For you, the dress code is casual.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Weird One

I have decided that I have an invisible roommate named Felix.


I'm trying to pretend that I have to keep my house clean for the "other" people here. God knows I haven't been succeeding in keeping it clean for myself! Snicker. This morning I've continued on the mad-dash cleaning methodology I've taken up of late. So neurotic am I that I even wiped down the interior of my oven to remove the grease from the roasted chicken.

What's wrong with me?! Besides imagining I live with a neurotic roommate named Felix, that is.

Hey, if it works, it works, y'know.

Now, if I start telling you stories about this imagined roommate, you know I've cracked my nut and that I need professional help pronto. Ha.

I watched yesterday's Oprah while I enjoyed my coffee and my breakfast (in my almost-clean digs!) and I feel all warmed up and full-o-love. She had the Hugging Guy on there and some other amazing stories of love and achievement.

It's a heady morning now, and I don't mind it a bit. I'm glad I'm sort of getting refocused on things that are important to me, and my home is HUGELY important to me. When it's out of sorts, so am I. So, that's been, what six months? I love being at home, lying around, enjoying my surroundings, but it's been a long time since my place has been clean enough that I've felt like lighting candles and lying on my couch with a book and a glass of port. Months, really. Months and months. I figure just a half-hour a day is enough to slowly get it back into shape.


I've taken to calling the last year of my life My Lost Year. I think that somewhere down the line I'll look back on this year as being the most transformative of my life. I sunk to some new lows, became a person I truly hated for a short time there, and really struggled to just keep my life in check on a daily basis. Blogging was huge for me, particularly this blog, because it made me accountable to a sea of unseen faces. I felt I had to keep record and stay conscious of who I was, what I was doing, and how it was impacting me. That's what blogging is for me: a record, and accountability.

When I began this blog, almost two years to the day now, I didn't give a shit if anyone was reading. And newsflash: I still don't. If I did, I'd let posts sit up and fester until I got comments, and I wouldn't be posting daily such as I do. Instead, it's all for me, and you're just lucky to be able to hang around on the other side of my unseen glass.

I was thinking yesterday that blogging has been huge for me on a number of personal levels. I don't know why it's been so big for me, but I suspect it has more to do with my willingness to just be absolutely an open book about everything I feel, fear, love, hate, think, and do. Maybe it isn't the media that's impacting me, but the message I've been willing to relay. I don't know, but it's something that's turning around in my mind.

I know I've certainly been thinking about how much I've changed in the two years since I began this blog, though. Anniversaries make me think. Sigh. Before I started this, I was a closed book. I was scared to talk about what I really felt with others, scared to be open. Trusting others seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. Being injured so much in '03-'05 meant I had to learn to ask for help. Blogging meant I had to learn to have something to say. Journalling meant I had to be willing to look inside, in htose dark places flashlights don't reach.

It wasn't really until probably Mothers' Day 2005 that my mindset/blogging content began to shift. I started writing about my mom, began dealing with some of those bigger issues, those formative things that shape us all, and then I began opening up a bit more. The Cunt was where I really tapped into my inner sanctum, though, because I began writing about all my insecurities.

There's this George Michael song that's never been released (off Listen w/out Prejudice) that has always been something the hits close to home when I hear it:

"All these insecurities
that have held me down for so long,
can't say I've found a cure for these,
but at least I know them,
so they're not so strong."

And I guess that's the case.

It's strange, all of a sudden I don't think I want a relationship. I'm enjoying this getting-to-know-the-steff-inside journey I'm back on. It's a good thing and a good place to be, and the last thing I need is for a man to come along and cock it up. I think we women are more inclined to forget ourselves in relationships. Maybe it's true of men, too, I don't know. (I guess it is, just thinking of the guys I know.) And I'm really, really resistant to giving too much of myself to anyone right now 'cos I'm thinking if anyone deserves to be given any of me right now, it's ME. I've got a lot of love to give. A lot. And I oughtta be giving it to myself. And I am. And it feels great.

But, y'know, a little romance could be fun. Damned hormones, they always cause trouble, don't they?

Ah, well, the curious steff is interested in the realm of possibilities, so we'll see what the cosmos has on the menu, and then maybe I might decline. An open mind and open heart, right?

This year, for Halloween, I'm being myself... in all my majesty. Great costume, huh? Have a good one, boys and girls. God knows I'm gonna.

Monday, October 30, 2006

yawn. morf. oomph.

i'm capitalizing on the fact that i've not really adjusted to the time change just yet, and hitting the sack early. i've had an accomplished weekend. for the first time in a long time i feel like i'm not that far away from taking back control of my home.

for a long time it's felt like i've been not even managing to maintain my place. it's felt like "rustic american crackhouse," and not "home" for far too long now. several loads of laundry, a cleaned-out oven, lots of minor cleaning, and things still look unkempt, but i know that's just surface. so, i'm gonna keep doing my thang over the next while and maybe i'll start really feeling like i'm not spiralling out of control any longer.

it's been feeling like everything's been out of my hands since early july now, ever since i was "laid off" and then rehired at that stupid fucking job i hated. when that happened, it was just the last straw. i think i emotionally just gave up and went into survival-only mode. slowly i'm returning to the land of the living.

i did some podcasting recording earlier and stayed on topic, but haven't listened to any of the finished product. now i need to start editing it. i've had a hard time getting myself to be on topic for a while. i wasn't feeling like talking about relationships or sex, so doing the podcasting was really hard to gear up for emotionally or intellectually. now, though, there's the craigslist thing and i have some fodder for topics. it felt better. i have no idea how much i have that's useable, but i spoke specifically on four different topics and now have to edit over the next week.

but, tomorrow's halloween. i'm taking my camera to work with me and plan to come home via Commercial Drive in the hopes of getting some cute kid photographs in some of the more characteristic parts of that neighbourhood. i doubt i'll make a long detour of it, but maybe an hour. who knows. could yield something great.

weirdly, i'm remembering these cool bikes decked out with halloween lights from the other night and now i think i'll watch E.T. when i get home and relax tomorrow night.

god, it's feeling nice to have two reasonably accomplished weekends in a row. i hope i can continue this for a while. just barely keeping up with the speed of life doesn't feel that rewarding... this, however, does. and i also now have about five pounds of roasted chicken meat to feast on this week, too. not too shabby.

next weekend's ambitious goal? organize the storage room. if i can do that, there's about a dozen things in the living space that can go in there, and the rest of my space will feel a little more like it's mine. i'm setting one goal per weekend over the next while in addition to everything else i have going on. it seems to be working.

funny thing is, now i don't give a shit if any of these craigslist guys pan out. i haven't had the time to deal with it all, except for one, really, so we'll see what happens there. but if it doesn't work, well, i'm enjoying my life in my space again, and that feels like a great start to things.

huh. to bed at 10:07. not bad. could be a well-rested day tomorrow. last night i slept like shit, considering how bloody cold my place was. (coldest night of the year so far. brr!) tonight i'm better prepared.

yawn. indeed. [insert wookie-cry type yawn here] mmf. and, without ado, adieu.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


I scared the crap out of myself earlier by watching The Exorcist alone. Holy bejesus! Makes a gal wonder on the wisdom of leaving the church, y'know.

I'm cleaning my oven tonight. I had a fire in the oven... oh, I don't know, when I was broke off my ass, that much I remember. It was when I was making foccaccia, and I remember it being a beautiful, hot summer day, so, probably early June, as I wasn't yet employed. All the oil ran off my wall-less baking sheet and ignited. The interior's been black as hell ever since, about 1/2" thick in places, still with clumps of baking soda on the floor. I really should've taken a photo, since it's one of the most disgusting things ever. I've been horrified about it, but there's really little that's less fun than cleaning an oven.

But. It's getting done. I've cleaned about 85% of it out and I've just sprayed the walls again to get the last of the crap off. Tomorrow I'm roasting a 7-lb chicken so I have food all week -- probably chicken caesars on worknights, sandwiches or quesadillas during the days. I love the idea of roasting a bird and living off it all week. It's making life easier at my end.

Earlier, I've made both hummous and my French (Canadian) Onion Soup. I ate well tonight. I'd done all my shopping today -- including at stop at my beloved Les Amis Du Fromage, aka The Coolest Cheese Shop In the World. I need to stop being so pedestrian with cheeses, so every week or two I'm going to try a couple hundred grams of experimental cheeses. Today it was a true Dubliner cheddar -- with Guinness marbled throughout it -- and a cranberry Wensleydale (I think I have the name wrong) [but just 100 grams of each]. They're both awesome. But I tried this INCREDIBLE dessert cheese that I may get next time -- white stilton with candied ginger. I also picked up true aged Gruyere for the soup.

But the rest of what I plan to eat this week will be pretty healthy-ish. Could be healthier, but hey. It's getting there. I think I'll probably only have one or two small pieces of cheese each time I have any, with all of four crackers. I suspect it'll be breakfast each day this week.

The hummous is being eaten with Lundberg brown rice chips, which are phenomenally tasty, too. Yay.

Clearly this is a food day pour moi.

French (Canadian) Onion Soup A La Steff
(this is a recipe I've concocted, nice and simple compared to a lot of overdone F.O. soups. The rye's what makes it really unique, methinks.)

3 large Spanish onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter

Caramelize onions in butter -- medium heat, stirring often, should take about 30 minutes. Add:

1/2 cup good port
1/2 cup rye whiskey

Allow to simmer for a minute. Add:

1 litre good chicken stock, or if you want it heavier, beef
2 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp salt (or to taste)

Bring to a near boil, then simmer 20 minutes. Ladle into bowls, add toasted slices of baguette and then top with shredded gruyere and broil until bubbly and brown. Dig in.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Maybe my luck really is changing?

Horrendously complicated long story short: I dropped my cellphone into the toilet.

Not good. Pride hit bottom after THAT one, I assure you. [splat] Jesus.

Bad things happened. Then the weird got weirder. Out came the hairdryer, apart came the phone. [whirrrrr] [fritz-snap-whonk] Then I resolved that I buy a new phone Monday.

