Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Do you remember my finger? The one with the suspected case of necrotizing fasciitis? Well, it's the coolest thing: the inflammation has localized over to one side and the other day started turning green. I was showing everyone at work and they all asked me why I didn't pop it, but there was nothing to pop; there was no head. Today, however it finally ripened to a head and I am pretty excited about it.
It's warming up! It's only about -20C and all the ice is starting to melt off the windows. Good thing I'm home today to do the towel thing or there'd be puddles all over the floor, because those were some solidly frozen windows. Sputnik is also helping, of course. She thinks the water flowing down the windows is solely for her entertainment.
So in honour of the return of the sun, here are a couple of Belle and Sebastian songs that always make me feel cozy. Because Scotland is such a tropical country, you know.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I've been hearing chatter on the radio recently about the next edition of Canada Reads, and I am getting pretty excited. I haven't read any of the nominated books, but I plan to start very soon. I want to start with Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill.
It's being championed by my homey John K Samson of the Weakerthans who was, you may remember, the advocate of last year's winning novel, A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews.
All the advocates this year were previously successful in championing their past choices.
It's going to be a dog fight.
You can check out all five nominees and the books they are pimping right here.
Monday, November 27, 2006
These are not pictures of me.
These are pictures of my spoiled rotten cat.
When it's the fourth day of a cold snap, with an expected high of -24C and a windchill of -38C, it's only the stupid humans who get up and go to work.
... and catch a few more hours of quality time.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
In March 1947, police entered the Harlem mansion of Homer and Langley Collyer to investigate reports of a dead body in the home. What they found was the accumulated detritus of decades of compulsive hoarding, a decaying house rigged with a series of booby traps, and the body of Homer Collyer, apparently dead of starvation. It took two weeks and the removal of 136 tonnes of junk to uncover the body of his brother, Langley, who had been asphyxiated when one of his own booby traps had crushed him.
This fascinating story provides the foundation for Sage Theatre’s current production of The Dazzle by Richard Greenberg. In The Dazzle, the younger brother, Langley (Frank Zotter), is a concert pianist afflicted with autism and deeply consumed by compulsive behaviour, while Homer (Duval Lang) is a retired admiralty lawyer, now preoccupied with the responsibilities of caring for his increasingly self-absorbed brother. “I am my brother’s accountant” he explains to Milly (Chantal Perron), the socialite and hanger-on who has romantic designs on Langley. And indeed he does play the role of accountant to Langley, not merely in matters financial, but more importantly in matters of social contact.
You are drawn into the world of the Collyers immediately upon entering the intimate theatre. You walk past walls festooned in old newspapers before you enter and cross the stage to your seat, a stage which is dominated by a series of towering bookshelves filled with wheels and cogs and brick-a-brac, all uniformly grey. A pair of tattered armchairs composes the remainder of the furniture. The set suggests a faded aristocracy, and foreshadows the increasingly claustrophobic environment which presages the fated tragedy.
The Dazzle is ultimately a tragedy, in which the tragedy lays not so much in the inevitable demise of the brothers, as it does in the heartbreaking realization that the Collyers were not as content to be insulated from the world as they appeared, that they, in their way, craved social contact which they were never quite able to fulfill. But far from being melancholy, The Dazzle is actually a witty, sparkling, and quite delightful drawing room piece. The clever repartee among Homer, Langley and Milly is sharp and effervescent. These are people who delight in wordplay, who appreciate and relish the clever twisting of a phrase, who excel at linguistic sparring.
In the first act of The Dazzle, Langley is an eccentric but supremely talented pianist, much sought by society. He is completely incapable of understanding the intricacies of social convention and human emotion. At one point he tells Homer “I really must remember to tell you that I love you”. A textbook autistic, he understands the concept that others have emotions, but as the actuality of emotion is utterly foreign to him, he dismisses it as an oddity of others that he must grudgingly consider. Instead, he is acutely hypersensitive to all senses, and is drawn into obsessive fascination with objects, his “duffle”, which, aside from his music, provides his only meaning in life.
Homer, whom we initially see as a brittle controller, gradually reveals himself as the truly tragic figure, the man who has given up his career to care for his brother and who craves life, any sort of life. He is resigned to the role of voyeur, but his need for human interaction is so great that he invents an elaborate pretext to bring excitement into the Collyer house. Milly is the catalyst for these machinations; she provides the sparkling glimpse of the life that Homer so desperately craves, and she is the window to the world that eludes these brothers. Ultimately though, the brothers’ dependence upon each other proves more powerful than any lure the outside world can offer.
