Friday, December 31, 2004

Hey Rocky!

This morning I was sitting in the living room, when I glanced out the window at the huge maple tree in the front of the house. There, clinging to a branch in the wind and rain, was a squirrel.

Now, the sighting of a squirrel is not usually a cause for celebration in urban and built up areas. But here in the country, where we're surrounded by farms and the trees are pretty far apart, squirrels are a creature of note.

No one is sure how they get out here, just that they show up periodically. And that they don't last long. The road my parents live on is busy and fast. Plus, our herd of feline domesticus like a little variety in their diet, which normally consists of cat food (Meow Mix), doves (which are really just pigeons with good PR, and pigeons are just rats with wings), mice, and the occasional unidentified creature ("Is that a vole?" "It certainly looks vole-like." "Seriously?" "I don't know - what do voles look like?")

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Post-post-Boxing Day buzz

Another day spent in glorious debauchery.

Yesterday, the ILP tried to go to the kitchen and restaurant supply place and the giant book store. Hilariously enough, both were closed. So I hit both places today.

If you are ever in the St. Catharines area after Christmas, might I suggest stopping by the Book Depot (it's on Welland Ave. for those in the region). Books that are already on sale are even more on sale for the next few days. I made out pretty good - among other things, two Nigella Lawson cookbooks, A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain (I'm hooked, I tell ya...), Me Talk Pretty One Day by Dave Sedaris, The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger, and Sellovision by Augusten Burroughs (which I started reading while waiting in line). The clerk tallied up the total and then divided it in half, which made me all giddy and excited and wanting to go back again tomorrow. But I somehow have to get them all back to Sudbury, plus I don't have room on my shelves (or, at least I'm not going to have room) to house them. Plus, I need to save money for my SEX (stash enhancement expedition - a knitting term) on Thursday.

The kitchen place is really cool, even though I feel like a complete amateur in there. There are so many pots and pans and implements to look at, that I feel that my cooking/baking would improve if I only had that funky looking wire whisk...

The other problem I have is that when you grow up with a mother who loves to bake and does so almost constantly is that you have an unrealistic expectation of how many pie plates, cookie sheets, muffin tins, loaf pans, cake pans, mixing bowls, etc., you really need. Do I need those tiny muffin tins for perfect bite-sized cheesecakes? No. Do I need a deep-dish pie plate with scalloped edging? No. Do I need a round bund pan for making gingerbread cake or poppyseed cake? Maybe, but I don't need the $40 cast-iron one. So I limited myself to a nice, heavy mixing bowl and a long square pan for making brownies. Yeah, right...

Afterwards, I stopped at the library for a little visit (hi Elaine!) and then went to the yarn store in Fonthill. I got another ball of Dandy to finish the scarf I started eons ago but needed one more ball to complete, and two balls of totally cool novelty stuff - names of which I can't remember.

And then I came home and finished Kiss of the Fur Queen. Good lord, but it was a sad ending! It was a sad book, but I loved it nonetheless. I'm all sad now, and I don't really want to read Pi, but I'm going to force myself to anyways.

Movies in 2004

This year was a banner year as far as going to see movies was concerned. In the past, I might go to one or two movies - tops. This year, I went nine - NINE! - times (that I remember). So, here's how it broke down:

Anchorman - Pretty cheese and over-the-top, but in a good way. Will Ferrell is a genius, and the rest of the cast was pretty great as well.

Blade Trinity - Not bad. Saved by actors other than Snipes. Some funny dialogue bits, occasionally not meant to be funny at all.

Bridget Jones : The Edge of Reason - Meh. Not my favourite, but I do like Renee Zellweger.

Dodgeball - I saw this movie around the same time as Anchorman, and some of the actors appear in both, so I sometimes mix the two up. I'm not a Ben Stiller fan (except for Mystery Men), and didn't change my mind after this film.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - This was my favourite Harry Potter movie so far. A lot of the "incidental" action - trips to the library, Quidditch matches, etc, were cut, and made the story less cumbersome. The actors are better at playing their characters now, and the addition of Michael Gambon as Dumbledore was excellent. And I liked Alfonso Cuaron's directing better than Chris Columbus' because Columbus tries too hard to make his child characters be mature and intellegent, like short adults, instead of letting them act like children. Now that most of them are teenagers, they're finally able starting to act their age.

