Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Well there's this title written for another year, anyway.

Is it over? Is it safe to come out yet?

I'm not cynical. I just have a low threshold for festivity.

Yes, I'm glad Christmas is over. I can get from one end of a mall to the other without bruising, nobody's trying to feed me from bowls of indeterminate content (scary when you're given a vague description like "stuffing", terrifying where gelatin is involved), and nothing's going to show up in the mail that makes me feel guilty that I haven't sent anything. Well, except perhaps the credit card bill.

The whole getting together and bonding and giving me presents is great, sure. I'll also readily acknowledge that the insanity of Christmas is probably the only thing that keeps everybody, myself included, sane over the winter. Never mind what your local not-for-profit billboard campaign says, that's the real reason for the season. Whatever your religious beliefs, you know you'd need something to celebrate in the middle of winter whether there was a faith based holiday or not. It gives us a focus to keep us from fixating on how far away spring is. That's especially important for people whose ancestors didn't think to ask "wait a minute, if they're giving away the land for free, what's the weather like up there in this Canada place?" If we didn't distract ourselves by trampling one other at the toy store and having heaving crying fits over half thawed turkeys in December we'd be running naked and cackling into the snow drifts by February.

Instead of March.

Admittedly I'm just not jolly by nature, but in truth I think my real problem with Christmas is that it reminds me of winter. Why on earth would I want ornaments and greeting cards featuring snow all over the house when I can just step outside and festively freeze to death for realsies in less than five minutes, or under two if I forget to wear a *toque? I don't want poinsettias and evergreens, I want dandelions and crab grass. I want barbecues and beers, not roasted beasts and mulled stuff. Winter I've already got. Make me a better offer, or I'm just not buying that it's a holiday.

Again, though, and I can't stress this enough: please don't anybody interpret any of this to mean that you shouldn't give me presents. I wouldn't want to ruin your gift giving holiday, after all.

*Canadian knitted head wear often featuring a pom pom to assist in the locating of frozen Canadian corpses in deep snow.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Better keep the receipt for this title, eh?

Oh blog, I missed you so. Let me curl up in your lap and tell you my tale of adventure and daring while you stroke my hair and feed me sweet salted licorice until my smile is aglow with lumpy black teeth.

I went to the mall today... now wait right there! Let me make two things perfectly clear:

1) I was not there to shop
2) I fully qualify for sympathy

My library is in the mall. I had no choice. If I waited until after Christmas to return my due items I'd be looking at a good fifty bucks in late fines. I'd dive into a shark tank at feeding time if you dropped a dollar in there, so yes, I was prepared to brave the festive shoppers to conduct my business.

Actually it wasn't so bad. I got a decent parking spot and everything, and ten count 'em ten documentaries were sitting there on the hold shelf with my name on them. Happy Geekmas to me!

So that made me smile. And that smile made me unique amongst the thronging masses. And my favorite thing about Christmas is having an excuse to use the expression thronging masses. And I'm digressing. Interesting that I was one of a very small minority of people in that mall not in the service of holiday celebrations, and yet I was also the only one smiling. Well, there was me and a library assistant who was clearly new to the place. She was wearing the mandatory "Hi there, I'm agreeable!" expression common to everybody working their first day at a new job and shelter dogs trying to get adopted. Unlike her, though, my smile wasn't causing my gum line to cramp up.

Hope she does okay. She really was doing a great job on the smile.

Yeah, Christmas would be great if it wasn't for all the anger. Now normally I do use the considerately inclusive term "Holidays" when talking about seasonal celebrations, but I don't know if the other solstice holidays are as retail intensive as Christmas. Maybe Hanukkah, but I think Hanukkah partiers are done their shopping by now, aren't they? Well anyway if I'm wrong and you're all out there elbowing each other in the eye sockets trying to get the last box of Menorah candles, count yourselves included in this post too.

It's just amazing how quickly people switch from normal citizens into crazed all consuming holiday beasts. One day everybody's just going about business as usual, joking light heartedly about how late they've left their shopping and oh how they hate you if you've managed to buy something already, hahaha you keener you, making them look bad! Then the last weekend before Christmas comes and goes, everybody suddenly remembers how to read a calendar, and people are cutting in front of ambulances in snow storms to make it to the last passenger drop off spot five seconds ahead of the DATS bus.

This is the part where I'm supposed to say something wise or profound about having devised a clever alternative to holiday shopping and/or system for getting holiday shopping done early, hm? Share photographs of the gaily painted magpie eggs I harvested and pickled myself, and will be giving to everybody in nests made out of old scraps of recycled ribbon along with a donation receipt from ducks unlimited in lieu of crass commercial items people might actually want, perhaps. Or maybe graph my analysis of what exact time and day of the post-Christmas sale season is ideal for scoring the best merchandise for next year's gifts at the best prices with a minimum of effort? No. There'll be none of that here. I mean yes, I did think I was clever and had thought I'd beaten the system. The system does not like to be beaten, though, and I have been thoroughly punished.

I decided to have a hundred percent, handmade Etsy Christmas. That turned out to be a terrible idea.

Okay now wait another minute - yes you know I know some of you are Etsy sellers. You know I'm one too! Gabba gabba one of us! Put down the crochet hooks, ok?

It's possible some of you haven't got clue one what I'm talking about, too. Etsy is a non-auction site that is otherwise kind of like Ebay (juuuuuuust leave those hooks on the table where I can see them, Etsians - this is just shorthand for the civilians. Yes we all really know Etsy doesn't actually compare to Ebay at all and nobody's suggesting otherwise, okay?) where sellers open shops to sell their handcrafted wares.

And to throw home made, one of a kind, 100% recycled hissy fit tantrums when you point out that they haven't got a clue what they're doing, too, which unfortunately you sometimes do need to do. There's good reason so many Etsy sellers spend so much of their lives sitting at home all alone doing crafts.

There are sellers with balanced personality profiles that I know and trust, though, yes. Many! That is the point of this post, which I am getting to. I've just also discovered that the unknown substances on that site are cut with some pretty harsh downers. Amusing when it's spring and you're just waiting for a pretty handbag to go with your sandals, but amateurs with unstable personalities are not to be trusted with the time sensitive deliveries of gifts for people you love.

Ultimately after weeks of fighting people who moonlight as vending machines for crazy that dispense as soon as you insert money, almost everything did arrive, and where things didn't these marvelous sellers stepped up to the plate and saved the day:

My Nominations for Santa's Good List

BathingInLuxury who, upon learning how a seller had decided to sell the item I'd already bought and paid for to someone else a week after I'd purchased it, practically strapped a bar of the most divinely fresh scented soap - green grass scent, to help get my gardening neighbours through the long winter! - to a rocket pack equipped pigeon in order to get it here in time for me.

UrbanCheesecraft who, upon listening to my concerns that the item might not arrive in time, did back flips through flaming hoops to make sure that come what may, I would have a gift to give and was 110% committed to making sure I was 120% satisfied with the transaction, and oh yes I am. Seriously, how cool a present is a kit for making your own cheese? Comes highly recommended by other people I know and trust, and it is put together beautifully. I can't wait to give it!

And special mention goes to a very, very special seller indeed, who is as wonderful a person as he is professional, and that's pretty darn very damn. I didn't happen to purchase anything from him this year, but I would never hesitate to for even a split second. He was there standing ready to dash out an overnight delivery of wonderful gifts for me to give to the people I love if I'd come up short, and the guy's undergoing chemotherapy. Selfless much? If you're on Etsy it would be a very, very good idea to heart mindlesspursuits and check out his insanely cute t-shirts when he returns. You couldn't patronize a more conscientious seller.

So yeah, just laughing at the lunatics and loving the heros in my life, and so happy to be completely done with all my Christmas performances now and back to blogging at last! Seriously, no commiseration necessary for the nut jobs, okay? I've learned my lesson about sticking to sellers I trust when time is an issue, and I've been blessed with great sellers as great friends who were there for me when I needed them. That's the happy ending we're taking away from this Christmas story.

Oh yeah, and to address all of the speculation, I produce and perform interactive comedy for corporate and promotional events. For now, anyway. I don't know... you all might just be on to something with that bank robbing idea.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A title? You shouldn't have!

