Sunday, July 30, 2006

Eff You, Grandma.

I'm working at the Art Gallery now, and some leather-coloured old bitty just came in, dressed from head to toe in Lululemon yoga clothes, stylish grey pixie cut on her lean golden-years-pilates body.

She asked where the Harrises were, and I pointed out the area. I said, "Robert Harris is on this side, and then there's a William Critchlow Harris nook over here."

She and her friend wandered off, and I heard leatherface tell her friend that Robert Harris was a member of the Group of Seven.

I called over, "Sorry for interupting, but that wasn't Robert Harris. That was Lawren Harris. Robert is a little too early." He also mostly did portraits while Lawren Harris was way more... Group of Seven-y.

She and her friend went on about their tour of the Harrises. She finished, and bee-lined back to me to say that although a lot of the Robert Harrises were very good, you could tell he wasn't very adept because his hands aren't very well done.

I was really taken aback, because I had paid special attention to the hands, as I had heard that hands are particularly difficult and a good touchstone to look out for. I said, oh! I thought they were quite good.

No, she said. Not really.

Then I was wondering, if she thought she was such an expert, why did she think this Harris was a part of the Group of Seven, while I'm almost totally ignorant of art history and I knew that, just by glancing at Robert Harris' work, that he didn't fit into that style?

Bye-bye, leatherface. Be off with you.

[Tugs Collar Uncomfortably]

Yesterday I worked the matinee for "Anne." We only had a house of about 400. It was a really hot day, and I guess everyone thought that instead of sitting in a nice, air-conditioned theatre for four hours, it would be a better day to go to the beach and introduce their kids to the wonderful world of melanoma.

Anyhow, my standard greeting when people come to the door of the theatre is: "Hello! Come on in. Can I help you find where you're sitting this afternoon/evening?" Every once in a while there's a dick that says, "I dunno, can you?" I then smile demurely and concentrate on not head-butting them in the sternum.

Yesterday, I greeted a group of four adults with my rote, "Can I help you find your seats?" and then, as an afterthought, I said, "May I help you find your seats?"

The man laughed and said, "You must be an English major at UPEI." (As an aside, this pisses me off. Do people generally think that only English majors have learned to properly use English grammar? But I digress.)

I said, "No, but I was an English minor."

"What was your major?"

This question is dangerous, because I don't always trust that people will understand what Religious Studies is, and assume I'm a Bible beater. I took a chance and told him.

"Oh!" he said, and I assumed the wheels were turning and his next question would be, "What do you think of those Muslims?" (This was an actually response I got once.)

He said, "So, this is what you're doing with a BA in Religious Studies?"


So I said, "Fuck off. Who the hell are you to make fun of my work?" [ That's my job.]

Ok, I didn't say that. I said, "Actually, I have my MA in Religious Studies now. I'm sure you can imagine that it's not a terribly marketable area of expertise outside of academia."

It shut him up, but I think it was mostly out of pity. I don't blame him.

He asked me where I got my MA. I told him McMaster. His wife told me I should have gone to Mount A. Um. Yeah. I hear a lot about their great Religious Studies program. It turns out he taught mathematics there.

Bully for him, working in the field he studied. No, I'm not jealous. Just because I hide my face when people went I to high school with come to the theatre, I'm not jealous. I'm pitiful.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Instant Karma's Gonna Get You.

I only kill insects if they bother me. This could mean a) making my skin itch, b) biting me with venomous fangs, or c) giving me the jibblies.

This is why, when two months ago, there were dozens of exploding spider-baby balls cropping up all around my parents' house, I let them be. I said, "Come on, Catherine. They're not harming you. Look at how little! Revel in the wonder of nature! Frolic amongst the trees and feel the fertile forest air!"*

Now, I'm getting my big payback, because the little clutches of swarming gold and brown spiderlings have grown up into web-slinging creepies. Three particularly big ones flank the front door of the house, and comparitively smaller ones have spun webs between the cedars on either side of the front walk or in my mother's minivan, which I have the lend of this month.

Guh! I hate walking through spiderwebs. It's not that the thought of the spider being on me is the problem, but it's the sticky filament that I cannot touch, but only feel.

