For you, the dress code is casual.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Change A Day Can Make

After earlier posting some more photos from yesterday, I ran to the doc's office on my scooter. The weather's a world different tonight than yesterday -- winds up to 100km an hour, rains beating down. This shot was taken at about 3:30, so with a couple hours light left, and look how dark it is. I played up the saturation, which makes it seem nicer looking, but really, it was worse than the photo portrays.

And even in the rain, riding a scooter's a plus. I hide it behind the parking meter, ironically, for free parking. This is why I suffer. Convenience, man.

And while it's sad these people lost their cat, the sign made me fucking die laughing. I couldn't help but take a photo. So, poor kitty, but lucky me. Great thing to notice when you're smoking a joint, wandering a strange hood with a camera.

Some thoughts about TV-viewing, and more photos

Today is the very definition of dreary. Later, a doctor's appointment. For now, rest and relaxation. I just finished watching this week's installment of 24. It got me thinking. This guy said to me, in email, that TV gives him brain cancer. You can take that one of two ways, one, he watches too much and gets stupid if he's watching it at all, or two, that he thinks it's stupid and that watching it is bad for ya.

Either way, I can appreciate that statement. Sure. But TV is just like anything other vice. There's a certain point where it can be advantageous, but to take it past that can border on obsessive, or worse, compulsive. TV's the most popular drug there is, man, and I, for one, drink the Kool-aid.

The thing is, there's some incredible TV out there. You can dismiss all that if you want, but there are some programs that, week in, week out, deliver incredibly well-developed stories that have immaculate character arcs, never mind plots. Sure, a lot of these anti-TV folks sing the praises of fine cinema, but if none of them have ever written, then they can't possibly comprehend how incredible a feat writing good television truly is.

When it comes to programs like 24, The Wire, and The 4400, for plot-driven series, just from the last few years, the ability to consistently develop an ever-deepening storyline is a rare and fine quality to discover. Few programs have the ability to plausibly deliver complex action and intrigue. Among them, 24 takes it up a notch. It baffles me how great the twists and turns of this series are, and the funny thing is, it's improving as the years pass. Now in, what, it's fifth season, it's arguably, six episodes in, one of the tightest, smartest action series I've ever seen.

I have maybe five or six dramas I watch each week. The storylines keep me thinking as a writer, and I absolutely love good dialogue. For me, dialogue is the glue that keeps my writing together. I write no fiction, nor do I write screenplays. Language, though, should be owned by the people, the players, not the academics. I tire of all the opinion writers out in the world who seem to have a disconnection with the people. It's the ones with real language I love. They're the ones you can see having it transistion from being a conversation on the page to a debate in a pub, and they're the ones who get what the public's thinking, who know the pulse of their peoples.

If I read one writer too long, it overtakes my writing style. I subconsciously slip into that. It's why I reserve reading for the great shit. Too much of it robs whatever it is that makes me the writer I am. We each have a style, a feel, something we wear better than anything else. For some, it's their cadence. Others, it's their language. For me, it's my conversational feel. It's where I feel strongest. I can do okay stuff in other styles, but it always feels a little off, like wearing heels a tad too high. Maybe it looks good, but damn, it feels wrong.

But it sucks, liking television. When it comes to all the smarty-pant intellectual art crowd, I feel like I need to defend it. It's like there's this moral superiority in trashing television. It's art for the masses, they say. It's art created for commerce, for consumption, not for personal need, they argue. And yes, they're very much right.

How, though, is the sense of accomplishment a team of writers feels after creating a series with five years of 24 one-hour long dramas any less than a guy who was inspired for a mere moment and created a single painting?

It's so arrogant to dismiss something merely because the masses like it. It's like saying The Joshua Tree is less of an album because an entire generation of 16-year-old guys lost their virginity to "With or Without You."

Good is good, regardless of who the fuck it's made for. To dismiss anything because the public as a whole sees it as quality is as arrogant as it gets. I do it sometimes, though, but I think we all do. It's still not a case to argue that Britney Spears is any good, and yes, it's a little daunting to think the people who make Nicole Simpson a household name are the ones wishing Jack Bauer (who's Canadian, by the way) could be president instead of the twit who currently is, but I disgress.

