lennon. I still do. I intend to in the future, and my kids will have relationships with him, too. I think that’s the best I can to for a tribute.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Catherine On The Aisle.

I got to see three moves when I was rockin’ the Tdot. This is fewer than I would have liked, but I suppose there is something to be said for getting "fresh" air, too.

I mentioned in an e-footnote (comment) that I’d seen Walk the Line. It was good, indeed. I do not know Johnny Cash music, and I’m not really running out to get any, either, but I had "Jackson" stuck in my head for the rest of the day (you can ask Marianne – she wanted to deck me). I would recommend this movie if you were already wanting to see it, but I wouldn’t nag and bug too much if you didn’t intend to in the first place. Maybe biopics just aren’t for me. Last year, Ray was good, but I didn’t poop my pants over that one, either. Monster? Pass the prozac. The only one I can think of fondly is Ghandi.

If my internet was hooked up, I’d investigate Cash’s music, but I’m not invested enough to invest. You can download a lot of stupid crap and not be yolked with the lasting physical evidence of your dalliance. For example, I have two (2) songs from "Annie" in my computer but I’d never dream of buying the actual CD.

Back to the aisle:

Next, Marianne, Martin and I saw The Squid and the Whale, a smaller-feeling film about a family that is taking a beating through a particularly nasty divorce. Jeff Daniels is the dad and Laura Linney the mum. There are two sons, one 16 and the other 12ish. The parents both have PhDs in English Lit. He was the writer of the couple, but her recent first attempts at writing have been gloriously received. His new manuscripts are all turned down. The spotlight has shifted. She’s had an affair. He’s manipulative and stoops to manipulating the children. The oldest son takes after the father (uncaring and verbally abusive toward his sweet girlfriend), and the youngest son prefers the company of the mother (oh, and he also prefers humping school furniture and, um… anointing lockers).

I know the whole situation sounds like a real downer, but there are moments of comic relief that come out of real life. I think it’s the smallness of the story that makes it so meaningful. A mundane sad thing, a nasty divorce, is so close, emotional and intimate, that the scale is more palatable. Perhaps that was my problem with Walk the Line; it tried to cram too much life into two hours. There was still a lot of story in The Squid and the Whale, but the scope was smaller.

Finally, we went to see one of The Clooney’s movies, Syriana. I have no idea where to start. This is basically because I have no idea what this movie was about. I think there was a plot, but I lost the thread of understanding in the first 10 minutes. Who was good? Who was allied with whom? Where was money going? Why did they beat up my Clooney? If you want to see this movie, might I suggest reading a synopsis first? Maybe you’re cleverer than I am, but I like it all spelled out for me. Syriana’s no Fellini, but still, I was lost. Different strokes, I guess.

This morning, O Brother, Where Art Thou? was on TV. Jeez, I love that movie. Music, Clooney, the Sirens, a mass baptism, a Cyclops and a muse, a cool sepia/dusty look washed over the whole film… Ahh… it cleansed my confused Clooney palate. I remembered why I loved him. The quirkiness, the smile, the Dapper Dan.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Can You Hear That Whistle Down The Line?

I got back from rockin' the T-Dot yesterday. I took my first Canadian train journey! It was very pleasant, really. I liked it a lot. And the husband of the lady I sat next to from Toronto to Kingston went to med school with my father at McGill in the mid sixties! How cool is that? That's kinda like the time I met a guy in St. James Park (or was it Hyde Park? on that bridge anyway...) in London, who went to school with Amanda Gallant at UBC. Lawrence, his name was.

So, here's the plan for me coming home for Christmas. On the 15th, I am taking the train again, this time up to Kitchener-Waterloo to visit Holly and John. Then, on the 18th, I head into Toronto to spend the night at Marianne's so I can get an early flight to Charlottetown on the morning of the 19th. Then I shall frolic in the snowbanks just like the Fathers of Confederation did that night they all indulged in some ye olde wassailing and ye olde binge drinking.

(Note: Historical accuracy is not the responsibility of the proprietors of this site.)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Mister DJ Come On And Turn It Up.

Man, if you get that title reference, you are the perfect blend of really big pop-culture encyclopaedia and really big loser. Join me, won’t you?

I’m in Toronto now, visiting Marianne for a couple of days. Yesterday we went downtown and wandered about, doing some shopping, stopping into a couple of bookstores to buy books of screenplays (Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, The Brothers McMullin, She’s The One, and another one I can’t remember the title of and can’t be bothered to get up and look). I’m a little disappointed that the latter two Edward Burns scripts are transcripts of the finished films and not the shooting scripts, which is more what I was looking for.

After wandering, we went over to Marianne’s friend Natasha’s house to quietly watch some TV and eat copious amounts of those cheese crunchit things. Natasha is a producer of As It Happens, the flagship show of CBC Radio One. She says it’s not %100 rosy to work there, but I think she’s just saying that to make me feel better about them not hiring me ever. She’s sweet. Mare’s friend Martin was there, as well, and although he doesn’t work for the Ceeb, I enjoy his company anyway. Insert smiley emoticon here.

In one shop I found a set of magnets that Joe LaRose had at his house in Hamilton. It took a lot of self-control not to steal said magnets from said Prakrit scholar. Tiny and unassuming, they were discs of colour with the small word “anus” written in each one. It’s so unexpected, I loved them. I didn’t buy them yesterday and I’m kinda regretting it now. If we go by the store again, I might pick them up.

I’m reading a good book now. It’s called Songbook, and it’s by Nick Hornby, the author of About a Boy, High Fidelity, and Fever Pitch (oh, and A Long Way Down, which I have not yet read, and How To Be Good, too, but that one’s an afterthought for me because although I read it wasn’t as memorable for some reason – female protagonist, possibly?). I thought Songbook would be a collection of essays about music he really likes, and it sorta is, but it’s more than that. It’s not just why he likes the song, but how he found it, or why he bothered to give it the time of day, or what it means to him as the dad of an autistic son, or just trying to point out the unexpected genius and sincerity buried in pop music. I like reading his stuff because he’s unabashedly dedicated to pop music and culture, so I sympathize with him trying to qualify its allure. A mantra: because a lot of people like it does not mean it’s crap, but I concede that there are always exceptions to rules. (And, just because it’s crap doesn’t mean a lot of people don’t like it.) (His style also includes long interjections with parentheses, a characteristic with which I can identify.)

Tonight, Mare, Martin and I are going to see a movie and go to eat. I think we’re seeing The Squid and the Whale, which I didn’t know a lot about until yesterday, but it sounds good. I’d see 3 movies tonight if Marianne didn’t disapprove, which I suspect she would, so I haven’t asked. I know I could squeeze in two Clooney films today, and then more tomorrow, like Water, Everything Is Illuminated, P&P, HPIV again, and I’ve been hearing good things about The Ice Harvest, so why not that, too? In case you haven’t caught on the last 10 times I’ve mentioned it, I’m movie-starved.

Oh, and can I recommend a movie I recently saw? Yes? Good, yes, I will. It’s called Green Street Hooligans, or Green Street, or Hooligans, depending where you see it. It’s starring Elijah Wood, but don’t be put off if you think that all he can do is stare at rings and dance with hairy feet. Wrong, of course. This movie is about a Harvard journalism student expelled in his last semester. He goes to visit his sister in London, meeting his infant nephew, brother-in-law, and his brother-in-law’s brother all at once. The in-law’s brother is, to put it lightly, a supporter of West Ham United football club, and soon the main character is adopted into the world of football hooliganism. Be warned: it’s violent, and sometimes the thick common London accent is difficult to parse, but this is a very good film that I’m surprised hasn’t been given much attention here. Yes, I am an anglophile, so I go searching for his stuff, but I think anyone would like it. To finish, a quote from Elijah's character: “And as for this, the violence? I gotta be honest - it grew on me. Once you've taken a few punches and realize you're not made of glass, you don't feel alive unless you're pushing yourself as far as you can go.”

Tomorrow, Marianne’s friend Chris Kaynes is coming back to Toronto for a week-long intensive advanced videography course at the CBC. He’s stationed out in Prince Albert as local CBC video journalist and not loving it, but I’ve been told he’s very talented and his superiors feel it’s worth training him further. Either way, I get to see him. It’s been a joke for a long while that the best way to get Chris to socialize with us is for Catherine to come to town. Well, I came from Ottawa and he’s coming in from Prince Albert. Huh. I guess it’s true.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Give Me Strength.

I’m going to Toronto tomorrow. My Aunt and Uncle are going up, so I’m catching a ride. I’ll spend a couple of days in the city with Marianne, and then catch a train or a bus back to Ottawa, since Jacky and Wendell don’t know how long they’re going to be in Toronto.

So… an election, eh? The politicians will soon be out kissing hands and shaking babies. Well, all I know is, I want to get out of Ottawa. I mean, this place is already politics-centric, but I think this is going to be a nasty, mud-slinging campaign, and I don’t need to see that. Last night, I sat and watched the government fall with Uncle Wendell and I earned tons of brownie points for my show of patience. He’s very opinionated and bombastic and abusive, but also very clever, so it’s difficult to have a reasonable conversation with him. I think I’m going to follow my Aunt Jacky’s lead and just not engage in discussions with him.