Aaah presents from men. I just received a festively wrapped box from my boyfriend containing:

- Jumper cables (because he knew I didn't have any and that worried him)
- Long burning emergency candles (because he wasn't confident that the tea lights I do have in my car would keep me alive as effectively in -40 temperatures)
- Super insulated highly durable work gloves (because I was speculating that I probably haven't owned a decent pair of warm gloves since my mother stopped dressing me)
- Survival blanket (because I both drive and hike to silly remote places all by myself, and if you're catching on to the developing theme at all here it's obvious to you by now that I'd never think to buy something like that for myself, only to very sagely point out what a good idea they are when other people buy them)

And... lovely and elegant a pair of driving gloves a person could ask for, because I'd noted in passing that my best pair were starting to show some signs of wear.

So not only does the guy worry about me when I'm out mucking around on my own in the cold, but evidently he even listens to every word I say when I blather on about my clothes.

I think he likes me.

I think I like him too.

Greetings from the other side of sanity!

So Pseudonymous High School Teacher was wondering just what kind of performance I'm involved in, and for good reason: I avoid trying to describe what I do for a living like the plague. I'm proud of what I do - I've been getting paid to do it for over eight years and people regularly offer to do my job for free, so I figure I probably don't suck at it - but damn it is not easy to explain.

Here's what we're going to do, then. I'll give you a mash of relevant words, and you're all free to arrange them as it amuses you to imagine me:

Comedy Interaction Production Games Administration Costumes Actors Venues Clients Props Liason Contracts Mystery Management Presentation Audio/Visual Wigs Character

I think the only thing missing from that list is Chief Freaker Outer, because I couldn't figure out if that actually should be three words or just one long hyphenated one, but yeah. I'm in charge of that, too.

That's what I do for a living.

Thank you everyone, very sincerely, for your wonderful words of encouragement this past weekend. My slobber is very literally knocked indeed. I woke up on Sunday morning and saw the dog about to trip over a cord. I went to shout "Careful!" and managed only a quiet "eh uh". That did not convey my sentiment effectively at all. Luckily, though, the humidifier was only half full when it dumped it's contents all over the carpet, and my little dog Allison's still spry enough at 16 to land on her feet when 100 tumbling pounds of canine flesh upend the basket she's sleeping in, so happy ending there. I still sound like Janice Joplin on a bad phone connection, but I've at least regained enough ability to conduct the essential operations of life such as ordering pizza and telling the dog to spit the cat out.

Pizza. Hey. I'm a genius.

Gotta go.

No wait! Also!

Mwah Mwah Mwah and big belated thank you to Jeanne at The Raisin Chronicles for this:

She's fabulous, and very much in my thoughts today.

Okay now I'm done. I've got a ton of blogs to catch up with!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This title will self destruct in... whenever.

My first priority is keeping up with all ya'll's (I think spell check just had a seizure on that one) blogs, and beyond that writing a real update, which this is not. This is a non-update notification. Note the lack of punchlines or pet references.

This is the slobber-knockeriest (okay, I can definitely hear spell check crying now) weekend of the whole production intense performing season, and when I'm not skidding around on ice-rink roads dressed funny with a back seat full of sound equipment and a draw drum poking me in the ear, I'm on the phone making nice with venues and performers, so the internet's mostly just for MapQuest and icanhascheezburger (hey, a gal's got to have something to get her through) these days.

Great big grease paintey internet hugs to everyone, and see y'all on the other side of sanity soon!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I don't feel like writing a self referential title today.

If you were to be dropped on a deserted island with one fully functioning room of your home (barring two way communication devices because, you know, you'd just use them to be rescued and screw up the entire premise of the thing, just like the rocket scientists who announce that if a genie granted them one wish they'd use it to ask for unlimited wishes. Cute if they're about five years old, but otherwise okay, you're very clever. Absolutely no fun at all, but very clever. I'm going to go play with my stupid, fun friends now. Bye bye, Einstein.), which room would you choose?

Smart money's on the kitchen, right? What with all it's food preservation and preparation devices and clean water on tap and whatnot.

Of course if you've got a basement or a garage loaded with tools, that might provide an even greater survival advantage. Dinner's not just going to come running and hop in the fridge if you call "Here piggy piggy piggy!" invitingly enough. You're definitely going to have to kill it, and it's probably not going to stand still while you attempt whacking it to death with a spatula, either. It might be better to focus your resources on those that can help you devise pig securing and dispatching devices than on something to help you preserve bacon that never comes when you call it. Tools are most likely the first thing you're going to need.

And yes, building something to escape from the island is perfectly admissible under the rules of hypothetical fair play, on the grounds that it does not qualify as being an easy out. The jury's not in yet on whether the inflatable pool toys you have stored next to the Christmas decorations or canoe you bought at a garage sale and have had sitting there propped up and ready to patch for going on three years now will be admissible, though. We'll just go with nuh-uh for now.

Pragmatically speaking it seems evident that the best criteria for selecting a room would be the prevalence of useful gadgets and/or appliances in it. Wait a minute, though. What about the living room, or the den, or whatever other room it is you have your tv and/or stereo and/or specially designed for the purpose of this hypothetical situation reception-only internet equipped computer in? The island's deserted, remember. That means nobody to talk to. Not even a volley ball with Tom Hanks' hand print on it. No perspective on anything ever except your own. Humans evolved without refrigerators and socket wrenches, but not without each other. The argument could certainly be made that seeing and/or hearing other human beings could contribute more to a person in isolation's overall well being more than a well appointed food preparation area or stocked workshop could. It's a tough call.

And still, I'd pick the bathroom. Ever been bitten by a mosquito when you're trying to pee?

By the way, I do really like this website:

and especially all the great people I've been meeting there, so this is to say a sincere Merry Sitsmas to all those who know what on earth I'm talking about!

Friday, December 4, 2009

If I don't use this font to write the title I won't win the Superbowl.

I was asked by Fyre Bird the other day "Why purple pens?" in response to my stated fact that I always use one of my ten identical purple pens to write in my journal before bed.

Why purple pens? Well... why air? Why water? Why puppies and rainbows and the sexy neighbour who conveniently forgets to pull his blinds down when he works out? Is nothing self evident anymore?

In truth I have no particular attachment to purple ink. Or rather, in deference to my recent lesson learning about the value of not making sweeping pronouncements about myself before actually thinking about what I'm saying, I had no particular attachment to purple ink when I bought the things.

I have ten identical pens because I've used the make once before and really liked them. I have ten identical purple pens because I bought them at a liquidation centre. I always use one of my ten identical purple pens to write in my journal because what else am I going to use purple pens for, doing my taxes?

Except that I did use one of them to do my taxes, actually. I also plastered the envelope I sent them in with stickers of puppies and kittens. I sincerely hope I succeeded in making someone's day a little less beige.

So there you have it. All perfectly logical, even pragmatic reasons for owning ten identical purple pens and using them exclusively when I write in my journal.

And when I bought them those were the only reasons I had for owning ten identical purple pens and using them exclusively when I write in my journal. I admit it's gone beyond that, though.

It's all about being in the zone. It's all about having everything that's of no particular importance being familiar to the point of invisibility. It's all about having the tools fade into the background and letting the creation occupy all of your focus. When I'm writing with one of my ten identical purple pens no part of my mind is looking at the colour of the ink, or the quality of the ink, or the thickness of the line, or adjusting the thing to my hand, or deciding if I like the tool in use. It's just there quietly doing it's job with no attention from me.

You know, some of my favourite people are a lot like purple pens.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'll write exactly half this title and th

I'm not typing this, you know. Well I guess I will be now in the future, but I'm not here in the past. As I arrange these words I'm lying on my side in bed, writing longhand into a spiral notebook with one knee propped up so that Cynthia the One and a Half Eyed Supercat can play tee pee. It's a weird fetish of hers. She likes to spend the first five minutes or so after I go to bed curled up under the arch of one or both of my legs. It's possible she was a troll in a former lifetime. Or perhaps a foot stool.

Who am I to call her fetish weird, though? I reread yesterday's post that I wrote earlier today just before crawling into bed. The post I opened with the statement "I'm not ritualistic". Now here I am yesterday, lying here like I do every night, using one of my ten identical purple pens to empty the extra thinks out of my thought hole into one of my four coordinating fruit themed notebooks so that I can sleep.

Of all places for me to state "I'm not ritualistic" I had to pick my blog? What is diarizing/journalling/blogging if not ritualized writing?

