Thursday, February 28, 2008

and so the tide turns

Ahhh... yes, blogdom. I was slow to get on this train, I'll admit it. But man, was I ever missing out. Not only cathartic but addictive. I've always had my standby favourites; recently, Elle and Madox have made me happy as well. And now, drum roll please, presenting Nish (as Princess Agnasia). Yay! The party grows! Maybe one day we can abandon facebook altogether! It's a dream I have.

Also: officially done the story. No title yet. It isn't ready to be named (something about bad luck). 111 pages. who knew? Perhaps, one day, I shall publish it. Right now... it needs a serious edit. Serious.

Also, also: today, we finished out 7th out of 8 belly dance classes. sad. I like it a lot. I really need a ching-ching belt.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

blog by request

It's amazing how I think I'm writing into a void and then I find out that... well, I'm not. It makes me feel loved :) Thank you, gentle readers!

I have been rather lax lately, I will admit it. Between working on The Story (page 110 - holla!) and LilBro's birthday and Book Club and work and The Wire and Veronica Mars, I've been filling my time with everything but the blog. Frankly, I didn't think anyone would notice. Colour me wrong.

On Friday, I went out with my brother's friends to celebrate his birthday. That was a new experience: voluntary association with the Bro and his Bredren. I had a surprisingly good time. Not only did I get to go to my first Hooter's, I got to chill with these "kids" I remembered as punk-ass teenagers. It was a jolt - I'm getting old! As the DD, I couldn't drown my sorrows in this revelation with the aid of a bottle, so I let DJ Dwight distract me. Nothing like screaming "fuck you, I won't do what you tell me" to get the adrenaline pumping. If it wasn't for the 20-minutes-before-closing "incident" (involving a chick, a 300-pound guy and my knee), it would have been the perfect night. As it stands, I think LilBro had a great time. I lost my voice.

Saturday was spent recovering. The family came over. There was much yummy food. I played Rock Band and what little was left of my vocal chords bid me adieu.

Sunday: Outdoor Show with Nish. Scoping out hotels/motels/hostels/B&B's for the Big Trip. Sleep.

On Monday, I caught up with my shows: The Wire, jpod, more Mars. There are two episodes (the last two episodes actually) of Deadwood sitting on my desktop. I should really watch them so I can finish off that show. Instead, I'm watching everything but. Perhaps I just don't want to admit that the show is over. It's not that great. It's kind of slow and takes places in the wild west. Not usually my cup of tea. But I started watching it with a friend - watched all thirty-four of the other episodes with him - and it seems sad to me to watch these last two by myself. Like I'm admitting that we're never going to watch TV together again. I'm not ready to go there yet. He's probably already watched them without me.

On Tuesday, I went for a job interview.

Today, I found out I didn't get it. Thank God for Book Club.

Friday, February 22, 2008

on turning 22

well, well, well.
Today, LilBro turns the big Two-Two. That's right: no more righteous birthdays of celebrations (16 = yes, I can drive!; 18 = yes, I'm an adult!; 19 = yes, I can drink!; 21 = yes, I can drink in England!)... now it's all "quarter-life crisis" "late twenties" ... 'THIRTY!" But let's not dwell on those things! Today, we party. Hard. Neither fire, famine nor death shall stand in our way (nor pestilence apparently).

On this day, let us take a moment to reflect.

I remember the day he came home, all red and squirming. I had lost a bet with my cousin Joey (I had banked on a sister I could have played dress-up with), so I was pretty unimpressed by this wrinkled mass of not-so-cute baby. I believe I inquired about a return policy. Something to the effect of "when do we take him back?" He filled out nicely, though - like a butterball turkey, you couldn't get him to sit up without him rolling over. Literally. We didn't get along famously, but he wasn't horrible. I stopped asking about trading him in for a girl.

We've had our ups and downs. Mostly downs. Let's face it - sharing a room with your younger brother until you're fifteen is not the way to bond, but rather a way to perfect all those plans you have of either running away or killing him. Fact: I was a terrible older sister. I instituted the five-metre/seat rule (if in public, makes sure you walk at least five metres or sit five seats away from me). I told him he'd have to stick up for himself if he got bullied. I kept a list of bad things with which I frequently blackmailed him (it was such a stupid list, but man, did it work).

