For you, the dress code is casual.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Obama's Speech, McCain's VP,
And Why Canadians (and the rest of the world) Care

I have taken journalism and political science. I am a hardcore political junkie. I've been following Obama's quest for the White House from day one with a heavy sigh and a "Yeah, that'd be nice but fat chance" glimmer of hope that's just been floored by the success he's been meeting in that quest.

Like most Canadians, I'm watching everything with bated breath, jealous as hell that this mandate of change and excitement is one only our friends to the south get the honour of voting on.

Americans scoff amongst themselves sometimes about why Canadians care so much, why we're stumping on our blogs, or what have you. I mean, Americans would never get invested in our elections, so it's understandable they're so baffled by our vicarious political leanings.

The grand dame of Can-lit Margaret Atwood once wrote, "When America sneezes, Canada catches cold."

I have seen disturbing changes in Canadian politics in the eight years since Bush took over. Our country has become divided and bitter in the wake of the Bush era. Conservatives have regained power over our country. Politics divides differently in Canada. The rural regions swing right and the urban centres polarize to the left. When the Conservatives retook Parliament Hill, they did not win a single seat from any of Canada's largest cities.

And when freedoms crack down and things go conservative, it's cities that get hit the hardest. It hasn't been fun.

Here, in Vancouver, the so-called "pot capital of the world", the Bush era has definitely impacted this city. This city has been changed as a result of the tough stance and pressure hurtled at it by Bush and the DEA, who were all paranoid about our pot industry. Since then, our city's cops and leaders have kowtowed to the DEA's pressure and we now have American DEA agents in OUR city, and cops are arresting for simple possession again after seven years of just looking the other way.

Americans don't care about our elections because our politics don't affect their lives. Canadians care about Yankee elections because it impacts us on more levels than you will ever, ever comprehend. Yes, we're invested. And that's not going to change.


Obama's a political genius. That speech was a masterpiece. I've never, ever seen a campaign's tone set down so forcefully and eruditely in one sitting. Things are going to get fun now.

Another reason Canadians and everyone else are so invested in the outcome of this election is, we miss America the world power. We miss the America that had integrity and respect, and whose opinion mattered on the world stage. We miss the America whose word was trusted and not considered dubious.

America doesn't need another maverick cowboy with an antagonistic streak at the helm. We want to see someone inspire us all again. If someone like that takes the stage in America, that political culture might be contagious to Canada, too. What a gift that'd be.


McCain's VP choice offends me as a woman.

It's no fucking shock that the first time a woman ever gets onto the Republican ticket is when the election is so close, on the heels of the "soccer mom vote" that won 2004 for Bush, that women once again are the swing vote (because we know which way African-Americans are presumed to vote, and I think the Pasty White Guy Party doesn't see them as attainable any time soon) in a year that a woman gets passed over for VP in the Dems, is just a little convenient. And because picking a black guy would've been way, way too obvious, even to a party as unsubtle as the Republicans.

Throw into that that she's a former beauty queen, has only two years experience but sure is feisty and cute, is known mostly for selling the Alaska's governor's jet on eBay and putting the dough back into state coffers, and has a disabled kid at home, and all the other "isn't that convenient?" attributes she brings, and it's just fucking ridiculous this woman got the nod.

She's more experienced than anyone out there? Really? She's tackled the major issues of our times? She's a foreign policy whiz? No, she is one of the most "popular" governors. I thought McCain was opposed to the notion of this election being a popularity contest? I thought he loathed Obama's celeb-appeal? I thought he was preaching that no one could take that seriously?

McCain is 72. He spouts off about shit. He can't remember how many houses he owns. He confuses who the Shiites and Sunnis are. He flip-flops on issues. He gets spastically angry. He's as tactful as a bohunk. He's a year younger than Reagan was when Reagan accepted the nod, and Ronnie had Alzheimers before he even got out the door. McCain's had cancer FOUR times. He was biopsied in recent weeks.

I love looking at life all sunny-side-up and whiskers-on-kittens, but, really... we have to prepare for the odds that McCain could very well be pushing up daisies before his term even came to a close. Or that his mental faculties might just fade away. Confusion, temper tantrums? Not great signs.

And beauty-queen, eBay-member, flute-playing, populist governor of a state that barely even exists on the national stage (with a population under 300,000) who has only two years experience, has no expertise in foreign policy, and who's currently under an ETHICAL investigation for trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from his $100,000 state job after he divorced her sister... ... she's gonna be the one who gets to step in and lead the most difficult, politically important country in the WORLD?

But she'll look fantastic doing it. And where DOES she get her shoes?