I really like that idea. As soon as you call a thing ritualized it immediately gains ten pounds and gets wrapped in cellophane. Transformed by the magic of romance into a thing of substance to be preserved.

Cynthia just crawled out from under the covers. That's when little Miss Doesn't Have Any Rituals here always puts down her nightly scribblings and tucks in for the night. If the entry continues from here it will be written real time, on the day it's posted.

Okay, it's not yesterday anymore now. At least not until tomorrow. Now I feel all weird, though, like I'm interrupting myself.

Anyway I got all excited about that, you know? I got a ritual! I'm all grown up and deep and stuff. Maybe I should start my own religion? Great tax breaks in that I hear.

Over-excited might be the better descriptor. It's just such a foreign concept to me. I've never joined in or adapted to any non-compulsory, social rituals. Not that I shunned them or anything. Shunning is actually not even nearly as much fun as it sounds. It does sound like it should be a fun thing, doesn't it? Like an old fashioned street game played with barrels and canes or some great old-country invoking domestic art involving yarn. Unfortunately it's just a fancy word that means going off and pouting and not playing with somebody when they won't do things your way. Boring! Screw that.

I just never got voluntarily involved in ritual on any kind of a social basis, let alone emotionally attached. I suppose that's the distinction I was making without seeing. Now there's this whole blog thing, though. It's definitely a ritual. It kind of dances the fine line of a personal vs a social one too, doesn't it?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Of course there is that whole title thing I do.

I'm not ritualistic. I don't have a lot of traditions. I don't even shower on any kind of reliable schedule.

Yeah, so? I live alone and I don't take public transportation. As long as I keep a can of Lysol by the door for when company drops by, where's the problem?

Ah you're just jealous.

Back to my point, if Muthering Heights is reading this she's probably experiencing a great galloping whallop of deja vu, because my opening statements are basically a repeat of a comment I left on her blog entry about traditions yesterday. It's certainly fair to say that her post helped inspire this one. It was the date, however, that instigated it.

December 01st. Is anybody else territorial about their birth month? That's right. I might not be ritualistic or traditional, but I'm hard core sentimental. I have no desire to relive or recreate any part of the past, I just don't want any of it to go anywhere. I'm alternating between writing this post and browsing vintage purses on-line. Guess how many of the ones I've earmarked remind me of my mother?

Hey, I'm a girl. It's not Hitchcockian for me to dress up like my dead mother. It's actually a really good idea. Mom always said I'd inheritted my father's sense of style. He of the self described "Chinese New Year" colour combinations, more popularly known on this continent as "Christmas decoration" colour combinations. When wearing his beloved bright red shirt and bright green pants combo stopped satisfying he painted our entire basement those colours. In high gloss paint. It looked like the dungeon where Santa keeps the mean elves. And yes, mom was right. I always did like the way he dressed. Even after I grew old enough to know better.

And now I manage both a roster of performers and a costume department. Yup, that means people have to wear what I tell them to. Adult people. If ever a job hiring deserved an evil laugh it was mine.

No no, I'm very careful not to dress other people up like me. I'm kind of Beethoveney that way. He could write the most delicately phrased passage in a symphony and then scream for peas at the dinner table like his underwear was on fire. I might look like a feral child raised at a flea market, but my performers are always polished.

December will always be my month. I was born in it, and I'm keeping it. I will always be my father's daughter, and I will always be reminded of him everywhere I look in December.

I guess I just don't feel a personal need for rituals or traditions. The world always manages to remind me of the things I want to remember without any help from me.

That all said, you know I'm going to be keeping this:

super awesome fox tail tie that I won from The Girl With the Flour in Her Hair over at her awesome blog Peeling An Orange With A Screwdriver for absolute ever. I just wish my father could have seen me in it.

Eh, it's probably just as well. He'd likely have just borrowed it and never returned the thing.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Don't read this title yet - I want to re-do it.

I performed for an audience of plastic surgeons last night. I was the featured focus of attention in a room full of people who have had extensive training to find room for improvement in people's appearances.

Well c'mon, I couldn't help but be conscious of that, could I? I do know that it's a silly thing to focus on, though. It's like back before therapy became so common, when people would worry about how sane their answer made them sound if a psychiatrist so much as asked them what time it was. "Quarter past. The hour, I mean. Which is nine. It's a quarter past nine. I do have the full time here. Just like everybody else! Says nine fifteen. Right there. Would you like to see the watch? Oh okay, oh... wait. It's nine sixteen now. I'd like to note that the time did change while we were talking, and that I have never had any difficulty in assessing the correct hour. I am not a communist!" Pure self obsessive paranoia. It was a great show and the doctors enjoyed the entertainment. They weren't analyzing my bone structure and doing a comparative cost analysis against the price of water front property in Hawaii. Probably. Right?

Okay, so I'm not convinced. Actually, if we look at that analogy a little more closely it's really quite odd that we have stopped guarding against involuntary psychoanalysis, isn't it? Our worst fears there have become realized in full technicolor with surround sound. We were worried about degreed professionals trained in objectivity analyzing us? Hah! You can't even order a cup of coffee without a free personality assessment thrown in on the side these days. "Check out Mr. Decaf Soy Cappuccino over there. Today he wants chocolate sprinkles. Classic passive aggressive transference, that. I'm betting he had a fight with his mother." Now pretty much everybody considers themselves qualified to analyze every single thing we say, either on the virtue of having taken a handful of psychology classes in university or on the basis of something they heard somebody else who has taken a handful of psychology classes in university say on a talk show.

I guess we don't worry about whether or not other people think we're sane any more because we know nothing we can say is going to convince anybody that we are anyway. The saner we sound the more obvious it is we're in denial, after all. It's okay, though, because we know the people who think we're insane probably consider themselves to be exponentially more messed up. They only have access to the symptoms of our mental deficiencies when we're actually around to display them (excepting, of course, those of us who have taken the wise precaution of preserving them for future generations on a blog), but self criticism never takes a holiday.

Nothing's ever going to stop us from worrying about what other people think about how we look, though. Birth control, automotive transportation and the internet combined haven't had the impact on social evolution that the invention of the mirror did. I'm sure the first person to ever look their clear, undistorted reflection in the eye immediately hid in a closet until their mother could convince them to come out on the promise that nobody would laugh and there'd be chocolate pudding for dessert. That's not to suggest we don't have our priorities straight, though. Of course we know it's what's inside that counts.

Why else would we be so anxious to create a good distraction on the outside?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

You want this title finished when?

Q: When is the proper time to notify an entertainment company that you've changed the time of your event and/or invited an extra hundred people or so to attend and/or that you want specific customization done to the show?

A: The day before the event.

Wrong! Wrong! Wildly, wildly incorrect and no no no no no, what's more!

And yet, an unfortunately common answer.

Christmas has me by the throat. Everything is scheduled down to the second and the wrenches are flying with abandon, lodging themselves merrily in every well laid plan I have made.

I understand. I do. Completely. Hiring entertainment companies is not something most people do on a regular basis. Hey, that's not a problem! Nobody's expected to know exactly how to go about it or how things progress from the booking stage. That's fine. That's what we're here for! We're here to help. Give us a call. We'll answer any questions you might have. Anytime. Really. No, please. Call. Don't make assumptions. It's not a bother, we'll explain everything. No no no, please don't presume. Really, we're paid to handle it, let us handle it. No don't try to make these decisions on your own and then throw them at us at the last minute. We've done this before, we know what works. We know what doesn't work. Please don't do this. Stop it. No don't have a committee meeting I beg you. Please. C'mon - one lousy phone call!

They don't call.

I try to climb inside their heads to get an idea of what's happening in there sometimes. I go right to the very back of their brains and through the dusty, cobwebbed door with a stack of broken chairs heaped in front of it marked "entertainment company". Inside I find shelves as high and as far as the eye can see, each overflowing with clowns and magicians and other colorfully costumed characters. An intercom crackles, sending their little imagined version of me scurrying. For the record I don't actually scurry, and how dare they put me in that ugly cardigan? Okay fine, most of them have never seen me in real life, I suppose I can be forgiving. But really, the over-sized tortoise shell glasses? Couldn't they have imagined me some contacts?