Things got much much much better after I moved away for university. He was tolerable in small doses. Indeed, my entire family dynamic changed after I left: less fighting, no more stupid rules. I realised it wasn't LilBro I hated - no, it was actually my parents and I was simply transferring all that resentment onto him. Now, I like kickin' it with him - even if we are just watching wrestling and eating popcorn. And yes, he can still be annoying, but we are siblings. More ups than downs these days.

So! Here's to you, Jembalilly! Tonight, we drink, party and toast in your new year. And if you puke in my car, I'll kill you. After you clean it up, of course.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

i wish i was a little bit taller

Reading my friend CB's facebook note got me thinking. Yes, I'm a reactionary writer - deal with it. She was saying how she had never been the "Good girl gone bad" but rather the "Good girl gone somewhat disappointing to her parents for her less than stellar attitude but still a good girl overall". This made me actually LOL (and, being at work, that's quite the compliment). It got me thinking about all the funny impressions people have of me (this is where I invite you, dear readers, to contradict me as much as you like).

When I was in high school, I was your quintessential good girl on paper. By the time I graduated, I had served three years as the newspaper editor, co-captain of the debate team, barrister and coach for mock trial, radio DJ and pen pal for ESL students. For all this, they gave me the Catholic Student Award. On the other hand, I had talked my way down from a three-day suspension to a five-day lunch-time detention for a certain cemented locker incident, I still have scars from fighting in the hallways/yards and I never got a little gold star beside my name on the academic honour roll.

All my life, I wished I could be cooler that I really was. I tried to get second-holes in my ears, but they got infected and ended that dream. I wore 8-hole doc's and a ear cuff, but never dyed my hair blue or hemmed my kilt short. I only stood up for myself once (Ms. Waters and grade 11 World Religions pushed me over the edge, man) and got caught skipping class once (which was SO dumb, because I had finshed writing the grade 9 province-wide tests early and had chosen to play cards in the atrium instead of going home - l.o.s.e.r.) High school = moderate smart-ass.

I had thought that once I left the confines of my overly-strict 'rental unit, I would spread my wings and soar. But no. In university, I turned out to be even less involved. I wanted to like partying at clubs and staying out late and wearing sexier clothes ... alas, I found that stuff took too much effort for little to no gain. I got one "shut up, Emily" in four years, and then, too, it wasn't me who said it; rather, a certain disstinguished, bearded professor beat me to the punch. No academic accomplishments, no extra-curricular badges... just a lot of hours sleeping in class and watching Trading Spaces.

People are always saying how "loud" I am, how "outgoing", "social" and "unapologetically frank" (read: tactless) I am. Truth be told, I don't feel it. I feel pretty quiet in terms of voice, pretty tame in terms of self. I feel like a total poser, really. I mean, I give off this impression of larger-than-life, self-assured, wicked-smart, witty, modern chick... but I don't actually feel like I'm any of these things. I'm afraid, one day, someone's going to look at me and expose me as a fraud: a dull, mousy, geek-wannabe whose closest brush with wild was waking up in a strange place after an all-you-can-drink kegger. I wish I was ... more.

Ugh - I sound like a pity party. I'll stop here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

family day long weekend

What an eventful weekend this turned out to be!

Friday, I finished Late Nights on Air by Elisabeth Hay (the 2007 Giller winner). It was a little slow to get started but once it did - whoa! A great read, set in a most unlikely place (Yukon Territories) with an unlikely cast (radio station personnel). Well-paced and well-written, each character actually has an individual voice: so, even though the third-person perspective switches constantly between characters, there's never any doubt who's speaking. The descriptions of the scenery are excellent. At first, I wished I had saved it for the hot summer months; but reading about glaciers and icicles and endless months of snow and dark... it really hits home in February. Though there were some slow parts, the overall mystery pulls you forward and compels you to turn the page. A good addition to the Giller shelf.

...After finishing up the book, I headed over to Nish's place to finalise some details about our upcoming cross-Canada adventure. Stayed out way too late.