In my hypothetical trial, though, I think the jury would have found the attack just when they find out that my Uncle chose to attack one of my husbands, George Stroumboulopoulos. He called him a left-wing communist. I’m taking deep breaths, I’m serious. I’m so sick of the CBC being accused of being at least small-L liberal, if not forming an outright cabal with Paul Martin, Dr. Henry Morgentaler, and Larry Flint.

I have decided, though, that this is going to be my last mention of politics during the campaign.

No – let me say this: I really hope this doesn’t turn into an American-style campaign, replete with negative advertising. Concentrating on the negative aspects of an opponent is not the same as flaunting one’s own positive attributes. It’s cheap and offensive, in my mind. It tells me that the politicians do not think the voters can make up their own minds regarding the platforms and precedents of all involved, but we can be spooked and manipulated into voting a certain way. Negative ads only appeal to voters who don’t give themselves enough credit to trust their own intelligence, and it insinuates that the parties think the voters are dim and impressionable. Maybe some are. Maybe most are.

Ok, now no more politics. Lots more Stroumbo, though.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Makin' Babies.

I have no idea how to make this entertaining or creative, so I might as well blurt. My good friend Lisa is baking a baby in her tummy, right now. Right now, people! Do you know what this means? Well, here’s a list of what it means to me:

1) From now on, you all must call me Auntie Cate.
2) I have to learn how to play. Like, with kids. (I do maintain that "Chainsaw Race" is great fun.)
3) I have to ensure this child grows up knowing more/better music than Velvet Revolver.
4) Does Lisa have a parasite? I mean, technically? It’s not symbiotic!
5) I have to stock up on mints and gum for my purse.
6) Auntie Cate! Auntie Cate!
7) Note to self: read up on stem cell technology.
8) I have to make sure there’s a picture of me with Lisa when she’s as big as a house. Um, for posterity. Not to make me seem skinny. No.
9) Even though she's the best at it over all my friends, no kegstands this Christmas. Sigh.
10) I have to get a stronger gag reflex. Baby poop is no laughing matter.
11) My best friends are procreating. Surprisingly, instead of making me spiral into self-analysis, I’m really stoked and proud. And nervous, too, but mostly proud.

Sticks and Stones.

Last night Anna and her man, Nico, invited me to go curling with some of his friends. Anna’s in town on a little visit, and she’ll be back in Ottawa again for Christmas.

I don’t think I’ve curled in at least two years – certainly since I started my MA – and I haven’t curled on a regular basis since grade seven or eight. So, packing tape on shoes and obligatory wooly sweater in tow, I pushed off on those pebbles again, ready to do my country proud.

I was pleased that it was a bit like riding a bike. The hack was a cozy little perch, and I loved looking down the ice from that low perspective. I always remember enjoying sweeping, but damn! I don’t remember having to go that fast! And the coordination involved with pushing, sliding, sweeping, watching, not burning stones in the house, and reading the ice and speed of the stone was a brain overload challenge that I was totally up for. If we were there for another eight hours I still wouldn’t have that all balanced. Still, a lot of it was familiar, especially with Anna’s help. (Except for the whole inturn/outtrurn thing. I know I used to know how to do it properly, but I kept second-guessing myself so every time I thought I had it right, it was actually wrong.)

Nico’s friends were great. They’re all French nationals, so the curling was a great slice of Canadiana. The big burn was, they did very well. I call it beginner’s luck. Nico was telling Anna and I about the French Curling Team and said they were not the pride of the nation. (Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme! Get on up, c’est curling time!)

And no, I did not break my bones. I’m a little stiff, yes, but I can’t believe I didn’t even fall once! That’s a long way down!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Long, Long, Long.

cranberry sauce

Last night my cousin Kristina and I went to "Rain," that group doing the Beatles. I’m hesitant to call them a cover band, because it was so darn good and "cover band" usually means slightly sad men dressed in spandex singing "Paradise City."

They chronologically went through the Beatles’ catalogue, changing costumes as they went. They came out first with the matching mop-tops and stove-pipe trousers, and sang great early three-chord classics like "Hard Day’s Night" and "This Boy," and surprisingly launching into "Twist and Shout," which I think was ballsy considering that song tore John’s vocal chords to ribbons when they recorded it in one take at the end of a long one-day recording session of Please Please Me (Feb 11, 1963).

There was a short interlude on three big video screens for a few minutes and they returned to the stage four years down the road in full Sgt. Pepper regalia, that is, bright satin military-like uniforms, mustaches, and the George even had a matching tricorn with a huge feather. Excellent. They did the title track of that album (and later, the reprise of the same), "With a Little Help From My Friends," and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," which is not one of my favourite Beatles songs.

While the band was playing, there were images being shown on the video screens that were contemporary to the music being performed at that moment. So, at the beginning, there were promotional posters displayed from the Cavern Club, and mentioning the Mersey and skiffle and Gerry and Pacemakers. The difference was, all the pictures were referring to Rain and not the Beatles, and the cover band’s pictures were superimposed where the Beatles once appeared, in the same poses, clothes and lighting. It was fantastic to see. I’ve always wanted to re-enact that great high-contrast photo from the cover of Meet the Beatles (see above).

After the intermission they came out wearing basically what they were wearing on the cover of Abbey Road. The hair got longer, except for the Paul, being the clean-cut boy he was, and it also got a little more surreal. I say this because the music from the era that they were representing was rarely performed live. The Beatles had stopped touring at this point, and the music became more engineered. [There is one exception to this that comes to mind, of course, and it was cool to see – Rain had re-enacted the roof-top concert at the beginning of 1969 and it played on the video screens while they performed "Get Back." Cool stuff.] Anyhow, with the music getting more and more engineered, all of re-produced George Martin orchestrations were piped in, and were too loud and didn’t really capture the tightness of their later producer’s dedication to perfection. (George Martin was a musical genius. No arguments ever on that comment.)

For the "encore," strangely, the John sang "Imagine" (which I thought was a little anachronistic), "Let It Be," and, of course, "Hey Jude." I put encore in quotes because I hate them – they’re bullshit – both the audience and the performers know they’re going to come out again. They’re fabricated and built into the act to stimulate a frenzy. But it's a half-hearted, simulated frenzy! All spontaneity is lost to the ages. But I digress.

Overall: Excellent. I liked the early Beatles stuff they did better, not necessarily because I like that material more, but there was more of a frame of reference. I could compare the little things to early performances. The Rain boys had the formula down: the song ends, there’s a beat, they hinge at the waist, and go into the next song. No patter, very quick changes. This wasn’t because Rain was afraid they couldn’t pull off the Liverpudlian accents (which they could), but in early performances, this is exactly how the Beatles performed: get on the stage, try to hear yourself over the screams, play, get off the stage, get paid.

The Paul was the best. I don’t know how he did it, but he had the round, cute face and high cheekbones. Luck, I hope. He did the voice very well: smooth, but I couldn’t hear enough of the accent through the lyrics. That’s not that big a complaint. He had the little body movements down to a T, as well. I wish wish wish he would have learned to play his bass with his right hand like McCartney did; the symmetry was off when the Paul and the George sang at the same mic.

The John was good, too, vocally. He definitely had the nasalness down, and the way John intonated (cough), but I could have heard a little more scratchiness. That rasp is probably pretty difficult to replicate night after night, though, so I’ll let it go.

The George was mind-blowing on guitar, as well he should have been. (He played the solo to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and the audience crapped their pants because he wailed on it, but the irony is, Eric Clapton played the solo in the album recording, so I guess that speaks to how good the George was, if anything, because playing as well as Harrison is one thing, but as good as Clapton? Come on!) His voice was good too, but it didn’t have the understated sweetness of the original. And, um... I think they gave him prosthetic eyebrows.

The Ringo was great. Some might say it’s easy to replicate Ringo’s drumming because he had such an uncomplicated style, but it was that economy that makes him exceptional. Just listen for this next time you hear the Beatles – if he were going all "Hawaii 5-0" on us, the entire tone of the music would be different. (Homework on this subject: listen to "Tomorrow Never Knows," from Revolver, paying close attention to the drumming.) Mercifully, the Ringo only sang one song, and aptly, it was "With a Little Help From My Friends," and yes, it was perfectly out of tune (i.e. just enough to notice).

Yoko did not report.

My only complaint was the crap reproduced orchestrations that were poorly mixed (especially for "Strawberry Fields Forever"), and the giant distracting video screens. The video really took my attention off the band, which maybe was by design (to take the heat off), but I would have used them more sparingly.

So, finally, big thanks to Cousin Kris for the free tickets. I really love the Beatles, and don’t be fooled by my OCD review picking apart this group, because it was really excellent, but I’m a giant geek.