Off little imaginary me goes, rolling a ladder with a top that disappears at the vanishing point along the towering shelves. She's clutching a little piece of paper that notes this client needs five more performers than they booked for, and they need them an hour earlier than scheduled. No problem! Up the ladder she scurries (yes, she scurries along both the horizontal and the vertical planes) until she reaches the appropriate shelf. She plucks off the appropriate number of appropriately costumed performers, and hurls them down into something resembling a laundry bin on a rail. Zoom! Off goes the bin along it's underground track which connects it directly to the hotel where they're holding the event. Voila! Another successful production.

Really, when you look at it that way, giving our company a whole day's notice is rather generous.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Every word of this title is true.

So if I were to write two consecutive posts about my pets, how annoying would that be? Very, wouldn't it? Okay. Maybe I should just write about my boyfriend.

My boyfriend gets along with my pets really well.

Look, I'm sorry! But there are five of them, you know. As I write this very sentence I am having my belly kneaded and thighs drooled upon by a loosely packed ten pound bag of purr. The topic's kind of inescapable around here. They're part of the very air that I breathe. Seriously - has anybody else ever inhaled a dog hair? That's like the final exam at sword swallowing school.

Look at it this way - it's really not much different than being a mommy blogger. It's basically exactly the same, only sad.

The point is I can't not write about my dog right now. In about forty minutes I have to leave to go and have dinner with my boyfriend, and the dog's not coming.

And the dog has somehow figured this out. And the guilt is already killing me.

Oooh yes he knows. I've been careful not to speak the man's name. I haven't made a move to get ready yet. Still - the dog knows.

Of course he knows. He's a dog. Dogs can smell guilt. Believe me, too - nobody oozes the stank of guilt like I do.

I've never had to face the moral dilemma of lying. I'd be more likely to face the moral dilemma of how to use super powers responsibly. I lie rather less ably than I outrun speeding bullets or jump over tall buildings, and I know that, so I just don't do it. Not even to my pets.

Really, I've tried it. It didn't go well. I told my cats that the cheap crap I bought them was all they had at the store. They didn't question my story. You know, because they're cats. I still crumbled. Confessed. Apologized. Assuaged my guilt with kitty treats. They accepted them happily. I considered counseling. Ultimately decided that would just be too embarrassing to admit to a counselor (but not, apparently, the internet), and decided it would be easier to simply never lie to my pets again.

Those aren't reflections of the flash in his eyes, those are guilt rays.

I think, though, that the lie of omission might be the worst lie there is when dealing with dogs. After all, to them one "blah blah blah blah"'s the same as the next "blah blah blah blah"'s the same as any "blah blah blah blah". It's when we're quiet that they know we're up to something.

Okay, I have to go and get ready here.

He's looking at me. Make him stop looking at me!

I'd better pack a toothbrush. I don't have the guts to come home smelling like roast beef.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Heeeeeeeeere titletitletitletitletitle!

People often wonder what animals would say if they could talk. I consider my pets. The many years we've been together. The many things they've seen. Then I consider the cost of having their vocal cords removed.

Absolutely, it would be wonderful to be able to ask them things like why the cardboard file box filled with important work documents was so much more tempting than the cardboard scratching post filled with catnip, or what, pray tell and for the love of all that is holy, is so horrendously, anguishingly dreadful about having your fur gently brushed that it warrants screaming that special scream dogs reserve for when they're trying to convince your neighbours to call animal protection services? I wouldn't expect a straight answer on questions like that anyway, though. I already get as much of an answer as I'm ever going to. Damn right animals can smirk.

No, there really is no practical benefit that could outweigh the dependency the relationship my pets and I share on the fact that they are not capable of relating anything they've seen or heard. Ever. To anybody. It's enough that they're capable of dragging the contents of the bathroom garbage out into the middle of the living room for cocktail party show-and-tell, I don't need them providing colour commentary on how the various items were used.

There are a lot of reasons cited for humans' deep affection for animals, but I think their provision of mute witness is the cornerstone. They'll keep you company while you hurl juicy insults into the toilet bowl and never remind you about the incident again. They'll listen to every argument about why your boyfriend should be drawn and quartered and never say "Well I certainly didn't expect to see you back here!" after you've stopped being angry at him.

They won't fart and blame it on you, and I think everybody with pets knows from experience that they won't defend themselves when similarly accused.

It's no use, Cynthia. Once you've seen me naked you can't un-see it.

Of course if they could talk they probably wouldn't talk about the sorts of things that we like to talk about anyway. I think we can take comfort in the fact that our dogs don't have enough interest in our personal dramas to go about relaying the details of our late night dessert fueled orgies of self examination. We could be confident, however, that were they ever to have a deep discussion with our dogs, our friends and neighbours would be provided full detailed accounts of the the many rich and varied fragrances that emanate from our backsides.

Any way you look at it, they know too much.

And now for some shameless bragging:

When somebody really funny gives you an award because they think you're really funny that's really cool, and that's why this Musterole Award! (exclamation point mine, because the words Musterole Award! just look naked without one for some reason) is so cool - because Speaking From the Crib gave it to me.

It's likely anybody reading this is already reading her blog because it's that damn good and she has that damn many followers, but if on the off chance I found you first, go go go go go to her blog. You'll love it.

Thanks, babe!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm only writing this title because I felt sorry for it.

I've done it, and I'd do it again. I just hope I don't have to.

There really is nothing wrong with internet dating, though.

Hahahahaha - you thought I was talking about burying my neighbours under the azaleas, didn't you? Ah haha. No no. I collect stamps now.

Really, though, internet dating is not the dip into the sleeze pool so many people make it out to be. You have to have a special membership for that. For the main part, internet people are a lot like real life people. It's almost as if the two were connected in some strange, mysterious way.

One of the greatest concerns people have when considering online dating is misrepresentation. Most women worry that the people they're talking to might not really be single. Most men worry that the people they're talking to might not really be women. Everybody worries that the person they're talking to might not really look like their picture, almost as much as they worry about whether or not anybody's going to notice the "Happy New Year 1987" banner in the background of their own picture.

Thank you, yes, some people do say I look young for my age.

The next most common concern is the matter of how does one describe oneself? A lot of people have realized that the simplest approach is to just write "I never know what to say in these little boxes LOL anything you want to know just ask". As I honestly have no idea how they keep up with the torrential responses from people afire with intrigue and probing questions I can't in good conscience recommend this approach.

Another popular method of self description is to describe yourself using nothing but cringingly obvious references to painful dating experiences:

"I believe in HONESTY and TRUTH in a relationship. Game players NEED NOT APPLY. If you just want someone to take you out and buy you drinks all night and pay for a cab to wait while you make out with the obviously underage cashier and then never return so much as a single one of forty six phone messages even though your mother said you were home and your car was in the driveway you know LOOK ELSEWHERE. I'm not willing to settle."

Some don't even get as far as the date:

"I'm not here to play games. If I write you the nice thing to do is write back, even if just to say you're not interested. Why are you even here if you aren't even going to write people back? I would write you back! IT'S THE DECENT THING TO DO."

These latter approaches manage to circumvent the torrential responses from people afire with intrigue and probing questions problem very effectively.

Those among us with basic powers of observation have likely noticed something of a pattern developing here. The two elements that are evidently very commonly believed to be essential for a successful dating site profile are:

1) Informing people that you do not play games, do not like games, are not on the site to play games, don't like people who play games, and don't care if they didn't ask you to play their stupid games anyway because you just said you didn't want to so there.

2) Remembering that if you need to share with people an important insight about the kind of person you are and what you're looking for in a relationship, ALL CAPS AUTOMATICALLY MAKE ANYTHING YOU WRITE POIGNANT. They're especially effective in conveying just how deeply sincere you are about the fact that you DON'T PLAY GAMES.

The self description component need not be an issue, however. If unsure of what to say or how to say it, simply post a clear picture of as much cleavage as the site censors will allow and/or an annual income of $100,000+, and you can write "Wheeeeeeeeeeee I'm a gumdrop!" and still hit in-box capacity within an hour.

In-boxes are someplace else entirely. Equal parts Christmas morning and visiting your mean aunt at the nursing home. Gardens of delights and cat poops.