Art has always been commissioned. The Mona Lisa? Paid for by the consumer. The Sistine Chapel? Not only commissioned, but essentially forced. The Greek Tragedies? Created for an audience.

The nature of the commissions have changed, and yes, there is a lowest common denominator out there, but there are exceptions. You just gotta know where the "off" switch is, is all.

More photos from yesterday. Like I said, today, back to the dreary eye-straining dullness we've had for the last seven weeks.

This is the entry to Stanley Park, on the left, and the foot of the downtown core, on the right. It's just blocks from Denman and Robson streets, a couple very happening places -- one leading to the shopping heart of the city, and the other to Van's West End, where a large amount of the population is gay, young, artsy, or hipster immigrant.

This is the Lion's Gate Bridge. On the other side was where that innovative filmmaker, Lion's Gate Films was formed. The North Shore mountains range between about 3,500-5,500 feet in height. Behind me is Stanley Park, and on the other side of that, downtown Van. This is the highest bridge, I think, in the downtown Vancouver area.

I love the shadows you get in the winter. In the summer, all the trees have leaves and it's just different. I love the lines you get. Lines rock.

Another shot of the North Shore, but with Stanley Park on the foreground, taken from Coal Harbour, the formerly industrial, but now ritzy section of shore on the north side of downtown.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sunny January Day: Stanley Park / English Bay

Finally! A sunny day. I cycled about 22kms, a little more than I'd planned to, but it was so fucking nice out that I took the long way to the seawall. When I'd gotten most of the way around, I tripped when dismounting to get a photo. I sprained my ankle and badly gnashed my knee. Nice. Still, worth it for the day I had. Biking back to a bus station was a beyotch, though, man.

The yield was good. Here's a few. More tomorrow.

This one is Vancouver's Granville Street Bridge, which takes ya from the ritzy South Grandville Rise section of town into the Downtown Core. Honestly, it's one of my favourite photos already. I was hoping this would have a great mood to it when I shot it, but I'm pleasantly surprised.

This was a bike I saw chained up by the seashore. I loved the background, obviously, so... I also have a 50% desaturated version that has a real old-school feel to it, but I love the vividness of this.

I was taking a different photo, you see, and just craned my head up and over my shoulder to see a passing bird and caught this angle, so I decided to snap it.

This is the same area I took in the fog before the new year, which you'll find below somewhere. It's the end of English Bay and the start of Stanley Park, the largest urban park in the world.

It's pretty easy to relax when you've got this view in front of ya, don't you think? I love the feel of this photo. you wouldn't know there was a wide blue patch of sky right behind me. I love the moody clouds the mountains draw sometimes. There's these stretches every summer of perfect blue skies, and I always love it as it moves to the end phase and those storm clouds begin rolling in. But in the summer, you never have the snow-capped nasty mountains. Tres bon.

Anyhow... my ankle needs more ice. I'm too old for this shit, man. More shots tomorrow. :)

Ed. note: I'm really glad I'm shooting all right right now. I really love a few of the shots I've taken today. It's been a while since I felt that buzz of great weather / moody atmospheres and a bike ride and all that. I'm HURTING tonight with this frickin' ankle, man, but I really just don't care. It's not often we creative types know we've done good, but it's nice to seize the moment when it strikes. I'm mellow tonight, I have a little dope. I've been SO stressed out for about five months now, maybe more like eight months. I feel it starting to ebb away. I am so ripe for something new. I'm looking forwards to the next few months. This blog's gonna serve as the record for the goings on that way, and my quirks, and my photos. I'd been wanting to infuse new life here, and now I think the background's set for the play. Could be nice to have a record of all my attempts for a bit. Whee! Newness *rocks.*

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Transportation photos

Vancouver's got the Skytrain. Here's a photo.

By my place.

I take the shitty, slow bus, 'cos I always get a seat... just not usually this many.

Another skytrain photo, near Crack & Main.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

I've Woken Up Now, and Found That I Am In Hell

Why, you ask, is my suitcase packed and by the door?

I'm readying for Armageddon, that's why. If all hell's about to come down on me, then I'm jetting from this two-pony sideshow, my friends.