Now I'm still torn, because I still don't like killing things, but jibbly jibbly jibbly, I hate those webs, and no matter how many times I break them, they just keep coming back.

*While I might have minimally revelled, I did not, as intended, frolic.

Monday, July 24, 2006

I Can Get A Job, I Can Pay The Phone Bill...

Well, it looks like I missed the party of the year. All I know is, I'm going to marry this kid.

I put in my eight hours up at the Art Gallery this weekend. It was chucking down rain on Sunday, so it was the busiest I've ever seen it. I had over 100 guests.

"Anne" has been so quiet. When I started working at the Confederation Centre, "Anne" sold at least 900 seats for every show, and it usually sold out. (Capacity is 1,102.) Lately, 600 and 700 houses have been the norm. It means less work for me right now, I suppose, but I'm afraid what it might mean in the future. Two dark nights instead of one?

I went to see "Oscar and Felix" on Saturday night, when I was missing the party of the year. "Oscar and Felix" was an adaptation of Niel Simon's "The Odd Couple." It's so strange to see a play after watching musicals so much at the Centre. It's so much more intimate. I liked the show, but I found that the supporting roles were stronger than the leading.

Friday, July 21, 2006


One of my constant struggles is balancing what I want with what I need. I'm better and better at not coveting items, because rationally I don't need them to be happy. Luckily, my lack of any considerable money is so prohibitative, it's not difficult to say no, and I don't have a choice but to adhere to my frugal philosophy.

It's now extending to food. I'm trying to consider my food choices nutritionally as opposed to gastronomically. I've also been trying to choose food more environmentally. I try to buy fruit and vegetables that are "products of Canada," to cut down on the energy used to transport them to me, and I've not been eating red meat for the last couple of months, because beef takes an incredible amount of energy to cultivate, prepare, and transport per protein ounce (as compared to other meats).

Now that I'm actually getting a paycheque from the Confederation Centre, I'm having a hard time not going clickety-click loco on J.Crew. But no. I want that money to pay down my student debt. In a few short months, I'll be able to buy myself a little bauble with money that I don't owe to someone else. A practical bauble.

In related news: I've decided to stop my subscription to InStyle magazine. "Because I enjoy it" no longer seems like a good enough reason.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Arr. Avast.

Avast? What does that even mean?

I want to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Electric Boogaloo on Sunday night. It was good. I judge goodness here by how much I laughed out loud, and I did that a lot. I'm a braying ass at any given moment of the day, I know, but still...

For this Pirates, they turned the swashbuckle up to 11. Captain Jack Sparrow (or, Sparrah, as the squiddy creature pronounced it) is fantastic, and I didn't find it terribly derivative of the first Pirates. There were a couple of parts where I was a little disappointed that they dug up old crap, but old crap that wasn't even all that useful to dig up. The dog with the keys? Not so funny. The shabby light fixtures? Funny the first time with Orlando's delivery. Eunuch references? Ad-libbed the first time by Depp, and not unfunny the second time around, even if the pall of scriptedness was on them..

Orlando was in it somewhat less, I think, which was ok with me. Keira Knightly looked downright swarthy in parts. I guess they are in the Caribbean, but isn't she supposed to be a lady with milky white skin? Come on, people, lay off the mystic tan.

Johhny Depp. Ah... Johnny Depp. He was great. So great. He's a very funny dude, and I'm glad I'm getting to appreciate his talents. I was never one of the "Johnny Depp, he's so dreamy (instert swoon here)" girls, but now I know that there's no one else who could play a camp, drunk, pirate like Depp. And we get to see him make out with a chick in this one, which is always satisfying.

I didn't like that basically, nothing was really resolved. It might as well have faded to black and gone, "dun, dun, dun..." with a "TO BE CONTINUED" superimposed over a freeze-frame of Orlando shrugging his shoulders and going "wha?!?" The third one was filmed at the same time, so I'm all set for a glorious resurrection of Captain Jack.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Nickels and Dimes.