Hellboy - Another meh movie. I do think that any film that uses Tom Waits in the soundtrack is worth watching at least once.

Hero - Stunningly beautiful. The cinematography, the costumes, the fight scenes - all bold and striking. The story? Confusing - I'd have to see it again to be certain who was really crossing who.

Shrek 2 - Better than the original, and more geared towards older kids or adults. The best line in the movie is when Fiona is looking for Shrek, and calls out "Shrek?" Puss in Boots responds, "For you baby, I could be." (You have to hear that line being said by Antonio Banderas to really understand the impact.)

Spiderman 2 - In general, meh. I liked it better than the original, though. (Bonus fun trivia: in the scene where Spider Man is forced to take the elevator, the actor who plays the guy in the elevator is Hal Sparks. Sparks plays Michael Novotny on Queer as Folk, a character that owns a comic book shop and writes a comic book about a gay superhero.)

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Happy Boxing Day!

Here's to everyone and their families - that you may all have a truly slothful and relaxing day-after-Christmas to recover! May the lines at the Boxing Day sales be reasonable, the salespersons friendly, and that swanky black skirt be in your size! May the books that you sit around reading capture your attention and not let go until you've finished the whole thing in one sitting! May all the movies/sporting events you watch today sooth your frazzled minds!

I, for one, have spent a goodly portion of the day eating Christmas cookies and reading Kitchen Confidential (hence the mass consumption of gingerbread and icebox cookies). When I wasn't reading, I was making tea or trying to get the internet connection to work. (It's flaky - this morning it wouldn't connect, but for no discernable reason, it works now.)

Happy Boxing Day from the ILP and everyone else at Chez Larocque!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Stupid Mind!

I’m sure that everybody knows how much my body hates me
It lets me down most every time and makes me rash and hasty
- Billy Bragg, Sexuality

Over the past four days, I've had a grand total of 9 hours sleep. By last night, I was quite tired and more than a little stressed out. When I went to bed shortly before midnight, I kept thinking how much my body will appreciate a good, solid 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. It took a while to get to sleep, because every time I'd drift off, I'd think of something else that needed to be done in the morning. Finally, I got up and made a list, and since I didn't have to try and remember anymore, I dropped right off.

At 5:20am, my Mind woke me up.
"Pssst. Hey!"
"Zzzzzzz... *snort* Wha...?"
"Hey! What about the locks?"
"The locks!"
"What locks?"
"For the suitcase, duh! Where are they?"
"How the hell should I know? I think they're on the big suitcase."
"Well, you should go find them."
"Why not?"
"Because I don't need them. Now shut up and let me get another two hours of sleep, please!"
"What do you mean, you don't need them? What if someone tries to break into your suitcase?"
"I don't need them because I'm staying at Chez Larocque. The only person who might possibly want to break into my luggage is Rachelle to look for her Christmas presents." (Note to Rachelle: Don't.)
"But where are the locks?"
"Again, I don't know. Probably on the big suitcase."
"Fine. Where are the keys for the locks, then?"
"Shit! I don't know! Will you bugger off?"

At that point, my sinuses decided to get in on the game and started running. For the next fifteen minutes, I was sneezing and blowing my nose and coughing and all sorts of other attractive things. Finally, I got up and my sinuses and my Mind started high-fiving each other for getting me out of bed an hour and a half before my alarm was supposed to go off. Bastards.

I just talked to my mother, and apparently the weather in Toronto is craptacular, but not doing anything at home. I'll be doing the trek in puddle-jumps (stopping in Parry Sound and Barrie) to gauge the weather and road conditions.

Wish all us travelers luck!

Update: Despite miserable road conditions from Sudbury to Barrie (and moderately bad conditions from Barrie to Toronto, and "Meh" road conditions the rest of the way), I made it home in slightly over nine hours. It's normally a six-hour journey.

Thanks for the good karma and best wishes!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Heading South

I was going to post the list of movies I saw this past year, but it needs editing and such and I'm running on empty right about now.