The first thing you learn is not to open your mail. That is, not all of it. Open the profiles of the people who sent it first, then decide if you want to open their mail. If the profile features, for example, a webcam image of someone holding a ruler alongside their fully extended tongue, you might not be interested in learning their impression of the photo you posted of yourself holding a cat. If their profile is illegible l33t and emoticon soup you don't need to open the letter. I'll tell you what it says right now. It says "What's up?" or some witty variation such as "howru2nite?" or "40SS#%^?" which I mostly just made up but could possibly mean something (and I apologize if it made anybody cry), which in dating site-ese means "I'm bored, entertain me". If you want to help someone achieve the world record for most chat windows open at any given time by all means involve yourself. If you're hoping for a more romantic interaction I would suggest placing an order at a take-out window. You can play Chris Isaak on the car stereo and let your fingers touch when they hand you your change if it helps.

Letters with a subject line that clearly references something you wrote in your profile and indicates that they totally get your sense of humor? Clear your schedule, get a fresh cup of coffee, turn off the music and give every word every ounce of your attention. Those are the gold you're mining for.

If you're serious about finding someone to date, find other people who are serious about finding someone to date.

If they can't take the time to type full words for you, they're not going to go to much effort to win your affection later on, either. Delete.

If they're full of compliments for your photo and mention nothing about what you wrote, that's because they didn't bother to read anything that you wrote. Save your time for people who care as much about your contents as your packaging. Delete.

If, after reading their letter, you can imagine it being addressed to a someone completely different and still being completely relevant, it's a form letter. Delete.

You will get fewer responses if you don't post an income. That's a good thing.

You will get fewer responses if you don't post a hyper-flattering photo. That's also a good thing.

You will get bored, disappointed, frustrated, disillusioned, and fed up. So will the person looking for you. That's okay. If you both persist, the internet really isn't all that damn big. You'll find each other.

Just remember - always wear protection when kissing frogs.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I wrote a title, and you can too!

Ten reasons you should take an overnight trip:

1) Hotels and motels typically provide a few choice, free toiletries. Most of us will go anywhere and, yes, pay anything for free stuff.

2) Look around you. You already knew what you were going to see before you did that, didn't you?

3) The internet needs to test your love. Let it set you free so you can come back to it. Only then will it know that you truly belong to it.

4) It's one freaking night. You can even purchase dairy freely without worrying about it spoiling while you're away.

5) You know how the dog freaks out and loses it's mind with joy if you're gone even slightly longer than it's used to your being gone? You know you love it. You know you want it.

6) It doesn't matter how high your resolution is or how expensive your monitor was, you can't really tell how much greener the grass is on the other side unless you go there yourself.

7) There's somewhere within driving distance you've never been.

8) Money was invented to be spent.

9) Some of the greatest adventures known to human kind were undertaken by people who were completely broke.

10) You might meet a magical leprechaun! Yeah okay, but the odds of meeting one do significantly improve when you leave your living room.

BONUS REASON: When you come home you get to log in and find out people have been saying nice things about you behind your back.

People like brndoutw8ress who gave me this:

Which only just happens to be my firstest everest award in my whole blog-life.

And also people like Oh My Goddess who gave me this:

Which is The Goddess Award* Lucky Friday the 13th Edition, and which looked a lot better on her blog because it was all spinny and shiny and cute and stuff but then like every other non-carnivorous thing I get my hands on, as soon as I transplanted it the thing just died. Mine is a nurturing soul, but I've come to accept the fact that if I can't feed a thing meat, it won't survive my care giving attempts.

So the first thingy has a thingy where you have to do a thingy and elect seven more people to do the thingy and I'm not very talented with thingies of that nature, so the right thing for me to do would be to decline that award. No way in hell. It's my first award and I'm flattered and I'm keeping it unethically and that's all there is to it, so, y'know, if anyone's out there sputtering with indignation, you just go ahead and call the blog police now. There's the full confession.

And I'm sorry I killed The Goddess Award, but I will display that corpse with great pride as well.

Anyway I'm right flippin' tickled. These women and their blogs are oh so holy cool, and more often than not I just boggle that people even consider my posts reasonably coherent. Thanks you two, and if I ever figure out whatever the hell it is I did right I'll make sure I keep doing it!

Friday, November 13, 2009

You write the title. My fingers are resting.

I'm having a rock star day.

No, I didn't wash my hair. It's bigger if you don't.

Of course I'm playing my music too loud. If it wasn't too loud I might risk hearing other people. I can't risk letting their psychic energies disrupt my creative process.

Sleep? Boring. Besides, I don't need to sleep. I dream better when I'm wide awake, baby.

Yeah, the place is a mess. I'm not a total pig, though. I'll move into a hotel if it gets really bad.

I can't decide what to have for breakfast, bourbon of cocaine. Or maybe toast. Yes, I know it's nearly six o'clock in the evening. Your point?

I'm tired of these dog and cat creatures. Bring me a capybara. Dye it pink to match my Porsche.

Hey! Where the hell is my Porsche?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I started this post with nothing but a title and a dream.

It might surprise you to know that I painted the cow used for my blog background before I'd even met my boyfriend. Actually, it probably wouldn't surprise you at all. I haven't actually mentioned that I'm dating a farmer yet, have I?

Right. Linear, ordered thinking. Got it.

I'm dating a farmer.

I'm from the city. My working definition of what a farm is had always been "place where young folk with big dreams and a lot of gumption escape from".

I've been informed that this is a very biased perspective. My perspective has changed, though. Well, expanded anyway. At least to "place where young folk with big dreams and a lot of gumption escape from, but not before changing their shoes".

I don't know why the man calls himself a farmer. All he has are cows. I'd always thought farmers who only had cows were, y'know, cowboys, but now I'm thinking maybe it has more to do with the kind of footwear a person favours than with the kind of food they raise.

My boyfriend does not wear cowboy boots. He wears rubber boots. Any rational person who's seen the price of cowboy boots, and who has seen cattle pasture, would do likewise. The main criteria for fashion in the pasture is hose-off-ability. Things with texture and decorative stitching hose off not worth a damn. Rubber, baby - there's your bovine friendly couture.

We were at Farm Fair this weekend. Got up early on Sunday to make sure we had enough time to see everything.

Let me restate that. I got up early on a Sunday morning, a day when I don't have to get up early, and I went to Farm Fair. It's a fair, where they feature all things farm related.

Yes, I like him that much.

There were a lot of people running around in cowboy hats. I've always questioned the practicality of something that looks capable of catching and riding a swift breeze all the way up to the jet stream, and am convinced that cowboy hats must fall from the sky at random intervals in remote areas of Africa and Asia. I do have to say, though, that those cowboys weren't squinting in the sun or having to constantly wipe rain off their faces. Those hats did offer full protection from the elements.

Did I mention that this was all indoors? Apparently cowboys are highly vulnerable to the effects of fluorescent lighting, because none of those guys were taking any chances with it.

We started our mosey (yes, I know how ridiculous I sound trying to talk cowboy. I couldn't even type that with a straight face) at the Dodge City Trade Show. Many cowboy boots and hats were for sale there. We also browsed a lot of practical items essential for living out on the range like livestock trailers, water filtration systems, and the Slap Chop. Then we made the mistake of lingering that half a moment too long that it took for an Emu Oil salesperson to latch on to us.

Yes, Emu. Yes, like the bird. Directly from the bird, actually, although whether it is secreted by the bird or forcibly squished out of a cold pressed Emu I didn't ask. I was too busy trying to fend off the free sample.

I failed. I smelled like Emu for the rest of the day. I can't quite describe the smell of Emu, but I can tell you that when you smell like Emu you don't feel the least bit sexy. I'm thinking zoo breeding programs must need a special budget allotment just for scented candles.

I'll bet you didn't even know that Emu oil is less greasy than Ostrich oil, did you? Well aren't you glad you stopped by my blog now!

Thoroughly lubricated and cradling a literal arm load of mini donuts so fresh I probably have concentric pucker marks seared into my windbreaker, we left for the main auditorium where we could blot out the smell of emu oil with horse droppings and enjoy our snacks. There was a draft team pull competition on. The cowboys competed to see whose horses could drag the most weight behind them, and the horses competed to see who could knock their cowboy's hat flying the furthest. I'm not too clear on the rules, but it's possible that bonus points were awarded for every hat to land in poo.

It was fun, though. Well, it was fun once I had been thoroughly reassured that the horses were doing nothing that could result in any kind of injury that would result in their needing to be shot. I might have been lied to, but that's okay. It was convincing. That's all I ask.