Saturday: Alli came by to pick me up and we headed to Bowmanville for The Dressening. In an exercise of patience and non-anality that's rare, H2 actually put off our Dress-buying until six months before the event. My dress is a two-piecer which I specifically picked so I can wear the top on its own for going out; also, thinking of dyeing the skirt black afterwards so it can just be a very pretty skirt that goes with anything. It was relatively painless, as I already had an idea what I wanted to wear; my general impatience with trying on clothes could only help. The rest of the day was spent confabulating with my fellow maids at haunted pub and then chilling at H2's place getting addicted to Veronica Mars, getting fat on Dip and getting to know my only favorite cat, Chloe. (Can I just say that this cat is the most maligned creature ever! She is sweet and entirely cat-like. Yes, she breaks things; yes, she likes to jump on to places she doesn't belong... what cat doesn't?! Unlike the entirely boring Xander, Chloe is all too much fun. I've never actually liked a cat in my life; I'm in kitty-love). It was good to catch up with my favourite Kingston-survivor. She lives too far away for me; I have already started the Mississauga recruitment campaign.
(oh yes, I forgot about this: yet another reason why I NEED to MOVE NOW! My dad calls me when we're about to take the Bowmanvills exit to ask how far away I am - I say far. He says well, I need to come home because my car is parked behind his and he needs to go out. Some background: he lost his keys in an entirely doofus move early last week; he borrowed my keys to make copies; he neglects to make a copy of my car key...somehow all of this is my fault. Anyway, I basically tell him to take a cab or the GO train and his actual response was: "that doesn't make any sense." But me asking Alli to turn the car around, drive all the way back to Mississauga only to come back to Bowmanville just to switch cars does?! I tell him to jump the curb and hang up. I. Need. To. Move. )

Sunday brought me home (thanks Alli!) safe and sound. Senator has invited Book Club over to watch Becoming Jane and The Jane Austen Book Club. I despise VicLit, but I like Book Club so I went to be social. Good thing, too, since the 'rentals had an impromptu party and I so didn't need that hassle. Nish, AnCe, Kev and myself show up at Senator's (awesome) townhouse and proceed to have a great time. Yes we watched both films, but we also chatted until 2am. I like these people a lot. We're not super-close, but we see each other often enough to care about each other's lives and keep each other posted on big and small events alike. It's really nice to hear such different perspectives on things from people who aren't overly involved. It's way better than Poker Night, because I feel like we have this common ground in books (and therefore intelligence) that's often missing in some of my flakier "friends". Frankly, I'd rather hang with these guys than the flakes any day, despite knowing the flakes for so so much longer.

This brings us to Monday: I'm hoping I won't have to change out of my PJs all day and I'll catch up on The Wire, finally finish up Deadwood and maybe get a disc on Veronica in. Also: we book plane/train/ferry tickets today. Exciting! I wish we had more long weekends.

Friday, February 15, 2008

the day after the night before

Feb 15th is best day of the year. No, I really mean that. Chocolates and cinnamon hearts at half price. score.

Feb 14th just makes me sad: I try my very hardest every single year to ignore it, but it's almost impossible (even the Friends repeat that was on last night was a v-day theme ... *sigh*). I used to give out cheesy grade school valentines, buy candy for co-workers and friends, even pick up a rose or two for my mom and then I realised... what the hell am I doing all this for anyway? So Hallmark can continue to gouge whatever genuine sentiment there's left in the world for a profit? No thanks man. I'm not dumping on all those coupled people out there who went to some lengths to make Feb 14th special - really, I'm not. I just don't understand why we choose this arbitrary day to express feelings and do kindnesses that we should be doing all year. Am I impressed by a pink-and-red card on Feb 14th? Not really. You'd have to be pretty obtuse to miss the constant reminders. I'm way more impressed on any other day of the year.

