Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Eat Your Heart Out, Self Loathing!

A short note to announce that I did a half shoulder stand (left) for the first time last night! Huzzah! I tried to straighten into a full stand, but I was so excited, I almost fell over, so I tried to concentrate on the half.



I think I just didn't trust myself to try in previous weeks. I don't think it was anything to do with my weight, but my attitude. I think we've all learned a valuable life lesson here, today, people.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I Know Kung Fu.

The last yoga class of the year is tonight. It’s too bad. Although I find it a little too challenging at times, I will miss it. I really like the standing sequences. Mountain, Mighty, Dive, Fold, Warrior One and Two, lather, rinse, repeat. I’m not as big a fan of the seated series. The last couple of weeks we’ve been doing a pose that in any other setting would be considered torture. We are meant to put our knee in/behind our alternate armpit. Fine. Are you picturing it? Now picture me doing it. Let me help. Thunder thighs. D cups. Doughy arms. The weird thing is, once you’re in the pose, it feels so right. Getting there is the problem.

One thing that I will not miss is goddamned “alternate nostril breathing.” The instructor makes us do this after our cool-down time. Here’s how it’s done. You gently pinch off one nostril, breathe out for four beats, breathe in for two beats, pinch off both nostrils to the beat of eight, release the other nostril and breathe out for the count of four. Then you breathe in with the other nostril for the count of two. 2-8-4-2-8-4. Repeat back and forth for, oh, I don’t know… forever!!!

It’s meant to be meditative. I try to make it meditative. ‘Sblood, do I try. I’m in yoga class, so I try to get into it. I go as Hindu as I can. I say, “Catherine, don’t panic. You’re not actually suffocating. This life is all illusory. Maya is fabricating attachment to lure you into samsara. You only think you’re suffocating because you’ve been told that you need air to live. Pfft. There is no spoon.”

Ok, the last stuff isn’t Hindu, but at that point in my meditation, there is very little oxygen travelling to my brain and I start mixing up Vishnu with Keanu. Easy mistake.

We’ve also been doing shoulder stands, which are fun, but make me very angry. I’m angry at myself because I can’t do even half shoulder stands because I’m too heavy to support my own weight. Or maybe I’m too weak to support my weight, but that's just as bad, if not the same thing.

I remember when I was working at the Health Spa in England, one of the aestheticians came to my desk after administering a massage to a particularly heavy woman and said, “I just don’t understand how people can let themselves get that fat!” I haven’t forgotten that. For a long time I thought she was right, however insensitive.

Now I’m afraid I’ve gotten to that point. I’m no longer at my heaviest (hola, yoga!), but I’m still about 25 pounds heavier than I was when I got back from Turkey in 2002. Yeah, I know, I was doing a lot of walking on that adventure (and no, there was no Delhi Belly, but thanks for not asking), and grad school was a dirty bitch for my health habits. This is the only body I’m issued for this lifetime and I should take better care of it. I have to look good for the next time I run into Alex Mazer. Last time I looked like shit.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Cate And Holly On The Aisle.

Today, I am happy to announce the unveiling of a new blog. Holly and I are collaborating on a new e-publication devoted to bi-weekly movie reviews and probably eventually other movie-related things. We're calling our Blog baby "Clapboard Jungle."

I like posting reviews to movies that I’ve seen, but don’t always feel they match the tone of the rest of my blog, and they don’t often receive a lot of feedback.

To remedy this, I’m pairing up with my oft-e-present friend Holly. She’s an expert in old Hollywood, Charles Chaplin, Woody Allen, and beyond, and I’m going to be mostly fielding new movies. By new, I don’t necessarily mean movies that are currently in theatres, but newer movies.

I posted the first review a couple of days ago. I find it ironic that it's for Match Point, a Woody Allen movie, when Holly clearly should have used her Allenowledge to field that one.

Scroll down to read our profiles. We wrote one another’s. Check in often! Exclamation point!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Always A Good Answer.

I just can’t shake this foul mood. Last Tuesday I skipped yoga because of it. I’m like a high-functioning alcoholic, though – it’s not a struggle to get through days without snapping at people. It’s just a low-simmering ever-present discouragement.

Last night after working a shift at the Confederation Centre, some of my co-workers were going out to a trivia night. I used to love going to trivia, and I don’t get chances to go out anymore, being a) sad, b) pathetic, and c) skint-by-necessity. We used to go out every Thursday night for trivia. We were the princes of beer questions, the kings of minutiae. I think we got complaints, so our team name changed from “Touched by an Uncle” to “Touched by an Angela Lansbury.” That shut them up.

