For you, the dress code is casual.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Some Velvet Morning

The Verve have some great moody classics, and Velvet Morning is among them. Whenever I roll over on a morning like this to find my bedroom awash in the reds and golds of a great sunrise, the song bounces into my mind. It's probably not a good thing, though, since the song's about as depressing as they come.

Red and gold, though. Awash in it. Buildings nearby are caked in frost after what was indisputably our coldest night thus far this winter. "Brr-fucking-brr," as I always like to say.

I've had a hard time recently. I've been avoiding writing for any number of reasons, not just here but on any blog I've written for. Life got challenging, and I'm the kinda girl that deals with what's on my plate. It's been frustrating. It's really hard watching my brother bumble and fuck around on the road to wellness. I can't write while life's on full boil. I just can't.

Back to my brother. Fact is, some people need to eat pavement. Some people need to do that tango with death. They don't have a fucking clue how good they've got it until it's all almost stripped away. My brother falls in that category. I suppose, to some extent, I did, too.

Head injuries. They're a bitch, man. You never really know where you stand with it. That's the brain for you. It's been three weeks, almost, since my brother was dealt his, and he's only now realizing how fucked he is. It'll be the New Year before he's back on the job. He's lucky he knows his fucking address.

We've been trying to help him around his house, where he insists on staying alone, but let's face it: Anyone with a head injury, stuck in a house in a not-so-reliable computer, no radio, no television, and barely any furniture, with no headspan for reading, is bound to get a little fucking antsy. Dude's been doing too much, too soon, and it's been really, really frustrating trying to support him without ripping his goddamned head off during all his idiocy.

Finally, though, I've made a suggestion that makes sense: Go to Gibson's. Stay with Aunt Eileen. For the first time in a month, I heard a moment of happiness in my brother's voice. Yes, little sister speaks wisely, it seems. Soon, my brother will be recuping on the shores of BC's Sunshine Coast as my aunt and uncle dote on him. It just doesn't get much nicer than Gibson's.

And I'll finally feel like things are going in a good direction. Man, it's been trying lately. I've been avoiding everyone, everything. Sometimes, it's all you can do to get through a day.

And now, today, a gorgeous morning with the sparkly goodness of a thick frost. A great day to have off. Like I do.

Friday, November 25, 2005

I am Woman, Hear me Roar

Fuck Apple.

I despise any company that leads you to believe you have no option but to send them three times the amount of money a service is worth. Yes, it's the American way, but fuck that shit, man. (Ironically, I have an iBOOK and an iPOD. Like the products, hate the hard sell.)

The goodly folks at iPOD will have you believe it's HARD and TRICKY to change an iPOD battery, and I'll admit, it's intimidating until you've done it once, but I found this awesome blog entry that gave me all the juice I needed...

And I did it my own goddamned self.

My way? $29.99 for an Energizer battery, and 20 minutes labour. Their way? $99.99 for a shitty Sanyo battery, and several days lost to shipping. I may not be broke off my ass, but I'm stubborn and I'm cheap.

So, go here, edumacate yoself, and save yo' damned money.

(By the way, I'm not little miss Martha-neurotic or anything, but I used a screwdriver, was careful, and didn't mangle the shit out of my top like girlie did on her page. Dunno what's up with that. Did have a problem with the screws incide the mounts being a bit of a bitch to get off -- they stripped two precision screwdrivers of mine. Before the damage worsened, I stopped, put the whole thing in a ziploc baggie, and took it to an Apple shop and had them remove the screw. They did, for free, and I took it home and finished it off.

Another note: The first time I hooked it up and closed the case, I unwittingly loosened the soundboard. Listening to music, I'd lost an entire range of frequencies. I reopened the badboy, ensured all the boards were plugged in snug, closed it back up, and busted a move. All was good. Yay!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Do I care?

Today's my blog's one-year anniversary. I'm noticing some blogs down of late and I feel like this blog's kinda like one of those old warhorse comedy series that just doesn't know when to die.

My, getting grumpy in my old blogging age. Ah, well. Watching Se7en before I tutor tonight. I was bad and ordered dope tonight. Getting it delivered. Love that. The thing with my brother has been stressing me out. I shouldn't be buying any, but honestly, the weather's about to turn to shit and I'll be home most of the time. Why not?

Lately, I've been cooking at night. Smoking a little dope, then making myself a nice meal. See, I've lived alone for six years now. Sometimes you love cooking for yourself, but there comes a time when having leftovers for another three meals starts to wear pretty fucking thin.