Nosirree, Bob! WORKS peachy fucking keen! Dried out after a few hours of not fucking with it, and all is good! But if it was one of them newfangled fancy-ass showboat phones, I'd bet that it'd be dead now. WHEW.

And I somehow managed to fluke out and park in the one block of Commercial Drive that wasn't a no-parking zone for tonight's festivities. Yippy-skippy! I's a lucky gal!

I'm wiped so I made an early night of it, and now I'm going to hunt for a scary movie on TV and enjoy a glass of wine.

Two photos. One, fog lingering last Sunday morning over Burrard Bridge. Two, the skeletal lady with the cool house across from Grandview Park at tonight's Parade of the Lost Souls.

Friday, October 27, 2006

yawning... again.

it's just before midnight on a friday and i've just had a good long soak in the tub. i'm tired, quite. i worked barely shy of 10 hours today with only a 20-minute break to wander off for a coffee, slice of reduced-fat marble cake, and some fixings for supper -- which wound up being a garlic-intense mock caesar salad* with garlic-intense garlic bread.

garlic lowers blood pressure temporarily if you have it in large doses, so it's almost a relaxant. i'm very relaxed, except for a couple knots in my shoulder from working two long days in a row. but they were good days.

the long days mean i work only two hours tomorrow, which means i'll have two full days off.

i dunno what it is, but i'm feeling very, very on my game right now. my timing's really good for doing the whole posting-a-personal-ad-on-craigslist thing, because i suddenly have a lot of fodder for a podcast. i'm pretty certain i can bang out 15 minutes of quality material on sunday and monday now, and should have the whole thing in a lock.

i've felt pretty disconnected from myself for the last while, and doing a podcast has been a challenge. something about being a relationship writer and not getting romanced doesn't exactly jibe. not that i'm getting romanced yet, but the prospects are improving. still, you know what? i don't really care if i hit it off with any of the respondents to my ad or not. if i do, great, i'll love it. if not, well, i'm feeling happier with myself than i've felt in a long while, so, i don't really need that external approval that comes from being adored or loved or cherished. i'm doing it for myself right now. i've begun losing weight again, which is cool, and my skin's looking nicer, and i'm starting to eat better. it's like my universe is coming back under my control.

steff the universal dictator, controller of the cosmos (or something like it) seems to be back in action. things just feel right. i couldn't really explain it if i tried.

but, y'know, a little love and affection could go a long ways, too.

earlier, i fixed an ad for "smut wear" merchandise, but now i have to clean up my webstore, and then i can get that game on the go next week, too. it's coming near time that everything's going to be all together in a good and decent sort of way.

i'm optimistic, and i'm liking the new, improved, better-night-vision steff. she's good company.
mock caesar salad:

1 or 2 tablespoons good olive oil
two big cloves garlic, minced

combine the above ingredients with:
muchos romaine torn in bite-sized pieces

add sea salt and cracked pepper to taste, toss

in a separate dish, combine:
juice of one lemon
a few drops worcestshire sauce
1 tsp good balsamic vinegar

pour lemon mix over lettuce, toss
add grated parmesan
and, if you have it, shredded roasted chicken
mebbe a wedge or two of lemon
croutons, if you want
serves one hungry steff

(best croutons: cube day-old baguette or even bagels, melt a couple tablespoons butter with some cheap olive oil in a frying pan, add bread, toss to coat, sprinkle with some garlic & onion powder to taste, a bit of pepper and salt to taste, and saute over medium heat, turning every minute or so, until crispy. sometimes i get pedestrian and add dried basil.)


Link of the day

This woman's insane. The products are laughable, but I want to applaud the baby mop idea. Check it out.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Of Captions and Pumpkins and Ears and More

I worked on an awesome documentary that I can't tell you a goddamned thing about today. It was pretty cool, though, and I learned lots. No longer am I just a bear of little brain.

I am Steff, The Mighty Cognizant One! Fear me. Fear my awesome powers of mental domination.

Good, you're quaking in your boots. That'll do, donkey. That'll do.

Bleh. I'm tired. Yawn. 9.5 hours at work followed by about 1.5 hours of writing/research. My noggin smarts. Pun kinda intended. It was a pizza night.

I finally bought laundry soap. I'm about 10 days behind, which means I have about four loads to do. How enthralled am I? Tomorrow's the big day. I'll get a load on the go in the morning. Maybe even two.

I also bought purty makeup and new skincare stuff. I've decided to stop cleaning my face with Aveeno baby wash, and have moved on to Noxzema Cold Cream and their tingly scrub with microbeads. Holy smokes, does my face glow already. And I bought all nice jewel-tone eyeshadows. Couple shades of purple and blues, which look great on green eyes. Getting dolled up in the morning will be fun. And I got a new toothbrush. When did the start getting to be $5, 6, 7? And toothpaste is getting even worse than ever. A zillion brands. You have your TOTAL or COMPLETE or PRO or SUPERDUPERDUPER or whatever. Jesus. It's like I need to take a dental program just to have a clue. So, I bought Crest Pro, since it fights tartar, plaque, sensitivity, gingivitis and more. Has more medicinal ingredients. We'll see if it works. It'll need to pass the Kissability test, of course.

Work tomorrow will be less good. I knew I was working on this show today and was stoked from the get-go. Most docs, you learn about one thing. This one had several areas of interest. Very good. Not to mention that I spent probably three hours researching facts for it, too. It's one of those few shows I REALLY want to see on the air, so I can watch my handiwork in action.

I own a couple DVDs that have my captioning on them. That's pretty fucking cool. And, no, I can't tell you what they are. But I get to watch 'em and that's pretty wicked.

Like I say, though, tomorrow will be some of the subpar crap I'm never too thrilled to work on. Then, it's just work. I do my best, but it's still work. Funny, though, I think I'm better at the job that I used to be. Which is cool.

I always think it's ironic: I'm a hearing impaired person that captions television for the hearing impaired. Weird, huh?

Yes, you heard me, I wear hearing aids. I'm all happy, too. I just got my aids back from the repair shop -- new microphones, new tubing, new wiring, all fixed. Better than ever. Tip top! Which is great for work, too. I was wearing these shit ones the last week and my productivity dropped by 20%, which sucks, 'cos I'm proud of doing a good job... and ashamed to do a bad one.

Plus, this means I can get the dating game on the go pretty quick. Must sort out some plans. Whatever shall I do? Hmmz, indeed. Hey. Look. It's midnight. Why, is that a pumpkin I see?


(Oh, here's your word of the day: acinomycetes.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Breasts and Birds and Droolin' and Stuff!

A bird is roasting to a bitter death in my oven. Wups. Typo: A butter death!


With THYME, even.

I saw my boss's chicken-topped salad today and thought it looked stellar, so zipped outta work early and rushed off to Granville Island and bought a four-pound roasted for about $8... gee, exactly what she paid for her salad!

Tonight, spuds'n'gravy'n'broccolli'n'bird. Who says you gotta wait until Sunday, huh? Tomorrow? I'll do the salad she had, for a fraction of the cost, and with homemade salad dressing. 'cos, like, I'm just that cool. Oh, yeah. And lunch for the rest of the week's looking good. I think Friday's a chicken-baguette sandwich wich some piccante provolone and some of my funky Provence mustard and whatever else I dream up. I'm eatin' goooood.

But I'm tired. And I can't WAIT to sink my teeth into that breast. Not that I'm a breast girl or anything. I'm more partial to bubble butts in jeans, but I'll take what I can get, and that means bird boob. So to speak.

I'm sure it's sounding somewhat less appetizing now, but that's 'cos you can't SMELL that sexy beast. I can, and I'm nigh on droolin' over here.

I must baste. And then slack.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Girlie gets what she wants!

WOW! Jane's Guide (Vamp there) already changed the review so it's going to point to my new blog! See, you only get what you want if ya ASK.

I should be getting a couple thousand hits a day on the new blog after this. I'm a happy, happy Steff.

Doo-doo-de-dum-de-doop! Tee hee.


Aye yi yi!

All that work and I've just discovered that Jane's Guide had reviewed me for their site last week, sending my hits up to 4,000 one day, and over 2,500 every day since. I've been wanting them to review me for FOREVER! They said, "Some of the most worthwhile advice I've ever seen about being a good lover is here." WOW!

And recently I got a mention in, which was pretty cool, too.

But it kinda sucks, too, 'cos I need the press for the new site! Gawd. Well, all I can do is keep on doing what I'm doing. One's bound to lose out on hits when switching URL homes, but if I just keep doing the boring shit I'm doing, it will all come together. One day. Still... It's pretty cool. :) Great start to my day. Most worthwhile advice she's ever seen? Tee hee!

I'm a giddy little camper. Yippy!

And yesterday I finally took a decent bike ride for the first time in ages. God, did I need that.

Monday, October 23, 2006


God, I thought that'd take forever, and I guess it sort of did. I think I've spent about 6 hours today copying and pasting, copying and pasting. But I have hits that are 3 times higher than yesterday already, so clearly I had the right idea.

Now, a shower. Then, I'll tackle the postings from the last four months and slowly copy and paste the best of 'em over to the new site. Add 'em into the sidebar, too, and then I'll copy and paste those links to the Cunt, too. Then, even higher page hits will result.

I wouldn't be surprised if I'm hitting 1,500 hits a day by the end of this week. :) Yay ME.

I think this calls for a fruity vodka drink and a bath, actually. And my heroin addiction novel by Richard Hell. Yeah, sure, debauchery and cleanliness all at once for the paradox inside. Nice.

Lookie -- the Smart Cookie!

Heh, heh, heh. I've got half my best-of now transferred, and the original links on The Cunt now point to Smut, and already I've doubled my hits since yesterday and the day's half done.

I like being smart. Being smart is cool. Stay in school, kids. It pays!

Welcome to My Bullet-in-the-Brain Monday

Shoot me now. It's one of those days.

I'm transferring old posts to the new blog, and every one needs to be done manually. Then, I go back to the old blog, write in a simple line of text telling them it's been relocated, click and you'll go to the new site.

It'll probably piss people off. Some will not follow the link, et al, but whatever. That's a price I'll have to pay. When it comes to advertising, dollars get spent on hits and visits. About 50% or way more of my traffic comes by way of my archives. Without the archives on the new site, I'll languish with 200 or 300 hits a day, slowly increasing, but I don't have the time to slowly build a new larger audience.

