Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The First Little Pig Was Right.

Things are looking up.

Although little has changed in my circumstances, I have decided to take two strategic breaks from my circumstances.

Point the first: On September 1st to the 4th, I'll be attending a Strawbale Construction Workshop in Quispamsis, New Brunswick. (I almost wrote "near Saint John" instead of Quispamsis to spare me from reading comments teasing the name of the town. I don't care that it's a funny word. It just is.)

I'm very excited about this because I found a college course that seems to have been designed for just what I want to learn. It's in Ontario, of course, but the town (Haliburton) is next to Algonquin National Park, and, more importantly, it's not Hamilton. Anyhow, since I've only ever had a strong interest in sustainable housing but never any hands-on experience, this workshop is a great opportunity for me to roll up my sleeves, learn about some technicalities, and gain some skills.

Strawbale!

Addendum: I'll be staying with Lynda in Fredericton while I'm doing the workshop, which will be a big treat, because besides her company (always a big treat), I will get to see her much-loved apartment.

Point the second: Yesterday I booked a flight to England! I'll be there for 19 days in October. I'll be staying with my friends in Blackheath, which isn't far from London, and I might be able to get down to see Anna in her new home of Toulouse (!), if our schedules allow.

I had a hard time talking myself into booking the trip, not having a real job or much (read: any) money. Still, if I had a proper job, I wouldn't be able to take three weeks and go to England, so off I go! This year has been really hard for me, starting at the first of September oh-five, so I desperately need a little bit of rejuvenation and adventure and time to myself.

I can't wait to see art galleries, and museums, and maybe a couple of shows! Zippity!

Looking forward to these two trips make the concrete floors and mundane routine of working in Front of House at the Confederation Centre more tolerable.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Oh! Isn't She Polite!

People ask how you're doing a lot.

It's not until I don't even feel like lying and say "fine" that it's an issue.

Lately, I've been saying "I'm as well as can be expected, thank you for asking."

Unfortunately, most of the people who ask me how I'm doing are the at Confederation Centre and recognise that that's a quote from Anne of Green Gables, the Musical (tm), and then they think I'm lamer than I was to begin with.

I just hate lying to people, and answering "fine" to a question that should be answered (at most times), "on the verge of tears, thank you for asking," is even more taxing.

For those who are terribly worried about my well-being, things might be looking up. I might be taking a trip!

More later.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Farewell To Arms.

Lately I've been finding it so comfortable to have my arms raised over my head. I don't know what muscles it's stretching, but it feels so great.

I think I kow why this is lately so comfortable. When I work as the t-shirt wench for Canada Rocks!, I'm on my feet for more than an hour before the show starts and then another half hour during intermission and after the show lets out. The floor is concrete. This is my thrice weekly routine.

At the Confederation Centre of the Arts, they (try to) train the staff to pay attention to every detail that they are projecting to the guests (i.e. money sacks). Therefore, our body language has been strutinized. Smiley smile. Don't point with one finger. No crossed arms. When we are standing still, we are to have out arms hung at our sides or clasped behind our backs. This is a non-threatening pose. Crossed arms are defensive. And oh so comfortable.

So, when I stand for such a long time in the lobby, smiling at guests (i.e. money sacks), I clasp my hands at the small of my back. This pulls my upper arms and shoulders in an unnattural position for long periods of time, and the muscles get tired. It also thrusts forward the girls, and I'm not complaining about that.

Usually about twice a week, there are too few workers in the theatre, so once the show begins, I switch over from t-shirt wench into usher mode, and sit inside watching the audience. At the back of the house, in the dark, I love to extend my arms straight up over my head. I don't necessarily stretch my arms over my head, but just hold them there.

I think it's cool that my body will naturally take the position that relieves the unnatural position I force it into.

Ahhh.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I Want A Real Job.

I'm 27.

I have an MA.

I'm working at a job I've had since I was 19.

Extreme frustration to the point of tears, sometimes.

My peers have real jobs.

What the fuck am I doing wrong?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Ding Dong.

I went to a wedding yesterday. It was my girlfriend Amanda’s. She’s now married to a German fellow she met while in grad school. His name is Marc, and he’s quite the cat.

I always get so exhausted thinking about weddings. It’s not the Sweet Family style to go in for big spectacles, so I always get tired with all the peripheral goings-on. This time, for Amanda’s goings-on, I had to work for both the bridal shower and the stagette, so I missed them. I caught the last hour or so of the shower, but after work. Happily, I was able to get the night off for the wedding proper.

The wedding was out at the Stella Maris RCChurch in North Rustico. It’s a lovely old wooden church.