I've had this cookbook kicking around for some time now -- Cooking for Yourself. The single-person's cookbook. One generous portion, that's it. Everything from Potato-Leek Soup through to Tarragon Cream Chicken. It's nice cooking good food and knowing it's just for me. Sure, I love to share food, but there's something to be said about satisfying yourself, too.

So, I do love to cook while smoking a little herb. It's fun. Entertaining. Inspiring, even. And if you're only cooking for one, those munchies aren't so deadly. :o)

I feel like I should have a cupcake for my happy blogday, though. Too bad. I do have blueberry muffins, though. (My brother was down. Not many things make a down man feel better than muffins. Keep it clean... this is a family blog. ;)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Yippee! Pottermania.

Today is Harry Potter day.

Myself, my gimp of a brother, and his nine-year-old kid are all going to see the Goblet of Fire at 6:35. I'm presently relaxing, smoking a little ganja, and having my first mellow time of it in a couple weeks. My brother had a really good day yesterday and it leads me to believe he'll heal faster than we'd feared. Yay!

I love Potter. But I didn't join the party late. I was a bookseller from about '97-00, and when Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone* was about to be released in North America, I got to read an "advance reader's" edition (given to booksellers so they can hype a book when it releases) before it even hit the shelves in this continent. I fucking loved it from the get-go. I sold hundreds of copies over the year or so and lamented the fact that my nephew was too young to read them. "What a thing," I thought, to be a kid at that right age when a phenomen of Harry's stature began... It would be like being 10 when the original Star Wars came out. I was four, but still remember that movie hitting the screens. Holy phenomenom.

It took me so long to convince my friends to read Harry. Then the New York Best-Seller's list happened, where it was number one for a year or something, convincing the NY Times they had to create a new Children's Top Ten list so the "adult" books could begin sliding in and out of first again -- a major tool used in promoting books to the masses.

Now that it had become so "commercial," some friends started calling Potter a mainstream sell-out. A lot of folks still feel that way, but I think it's ridiculous. The HP books are some of the most inventive, creative, and insightful books ever written for children. They are brilliantly conceived. The imagery is rich, entertaining, and wildly inventive.

And honestly, the universality of Harry and his adversities, the pain he experiences, the loneliness and loss, they're all topics that kids identify with. I think Rowling did a great job of making books that, while on amazingly fantastical topics, essentially appeal to almost everyone's inner thoughts. No, they're not profound, but they're damned good.

This movie will be great, and it's the first time I'll be seeing one of them in the theatre with my nephew. It'll be oodles of fun.

All the haters out there, man, really have to lighten up. It's a kids' book. It's fun. It's original. And the books, as always, kick ass on the movies, but they're just getting better and better as the series progresses. Book four is when it all starts coming down. But book six... whew, that's the literary equivalent of the Empire Strikes Back -- it just anchors the franchise. Amazing. I'm glad my nephew will be old enough to read all the books before the rest of the flicks come out. Kid's gonna get obsessed.

Not that it would be a bad thing.

*for those who never did hear about it, the stupid publishing giants thought the American public wasn't smart enough to know what a "Philosopher's Stone" was and they didn't want the American masses to be intimidated by the suggestion that it might be about "philosophy" or something. A number of the British words were Americanized in the publication of the first book. They stopped that stupidity with the second book when they realized how many Americans were pissed off at them dumbing the books down. Kudos to the American reading public for that. Fucking corporations, man...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


First, good news. Big bro's been released from the hospital with lightning speed. Tonight's his first night alone. Here's knocking wood that he survives.

Second, this is funny. I just assigned my 12-year-old Taiwanese kid the assignment of watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail for homework. HEH HEH.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Shitty way to start a weekend

My brother almost died Wednesday night. I found out last night, Thursday. I haven’t seen him... I’m going this morning. I’m terrified to see what he looks like. He’s in the Trauma ward.

He ran his scooter through a stop sign, hit a moving SUV, fell off, and was apparently partially run over.

I survived my own close call last year, but I never had to stay in the hospital. He does, with several broken ribs, a bruised hear & lung, bleeding on the brain, and more... I can’t express this mix of gratitude and terror that has found me, I don’t even know where to begin.

I’m working on three hours sleep last night. I found out about him after visiting hours were over. He was sufficiently fucked up that he couldn’t tell the medical team who he was, hence why it took 24 hours to notify family.