Get real. Yeah, as a woman, I'm offended. Holy pandering political and whoring, Batman. You couldn't pick a woman who really was a national stage player? Someone who had a little more depth? Who'd served in larger capacities? Who'd maybe completed a term? There are women out there who aren't as cute as a button and who are actually more qualified for a gut-wrenching high-pressure, globally-responsible job as the Vice President of the United States, you know.

Unfuckingreal. Really.

Trouble is, McCain and his cronies made the choice to get Hilla-- err, I mean Palin, as VP before they saw the political result of Hillary Clinton getting onside with Obama. I think they blew their choice. I think they underestimated Hillary's maturity and savvy, and her willingness to do what it takes to secure her own legacy. That speech of hers? A legacy speech. It doesn't often get better. And there's 65 days to go. How many more speeches can she deliver between now and then that are derivative of that legacy-making speech, and how damaging a punch can they collectively deliver against the Republicans and McCain?

If my suspicions are correct, I think that the Obama and Clinton camps may have collectively opted to muzzle the Clintons to create drama, knowing full well both Bill and Hill would go totally on page with the party in order to restore their then-tarnished legacies. The Democrats have never been good at creating drama; until now. Now it's apparent they've not only created it, but have heatedly stoked it.

I think the plan for a while now has been to have Clintons put a cork in it, drive up speculation, since the media's been so whorey this year and all, and to just absolutely shatter the speculation with a strong performance of unity at the conference. I think Bill and Hillary will be campaigning a lot this fall. I bet that, sometime in October, as an anti-October Surprise attempt, Bill and Barack will do a few-city tour together, trumpeting the whole "they said Bill was inexperienced, too, but look how similarly brainiac we are! 23,000,000 jobs! $7,500 per family! Per year! 5 million green jobs!" argument.

I think the Palin-bashing will now fall to Hillary, who's going to be sharpening knives and practicing her aim. Girlfight! Hillary's going to be outraged that the woman's under an ethical investigation and appears to be the token Beauty Queen brains-and-smarts sales pitch by a relic of a political party that just doesn't get it. This is equality? Pick the pretty, popular girl over women who are older, less cute, and more experienced? This flies HOW?

But that's just my take.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

sailor's warning.

i awoke shortly before six to find the sky afire in reds.

"red at night, sailor's delight, red in the morning, sailor's warning."

it's 7.17 and the rain's tumbling down now. a hard, pelting rain. it's gonna be a long fall.

the sunrise was incredible, though a fleeting tease of what we're not to have. but that's all right. i've gutted my schedule today and will stay home instead of a coffee date and brunch. i just want to sleep and chill. i watched some of the closing ceremonies from beijing. i wish i'd caught more of the olympics, but i always tuned in when it was stupid shit like archery or whatever. [click]

i've already had 19 hours sleep since friday. i'm going to aim for three or four more now. have a bath, go back to bed, get up at noon. rough life. i know.

but that's what happens when you cancel on people. :)

speaking of mornings, came upon a sunrise shot i took on galiano a year ago this week. think i wanna blow this up for my living room this fall.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

wahoo! napped for two hours, finished my glass of wine and movie, and now will change bedding and flip mattress for THE BEST SLEEP EVER.

that's positive thinking for ya.

fingers crossed? ooh. but a nap, that's fucking awesome!

Friday, August 22, 2008

sleep, sleep, perchance to sleep

i was gonna come here and piss and moan, probably still will, but decided to pop into my email and got a really heart-warming email from a new reader. she wrote that she just landed on my page, i guess, and "FELL in COMPLETE love with your straight-forward, yet humorous advice".


i just wanted to write a little because i'm feeling really down tonight though. it's just been two weeks, maybe even three, since my insomnia started on a friday night, since i've had a really good night's sleep. at least i've had two 7-hour nights in the last week, but one was with a sleeping pill, and that wasn't as smart as i think i thought it was.

or maybe it's just the cumulative effect of all the fatigue. either way, i suspect i'll sleep well tonight. last night was my first 7-hour night since about, ooh, july 29-30 that didn't require a sleeping pill. promising -- but because i slept well, i've been even more exhausted today. perhaps it's a new exhausted, the kind that harkens a night of restful sleep.

tonight i picked up some vitamin-b complex per a reader's advice, since i know i'm not getting much b's these days, and since it's supposedly the go-to thing after kicking mood meds.

so, i'm down because i'm just so tired that i don't want to do a fucking thing. but i'll be much better by monday, i suspect. this feels like one of those 'darkest before dawn' moments, so i'm sort of embracing the 'blah' emotions 'cos i know they're on the out. or i'm damned well hoping. at least the rest of the week has been slowly improving after the horrible three-hour night on monday. ugh.

i think i'm not seeing anyone tomorrow or doing anything, really. get my hair cut, clean my place, do some yoga, and try to take some naps. i don't like this sleepless steff i'm becoming. i don't like her at all.