P.S. Last night they played "Blackbird." Can any of my friends from high school remember sitting and lying around Jon MacInnis' basement like it was a harem, listening to Jeremy Hickey playing this song for us? I distinctly remember that night and how impressed I was by Jem's talent. That's a good memory to have etched in your mind, eh? There's a Paul McCartney song from his Flaming Pie album called "The Songs We Were Singing" that I always remember. It claims: "Talk about a range of subjects/Anything you like,/But we always come back to the songs we were singing/At any particular time."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I Want To Be The CBC's Rick The Temp!

Do we all remember Rick Campanelli's rise to the position of VJ on Much Music? He hung around the CHUM building so much and took any shitty job he could just because he loved the place so much. Eventually, his perseverance paid off and he got his dream job: VJ on the Nation's Music Station. Me talking about Much is another rant, because I think there are some problems there, probably mostly related to me growing up and not caring how hott Usher is anymore.

Anyhow, I'm having difficulties even getting into the CBC to do the shitty work to prove I'm awesome and I should do something more creatively! I just submitted my tenth application for a job at the Ceeb. Tenth! If this was any other kind of service, I'd have my card stamped for the tenth time and get a job for free! I think I have to bite the bullet and think about more schooling. I want to work at the CBC, and I can do it now, but if they won't even look at me without certain credentials on my CV, I might have to go back to school. It's very frustrating, and I feel like I'm so done of school for now! Maybe it's a different kind of schooling that I need to re-invigorate myself. Radio programming. That's what I need.

Please, anyone who has any kind of ties to the Ceeb, let them know I'm awesome and keen and ready and willing to please! Or, ask them what is the exact perfect kind of schooling is to get me a job as a programmer on a great CBC radio show.

I'm not begging yet. Maybe that's at the 20 application mark.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Let's Get Crack-a-Lackin!

I spent the weekend at Marilyn's again, helping her do research at the National Archives. It's really cool there - there are records of everything! There's a huge genealogy section, and a philately section, too! Marilyn is working on a paper about Canadian Mennonites and their role as conscientious objectors in the second World War. She found a load of letters written from Mennonites asking about their rights and the responses from the government departments. The government was surprisingly sensitive to their belief systems.

On Saturday I saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the first time (there will be more). I was fair apoplectic beforehand, and Melanie was my calm and understanding date. (It had to be with a Confed. Centre girl, you know?) I really enjoyed this movie. There were no house elves, no SPEW, and Cedric Diggory was prefectly cast (i.e. too pretty for words). It was sad and scary and funny and I'd like to take this opportunity to announce that I will be marrying Daniel Radcliffe and I don't care how society shuns us, we're in love and we don't care what people think.

Finally: Beware President's Choice brand Fat-Free Chocolate Gelato. It's dark and thick like fudge and pretty darn good, but if you eat more than 1/2 a cup, it sits at the bottom of your stomach like a brick. Could it be the three different types of "gum" listed in the ingredients? Perhaps.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


More Winter Songs that need lovin' at times other than Christmas:

Exhibit E: "Winter Wonderland" Another great song that can swing. Harry Connick, Jr.'s version is the best. He swings it. Mmmm... Harry Connick, Jr. ...

Exhibit D: "Sleighride" Oh this song is effing fun. Effing fun, people. It reminds me of waiting to get into the change room after working a show at the Confederation Centre, holding all the keys and jingling them. Oh, the good times we all miss out on when we don't study percussion. My life has been a waste.

I think this discussion has turned into a trivia game, really. This summer, Mike, Jackie and I had a brief game of "Name a song that's title does not appear in the lyrics," i.e. "Bohemian Rhapsody" or "Baba O'Reilly." Try to get a dozen - it's difficult and fun. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: find a less cumbersome title for this game.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Stop, Collaborate And Listen.

People, let's take a breather here, shall we? I made a list of songs that should be appreciated not just in the Christmas season, but also all winter, ideally, all year long.

I know I love Christmas music. I've tried to examine it, but it really doesn't go beyond they're catchy and fun and historical and they get me all nostalgic.

I think the main problem people have with Christmas music is its concentration. From about now-ish to the 25th of December, the air is saturated with Christmas music and the only reason it's not supersaturated is the chill in the air!

Think of a song that you're fairly fond of. I'd say, not your favourite song, but one you are familiar with and know the lyrics. I know that any song I have an affinity for would start to grate on my nerves after listening to it ad nauseum for 6 weeks.

And yes, the music so often confused with Christmas music, "winter music," we'll call it, should be appreciated at other times.

Like the arrival of Christmas lights, Christmas music has come to symbolise all that is crap about this holiday: being desperately trapped in a busy mall, or the vapid consumerism of television ads*, or, shudder, carollers... urk. It's the saccharine sentiment cloaking business' anticipated money windfall/hard-on. Yeah, buy that Furby for the kid. I guarantee he will break it or forget about it by Groundhog Day. Pointless. (Holy crap - I'm turning into the aunt that only gives tube socks for Christmas...) {Side thought - wouldn't it be great if we could register for Christmas gifts like some people register for wedding gifts?}

In conclusion, I contend that it is not the music to blame but its saturation.

*I wrote the whole "Winter Music Rant" after seeing an ad for a cellphone/MP3 player. People everywhere are walking around city streets on a snowy night with their shiny new phones/MP3 players singing the same song: "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow." I love that ad. Enjoying yourself enough to sing aloud, by yourself, in public? Priceless.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


IMDB is reporting that Fox has scaled back its episode order for Arrested Development, one of my favourite shows! Scaled back from the original order of 22 episodes to the pathetic half-season of 13, IMDB tells us that this is a sure sign of the show being cancelled. Why? Fox is putting all its eggs in the "Prison Break" basket, catering to the coveted redneck demographic which likes crim’nuls, ‘splosions, and cops gettin’ beat up. What about people who walk without dragging their knuckles? How many awards does this show have to win before the Fox executives get their heads out of their asses? On the season 2 DVD, David Cross raves animatedly (and, in earnest, which we know is out of character for him) about how Fox effed up the marketing for the show and no matter how stellar it is, it won’t get anywhere if Fox does not carry its weight.

(Sure, the current "Wee Britain" thing is a little tedious, but it'll soon be over - just wait it out!)

The Jackpot Question in Advance.

Most people know I love Christmas music, and by Christmas music, I mean music usually played leading up to Christmas. My beef is: some music is played exclusively in November and December but has nothing to do with Christmas, but perhaps, more broadly, winter.

Exhibit A: "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow" This is a sweet, romantic song. It’s intimate and a little wistful. I love it. The point is: does it only snow in the 6 weeks leading up to Christmas? Certainly not! Couples could be "still goodbying" on a snowy night in April!

Exhibit B: "Baby, It’s Cold Outside" Have you heard the Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton version? It’s the touchstone – the starting point, in my mind. All other versions are compared to this rendering. It’s perfect. Whimsical and horny – what a great combination! This, in my mind, should go down as one of the great duets in popular music. Tom Jones covered it on his album with Catatonia frontgirl/woman Cerys on his 2000 album "Reload" (it was in the 2 for £22 bin!). Mike told me he thought it was too smarmy. (And he calls me a prude!)

Exhibit C: "Fairytale of New York" Yes, this song takes place on Christmas Eve, but beyond that, it captures as much holiday spirit as Lethal Weapon. What it really is about is an abusive, dysfunctional, and drug-addled relationship. This drunk-tank argument is not the first or last for this couple. "You’re a bum, you’re a punk, you’re a old slut on junk." Hardly speaks to praising a virgin birth or messianic revelations, eh?

Finally, and my favourite,

Exhibit D: "What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?" This is another romantic song, and I’ve had fantasies about it for years. It involves a close dance with my sweetheart, usually at a warm summer wedding. We lazily dance at the end of the night and my beau (yeah, I said it, beau!) starting to softly sing this song in my ear. Melt! For a long time I wanted to incorporate this scene into my rom-com blockbuster screenplay, but as it’s not materializing at a pace I would like, I might as well illustrate my point with it.

My point: some songs are sadly relegated to 2-month play when there is no reason. Fight back! Defy the system! Enjoy these songs all year ‘round. They’re so great, you’ll thank me.


Ok, so it’s snowing. Not flurries like last week, but snow propre. All the Kanata cookie-cutter rooftops are white, and the grass is still green, but it’s now contrasted with a white background. When I walked by the window this morning (8am!*), I said, "oh!" and stopped walking. The romance of a first snowfall! It’s so Canadian! It’s the country going into dormancy for a season! Skating, skiing, angels and forts in snowbanks! Wee!

That rush of joyous emotion lasted 2 seconds, and then the mope started. It’s so effing cold! The chill gets under my skin! My hair gets messed up! I have to wear socks! Whinge, whinge, whinge! One good thing: Christmastime! I’m not that fond of any aspect of Christmas besides seeing my family and all the great music. I love Christmas music all year ‘round. I love hymns, commercial stuff, secular, religious, it’s just all so much fun! To come: a rant on some seasonal music.

*I applied for a great internship today. It’s at the CBC, which all my friends and/or readers know, is the Mecca of work for me. I saw the opportunity a month ago and got discouraged thinking about how many others would be applying, but then I realized that had a shot, and everyone always tells me I would kick ass at the Ceeb, so I couldn’t pass on a chance to get my foot in the door.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Cold Weather Comfort.