I'm heading home for the holidays in the morning, and the weather isn't co-operating. It's snowing a little tonight, but we're supposed to get more overnight. Plus, there's a winter storm warning for pretty much all of Southern Ontario tomorrow. However, I'm not exceedingly worried.

As I told a former co-worker in an email earlier this evening (hi Elaine!), "Yes, yes - I know there's a winter storm warning. We get those every year, but how many times did we actually *get* a storm? (Watch - this time, there will actually be a storm. Just g/God's way of taunting me.)" (The answer is - rarely. Never at this time of year.)

But just in case the weather is bad and I have to drive through it, could you spare me a thought or two? I should be okay if I take my time and accept that I may have to stop somewhere along the way.

Anyways, g'nite. Maybe I'll post something brief in the morning.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

This is how I knew it was Monday

When I was in grad school, I would gauge how bad my day was going to be by how early in the morning I started drinking Coke. (I had a similar gauge when I worked at the public library - how insane the day was going to be by how early I was sent to Tim Horton's for the coffee run. Anytime before we opened was not a good sign.)

Yesterday, I should have started drinking Coke as soon as I got up.

I'd only had three hours sleep. My bad - Karen and I started watching Jersey Girl at around 10:40, and it was going to be late when we finished. Knew that, wanted to watch anyways, and then ended up talking for another two hours after the movie ended. So, right off the bat, I was tired. Not sleepy-tired, but hideously giddy-tired. Giggling maniacally, I got ready for work.

Now, Saturday night when I got home from church, it wasn't that bad weather-wise - the temp hovered around -10 or so. Over the next three hours, the temp dropped 20 degrees, and the wind picked up. I didn't plug my car in because I wasn't going anywhere Sunday, but I did run down Sunday afternoon to plug it in. Did you know it takes less than 10 seconds for your nostril hair to freeze when the temp with the windchill is -46 degrees? I know that now.

Knowing that it was bloody----ing cold*, I made sure I got down to my car good and early. Went to the driver side door, and it wouldn't open - terrific, it's frozen shut. Again. The passenger side door did open, and after unplugging the car, I started it. The car made an awful noise, started, and continued to make funny noises. I walked around the car to try and open the door again, and noticed this black soot-like stuff under my exhaust pipe. Uh-oh - soooo not good.

It turns out that none of the outlets on that side of the parking lot were working, so although I plugged in the block heater, nothing happened. Fabulous. I ended up calling a cab and being 45 minutes late for work.

Karen was home sick, so in my giddy state, I started prank calling her and leaving messages on her answering machine that consisted of lines from movies we'd seen recently. Such as, "You dress in the manner of a male prostitute!", "Of course, it doesn't have the long-range capabilities of, say, a sword...", and "Am I to understand that you have inserted your father's skull in that ball for bowling?" "No, the guy at the pro shop did that."

Someone offered me a ride home, but that fell through. Fortunately, I was able to get a ride home with someone else. By the time I got home, the outlets were working again, but I still couldn't get the door open.

(An example of how cold it was: when the door wouldn't open, I tried pouring a little bit of water around the frame to try and melt the ice some. For everyone who is cringing and hollering, "NO!" let me assure you that I know better than to do that now. By the time I put the lid back on the bottle and put it down on the hood of the car, the water around the door had frozen. Solid.)

Karen was able to pick me up for dinner at her parents and then curling, where we had the late start time. At one point, I was throwing a take-out rock*** and slipped at the last second. I almost took out the team on the sheet beside us. We were so thoroughly trounced that we just called the game after the sixth end. The scoreboard only goes up to 15, after all.

(And, can I say that I seem to be turning into a curler? Last night I realized that I was yelling at my rocks when they weren't curling properly. "CURL! DAMNNIT! CURL! NOW! NOW! NOT THAT WAY!" Hence, the cursing and swearing.)

Then, I didn't get home until after 11, at which point I thought I'd read a chapter of my book. At 12:30 I looked up and said, "Huh. It's past my bedtime now."

I'm more tired today, so at least I'm not giddy. And no Coke or cola products were consumed before 8am - a hopeful sign.

(And my car door opened this morning. Yay!)