And believe me, it's about to come down.

Heard about this? Huh? The Gods of Guitar, Fender have begun making their beloved Stratocaster with -- yes, you've got it -- the Hello Kitty design.

Me, I was always a Sunburst kinda gal, but fucking Hello Kitty? Just shoot me now. Seriously. I'm done, Bertha. I mean, there's some lame shit out there, but this takes the cake. It's a pity it wasn't out back before the 5,6,7,8s took the stage in Kill Bill. It'd be awesome to see Uma Thurman, all those pissed off Samurai wanna-be's, and Lucy Liu battling to the death with three vapids strumming their three-chord ditties out on Hello Kitties as they bop, bop, bop in the background on their itty-bitty stage.

Shit, who needs drugs anymore? Reality's getting weirder by the day.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Hittin' the Wall: Today's pics

A cracked retaining wall with moss, East Van.

Proof spring rears its ugly head soon: The early blossoms.

Taken on the side of a crazy busy street in Van. (Clark Dr.)

The wall I feel I've hit tonight. Bed beckons.

The dash to an old Laurentian that I found striking earlier today.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

a sea of anonymity. faces swirling amidst the turbulence. rushing past are blurs of concrete, glass, and all we amass.

the bus shudders again, glass rattles, brakes squeal, people jar. a scattering of disgruntled, poorly suppressed groans.


I took this earlier on the bus ride to work, then played it up in Photoshop. Wrote the blurb to accompany it. In case you think I'm sadistic and severed the Suit's head, I didn't. Something weird in the natural light/motion blurring made his head disappear. I dig it. I'm taking it as a sign: The corporates have no soul. I was thinking yesterday, "I'm gonna quit my job. I wonder when my RRSP loan finishes, and then I can cash it out, quit, and focus on writing for the next six months..." And today, what should arrive but a statement that seems to indicate feb. 16th as the last payment. I still need to call and confirm, but how cool is this? The gods approve. Fuck the man, I'm quitting in about three weeks. Gee. I'll be not working until September. Get a job when the kiddies return to school, if writing's not panning out. I'm putting my chips on the table, Sam.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Yet more photos! Clickety-click-click.

This was this morning's moonset. It's a little blurry, but it was either that or I miss the moment and get the tripod. Another minute later and the moon was obscured by clouds. This is why I always look out the window as soon as I awaken. Never know what you might miss out on.

I showed up to work this morning at this place that I'm likely going to quit pretty frickin' soon -- underpaid and I have bad karma in their office as bad crap's happened on the two days I've worked, but that's a long story. Waiting for others to let me in, I took this snap of a metalworker's front door next door.

More of my obsession with construction bits and pieces. Rusting pipes on the riverfront. I was gonna call this, "Why I Use a Brita Filter," heh.

I love contrast, so I liked this bit of moss on the railroad. Looked nice in the light, but then, moss always does. Likin' the lichen.

Took this last week, and wasn't too crazy about it till it was converted to grayscale, and I noticed the horizon was off-kilter, and fixing that made the uneasiness go away.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mo' photos, yo.

It occurs to me, with my history with money -- my folks' divorce was probably first and foremost caused by disagreements about cash -- that if I had a job where the money was so plentiful, and all I had to do was work a little harder to get a hundred grand a year or something, that writing, photography, all that would go to the wayside. I get obsessed, easily, especially about money. Fear of not having it's so deep in me that I can't possibly pretend things are otherwise.

I'm not so upset about losing that job, I know things work out the way they're supposed to, so I honestly can't fault not getting that. I know I say I'd write more with a job like that, but deep down inside, I know money's a powerful lure. And I know that, five years down the line, I'd be devastated with regret for blowing my momentum. I think I'm on a roll, writing-wise, and I need to keep the ball in the game. No, it's not paying the rent, or even groceries. It was, for a bit, then I stopped trying to sell it. I don't want to be published by The Little People. I want a syndicated column. I'm gonna screw up the courage over the next couple months to try and go after a particular paper here in town.