Every year I forget how much I hate the cold. It's like an icy poker of sorrow jammed in my side.

Take comfort in deliciousness. Here, in my great legacy of providing my readers with recipes, is my All-Time Favourite Cookie, from the love and kitchen of my Mum:

Pumpkin Cookies.

4 cup flour
2 cup rolled oats
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin spices (if pumpkin is pure)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup margarine
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup puree pumpkin
1 cup chocolate chips or raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Combine 1st 6 ingredients and set aside. Cream margarine, gradually add sugars, beating til light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Alternate dry ingredients and pumpkin, mixing well after each addition. Stir in choc. chips/raisins.

Bake 350 degrees 20 minutes. Makes a huge batch, and they are great for freezing. Enjoy!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Wanted: A Superlative

Sometimes the English language fails us. It's evolving and changing all the time to accomodate this, but still I find there are gaps. When was the last time you were so sorry and all you could say was "sorry" because there's nothing else to say? I've had that problem more than once.

Today, I have no superlative for the word "proud." Marilyn and I went up to the National War Cenotaph for the Remembrance Day ceremonies. There were 25,000 people there! It was clear and a little windy and not just crisp but cold. There was a 20-gun salute, and a parade of veterans and other military marching, and we sang O Canada and God Save the Queen. We couldn't see what was going on at the Cenotaph because we were a little too East to see, but seeing the roads all blocked off and stuffed with people, and the hills around the Parliament Buildings packed was a wonderful sight.

I didn't cry as much this year as I'd done in years past. I think my happiness and pride expressed themselves more in smiling than silent weeping. Like last year, there were decorated old men and women everywhere around me, and I felt like a heel not shaking their hands, but I would be a blubbering mess if I'd done so. If the bagpipers played "Amazing Grace" I would have been wheeled out on a gurney.

I was surprised there was no flyover, as there was one last year in Hamilton.

We are so lucky.

Still, Ontario doesn't treat today as a national holiday. I overheard someone say it's the only province to not dedicate the day. This is gross and surprising. Ontario. Hm. Sometimes the proof's in the pudding.

I'm really glad I was able to go to the Remembrance Day ceremony in the nation's capital. It means a lot more to me than Canada Day. Canada Day is a party for the country, but Remembrance Day is a celebration of the country.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Blessed Are the Teachers, for They are Covered in Snot.

Today I went to work with my Aunt Signe. (It’s sig-knee, btw.) She teaches grade one at a nearby elementary school. I was a little uptight because I haven’t spent a lot of time with small people and I’m cleaning it up when I say: it’s not at the top of my “to do” list. All I could picture were 18 sets of snotted-on, grubby, sticky hands reaching for me, a la Shaun of the Dead.

The day wasn’t so bad, and I have to say, I have all the more respect for teachers now. This doesn’t go for Uni profs – that’s (ideally) like communicating with other adults, and elementary school is like being immersed in an entirely different culture. This is a culture that has currency in phrases like: “He hit me first!” and, “My sister’s name starts with a ‘j’” and, “I had a cookie for a snack!” (What? Who asked if you did?)

I didn’t like them staring at me for seemingly no reason. Did they expect me to entertain them? Did they think I was going to teach them something? Were they wondering where I got my sweater?

Teaching public school was never on my list of possible careers, but I can put it firmly in the “no” pile now. I’m going to leave educating small, smoochy brains to others, and I’ll keep searching for fulfilling employment elsewhere. I always had a lot of respect for teachers (and nurses, btw), but now I appreciate it a little more.

It’s The Little Differences.

Davinder is a classmate (friend?) of Mike’s from Mac. I called him Feodor for poops and giggles. I think I met him once and although I think I still remember what he looks like, and even though I know he wouldn’t know me from Adam (Eve?), I think he and I would get along, besides his constant references to comic books/graphic novels. Anyhow, by following Ben’s links, I started reading his blog very sporadically since this summer. This was the post that I knew he and I would be friends if Mike ever let me socialize with his classmates (we all know it was for the best he didn’t):


I’ve been loaning comics to my non comic reading friend John over the past few months, and a couple of days ago we sat down and watched a few episodes of Justice League Unlimited. I phoned him last night and had this conversation with him:

John: Hey, I downloaded a few more episodes of Justice League.
Davinder: Oh yeah?
J: Yeah. So who do you think the hottest superheroine is?
D: What?!
J: I think it’s the Huntress.
D: Dude, they’re drawings.
J: Come on, I won’t tell anyone. Who do you think the hottest superhero girl is?
D: What the fuck? Shut up! How did this happen?

More recently he wrote:

I was driving down my street the other night and these two guys, probably in their early twenties, were walking kind of on the side of the road ahead of me. As I got closer, the guy furthest from me heard my car, and without looking back or breaking stride reached over and took his friend by the arm and pulled him in a little, out of my way. Kind of like, "Hey, look out." I don't know, I guess you had to see it, but I thought the unconscious way he did it was sort of sweet.

I like when people notice those sweet little things that people are capable of doing. I sometimes think I’m broken and overly synical because I just take for granted that no one cares about anyone else like that anymore/here.

Shit on the Radio.

I’ve been listening to Virgin Radio UK a lot lately (follow sidebar links to get %100 of your daily serving of Limey). It gives me The Yearn To Return.

I’m listening to it right now, and the song that just came on? “Brimful of Asha” by Cornershop. When I worked in England, the morning shift at the Utopia Health and Leisure Spa was at 6am, therefore I was up at 5am. The radio kept me awake while I prepared for my day and this song was on every morning at 5:15am, followed by the song that still (quite unexpectedly!) makes my blood boil just thinking about it: “Blue (Da Ba Bee)” by 65 Eiffel. I’m not sure the Cornershop song crossed the pond, but I know the GD “Blue” one did. Shudder. Maybe that kind of music is only relegated to very early morning radio, as the radio playing here at 8:30pm is 1:30am there.

Beatles Kareoke. Awesomely fun, turn up your speakers and start chanelling. Excellent synth keyboard accompanyment.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

You Bigot.

If you can't or won't listen and watch this clip, it proves you are a giant fucking bigot. Why? It proves you hate The Chinese. And the Backstreet Boys. Which is worse? Neither. Go to Hell.

This clip is somewhat safe for work, if your boss(es) aren't bigots.

More (and scroll down). To watch these, your comp-uter has to be better than the glorified abacus my uncle uses. And not bigoted.

Chickety China.

Seven days since last post. By now I usually have at least one email from Jackie requesting an update. Maybe she got a new job in the private sector and is now actually busy at work! Gasp!

Last weekend I was at Marilyn’s place. I don’t think I should go back anymore because she doesn’t get much done when I’m around. We went to see North Country, which was fine, but I wouldn’t raise my voice over it. It’s still better than Stay by a billion. I just hope there's not a lot of time wasted at the Oscars over N.C. It's a poor-man's Brockovitch.

When I returned to Kanata, my Uncle Wendell’s comp-uter was misbehaving so I couldn’t log on. It’s better now.

I’m now in Osgoode, which is another half hour away from Ottawa. I’m at my Aunt Signe’s place. Her husband, my Uncle John K (not to be confused with Uncle John B) has gone hunting and Aunt Signe doesn’t like to stay alone since she discovered a couple of home invaders last year. I think that’s reasonable. Anyroads, the internet was misbehaving here yesterday, too, so not only did I have a late start at checking emails, and updating blogs, I haven’t done any job searching this week! Gack gack gack.

It’s sehr kalt here today. -1, I think. I went for an hour walk yesterday and it was very lovely. I don’t know why, but it made me miss my mother. =shrug= It was really crisp, so the air smelled really clean (I made a habit of not taking deep breaths in Hamilton). The air seemed thinner, too, which made me want to use my lungs right down to their bottom lobes. (I think there’s a Fred Astaire song that involves rarified air.) I must have looked like an absolute tool walking around Osgoode, grinning and animatedly taking heaving breaths. Oh, well. I’ll just tell them I’m “from away.” That works on PEI, so it should fly here, right?

I think I’ve decided that I’d rather just move back to the Maritimes than bother to get a job here. The pros outweigh the cons.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Ginger Men, Brave Ladies.

Who else loves MythBusters? It’s a great show on the Discovery Channel that strives to recreate urban legends situations to see if the myths are plausible. This is how the website describes it: "That's right, they do more than explain how something may or may not be scientifically possible. Through trial and error they actually demonstrate it."

This show indulges a few of my weaknesses: science, movie tricks (the hosts are movie special effects guys), humour, and red-headed men. This show must have a huge budget. You must check it out if you haven’t already.

I’m watching Rosa Parks’ funeral out of DEE-troit. It’s awesome to watch! Screaming preachers, solemn speakers, rousing gospel, history, history, history. Can you imagine? Put yourself in her place. Shit. Bill Clinton said something along the lines of, "Isn’t it funny that she was supposed to give up her seat in the place that demands men give up their seats for ladies?" There’s a guy on now listing how to say "thank you" in dozens of languages. People are laughing, crying, hopping and hooting and hollering. Please, may our WASPy funerals evolve to this kind of celebration of a person’s life, as opposed to a mourning of a person’s death.