* I'm disguising the fact that I used a Bad Word because my mother's going to read this. Hi Mom!**
** It's a good thing she wasn't at curling last night - I used a couple of words that didn't have asterisks in them.
***Throwing the stone fast and heavy - you want to knock the opponent's rock right out of the rings.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

A brush with shmarminess

("Brushes with shmarminess" used to be a bit on a radio station I listened to. People would call in and talk about their encounters with celebrities.)

Back in high school, there was this guy in a couple of my classes who was obsessed with Linda Evangelista. He was a funny guy - a cross between "ha-ha" funny and "hmmm.." funny. I didn't know him really well, but I knew him from a couple of classes and from drama club. Actually, he was in my sister's class, so she might know him better.

Anyways. This afternoon, I was flipping channels while eating lunch and happened across "Sexy Girl" on the Life Network. And guess who was one of the fashion stylists? Yup - him! It was a totally surreal moment - I kept thinking, "Nah, that can't be the same Ryan... or is it?" So I checked the web site, and it is indeed the same guy from high school.

It ranks right up there with the time I saw a girl I knew from high school on the Camilla Scott Show, on an episode about obsessive roommates. Her roommates' obsession was with alphabetizing all her canned goods.

So, what did I accomplish today?

Banking stuff, including paying bills.

Make gingerbread cookie dough.

Returned some videos to Blockbuster.

Dropped off a book at the library, and picked one up that had come in on reserve for me. (I found out later that the librarian renewed a book that I forgot was overdue. I know for a fact that librarians only renew books without asking for library users they like. If they really like you, they take the fines off too :)

Filled the gas tank. (I tried to ignore the fact that it was under 66 cents the other day, and today it was 78 cents.)

Got part of Denise's present at the mall.

Got a present for my godfather at the mall (he gets the same thing every year - Dixies from Laura Secord. He doesn't read this, as far as I know, but I think he's expecting them anyways.)

Got a Christmas outfit that will probably go over moderately well with my fashion consultants (my mom and Rachelle). I used a gift certificate to make this possible.

Had lunch.

Drove past the LYS without even slowing down. Didn't have time.

Went to BouClair's and got material for making bags for Christmas presents.

Went to Chapter's. Got the rest of Denise's present and something for Rachelle. Also got a peppermint latte and finished writing a card. Also came up with a cool tagline for the blog that I'll use in the new year.

Got to the grocery store. I'd planned to get the videos, mail a parcel, and get a few groceries, but I managed to accomplish only the first task.

Came home. Spent next three hours trying to get rid of headache.

Baked gingerbread cookies. The first batch that came out where severely undercooked, and sucked big time. I'm not sure how the rest turned out, except that I left them in longer than the first batch.

Put up Christmas lights in my window. Pretty!

Knitted some. Puttered some.

Watched the first Blade movie, which was on Space (the sci-fi channel). I'm realizing how much better the story is than in the most recent one. Donal Logue was my favourite vampire in that movie. I'm considering making a t-shirt with the line, "I'm gonna be a naughty vampire god!" Or, "Some mother****ers are always trying to skate uphill."

Went to bed. Umm... eventually...

Frelling weather that causes massive headaches

Earlier this week, it was gradually warming to, like, -6 from where it had been hovering at the -20 (with windchill) mark. Wednesday it was damn cold, but yesterday morning it was warm enough that it snowed most of the day. Big, fat snowflakes - perfect for a snowball fight (Right Karen? Right Jeff?)

This morning, I work up and my head hurt. Not that much, I thought it would go away. Then I stepped outside to run some errands. (Note: the Kevin Smith Movie Day that was planned for today has been postponed, probably until Sunday where it will become the Kevin Smith Movie Evening.) Damn! It was cold enough that it took my breath away! And make my head hurt some more. When the temperature drops suddenly like that, I tend to get really bad headaches. It hurt most of today, and by 3:00, my head was starting to tingle - not good. I skipped running my last two errands, and went straight home to try and get rid of it.