I'm getting more confident about writing, and now I need to find an angle to sell myself on. I'm confident I can do that, it's a matter of taking the time and getting it right. In the meantime, Monday and Tuesday are gonna be my Getting Shit Straight days. Cleaning up the pad, getting out a few resumes.

There's a world-wide magazine here in Van looking for a copy editor. I'm gonna get them a resume Friday. My expectations of getting the job? Nil, nearly. But you don't know if you don't try, and my heart ain't gonna break if I get a no, but if I get a yes, hey, life's coming up roses. Why the hell not?

As fine as I am about it all, I'm a little disheartened this morning, and I'm doing a few things to brighten myself up. It's sunny, so I got up and braved the near-zero temps for a nice ride. Now, I'm heading to work, but I'll take the long way, stop at the beach, in the hopes of a rare sunny photo of the snow-covered mountains with a low, low snowline, looming tall over the city.

Shots from the morning:

I call this the hanging tree. My mom always sang an old folk song, and she had this gorgeous voice and when she sang it, it was hauntingly beautiful, "Tom Dooley." The lyrics went, "Hang down your head, Tom Dooley, hang down your head and cry -- hang down your head, Tom Dooley, poor boy, you're bound to die." I know, morose, but I loved it when she sang that song. So, the tree made me think of her this morning. Heh. And I've been singing that song ever since.

This is a shithole about a half block from my place, the only homes like this in our area are side by side. GayBoy and I have had a couple freaky incidents at night walking past here, when a window swings open, or some shit like that. Looks cool in the sun, though.

I like this one, a gnarly tree on the river at dawn, that's all it is.

And a bench, by the gnarly tree. :)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Update: Lukewarm Steffi.

The job didn't pan out. Someone had tonnes of experience doing it. I had some, but nothing near "tonnes."

Que sera sera. I'm disappointed, sure, but I can't help wondering if maybe there's a good reason for it. I handled it all well, I wouldn't change anything.

I don't think it's a death knell or anything. I'm just frustrated I need to come up with a new plan. Maybe, after I pay next week's rent, I'll take a couple days to bust my ass and get resumes out.

Let's put it this way, since 1994, I've had eight job interviews. I got seven jobs, and accepted six of them. This is my first unsuccessful attempt in 11 years. But at least I'm setting my sights higher. Back to the plan of trying to get into publishing. Maybe poor, and publishing, is my ideal. Maybe wealthy, and not working in writing, is not.

I do know one thing: I'll sleep fine tonight anyhow. It is what it is, right?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The first photos of 2006

I've done little photography at all since September, and these are about the only decent shots I've had, since I've literally only taken 25 shots in four months. Sad, sad, sad.

Anyhow, my computer's back on track, I have software for it again, and I'm stoked to get back into it. The river shots were all taken last weekend, so it's a recent thing that I'm bothering to snap anything at all, but this is coming up on my fave season for photos. Everything's ripe and new in the spring, and I get off on it, so. Stay tuned. There'll at least likely be a lot of photography on this site in the coming months. Writing, dubious... but photos, absolutely.

This one's just a little pond adjacent to the Fraser River, a mere walk from my home.

One thing about Vancouver is that we get a lot of similarities drawn with San Francisco, and there's a few weeks every year, particularly in the fall and winter, where the fog rolls in every afternoon -- just after it's finally burned off from the sun's heat. This is the mid-point of one such day, when the fog's just burned off enough to see some of the mountains in the background behind the West End. Not long after this, a bank of fog rolled over my home in the south of the city, bringing more haze to us.

I'm not too crazy about this shot, it looked better on my camera, but I think I'll try to catch a few more like this in the future and maybe it'll finally work the way I want it to. It was too late in the day, and the shadows too severe, and the light too low to shoot it fast enough to freeze the water droplets in the air, so there's blurring and too much darkness. But it's the wake of a tugboat towing log floats up the Fraser.

This one's the simplest of the shots, and oddly, my favourite. I just love driftwood, sand, and water. It never fails to amaze me, all these bits of dead trees washing up on the shore. You wouldn't believe how many times -- a dozen or two each year -- that the city of Vancouver sends tractors along the beaches to get rid of excess drift logs (we're talking 20, 30, 40-foot long logs) along the beaches. They groom the beaches for the citizens to frollick and play. The morning after, you always arrive at the beach to find long tracks of backhoe prints all over the sand. Looks neat, but it's odd, weird, and hardly natural looking at all. With scenery like ours, though, that's not too terrible a thing, anyhow.