His son’s birthday is tomorrow. Right now, his mom is keeping it from the kid. What a fucking travesty, he’s nine and he needs to find out his father’s in this kind of condition.

I’ll be going in in a couple hours and I’m dreading it. God, am I dreading it. I don’t want to see him like this. I’ve only gotten over my own accident in the last few months. Perhaps, like me, it will wind up being the best thing that ever happened to him. Perhaps he needs a wakeup call to put him next to death so he can really start seeing his life for what it is. We all need that. Hopefully he’ll be able to cope with it in the same positive way I was.

I’m grateful I’ve got the time on my hands to go and spend it with him. I can be there for the next few days. But fuck. My brother’s an example of the old “why do bad things happen to good people?” cliche, but the fact is, he makes a lot of bad choices in his life. He doesn’t pay attention to the signs from the cosmos and shit... he keeps taking the wrong paths. Me, I learn from those things. I really hope I can be a strong source of support during this time for him.

But it’s gonna be really hard on me, it’s gonna bring up a lot of things I’ve managed to get past. Things I’m not sure I want to be revisiting.

My mom died in that hospital. I fucking hate that place. I wonder if my brother’s thinking about that. All our shit, the C. family’s shit, is going down in the same damned hispital. There’s only eight or 10 in the Lower Mainland, and it’s all there. Like a fucking Bermuda triangle for my clan.

Man. I hope he’s gonna be okay. Trauma care. Fuck.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Rant: On Capote

Tonight, GayBoy and I saw the masterwork "Capote." A local gay newspaper ran an incredibly stupid opinion piece about the film. I've written a very inflammatory rant and have fired it off to them already.

The film was brilliant. If writing bores you, if quiet, understated films bore you, then you'll surely not enjoy it. But if acting, the craft of writing, the torture a writer goes through in trying to do a subject the justice it deserves, is something of interest to you, then this is by far one of the finest films ever made on the latter two points, and a damned high contender for the best actor at next year's vanity fest dubbed the Oscars in Hollywood.

Here's the rant I sent them:


In Chris DeVito’s baffling look at Capote, he skewers the movie from every angle, but mostly, he makes a mockery of himself by claiming the movie is an offense to gay men everywhere. “Let a gay man do a gay man’s job,” he writes in talking about casting Philip Seymour Hoffman as the legendary American author.

While some gay activists may have this backwater line of thinking, the fact is, such statements drive a stake into the heart of the gay movement. If only gay men can portray gay men, then perhaps one could argue that only straights can portray heterosexual roles. Perhaps it’s time to see them for what they are: Men, pure and simple. Sexuality shouldn’t be the only deciding factor in who plays whom. If a gay man’s mindset is so irretrievably hard to access that a straight man can theoretically not understand it, then perhaps all hope is lost in the battle for sexual equality. Considering the present political climate, we should all hope this is not the case, regardless of where we stand sexually.

DeVito is wrong about this story’s ultimate premise. The real story in Capote is not, as DeVito states, simply about gay men falling for straight bad boys. The real story is the cliche of being careful for what you wish for. In this case, Capote never got over receiving what he prayed for -- an end to an epic story spanning nearly half a decade of his life by way of the execution of his subjects, which was to be the best conclusion he could ask for, speaking from a literary standpoint.

As a result, the author never got over his broken heart. He never got past the guilt that came from wishing for a man’s death simply so that his career could reach plateaus never before seen in the literary world, plateaus he would reach in the late ‘60s with the publication of the book In Cold Blood, the focal point of the film.

All that aside, this movie is also about a writer who happened to be gay. His gayness defined him, from the way he spoke through to his vulnerability with his subject, Perry Edward Smith, whose demise later tore him apart. It’s a movie that doesn’t insult its public by believing it has to be black-and-white in stating its protagonist is gay. Yes, it’s obvious Capote was queer. Should it really need to be spoken, too? DeVito makes much of Capote portraying “the sissy with his limp wrists and swishy demeanour,” as if that’s some sort of affront to gays everywhere. Perhaps now it is. But then, in the conservative, pre-Sexual Revolution America of the ‘50s and ‘60s, it was a demeanour largely unseen in the world. Capote was an early pioneer in the opening of the closet door.

Unfortunately, DeVito, in his attempts to portray himself as a man-in-the-know about such stereotypes fails to recognize the courage with which the real Capote lived his life -- not in the closet, but openly gay in a time when such a move was a brazen, daring act.