Sage Theatre is quickly becoming synonymous with intimate theatre that is provocative and not easily dismissed. While the previous production of Trainspotting was gritty and raw and addressed the addictions of a subculture of society, The Dazzle takes the premise of desperate and stifling interdependence and narrows the focus to the minutiae of two of the most constrained lives imaginable. But even after the world quite literally collapses around them, you will not easily forget the lives of Homer and Langley Collyer.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The other day the hip folks at Flemish Eye Records sent me this link to photos from Chad VanGaalen's cd release party at the Uptown theatre last week. Now how sweet is that?
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
He's Your Man
Monday, November 20, 2006
edit note: Karen posted the Village People lego on her site hours before I did, so she wins at the internet!
The FU! finger on my left hand started swelling up this afternoon. It feels like there's a small grapefruit inside the tip right now.
I went for a short workout on the elliptical when I got home from work and everytime I swung my arm, it felt like my finger had been slammed in the door. And then, as I was finishing my workout, some new program came on TLC, which I had on for visuals, entitled something like "Texas Cheer Moms" and it was about ... wait for it ... cheerleaders' moms. If the throbbing finger wasn't enough to induce naseau, this did the trick.
I didn't realise how much I use this finger to type.
If I start seeing red streaks travelling up my arm, I'm going to Emerg quick snap.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
"Terraforming Mars won't be easy..."
You know when you hear songs with opening lyrics like those, that you are not listening to a musician who follows a formula. And you know when you see Chad VanGaalen perform that you will experience a weird and wonderful blend of music and art and odd stories. But when you attend a Chad VanGaalen cd release party in the hometown you share, you are intimately drawn into the strange and quirky world that must exist inside this multi-faceted artist/musician's head.
Friday, November 17, 2006
I took Eva to Zeller's after school today, and that particular mall, which is decidedly less upscale than some of the others around here, was all decked out in its mismatched Christmas finery. We've always admired the nativity scene they put up each year, in which the donkeys are about 7 times larger than the humans, but this year they had the addition of a rather glorious giant plastic walrus. Made me feel all Christmasy, it did.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
(^ it's a .gif - click on it to see the show^)
Monday, November 13, 2006
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
I always knew monkeys were nasty evil creatures. I could never understand why anyone would want one for a pet. Those Barenaked Ladies guys are idiots. No, I haven't always wanted a monkey.
So I felt quite validated to read these newspaper headlines today:
Delhi suffering monkey mayhem
The story goes on to explain how the city of Delhi has been suffering from problems with increasingly unruly monkeys over the last couple of years. Authorities have been shipping large numbers of monkeys to other states, but lately those shipments have been refused. So now the estimated 5,000 monkeys in Delhi are running rampant, "mobbing government buildings, stealing food from children, and even on one occasion threatening national security ... (by breaking into the Ministry of Defense and tearing up secret documents)."
If I wasn't laughing so hard, I'd be saying I told you so!
I worked from home today! There was freezing rain happening this morning and I was hearing about 12 car pile-ups here and 5 car pile-ups there and how people were having to stop their cars to get out and scrape their windshields because their wipers couldn't handle the slush sticking to them. And I have a 30 km one-way commute and I have to drive over two bridge decks.
I had everything I needed with me to work from home, Eva had an assembly all afternoon, so I made the executive decision not to go in. Eva went back to bed till noon (don't tell her teachers), I actually got a pile of work done, and then because I didn't have to commute back home again, I had time to bake Berni's world famous Orange and Cranberry muffins.
Oh my god they are so good, they taste like cake, even with me replacing the white flour with whole wheat. I think I will post the recipe over on the Food Porn blog this weekend, so you should come over, say hi, and check out the recipe. The house of the Food Porn blog is, after all, the only house that Ben Heller has ever wanted to marry. And that's good enough for me.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
|What Your Bathroom Habits Say About You|
You are very independent and self-centered. You don't solve other people's problems - and you don't expect them to solve yours.
Your idea of fashion is jeans and a t-shirt. Clean, if you're lucky.
You have the perfect blend of confidence and class. You're proud of who you are - but you don't broadcast it.
In relationships, you are practical and realistic. You have a romantic side, but you only let it out when it's appropriate.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Bolt doesn't seem to be imbedding, so please click below to listen to:
Note to Allison: check out the "oh please stay" line. I think you'll like it.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
It's seeing stuff like this that prevents me from getting a tattoo.
Although I do have to admit that it is rather glorious in all its hideousness.
And it is responsible for spawning one of my favourite Eva quotes recently:
"If you have to get a second tattoo to explain the first one, then the first one probably wasn't all that good".