These are just bits and pieces of all that, and the Fraser is the main thoroughfare for all the logs coming down from the Interior. I just love it. There's a beach on the Sunshine Coast, 40 minutes from the city, where you've got a 3-kilometre long stretch of just driftwood -- you can't even see the sand on the ground. Piles and piles of logs for as far as the eye can see, which tells you a bit about out forest industry. Nice that they cut all the trees down and lose so many in the offing. Weird world, this.

But I still love the look of wood debris on a shore, nonetheless.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Crossroads, Or Something

The sun shines this morning, and maybe it's a good omen, maybe it's not. I've had a couple things transpire of late that suggest my job interview this past Wednesday might turn out to be the start of a crazy good new time in my life, and every fibre of my being is dreaming that to be the case.

I won't know for another three or four days, but I fortunately work all weekend. Not normally something I'm a fan of, but there's nothing I handle worse than waiting for news. Keeping busy equals keeping sane.

I've been obsessing about this board lately. For nearly three weeks I've not posted. I keep thinking of pulling the plug, but that would be so hard. There's a lot of me on these pages. I just don't want the obligation of having to update it, but I also don't want to lose the voice it allows.

My other blog still gets about 500 readers a day, sometimes a thousand. It baffles me. It's the emails I love, though. I suppose laying myself out there, all vulnerable and open, lets people believe they can contact me and be open in return, all confessional-like. I do enjoy knowing I've pushed those buttons.

I always loved this little rag, The Ditch, but I never received such personal interaction as I do through there. It's wild. When writing's all you dream of, the response you receive is what makes you tick. Anyone who claims they write for the sake of writing and don't care what people think, is a liar.

Real writing, truth writing, it comes from a place of vulernability. I don't get the fear like I used to. I was terrified to be real about what or who I am, on the page. It's why this place was born. It took a while, but I publically worked through a few things plaguing my life, most specifically, my fear of writing.

I was terrified of writing for an audience. "I'm a fraud, they'll see right through me," I thought. "I'm not good enough, I'm not smart enough, and dammit, nobody likes me." We writers get as much insecurity as anyone, and we're fucking prima donnas about it sometimes.

Forcing myself to write every day was incredible. There are writers who say, "Oh, there's no such thing as writer's block," and I always laughed derisively at them. Six years of hell says otherwise. Now, though, I don't entirely disagree them. I no longer feel writer's block can ever get the best of me. Not if I keep up what I'm doing. That's not to say it's sunshine and roses everyday. No. There are periods when everything's a little more fuzzy, the words have less reverb. That's just life. I work through it now. It's all you can do.

Anyhow, this job, it would have the potential to be about 2.3 times more money than I've been making, 100% more than I've ever earned in a year. I could actually travel. I love the so-called sex writing I've been doing -- calling it "sex" writing is a misnomer. As adept with words as I can be, I can't really nutshell my endeavours of the past few months. Explorations of the mind, body, and soul? Advice writing for the less aware? Whatever. As much as I love it, the response I get, impact I seem to have, travel writing is a real love of mine. A passion, even. I've just never had the funds to do it. This job would change all that. First on the list would be Morocco.

I'd love to see my writing take the world by storm this year, but the thought of it just happening overnight as it were is about as laughable a notion as one could conceive. It takes time. Working in this job -- which I'd do at home -- would allow me the money, the freedom, and possibly even more time with which I could pursue that dream, while being fiscally able to sock some funds away for a year off to write, if my writing efforts don't generate that opportunity on their own.

Ah, the unknown. Exciting, isn't it? This could be my year, the year it all shakes down, man. Wow. Last year brought me such a crazy wealth of experiences. This year could be doubly so. And in 72 hours or so, I'll know. I hope.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Improved prognosis and ASS KICKING

Oh, thank the lord. I slept really well after my whinefest last night. A total of 11 hours sleep, and I feel slightly better today. Doc says it's just a really strong viral kick in the ass, that my lungs are clear, and since I have a history with pneumonia and bronchitis and asthma, I'm grateful for the news.