There She Is.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I Believe The Traditional Gift is Paper. How Ironic.

Oh my, how exciting. It’s my Blog’s 1st birthday! While I was wary and embarrassed a year ago, the thing turned out to be a lot of fun. It was a good distraction during my last year of grad school. It was nice to not have to write in formal academic style. Now I have the privilege of chronicling my stifling unemployment. Great.

I'd make a list of highs and lows, but that just wouldn't be a balanced list.

I accept cheques and chocolate as gifts. As soon as I get an address, I’ll let you all know where to send stuff.

Monday, October 31, 2005

May-December Lovin’, an Op-Ed Piece.

Ten years is not that long. Really, it's not that big a difference. I’ve been driving for ten years. Pff. It has whizzed by. You know, a lot of very happy couples have ten years between them. Youth and wisdom hand in hand and and and hand in glove. When someone says "May-December romance," I think a twenty-year-old twinkie hooking up with an old-age pensioner who has tired of his Porche. That's different than a decade - a decade is nothing.

The point is, if I were to meet and fall in love with a man who was ten years older than me, or, hypothetically, ten years younger than me, I would hope that my friends wouldn’t judge our love and support our union.


On a totally unrelated note, isn’t Daniel Radcliffe great?

I think some federal propriety laws prevent me from going into further detail.

Not on an unrelated note, who’s getting stoked about the next HP? The movie, I mean. Of course we’re all stoked about the next book, but that’s not being released for quite some time. J.K.R. is probably going to have 3 more babies and go through a rigorous rehab program before the next one even goes to the editor. I don’t envy her the kind of pressure she’s under – this is the last in the series! I wonder if C.S. Lewis was stressed when he was writing "The Last Battle"? I doubt it. Anyhow, I’m getting to the theatre in the first week of its release, come Hell or high water.

Big Happy Birthday to Special K back in the Hammer. She’s a superstar. (She was my partner in crime in the social sciences MA program at Mac.) I hope there’s someone tall enough to hold her too-strong drink over her head this year. Please, someone step up. Muncaster, I’m lookin’ at you.

Also, a big Happy Anniversary to Holly and John in Waterloo. Holls e-sent me a lovely gift yesterday, and all I can really send her are some blogratulations. 9 years! Pff – that’s not so long! (See previous op-ed piece.) Zippity!

I love making up words.

Happy Hallowe’en to anyone who cares. I don’t think there will be any trick-or-treaters, but just in case there are, I’m coordinating my costume to my behaviour: I’m going to be Gollum. Gollum before he met Bilbo. Definitely before he met Frodo. Like, in a cave, stung by light, obsessing over minutiae, a shadow of his former self. Like that. With no raw fish. I’ma sit in the basement with the lights off, hoping no-one will ring the bell or soap the windows, hoping Arrested Development is on, and eating popcorn in copious quantities. The way Jesus intended.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Yeah, We Get It: There's Your Ass.

Ugh - wipe my mind clean, Mother of God. I just saw Madonna's new video, "Hung Up." It's truly retch-worthy. Her style consultants and imagologists obviously told her that "retro is so hott right now," and therefore the whole thing is a throwback to something grittier and trashier. There's a definite Flashdance feel to one part, and try as she may, Madonna ain't no JLo. Instead of her ass hanging out of her unitard in a teasingly luscious way, she makes me think of all the foul-mouthed grannies in any Adam Sandler movie ever made. Oh, and the air-humping an old-school boom box. Did I mention that? urk. urk. retch.

Adding some insult to that injury: she's sampling ABBA. ABBA is not sample-worthy by the likes of Madonna, I don't care how famous she is.

Also, can Blink 182 have a Greatest Hits album? I mean, they do, but isn't that a bit ambitious? They've only been around for like, 6 years. Maybe I'm not running in the right circles to consider their music "hits." That's like writing a book about my stunning academic career.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Thrill Is Not Gone.

I don’t know what I think about this whole "being alone at Hallowe’en" thing. I can’t believe how many scary movies and shows’ specials are on. Now, I’m watching the Canadian (apparently) good horror/social commentary film Ginger Snaps. It’s funny and gory, but I don’t know if I’ll watch the whole thing. The Simpsons' Hallowe’en Specials are on ad nauseum, and there were back-to-back specials from That 70s Show (which is scary enough, even without the Hallowe’eny spin). Almost all the usual movies are being paraded out: Blair Witch, the Scream Trilogy, The Shining, anything with the word "Haunted" in it, so on…

I like scary movies. Sorta. They’re fun and corny. They prey on you; thrill you in a very basic way. Unfortunately, that thrill doesn’t leave me when the credits roll. Now, being alone in the house again, every little noise and shift is obviously a deranged violent sex-starved werewolf Evangelist vampire accountant Conservative Party B&Eer. (I just strung together a ton of things that scare me most.) I’ve taken to sleeping with a pillow over my head to muffle any little noises. It's cozy.

To the totally not scary side of the spectrum, I just finished watching Welcome to Collinwood, the first film of George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh’s production company, Section Eight Films. It wasn’t so terrible, but I would not recommend it. Sam Rockwell was in it, so there’s a plus, also with some appearances from the ever-divine Mister Clooney himself. Clooney!

One Month.

I've been here a month now. The air is getting crisp - I love love love that crispness. It's cold when you breathe in through your nose and makes it necessary to bundle up. There's a knitting shop not far from here (I'd say about 1.5 hours' walk, or a few minutes in car). Mum and I went up yesterday, and I now have visions of long scarves and warm touques. Scarves and mitts and touques! Zippity!

Anyone know how to knit on 4 kneedles? I'm doing something terribly wrong. Oh, the humanity!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Miramichi Roads, Take Me Home.

I’ve not been kidnapped. Aunt Jacky and Uncle Wendall are in England. Dad’s on his way back from Toronto, and Mum is hemming three pairs of pants for me (two too short and one too long(!)). I mostly spend time hunting for jobs when I’m online, so I’m not doing a lot of posting. So, no, I’m not yet employed, but boy, you should see all the postings on CBC! Check out the job page to see! Usually, meaning pre-lockout, there was one job posted every day or two, but lately, there have been almost 20 positions posted every day! Unfortunately, most of them are IT positions, but I’m applying for everything I can.

This week, I sent in an application to Nelvana, the great Canadian animation company. Another application went to Canadian Blood Services, and the constant things being sent to CBC. I’m putting together stuff for King’s College and St. Mary’s, both in Halifax.

I had a little panic this week because I don’t want to be one of those Maritimers that wants to go back home, but only after they make a little money, so they get a job, and then a raise, and then a husband, and then a promotion, and then a kid, and then a house in some cookie-cutter suburb, and a position on the PTA, and blah and blah and blah. It’s a big sooty Upper Canada snowball where some day I dream about retiring to Prince Edward Island. I don’t want to retire to Prince Edward Island – I want to work there and play there and be on the PTA on PEI! I want my socks to turn pink when I play softball, and I want to whiff manure when the wind is right, and I want to be proud of my home. I think I’ll still feel transient if I settle here.

Mum and Dad are leaving tomorrow, and my aunt and uncle are away for a little while, so I imagine I’ll have more time to post this week. The computer is in my Uncle’s office/den/hidey-hole, so I don’t like sitting in here for extended periods of time while he’s watching ROBTV and calling Jack Layton the "scum of the Earth," note the quotes.

Finally, some (bad?) news about Queenie. She, um, took a little septic swim, care of my Mum. I’m not sure how she got into the toilet, but she’s gone. Meh. I kinda liked having another girl around, but I like her gone better.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Movie, The Doctor, His Wife and Her Unemployed Daughter.

Where to start. I guess I’ll start with how classy I am. I went to supper with Melanie and one of her friends on Thursday night, had a nice roast beef sandwich, and evidently drank too much beer because I, being the classiest broad on the planet, proceeded to throw up in the bathroom at the pub. I have never done that before – thrown up in public. Um, besides the Prince Edward Island National Park. And that hotel room that time. And at Danny Ledwell’s that time. And in the Park again. But that’s it. The rest have been at home. Never in a pub. Why? Because I… am a Lady.

In my drunken state, all I could think of was science. I wanted the barf to non-barf ratio in my stomach to be non-threatening. These ratios were swirling in my head. I was obsessing over it. I kept trying to drink water once I realised I was too far gone, but then I was afraid I was just turning innocuous water into barf just by ingesting it.

Droppin’ science like Galileo dropped the orange!

On to the next point. (I think I have to post more often so my posts aren’t so multi-faceted.) My Mum and Dad are here! Zippity! I’m storing up on Mum hugs to do me for the next couple of months before Christmas. Dad actually left last night for Toronto because he’s got a week of meetings, but he’s back on Friday. Marilyn wants to go to a gallery or a museum or some place. Happily, I’m unemployed, idle, and very interested in both galleries and museums!