Anyhow, I wanted to go to trivia, but after waiting for the girls to “get ready to go out” (read: pound booze, putting on makeup and removing clothing), I started to feel cranky, out of place, and long in the tooth. I went home.

I flaked, and then felt shittier. I don’t socialize as much as I used to, and I miss it. And beer? I can’t remember what that tastes like. Black forest cake? Maybe.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Ham, Shem, Japheth, and Anders.

I'm going to start gathering animals in fuckin' twos. It's been rainy since Saturday, but today is particularly nasty. The wind is high and the rain is heavy. The ditches are filling up. Just last week, there was a news piece saying the Island watersheds were low because we had such a dry winter. I don't think that's a problem anymore.

Anders is home, which is great. Yesterday he came over and announced that he wanted to burn a CD. That meant setting up my computer, which I had brought back from Ottawa but not yet assembled. I haven't assembled it because there's nowhere to do so. My room is more and more resembling a compost heap (no joke - the heaps of detritus were beginning to heat up), and the entire downstairs is either stuffed with my sister's belongings or being painted by some very nice but omni-present men.

Anyhow, Anders got really excited about cleaning my room. Anyone who knows Anders is not surprised by this.

Anders. Likes. Cleaning.

Despite my scowls and protestations, we set to work excavating the desk area of my room. Items: magazines I stole from the office of the UPEI student newspaper when I graduated; the rug I brought back from Turkey; old correspondence; and a straw cowboy hat (?) that I bought in England (!) that's too small for me.

The computer got set up. A CD was burned. Can you believe that Anders didn't fall in love with Tenacious D? Huh. There's no accounting for taste.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Dashboard Constitutional.

It's a beautiful day.

Even though gas is now 112.7 cents a litre, I went for a drive this afternoon. A friend at the Confederation Centre burned me a David Cross CD and I wanted to listen to it without interruption. (Anyone wants borrowsies, let me know. Except Jackie - she's hoarding my shit.)

The tulips in the front beds are now a span high and lawns are positively green now. I drove out through Pownal (PAWN-ul, for those from away) towards Hazelbrook. Someone had tilled fields that morning, so the red red red earth was contrasted with the green lawns, and there was a low misty fog hanging over the turned-up earth.

As I drove along the main road, a car stopped in the other lane waiting for me to pass by so it could turn left. As I passed, the man gave me a little wave. His hand didn't come off the wheel, but it was a full five-fingered salutation. I waved back and drove on grinning. The only thing we had in common was our location, but that was enough for that man to greet me.

I love it here on PEI.

I returned home to Mum's predictable blasting of Il Divo. Do I want to hear opera-style Supremes covers? No. There are five CDs in the turntable now. Il Divo, the Irish Rovers, Rod Stewart's standards covers, Ray Charles big hits, and something else I can't remember. Probably Michael Buble, who is hard to hate. The only song I ever hear on the Irish Rovers CD is "Fish Off Cape St. Mary's", which is nice and sentimental, but only in moderation.

At least at Christmas those CDs get taken out of the player and are replaced by, oh, I don't know, "Il Divo's Christmas Cantata," "Rod Stewart's Winter Wonderland," "Ray Charles Scats with Kris Kringle," Harry Connick, Jr.'s "Sleigh Ride," and Michael Buble's Reluctant But Obligatory "Christmas Croonin'."

All the more reason to love summer.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Little Beat For The Rhythm And Some Words To Read.

I'm enjoying reading for fun again. I know since I'm afraid my brain is going to atrophy, I should be reading Religious Studies books and articles, but I ODed on that in grad school, so I'd prefer to read novels.

I was having a conversation a couple of weeks ago where I was asked what kind of books I liked. One person said he liked mysteries. The other said she liked courtroom stuff. I was stuck. I have no idea what I would call what I read. The first thing I could say was "British." Is that even a genre? No, of course not. Or is it? I have read almost all of Nick Hornby's books, and the book I'm reading now features a review which says that it is "the American answer to High Fidelity." It is embarrassingly called Love Monkey. So far I'm digging it.

I just finished a young adult reader's book called Endymion Spring. It's by a Canadian author, Matthew Skelton, and I only knew about it because when it was published there was a hoo-hah made of it. I didn't know if it was a slow news day, or maybe it was genuinely worth reading, so I got it. It's set in Oxford, England, which immediately made me hope that it was as good as Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy. It wasn't.

Remember how Dickens was paid by the word? Skelton was obviously paid by the simile. I'm sure the word "like" was a close third in population after "the" and "and." It got a little tiresome.