I don’t know why I had in my head that is was going to be a huge wedding with hundreds of guests. Probably because Amanda is a Gallant from North Rustico. It was much smaller than that. There were probably “only” about 100-120 people around.

After the ceremony I started bugging the priest (Fr. Francis Jay) because I had questions about the tabernacle and other geeky things that I love asking members of the clergy about. He was a kind man and gave me his card, which has a picture of Pope John Paul II on it. He says he teaches adult education classes, and invited me to go, which I am interested in, but I’m afraid it would be a little apologetic.

Amanda’s parents finally built their dream house up in North Rustico. Often, the little scale model would be displayed at their house in Charlottetown. It’s so cool and surreal to see it in full size now. Well, directly after the wedding, we went there for finger foods and drinks. It’s a beautiful house, and even though they just moved in, it already feels like home.

The reception was in Charlottetown, and boy, what a spread. We had soup, salad, a turkey dinner, and chocolate mousse for dessert. I could have just eaten the stuffing and mousse and I’d’ve been happy. They cleared the dance floor and people started to bust a move.

I had to work early this morning, so I left at about midnight. Happily, I was driving, so I didn’t have the temptation of drinking too much.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Dirty Pop.

Has anyone been watching Much Music lately? I don't watch it as much as I once did, because they are turning more MTV-y and playing more crap-tastic reality shows around the clock.

Well, this week, I watched some of the MM Countdown, which is a show where new videos are arbitrarily listed from 30 to 1. Sweet Jesus. Am I getting old, or is what passes for pop music becoming even more piss-poor than it always was?

I'll always admit that I'm a pop casualty. I enjoy pop music. It's designed for me to like it. It's designed to be popular.

I'll try to link to videos I'm discussing, but they are often quickly disabled by the heartless music moguls who can't stand to let people enjoy music without paying or watching commercials.

Where to start?

First: These ass-hats. AFI? A Fire Inside? A fire inside what? A fire inside their groupie-filled tour bus, hopefully. The video, "Miss Murder," (here live) which is listed on the MM Countdown right now, is the most pretentious waste of space I've had the misfortune of forcing myself to sit through in a long time. For a moment it sounds a little Dookie-esque, which might be slightly redeeming to some, but then it starts to sound like stuff from The Wedding Singer soundtrack. The overwrought lead singer needs to be sterilised for the sake of mankind. The hair? The makeup? Is this cool? Am I so square that I can't even see how this is cool? Please, younger, cooler people, post a comment and tell me why these fools are cool.

Second: Fergie's "London Bridge." Saints preserve us. Is Fergie talented enough to have her own recording career now? No, she's famous enough. I thought she served as the Minister in Charge of "Woah-woah-woahs" and "Steri-eri-eri-eri-os" for the Black Eyed Peas. Agree with me, won't you, that she should not have quit her day job, as it were. This video, which is inexplicably high on the countdown, is nothing but a platform for this poor exploited woman to tease back her hair and strut around with no pants on.

Speak of the devil:
Third: Beyonce feat. Barry Manilow. No. Of course not, she's flanked by her hetero life partner Jay-Z in her bound-to-be-overplayed "hit" "Deja Vu"! Beyonce looks like a deer caught in the headlights for this entire video, if deer caught in headlights wore too much eye makeup. She quivers her claw-like hand. She twitches her synthetically-sweaty mocha shoulders. She pretends to be a supermodel, like she does in all her videos, and treats us to a Gunga-galunga tribal dance, as well. The vocals are breathy and too high. I'm looking forward to hating this song in T minus one week.

This one hurts me:
Fourth: JT. JT's trying to bring sexy back to the music industry with the first release off his new album. Oh, he's called it "SexyBack." It is a very sexy video, but the song is terrible. In the video, he's some sort of superspy James Bond/Robbie Williams character, doing his spy thing, doing his spy women, jumping off spy balconies. The video has very high production value. Too bad they didn't put more time into the recording studio. Had I not seen his name at the beginning, I would not have recognised JT's voice. It's whiney and tuneless, and if it weren't for a familiar short, rapid-virbrato bursts like in his "Cry Me A River" track, I would never have guessed it was him. I might have guessed it was a new Gorrillaz song, or at least old-school Albarn. Oh: the neckerchief? I am not feeling the neckerchief.

The silver lining: I will mention a couple of new videos that are excellent.
1) Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy." Great concept and theme. Kudos.
2) Christina Aguilera's "Aint No Other Man." Again, a great concept, and very stylish. Beside the ample ta-tas, it's probably fairly accurate to the time. The song is pretty tight. Too bad I can't say the same for JT.