Yesterday was a rainy boring day. Mum and Aunt Signe went to the ‘States, and Aunt Jacky is uptight because she and Uncle Wendell are going to England on Thursday (she gets overwhelmed easily, but she’ll be just fine). Dad and I decided to go to a movie. I haven’t been to a movie since I saw Broken Flowers with Marianne in the single digit days of September. Everyone knows how much I lurve going to the movies, but I’ve not been able to go to one since I got here.

We went to see Stay, with my boys Ewan McGregor and Ryan Gosling and that chick Naomi Watts, who is sometimes so pretty it hurts (her cover of InStyle was so poorly lit, I hope someone was fired – she looked like the living dead). Please, please, please, do not see this movie. It was so shit. Dad thought I could understand everything that was going on. I could not. I actually had a headache when I left the theatre from trying to figure out what the fuck was going on. Sometimes, it was beautiful. Honest. Most times, it seemed like the director was looking over his notes from film school and trying to integrate every technique he ever learned. Oh, I don’t know where to start. All the acting was fine, whatever. I’ll go back to Shallow Grave for Ewan, The Notebook for Ryan, and I’ll look forward to Naomi and Jack Black in King Kong.

Last thought: I love Jackie Chan so much.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's A Girl!

Oh! A new pet! A wee spider, looking very much like the rest of the family. She's probably half the size of Stewart, a little bit smaller than Ace, Perry and the dearly departed Joey. Her name is Queenie. I kinda like her, but I still want her to die. I'm surprised that Aunt Jacky doesn't really care about my pets. She chuckled when I introduced her to Ace, and then went on with her day. Fine, I guess I can't incite a hit on my pets in the house.

I'm at Marilyn's today, making her some sort of Greek hors de service for her class tonight. (They all take turns bringing in snackies for the break, but it's always glicky sweet, so she's decided on a spinach and garlic thing.) I am also meeting Ms. Melanie for some sort of food consumption this evening. We're going to a pub to eat, which is ideal for the day - very chilly, so I'll need some meat and potatoes. Then back to Marily-Bear's for a sleepover sleepover. (Cue Sleepover Sleepover Theme Song.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The State of Catherine.

It’s raining again. To quote Buddy Wasisname, "It’s been so long since I’ve seen the sun, there’s a lot more heat from the moon." It’s cold and wet and rainy. There’s nothing romantic and autumnal about the weather. I think back to crisp days of apple picking in the Annapolis Valley, and walks along the North Shore of PEI once all the tourists leave. Now, I’m just trying to warm up my hands and feet.

Well, my aunt and uncle are back and the heat is never up high enough for my liking. It’s nice having them around, though. I guess I do like the company. My aunt reminds me of my Mum, and Uncle Wendell, well, he’s Uncle Wendell. He’s a pontificating right-wing windbag sometimes, but I hope he never changes and never stops getting on his capitalist soapboxes. I have a hard time not grinning when he’s on some sort of rant. He’s like a caricature of himself sometimes. It’s great.

The job hunt is still progressing slowly. I send out CVs, people ignore me. I just want someone to hook me up. Come on, people, throw me a bone! I sent out a couple of applications to CBC in Toronto, and the rest have been in Ottawa. Research, consulting, editing, communications, chief cook and bottle-washer, so on, so on…

My cold is almost gone. I’m still pretty congested, but this was the first morning I’ve woken up not feeling gross.

My aunt and uncle are going to England next Thursday! There’s a wedding they’ve been invited to. I’m very jealous since I’ve really wanted to return to the UK for quite some time now. They’re going to be in Bournemouth on the South Coast, but heading into London for a day or two. Me wanty! I should write my friends in Kent and see what they’re up to. I miss them.

My Mum and Dad are coming on Friday. Dad’s got a meeting in Toronto, so they’re driving up to Ottawa and Dad’s taking the train from here to the Big Smoke so Mum can have the car to tool around here. Mummy! Papa! Zippity! I have really been missing them lately. It’s super nice to have Marilyn around, that’s for sure, but I want my Mum and Dad!

Pet update: Ace is still zipping around, and I haven’t seen Perry or Stewart in quite some time. Fine by me. I hope they’re dead. Ahh… pet ownership… it’s always the same…

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Pet Update.

Perry was not on the steps this morning, but later that night, when I was checking his progress, I found another pet of about the same size in another corner. I don't think it's Joey back from the garden. The garden is probably a lot more spider-friendly than a fairly bugless basement, so I've ruled out Joey's Revenge. I think it's a new pet, and therefore, his name is Ace. Ace is fairly active, so even though he's about the same size as Perry, I'll be able to tell them apart by their mobility.

Pointe Deux: I love Musiqueplus, MuchMusic's Frencher and (let's face it) probably smellier cousin. It's edutainment! I'm now watching the Teen Choice Awards on Musiqueplus (except when Paris Hilton's on stage, when I change channels). I can see how things are translated in subtitles, preparing me for my next job as the new Governor General (hat trick for the ladies, yo!).

I like how there are so many French TV stations here. It reminds me of where I am. Ottawa! or, Not Hamilton!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

99 Problems. No, Wait. Just 5. 5 Problems.

Some problems: my newly-acquired pet, Perry the Moderately-Large Spider, is slowly climbing the carpeted steps from the basement to the main floor. He was on the second step this afternoon, and now he’s on the fourth. This development makes me happy and sad. It makes me happy because I sleep in the downstairs bedroom, and I don’t like uninvited guests in my room. It makes me sad because I had convinced myself that my pets couldn’t climb… anything. I prefer to watch them in 2D, thanks very much.

Another problem: I obviously have no taste. I have found myself diggin’ that new Black Eyed Peas song "My Humps." I hang my head in shame. I think this song is everything offensive to everything of elegance in the world. If, throughout human history, there has been any success in striving for a true, pure beauty, this song has destroyed it in one fell swoop. Why, why then, am I humming that vile song? Surprisingly, I am impressed by the video. I’m serious. It’s fairly sophisticated, compared to the other dreck they offend us with. The men (I almost wrote "gents") are well-dressed and Fergie is surprisingly clothed, not only considering the content of the song, but also their track record.

My cold. I feel crap. My aggressive sniffing has given me a perpetua-pressure-headache (no, I’m not gonna stop!), my eyes sting, and my throat still hurts, but I’ll live. I spoke with my cousin Kristina today and she’s sick, too, so we’re blaming our Aunt Signe, who hosted us for Thanksgiving. I confronted Aunt Signe with that accusation, she denied it. I knew she would. I got her number. Fun side-effect: I’m sneezing a lot. I like sneezing.

I am also still unemployed. I sent out a couple of resume/cover letter duos to the CBC this week, and I emailed, with Kristina’s help, a guy in HR at Canadian Blood Services. He seems cool and he said he’d keep me in mind. Which, of course means I will soon be Prime Minister. My first edict will be to rename all the street in Charlottetown. It’s been a dream of mine for years. Seriously.

Finally: I am a sick, sadistic person. This time, it’s non-BEP-related. I never watch South Park, but I was flipping by today to hear Cartman claim that as soon as one dies, one shits one’s self. I flipped by later (it was obviously synched-up with the commercials of whatever show I was watching) and the manager of the new Wall-Mart hung himself in dramatic fashion. A split second later he blew his pants apart shitting so hard. Sick. Sick. Sick. I laughed so hard, my raspy solitary screams echoed through my empty fake home.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Hunt.

Some have asked about the job hunt. It’s going ok. I underestimated how crap it is, and how much energy it takes to submit CVs. The last one I submitted I’m really crossing my fingers for: it’s at Canadian Blood Services, and as anyone who every reads this blog knows, I can get behind blood donation.

Stone Cold Busted.

I’m coming down with something. For a couple of days, my throat/sinuses have been a little sore. It’s not to the point that I can’t swallow, but it’s more like some foreshadowing of what’s to come.

The mystery is: how have I gotten sick? I’ve not seen anyone in weeks. It’s like I was planning: I’ve been in preemptive quarantine. Here’s my theory: I caught the bug from my bug. I finally worked up the courage to dispose of Joey. He was in my bathroom and I put a Tupperware dish over him. He was there for two days, and then I started to feel bad, because I didn’t want him to starve to death – that’s way more cruel than stomping. I got a flat piece of plastic and slid it under, picked it up and took Joey outside. I put him under a tree out front. He suddenly didn’t look as menacing – or as big and black. Since I got rid of Joey, I haven’t seen Stewart or new guest, Perry, another spider of the same size and ilk as Joey. I think I did the humane version of putting Joey’s head on a spike: I frightened all the others away. Or, one of them made me sick and scurried away, cackling maniacally.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Lonely Island.

With this title I am not referring to my aunt and uncle's Kanata pad. (I call my squatter's paradise my Fortress of Solitude.) I want to call readers' attention to my new linque du jour: The Lonely Island.

These are three guys from Cali who started making shorts, videos and longer episodes on their own. At one point they made a pilot for Fox (which I personally think sucks), Fox passed and they posted it. Check it out, if you want. It's called Awesometown.

I recommend you watch each of the 8 episodes of "The 'Bu," in order, then the second longer episode called "Regarding Ardy," and then the video for "Just 2 Guyz."