The story went back a forth between a North American boy, Blake (Skelton was careful not to identify his nationality, thereby not alienating readers, and, of course, income), and Endymion Spring, a mute typesetter from the mid-15th century. Blake's mother is a visiting scholar at Oxford, his sister Duck (yeah - Duck), is smarter than he is, and he misses his father, who is still back in nondescript North America. Endymion is a pickpocket-cum-typesetter's apprentice to none other than Johann Gutenberg. There's some intrigue that Gutenberg has sold his soul to the devil in return for inventing a successful printing press. Oh, and the wealthy investor who plays the role of the devil? His name is Fust. Fust, people.

There's a connection between the two boys. There's a dragon. There're some poorly-integrated Christian dogmatic references. There's a bad guy who we don't know is a bad guy and a bad guy who's not a bad guy. I guess, to Skelton's credit, I didn't see the bad guy coming a mile away. I saw it a half mile away.

This book was not written for me. It was written for, I would say, a junior-high level student. I have to remember that. I thought, at times, the story was unclear and Skelton was sloppy with pronouns and antecedents, making it awkward to follow who was doing what. I'm not always the most diligent reader, though, so it could be my problem and not his. Nah - it's his.

The book has a really cool textured cover. It is not its only redeeming feature, but it will not go on my top-5 list for the year. As with anything else I review and own, ask if you want to borrow any of the titles listed above.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Taking The 'Sad' Out Of Sadism.

Bye, bye, Ken Jennings.

New Linque du Jour.

It also reminds me: the plan to re-name my sister's cat "Nacho Libre" came to a quick end when I actually mentioned it to my sister. I knew it was a mistake, but I like the air of transparency in all my schemes. I guess "Simon" is an ok name for a cat. I guess.

Sucky luchador name, though.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Tide Is High And I'm (Not) Movin' On.

It is fully-blown springtime here in the birthplace of Confederation. I'm in at the Confederation Centre now, waiting for the last shift of the Eastern School District Drama Festival, a.k.a. the week-long pain in my ass that I forgot how horrible it was.

Today I saw a big fat hummingbee exploring my Mum's crocuses. Croci. Ahem.

I was too warm in my thin tweed coat. Yes, I was wearing my knee-high leather winter boots and a long-sleeve black sweater, too, but still, it was balmy today. I drove to some errands with windows down in the car. All the ice is out of the Charlottetown harbour. In fact, this morning the tide was super high, and just now when I was driving to work, it was super low and I could smell that great summery low-tide smell. I know Upper Canadians might not think this smell would be pleasing, but when the ice moves on and the water opens up, it's basically summer.

There's a full moon tomorrow, which would explain the tide. It's also Anders' birthday. Anders was my prom date and is, I'm sure, the only man I'll ever love. He's ruined me for men. Happy birthday, lovah.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Discouraging News Saga Continues.

I got a letter today from Foreign Affairs Canada telling me I didn't get accepted to that stuntastic internship. I wasn't really holding my breath (because I'd be well cyanotic by now) but I was trying to be cautiously optimistic.

I've been having e-fights and conversations with friends about how I'm setting my standards too high when I'm looking for work. I'm not. Honest. I've applied for stuff way over my head, and I've applied for waitstaff positions. I might be accused of being picky, and that might be fair. I just don't want to finally get a job somewhere that'll suck my will to live. As anxious as I am to get out my parent's house, it does afford me some time to be picky.

Come on, though - don't you think I deserve to be a little picky? I don't want to apply for jobs what only require a high school education just because I have a good chance to getting it. If I've learned anything, I don't get interviews for the jobs that I'm overqualified for. Hell, I don't even get fucking interviews for jobs that I am qualified for.

Here's my daily routine. Follow my links, won't you?

First stop: Post Secondary Recruitment, a Federal Government job registry site. A new job is posted there every 4-6 business days, and most are over my level of education or expertise. I've been told that this website is a "scam", but I'm in no position to not scramble for a government job.

Then: The Government Jobbank. I type "completion of university" into the search engine for PEI, NS, Newfoundland, NB, and Ottawa, in that order. Usually, it's filled with postings for sous-chefs and call centre positions, but sometimes there are interesting positions. I'd say about 1/3 of all the jobs I've appliled for have come from this site.

Next: I swing by the National Research Council job page. Useless all but once, and I was dragged kicking and screaming into applying for that one.

Next: Government of Prince Edward Island job page. Very unfulfilling.

With those searches done, I'll leave my "government" folder in my favourites file, and proceed to "philanthropic," where I visit, in this order:

Charity Village,
Canadian Blood Services,
David Suzuki Foundation,
Canadian Diabetes Association,
Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.

That concludes places in which I have interest which I have named "philanthropic." What's next?