From there we examined the Alpacas, and made a damn fine show of looking like we knew what we should be examining them for, too. Why at one point we almost managed to appraise a specimen.

"That one's cute."

"Yes, but the darker wool might be harder to dye, so you might not get as much for it."

"Then maybe the darker ones are less expensive?"

"Ah yes, good appraisal."

Mostly, though, we just wandered around until someone nice took pity on us and let us pet one, and then went home satisfied. Well, mostly satisfied. A certain member of our two person party was very noticeably disappointed by the lack of cow related activities.

So sue me. I like cows.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

This title will do.

Few things are as under appreciated as ordinary days, aside from perhaps youth and health. And arch support. Good insoles, people - always a worthwhile investment.

Look around any emergency waiting room on any given day. There isn't a person in there that wouldn't rather be doing the dishes, fighting traffic, or standing out in the rain in their pajamas while the dog squeezes out that last precious drop of pee that just couldn't possibly wait until morning, despite the fact that they'd just asked the belligerent beast if he'd wanted to go out not five minutes before they'd started getting ready for bed. Ordinariness like that takes on all the romance of first loves and childhood Christmases when lost to circumstances we would give anything not to be a part of.

On ordinary days the alarm goes off and we inwardly complain about having to get up. Actually, those of us who don't have children in the house complain very outwardly, and with a surprising creativity considering the earliness of the hour. It's amid these obscene assaults on the day that we neglect to appreciate just low lucky we are to have beds too comfortable to want to leave. It probably wasn't very difficult to pry our ancestors away from their vermin riddled bags of straw in the morning at all.

On ordinary days we yell at the jerk ahead of us for holding up traffic. What kind of valium popping zombie goes 105 in a 110 kph zone, anyway?

Well, what kind of bipedal ape travels faster than a caffeinated cheetah? Apparently one incapable of appreciating that once it's already going 101 kph faster than it can walk, sacrificing 5 kph of velocity probably isn't going to lose the day unless there's a row of shiny red lights on top of their vehicle and a person hooked up to life support in the back.

You're not Batman. The freedom of the first world is not dependent on your getting first pick of the donuts in the break room. Chill out, boy wonder.

On ordinary days we get upset when we don't get our way, sad when people fail to show us consideration, and frustrated with each other when things stop being easy. We forget that the small effort it takes to love one another unconditionally always pays off generously. We only remember when we're sitting in that waiting room, unwilling to re-imagine our lives without somebody we love in them, and wishing we were with that somebody, helping them to do the dishes. Without complaining.

On ordinary days nothing goes perfectly and most things work out just fine. The little details of displeasure that we allow to become the focus of ordinary days disappear from our memories when things really do go wrong. It's only when normalcy is lost that we appreciate what a fine arrangement normalcy was.

On ordinary days the sun rises, birds sing, and everybody pursues their own idea of happiness the best way they know how. Let's cut ourselves and each other some slack. Let's have a nice day.

After all, insoles are always on sale somewhere.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This title just seems so small, y'know?

I have recently been informed that in approximately 4.5 billion years, this planet Earth is going to cease to exist. I am posting now to make public record of the fact that I am extremely displeased with this developing situation.

What they propose is going to happen is that the sun - friendly emblem of happiness credited for every day we describe as being "nice" - is going to eat us. Or perhaps more accurately burn us to vapor and then suck up the fumes.

Diagram A

I'm going to speak frankly here. I have a problem with that.

We literally worship the thing. Build it all kinds of lovely temples. Our innocent children draw smiley faces on it in their little pictures. Apparently, though, none of this behavior is anywhere near as endearing as we'd hoped. All the supplications in the world don't change the fact that in the grand scheme of things, we rank no higher than hors d'oeuvres.

No, nobody needs to come over here with picture books and explain, using their puppy house-training voice, that I'll be very thoroughly dead by that point anyway. I am quite aware of that likelihood, thank you.

Likewise, however, I think we can all concede that my death is technically just a hypothesis founded on previous evidence until proven fact. I mean what's the ultimate point of all the disease research and guard rails and letting the poor toast burn when we've got a fork sitting right there if we're just taking it as read that we're all going to die anyway? That might be the reality, but surely it's not the goal. What if we did figure it all out? Padded every sharp corner, destroyed every weapon, cured every disease, and reversed aging. Haha! Immortality at last!

Oh crap. The sun's exploding.

It doesn't show a lot of dedication to the cause if we're not looking at the long term, big picture. There's no point basting ourselves in sunscreen now just to watch our pasty flesh sizzle on the bone like pork cracklins in just a few short billion years. Little surprise that so many of us do fail to take proper care of our health. Let's examine the options: die from an excess of drinking, drugs, sleeping around and fattening foods, or be cooked by an exploding star.

Pass the methamphetamine and pop tarts. Exploding arteries seem rather more civilized, even quaint by contrast. Perhaps because there's less soul shredding terror involved.

So let's hear some options, folks. I'd just as soon not evacuate. We're already pretty settled in now, imagine the clutter we'll have accumulated in four and a half billion more years. It would take several generations just to tidy the hall closet. Nobody's going to want to pack all that. We'll need to either fix the sun or replace it. If we fix it the thing's still going to wear out again eventually, so really the best option is to just replace it.

I vote we set Jupiter on fire. Who's with me?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This title was writed all by me.

My blog looks like someone who didn't know the first thing about image sizing or complimentary colour schemes messed around with the template code.

Now why on earth do you suppose that could be?

I don't care. I made a computer do something. This is epic. I'm empowered. There's no telling what I could do next, but the dvd player better get ready for some hot and heavy programming action. That's right, baby - you're going to know what time it is when I'm through with you, and it ain't 12:00!

Well I suppose it could be. I don't even know what time I'm going to get started, let alone finished. There is a chance it could be 12:00, sure. It's only 9:30 now, but it really isn't that big a priority so I doubt I'm going to get to it right away.

Who am I kidding? That's not getting done.

But still! It could! I have a slightly higher level of competence than I previously gave myself credit for. Why, the possibilities are slightly less far away from being endless now.

You know, the only reason I started a blog in the first place was just to play with the templates? For most people that would be an indication of aptitude in the area of html programming. For me it was an indication of my ability to be distracted by pretty colours. Never really progressed beyond that.

So okay no, my colours don't really match and things aren't really centered very well and if you blink too enthusiastically while looking at it you might experience a sudden onset of vertigo and slight loss of stomach content, but a lot of skill went into customizing my blog template. It goes without saying by now that none of that skill was mine. Credit for the design disaster, yes. Mine all mine. Credit for the skill required to showcase that disaster?

That credit goes to the magnificent, erudite wonderbug, who actually managed to write a post about blog customization using language so clear that even I could understand it. Seriously, with high tech-to-toddlerese translation skills that fierce we'd have Starbucks in Alpha Centauri if this person worked for SETI.

Thank you wonderbug!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This title commemorates all the titles that came before.

Happy left over candy day! My teeth are crying, my dogs are sulking, there are tiny little wrappers everywhere and I'm too full to make dinner. As I type I'm popping gum balls into my mouth, chewing them for a minute or two, and then spitting them out as soon as they stop being juicy to make room for a new one. Apparently that's the way they used to chew gum just before the fall of Rome, too.

I know what you're thinking and nuh uh - this isn't stuff that was left over in the store that I bought cheap. These are legitimate left overs. Stuff I bought for other people who didn't show up to claim it. That's fair won booty.

Not my fault I fell asleep and didn't hear the door until most of them had gone home for the night. Really, it's not. Did you know there are people mad enough to think getting out of bed on a Saturday morning just to go have brunch is a good idea, and that these people have the full freedoms and liberties that normal humans do? Consider yourself warned. I'd already provided what I thought was the obvious answer to the question of what I was doing Saturday morning - nothing - and found myself staring down the barrel of a sincere invitation before I found out myself.

I will no longer count being unconscious as doing nothing. Sleeping is absolutely doing something. I'm not sure what it is, exactly, but I'm very confident that it's a higher priority than brunch.

Anyway it's nice to have the festivities over with. Now I can just sit back, relax and...

...oh yeah. Christmas.

Okay. I've got about two weeks of sanity here before all hell breaks loose.