THAT said, i am marvelling at how well i've handled this insomniac phase of mine. i've done very well with it.

but i'll be thrilled when it's over. i've had bad insomnia like this twice before, both in the last five years. once with the head injury, the other time because i became freakishly light-sensitive in the mornings. the first time was a hard, hard trial for me. the light-sensitivity one just took a trip to the fabric store and an hour of my time with a glue-gun, black-out fabric, and my bamboo blinds.

next day i slept till noon.

anyhow, tonight it's diego murillo, michael clayton, and me. wine and a movie and an early night.

but that reader's letter? perfectly timed. :)

oh, there's an interesting realization... that i never, ever had insomnia until the head injury. the only other time was when i was 15 for about 5 days. hmm... every month that passes, i realize a new way that i'm not quite the same as i used to be. nothing horribly drastic. just enough that i hope i never take another knock to the noggin, is all. not like that. and three two-week periods of insomnia in four years, all since the head injury? hmm. ooor... it could just be that i'm over 30 and women's body chemistries change. that's a happier thought. :) and quite entirely possible. that's the problem with having a potentially life-altering head injury at age 30 -- it's the same period that you "change" anyhow. fucking stupid convergence of age and happenstance. i'm always wondering. "injury or chronology?" fuckin' hell! heh. :)

insomnia still, and thank god it's friday

well, it's been two weeks with sleeping problems, but they kind of got to the worst point early this week, on sunday and monday, so despite the fact that i've begun finally getting about six hours a night instead of 3, 4, or maybe 5, the cumulative effect of all that sleeplessness has me feeling like a giant slug.

making it through work is mindnumbingly fucking hard this week. i don't have a job that's geared to skating through "stupid" days. toying with language is never mindless.

and yesterday ended with me having to edit the world's worst script, which, i think almost caused an aneurysm to explode.

whatever. i think i'll catch up on some rest this weekend. i hope that i will. i'm keeping my plans non-existent as long as i can in the hopes of getting two late sleep-ins and two early nights.

i'm officially at the "my writing's a chore" stage of insomnia, for sure. i recycled a three-year old post today on the other blog because the prospect of editing any of the nearly-complete drafts kicking around my system makes me want to puke. ha. how's that for honest?

but, hey. still taking extra calcium and i suspect it's why i'm finally beginning to get more consistent sleep.


i find it so, so, so convenient that, after seven years of constantly escalating gas prices, they start MAGICALLY falling just three months before an election? gee. i wonder why that might be.

oh, right, it's because the "speculators" have been laying off after murmurs of possible inquiries to be launched. whose speculators, anyhow? who are these mysterious troublemakers?

yeah, i'm not keen on people who think everything's a conspiracy, but this is really just too coincidental for the skeptic in me not to scoff and laugh derisively. very, very convenient.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fuckin' McCain...

In the Int. Herald Tribune:
McCain, for his part, has continued to campaign on matters of experience and national security. "Let me be very clear: I am not questioning his patriotism; I am questioning his judgment," McCain had said Wednesday in New Mexico. "Senator Obama has made it clear he values withdrawal from Iraq above victory in Iraq, even today, with victory in sight."
Yeah. Right.I seem to recall victory being in sight when Bush had his little tapdance on that Navy ship in the spring of '03.

Victory being in sight and victory being achieved, as we've seen, are two very, very different matters.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

GayBoy and I are history buffs, so he emailed me this tonight. Worth a chuckle. Stop! Hammertime!

Oh, Goodie! Fight! Fight!

I actually feel really uncomfortable writing about American politics most of the time. I'm an outsider, my knowledge is peripheral, and I know it.

But I have to say, I'm absolutely thrilled to see this story in the Times tonight.

I have been surprised at the restraint of the Obama campaign. I suspected they had some gritty hard-fighting mentality behind 'em, but that it just wasn't the right time.

I got to thinking about it and I figured it'd be wisest to save the hard-hitting punches until the convention kicked around, or even just after Labour Day. There's enough ammunition to take McCain apart.

Really, I don't think this election's going to be as close as everyone thinks. I think Obama can take it by 8 or 10 points, depending how shrewd he plays this.

I said a while back that I think, if you keep giving McCain rope, he's going to hang himself. He's not Bush's carbon-copy like everyone alleges, but he's close enough, and that's a liability.