(Fortunately, I'm wise enough to realize all the work that needs to be done to make this transition successful. It's hard, it's draining, exasperating, but worth it. I'm pleased to see I have more than 50 subscribers to my feed in just a week, so let's see if that number continues to escalate. Turns out there's a number of lines of code one must alter in their Mega Data on their html template in order to have all feeds redirected to Feedburner, where you can track and monitor stats. I did that last week for the new site, something I never did on the old site. Most pages can auto-find feed of several varieties if the Mega Data's not homogenized with the Feedburner code. God. I'm learning too much about this shit now.)

Thus. The mind-numbing continues. I should be podcasting, but I'm tired and I'm in a shit mood, so at least I'm doing work, per se. This will pay dividends, what I'm doing now. That I despise doing it is but a hiccup in the long run. Maybe water and coffee and food are needed, since I've been doing this for three solid hours now. Well, I've been doing a variety of things for three solid hours, but all related to the blogosphere and my place within it.

God. What an endless task. I probably have about 15 or 20 hours of this work to do, and I keep avoiding it. As soon as it happens, though, I'll probably be up to 1,000 or more hits per day.

The money's in my archives. I'd be a fool to ignore it much longer. Well, I'll get back to it in awhile, but we'll call this my lunch break.

I'm not sure why I'm in such a pissy mood. It began yesterday and continues still. I've found out it's 700 hours of work I need in order to qualify for employment insurance, and the work that's guranteed to me over the next few weeks might not take me to the threshold. I'm at about 585 hours now, so I'm a little alarmed to discover that the hours are higher than I'd originally thought. (I thought about 640, but it turns out that BC has the lowest unemployment rate, at 4.2%, and that means the required hours are higher than they once were.)

I hate stress. I hate uncertainty. I'm sure it'll work out. Always does, doesn't it? But I just don't want to have to call in favours or beg family members. I've recontacted a couple of employment agencies to let them know I'm interested in temp and contract work after November 15th.

I will, of course, let my present employer know where I stand, and I have faith they'll do all they can (without compromising their bottom line, of course) to help me get the hours where they need to be.

I've cancelled all engagements today as I'm far too productive to be social today. Getting shit done feels good, but I wish it was more enjoyable stuff.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

pissing and moaning about loser food

i feel like a culinary loser.

all week, i've had pizza, hot dogs, and anything else that takes little or no prep. now? i've just put a store-bought frozen lasagna in the oven. good lord. to what depths will i next sink? yeesh. (at least i had the decency to turn my nose at the pre-packaged "just heat and serve" alleged garlic toast. some things i will never do. the travesty! no. i kill my own garlic and crush it and make happy things happen. it's the "i'm single and it shows--smell my breath" freedom of stinky food.)

this does it... i need to get into work earlier on tuesday so i can zip to, oh, i dunno... any place that sells real food. even a salad would be stellar. tomorrow: greens. yes. health.

the whole descent into... urm. culinary desperation? began with the weird fact that i started to crave hot dogs after thoroughly trashing them in a post on here. i'm a hypocritical bitch. sue me. just try it. then, i made swedish meatballs, which became lunch all week, and to top it off, pizzas were on sale.

the horror! the horror! me, a self-proclaimed foodie, eating this fucking trash for day after day after day. i'm ill at the thought, but i have a headache and i'm world-class tired after a world-class concert last night and the stupid, naive, idiotic thought that i would come home at, oh, 1am and start recording my podcast on an "up" after a good gig... i had a coffee with actual caffeine in it at 12am.

i hit the sack around 3:30 or so, having accomplished nil, and woke up at 9:30 feeling hung-over, but it was just that i stupidly never took my meds till late. then, work. bah! work! bah! work sucks when one has a bad, bad headache, such as i've had all day. why did i not just sleep in? wouldn't have changed my productivity one iota.

ah, well. at, oh, say 9pm i'll finally have dinner. [said weakly]: yay.

okay. okay. that does it. i know what tomorrow holds: salad and a roasted cornish hen. then i will feel both healthy, AND like a food snob... which means i'll be half-way back to normal. at least the "snob" bit is fitting, and perhaps even the "healthy," if this week was entirely stricken from the record of my life. this quasi-lasagna will have to make do for lunches this week. some good will come of it. i swear.

Speaking of Wafflers...

Suddenly Bush thinks Iraq needs a little rethinking. And the election is when, exactly?

We're used to decisions being made (and gas prices falling) as elections loom, but this is fucking ridiculous. I wouldn't be surprised if he introduced new laws regarding child pornography and pedophilia, for god's sake. Political opportunism at its best. But don't listen to me, listen to them.

On Passion, Performances, and Pictures.

It was a dark and foggy night when our protagonist set off to enjoy a night of music, provided by Gomez and the delightfully surprising Gabriella et Rodrigo, with she being the single best female guitarist I've ever witnessed.

The fog is crazy, people. Crazy. Riding the scooter home felt like an invitation to a party with death. Dear god. Wow.

Okay, here's something for the kids out there. Concerts have an etiquette, all right? In between songs, go fucking nuts. When the band's playing, shut the hell up. After a particularly wicked instrumental bridge, applause and cheering is cool. Keep your "Whoo!" and "Yeow!" shouts to a fucking minimum.

Know why? Concerts aren't for YOU to be a star. Concerts are for you to shut the fuck up and listen to some pretty wild musical experiences. And tonight, Gomez, was one HELL of a concert. This coming from a girl who's seen over 200, probably more, bands perform in her time. Gomez has entered that rare air: When they come, I will find a way to be there and see it. It's just that damned good.

I had a bunch (meaning 12-14) of yahoos behind me who were shrieking non-stop through the show. I turned around and said, "Yo, can you keep it down a bit?" And they naturally treated me like I was 80. "It's a con-cert," they explained. Yeah. Uh-huh, and I'm here for it, not for your nine-year-old shouting, awright?

But maybe that's one of those things you learn when you hit 28 or so. You see enough bullshit crap concerts where you learn that the performers are capitalizing on editing for their albums, but no such useful tool avails itself in live performances. Now and then you see someone who clearly not only loves what they're doing, but are excited enough to give it their all. Gomez is in that rare selection of performers who don't have jobs, they have passions.

I was one a huge, monster Tragically Hip fan. Once, they loved to perform. They were the best in the country. I think I've seen 'em 7, maybe 8 times. But... now it's clearly a job. They do the bare minimum, try to stuff a shitload of their new music in to sell their new albums, and do less and less of their classic material. I won't support that. I have a job. I don't need to see other people doing theirs with no passion, just skill.

Passion I'll pay for. And fun, too. Gomez had both. Wish I'd known more of their music before I went, but sometimes I like to go with fewer preconceptions. There's about a half-dozen Gomez songs I know and love, and the rest I've not really listened to. Now I will.

Here's some pics from tonight:

And here's some pics from this past week:

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Snicker ( /inhale)

George Michael, who I was totally smitten with as a teen and who I'd probably see on tour in a heartbeat if he popped into town, has consistently been making himself look like a prat in the press, and this continues still.

He lit up a joint for an interview in Spain, where smokin' dope's legal, and now everyone's up his ass about it.

The problem with pot proponents is that they're all so keen to get everyone smokin' and happy and all. I smoke dope. Now, then, always, blah, blah. I go through phases. I can't be a chronic dope smoker because, a) I just can't, and b) I have shit lungs. That said, I would never advocate people to just run out and start smoking up without doing some fucking research first.

The pot advocates lie. It is NOT for everyone. I think that the whole "It's not addictive" thing is bullshit. It is. It's a psychological crutch. It's far easier to quit than most substances, including cigarettes or even a chocolate addiction. It can indeed be a gateway drug if it means that it introduces you to how fun it can be to disconnect mentally. And dope can be a vehicle for other substances, in that you can lace pot with coke or meth or acid, and don't think it doesn't happen. Hell, I shared a couple joints in Toronto a decade or so ago, only to find out later that they were heavily laced with LSD -- which I can't do 'cos I'm epileptic. (I only ever get unnoticeable petite mal seizures now, though.)

Still, I think pot has a place for a certain segment of the society. Me, I tend to TRY to use it creatively, but it's difficult. Here in Vancouver, you get what you get when you get it. You don't buy it by the strain type or whatever, like you see on Weeds. Some guy's got something, and you buy it. Simple. So, that being the case, you never really know whether you're getting an energetic dope or a slacker dope, and that's the problem that plagues me. I need the former, 'cos the latter kicks my ass something fierce.

Ah, George, you loveable fucking twit. Jesus. The guy's music's pretty damned good. (His "Songs from the Last Century" album was basically ignored by the world and is, in my opinion, his best work -- stuff like Roxanne turned into a jazzy '40s cabaret number, or Brother Can You Spare a Dime, and other classics, but all given the jazzy cabaret feel with powerful vocals.) But his judgment in real life is a fucking crock. Poor George. Nothing like being rich and insane, eh?

Gotta tell ya, if I ever cash the big cheque and make it rich and famous, at least I'll have had the pleasure of WORKING for my success. When success comes too easily, people get fucking weird. Jesus.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The World's Longest Posting: Procrastination In Action

I don’t want to go to work. I’m procrastinating. I have loaner hearing aids ‘cos I’m getting mine repaired again just before the warranty expires, and these loaners aren’t worth shit. I hate them. For now, I’m making my living off my hearing, and this leaves me pretty bitter. I’m tempted to pay the $70 rush fee just because this hearing-30%-less thing’s a real fucking thorn in my side. But it’s a stupid thing to spend money on.

I’ve been enjoying work until now. Something in me has changed, and sitting still for hours and tapping out captioning has been almost Zen-like. My months and months of anxiety are starting to wear away. Soon, I’ll feel more like writing and stuff, but right now I feel like doing the bare minimum. It’s like I’m recalibrating. But the funny thing about work is, I’m somehow churning out 20% more work at, I believe, the same quality as ever. My sound effects are getting more creative, though, too. (I close caption for a living these days.) I think I’ve just got more focus. Probably more determination than I’ve had before, and it’s presenting itself in things like getting things done better and being more adaptable to the happenings in my life.