I have various ways of getting rid of headaches that I'll share with you. Try them in any combo:
  • sleeping - good for mild headaches
  • Advil liqui-gel caps
  • putting on layers of warm clothing, especially hats or scarves - sometimes I get headaches when I'm cold, or I get cold when I get headaches - whatever. I think it has something to do with blood circulation.
  • hot water bottle on the back of my neck or shoulders - good for tension headaches
  • soaking my feet in hot water - this one works really well. I don't know why. Use water that is hot hot hot, soak for about fifteen minutes, and voila!
  • hot shower - usually a last resort.
  • stretching
I tried all of them, and it's gone now, but I haven't had the post-headachy-migrainy euphoria that I usually experience. It's a pleasant, floaty feeling that I usually get once the headache is completely gone.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


I mentioned in passing that I watched the show "Making the Cut," the quintessentially Canadian reality show. For those of you not the least bit interested in hockey, you can go get a beer out of the fridge - we'll still be here when you get back.

Why is this the quintessential Canadian reality show? Well, it's about hockey. Specifically, tryouts for the NHL. Something like 4000 guys tried out, and 68 made it to the camp. Over the next two weeks, they had to impress the coaches and scouts to make it to the final 18. At the end of each day, a number of players were told they were "on the bubble," or at risk of being cut, and had to go to centre ice. If they weren't performing well, they got a black helmet and played with the developmental squad, but had the chance to return to the elite squad.

And since the NHL is on strike, and there's no Hockey Night in Canada (waa!), this is all I have to fill that gap.

Last week, they announced the top 18, from whom the top 6 would be drafted by the six Canadian teams in the NHL (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal - go Habs!). Happily, five of the guys I was rooting for made it - Jacobs, Mole, Noel, Wires, and Dickenson. (A note about Noel - he's from the town over from the town where my dad's from, so naturally I was going to root for him!)

The final is being aired live right now, and they're about to announce the top 6. Be right back!

Update: Frell. Of my five, only Mole and Noel got drafted. Mole to Ottawa, which are a pretty good team, so good for him! And Noel got drafted by Toronto - I can hear my dad swearing from here. He hates Toronto with a passion that is pure and holy, and for a hometown boy to be drafted by them must be seriously pissing him off. I would have liked to see Noel or Jacob drafted by Montreal (go Habs!). Eh.

Addendum to Sunday's post

Firstly, I keep forgetting that I've been seeing posters and previews for Flight of the Phoenix. It's a remake of the 1965 version which starred a grizzled James Stewart and a youthful Richard "Dickie" Attenborough. Dennis Quaid looks nothing like Stewart, although there is an striking resemblance between Giovani Ribisi and Attenborough (except that he's not as roundish). What irritates me in a way that irritates me for being irritated is that in the updated version, they've added a female character.

So why does this irritate me? Because there wasn't a female character in the original, and adding one now doesn't make much sense. It strikes me as if the producers/directors decided to add a woman to the cast to a) add sexual tension; b) appeal to a female audience; and c) be PC.

And it bothers me that I'm irritated by this. I feel like I'm being disloyal to the sisterhood by mentioning it. I should be pleased that they're making an effort to portray women as being as capable as men at surviving under harsh conditions. It's just that I felt like rolling my eyes when I saw the poster - "Oh great. Another attempt at demonstrating women can kick ass when necessary."

(Oh, and in the original, the crash happened in the Sahara, and was filmed in California and Arizona. In the update, the crash happens in the Gobi Desert (Mongolia). Guess where it was filmed? Yeah, I said "the Sahara!" too. Actually, it was filmed in Namibia. Psych!)

Secondly, lest you think I'm a new member of the Ryan Reynolds Fangirl Club, I'll have you know that I used to watch "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" many years ago. I wasn't a faithful viewer, but I did like the show. I'd always lumped him in with Jason Lee and Ben Browder in the "Sarcastic, But Cute" category. (Of course, now I'm going to have to move Lee to the "Cute and Geeky" category, and rename the category "Sarcastic, Cute, and Ripped.")

"I'd like to thank..."

Watching the Billboard Awards Saturday night, Kris, Karen and I noted the overwhelming trend towards thanking God and parents in acceptance speeches. There are others we would have like to see thanked that went completely ignored:
  • "My Dark Lord and Master, Satan. You were right - I don't need a soul and I am doing so much better now!"
  • "The Betty Ford Clinic. Betty, baby - we've got to do lunch sometime. And this time, it won't be liquid."
  • "The Elder Gods. Cthulhu, Yig, Nyarlathotep, He Who Can't Be Named - you guys rock!"
  • "My massage therapist, Niles."
  • "No one. 'Cause it's all about me! Me! Me! Me! Me!"
  • "I'd like to thank 'Hooked on Phonics' for making me a better speller."
  • "My accountant, Bob, for teaching me about sex, drugs, and RRSPs."