Obama's biggest detriment right now is that he has NOT been fighting back. When it's the "Leader of the Free World", polite and articulate isn't what it's all about. It's also about kicking ass, taking names, and protecting the American brand. When Obama's being all polite and accommodating, that's not going to be something Americans think he can do.

But you go back and you look at certain moments in Obama's career, like his anti-war speech in late 2002, some of his more candid moments, his political skullduggery getting elected in Illinois. This isn't a Boy Scout, and it's a mistake to think he is one.

Which is the mistake made by the McCain camp.

I was thinking about making an allusion to Obama reminding me in some ways of a boxer who allows his opponent to have at 'em in the early rounds of a fight, to wear him out, like Muhammad Ali often did. Let them show you their strengths -- and weaknesses -- and all the while you figure out just how to beat that strategy.

McCain has been desperate. His ridiculous turn-about on offshore drilling is a good example. Sending his lapdogs to Georgia on a "fact-finding" mission is another example. He wants to call Obama a flip-flopper and presumptuous, yet adopts both those tacts himself? And he doesn't think this is going to contribute to insanely good fuel for Obama?

This week is when everything gets interesting. Summer presidential campaigns? A yawn and a snooze. Labour Day weekend? Giddy fun!

Obama's going to come out fighting. He's got the piss and vinegar, now he needs to show it. Gloves will be off.

And McCain's best month of fundraising, July, was still half of Obama's $51-million haul that same month. The Times observes that the attitude will be "Sure, let's spend it, let McCain try to keep up."

Yeah. Good luck with that. Like I say, fun times to come.

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I Want My MotherFucking Sleep.

Oh, kill me now. Excessive insomnia of late. Fell asleep at about 3:45 am last night and have to head in to work shortly. Today will truly suck.

My job is NOT one that can be done well on auto-pilot. My files for review will have a note that reads "After three nights with a total of 12 hours sleep, my quality is dubious, my apologies."

Today, I resort to copious coffee.

Tonight, I resort to a sleeping pill.

Fuck. I hate insomnia. In about six hours, I'll be segueing into "cunt" mode.

I suspect it's a couple things -- I had a lot of back issues last week, my low back went out twice. Any time you have any sort of physical trauma, it leaches the calcium outta you. I don't get enough calcium anyhow, and I know that, in the past, too little calcium has caused me sleep issues. Like, massively.

I took a bunch of calcium late last night and have done so again today. I'll probably do the sleeping pill tonight 'cos one good night makes all the difference, right? Whoa. Sigh. UGH. I suspect the calcium would be enough to get me 6 hours sleep tonight, but that ain't enough at this point.

But most of the problem with the sleeplessness is that my anti-depressant was also a sleep-aid, so, for the first time in two years I'm sleeping without the chemical component, and my sleep schedule is just WHACK as a result of it.

It's been three weeks, I suspect another two and I'll be doing better. Just a matter of enduring it.

I'm happy with all the other changes in my system from getting off the mood drug -- and loving the writing I've been doing since, too -- so this is the price I pay. I'll sort it out. The longest I've done insomnia for is about a month, and I've survived. I'll get past this, too, and probably quite soon.

But, for now, I'll be pretty fucking grumpy about it. But that's insomnia for ya. You been WARNED.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Politics Quickie

See, I'm glad I'm right. I said, "No fucking way" would Obama name his VP pick ahead of the convention, and, similarly, that McCain would be a moron to pick someone before he saw the direction Obama was taking.

Here we are, two days from the convention, and it looks like I'm right.

As for whole dreaded Clinton's Last Stand thing to occur Wednesday night, I'm not sure what to expect at all!

This could be an interesting week for political junkies, depending how hardcore Clinton wants to make her last kick at the can here. Bad timing, man. But we'll see how it all unfolds. Interesting dynamics afoot...

What fun.

Oh, and McCain dispatching envoys to Georgia? Fucking pretentious twat! Holy shit, was that ballsy!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Barbecue sunset pics

If there's anything that's been incredible about this heatwave we've been stuck in, it's the sunsets that have come with it.

Tonight the air could be cut with a knife -- or lightning, which is forecasted. (And not altogether a common thing in Vancouver, so this humid, thick, "bring on the storm" weather is very unusual for a town on the Pacific ocean.)

Here's the sunset from last night. It's Vancouver's Kits Beach, one of a dozen or so significant beaches in the city, and thousands upon thousands were there last night, but they were polite enough to step off for my photogging efforts.

I've barely been doing photography this year... my apologies. Not that inspired? Oh well. :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Help with Wordpress switchover?