Despite his homosexuality, Capote rose to become the most acclaimed writer of his generation. By breaking his own heart in falling for a man he could never have, he destroyed himself and destroyed his ability to ever again write a whole book. DeVito cheapens the emotional intensity with which Capote fell for the murderer, Perry Smith, by stating that “even successful, committed gay men simply cannot resist the straight bad boy.” Sadly, he cheapens Smith’s troubled legacy, too, with his flippant assessment of the situation.

Capote didn’t fall in love with “the straight bad boy.” He fell in love with one of the most paradoxical figures found in modern literature -- a character that even the best writer would have had difficulty in bringing to life. A passionate, intellectual man raised by way of a brutal childhood, who was mystified until his dying day as to why in the hell he suddenly killed a family of four he’d originally had no intention of harming. It was that failure of Smith to understand himself, the pain of Smith’s childhood, that left Capote so enraptured by this enigma of a man.

Writers, great writers, write so that they may find truth.The truth behind such a puzzling person was something far more fascinating than Capote could have ever dreamt up. Capote was also raised by way of abandonment and dysfunction, and Smith was someone he could relate to, something that Capote, entwined in the upscale, affected, artsy lifestyle in New York City, largely lacked in his own life, save for his literary confidante Harper Lee, and now his storied protagonist Smith.

DeVito again bashes the modern gay man by stating that the movie had no sex in it, no skin. Where is it written that a film about a gay man can only be true-to-life if there’s some random fucking scene in the backroom of a bar, a little skin to be beheld? How does sex even begin to amplify the mystery of this writer who drowned himself in remorse and J&B after getting exactly what he wished for -- the death of one of the only people he truly felt he understood, and vice versa? It’s a story about that love that remained unrequitted, not about sex, because there never was any sex to be had. To show a sex life with Capote’s life partner, portrayed by Bruce Greenwood, as DeVito states is lacking, would have little, if anything, to do with the struggles faced by Capote during the seven years he laboured under that soon-to-be American classic.

The only point on which DeVito is even half right happens to be an utter accident on the reviewer’s behalf. Yes, Capote is indeed one long shame spiral, but for completely different reasons than those cited. Capote pushed to try and have the executions of the two killers stayed. He found them a lawyer, and instead of helping them, he prolonged their torturous wait for execution by more than two years, a wait that still resulted in their death. Ultimately, Capote learned the true nature of the beast he had fallen for, and could no longer stomach the lies he'd told to further the relationship for his own gain, that the book was still largely unwritten, that no title had been chosen, that he was first and foremost Smith's friend, and not a journalist after the story of a century. In the film’s epilogue, a card appears that states Capote’s epitaph for his unfinished work before his death in 1984. It read, “There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.” The epitaph reveals that the author never got past the emotional hell he wallowed in for all those years following the hangings.

DeVito is simply, painfully wrong. Capote was a brave, daring homosexual in a time when closet doors were still firmly locked, not just shut. Comparing Capote as a man to the men of today is to ignore the context in which the man lived.

What may seem like a stereotype now, the effete gay, was something the world had seen very little of in Capote’s time, because few had the balls to lay it on the line like he did. To have travelled into the backwaters of Kansas in those days and not play it safe through an act of conformity was the beginning of the proud modern gay man, and was something to be embraced and honoured, not mocked by DeVito, who’s clearly missed all the points.

In short, DeVito rings false on all counts. He accuses the filmmakers of perpetuating stereotypes. The truth is, DeVito is far more guilty than they could ever be. Case in point, his dismissal of novelist Harper Lee as a “fag hag” shows that DeVito can’t for the life of himself comprehend the untenable bond found between two writers with a love for the same social analysis. No two writers better defined American life at the end of the 1950s than Lee and Capote. That they should be intellectually and emotionally inseparable over the years that followed is a given, not some pathetic fag-hag/gay-boy relationship.

DeVito should be careful of who it is he deigns as narrow-minded. After all, the pot’s looking awfully black next to the kettle.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


I saw George Clooney's Good Night and Good Luck last evening. I think it's an important movie, though it has a few little irksome qualities from time to time.

It's about Edward R. Murrow and Joe McCarthy's witchhunt on "UnAmerican Activities" back in the '50s. Murrow, for those not in the know, was a great pioneering newsman, an icon among American anchors. The good ones of recent past, like Cronkite and Brokaw and their ilk, were hugely influenced by Murrow. He was articulate, strong, principled, objective, but also passionately opinionated when he needed to be.