(I have work guaranteed now until mid-November, at which point I’ll finally have accrued enough hours to be eligible for employment insurance, in case anything should transpire. There may still be work, though, and that’s what I hope. Fingies crossed. If not, though, my ass will finally be covered again. It means I can sleep a little better now. My dickhead old employers have still not provided me with a record of employment. On Monday I talk to the government and see what my recourse is, as one month would have passed since my dismissal. Fucking people…)

I’ve started a new book. I guess I’m beginning to read a little more. I’ve read Truman Capote’s Breafast with Tiffany and a few other short stories. I’ve also read the Bobby Gold Stories by Anthony Bourdain. Tiffany was obviously brilliant. Bobby Gold was a puzzler. See, I’m always dubious of books where they claim it’s short stories but it’s all stories about the same character, all in chronological order, all about the same facts. Well, it’s a novel without the dots connected is what it is.

I can’t help it – it just seems like the easy way out. You can cheat a little on character development, eliminate the silly things – like the silences between the words. The things that are hard for writers. Lesser writers can conjure brilliant stories in bits and pieces. It’s melding things together without creating waste that reveals brilliance, right?

Or maybe not. When I “write”, it’s in short stories. I do some flash fiction. I’ve got some pretty decent stories tucked away. A writing teacher described one as Denis Johnson (Jesus’ Son) meets Margaret Atwood and Graham Greene in a dark alley. How fucking flattered was I, huh? That was a definite high point.

Still, I enjoyed the Gold Stories. He’s a good writer. I wonder how much people realize he’s really gleaned from Hunter Thompson, but I think there are few “edgy” writers under 40, or even under 50, that don’t steal from Hunter. God knows I do. Bourdain’s very up-front about it, though. His borrowings are obvious and he does nothing to hide them. He’s honest about his influences, whether he puts it in words or not. As am I.

Ah, sigh, my edge. My edge, though, has become dull I fear. I’m lacking something. I don’t care if others can see it, I KNOW it. I’m disappointed my punk-pop gig got cancelled last Monday. My week was probably better as a result of it, since I’m 33, but I know my pulse would’ve gone through the roof, and I’d have had a high that’d have lasted days. Certain gigs promise that, and that one certainly did.

So, I’m still… this. I’m not sad or depressed or anxious. I’m pretty decent. But I have no edge. Is it my anti-depressants? It can’t be. That part of me could never get medicated, I don’t think. It runs a mile deep, like Death Valley, or something. It’s at my core. I’m choosing instead to blame it on not exercising and reading things that are too “nice” and watered down (or completely disconnected from my life, like Bobby Gold). There’s an element missing in my brew, like a lack of salt in a stew, and it’s growing irksome.

At that job that I hated, I had to watch everything I say. Now I’m practicing podcasting, and I’m watching what I say. Fuck, I’ve had to watch what I say in friendships and everything these past few months, and I’m just not used to needing to be tactful or diplomatic. I wonder if it’s just a combination of all these things. Less exercise, meds, watching words carefully, and so forth. Probably just all that damned anxiety, too.

A friend once told me that I likely couldn’t write the novels and fiction I’d been trying to write because my life came with so much conflict packed into it already, and trying to write more conflict would be adding insult to injury. Maybe that’s part of what I’m enduring right now. The last year has been, easily, the most tumultuous of my life. I think that some decade down the road I’ll reflect on the last year and lump it into the bunch with when mother died and the folks divorced. A bad, bad time for me, no doubt.

But I know I didn’t get a big readership from being all nice and fluffy, and I don’t give a fuck what anyone says. I think some of my appeal comes from the fact that I am indeed nice and fluffy, but that I really know how to throw down a rant, too. Thank god for PMS.

So, now I’m reading Go Now by Richard Hell. Yes, Richard Hell of Richard Hell and the Voidoids, the seminal punk band from NYC’s golden era, famous most for the track Love Comes in Spurts, I suspect. It’s a heroin tale, probably of the Irvine Welsh ilk, and I’m curious about it. Just started it, so we’ll see how far I get.

I WANT MY FUCKING EDGE BACK, MAN! Y’know, I was wandering about my pad and I saw, through an ajar cupboard door, the mug that my jerk of a former employer gave me, and the thought of taking it down the street and hurtling it against a brick wall made me laugh and laugh. Sounds like an amusing time. I mean, I don’t get to break enough shit, you know? Destruction is good for you! Everything I ever needed to learn, I learned from Graham Greene’s Destructors (which I read years and years and years before it was featured as a backstory in Donnie Darko, thankyouverymuch). I’m trying to remember the last time I deliberately broke something. Look at David Letterman – he breaks shit all the time, TVs hurtled down to 53rd Street, that sort of thing, and he’s not only a very happy, content looking guy, but he’s paid millions of dollars to do it, too.

I wonder what the hell it is I need to do for my edge. What in god’s name do I have to do? You know what it is, though? Everyone I’m friends with is fucking old now. I still wanna be 26, but everyone feels fucking ancient. Married. Settled down. Or just too damned conservative. And I need a car. I need a car so I feel safe driving around the city at 3am (because I sure as shit don’t enjoy it on a scooter). I want to hit up the beach, go to the top of Cypress. I want to get the hell out of the city. I feel BORED. BORED, BORED, BORED!

But there’s always concerts. Maybe I’ll swing by Zulu and see what the best-looking gig might be and go solo to a show sometime. I’ve never done that, you know. Well, once, I did. YEAH, that’s right! (Way back in the day – the Hip at Seabird Island with Husker Du, World Party, Hothouse Flowers, and Midnight Oil. I met folks who shared their rye and beer with me, and we hung together for hours. And it was fucking awesome. So, why don’t I do that? Yeesh.)

All right. Heh, heh. Find out what the kids are listening to, and get in there. Fuck it. Age is a number, man.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


There are a few good things I should report:

1) Although I think the advertising gig that made itself known to me of late is now kaput (talk about taking for fucking ever to decide!), I did receive an invitation for Blogads, an exclusive network of advertising ops for blogs only. You sign up, they do the work for you. I think I can even list THIS blog and make money here. Which is cool. Triple the fun, really. Finally signed up today. (Don't bother trying -- I had a few times, but you need to be invited, and not everyone has invitations to extend. I tapped into a blogging friend who tapped into another, and so forth.)

2) I've had a couple 'real' writers find me and tell me they love my shit, including an author of a book from the UK I've heard great things about long before she contacted me. Penguin Marketing has added me to their list of people they're whoring free books to for reviews, so it looks like I'm getting more free books. But they're all about sex, and I'm not involved. Now that I'm exercising again, my sex drive's coming back, so this may create more problems than it solves. Still. Free shit rocks.

3) A dating site in Toronto found my blog and loves it, and has added both the new addy and the old one to their site, and the new blog's traffic is 35% from their site. Not bad. Looks like a good connection.

4) I've only had my Feedburner account for the new blog set up for two days and I already have 35 subscribers.

And I think there's something else, but it's slipping my mind. This is good, though. Shitty dream, shitty day's start, but I'm starting to get constant little things reminding me that I think I'm on the right path. Today I'll talk to my boss and see what the prognosis looks like for me sticking around awhile. I haven't been looking for anything 'cos I've been too swamped. My GUT tells me everything will be okay, and though my gut's normally right, I can't really afford to count on it.

Depressing, and No More Tag

That's just depressing.

I had the weirdest dream. I dreamt my mother, for some weird reason, bought me a flight to Paris. It was going to be 10 hours. She made a point of telling me that it was a cheap, crowded flight with only one television screen.

It's depressing enough to dream you're in Paris and then wake up to a Wet Coast day, but it's more depressing when you're having a great conversation with your mother and then you wake up and remember all over again that she's dead and you're never having another conversation.

Shitty way to start a day, that's for goddamned sure. And I don't want to be up, I want to sleep. And I don't want to get wet, but I have to take my scooter to work today since I have a 6pm appointment back in my hood.

On the upside, I taped last night's Weeds, so I'll watch that while I have coffee and breakfast -- which I have enough time to make eggs for.

But methinks I'll be keeping largely to myself today. It's probably a good thing to have such a depressing dream on the night before I talk to my shrink (which is my 6pm appointment).

Blah. I miss my mom sometimes, and this is one of those times. I've never had anyone else present themselves in my life that I could talk to as easily as I talked to her. It's been seven years so the painful days don't come 'round very much anymore, but they still do make appearances. I'll shake this soon, but for now. Sigh.


I started this last night, so here you go:

I don't know about you, but I know I feel safer tonight.

A school in South Boston has banned tag. Yes. Tag. You're it. No you're not. Not ever again, you poor little fucking Southpaws.

Apparently some kids already "feel safer." Yeah, they're fucking pussies, that's why they feel safer. What the hell's wrong with kids falling and getting boo-boos? All these preventative laws so that people/places don't get sued are REALLY cramping our styles, people.

When I was a kid, we used teeter-totters, trampolines, merry-go-rounds, and more. We got hurt. We got bruises and cuts and more. We threw rocks. We had slingshots and wobbly boxes nailed onto our too-small skateboards. We careened down the stupidest of hills with only walls and trees as breaks. Yet, here we are.

We were injured and we grew up with the reality check that, well, sometimes you get hurt. Sometimes you lose. And you suck it the fuck up and you take it like a man -- or like a kid. 'cos that's how it works.

I've actually almost sued someone once, so I'm part of the litigious framework that makes all this precaution-taking almost sensible. They had all-wood steps that were slimy and slippery, and on a frosty day, I took a spill and landed on my hand, which needed surgery and has never been the same since. I got a whopping $500 from the owners of the place and they put wire mesh over the steps so they've never been slippy since. Sometimes, suits make necessary change happen.

Most of the time, though, it spoils everyone's fun. I mean, it's fucking TAG! Shit happens! Stupid fucking school. Watch. Others will follow. Next thing you know, kids are gonna be sitting around reading fucking bedtime stories and never doing anything of interest. They'll make models or play Legos and they'll all be 800 fucking pounds 'cos no one wants to get hurt.