Sunday, December 12, 2004

An afternoon at the movies

Despite the snow (woo! Snow! I love snow!), Karen and I went to see Blade Trinity this afternoon.

First things first - Ryan Reynolds? Smokin'. Just so you know. (Had he and Parker Posey - as a baddie - not been in the movie, it wouldn't have been good at all. The two of them had some of the best lines/scenes in the movie.)

As it was, it wasn't a terrible movie. There were some questionable plot holes, and Wesley Snipes basically phoned in his part. There wasn't much sword fighting and/or martial arts, which is why I (eventually) liked the first Blade movie. (I thought it was dumb the first time I saw it in the theater, and then a year or so later, rented it and changed my mind.) There was more shooting in this one, although the archery aspect was pretty cool.

This time, I made sure I wrote down the previews:
  • XXX (Triple X): State of the Union - as soon as I saw Willem Dafoe, I knew he was going to be the bad guy. The presence of Dafoe doesn't always mean he's going to be the baddie, but generally you can count on him to be up to no good if he's in the movie. Otherwise, I have no interest in this one.
  • Assault on Precinct 13 - ah, a remake. Not an Ethan Hawke fan. But I do admire John Leguizamo (he of the semi-unpronounceable last name), even though I always think of him as the Character Most Likely To Die Tragically (I don't know why), and I admit to a weakness for Gabriel Byrnes.
  • The Ring Two - umm... no. Too scary. Besides, is a sequel really necessary? (I haven't seen the first one, and since I enjoy sleeping with the lights off, I don't plan to either.)
  • Constantine - I know it's based on a comic book character, so I'm going to wait and see what the reviews are before I make any rash decisions to see this one.
  • Darkness - it seems that this one was made almost three years, and is only being released now - not a good sign. Karen wants me to mention that she kept her eyes closed for the whole preview. I was digging through my purse looking for a pen and paper, so I missed most of this one. But it also looks scary.
So, basically, I won't be seeing any of those movies.

Sunday afternoon, trying not to think about Monday

Sorry the posting has been light over the past few days. I'm having issues with the computer fan, and I'm afraid to overtax it and cause a meltdown. Besides, there's not much exciting going on. "What about getting ready for Christmas?" you say. Yeah, well, that too. I don't have very many Christmas decorations, besides a set of lights I still haven't put up and a light that used to belong to my Meme.

Oh, I did get a DVD player because I was tired of sucking up to my computer. The first movie I watched on it was Bubba Ho-Tep, which.... meh. I fell asleep towards the end and missed the ending. Oh well.

And good luck to the Insane Larocque Posse, who are making the fruitcake this afternoon. I defy you to find anyone else with my mad orange-zesting skillz!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Co-inkidink? I think so...

I have a history of experiencing weird coincidences (coincidents?). Ask me to tell you about the first week of grad school. (Actually, don't bother asking - if I've known you more than a month, chances are good that I've probably already told you and you're already bored of it.)

Anyways, in the past two weeks, I've been going through another flurry of "Wow, that's weird" moments.

Weird moment #1: I was cruising around the IMDb site, and came across Callum Keith Rennie's filmography. Now, some of you may know/remember him as Stan "Ray" Kowalski from later seasons of Due South, or from eXistenZ or Last Night. I noticed that he had appeared on an episode of "Bliss", which I thought was odd, but meh - I've harboured a secret crush Jeff Goldblum for years, so there's really no accounting for my taste.

Flipping channels a few days later, didn't I happen to catch his episode of Bliss on Showcase?

Weird moment #2: Last week, famous Canadian mucky-muck Pierre Burton passed away. He was a journalist and prolific writer, mostly about Canadian history and politics.