I hate GayBoy! He's standing in a throng of about 19,000 Canadians at Vancouver's GM Place, where Canada has just taken the Gold Medal in the World Junior Hockey Tournament. Next to the Olympic team, this is about as good as it gets for hockey competitions. The Juniors are frickin' ferocious, and Canada's team had a perfect tournament -- not one loss.

They came in as underdogs to the Americans, who were favoured to win it all. End result? Americans didn't even get a medal. They lost to Finland, 4-2, who took the bronze. Russia lost to us, 5-0, and they're walking out with silver, and some clearly shattered hearts. Russia rightfully should've been on the scoring board, since they really did get a goal and should've been at 2-1 at the start of the second period, but the Juniors haven't got two goalies like the NHL does, so the goal went unspotted by a severely overworked referree who still deserves kudos for a job well done.

What an amazing game the Canadians played, though. GayBoy's been waiting for this game for two years -- having bought season tickets for Vancouver's Junior team the last two years running just so he could be in first place for tickets to 11 games in this tourney.

Anyone who's read me long knows I'm a passionate girl when it comes to anything Canadian, and hockey is right at the top of the list. If there's one good thing about being sick, it's that I've been able to stay home tonight (a night I'd normally be working) and take this game in. I'm the kinda gal who wells up with both tears and pride when my country takes home the big games. I've been to Game 7s in the Stanley Cup and saw the Canucks lose the Cup a couple years back, which broke my frickin' heart, but I've never seen a game of this magnitude in person.I wish I could've seen this one.

The Olympics are next, and I hope to catch every televised Canadian game played in Turino-2006. The biggest game for hype will be when we meet the Americans, and honestly, the only rivalry that ever compared is that of Canada-Russia back in the '70s and '80s. Now, Canadians really, really love to see our team kick ass on the Americans, and our Gold Medal Victory in year 2002 was just an incredible thing to witness, and stadiums across the country were filled with folks just like me and GayBoy who gathered en masse to watch the game live on the big screens. Nowadays, we respect our Russian opponents, but the Americans still take an awful lot of flack from our crowds. I honestly feel sorry for the kids who played in the Bronze medcal match against the Fins. Our crowd disrespected them, and that leaves me a little ashamed of their attitude. Ultimately, these are kids playing, and they don't deserve that kind of treatment. It's unfortunately more of a statement against American foreign policy than it is about a sport, so it's shitty when politics interferes with what should be a good, healthy sporting event.

But make no mistake, hockey IS our sport. There is no game like it, and I don't give a shit what sport you watch, nothing beats the excitement of a top-flight game of hockey. The only sport in the world where players change on the fly with play in progress, it's as hard-hitting, fast-paced, precise, complex, and dramatic as they come. Right now, downtown Vancouver is probably in an uproar, with horns honking, flags waving, and punks screaming in victory. Yeah, we take the game seriously.

In four years, the Olympics will land in my city. That Canadian hockey game will be something to behold. I can't wait for the excitement of the Olympics, and while some of my bleeding-heart friends lamented the Games coming here because they'd rather the money go to healthcare and the like, I know that the Olympics will bring money like we've never seen before. Vancouver's already one of the finest cities in the world, but it needs to take the next step, the step to international metropolis. We're already pretty much there, but there's just a few things lacking. It does sort of break my heart to see this city go from what it was when I was young to what it will be in five years, but it is what it is, and you can't hide from change.

One thing's for sure, this city sure as shit knows how to enjoy a hockey game, and this one was no exception.

I hate you, GayBoy. Grr.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I Want My Mommy

I'm sick. Really fucking sick. I haven't been this sick in four years, and part of the reason I've been getting sicker is my inability to sleep more than seven hours a day.

I've been crying a little tonight, and I can't even remember the last time I cried. I'm not much of a crier. I was cuddling my teddy bear, trying to sleep, but it's pointless, so I'm up in the hopes of getting some of my thoughts out of my head, and I'm probably an ass for publishing it, but at this point, I just don't give a shit.