There's a great way to raise your kids: Avoid pain. Yeah. Never get into relationships, never fall in love, never climb a mountain, never do anything that will ever, ever result in you injuring your fragile little self. C'mon, have a sack. Ante up. Live life. I have scars of every variety -- mental, psychic, physical -- and yet I keep putting my chips on the table.

We're raising a nation of cowards, and it's just getting worse and worse. As GayBoy says, "Might as well wrap the kids in bubblewrap."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Urban Legends At Work

There's a new series on Canadian television, Intelligence, by writer/creator Chris Haddock, a force in Canadian tv. (Haddock had a failed outing on CBS with his show The Handler, which starred Joey Pantoliano as an FBI handler -- the agent responsible for keeping tabs on and even coaching undercover agents infiltrating criminal organizations. Excellent series but hard to sell, and it was missing something. Hard to explain what. Haddock's Canadian shows work seamlessly and are all substance. Something was lost in the translation.)

Intelligence sticks with the behind-the-scenes approach Haddock uses in all the crime shows and civil dramas he creates. This is the inner workings of the Canadian intelligence industry as well as the well-greased drug industry here on the coast.

Some former friends of friends of my extended family were players in the industry. The dude of which I speak died rather ceremoniously in South America. Finagling another large deal of cocaine, I'm sure. He was just a friend of someone I knew, and I'd met the guy maybe three or four times. Big ol' beer gut, pretty low-rent guy, if you know what I'm saying. You'd never have him pegged as some drug kingpin. A fisherman, maybe, but a drug kingpin? Ha. Right. I've heard stories, though.

The funny thing about the guy is, when he died -- in his 50s, in bad shape -- his stuff was just doled out among friends and family, as he had no heirs or exes. There was a $3,000 mountain bike given to a cousin of mine.

Turns out the guy was another urban myth maker -- hated banks, didn't like to leave a papertrail, and didn't trust home security. He apparently made quarterly trips to Stanley Park... Once the largest urban park in the world. (1,000 acres; it seems to have been dethroned, but the reports are conflicting.) The difference between Stanley Park and others, though, is this is nature untouched, largely. Rainforests, marshes, cliff walls, and all. It's a stunning park and I cycle around it often. Just beautiful.

Anyhow. Our friend of a friend, the only place he ever rode his bike was into Stanley Park. Apparently, he chose to bank with Nature. He buried his sums, never wrote anything down, and now he has apparently joined ranks with all the others who banked with Nature. Our legend has it that he himself buried more than $100,000 in that park. Tsk.

Stanley Park's a hell of a place. Some will tell you that it lies on an intersection of spiritual laylines -- a spot that's a hotbed of spiritual activity. (Other famous places on laylines are Stonehenge and Giza, for example. Apparently.)

There's a legend about a boy found wandering the forests in Stanley Park in the midst of the war, a very spooky little ghost story that I'm having trouble remembering in full. (Do you remember it, Whipped Boy? I remember telling you that night we stole the mugs and saw the pyrotechnics. Ha! Damn, you're old now. Married people... pft.)

But there ain't no place in this city that spooks the shit out of me like Stanley Park. Oh, HEY now. I just thought of a great tale I can recount for a Halloween story. Woo. Cool. :) Well. Workiework beckons. (Blah. It's an ugly day out. A better day for jammies and mugs of warm bevvies.)

But, yes. A ghastly story for you all... later. Next time, more Mrs. Potschka. (And yes, they were all short, Shamus. Goodness. I loved Mrs. Castro and her stories of growing up in Trinidad -- stealing mangoes off the trees and all. Sigh. She was so cool.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

And to think--

I'm passing:

Sssssss *** (1973) A snake scientist turns his daughter's boyfriend, his lab helper, into a big cobra. PG CC Stereo

(Starting right now on Space Channel, as seen on

Reminds me of one of my favourite movies that I hope to hell they one day release on DVD, or that I should at least ferociously hunt for through Torrents: Top of the Food Chain.

As said by Campbell Scott: "I have found the deceased remains of a human corpse in the lumpy-bumpy part of town outside of town."

My all-time favourite line from a movie.


I gave myself a haircut tonight, not because I'm too cheap to pay, but because using an hour or so of my very busy time to get a haircut doesn't compute right now. (I'd rather see friends or something else. Much better!)

'sides, I'm trying to grow my hair out. I don't want it cut, I just want it to look better.

And now it does. It looks great! Cute, even. Yippy! And now, back to our regularly scheduled meatballs. (Making a late dinner.)

Hey, Look, Ma! No Hands! And Progress, Too!

I gotta rush out of the house pretty quick-like now, but hey. Had a good weekend -- got a lot done on the podcast front. I have about eight minutes of edited content. Now I know how much I still need to record -- quite a bit, but I think I can manage it over the coming weekend.

I was fucking brilliant to set up my weekend as I have. I wound up not doing anything special on Saturday, finding the headspace to get into, etc. Then I worked on Sunday -- after I did about 3-4 hours podcasting in the morning (of which about four minutes proved useable -- various versions of the same things). Monday wound up being about 5-6 hours of editing. It's slow going, but it's going!

I'm gonna go through my "corrupt" stuff to see if I can find some 10-30 second segments that I can weave together. Some of that shit was FUNNY, but the quality sucks. Snippets might work, and then I'll have to edit it for peaks and explosions.

Along with all the fun free SFX stuff I'm finding on the web -- from Mel Blanc through to Family Guy snippets -- I think I'll have a fairly entertaining show. I love the little bitsies I'm laying throughout. I want this to be a fun broadcast to listen to.

If there's anything I'm fortunate with in regards to my work and such, it's that I've really learned through my job to pay attention to timing and how to edit. It's sorta neat. Now I need to buckle down and do an hour or so of edit work a night over the next few nights. I'm laying enough groundwork, building an MP3 file folder of useable snippets, that a two-week turnaround on shows should be possible. Hell, I think this one'll be finished sometime next week.

Yes, THIS one is taking forever -- but only because I'm choosing to have a high-quality show and because I refuse to compromise on the quality. I could have worse attributes. I know the show'll improve with each episode, because experience builds talent, but why not set the standards somewhat high at the beginning? Huh?

One particularly odd little clip of mine has me doing a play-by-play on a tarp being laid down. Somehow, it's a three-minute segment. It's weird. It's sort of, well, a tribute to the nothingness of Seinfeld and all. I mean, it's a tarp. Really.

Anyhow. This is getting to be fun. It's creative in a new way. I like challenges once I start seeing over the top mound of the hill, you know? It's all "pfft! Sure, it WAS hard, but now it's cake, man!" And that's sort of where I'm at.

Things are no longer looking good on the advertising front, but such is life. I'm gonna have a fun product. Advertising will come. I know -- I KNOW -- that all my blogs have suffered during this podcast discovery time. I know my hits are down. I know my quality took a long walk and has yet to come back. I know.

And I know I'll reverse that trend. It'll be hard work. But, fuck it, man. I did it once. Now I know better how to do it again. I'll prevail. And I'll have a fun, fun podcast, too. I hope!

I'm glad I've never listened to other people's podcasts (heh, so fuckin' stubborn am I!) because it's kept my imagination wide open on doing this one. What the hell. I can learn from others later. Now it's my time.

Did I mention I'm having fun? Right. Lots o' dat. And some confidence is making a return, too. Woo!

Well, now it's shower time.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mrs. Potschka and the Eagle Eye (Part One)

It was 1983 and I was in Grade Four.

School was a daily struggle for the young Steff. Health issues were at an all-time peak. An extended children's hospital stay would be around the corner. I was still suffering severe epileptic seizures. I was weak, sick, and often tired. But I was still a kid.

Mrs. Potschka was the hardest hard-ass in our Catholic elementary school. She wasn’t tall but she made up for that with her sheer intimidation. She had an artificial leg to replace the leg she lost as a child to polio, and, being kids, that was a freaky-assed thing to know about your teacher. A wooden stump was a rumour. One kid famously fibbed that she had the leg fashioned out of the bones of the horrible children who made her teaching life difficult. Bones tied together with a bungee cable... so that more bones could fit in later. He said she had a list of who drank the most milk and was the most bad so she was cherry-picking the good bones of bad children.

I drank my milk at home. She was a sinister Scot and she scared the shit out of me.

But I was a tough kid, and if anyone had the balls to stand up to the big, bad Mrs. Potschka, it was me. I knew that my health was making me into a pretty bad student. I thought I could do better, but having been sick all my life, who really knew, right? Well, I knew one thing: I was regularly beginning to fail assignments, and that couldn’t continue.

Yet another grammar exercise was marked and I came within a single point of passing the assignment. Knowing I knew the right answer for one of the errors, and being pissed that I’d written down the wrong one, I took my freshly marked book and scowled at it. Ah ha. Liquid Paper. I would white out the wrong answer, and put in what I knew was right. And then. Then I would challenge the old battle-ax! Problem solved. I was nothing if not creative.

Well, I put my hand up.

“Um, Mrs. Potschka, you made a mistake.”

She dubiously regarded me. “A mistake, hmm? Well, bring that over here and show me.”

So, I did. My absolutely perfectly smooth, flawless Liquid Paper application would not let me down. That much I knew. I reached her big desk, opened the book, and pointed to the now corrected sentence. “See?”

She started to chuckle slightly, then stopped. “What have I told you about my eagle eye?” she asked.

“Um. That you have one?”

“That I do!” she snapped. She held the booklet up, holding the one page out over her desklamp. “And it sees all of children’s little lies. But this is no little lie. You accused me of being wrong. You’re a blamer, and you should be ashamed of yourself! This is cheating, Ms. Cameron, and I will not tolerate it in my classroom!”

I scurried back to my desk. She continued her bellowing while I was in transit.

“Cheaters,” she said to the class. “Deserve the firmest and strictest of punishment.”

She looked over in my direction.

“You, Miss Cameron, must realize that this,” she said, holding up the original grammar exercise. “Is far too simple a task to cheat on! Cheating is always wrong, but this is worst – this is lazy cheating. And now, you must be punished. You will learn that cheating, while a short road to success, is a long road to purgatory and sin. You will atone for these sins, and you will atone for them to me."