When I was younger (so much younger than today), I used to send random gifts of cookies and cards and cheap souvenirs to my beau. Because I thought of him when he wasn't there, I wanted to let him know that, yes, i would much rather have shared the experience with him. I have no idea if he appreciated these things. He never reciprocated. I stopped doing them. We broke up. And though he made the effort for Feb 14th (sometimes) it just never made up for the lack of sentiment all year-round. Perhaps it's the phoniness of it all - the forcedness - that irritates me most: "buy your girl some flowers/sweets/lingerie and she'll know you thought of her on v-day!" big whoop. Give your girl daisies in August - that's how you show her you care.

oh, and gentlemen? It doesn't count if she (or an entire greeting card industry, for that matter) has to remind you, drop hints, circle catalogues or sigh sadly. Those flowers you get her? make sure you mean it. Can't afford bouquets? Draw her a rose, make her a card, tell her you love her. On Feb 14th? sure. But trust me when I say that she'll be so much more appreciative when she least expects it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

oh those tricky donors

It's very quiet Wednesday morning (post-snowstorm and the City thinks the snow is a lie). Four young people come up to Sciences desk with a box of books. They seem very put together. Turns out they'd like to make a donation of a complete set of L. Ron Hubbard's works. Smile pasted firmly in place, I'm trying to back the hell off this boat. You see, they'd called last night, spoke to my supervisor and requested that when they drop the books off, they take a photo with some library personnel. I was NOT going to be in the photo, I made this very clear when he asked me; but, here they were. I'll admit, I panicked a little and called my favourite area manager. She said she'd take care of it. Not five minutes later, she and our CEO (!!!) are walking into the department, all smiles. As I type this, they're setting up the books so that they can be displayed optimally.

Here are a few facts:
1) our manager has already decided we will NOT be adding these books into our collection, so they'll probably go straight to book sale where someone will buy them for $2-$5.
2) half of this man's work is classified as Science Fiction and doesn't belong anywhere near the Sciences department
3) we have every religion in this department represented (including Satanism, Paganism and Naturalism)
4) the young people are very put together: young, hip, stylish. But none are local (3 from the states, one from Toronto); the two boys, especially, have a Ryan Gosling and young Keanu vibe happening; my opinion is confirmed by my colleague (who, like me, is on the good side of 30).

Here are a few questions:
1) Is a donation really worth all this hassle?
2) Why are scientologists more special than the mainstream religious group who wanted to make a similar donation but were denied even a bookplate inside their books to say it WAS a donation?
3) why are cute boys and girls part of such a crazy scam?
4) why DON'T we have books on dianetics?

hypothesis: there's something in the Kool-Aid.

board games

One of the ways is like to spend my Saturday nights is to play board games. That's right, board games. I know it's simply geektastic, but I can't help it. It has everything I could want in a hobby: interaction with others, using my intelligence, opportunities to kill and maim without drawing blood. wonderful. My favourite games have always been brainy games, even as a kid. I liked Clue and Othello more than Monopoly or Sorry. Over the last couple of years, I've been introduced to a triumvirate of German games that have simply riveted me: Settlers of Catan, Tigris & Euphrates and Puerto Rico. Only one of these leaves anything to chance (i.e. dice) and all have a negotiating social aspect that I enjoy immensely. I love the close race to the finish, knowing that no one can taint my victory with complaints of "dice rolls" or "bad luck" (nothing irritates me more than a sore loser, being one myself). The other nice thing is that people are actually willing to play with me; for some unfathomable reason, many seem anxious about taking me on in Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble.

Board games have been gathering dust of late, laying abandoned until we can find another fourth which makes for the most balanced of play. Saturday nights seem lonely. I mean, there's always Rock Band and gossipping ... but where's the blood in that? FUN! I mean, fun, in that. Fun. *sigh*

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

what does my birthday mean?

You are sensitive to changes around you but your feelings are hardly expressed. You hate exaggerations. Under your quiet [!!] personality, you are rather stubborn and self-centered. These qualities are the force behind your extreme persistence. Your Love: you have enormous courage to please your lover. Your relationships often progress quickly.
Strengths: Active and self-confident. Yourthoughts and sense of humor render you quite popular.
Weaknesses: You get obsessed with ideas and retire when problems grow increasingly serious.
Ideal Job: Photography, commercial arts, and advertisements.

...and why do you need to know this? Because I have nothing else to type about. Besides, I don't even agree with half these things. "quiet personality" - ha!

Monday, February 11, 2008

hey baby, can I get your Dewey number?

It had to happen, right?