The teddy bear is the last one my mom ever gave to me. It was Christmas, 1998. She had a habit of giving me a teddy every year, and this was my fave she'd ever given me. Just a classic brown bear, but he's wearing a blue plaid housecoat. I always thought he was a sick bear.

Fitting, then, that when we discovered she had cancer, that she took the bear to bed with her every night. I can't help but wishing I had her in my arms instead, but all I've got is a fucking bear, who I've never named.

There's no one like your mother when it comes to those really hard times. I've had some pretty fucking hard times these past few years, and frankly, there's no one I admire more than me for the way I've come through them. I couldn't give a shit what other people have overcome, I know my struggles, and I'm proud of where I'm at, but my god, there comes a time when you just need to break down.

That time is tonight. I'm a weak fucking girl tonight. I'm sick of being sick, and I'm scared of finding out that this might be pneumonia, because I'm telling you, this incredible weakness, all-over-sore, this endless wracking cough, it's all feeling way too damned familiar, like when I had it four years ago.

The irony is, I thought I was feeling better on Monday and decided I had to take a good walk because my back had been in agony for a week, and it was the kind of pain that would only subside with activity. "I have energy," I thought. "I'll walk it out." So, I did. I got to the video store, a mere kilometre away, and discovered I no longer had a voice. I was sweating. That clammy, hmm-something's-not-right-here kind of sweating, because hey, I never sweat unless I'm in the middle of a 20+km bike ride. I got home and was wiped the hell out. Just absolutely wiped. It didn't concern me too much, but when I was deteriorating Tuesday, I started to become concerned.

And I don't care that I have good friends, that I have a dad who's worried about me and wants to help, a brother who wants to step up to the plate because I just did so for him... All I want is my mommy, and I simply can't have her, and nothing, but nothing feels worse in the world than knowing there's one thing you need, and it's the one thing that you'll simply never, ever have again.

I normally try to write with positivity, but since I have tears streaming down my face and a sob wracking my throat, something tells me that's not about to happen this time.

To tell the truth, I've been missing my mom an awful lot since Christmas. The holidays felt so goddamned empty and meaningless this year, and I've heard from more than a few people, like GayBoy, that they felt the same way. I imagine it was for altogether different reasons, though. My mother WAS the holidays. Everything about Christmas was made more important because of her. She would make fudge, and that's something I never did get the recipe for. Man, I'd kill for one more piece of her fudge. I've been so uninterested in Christmas the last couple of years that I haven't even bothered decorating, and considering it was once my favourite time of the year, there's something drastically wrong with that.

But there it is. Sick, and there's nothing anyone can do to help. I wish to hell Mom was here. Tomorrow, I see the doctor and find out if my fears are to be confirmed. I hope not. I'm going to be positive about that, at least. (Or die trying. Okay, bad choice of words.)

Either way, when I get home, I plan to stay indoors for 24 hours. I will do two of the skankiest remedies ever: One, I will make the dreaded garlic cure. One POUND of chopped garlic, soaking in boiling water and left to sit for 12 hours, and then enough sugar and lemon to make it palateable after you strain out the garlic. I think using "palateable" in that sentence is a right fucking crime, but there it is. I will be in-fucking-vinceable after that.

Then two, a mustard plaster, which is simply a paste of mustard and flour spread between two pieces of flannel, and left to sit on your chest for 10 minutes. Oh, right, and there's the high likelihood of blisters. Gotta love the Prairie remedies. But it's what Mom would do to me if she were around. Not the garlic, as I doubt she'd be THAT cruel, but she swore by mustard plasters, and I do know they word. I was reading the Prairie Remedy book I have, though, and the garlic struck me as something that looks really fucking effective. Fortunately there seems to be almost 100% certainty that I'm not getting laid for the near future, but this pretty much puts a lock on that, man.

Well, oddly, I do feel a little better. I still miss her like all hell, a hurting that just throbs inside, but there's little a girl can do about that, and it's that knowledge that just makes the pain that much more pathetic and lamentable. Fortunately, these days don't come often. It's the fact that I've been avoiding admitting this for the last couple weeks that has made my mood feel heavy and immoveable for some time now, and maybe that heaviness in my chest isn't all from my illness. Maybe a little of the weight will lift.