Universities (and Holland College!)
UPEI
Acadia
NSCAD
King's
MUN
St. FX

Then I go on to what I've titled "Entertainment." These are places where I would love to work, but don't expect anything very promising. These are the kind of places where I wouldn't mind working a crappy job, because I think the environment would be fun, creative and interesting.

Of course, the CBC,
Alliance Atlantis,
Milkman, a great site that an ex-classmate recommended, where commercial radio stations accross Canada post job openings. Most jobs are in Ontario or Bumblefuck, Manitoba.
Cultureworks.ca, and finally,
Media Job Search Canada, which is probably my favourite site. It has a ton of jobs in a ton of disciplines. Last week, I applied for a job at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax that was posted on this site.

After I go through all these sites, I usually try to think of places that post jobs on-line. Like, the Confederation Centre of the Arts, The Atlantic Technology Centre, The Confederation Bridge, or anything else that pops to mind.

As I look through all these sites, I take note of anything to apply for. If I can work up the enthusiasm to get excited about any job, I'll stop the job trolling directly and apply for the job at that moment, and then continue. Usually, though, it'll take a deep breath to apply for the position of "shitty job coordinator, $400 weekly for 44 hours a week." Kidding. I never apply for those. I'm too picky.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Afartrimudra.

I am really enjoying my yoga class. It’s an intermediate class, which is probably slightly too advanced for me, but I’m beyond the beginner level, so there I am.

I’ve had to miss the last two weeks because I’ve been on the road so much, so it was a bit of a shock to get back into it last night. Some of the poses are challenging because of my lack of strength and excess of flesh.

The instructor (yogi?) is a late-40-ish lady who you would never suspect by looking at her that she could tie herself into a sheepshank. She’s not one of those lean, ½ A-cup yoga ladies who look like they only eat watercress and cranberries, but a regular schoolteacher-looking lady. She’s very kind, calm and encouraging, and I like listening to her.

Sometimes her advice seems a little flaky. Whatever point she’s trying to make is always woven into a “That’s what yoga’s all about.” Breathing is what yoga’s all about. Stretching is what yoga’s all about. Not pushing your body too far is what yoga’s all about. Convee-nient.

Basically, I live in fear of audibly farting during class. No – not just audibly, but loudly farting. When I used to go to community school yoga classes, one night, someone ripped a super loud fart and it was totally humiliating. Um, for him or her. Not for me. I mean, I empathized with how embarrassing that would be, but I mostly thought it was funny. Jackie, however, who was also taking the class with me, was inconsolable. She still laughs when it’s brought up.

The thing is, I don’t even need to fart all that much when I go to yoga. I’m not usually so inclined (probably because for the entire day I mindfully abstain from all food that might ferment in my plumbing). Still, it’s a distracting concern. You’re there, stretching and moving about and bending over in compromising positions.

Anyway, with this in mind, I go to yoga class, and what happens on the very first night, but during a very quiet and calm cool-down period (savasana), some dude in front of Jackie treats us all to a loud and painful-sounding fart. It’s difficult to focus on the sound of your own breath when your throat has closed over in an effort to stifle a guffaw. I thought Jackie was going to give herself a umbilical hernia when we talked about it after class.

The instructor was walking amongst us at the time, directing our cool-down, and I swear, I expected her to say, “Voiding gas from one’s bowels is what yoga’s all about.”

Monday, April 03, 2006

I Should Have Gone Into Archaeology.

I've spent a big chunk of this morning cleaning my room. For years, I've called this process "excavating." This indicates how often I clean/tidy. I just spent the last half hour removing bank and payment statements from their envelopes. Later this afternoon, I will shred them, hopefully bothering my mother as much as she bothers me when she embarks on epic shred-a-thons.

Some of the things I found:

- A rejection letter from Queens for a BA program from 2001. When did I apply to Queens? I don't remember that at all.
- A rejection letter from the University of Ottawa for an MA program from 2003. I do remember that. They said my marks weren't high enough. No shit, Sherlock. I guess that's why I went to McMaster, The People's University.
- Congratulations letters from Pat Mella, MLA and Shawn Murphy, MP after graduating from UPEI. Why the hell don't they track me down for my MA? The BA was a doddle compared to the MA!
- Pay stubs from the Confederation Centre, tracking my pay rise from $7.36 to $7.60 through to $7.75. It is now a whopping $8.03. Eat your hearts out.
- I found a $20 bill in a misc. bowl that I've kept on my bedside table for years.

I sleep in this room now, but really, I haven't lived in it since August 2003, so it's become a virtual dumping grounds for documents and miscellany.

It's very dusty and sneezy in there. Man, I can't wait to get a proper job and get my own place. A fresh start in an empty room sounds really enticing. Scorched earth? Hmm...