Anyone have advice for how I can make seamless transition from having a Blogger blog and switching it to Wordpress? Sick as fuck with the FTP publishing hassles on Blogger, and I want a more powerful platform.

But I'm clueless. Halp.

My Day to Come, and Writing High

Another sweltering day. Another bike ride looms. I'll shower soon, then head.

I'm not doing anything tonight -- taking it easy, making a nice meal, and cooling off on my couch... that sounds like heaven.

Tomorrow's another scorcher and I'll be on the beach for hours in the afternoon and evening, for a big ass barbecue and party. It'll be good, but tough, in weather like this.

Sunday's a cleaning and resting day because next week is going to be a busy one. That's all right. We like busy sometimes.

I may also try to start spending more time on my blog this weekend. Now that I'm getting up earlier, I need to better use my time. Especially now that I'm making a point of Twittering religiously to drive up interest.

I'm also slowly starting to read blogs again. Who knew? And commenting. Slowly but surely, it'll all yield dividends for me.

I write good comments, for the most part, and it was how I got any traffic (and respect) in the first place in blogging. Not a lot of people are great at comments, methinks, so it's a good way to publicize yourself. Trouble is, there's not much point in commenting if you're not one of the early ones, so you need to happen upon the right post, at the right time, and say the right thing. It's tricky. Works like gangbusters when the trifecta happens, but it's tricky to make it happen.

Unlike a lot of others out there, the one thing I never had to look for too hard with the good bloggers was credibility. A lot of the so-called big sex bloggers like me and my very vanilla life but liberated views on sex and freedom.

I think I'm pretty plain jane in the sex blogging realm, but I'm honest and real and I say what I think, so I guess that was always appreciated. I just don't really know how to bite my tongue and probably speak the truth on a lot of things people think and just don't say. I guess it appeals sometimes.

It's nice to see how quickly some of the respected blogging figures are subscribing to my Twitter feed now that they see I'm back in the blogging game again. Especially since some of them have the wherewithal to make my reentry into the realm that much easier and faster.

You wouldn't know it here, but I think my writing's the strongest (on the other blog) that it has been in more than two years. 51 months, to be precise.

Not sure where the suddenly clarity has come from, nor the roll with words, but I'll take it. I find it suspiciously coincidental, however, that the clarity and profundity has come immediately on the heels of my antidepressant chemicals beginning to flush out after getting off the pills about three weeks ago. (And the decline of my writing began when my chemical depression began in May '06. HMM.)

There's something awesome about that. It means my writing never sucked. It means I was sabotaged by drugs and chemistry. :) YAY, writing. Boo, chemistry!

Yeah, I cannot tell you how good it feels to be enjoying my writing daily again. I just can't tell ya. Ultimately, you know, it's nice to get read. It's nice to get emails from people saying X rocked because of Y. It's awesome to get comments from random strangers, or know I have 250+ people subscribing to my feed again.


None of it matters jack shit if I'm not happy with my own work. In fact, I hate having any success at all if I'm not satisfied with my output, because a) it makes me complacent, and b) it makes me nervous about performing. And c) it means I don't believe anyone when they like me. Nothin' like feelin' a fraud, eh?

For the last couple of years, nothing has felt like it was working. I thought it had to do with my life just being stretched out that thin. Or that I was unhappy and it was getting in the way of writing. I don't know. I just felt like it was my fault, like I was failing to connect the literary dots.

But for the cloud to have eroded so quickly? Yeah, sounds like the drugs to me.

Fucking A, baby. I'm loving this. It's good to be back.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Absentee Blogger Reporting

My bed assaulted me during Monday night and I awoke on Tuesday with a gimpy back that made my day quel unpleasant.

Yesterday I visited my fave chiropractor and all is right in my world again.

Last night I cycled to see Wall-E, which was fucking awesome. I would pay full price to see that again, JUST FOR THE SPORK SCENE. Spork!

Is it a spoon? Is it a fork? I'm with Wall-E.

All I knows is, it's probably the perfect utensil for Chunky Soup, no? If you could find one. No one has sporks anymore.

Today, I cycled to and from work. Great workout on what's going to be a record-breaking hot day when midnight rolls around and this one sinks into the history books. Fuckin' hot. But I did well with the cycling. Yay for me.

Gonna do it again tomorrow, but I'm unlikely to do a longer route after work. I mean, just being active on a 30 / 90 degree day is good enough for me. For 85 minutes? Fuckin' A. Anything more? Not that smart.

Saturday is a barbecue. Sunday is for screwing my head on straight.

And that's my week.