On Saturday, I grabbed a page from a newspaper to clean my mirror (use vinegar and newspaper to clean your mirrors and windows - there's something about the vinegar and the amonia in the newspaper that leaves a shiny, streak-free finish). I have a bag of papers that had been packing material last time I brought stuff from home. I opened the page to crumple it up, and didn't I find an article about Burton written by Allan Fotheringham - my favourite Canadian columnist? (Lest you think it was a recent paper, the date on the page was October 8th - almost a month old.)

Weird moment #3: On Definitely Not The Opera on Saturday afternoon on CBC Radio 1 (so-called because on Saturday afternoons on CBC Radio 2 is Saturday Afternoon at the Opera) they were profiling "hosers" (which is a slang word for a certain type of Canadian - roughly equivalent to a redneck or a yobbo, but with differences). One of the things they were doing to celebrate hoser-culture was playing songs that could be closely identified as being "hoser".

Around quarter after four, didn't they play Stompin' Tom Connors' "Sudbury Saturday Night?" (Actually, this is more ironic than coincidental). I however, was not on my way to play bingo, nor did I have any plans to get stink-o, and I don't normally think of Inco on a daily basis anyways.* I was getting ready to go to the grocery store before church, and then I was going home to do laundry.

*The song opens with the lines, "Oh, the girls are out to bingo / and the boys are getting stink-o [drunk] / We'll think no more of Inco [the company who own the mines] / for it's Saturday tonight."

Saturday, December 04, 2004

General updates

Natty Boho isn't dead. One leaf is gone, another is clinging to life, and the little buds in the center are brown, but the other leaves are doing well. Maybe I didn't kill him.

I haven't mention the cursed Amazon order in a while. That's because it's been moved from "Available" to "Preorder" so it's not coming right away. I got the inevitable email around the beginning of November, but held off bemoaning it.

No WIPs for November, because I didn't start anything new, and hardly worked on anything left over from October.

These are the groceries purchased by a gal with tiny demons inhabiting her sinuses

  • Milk
  • cereal - Harvest Crunch
  • corn starch
  • jam (I had to buy jam because I cannot get the lid off the jar of homemade strawberry jam my mother gave me. It's completely adult-proof, I tell ya)
  • organic bananas (they don't go overripe as fast as non-organic bananas)
  • Boursin - in nifty pepper flavour! (Boursin is a cream cheese-like spread. The garlic spread is delish, and I was told by the checkout girl that the pepper version only lasts a day at her house)
  • chocolate chips
  • cheese (cheddar)
  • raspberry newtons
  • chicken Bombay salad (for supper. It was okay, but I can still taste it almost five hours later)
  • sausage roll (also supper)
  • loaf of bread

There is a reason why this is interesting. Actually.... no, there isn't. I just felt like throwing it on here as an example of how exceedingly scattered I am when I have a headache. It's cold here, but a dry cold. Very dry cold. As in, my sinuses dry up on a daily basis. I get headaches at least once or twice a week, and today was one of those days. I needed a couple of things from the store, but it could have waited. However, when my head hurts, I sometimes make silly choices, like going for groceries, despite the fact my stomach was also getting in on the act by alternately telling me, "I'm hungry! Feed me!" and "I think I'm with the head on this one - I hurt and I think I'm gonna hurl soon."

So, I ended up getting stuff I didn't really need, like the Boursins, the salad, and the sausage rolls because I was hungry. I needed corn starch and chocolate chips, but not right away - I may bake this weekend, but I may not, so it wasn't like it was an emergency. Also, I didn't get things I could have used, like chicken, green peppers, zucchini, and potatoes and leeks (for soup) because looking at them made me ill. And I didn't get stuff I actually needed because I didn't know I needed it, or I knew I needed it but didn't know how much I had left (stop me if I sound a little like this). Which means I'm going to have to make at least one trip back to the grocery store tomorrow *sigh*...

Friday, December 03, 2004

I've arrived!

When the weather started getting cold here, I would get into conversations like this in the elevator in my building:

Person: How's the weather?
Me: It's getting chilly out there.
Person: Well, it's going to get a lot colder before too long!

Which never failed to drive me insane. Yes, I realize that it's going to get colder - I'm from the South but I'm not an idiot who gets all surprised when the windchill hits -20 in mid-November. I knew this when I moved here and was expecting it. I was speaking in general - as in it's chilly compared to what it was this morning or between my going out and coming back.