You know those annual company parties you attend in order to maintain good relations with coworkers, positively influence supervisors, and make up the difference of how much you thought your holiday bonus should have been in free liquor? I'm the stiffly smiling entertainer paid to distract you long enough for the alcohol to make you sleepy! I think the number one reason companies have for hiring the company I work for is "to avoid a repeat of last year." Sure, interactive entertainment for large groups is expensive. So is the bill for the clean up from an impromptu game of left-over-dinner-roll football or a Chinese Circus inspired chair balancing act performed by three guys who can't agree on which direction the floor is spinning, though.

The glamour. The excitement. The audiences so drunk I could entertain them for hours with a spirited game of peek-a-boo. I love show business.

The next two weeks are war room weeks. Instead of generals I have on-site producers. Instead of infantry I have actors. Instead of artillery I have sound systems and gaming equipment. Everything needs to be deployed strategically to maximize both the available resources and the impact it will have. I don't want to be making these decisions in the field. Two weeks from now everything will be mobilized, and there'll be no turning back.

No retreat.

No rest.

No prisoners.

Clients really do get mad when you take prisoners. That's probably why we require payment in advance.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

This title is actually for a different entry.

I had to become a professional costumer. It wasn't my first career choice, but I failed the height requirement to become Cher.

Just pausing for a moment to consider how many people have decided that I'm a drag queen after reading that opening paragraph.

I am neither of these people.

The majority of my professional career has been an ongoing attempt to compensate for the greatest disappointment of my life. It occurred when I was four. That's your first clue that I am not writing from a rational place.

It was my first Halloween. That's your second clue.

I don't know how my parents described the thing, but evidently my imagination took a lot of liberties when filling in a lot of gaps. I was going to get into a costume, and I was going to go outside, and everyone in the whole neighbourhood would be outside, and they'd all be wearing costumes too, and we'd all have a party. There'd be dancing and games and decorations and I couldn't wait to find out what else.

You're already getting a good idea of how terribly ill fated this was from it's inception. But wait! It gets worse! I hadn't even seen my costume yet.

I knew what costumes were. I loved costumes. They wore costumes in the Wizard of Oz. Glenda the Good Witch, now that broad had a costume! I was a reasonable, rational child, mind you. I didn't get my hopes up that high. I knew four year olds were supporting cast, not feature players. I would be satisfied with pretty much anything the chorus girls wore in any of the musicals my mother used to watch on Sunday afternoons. That's along the lines of what I figured a novice Halloweener would be outfitted in. Surely you didn't get feature dancer quality costumes until you were at least five. Fine with me. Anything would be an improvement on the big, brown, uncomfortable snow suit I usually had to wear when we went out.

The situation started to deteriorate as soon as my mother packed me into my big, brown, uncomfortable snowsuit. Not good - the primary caregiver was malfunctioning. Snow suit on Halloween? What would be next? Garbage for Christmas? Scrambled egg hunts for Easter? Cake for Thanksgiving? Well yeah I could live with that, but no! No snowsuits on Halloween!

"No, your costume goes on over your snow suit. It's cold outside."

Well dammit but, well, okay. After all, Glenda could have been wearing snowpants under her grand confectionary couture. Hell, she could have had a beach umbrella and two small men playing checkers under there. Yeah. I could pull off a snow suit as long as the costume was big enough.

Hee hee - Munchkins tickle!

My mother produced a small felt cape. And nothing else.

"What's that?"

"That's your little red riding hood!"

"What's my costume?"

"Little Red Riding Hood!"

"What am I dressed as?"

"You're Little Red Riding Hood."

"I'm wearing a little red riding hood."

"Yes, that's your costume.

"So that makes me a little red riding hood?"

"Little Red Riding Hood is your costume."

"Because I'm wearing a little red riding hood?"


This went on for some time, with my mother never figuring out that I had no idea Little Red Riding Hood was the name of a person, or that my four year old brain was not well enough developed to make that conceptual leap on it's own. Nobody I had never met had been named after an item of clothing. I thought I had just become the first. Why my mother had decided to name me after a small hood I had no idea, but what really puzzled me was how she conceptualized that small chunk of fabric as my entire costume. Clearly it would have been more appropriate to call me Big Brown Snow Suit. It really didn't matter, though. The costume sucked either way.

Never mind. At least I still had the party.

I was so prepared to be dazzled I didn't even pause at the giant bowl of candy by the door. I'd deal with that later. Opening that front door was more exciting than Christmas! Well, until it opened, obviously.

There were no decorations, no music, and nobody was dancing. There was just a strange teenage girl I'd never met before. She took me by the hand and she took me away from my mother.

Painfully shy children hate it when you do that.

She took me away from my mother and took me to a strange house. She made me ring the bell. She made me talk to people. Then the really bad thing happened. She made me accept food from them.

Another fun thing about me. As a child, I would only eat food from my own house. I'd been offered all sorts of candies and other delicious food at other people's houses on occasions when my family was visiting, and I always very politely refused with "No thank you, we have that at home." My parents had done a very good job of teaching me manners. They had also, unfortunately, done a very good job of teaching me that some adults like to feed children poison. Of course I actually did think we had every kind of food ever invented at home - both of my parents grew up in the depression, it's really quite likely we did - but I wasn't being entirely truthful with my hosts. The real reason I wouldn't eat their food was because the thought of eating their food repulsed me.

Child poisoning bastards.

Fun and games were clearly not on the agenda at all. My friends were all out, but unlike every other day in our incredibly safe neighbourhood they weren't running around and playing with each other. Every single one of them was with an adult and being led around by the hand. The possibility for fun didn't even exist - we were under more intense supervision than we'd ever been in our young lives. None of the adults (who I bitterly noted weren't even dressed up at all) were even taking us over to each other to say hi - just keeping to themselves and marching dutifully from door to door to make their children ask for food.

So that was Halloween. Getting stuffed into an ugly, uncomfortable snow suit, dragged around by a stranger, forced to talk to grown ups, not being allowed to play with your friends, and having to haul around a bag of poison all night. I was a bitter, bitter four year old. I just wanted it all to be over so I could get home to my mommy and eat the candy we had sitting by the door.

I really thought my mother was kidding when she told me she'd given all our candy away to other people's children. I really did.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bet you weren't expecting this title!

I used to live and work halfway up a mountain in Jasper National Park. It could be a hell of a thing getting groceries seeing as how I didn't drive or even own a bike.

The path to town,
and the reason I still double knot my shoes.

Photo Credit: not me

You know what? Why don't I just come clean right now. That last point about my not owning a bike was completely irrelevant. I need five cups of coffee just to pump a bicycle up a small hill. An adrenaline shot straight to the heart couldn't get me up a mountain on one of those infernal contraptions. Like I've always said, put me on a hiking trail and I'm as nimble as a cat. Put me on a bike and I'm as nimble as a cat.

A cat trying to ride a bicycle.

No, a bicycle wouldn't have helped me. Thankfully I did not live alone up on that mountain. During peak season there were twelve women living in the dormitory rooms above the Maligne Canyon Tea House.

Two. Yes, I understand. Anytime anybody hears about any quantity of women living together the first question is always "how many bathrooms were there"?

Yes, only two. Yes, I understand. It's commonly assumed that the correct ratio to prevent violence in any rooming situation is 3.5 bathrooms for every 2 women. In this instance that ratio was completely irrelevant anyway. The two we had really only added up to 0.5 in functional terms, and they only rate that high because both toilets flushed. How they managed to flush when the only supply of liquid coming through any of the pipes was a thin, brown, sulfuric trickle of mostly grit I have no idea, but they performed heroically indeed. What was in that grit I don't know. I'm sure a mineral analysis would answer the mystery of why everyone had copper tinted hair and black jewelry, though.

So the other good thing about having transportation equipped women around was that the closest supply of fresh water was also at the bottom of the mountain, at Lake Annette. There we found a pumping station where we filled gallon jugs for cooking and tooth brushing and a large, insanely cold body of water where we'd try and swim ourselves clean. What it lacked in convenience it did at least make up for in scenic properties. That lake was so beautiful I even named my cat after it.

Have you ever seen anyone use a flimsier excuse to post a picture of their cat?

The point I'm making is that for a shop in a heavily trafficked park, that place was pretty far away from civilization. As the season wore down and the traffic eased up there would be lulls where you and your dwindling population of co-workers could feel like the last people on earth.