It's all so silly.

Watch for Andy on SNL this season, and the other two guyz, Kiv and Jorma, are now on the writing staff. Let's hope they help out the show - there's no way it can get worse.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I Am The Gatekeeper.

I sat down to enjoy Arrested Development tonight and it was not on. Baseball was on. Ok, fine, I figured it was preempted for the week, but
no - this is a month-long deal.

It's the Autumnal Jockitch Playoff Marathon, everyone! Let's all come out and watch overpaid Peter Pans suppress their 'roid rage so little Timmy can learn about fair play and dedication! Fair play? Dedication? Know what? I think it's unfair that Fox is not dedicated to the "Arrested Development: Mondays at 8ET" banner that's wiped all over their website! Here and there, there are cryptic messages of "Mondays after baseball," or "Returning October 31st," or, worse, "Returning November 7th."

I. Am. Now. Taking. Many. Deep. Breaths.

I went to a Thanksgiving thing yesterday at my Aunt Signe's. Uncle John K. was there, my cousin Stefan and his life partner Julie, my sister and her Mike, and my cousin Kristina. We drank lots of wine, ate lots of deliciousness (non Nutella-related), then played Pictionary. It reminded me of the epic Pictionary games I used to play with Anders and our friends. Anders and I had a system. We won a lot. I can't say more.

Tomorrow: let the resumes fly!

Ghostbusters is on TBS. I'm all about the Bill Murray.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I've Got Friends In Low Places.

a) My Pets,
b) Science!
c) Unemployment B Gone,
d) The Creek.

a) I have two pets. They are spiders that are too big to kill. They're just garden spiders - black, wily, they don't seem to climb or spin webs. I've named the bigger one Stewart (Stewie), and the smaller one is Joey. I don't see Joey as much. I give them the finger every time I see one, and I say, "Hi Stewie! I hope you die!"

b) In the interests of scientific exploration, I decided not to comb or brush my hair after getting out of the shower to see how it would end up once it dried. This is mostly because I've lost my wide-toothed comb somewhere in this house and I don't want to search anymore. An hour after I got out of the shower, I checked out my experiment's progress and decided to abort. I looked like I was wearing a nasty piece of cheesecloth or something. It's gone now - I brushed it. Another scientific advancement foiled by aesthetics.

c) This is the week I've been putting my back into hunting for jobs. I'm having a hard time with my account on, and all the jobs I want require a degree in journalism or design. I guess I have to apply anyway and see what comes of it. I hate hate hate writing cover letters, as I've mentioned before.

d) TBS has moved Dawson's Creek from 10-noon on weekdays to just one episode at 9am. I like this - I can get my day started earlier. Like Nutella, I was getting too much of a good thing.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

New Features.

I've added another link category to the left. "Linque du Jour" will change from time to time. It will not always be mentioned in-post, nor will it be changed daily as its title suggests. Check it out.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Pharmacist, Heal Thyself.

I went to see Ted Leo and The Pharmacists last night. Melanie met me there to start what I’m sure will be a list of goings-on in the coming months. The second opening act, North of America, although from Halifax, were not my favourite. They made me feel old. All I could think was, "The difference between music and noise is the volume." I couldn’t hear what was going on because it just all became cacophonous.

Ted Leo came out with his very rag-tag backing band. The drummer looked like he was from The Family, and the bassist looked like he should be in short pants. But damn. Drums I don’t know from, but the bass player was on – clean, crisp and articulate. Nice.

Ted sounded great live. This band has an interesting sound. There’s a little bit of punky-cadence in the singing, yankee-celtic Dropkick Murphies-esque beat in the instrumentals, some folk torch song/anti-war flavours, and an underlying base of rock. The vocals were incredible. I was very impressed by how something that easily could have been looped, cleaned up, and synthesized in a sound-editing suite was exactly the same live.

Ted and his Pharmacists will be playing in Halifax twice before heading back to the ‘States, and I recommend anyone see them if possible. I found Ted Leo years ago from watching the Brendan Leonard Show, who featured a lot of Lookout Records artists as his bands of the day. Scroll to the bottom on Brendan Leonard’s very stripped-down website for an interview/feature with Ted.

Lunching With Anna.

On Friday, I met Anna for lunch. My sister had to pick me up and drop me off like I was twelve. It was kinda funny. I haven’t learned the bus route yet. Anna is a friend from high school and undergrad on PEI (for those of you who don’t know) who is working towards her PhD in psych. She was is town visiting her fiancé, so the three of us hit a little Pho café for lunch. Yumma. Anna just finished her comps, and I don’t envy anyone that task. Hers sounded particularly trying.

We reminisced about the countless evenings the whole crew of us would hang out in her basement when we were in high school. We don’t really know what we did those nights. We didn’t always watch movies. We didn’t drink. We sometimes played slanty pool on that funny table. I have no idea what we did to pass the time. I have fond non-memories, though, so I guess we did something right.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

My Sister: Fun AND Makes You Think.

My sister is awesome. I asked her the question du jour – the Freddy v. Bowie scenario. I still am a way bigger Mercury/Queen fan than anything Bowie touched solo, but Marilyn said something I never thought of – she said she’d still rather Freddy have died because he brought a lot of attention to AIDS, even though he kept his illness under wraps.

Rock Hudson was the first major celebrity to die of AIDS in 1985, which was not long after the first case of AIDS was diagnosed in the US (which I think was 1980). 11 years later in 1991, I was still too young to really appreciate the gravity of Mercury’s death and all the social significance it held. I think there were enough advances in understanding by that time that the public understood what having AIDS meant, but it’s one of those situations that are especially highlighted when it affects a celebrity. Like mental illness and Tom Cruise. I mean, Tom Cruise’s spiritual position on mental illness. =cough=

I am glad that I was too young to remember the fear that accompanied the unknown of that "new" disease in the 80s. Learning about how AIDS was received publicly, it makes me wonder how the public would react now to the same situation. The Christian Right had a field day with AIDS in the 80s – it suited their platform. Would North America be much more enlightened now? I despair that the answer would be no, and that’s embarrassing.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Pictured: Three men I previously might have considered marrying before I saw the light.

I swear, I am never going to buy another jar of Nutella or any generic Nutella-type products ever again. A body is not built to process that kind of deliciousness. It's too good. It's too hedonistic. There will be Karmic retribution if I indulge again. Help me be strong.

Food Of The Gods.

What is a fatal dose of Nutella? I'm worried.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Freddy v. Bowie.

This might be a little macabre, but think about it:

If you had the power both to travel back in time and the power to decide who lives and dies, would Freddy Mercury have survived and David Bowie gone on to the great spaceship in the sky? Or, would things have stayed the same?

The thing is, David Bowie is cool and all... Yeah, he's a style icon... But have you ever actually listened to his music? I tried - I did, but I cannot transport myself to a time and place where Bowie's music is good. But, Freddy Mercury just plain-out rocked. Queen was awesome. Queen is awesome. I know he would have continued to rock had he not died. That gets in the way of genius.

This question has been bumping around in my head for a while. I didn't just randomly hear Under Pressure or anything - I hear it all the time. It's a miracle of rock! Go listen to it right now. Go listen to it, and then ponder who you wish was alive - Freddy or Bowie.

What I Do With My Days.

This house is palatial. It’s for two people, and even then, it’s awfully big. The phone rang at the other end of the house yesterday and I had to run to get it in time. That there’s enough room in this house that I can get to a speed that one could call "a run" means something. In my old place, I might have been able to "stride purposefully" before I hit the other end of my apartment, but no faster than that. I hope someday I can afford a place that I’m comfortable in, but I’m thinking more like a loft or something (The picture in my head? The set of John Mayer’s Your Body Is A Wonderland video.).

I’m going through a strange time of contentedness. I’m quit of my MA, I’m quit of Hamilton, and I’m on my own without being in anyone’s way. Sure, I have no income, but I have a little bit of time before I get desperate and call my MP for work.

I went for a walk yesterday and I noticed how great it smells here. Someone was mowing a lawn, which reminds me of summer, my father, and my grandparent’s place in Newfoundland. Summer makes sense - it's the only time people mow lawns, really. My father, well, we have a corner lot on PEI and Dad dedicates a lot of his time to tending to the lawn. The Newfoundland connection? We used to go visit for two weeks every summer, and it still brings me back to playing in Grandad and Gran’s shed in the backyard. The shed was tiny, but housed all the outdoor toys and Grandad’s lawnmower, so everything that came out of the shed reeked of gasoline and mulched lawn. Now that smell reminds me of my youth. Breathe deep.

My everyday:

Ok, first of all: "Dawson’s Creek" is on every weekday from 10am-noon. The Creek (or, on PEI, "The Crik") is not even a guilty pleasure – I’m proud of my dedication. I love that show. Then, I’ve been happy to discover that "What Not To Wear" is on every day at noon. No, I’m not just sitting in a daze for these 3 hours. There’s a TV next to my uncle’s computer, so I listen/watch while I check emails and e-search for jobs. Online searching for jobs blows. Hah. Hm.