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Oh Alberta, don't hate Saskatchewan,
- Oh Alberta, Elliott Brood
Gopher-gate has been all the talk around the water coolers here the last few days. Tomorrow is the Western Conference semi-final game in the CFL (Canadian Football League, for the uninitiated), in which the winner of the game between the Calgary Stampeders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders, played in Calgary, will advance. The Stampeders always travel with a horse and whenever they score a touchdown, the horse takes a victory lap around the field. The Roughriders have a similar creature called Gainer the Gopher, who, in a move that shocked the world and threatened the very stability of our nation, has been refused admittance to the field at McMahon stadium tomorrow.
Now you have to understand that Roughrider fans are among the most zealous you will ever encounter, and because Saskatchewan is traditionally a province of out-migration, Rider fans are located throughout the country and they never, ever lose their enthusiasm. So you can imagine the controversy this pronouncement caused. It even went to the level of provincial premiers, with Ralph Klein of Alberta stating that Alberta works hard to maintain its rat-free status and that vermin such as gophers are not welcome either, and with Lorne Calvert of Saskatchewan countering that on the very rare occasion that the Stampeders score a touchdown, they are not prevented from having their horse go around the football field, even though that can be quite a mess to clean up.
Oh it's a dog fight!
The Grey Cup game will be held in Winnipeg this year on November 19, and if you have ever been to Winnipeg in mid-November, you will know that it is not the most hospitable place in the world to sit outside to watch a football game. People are going to be pissed on brandy and bundled up in snowmobile suits. Sort of like when my brother went to the Grey Cup last time it was held in Winnipeg, but that, my friends, is a whole other story.
Now, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, having grown up in Winnipeg, and I am hoping that Winnipeg will win the Eastern Conference. I know, you are saying, "wait a minute, Winnipeg is in the east?", but you have to understand that you have more fingers than the poor struggling CFL has teams, so Winnipeg gets to be an eastern team just to even the sides out. I am hoping really hard that the Grey Cup will be a matchup between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers - two teams which have a brutal historical rivalry - in Winnipeg. It will be the best thing in the history of best things.
My mom, who does not understand how the game of hockey (the simplest most straightforward game in existence) works, always used to listen to the Bomber games on the radio. I can barely grasp the intricacies of football while watching the game, and yet she used to listen to the games and enjoy them. But she doesn't get hockey.
So tomorrow, my loyalties will lie firmly with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and I'm hoping that Gainer the Gopher disguises himself with a Groucho Marx moustache or something and sneaks his way onto the field, or that all the Saskatchewan fans who have poured into the city all wear Gainer the Gopher costumes and totally subvert the game.
Go Gainer, go little guy!
I have no socks.
Every morning this week I opened my sock drawer and pulled out a pair and one of them would have a hole in the bottom. Now I'm down to the horrible ones that I never wear because they are too loose or too tight or are made of yucky slippery material or they bunch up inside my shoes. I wish it was summer so I didn't have to wear socks, but I guess I'm going to have to suck it up and make a trip to the evil Wal*Mart because it is also the only place I know that has a sewing section and I also have no buttons left on any of my winter coats.
God I hate wearing clothes!
Friday, November 03, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
I wasn't feeling all that great as I was driving home from work today. My throat was a bit sore and my ear ached; nothing serious but enough to make me really look forward to getting home. It was a grey day, the sort of day where evening comes on fast, and as I pulled into our neighbourhood, the lights were already starting to come on in our little local mall, smoke was curling out of chimneys as people battled another day of -10, and the snow still lay all around from Sunday's storm.
I was suddenly struck with the joyful and comforting premonition that I would arrive home to find all the lights blazing welcomingly in the house, a fire crackling, and my mom in my kitchen, cooking rouladen and spaetzle, with the tantalizing aroma of slow-cooked beef and homemade noodles striking me as I opened the door.
I was well aware that my mom was not at my house, that her rouladen and spaetzle cooking days were long over by the time we moved into this house, but the vision was so intense and seemed so real and so certain that I felt all nostalgic, nostalgic for something that never was.
I remember feeling that way whenever I looked at a traditional German advent calendar we had when I was young. It was a shop-filled street in a town somewhere. It was a night scene and all the shop windows were lit up and filled with delightful looking toys that I longed for. Saint Nicholas - the rather stern-looking German one, not the jiggly Coca Cola Santa Claus - was riding in a carriage down the street in this town with children runnng to catch up to him. I remember that advent calendar filling me with the same longing for a past I have never known, feeling that same sense of deja vu for something that never was.
What causes a person to feel something like that? Is it just wishful thinking caused by a weak moment (like when we are tired of being the mom and we want our mom to take over again), is it our subconscience tapping into a collective tribal memory, is it our weary brains escaping into a place of comfort for a short while?
Maybe it's a tumour..