Next week? Hoping I hit the 50-pound loss mark. We'll see. :)


My apartment building: Oy. I don't want to write about it tonight because I'll get the heebie-jeebies but I need to tell you about Bug Dude. And then the illegal search and seizure done by the fuckwit building manager.

I've LOVED this building. These cocksuckers are fucking it up.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Like, omigod, it's a post!

Oh, wow, I haven't posted in about a week? Whups. Hi!

Heh. I've been good, busy, and you? Ha. No, seriously, busy. Yeah, well, here I be now.

I'm about to bail for bed, though. It's been a long week. What do you mean it's only Monday? Goddamn it.

Call it an antipodean week.

So, work, eh? We had this flood, oh, I don't know, months ago when a wanker tenant above decided it'd be fun to adjust essential plumbing when he was moving out. Like piping's something you're supposed to take with you. "But I attached it."

Really? You're THAT stupid? What, did the state sponsor a lobotomy for your 10th birthday or something? Eugenics gone awry again? Fucking twit.

The laminate flooring all got damaged. (Thanks for filling the landfill, FUCKWIT. Enjoy your pipe.)

The floor's now is all pulled up for a flooring job... well, most of the laminate is pulled up. My office is a mess of concrete, dust, and general disarray.

You see, we have some of those classic labourers who don't seem to wish to labour.

I'm not going into details other than to say that these guys, when pouring the concrete to level shit out, managed to pour it into all the taped-off power outlets. You have no idea. And they're not even done levelling yet. And it's been a month. It's a 2,000 square-foot office.

The contractor says, "Well, I warned you there'd be complications--"

Complications? That's not a complication, that's incompetence!

Friggin' idiots. "Bob, make sure you get it in the junction box, too."

Yeah, showing up at work was fun. Real fun. Every Monday is another excited-apprehensive moment. "Did they do anything? Is it better? Will I stop inhaling concrete dust at long last?"

This is week four. They've done nothing but fuck shit up.

I lament the passing of the work ethic. Clearly its time is nigh if these fuckwits are the standardbearers. (Please tell me they're not?)

Some of us still try to do good work. Pity about the fuckwits.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

It's The End of An Era and I Feel Fine

Today's the anniversary of Mom's death. So, nine years now. Hmm.

Read an article the other day about how they've discovered that there's actually a biochemical/neurotransmission difference in people who experience the profound, unrelenting grief.

And it's something that's unaffected by medication as yet. Interesting, eh?

That's the kind of grief I had. I was a mess before she died anyhow, and that just sent me in a tizzy. I was fucked up long time. And today, I'm not that bothered. A little sad. I think whenever we have good things happening to us, we tend to miss our departed parents more, especially our mothers.

I think she'd be really happy to see me making a go of the lifestyle I've got these days, the health I'm gaining, the weight I'm losing, the finances I'm sorting out, etc, etc. So I'm sad I can't get an "I'm proud of you" out of her, but that's life.

Mostly, though, today I'm thinking of how far I've come considering all the fucking adversity life threw my way in those nine years. I sank myself into stupid debt, I'm almost out of it now. I'm at a weight I've not been in at least 15 years. But, the only important thing is, I'm pretty content with my life. I like what I have going on. I'm grateful for what I have, working towards what I want, and that's really all anyone can ask for, isn't it?

I'm glad. I think she'd be happy I'd found a way to turn the anniversary of her death into a milestone of growth for myself. I think she'd applaud that thinking. I know she would.

So that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

And I'm having a really, really good week that I think will be getting better, if things go right, but so far I'm enjoying my week. More later.

For the first time ever, Paris Hilton amuses me.

"I'll see you in the debates, bitches." I actually laughed out loud. At Paris. With her, even. Holy shit. That's new.

Muffins, Muffins, Must Make Me Some Muffins!

Ahh, a muffin day.

Haven't made muffins since before I got sick, so three or four weeks. There's a hole in my heart that can only be filled by blueberry muffins, I'm afraid.

The oven's warming up, which is to say generating grease smoke in my kitchen. Note to self: Must clean oven. No more chicken-roasting until oven has been degreased. Fire is bad. Very bad.

Mornings are getting easier -- a couple more weeks and I'll be on a whole new schedule.

I've been off my meds now since early last week, and I feel I'm getting onto a more even keel now. I'm sleeping less, which is good, since I've been wasting about two hours too many on sleep every day for the last two years.

I was always very much like the line from a Bret Easton Ellis short story -- "Richard never used an alarm clock. He was comprehensively alarmed." I was always able to go to bed, say "I need to be up at 6:30am", go to sleep, and I'd wake up without an alarm by 6:27.