Ok, it's almost 1pm, so I should go start my day. What's so bad about unemployment anyway?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Fire Your Agent.

If I had a profile on the Internet Movie Database, I would take special care in choosing the picture to accompany my portfolio. Case in point: Mr. Jason Bateman. Oh, Bateman, why… Michelle Williams chose this one. Besides this being a shitty pic, it’s from her somewhat tolerable film Dick. Ewan McGregor. I really wanted Ewan’s to be nice. Oh, Ewan.

Zach Braff's is the best I’ve seen so far. Lindsay Lohan's is ok, too. Is it the black and white? Maybe…

The Defence.

Here’s the rundown of my defence.

First of all, I was late. But it wasn’t my fault! Since I spent the night the a hotel the night before my defence, I didn’t have access to email, and the room location was changed the evening before, but I didn’t get it. My second reader was a little bitchy about it, but she can shove it. Yeah, that’s right – I said it.

I got there, finally, and had to deliver a 10-minute speech running down the particulars of my project. I finished writing it that morning and had only finished typing it up 15 minutes beforehand. I was pretty nervous, I guess, but it was more of a dry mouth kinda thing rather than a retching kinda thing.

The speech went fine, and then the three people on my committee started asking their questions. My second reader started first. She started bugging me about the gender issues I didn’t address. This bugged me a lot because a) I’m so not interested in gender issues and b) I tried to explain the fact that I interviewed a lot more women than men. I took some hits from her, but shot her down in the end, I think.

My third reader, an emeritus prof who everyone was so excited about my having on my committee, went next. He told a cutesie-poo story about a trip he took to Prince Edward Island, and then asked this gem: "Tourism as pilgrimage? Really?" Ok, I’m paraphrasing, but essentially, that was it. He took me out at the knees. It was great. I started quoting scholars and shooting him down. He said by my thesis, him sitting down to watch "The Sopranos" should be considered a pilgrimage for him. Well, I said there was no journey and not much hardship, but if it was meaningful enough to him, I suppose it could be considered a type of pilgrimage. He also mentioned visiting war graves as a type of pilgrimage, which I addressed excellently, by citing Tony Walter, a British anthropologist. Take that.

He then asked something about the authenticity of the culture packaged for tourists and how that compares to everyday "genuine" culture on Prince Edward Island.

Next up was my advisor. She had nuthin’. She asked something about a Levi-Straussian binary opposites (or something) and asked me to respond. I did. Then she asked about the common case of locals in tourist destinations harbouring animosity towards tourists. I hit that, too.

Then it went around to my second reader one more time. She said she didn’t really have a question – it was more of a comment. She said that even after reading my thesis twice, she couldn’t get one thought out of her head: that the common denominator of pilgrimage is God. I said, a god or a deity? She said no – "capital G" God. Oh. Huh. This threw me for a loop. I tried to knock this down. I cited Graceland; I cited Hindu pilgrimages, in case she was focussing on monotheistic Abrahamic traditions; and I cited perspective and subjectivity. Then, to my great relief, my advisor jumped in and kinda turned on my second reader, to the point where it became a debate between the two of them and I just sat back and let them go.

When they were spent of questions, they asked me to go outside to make me sweat while they asked one another about their kids, and then they had me back in to congratulate me. YAY! Catherine S. Sweet, M.A.!

I went back to the hallway where all our offices are and sat with Stephanie, a second-year M.A. student. I was chatting with about how it went and trying to calm down about how awesome I am, and Kim came down the hallway to congratulate me. Then she said she heard my defence went well. Huh. How? I’d only spoken to Stephanie since I got out. Kim told me that she ran into my advisor downstairs and was told that I kicked ass. Wow.

I really don’t think I have an academic mind. Well, If I do, I just don’t like to play the game. I don’t take it seriously enough, I guess. I think since I know this, and most everyone else knows that, I’ve always thought of myself as a bit of a burden and a disappointment to my advisor. I mean, she’s not going to get a lot of glory out of me, that’s for sure, so attaching her name to an MA thesis of a student who wants out of academia is probably not high on her list. So, telling people that I did well is really meaningful to me. Since then, I got word that she told an old student of hers who is teaching at MUN the same thing. Holy crap balls. Remarkable. It just makes it all the more great for me – that she was proud enough to tell people I don’t know that I did well. I think that’s great.

So, in the end, the great Inquisition I was awaiting turned into a debate, and I remembered that I actually liked my project. After a month of making sure all the margins were right and all the justification was fair, it was cool to actually talk about what I was investigating.

Do you think getting degrees is like getting tattoos? Is one enough? Are two enough? Sometimes it’s just easier to go on. Well, you know what I mean… not easier, but setting it on cruise control is like working in a trance. I know I could to a PhD. I just don’t want to. Ability is not the issue. I just know that I don’t want to be a professor, and there are enough doctors in my family as it is, thank you very much.

Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Couch-Surfing Saga.

Whew. It’s been a while. I’m going to try to detail very briefly my last 3 weeks. Warning: this is so tedious to read, I won’t blame anyone if you don’t. Zzzz.

I’ve been effing stressed out. My sleep hasn’t been great and my skin has freaked out into a leprous mess. I was couch-surfing, as a master wordsmith put it.

I was at Mike’s for 12 nights, and then started skipping around. I was at Lily and Sarah’s for 3 nights, then went to Waterloo for three nights, then to Alisha and Kristin’s abandoned apartment for a night, and then I treated myself to a hotel room the night before my defence, and then Ben Lefebvre’s for a night, then next door to Kim Harding’s, then back to Lily and Sarah’s for one last night before my sister and Dad came into town and I was in their hotel room.

Mike was good to me, but busy with a billion things, so moving on was a good plan. Lily and Sarah were also insanely busy as Sarah was scheduled to defend her MA thesis the same day as me and Lily was writing her major comprehensive exams Wednesday the 21st and Friday the 23rd. It was kinda good because we were all in our own little places and didn’t bump up against one another.

Since my defence was set so far ahead in the future (grrr), I decided to get to Waterloo to see John and Holly. That was very nice, not only for the company, but also to get out of Hamilton. Since I had to journey to get there, it didn’t seem so much like I was a freeloader, but more like I was a guest. Waterloo is my kind of town. The Hamilton sulfur odour was replaced by the slight whiff of manure. It was great. It reminded me of home. It’s really the kind of place I can see myself living. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

Alisha was presenting a paper in Minnesota and Kristin was in Regina, unfortunately attending to all the family events that accompanied the death of her grandmother, so I had the place to myself! I got there pretty late because I had running around to do, but I chilled and watched tv and slept. The next morning I started writing the 10 minute speech that I needed to prepare for the next day’s defence.

I returned to Lily and Sarah’s because Sarah’s boyfriend cooked we three stressed girls supper. Then – and this was a big great part of the whole month – we watched the season premiere of Arrested Development. The first season was good. The second season was better. The season premiere to the third season was mind-blowing. Ok, too much. It was freakin’ hilarious. And risqué. I’m not sure how they get away with all the racist, homosexual, and incestual humour (Bateman says this is excusable because the characters are so blatantly flawed). Is it wrong that I’m rooting for the (maybe) cousins to hook up? The second episode is on tonight, and I am going to be incommunicado from 8-8:30pm, fyi.

Anyhow, that night I trotted up to the top of Dundurn Street and slept at the Admiral Inn. It was quiet, clean and solitary. A nice choice, for sure.

The night after my defence, I was at Mr. Ben Lefebvre’s dee-luxe apartment in the sky. He put in the taped episode of Arrested Development for me to fully enjoy for the second time, and I was so baked after a busy brain day, I fell asleep. I fell asleep during Arrested Development! Don’t tell Bateman!

Ben’s great all round.

The next day I skipped next door to Ms. Kim Harding’s place, which is Monica and Rachel’s to Ben’s Joey and Chandler’s. I printed off my thesis at her computer, and ran to school to do crap. That afternoon I met Kim and we went grocery shopping for a lovely night in with Ben coming over for supper. We got a cake iced to say, "To Jack, Love Chrissy and Janet." I want to live in a sitcom, too!

The next night (my second last night in Hamilton) I was back to Lily and Sarah’s. I had to go to school that day to submit my thesis to the School of Graduate Studies so I could actually graduate. When I returned to Lily and Sarahs’ apartment, my father and sister were there! My dad had a meeting in Ottawa on Thursday, so he took Friday off to come get me and move me to the capital! Marilyn lives in Ottawa and has no classes on Fridays, so she came too. We had to wait around for Lily to return after the last day of her writing her comps, evah, and for her boyfriend to arrive to surprise her by flying in from California.

That night I met people at the Ceilidh House for drinks, and then back to the hotel to sleep for the drive the next day. I was so glad so many people came out. And I got to show off some of my friends to Marilyn and Dad, which is great. Thanks, all.

I guess, after all that, one might be able to see why I was stressed out. The couch-surfing was exhausting, so all my friends were so good to me, I couldn’t have survived without them. Thanks to each and every one of you, if I slept on your bed, futon, floor, couch, or not – I have a great support network in Hamilton that I can’t forget.

Right – on to the next entry.