I glanced around me. Every kid was looking at me. Would I get the strap? What in the hell was the battle-ax gonna do this time?

“Paul Bunyan is a legendary Canadian. And I want you, Steffani, to read the entire poem. And memorize it.”

A poem? Pfft! Easy! I had a good memory. I wasn’t scared. Until I saw the poem. I flipped through my anthology until I saw it. It went on and on -- page after page after page! 39 chapters.

“And you will not have a single lunch, recess, or before/after-school play period until I feel you have met the challenge with success.”

Oh, shoot! 39 chapter narrative poem?! Yeah. It was hell. Worse than that, it was a lousy poem. By that time, I'd already had some poetry books in my collection, and this, this was no Seuss. It wasn't funny, or original, or interesting. And who cared about a stupid lumberjack? I liked my trees attached to stumps anyhow!

One day, I would finally have recess again. To this day, I remember not a fucking thing about Paul Bunyan. Every single day at the end of lunch, I’d spend five minutes alone with Mrs. Potschka, reciting what I’d memorized so far that day. Finally, somewhere about ¾ of the way through the poem, about a month later, at the beginning of spring, she called me up to the desk.

“Read the rest of the poem to me -- from the book.” So, I did. Then she said, “Now get out there and play.” That was that.

Later this week, I'll tell you about my writing lessons from Mrs. Potschka, and the single best trick I've ever learned about writing, and how it was her that taught me. And then I'll tell you about how Grade Four ended and how I came to be reunited with my Evil Nemesis in Grade 6.

(And in case there's some fluke that Mrs. Potschka reads this, let it be said that she ranks among my most memorable teachers, and I was happy to have her again in Grade 6. Unlike any other teacher of mine, she's the only one that made me realize that writing and clarity were work, and hard to achieve. Wonder where she is these days?)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

changing paces

for far too long now, i've been spreading myself too thin creatively. i ain't no fucking stephen king, man. ain't never gonna happen. i was once told that if i were to take up track, i would be well suited for sprints but dismal for marathons. yeah. apt.

the whole robertson davies quote thing's fucking with my head. a writer ought not write until the thought of not writing becomes unbearable. ought not. that's some really fucking powerful statement from a writer of his ilk, yeah? i mean, jeez.

i'd have to be a fucking moron to think i don't have potential. i'd also have to be a fucking moron to think wells don't run dry. i know mine has in the past, and there's nothing in this world that scares me like the thought of losing creativity. not a fucking thing. go ahead, die on me. just don't make me uninteresting. seriously, man. if i ever become boring, shoot me in the fucking head. done. over. god. to be uninteresting -- there's a fucking travesty. yeesh.

do i digress? hell. i'm deliberately pulling back a bit. i'm changing up the creative process a bit, because i'm sick of delivering under par and watering shit down. i think i'm a better writer than that, and a better speaker, and i really need to get my fucking game on. and, don't worry, i am.

focus, baby. it's all that.

i just got approval from work today for a funky new schedule. i'll be doing four 8 hour days and one 4 hour stint on the weekend (when it's quieter and my productivity shoots up by 60% -- they pay me less and get the same fucking amount of work done. weird, we're both benefitting. there, kids, go convince your bosses now. it's pragmatic to have a longer weekend.) but i can choose to work sat or sun, whenever the hell i want. 3am to 7am? sure! whatever.

this is the first weekend of that. tomorrow's a day off as well. i'm sleeping in. it's really, really working well. oh, and, ironically, my hearing aid is dying again! my warranty expires -- get this, next saturday! so, i'm dealing with that. this job SUCKS ASS for hearing aids! headphones over hearing aids in ear: recipe for moisture. eight hours a day? technological disaster. so, i'm gonna sweet-talk the audiologist into doing high-power cleaning of them for free biweekly. i think i can pull it off. i'll just have to wake up charming. then play the "my job depends on it!" card and try to convince them that if i hadn't been sold this piece-of-shit subpar aid in the first place, i wouldn't be in this boat.

anyhow. i know that, to you, the blog reader, this writing-less thing is a negative. i know, i know. and, frankly, it's addictive. i may not be able to pull back the reins. but i'm really gonna try hard to, and i think the result will be better quality writing.

after all, when words are a more coveted thing, they're liable to be better chosen, wouldn't you think? words of a rather rare air, one would hope. i'm looking forwards to feeling a little greedy about vocabulary and hording certain words for special occasions. i get obsessive-compulsive like that sometimes. okay. a lot of times.

sue me.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

An ode to the slacker, sort of

Blatantly stolen from, but since they've so perfectly encapsulated my day, I thought I would save myself any real work and YET still manage a posting. By, uh, blatantly "borrowing" this encapsulative kinda comic. To top that off, my dinner's about to get delivered here with a movie. Nifty. I love people who bring me food. They rank among my favourites. Oh, indeed.

(Oh, and I may be a slacker, but I'm a slacker with nary a dirty dish, spotless floors, a clean bathroom, and some candles burning. An accomplished day, probably because I had a triple -header of Linger, Mosey, and Lollygag from 12 - 2, when I went on a nice long amble to test out my new sneaks, and have discovered walking's almost pain-free with 'em, so, yay! Good shoes for the slacker walker life season that's upon us.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

a tale of hoarding and processed cheese and other spices

work seems to be getting busier, which could be good for me. yesterday there was a meeting at a film co here in town and there would've been a decision as to whether a project is to be greenlighted or not, and if so, my resume was to be passed around.

i'm not sure that would be a good thing. it'd be an incredible job, and i know i would love it, but the writing and podcasting would suffer greatly. blogs and podcasting being the flavour of the moment, i'd be a fool to lose momentum. but i'd also be a fool to pass up the job if what i have isn't permanent or at least long-termish. working in "real" film jobs means 12, 14-hour days. not conducive to writing.

so, ideally, well, we'll see what happens. where i'm at seems to fit better than it once did. i'm enjoying the work, and weirdly, i'm much faster at it. guess i'm focused more. i'd say that was so, at least. i'm sure my quality is still rusty. sigh. it'll get there.

i still can't believe the difference from working in that shit job i had. first bad job in 12 years, whew. thanks for the crash course.

it's a t.v. night. yippy. three good hours -- from ugly betty to grey's anatomy to six degrees. and i popped into gayboy's after i goofed about an appointment time elsewhere, and gayboy sent me home with dinner ingredients so i could be lazy. yay, gayboy! i have Hamburger Helper "Cheesy Enchilada," with seasonings from Taco Bell. mm-mm-good.

speaking of my looming redolent white trash dining extravaganza, i'd best be cracking. and in light of the redolent bit, that includes cracking some windows. it'll smell of beefy processed cheese for days otherwise. i'm feeling very anti-social all of a sudden. i'll sit there all isolated-like, hoarding my mass of yummy processed goodness and fondling my remote control. yes, one of the sad and pathetic single nights that i secretly relish and greatly covet.

OH. about that: being canadian and all, i happened to notice that the directions are different on american hamburger helper meals than they are here in canada. in canada, we're to remove the cooked mass from the stove, cover, and let set for 5 minutes, or until it reaches desired consistency. in america, it apparently is desired consistency as soon as it comes off the stove. or is it that they think the instructions are too complicated or something, given its white trash appeal and all? one must wonder. strange things, it seems, are afoot at Betty Crocker. i mean, geographically dependent instructions for hamburger? but what if i'm a canadian vacationing in the united states? is it do as romans do in rome, or am i allowed to hang onto my fiercely patriotic and unique instructions from my mother land?

huh? dude, explain this to me. yeesh.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Potpourri (And not the Stinky kind)

My nephew is 9, turning 10 in less than a month now. He's growing his hair long.

For Hallowe'en he has chosen to be a Grim Reaper. It seems he's developed a liking for the television series Dead Like Me (and if you're one of those people who killed it prematurely by never having watched it, then I wish bad juju to find you -- and your remote control. Jesus).

I impressed the living shit out of the kid by telling him I crossed paths with it on the job. Yeah, that beats the hell out of the lame-ass phonecalls mommy's taking all day at work, huh? You betcha, sonny.

He does Google searches for game cheats and, thus, can get to, like, level 842 in Sonic.

Fuck, man. When did I get so old? Ha!


Ah, well. I'm gooder as I get older. So, there's that.


I was flipping through channels, trying to find something decent to entertain myself with, when I happened onto the Long Way Round. This is a travel documentary series that features Ewan McGregor with a fellow named Charley, who I presume to be a nearest & dearest of Ewan's, as they embark upon a circumnavigation of the globe on a pair of heavily-laden BMW motorcycles. They head east, riding from London to what is their eventual destination of New York City.

It's very lo-fi for such a noteworthy film star. Ewan's sporting a beard and a rather unkempt look, but he's even more charming than I'd realized. The travels are authentic and they're keeping to being people-of-the-people in the series, which makes for a good candid show.

I caught the episode this evening that has the boys taking their trek to the Ukraine. It was surreal, to say the least. They land in this small-ish town and are talking up the locals, finding out where the only hotel is, when a couple young guys mime out that the guys are gonna get flea-ridden at the local dive. A kindred local steps up and invites the boy to their home.

Now, it seems like this everyday guy who's just being one of those generous types you hear about in the rural towns. They travel through some very low-rent ramshackled bungalows and then enter through these high-security gates and emerge to find, well, a mansion.

From there, it gets bizarre. The wife's an Imelda Marcos with hundreds of shoes, the husband comes down the stairs (at the party where he's showing off these Brits he's caught to all his buddies) brandishing an acoustic guitar in one hand and a Kalishnikov in the other. Turns out all his buddies have their guns, too. And there are cabinets filled with them. Their host, they are told, "sells TVs."

That's just a fragment of what happens in the episode. It's hysterical. It's brilliant because it's real life and great documentary television. Just fabulous.

I'll have to keep an eye on the show, if I can remember it.


I caught the debut of 30 Rock. Not sure I'm quite giving it thumbs up yet. I want to. I love Alec Baldwin. Ever since his brilliant take on the pedophile/actor in State and Main, I've loved his snarky media roles. He's great in them. This is no exception. He's a great utter dick.