The last two years? Not even close. Getting out of bed has been fucking arduous. Love the sleep. I still love to sleep, but if I wake up, I get up. Simple. Once I wake, I can't sleep -- if I'm not on meds.

So, basically, I've just been given two extra hours for each and every day. Wow. Whatever shall I do about it? Whew. But thank GOD. I've always liked mornings, but they've been a lot harder when I've been chemically feeling groggy for so long. Nice to be getting to my old self again.

Well, the smoking has subsided in the kitchen. Must be time to bake some muffins. :) Sunshine and muffins and cheddar and coffee and reasonably good day lies ahead. There really isn't a more pleasant start to a morning.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I Would Pay Money For...

...A space-age kitchen gadget I could poke into my Italian bean stew and zap it, thus evenly distributing all the beautiful Italian sausage throughout, so that when I freeze it in individual portions I will never again suffer the travesty that befell me last time, in which my last serving was completely devoid of sausages.

Like, I'd pay serious money for a spacing zapper. Really. Wouldn't you?

More Movie Talk

Before I overspent my ass on the weekend, I bought two DVDs: The Great Debaters and There Will Be Blood.

I already hit on the latter earlier on the weekend, but now I'm watching The Great Debaters -- again, during housecleaning breaks today. I was shocked by how much I just loved that film when I saw it Friday.

The movie's about Melvin Tolson, portrayed by Denzel Washington, who was a teacher and a poet influenced by the Harlem Renaissance -- the movement that gave rise to poets like Langston Hughes, who I love -- who taught at Wiley College down south. His debate team in 1935 picked up a tubby little kid named James Farmer Jr, who later became a monster voice in the American civil rights movement, and went on that year to be almost undefeated, and became the first black team to ever debate Harvard. This movie's about that time -- but it touches on brilliant issues of race and politics in the Jim Crow South, and it's so moving and well-acted, and engrossing.

Unlike all the Dead Poets Society/Lean on Me type movies, this one's set in a pretty remarkable political time period, and the era has a huge impact on the theme of the movie.

Me, I've always been interested in race and the struggle of blacks in America. My dad started that interest for me a long, long time ago. When I was 10, he went on a hockey trip to Victoria, came back, and had bought me a young readers' book on slaves and the Underground Railroad to Canada. That did two things for me -- it made me understand how cruel we can be to others just on looks alone, a huge lesson at the age of 10, and it made me love that my country was a safer place for those slaves to escape to. The book blew my mind.

If you check out my shelves these days, you'll see lots of typical white writers, because that's sort of how I roll, but you'll also find the amazing Remembering Slavery book (published in partnership with the Library of Congress -- a monster work) in which slaves told their own stories of their experiences, and several books by South African writers like Andre Brink, and Chinua Achebe, Soledad Brother, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and the list obviously goes on.

One of these years, taking an African Studies course would totally blow my mind.

Why? I really don't know what fascinates me, but everything about Africa -- and this horrible story of human trafficking and the social (and physical) repercussions that continue to haunt African-Americans after all these centuries just interests me to no end.

I wonder sometimes if it's because of my very scientific cause-and-effect interest in human behaviour, sometimes, that fascinates me about social struggles like this. I find Adam Hochschild's Unquiet Ghosts: Russians Remember Stalin to be an incredible work, for instance, because it looks at the social climate that lives with the shadows of the past lingering daily.

Like, Hitler -- I know what he did; I understand what happened; I don't need to see WWII shows for the rest of my life to understand the horror of it -- I'm much more interested in the work of people like Primo Levi and Eli Wiesel, because they've been in the eye of the storm, survived it, examined it, and put it into a rearview mirror context before moving on with their lives.

We all endure tragedy and consequence in life; it's how we recover that matters. Or, like the great philosopher Rocky Balboa said, it's about how hard you can get hit, how hard a beating you can take, and still keep fighting your fight. That's life in a nutshell.

But when the system is completely against you, every inhumanity that they can conjure is thrown at you, and all hope seems lost, people can still endure. Look at slavery in America. It's taken more than 100 years, and African-Americans are still fighting to become equal, but look at the beautiful people that struggle has produced. Langston Hughes, Sam Cooke, Martin Luther King... the list goes on and on and on.

I had just not looked into The Great Debaters enough to realize it was a true story that takes place 20 years before the Civil Rights Movement began, nor how political the movie really is.

I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up. Perfect movie? No. But damned good.

[Still, I've always been a sucker for the "inspiring teacher" movies -- from To Sir with Love to Dead Poets, I'm just a sucker. :) ]

Giving feels great... even if I'm broke

I'm broke off my ass this pay period and got a note saying my $25 Kiva loan to an African woman to start her softdrink business had been paid off in full.