Picture it: Central Library, 6pm.
A patron (young-ish - maybe 23; average everything) comes up to me and says "I've reserved this computer and my monitor won't get out of standby; can you help me?"
me: sure, let me see what I can do. have you tried rebooting it?
pat: uh, no. well, I tried, but it wasn't working.
me: I'll try, but it probably won't work eitehr; I'll make you a temporary login if it doesn't.
pat: okay.
...He sits down at his computer; I reset the comp using the main power switch in the back. It begins booting up just fine, nothing wrong with the monitor.
pat: are those both school rings? (he points to my hands)
me: yep
pat: I've never seen a plain one like that
me: that's my Queen's one
pat: oh, yeah, Queen's. That's a good school, right?
me: that's what we tell people.
pat: you moved here after graduating?
me: I moved back, yeah.
(slow computer finally starts loading windows)
pat: have you been working here long?
me: a couple of years; had to get my master's first
pat: master's? in what?
me: library sciences, of course :)
pat: what do you learn to do?
me: see the numbers on the books? Someone has to decide what they are. but mostly, not much. I learned to reboot computers on the job. okay, that's the login screen go ahead and log in. (he does so, everything's working) great; if you need anything else, just come to the desk.
...five minutes later...
pat: oh hey, thanks for fixing that problem.
me: no worries; that's what they pay me to do.
pat: maybe I could call you sometime, you know, uh, if I need any more assistance.
(at this point, my colleague lets out a most indelicate snort, which I try to ignore so as to save this guy some embarrassment)
me: well, anyone who staffs this desk can help you at anytime
pat: right, well, maybe I could thank you by taking you out for a coffee or something after work.
me: umm, really, it's okay. that's what we're here for.
pat: oh. okay, well, let me know if you change your mind.

...he's still sitting at his station as I type this. Why didn't I say yes?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

creative juices

Idle hands really are the devil's workshop. I'm working on part deux of the story that wants to tell itself. Apologies in advance for not posting more regularly here. Know that my life is just not blogworthy at this time. If anything remotely exciting happens, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, Nish and I are planning our vacations and dates. So far: Cross-Canada, Stratford weekend, Shaw Festival, a Soulpepper production, TSO doing Star Trek (with Q in attendance!). It's turning out to be an eventful few months and it all begins in April.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

my own closed mouth


I have a lot of things I want to say to you, but I'm going to restrain myself. It's become painfully obvious that you have decided to completely gloss over both the purpose of and the message within my tiny missive to you. I hate that our entire relationship - all 14 years of it - comes down to one sentence. 14 years. Seems like a long time to know someone and then just dismiss them. It also seems to me to be pretty shallow to think that after 14 years, I don't know a thing or two about you.

Here's what I think I know: you have a hard time doing the things the rest of us find routine (not easy, just routine); you think that you're unique in your issues and that, no matter how hard anyone tries, no one will ever understand your desolation; you have brief shining moments of normalcy, of goodness, that lull me into thinking that maybe things are getting better; you do not share your feelings as easily as you used to and that this has led to many a misunderstanding between us of late; my heart broke when you didn't call.

Here's what I don't know: how you expect me to realise how bad life got for you when you haven't spoken to me outside trivial shallowness in years; if helping you is treating you like a delicate flower or like someone who needs a kick in the pants; what to make of the fact that everyone expects you to act in one way but you do the exact opposite; how to reconcile your plainspoken need for companionship and your utter rejection of its offer; if I can ever forgive you for being so selfish when you've clearly demonstrated you're better than that.

If things ended with bang, there would be some catharsis, some closure; this silence is far more hurtful.

Monday, February 04, 2008

an old pair

I have this old pair of jeans - had it for nearly ten years now - that I just love. They're so comfortable and worn-in, like second-skin. I don't ever have to worry about not having something to wear. They're stonewash blue Levis, nothing fancy, nothing trendy. They sit at the sweet spot on the hip, hitching comfortably on the curve that separates the women from the girls. They're touchable (like velvet) and they've faded in all those places I unconsciously rub or chafe, as if they're used to me irritating them there and they're okay with it. When I first got them, they were a little too long and a little too big, but I've since grown into them and they've grown with me; better that that, they've even self-hemmed themselves to fit my short legs, wearing down stitch-by-stitch so now they have a soft fray around my ankles. They even have a few threadbare spots from when I was too rough with them, but they seem all the more personal for it.