I'm really looking forwards to seeing the doc, though, because I prefer to know than just to suspect. Hopefully, I'm just a really pathetic sickie, and not pneumonic. We shall see. The above stands as-is, I'm too grumpy to edit.

the Little Prince Quiz

You are the fox.

Saint Exupery's 'The Little Prince' Quiz.
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, January 02, 2006

Crash: A look at the movie

Films are something that have the power to change how we think, that have the opportunity to educate and inspire us. Most of the time, the movies that come out are a waste of time. They're made to entertain, and that's all.

Once in a while you get lucky and you find a movie that really impacts you and gets you thinking about things, examining your life. Today, that movie is Crash -- the Paul Haggis one, not David Lynch's flick of a few years past.

If art truly is something that should reflect and examine life as we know it, then Crash is art in its purest form.

How do you market a movie like this, I wonder? With great difficulty, I surmise. Its premise is a hard sell: A scathing look at the rampant racism that exists in American life today.

As a Canadian, it's an interesting dynamic to watch. I'm not saying we don't have racism in Canada -- we sure as shit do. Racism is as much a part of the human condition as laughter or love. Racism is perhaps the wrong term. Maybe "prejudism" is more correct.

Crash takes a look at the lives of a dozen or so people as they rather unluckily intersect over a 48-hour period. It looks at the judgments we make of others through what we perceive them to be based solely on their outward appearance -- black, brown, white, tattooed, wealthy, whatever.

It's a difficult premise to explain, but the acting's incredible, the stories are oh, so tight, and the issues are ones we're all familiar with.

I suspect that I'm probably a little more liberal-minded than most people, but I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't prejudist. A right fucking liar, but at least I'm aware of it. I'm not prejudist in that open, obvious kind of way. No, I have more respect than that. I'm prejudist in ways that I don't really know how to change. I see tattered, torn, dirty clothes, and I assume the person is uneducated and lacking in class. I see an Asian kid driving a $50,000 car and I automatically assume he has no respect for money and is a spoiled little shit. I see an old person and I assume they're slowing down mentally and will be a hassle to deal with.

I'd never say anything to another person's face, but I've made comments about Asian drivers, I've made assumptions about immigrants taking advantage of the system, I've held my money closer to me just because of a person's demeanour on the street as they're walking towards me.

Do these things make me a bad person? Probably not. They probably make me just like anyone else. Most of us have these same sorts of assumptions. If you claim you don't judge someone on how they dress, the manners they display, their grasp and command of language, then you're probably a liar. It's what we all do, but it doesn't make it any more correct.

I think everyone should see this film. I've meant to for some time now, and even had the rental kicking around for the last three days, thinking "Oh, it's probably not as great as I've heard, and it's probably not as profound as Oprah made it sound," and all that, but for once, Oprah's got it right. It's very likely the most important movie of 2005.

You got to give it to Don Cheadle, too. The man's played in two of the most important movies two years running -- Crash and Hotel Rwanda. I love an actor who wears his values on his sleeve. I love an actor who realizes the power of his medium, and Don's that kind of a man.

It's tragic that slapstick comedies draw so many people, and films like Crash languish in the box office. Considering this day and age, the incredible shallowness of our society -- just look at the Paris-fucking-Hilton obsession -- you'd think that examining ourselves would be a more pressing need. I'm tired of the largely vapid media out there in the world, and films like this remind me why I tend to want to shy away from the mainstream.

Art should fill the soul, make us aspire for greatness, cause us to want to change. And sometimes, it does just that. I'm glad I saw this movie so close to New Year's Day. I'm glad I've got food for thought. I enjoy the challenge it presents -- that of looking at life below the surface, taking it at more than just face value, and perhaps that's something I can aspire to do more of this year. I like to think I do it already, but I'm certain I could do it better.

Anyhow, I highly recommend Crash. See it with someone you can talk to about it. I didn't, and now I'll be wandering around, listening to my iPOD, and pondering life for the remainder of the afternoon. But that's all right. I do it well.