Instead of cashing it out, I've decided to keep the love flowing and have loaned it now to a Cambodian couple with four children who are trying to buy land to open a grocery store. Awesome! :)

If you've never had the fun of spending $10-50 or more just to positively change someone's life somewhere else in the world, then you really need to check out Kiva! Something like 98% of the loans are repaid over a few months. It's awesome.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Morning Movie Show

I'm into my coffee and watching There Will Be Blood for the first time just now, and I'm deliberately stretching it out. Daniel Day Lewis is getting his first whiff of Eli Sunday and I can see the climax starting as the act breaks and gears start to shift.

Daniel Day Lewis. Now there's an incredible guy, huh? Best actor of his generation, decides he's fed up, walks away, and becomes a shoe cobbler in an Italian village. What?

Actually, I totally get it. I understand that. Just walk away and resume the simple life? Fuck yeah. That'd be my kind of post-Hollywood lifestyle. But I've liked Daniel Day Lewis since the wayyyyy early days -- My Beautiful Laundrette. Yeah, saw that in, what, 1988 on video? I saw it before My Left Foot was released, though.

So, those movies had me as a huge fan long before In the Name of the Father was a movie poster I lived with for three years. :) When he just walked away from everything, god, I was disappointed, but I got it.

But he's back. And, damn, is he still good. Just better and better. Making shoes seems to have agreed with him.

One of these years, I should take a film appreciation class or something. I'm pretty darned knowledgeable about films and old-school cinema, but it's all very rough and unpolished. But maybe that's part of my appeal.

But it's like in Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, that great book about the golden period of American indie cinema, the '70s -- the movies are fantastic, right, but when you put them into the larger context, that's when it's mind-blowing.

Something like Taxi Driver is, was, will always be, brilliant, but when you put it into the "safe and predictable" Hollywood that was only then really being dismantled in favour for a new movie industry -- one where widespread simultaneous movie openings was to become a new model, as opposed to the old system where films went "on tour" for a long time -- and Hollywood was really, literally, beginning to take risks on films... It's amazing it ever got made at all.

Me, I'm a huge old-school Scorcese fan. He's still pretty great, but he's lost his touch with the real people, the real world. Too rich and successful for too long -- too much distance from his Mean Streets, both literally and metaphorically. But Scorcese was also a product of his time -- the incredibly turbulent and raw decade of the '70s.

I've been hoping for a new '70s -- a new time of unrest and surprise and revigoration in Hollywood. I thought that the birth of digital media, the new ease with which movies can be made and distributed, and the viral potential of the internet might be the beginning of a new time in Hollywood.

See, the problem with media and art is, we've never really known what people truly thought about 'em. Now, with the net and the viral voice the population has, we better know what people want than ever.

And they apparently want Little Miss Sunshine and Juno. They apparently want their Mad Men and Breaking Bad and Californication. They like their moral ambiguity. They like their deeply flawed protagonists caught in real times, in real lives, with real challenges. They like their sordid and their murkiness and their off-the-cuff humour that doesn't come laced with grade-four fart jokes and guffaws.

It's almost like this small thread of truth is beginning to unravel in the independent film biz. Like this pulse-of-the-nation has been taken by writers like Dakota Cody and others who are bringing these smart, savvy stories out.

But there's still stupid shit coming out in Hollywood. There's still a failure to realize that most people are smarter than it might seem when one considers for which the media is created by the bigwigs.

Last year had some great movies, though. This year has been all right, too. I guess there'll always need to be crap, won't there? Ahh, well.


Friday, August 01, 2008

Me! Whee!

So, I've finally crossed that threshold with lifting weights where it's no longer bothering my many-cases-whiplash neck... and holy shit are the results awesome after only a week of really kicking it up. My face is looking better, leaner, dare I say almost getting angular?

My shoulders are awesome and all my jackets are not hugging around my shoulders/biceps anymore. It's crazy! I mean, I'm seeing serious change in myself these days. Happy! HAPPY. Tomorrow I weigh myself now that I'm at the end of my period, so we'll see if I'm down the 5 or 6 pounds I think I am since last weigh-in.

And, if not, I can tell myself it's muscle. ;)

But I'm so fucking glad I'm getting more powerful in my upper body! AWESOME. Yay, yay, yay. Plus, I'm finally well enough to try cycling tomorrow for the first time in two weeks. I'm feeling doughy. Must cycle! I've not done *any* cardio -- barely even any walking -- in 2 weeks. Bad Steff.

But my arms are rockin'! Whoop, there it is!

(PS: "Me! Whee!" is Mohammad Ali's infamously short poem.)