I hated the weird opening scene where she buys all the hot dogs. But, then, I'm no fan of hot dogs. A snack. Now and then. Sure. Not even frequently. Seldom. Yes. Seldom. Staple? Never.

Weird scene. Didn't work for me. The same could have been expressed re: her character via something more simplistic and applicable. Who spends $150 on hot dogs, depriving an entire line-up in New York and makes it out alive? Huh? WHO?

But I digress.

I did, however, have a sausage with dinner. It's not that. Bangers and mash? Dear God, I'm in. Broiled chicken-apple sausages I get with me brekkie? In. Down. Et al. Ad nauseum. Yum. Sure. But hot dogs are one of those "Hey, I'm at a backyard party and I have a beer and yeah, I'll have onions on that" kind of celebratory mid-August sort of food that needs to come with an Experience. A ball game. A beach party. You know. A Dog Worth Remembering. All caps-like, indeed.

But the rest of the episode was a little askew for me as well. It seems, well, contrived. I'll give it another shot, but contrivance has a limited market in my world. Especially in a season with so much to offer. What good TV!

Don't even get me started on Heroes. Too cool.


I learned that Egyptian mummy heads can apparently sometimes be fragrant. Apparently some favoured a stuffing for mummifying purposes that composed of spices like sage and cloves and such. Apparently. I haven't double-checked this but quite liked the trivia.

Look, ma, I'm learnin'.

strategizing and yawning and shit

the kettle's on. a stiff, cold wind's blowing in through the window and it's laced with the scent of woodsmoke. fall's clamping down, now, despite the Indian Summer we've been enjoying. days peak with warmth but the nights bring a pretty deep chill.

i'll be heading into work soon. scoff. "work." what i mean is my job. so far this morning, i've gotten a load of laundry done, 3/4 of my dishes, i've written a couple different things, and i've been strategizing about a couple other things in relation to how to continue the launch of my new site.

(the "process" is going to be very important in how i launch the new site. i learned this earlier this spring when i was going to change urls for the other blog. now i'm changing sites entirely and i fully know i'm due to lose readers as a result. i'm coming up with a plan to make the transition as easy as i can and also as effective as possible, since i will need to quickly bring it up in the ranks on Technorati. it's complicated. i'm coming up with a series of things i can do to help maximize my exposure as quickly as possible. ...have you any idea how complicated my life is becoming? jesus.)

how i fucking long for the "slow" life i led a year and a half or more ago. that was good. simple. smart. maybe soon things will shift a bit. i'd love to be able to work part-time and get paid part-time to write. that'd be an awesome new step. i don't want to do freelance, though. i want to be a regular hired gun. i like consistency. hmm.

ah, well. coffee's ready to brew. i've decided to get more shit done in the mornings before work since i never feel like doing anything afterwards. so, now i write, do dishes, et al. and people think i'm lazy and like to start late. how little they know. sillies.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Why Is My Forehead All Flat-And-Weird Looking?

Oh, because you've been hitting yourself in the head with a hammer. Bet it feels good now that you've stopped, huh, honey?

And now I work for the next five days. I'm not thrilled. I won't have time to get anything done. I'm getting up earlier, starting today, and will find a way to record a few minutes here and a few minutes there.

I recorded a cute thing yesterday, "I'm not an expert -- I'm an enthusiast!" It probably prefaces a rant on the same subject. Someone left me a rude, negative comment on an old piece of mine. It's funny, considering the volume of comments I get, I would think I'd receive more rude and lewd ones, but I don't. Very seldom. This was a rude, but not lewd one. They basically said I don't know enough of what I'm talking about, I should warn people I'm not an expert, yada, yada.

Well, yeah. Duh. I'm not an expert on anything. I've said this time and again. Now I'm going to design a graphic to put on the new blog as a disclaimer. I am not an expert. I'm an enthusiast. Another buzz line I'll have popping up in the podcast is, "I'm schooled, arguably skilled, but far from licensed."

I don't have anything timely to rant about, so I need to delve through papers this week and get my rage on about something for a rant. I'm hoping I can kill this thing in the next week or so, but then I need to get it broadcasted on its host site before I can share it with the world. Soon, though. At least I NOW HAVE QUALITY on the podcast. Everything else will follow.

Except for when I have to work at the real-life job. Fuck, man, working really makes it HARD to juggle this stuff! I know where my heart lies, y'know? I'm glad I'm back at a job with a better, more accomodating schedule, though. That's for damned sure. Plus, my imagination works better when I'm there. Maybe I'll get a show that'll get me thinking today. Here's hoping.

I get frustrated with working for a living sometimes. I do. I don't have this 60-hours-a-week lifestyle in me. I'm not built to be smart for more than, oh, 11 hours a day. I need my brain-off period.

But whatever frustration I have in regards to the juggling I'm constantly doing, I'm at least no longer doing it for the jerk I worked for 2 weeks ago today. My life has done a 180 in two weeks, that's for sure.

And I'm so close to feeling accomplished. So close. And yet no cigar. But so close. I think I have about 4-5 minutes of workable stuff in the mix.

OKAY, OKAY. Here's the problem. You wanna know the problem? The problem is that I've had this podcasting gear around for three months and NO creativity hit me in regards to it the whole time I was waiting to solve all my issues, right? Yeah, well.

If I was an 'physical' artist, then you know what I'd likely be? A sculptor. I'd work with clay. I'd get my hands in, mess with it, lean back, take it in, rework it, rinse, and repeat. Creatively, that's how I work. I'll sit down, start to write, stop, lean back, take another look, move my work to the bottom of the page, and start again. That is, if it's something worth taking the time. Now, with this podcasting thing, having tech problem one after another, I never got to push my hands into the mix and work the product. Now, I am. Now, ideas are starting to hit me.

And the thing is, I'm starting to look at this like it's art. Not that I'll be creating art, but that it's a malleable and workable product that I can use to reflect a lot of who I am, my personality. And I'm starting to think about little tricks and stunts I can do that will give it a very personal edge. Editing this show will be hard and I'll learn a lot. All the ones to follow will be better and faster, but that doesn't mean I'll take too many shortcuts with this one. Some shortcuts, yeah. I suspect every episode will improve. Firsly because that's the way it happens and secondly because I've set that as a goal: constant improvement. I find it's a good policy for living life, so it'll probably make a decent podcast, too.

Anyhow. Yeah. Time for breakfast Then The Real World. At least I've finally gotten both blogs updated. It's like a fucking weight, man. AN ALBATROSS! And it's Monday(ish) since I work this Satuday, too. Oh. Golly. Fun. All right, this phase of the plan is now to be called: Work Smarter, Not Harder. Good luck, me.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Why, Is this a Method I see before me?

Now that I've solved all the technical issues, the "block" returns. I'm fightin' it though. I'm cooking a snack and watching some of Inside the Actors' Studio. Dustin Hoffman is on it, and it's a two-hour special. Hoffman's a really inspiring guy, an actor's actor, and I love his vibe.

It's perfect for me today. I'm playing it safe, being careful what I say, and you know what? My cache isn't in safety. My cache's in me being my larger than life self. That's what it is. The on-the-edge but smart and sarcastic chick that hangs out with GayBoy is where my money lies. That's me, and it's a commodity I have that I can sell.

Trouble is, I'm nervous about going there. Hoffman, though, he hates people who play it safe. He calls it a sin. A sin!

So, then, I guess I'll stop playing it safe and take another crack at it. Every now and then someone talks about their craft and it just fires me up. All comes down to what we bring to it, right? Ahh, I love an inspiring speaker. He gets flustered a lot, but that's just the character behind the method. Anyhow. Got me some work to do, plus there's a hockey game on. This year I'm gonna be a better fan. Tsk.

A couple pics

A few pictures I took yesterday, nothing special.

These first two are an example of how big a change one little thing can make. I learned at a young age that shiny things are cooler than non-shiny things, so when I saw this maple leaf on the ground, I dumped half my bottle of water on it, and presto. Much cooler. Hey, I'm Canadian, I'm required by law to take pics of maple leafs.

This is the marsh near my place, a neat place to walk in the fall and winter.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Yippy-skippy! I'm a podcaster!

I'm so happy I could cry. Except I'm just plum worn out from the figurin' that I'm not gonna go jumping up and down. But I will go for a short bike ride.

The podcasting? Awesome quality. I've debugged everything and figured out how much I need to power down and am now unplugging from the internet, which gives it a pretty top-notch recording quality as a result. I'm finally satisfied. And now I need content. I've got three good minutes, a segment called Editorial Policy, but I might expound or change that. But, y'know, it took me about three frustrating hours to figure out what the hell the problem was. Some settings had reset. I needed to reboot dozens of times, and then I even unplugged cable. Sigh. But now it's skookum good, and I'm starting to feel the first real relief I've felt in weeks. And I have some cute new clips to redo, plus some deccent old clips to redo, and maybe, just maybe, I'll have a show in a couple days.

Things are gonna come together now. This is gonna be good. So. Now I'm taking a bikeride to recharge (and might shoot some moody photos, given the sudden appearance of clouds) then I'll grab some beer and buy the makings for some burgers. It's a Saturday night in, and things are gonna work, finally.

This is the end of three very frustrating months of trying to get THIS level of quality. I don't want no shit-sounding podcast. Nothing but the very best for this girl. About time. And my patience VERY nearly snapped earlier, but I held on for just a little longer -- uninstalled some codecs, found all the fucked settings, changed some system processes, and powered down McAfee and the internet, and now. A fine end product. I'm pleased as punch with myself right now. Yay. :o)

By Monday I want to have a 15-minute starter show to listen to on my iPOD so I can quality-check before taking things to that polished level. This is kinda cool... as far as hobbies go, this makes me kinda a cool and geek-chic-y chick, don't it? Ha. Neato. Yay! Did I mention I'm proud of myself for FINALLY figuring this out?! YAY.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

One of my articles got linked to in today. This is good. My stock's rising. It's The Nerve!

Say it with me: Fuckin' a.

You should see my shit-eating grin. This is a fine fucking night.