I can't wear them everywhere, though. When I first got them, I wanted to. They made me feel so good, I thought I could make them appropriate for all parts of my life. I soon learned that a blacklit club made them look a little silly and they were out of place at a family wedding. So, they don't go to those places anymore. But they're with me for all those quiet moments of reading; comfy moments of travelling; those essential I-need-something-that-feels-made-for-me moments. There are phases: when I first got them, I wore them until they almost fell apart; later, I realised they can only take so much abuse. So, I let them sit in my closet for a bit. However, more and more these days, I find myself reaching for them when all my other pants just seem like too much work.

I shop a lot. I buy a lot of clothes, but not a lot of jeans. Lately, though, I've been eyeing this new pair: a sexy-smart, black pair that look amazing, with their mysterious silk patterns embossed over the denim. They're in a store I pass really often and I think about buying them whenever I see them. They're a really expensive pair, an amount of money that's not worth investing unless I know that I'll have them for a while and that they won't fall apart on me. Last week, they went on sale. After vacillating, I decided I should at least go and try them on. The sales clerk, taking one one look at my dangling earrings, my Infinite chain, my knee-high black boots and my neo-goth silk/chiffon top says "those jeans are made for you!" I was happy to agree. She says to me that they're not available in my size, though, but she has one size up and size down. I said I'd try both.

One size up: roomy, comfy, but I'd need a belt or it'll slip off my hip. Also too long, so I'd have to alter the hem by almost 2 inches (no hope of a comfortable fray here). If I alter them, though, I'm unsure if I'd ruin the cut of the jeans, the pattern that attracted me in the first place. These are not the kind of jeans that are meant to be loose and free; they needed more structure that one size up could give me.

One size down: too tight. I felt restricted, like if I made the wrong move, a button would pop or a stitch would give. They looked fabulous when I stood straight up and didn't breath deep; but the minute I let go and tried a more natural stance, they felt awkward and uncomfortable.

Slipping back into my comfy-blues, I felt like I was sliding into a warm bed. Even the zip gave little sibilant yawn. I took the black jeans to the counter where the clerk eagerly asked which of the sizes fit and I had to watch her face fall when I said neither. She said that if I left my number, she would call if any new sizes arrived or (more likely) someone returned a pair. I said thanks and I did, but I doubt I will get a call. Most clothes are a get-'em-while-you-can kind of deal.

Walking out, I briefly thought about maybe looking for another pair of jeans. Sticking my hands into my pockets, though, I paused. These jeans were just fine. They were broken-in; they knew my curves; they were worn in all the right places. Yeah, sure, they weren't dramatic or full of flare; they certainly weren't going to Funhaus with me next weekend. But between the clubs and the opera, comes life. And these jeans were made for life.

For the time being, I'm appreciating my blues. Maybe I'll get a call from the clerk; maybe I won't. The more time passes, the less I care either way.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

things I say in my head, but never out loud

On the GO Train:
- *directed at cute little kid who keeps stepping on my boot whenever the train rocks* It's too early for me to be nice to you. so fuck off.
- *directed at the kid's spawning pool (i.e. father)* fucking pick him up or something, useless twat. he's like 3 and can't stand on his own in a moving vehicle. Exercise some fucking parenting!

After a French Vanilla coffee:
- The world is pretty in a blizzard. lalala.

At conference:
- Ahhh, a pillar at the back of the room, right next to my chair. Perfect for a quick nap.
- The best part about this whole conference is chatting with the peeps. Sessions just get in the way.

On the GO Train:
- Lady, I don't care how tall you are, if you hit me in the head with your book one more time, I will break you.
- I can't believe you're letting that very pregnant lady stand while you just sit there. Men suck.
- *Upon watching some chick flip on the stairs from the upper deck and as I'm saying are you okay and helping her up* Maybe if you had worn winter-appropriate boots, instead of those stilhetto streetwalkers, you would be able to do things like walk down stairs. Yeah, keep looking at the stairs as if this is all its fault and not your own brain damage.

Upon reading emails
- Why can't my life be a little less Degrassi and a little more Cashmere Mafia?