I've tried to post several times in the last week. I start to ramble about something utterly inconsequential, stop to read it, decide it's useless and inane, and then delete it.

My week has been rather unremarkable. I have worked every day, at least four hours at a time, since the 4th of July. Since most shifts are only four hours, it doesn't seem like I'm working a lot, which I guess I'm not, but there is a definite difference between a day where you don't have to work very much and a day where you don't have to work at all. When I work, I have to troubleshoot, be diligent, and wear my game face. I wish I had a job where I was more creative, or had projects to work on. Then I'd feel that I was accomplishing something other than herding tourists.

One fun thing that happened this week was a foray into a new board game called "Settlers of Catan." Some of the people at work are Settlers junkies, so when I heard there was a games night planned, I tagged along. I understand now, the obsession. I have been thinking about strategy for days. I am not very good at strategy games. I'm better at trivia or Pictionary (a shout out to Anders, my Pictionary life partner), and the basic level of strategy one needs to successfully play a game like Scrabble eludes me. Settlers of Catan, I've been told, is not unlike Risk, and I had visions of it being steeped in D&D lore. It is not. No Carlos the Dwarf for me!

Another fun thing was a trip to Greenwich with Katie and Melanie on Monday. I was chased by a squadron of horseflies and didn't get a sunburn (to my amazement - maybe my skin isn't like parchment). I really like the Greenwich area of the PEI National Park, and found my ire was raised when I saw a man leading a husky-like dog off the beach. Les cheins sont interdits sur les plages! Old habits die hard. Marram grass and piping plovers, not so much.

I attended a birthday supper for Jackie, and even though I had the cheapest entree on the menu, with some obligatory dessert, I still spent an entire shift's pay on one meal. Holy shit, it was good, though. And I got to wear my nice shoes, as it was a special occasion.

I've been speaking to Marilyn a lot, lately. She and Mike are coming home soon (first week of August!), and we have plans to hold hands and skip.

I also got to see Shear Madness, the show playing at the MacKenzie Theatre this summer. It was very funny, and despite trying to maintain a professional air at the back of the house, I was screaming laughing at parts. Tickets were only $25, so I recommend it to all. There was a lady in the audience there who was amazing. She was the drunkest I'd ever seen a person who didn't pass out or throw up.She must have arrived three-quarters in the bag because there's no way the barstaff would overserve her that much. Maybe she was on an antihistimene... I mean, damn...

Finally, I have added celebrity husband lucky number 13 to my list. No, it's not Daniel Radcliffe. He's way too young. I do have some scruples, people.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Suzuki v. Sniderman.

In the flush of it all, I said meeting Sam Sniderman trumped meeting David Suzuki. Now that the excitement has died down, I know that's silly.

I did get to have a nice chat with Mr. Sniderman, who came into the theatre on Friday night with his wife to see Canada Rocks. I snuck into his row at intermnission (I had Laurette man my t-shirt table), introduced myself, and spoke with him for less than five minutes. He told me he lives on Prince Edward Island six months a year now, up near Brackley Beach, and invited me up for a drink some time. I'd love to go, because the man is a Canadian icon, but at the same time, what do I do; knock on his door and invite myself in? Would he even remember me? I'd love to chat with him again. I dunno.

Sam Sniderman is more commonly known as "Sam the Record Man." He said his sons manage his two remaining stores now. There's the big flagship store in Toronto, and another one downtown in Halifax, which is probably the best music store I've ever been in. It's not big, flashy and obnoxiously loud like any generic HMV, but plain, homemade, sincere, and not overrun by DVDs. You might pay a dollar or two more per album, but I couldn't believe the variety. There are three storeys of music, with huge sections dedicated to jazz, opera, classical, international, rap, rock, and so on, with a featured East Coast and Canadian area. I liked the rock area, and it was the only place I'd found to carry Ted Leo and the Pharmasists albums.

I was distracted by Mr. Sniderman's Order of Canada lapel pin on his powder blue suit jacket. It's the first time I'd seen one, I think.