Because I'll forget to do it if I don't do it now:

I wanna send a shout out
to Mrs. Potschka
who taught me in grades 4 and 6
and who ate a whole tomato, with salt, every day
and who taught me the single greatest thing
I have ever, ever learned
about writing.
And she taught me it in grade 4.

And I'll tell you about it
another time.

And when I do
remind me to tell you
about the Paul Bunyon poem.
Really. Remind me.

a story of a day with Random Capitals

it's The Good TV Nite, and i, for one, couldn't be happier.

it took me forever and a year to get my shit together this morning. i wrote well, though, and it started my day with a positive bang. until, that is, i hit up Zulu Records to get Detroit Cobra tix (the band with the former butcher / exotic dancer as a lead chanteuse) and discovered They Were Sold out.

so, i rushed downtown to Scratch Records, only to discover They Were Sold Out.

good god almighty! things were looking Attrocious. i zipped into work, logged onto and Found Tickets. all was well in the universe. except. i have no credit.

quickly, i thought! i dialed WhippedBoy and put him onto the task. whipped as he is, he got right to it, of course. good man. soon, a confirmation email arrived. i need to spot him 40 bucks now. note made.

then i got cracking getting a file ready for work. it just didn't occur to me that i should watch the show first to make sure it was the right file, so i wound up wasting 30 minutes as the file was labelled wrong, thus a waste of my efforts. grumpyness ensued. but then co-workers offered to retrieve me a coveted Steamrollers' Thanksgiving (Wet) Burrito. with cranberries, no less. thus, i degrumped in a hurry.

work progressed well, although a little slower than my quick pace yesterday. it's a well-oiled office and is really disciplined even without management around, but i had the misfortune of being so disorganized today i showed up at 11 and everyone was on the verge of having their mid-morning buzz-about. normally it gets a little talkie around 11 and 3. things settled down nicely after the burritos arrived and we all back to our grooves at 12:30 and stayed in 'em till the day's end. pretty nice and quiet, actually.

so, i got home relaxed and quickly ran around cleaning the pad up. i've got it about 50% to a clean state. it's organized(ish) but needs some floor work and such. sigh. i've got to do a major purge of belongings.

BUT i can come home tomorrow night and get cracking on things.

i decided to open a wine to celebrate the almost-clean state of the nation, and it's a south african shiraz -- Golden Kaan -- and quite tasty. smooth. $12.99. i'd buy it again (and again and again).

and that's where i'm At.

this was written during commercials in Ugly Betty (which i highly recommend, it's very fun, a little campy, and is based on a widely successful series that has been done in a number of nations before it hit this continent, thanks to producer Salma Hayek, who has far better judgment than i would have assumed, and who has a recurring role as a b-soap opera actress with a flair for the Dramatic). if you spotted a change in tone, you get a bonus cOOkie. you smarTie. that's what happens when one writes in commercials!

i dunno if i'll begin recording tomorrow night. if i have an enjoyable day, then i'll do just that. i actually was mildly amusing on the phone a few moments ago and now i have a Hankering to cut a file, but i can't, 'cos my kick-ass Cool noise-cancelling monitor phones are at work. i thought i'd give myself the night off. i just didn't expect to become charming. Yeesh! wonders never cease.

you'll have to pardon me, i'm a little full of myself, i guess. i'm just enjoying the fact that, as i suspected, my Mojo / Creativity would be coming back, and i feel like it's on the rise. it feels awesome. i'm really starting to feel like mySelf again, but it might be a bit of a wait yet until i'm 100% back in my headspace again. but, y'know, i say "my HeadSpace" but what that means is kind of a mood / Sensation / Being that kind of hits when i sit down and write. when it's going well, i'm often not listening to music but i've got kind of this all-body vibe going and i'll Toe-Tap and Head-Nod and Bounce-About all the while. it's really very Fun, the whole experience. i just love it when i have that Vibe going, and baby, it's been a While.

but it's on the rise, as i say.

i don't give a fuck that i don't like winter, i'm thinking i'm on the verge of a Very, Very Good Season, and i couldn't be Happier about that.

soon, i'll start feeling more myself in the company of others, but that tends to come after i've plateaued creatively. all the disruption and frustration finally ebbs away and i can begin to focus on others and their ways instead of all my petty little selfish needs.

so. i'm having a fine night. and yourself?

[the management wishes there were snacks to be had. there are none. not even popcorn. how, then, shall management quell the tumultuous, growling tummy? for shame. this is not right. wait. i think i have a single pack of sesame snaps. hmm. i'll nibble slow, then. ed. note: 10 minutes later and i have decided: i shall make biscuits. breakfast with biscuits? mm! a biscuit and milk tonight.]

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tonight's Salad Dressing

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1 teaspoon black currant mustard
1 teaspoon honey
salt to taste

It was pretty darned good. Served with baby bells and mixed greens sans spinach. And some tasty taquito-type appies.

i was having a moment there, by the sink...

earlier today i had one of those comments left on my other blog, buried way deep, in which a reader shared some personal things and then said she loved my work, reads daily, et al.

whew. it's so weird, sometimes, to think that i, in some small way, get slotted into the average day of hundreds, perhaps thousands of people i may never meet. it's very good to be held in that regard. it feels, i assure you, way fucking cool.

i said once that comments are the blogger's aphrodisiac, and i stand by that. when i first began this blog, it was actually my second. i had another before this, but it was, like most blogs, a short-lived venture. (beyond fatgirl, in which i detailed my attempts to come to terms with my weight.) that was the summer of 2004. a few weeks after i began it, i had my most serious accident, and gave that up.

something clicked during my recovery from that accident -- during which i was seeing my counsellor, who seems to always know how to click me -- and writing became interesting. i sort of found a groove and lost the block i'd had, and i just didn't give a shit if anyone was reading. i really didn't care. i just wanted to write. thus this blog was born.

and write i did. i wrote in the dark for months, not receiving my first comment until, i dunno, three months later? then they came out of the woodwork. comments everywhere, all the time. it was awesome. it made me push the envelope and get more creative.

and then the bad thing happened, somewhere along the lines. i began writing for the comments. i was saying what i thought might conjure comments, and most of the time i proved to be pretty astute on that count. and, somewhere along the way, the joy seemed to go out of the act of writing. it wasn't the same for me anymore. i'm not sure that it is now, either, but it's certainly getting closer to being cathartic again. this blog does more for me on the catharsis front than the other, these days, for sure.

i quoted Robertson Davies the other day, that a writer ought not write until the thought of not writing becomes unbearable. i'm not sure i believe that. i do to an extent, and then i don't. it's something i've been considering a lot of late. do i hold back? what if i do, and a dam builds up? how, then, do i topple it again? after six years of creative block, the last thing i feel comfortable doing is holding back. frankly, it terrifies me.

there's this really great naturalist photographer, Jim Brandenburg, who found that photography had become too much like a job for him, another thing i've been feeling about the writing of late, and not a good thing to feel. he forced himself to stop taking photos for a while, if i recall correctly, and chose instead to take one picture a day, only one, for three months, in a forest near his home. the result was a mesmerizing book called Chased by the Light. it seems to me he rediscovered what he'd lost.

i've been through a lot in the preceding months -- good, bad, horrid, ecstatic. you name it, and i've been there. it's been good and bad for the writing, but i think it's certainly delivered a blow to my ability to create. despite that, i don't begrudge the adversities. they're hard to endure, they're hard as hell, and i know i've come pretty close to snapping like a twig at times, but there's something about it all that leaves me feeling oddly grateful tonight.

and i don't know why.

not that i'm questioning it. when gratitude finds you, embrace it, you know? it's a great thing, remembering you have things that you need to be thankful for. whether it's just the simple smell of autumn on the wind -- a mix of decaying leaves, distant salt air, woodsmoke breezing past, and the cool crispness of the season -- or it's something big like knowing you're still alive when, by rights, you should be long since six feet under. gratitude's a good thing. everyone's got stuff to be grateful for, it's just a matter of remembering it, i guess.

i suspect i have a long road ahead of me before i get to where i'm hoping is my destination -- long days of working then coming home and doing my true work. workin' for the man, enduring the requisite soul-sucking that most jobs prove to be to someone like myself, just so the bills get paid and the creativity can happen. i'm getting there, though. i'm closer than i was a year ago, and i'm hoping this is the year.

all i know is, that lucky penny's staying taped inside my wallet until it happens.

you know something i never really blogged about was back when i was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, what, at the beginning of august? back when all my hormones were out of whack and bad shit was coming down, i had one particular day where i slumped down on my couch, in tears, just fucked right up, feeling more alone (unnecessarily) than i'd ever felt. i looked around me and knew things weren't as bad as i was feeling, and thought, "jesus. i'm losing my marbles." it's hard when you know what you feel doesn't mesh with reality, like i felt then.

then, i got up, grabbed my iPod and took a bike ride. i shit you not, i was riding along, and suddenly i get this gleam of light shining up from the street. it was one of those blinding moments when you feel like maybe someone from on high's trying to send a little message your way.

i slowed, looked down, and there was an opalescent marble lying on the road. yep, a marble. i found my marble. i cannot tell you how hard i started laughing right then and there. i laughed so hard i cried, then i grinned and stuck it in my pocket, flipped my song to Swag's I'LL Get By, and carried on. the marble is now on my bookshelf, next to a little pewter book that once was my keychain, upon which is a quote by virginia woolf -- "look out! if you are losing your leisure, it may be that you are losing your soul." fitting.

wow, so this went all over the place.

the point is, i found my marble. i have a lucky penny. i'm waiting on word to hear how much a certain group of people are thinking of paying me for space on my blogs and podcast, and a future of being paid to do what i love is now looking like a possibility. i've mostly sorted my technical glitzes for the podcast, btw, and think it's now at least good enough to do a first show with. (my weekend's clear, except for family dindin Monday on canuck-thankie day, and i'll be doing nothing but podcasting, and i'm lowering my standards, might i add.) and i'm grateful to be through the dark spaces i was in. i'm anxious to see my future unfold. i'm content with where i'm at for the time being, but i know there's a bigger picture to come.

and i'm far, far too curious a gal for my own darned good, especially at times like these.

and now to go and invent a new dressing. champagne vinegar tonight, but with... what? hmm! ponderous, indeed.