McCarthy, for those who don't know, was a fear-mongering senator from Wisconsin who sought to amplify the apprehensions expressed by average Americans towards the Communism that took the world by storm in those years. McCarthy's senate hearings used primarily innuendo and hearsay to damn and discredit people with little or no cause to do so. Once the hearings had deemed you a pinko Commie, you were blacklisted and shunned by people at large -- not necessarily because they believed it (most didn't), but because they didn't want to be painted by the same brush. Again, fear.

The cast is great. The acting, top notch. The editing is interesting. The film is black-and-white and looks great. There are these strange musical interludes with this jazzy black singer in a sound booth, though, that throw the whole deal off a bit since it detracts from the content rather than adds to it. It's also strangely short, considering the vast amount of material to work with, coming in at a little less than 90 minutes. It's dominated by authentic newsreel footage, most featuring McCarthy himself, which lend.

My great complaint about the film is that I wanted more. I wanted to see more of what went down with McCarthy after the fact, I wanted more of Murrow the man, and I just wanted more feel for the world of that day and age. Too few people in my generation and the one on our heels know about Murrow or the times he lived in. Too many of us have no knowledge of the destructive nature of that blacklisting era.

HOWEVER... it's an important movie. I suspect it's Clooney's statement about the media today. As Murrow said, not every story can be handled objectively. Sometimes, the right thing to do is to argue a point of view. This is something today's media seems to have largely forgotten. They failed to ask the right questions when the prospect of war in Iraq arose. They succumbed to a fear of being portrayed as unAmerican for questioning the government's motives, something the media around Murrow also was afflicted by in the times of the Commie Inquisitions.

Sometimes, though, someone has to have the balls and call it like they see it. For a time, that man was Murrow. This movie may have some flaws, but it's essentially a great film, and offers an important statement on our times. That statement is that fear is not a way to govern, hearsay and innuendo cannot be used as a placebo for the truth, and rhetoric can destroy the fabric of democracy if the people aren't voting with a firm grasp on reality.

Journalists can change the world. For too many reasons to list, though, they largely no longer choose to. The fault, however, lies with us, the public.

Clooney may strike most as a pretty boy who likes to play more than work, but I think he's offered us a glimpse at a time that mirrors all too well the world before us today.

As a people, we must demand better from our journalists. We must ask the difficult questions. They give us, unfortunately, exactly what we ask for: Paris Hilton, Martha Stewart, and all that irrelevant fluff. News has become entertainment, instead of a vehicle through which great change can be achieved.

Today's media gave us a war we have no business fighting. They gave us 2,000 dead soldiers on a platter when they failed to question the source of the "evidence" on Saddam, when they failed to question why we were invading a nation that had no direct involvement with those planes that struck at America's heart on that fateful September day four years ago.

Whatever the drawbacks, it's high time the parallels between the blacklisting of the '50s was pointed out for all to see.

The positive point I'd like to make is that a few years after the senate hearings ended, a new breed of journalists had been born. They saw that Murrow put himself on the line, exposed himself to persecution and propaganda to fight the good fight, and it influenced a few decades of real journalism. It gave way to people like Cronkite, who returned from Vietnam only to tell us we were fighting a bad war badly.

In that brief time of good journalism, they helped transformed the public mindset, it made people ask "why?"

One can only hope those days might return again.


Like many chicks (and even guys), I have always spent a lot on "quality" skincare products. I have a nice complexion, but my skin's sensitive and dries out easily, and I sometimes get redness on my cheeks as a result.

Recently, though, I stopped swallowing the bullshit. I was shopping and I thought about getting some baby shampoo, since it's a great way to get all the chemicals out of your hair from time to time, when I noticed Aveeno's Oatmeal Baby & Skin Shampoo -- $6.99.

Since then, I've been using it to wash my face every day, and I've had less acne, less redness, and fewer blackheads, plus, my face is as soft as a baby's ass.

How do we let these cosmetics bastards sucker us into $40 face cleaners? This stuff rocks. I'm never going back. If it's good enough for a baby's ass, it's good enough for my face. ;)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Coolest Landlord

I've lived in this building for six years now, and the landlady always puts a bag of Halloween treats at our door on All Hallow's Eve.

It keeps the kid in me alive.

Excuse me, I have a Kit Kat bar beckoning.