Well, walking away, I was stoked because I shook the hand of a Canadian institution, so I was reflecting about meeting Suzuki. I guess, between two icons, it was like apples and oranges. Dr. Suzuki works in fields I'm more interested in, and hope to make a living out of (not genetics, but conservation), but Mr. Sniderman is a beloved puveyor of entertainment. Since I'm not a big fan of commerse and consumption (or, more to the point, over-consumption), I suppose Suzuki wins this bout, even if I didn't have a nice one-on-one chat with him and he spelled my name with a K.

And yes, I know at first glance, Sniderman looks like Spiderman. I can't help it. Consider, though, how cool it would be to watch David Suzuki battle Spidey? Better than Godzilla and Mothra. That was fuckin' lame.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Let Me Take You Down.

My fingernails and fingers are pink like I have port-wine stains. I've been hulling strawberries for the last couple of days. My father is a U-Pick junkie, and on between Saturday the first and Monday the third, Dad brought home sixty-one boxes of berries. Mum was pissed because it forces her to process them right away before they start to turn, so I try to help by hulling. She then mashes them, boils them, and makes them into jars and jars and jars of jam for the winter. Well, the summer, too, I suppose. Dad eats a ton of homemade strawberry jam.

Dad grew up on a farm in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, and in the summers he would work as a strawberry picker. He learned how to quickly harvest the berries and that eating as you go cuts into your profit. Even today, when he brings home flat after flat of berries, when we ask him if they're any good, he doesn't know yet. He then hulls and slices a dozen berries and drowns them in skim milk. And that's the first taste he gets of four hours of picking.

It's the same way with blackberries, cranberries, partridgeberries, blueberries, and bakeapples. The last three berries are mostly found in burnt-over areas or bogs in Newfoundland, so it's a wonder Dad's not yet been carried away by a bear. Dad doesn't gather berries in measures of cups or half-litres. He goes into the wilderness with salt-beef buckets or industrial ice-cream buckets and comes back when they're full. The wild blueberries are my favourite. They pop! in your mouth.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Break Radio Silence.

Phew. Sorry, folks, for being incommunicado. I feel now that my life's about to get into a routine.

I've been made concessionist for "Canada Rocks" on the mainstage of the Confederation Centre of the Arts, a job that has its advantages. I have to arrive a half-hour earlier and sometimes I stay 15 minutes longer than the other ushers. I don't have to do a lot of math, and I don't have to talk to as many people as I would if I were ushering. (Although I'm good at talking to the public, I find it draining after a while.) I also get Mondays and Saturdays nights off. Sweet.

Also, some fun news is: I got some hours up the in the Art Gallery/Musee des Beaux-Arts at the Confederation Centre. I work 4 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays, and I start this weekend. I love art galleries, so I hope this is something I will enjoy. When I go travelling, visiting the museums and art galleries are always high on my to-do list. No, the Confed Art Gallery isn't London's Portrait Gallery (my favourite), but it has the biggest collection east of Montreal, and over 8,000 works of painter Robert Harris and architect William Critchlow Harris.

Last week was the Lucy Maud Montgomery Institute Conference, so Ben LeFebvre was is town. I didn't get to see him present his paper because Roseanne and Michelle were presenting theirs (which was fascinating), but I hung out with Ben and Hannah Jones on Wednesday night. We had supper at la Maison Gahan and drinks at the 42nd St. Lounge. Ben is doing some cool research on Montgomery's manuscripts, and it was fun to watch him get animated about things that other people (including me) can't really appreciate.

For Canada Day, Anders, his cousin Erwin and his wife Darlene and I went clam digging, only I checked the tide chart wrong and the tide was coming in, not going out. Bah. Later, we BBQed at the Balderston's and played outdoors. They made fun of my veggie burger, but not my feta in oil and baguette offering. 'Twas delish. Lisa came by with Paige, and the long lost DJ MacAskill came by. Deej is an old friend who now works for the military in avionics in Halifax. Fine for him, having a fulfilling career. I happen to like selling t-shirts and living with my Mum and Dad, thank you very much! sob.

The bruise on my butt is even more gross now that a week has passed. I wish it was just one colour again. Now it's a rainbow of gangrenous flesh. Hot!