(Can you tell I'm a bit sensitive about being labeled a "Southerner"? Just like when I lived in Halifax and was labeled an "Ontarian" or an "Upper Canadian")

So, the other day I get in the elevator and someone gets on. We exchange smiles and nods, and the conversation begins.

Person: So, what's it doing out there?
Me: Oh, it looks like it's going to snow.
Person: It's cold out there.
Me: Yup, but it's going to get colder before too long.

Yee-frickin'-haw! I'm now officially a Northerner!

Thursday, December 02, 2004


I didn't post anything about my NaNo effort yesterday, even though I was home sick, because I was so disappointed. Granted, I knew I wasn't going to reach the 50,000 word goal for a multitude of reasons, but I was trying. And really, for a lot of people, it's just about the chance to sit down and write down that story that's been floating around their brains for the past year, and to be a part of something larger. That's it.

This year, I'd hoped to surpass last year's word count. Last year, I gave up - as in, stopped trying altogether - around November 20th. This year, I managed to write something every day - even if it was only a few hundred words.

Last year, I would get bored with whatever scene I was working with, abandon it (sometimes mid-sentence) and start another scene. This year, I had very linear ideas about what happens in what order, and I didn't need to skip over parts because I didn't know what happened next.

Last year, I didn't really like most of my characters. Other characters kept popping up, but since I hadn't planned on them, they felt forced and took me away from the main plot. This year, I loved all my characters and had a lot of fun introducing them; the occasional uncounted on character fit in well and didn't cause problems, and--

(Listen to me, sounding all literary and pretentious. I bet you think I'm sitting at a neat and orderly desk, wearing a tweed skirt and a cardigan, with a neat white blouse and my hair in a bun and my glasses on a chain. There's a cup of tea and a plate of shortbread at my elbow, and I'm looking out the window at the snow falling gently on the trees in the forest behind my house. The reality - my desk is actually an Ikea table, and there's a fake red button on my monitor that says "PANIC." I'm wearing the yoga pants I wear to belly dancing and a t-shirt that says "...and God said: [algebraic equation] ... and there was light." My hair is in messy pig tails because it's really too short for that. There is a knitting project at each elbow and a mostly empty bag of cashews. The snow is falling, but on rush hour traffic, complete with fire engine sirens because my apartment's near both a fire station and the hospital. I hope this banishes your image of me as a writerly snob.)

--I still had two characters I really liked to introduce.

Last year, my plot was eye-rollingly insipid. This year, the plot was clever and less eye-rollingly insipid.

Last year's word count (all six separate files): 11,024 words.
This year's word count (one file): 10,954 words.

Words escape me. I can't tell you how depressed I was when I found that out Wednesday morning at 12:01 AM. I HATED everything about my story last year, yet it still came out ahead. (Oh, I'm sure that everyone else will draw the same parallels between the two NaNo stories and the recent American elections that just dawned on me).

The most disappointing thing? I didn't get to use my favourite dare: "I dare you to somehow, some way involve the line 'Never fall in love with a Korean boy' in your novel. Especially if the circumstances surrounding the line are totally unrelated. and especially if it comes from a wise old Chinese sage" (courtesy Tea_and_Muffins). My second favourite dare was: "Have one of your characters (preferably male) become obsessed with knitting" (courtesy ScaperMoon). I had totally planned on using both of those - in fact, I had figured out how to alter the plot so I could use them.

(Want to see the rest of the dares I liked and didn't get to use? Go here.)

I'm toying with the idea of continuing to work on it. I know I said I was going to do that with the story I started last year, but didn't. But I had fun working on this one, so I hope I can keep going. And, of course, I plan on doing it again next year!

A huge thanks to everyone who's emailed me or left comments asking how I was making out. Big thanks to Karen, who let me sound off about my plot-tastic ideas and celebrated the word count with me every day at lunch. Also big thanks to Robin, from whom I got the idea when we were toying with plot ideas for a short story entitled "Silk Chaps and Leather Kimonos" (long - very long - story). Shout-outs to The Lady and that smarmy Aussi Nick (who hit his word count days before the deadline - "I'm not worthy"-style worshipping is going on right now). And extra special congrats to everyone else who participated - I was honoured to be in such great company this year!