No cars in the parking lot.

No hikers on the trail.

Just you and the mountain sheep.

Nope. The sheep left.

Just you and the trees.

Ksh. Clank.


Some tour guide found your shop at some point and decided they liked it. Now all of a sudden you can't move for visitors. They're all talking at once and they're all talking to you and they're all talking together because they've all been on an epic journey so long they're starting to read each other's minds. They're all happy to see you because their guide told them it's a great place to be. You're happy to see them because gosh, they all seem so happy and so friendly and you were just starting to think that maybe your little mountain had fallen off the edge of the world and you just hadn't noticed yet. Everything changed in an instant and everything's alive and it's breathtaking and fun and you hardly know what's going on but what the hell, you just go with it.

That kind of happened here on this blog yesterday.

I've only been back into blogging for two weeks now, and I've been thrilled and have savoured the joy of meeting every single reader who has done me the honor of following this thing. Then yesterday I sit down to a banquet of beautiful people here presented by the delectible Braja, and my head is still spinning from the new names and faces and all the wonderful new blogs to read. There are still a few I haven't sampled yet - mmmm dessert - but I'm delighted to meet each and every one of you. This is a great chance to say the same to everyone else that I've been lucky to cross cyber paths with over the past two weeks, too - very much including the friends from my old journal who left a trail of bread crumbs to find me again.

Okay, this is getting mushy. I better shut up before I post another picture of my cat.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wait - you mean everyone can see this title?

Stop licking your monitor.

Suddenly we all want cake. Or better yet cupcakes. No. You know what? Screw it. Just fill a pail with frosting and pass the spoon.

We're done pandering to adulthood. That means we're done pretending to like grown up food. Fusion cuisine makes us feel clever at parties, but it doesn't make us feel loved. Nobody's parents ever served lamb curry fajitas with Yorkshire pudding smothered in sweet and sour sauce at Sunday dinner. Fusion cuisine, like every other food trend to come along, romanced us, pantsed us, and left us fundamentally unsatisfied. There's no emotional connection there and we're sick of feeling clever anyway. Clever people have stress and responsibilities and stuff. That's icky. The planet's terminally ill, the economy's manic depressive, we're scared to death and we want our mommies. Barring that we'll settle for the crap mommy used to shove in our cry holes to shut us up when we got whiney.

So why cake? Why of all the childhood gastronomical favourites have we glommed on to this particular one? Why not pizza or hot dogs or white glue?

Simple. Cake has no calories.

Cake is special occasion food. We grew up eating it as little kids at birthday parties. Who counted calories at birthday parties? Nobody. Back then our only food related stress was having to elbow our best friend in the ribs to get the last slice with a flower.

Then we got older. Cakes were for kids. We were cool and ordered pizza at our parties, and oh my god I can't believe he finally looked at me and I had grease all over my chin and a slice of pepperoni stuck to my cheek and it doesn't matter anyway because it was my third slice and now I'll never get into my jeans again and I'm just going to spend the night of the prom at home writing song lyrics all over my wall in eyeliner anyway.

Then we grew up. Suddenly we were allowed in nice restaurants and invited to catered parties. Suddenly we were faced with critical decisions such as which would be the greater faux pas - turning our nose up at a rare, expensive delicacy or making a fool out of ourselves by chowing down on a table decoration in front of our boss's family?

Ice cream? Don't even get me started on ice cream. Remember what you were eating when you wrote those song lyrics all over your bedroom wall in eyeliner?

We like cake because cake doesn't have baggage.

Cake has sprinkles.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This Title is in Accordance With CRTC Canadian Content Regulations

As every Canadian knows, if you smell burning toast you need to remove all sharp objects from your pockets immediately. Try it sometime. Next time you're out in a tourist destination somewhere, burn some toast. See the people taking off their glasses, loosening their collars and lying down? Those are the Canadians. They are doing this because they are convinced that they are about to have a seizure.

This information was imparted to us by means of a 60 second epic historical reenactment, shown at regular intervals on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation channel for... oh time in the conventional sense has no meaning to Canadians. Let's just go with many moons. Anyway, the purpose of the production was to remind us Canadians what a proud, medical history we have of poking people in the brain to make them smell burning toast. There was also some bit about some surgeon guy who did something with seizure disorders, but mostly it was about poking brains to make people smell toast.

No, not that kind of brain poking.

Every Canadian secretly wants to try it, you know. Next time you're talking to a Canadian and thinking how polite they are, remember that - they're fantasizing about poking you in the brain.

So my point, anyway, is that I've been smelling burnt cotton candy all day, and I'm determined to find the Canadian bastard responsible for it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Remember the first time you read this title?

Roughly speaking, my childhood is as long ago now as the Second World War had been when I was a child. That means that the Second World War is roughly as long ago now as the First World War had been when I was a kid.

That means that the First World War is practically as long ago to children now as the Civil War had been to me when I was a child.

The kicker? It all just keeps getting further away.

Once you go that far back before your birth things start to take on an almost mythological quality. You have no living link to that time. To me, the people who fought in the Civil War are just as lost to history as people who fought in the Crusades.

The people who fought in the First World War, however, are still very real to me. Even though they are all just as dead and buried. I was born to older parents who were themselves born to older parents. People in my family on both sides seem to carry some kind of mutant giant tortoise gene. We take a long time to die.

I knew lots of people who were alive during the First World War when I was a kid. My grandfather was one of those dumb young kids who, filled with the patriotic flush of suicidal courage, lied about their age to enlist. His thumb rests in peace somewhere in Somme.

He was picking shrapnel out of the stump until the day he died. It was an elegant digital ballet when he hand rolled his cigarettes.

I'm sure he knew people who were alive during the Civil War. That era was as real and personal to him as he was to me.

Hm. Yeah. Hm? Sorry? Was I supposed to have a point?


Old people are pretty cool, and it would appear as though I'm definitely going to become one someday - whether I feel qualified to be one or not.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Express what this title means using only your face.

Workshopping new actors tonight. And me without any heroin. I'm just going to have to mainline caffeine until the whole world melds into one big streaky blur of movement and scream through the thing at 100mph.

Well okay, but it is fun. The first bit, anyway, when everyone arrives all eager and nervous and trying to impress you, and you get to just relax and enjoy the parade of characters.

Three hours later when you just want to confirm their contact information and go home and they won't stop auditioning for you and you're too tired to find a polite way to say no for the love of all that is holy I do not want to see your impression of Jim from Taxi the Ace Ventura ape shittery already got you close enough to being taken out of consideration already that it wears a bit thin.

It's times like that I reach for my mantra:

At least I don't work in the mall anymore
At least I don't work in the mall anymore
At least I don't work in the mall anymore

(and all respect to the good women and men still out there on those recycled air blown front lines).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Guess what I was wearing when I wrote this title?

I recently met a woman who, like myself, works out of her home. She told me that she gets up at the same time every morning, goes through her normal morning routine, and gets dressed and ready for work just like she would if she worked in a public office.

I told her "Yeah, I don't do that."

I admire the ethic. It's an attractive ethic. Exactly the kind of ethic you can stand back, have a nice long look at, and say "Yep, damn fine ethic, that" about.

There's no way in hell I can emulate that ethic. I'm the girl who decided that a large enough sweater could turn a pair of flannel pajamas into a three piece ensemble back when I worked the sales floor of a furniture store. The likelihood of my wearing pants before noon any day that I don't have to leave the house is right up there with, well, probably the likelihood of my getting hired to sell furniture again any time soon.

So any time you're in the Edmonton area and have a pressing need for a magician or some other kind of live entertainment give me a call. You won't be talking to just another suit in a headset. In fact I'll let you picture me wearing anything you want.

My flannel's getting humid just thinking about it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ten reasons it took over a year to write this title.

Ten things I've been too damn busy doing to write in my blog for the past year:
  1. Wondering what the hell I should write about in my blog.
  2. Not writing in my blog.
  3. Forgetting that I even had a blog.
  4. Eating cookie dough.
  5. Giving up eating cookie dough cold turkey.
  6. Eating potato chips.
  7. Drinking Pepto Bismol
  8. Feeling guilty about not writing in my blog.
  9. Resolving to write in my blog.
  10. Still not writing in my blog.
Little wonder the days just flew by!

No really, though. I think I should start writing in my blog again.

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Alberta, Canada
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