Need To Put It Out There.

Okay, kids. I am trying to help an old high school friend write a book about how to learn Japanese. I didn’t say much about it, because I thought, “What if it’s awful? What if I can’t do it?”

But having neglected the project for a month (Yes, a month!) I am changing tactics. I am telling The Internets (and all three of you who read this thing) that this is what I am doing. Because then I won’t have an excuse to procrastinate because someone will know that I am a slackass.

That is all.

Illiterati.

bukz kill. we now it. weve nown it since the profeserz come down outta ther  towrs with ther idears. idears, shit. I got idears bettern thm. but their plan was to kill us all. takin up two much room, pluuting th planet. we wer dangerus. the got th ideah from buks. th planet cudnt keep us all aliv. greenhus gas and stuff. i donno. pepl wer the problum.

so they pisond us. first we wonnered why they biked thru the streetz in thoz suts. They used to call em beeyohaz or sumthin. big wite deels. like they was aleens. and thy had sutcasus of stuf i don now wat. it was pizon we now now.

we started gettin sick soon after. thu pepple who poched animuls noticd cats gettin sicker dyin in the streets. they 8 th catz. Food is food. nd they dide. nd thn oters dide. like blud from thr moufs nd ases nd thn thy coodnt see. thy got fevrs an dide soon aftr.

thos profesers were puttin a kemicle in the water that the animals gav to us. we startd dyin. now therf ar mani less pepl then thr was befor.

that wuz twenyfyv yrz ago. we trned ower baks on bukz. buks kill. we r surviverz. we can onlee eet plantz but we r ok. the prfessers leev us alon. the went bak to th towerz and the hav noting to do wit us now. we r saf.

Update to Lowbrow.

So I was talking to my brother the other day. We talk about five or six times a year on the phone, usually around birthdays and an occasional,”Hey, how ya doin’” out of the blue call. Well, I put the “Am I well-read?” question to him, and he (as he often does) opened his piehole and made a lot of sense.

I’m not necessarily well-read, but I am a voracious reader. He has the same bug, along with my dad. We always have books on us. Like, not just on the bus or wherever. We take books to the grocery store to read in line. We walk and read. We eat and read. Dad and I also watch tv and read. I read in the forty seconds between classes at work. In short, wherever we go, we are poised to start reading, given not even a minute’s wait time.

It struck me all of a sudden. My family is addicted to reading. If we don’t have books, we look at magazines. If there are no magazines, we will actually rifle through our pockets or bags for old mail or CD liner notes or receipts or something. Looking at it from the outside, it seems kind of OCD.

But it sure explains why I make my living teaching kids to read.

Search Terms.

I get a lot of hits from people looking for information on giant house spiders, male strippers, and, recently, werewolf sex. These I understand. But some recent search terms have me curious.

To the person who googled ‘weed kitsilano’: Dude, you don’t need to google.  Just go outside and ask someone.

To the person who got here looking for ‘vomiting pumpkin carvings’: I can’t help you. Possibly only a licensed health-care provider can.

To the person who came through looking for information on ‘monkeys smelling their butts and dying’: I don’t know what to tell you. But I am strangely interested in what you found. Off to google that, myself.

The Best Birthday Present.

Yep. It was my birthday today. Went to work. Fed kids chocolate. A good time was had by all. Cashed in on gifts from family. Excellent!

But my best present was from a student who chose some earrings for me, all by herself. She systematically went through Claire’s looking for the earrings she felt I would like the most. So she put a lot of thought into trying to figure out what I’d like, based on my personality, my clothing and my attitude.

Result: The most astonishing pair of earrings I have ever seen. They are the kind of earrings coveted by magpies. A drag queen in a Mardi Gras parade might eschew these earrings as being too over-the-top. I think you can see their shine from space. They are three-tiered, with magenta and pink ‘stones’ hanging from the top two tiers. from the third dangle five saucy, raspberry-coloured faux-crystal teardrops. They astonish in their shiny vulgarity.

I love them immoderately.

Mischief.

Mischief would have been a year old this month. We didn’t know his exact birthday, as Mac found him under his trailer in Hedley.

Mischief was a black longhaired cat with a white bib. He always had bits of leaves and things in his tail as he hadn’t got the hang of keeping clean yet.

He was the sweetest guy imaginable, running up to anyone and everyone for some pets and then going off to play. This morning he came over for a head-rub as I was going out the door to the gym.

He was Bax’s best friend. They used to wrestle in the front yard and our apartment. They had an ongoing war over where to keep the little fake mice they liked to play with. Bax brought them inside, but then Mischief would come in and take them out to the lawn.

Someone ran Mischief over today. Dr. Bob couldn’t save him. We will all miss him badly.

Rock and Roll Will Never Die.

So E’s employers gave him floor seats for The Who last night. Guess which lucky girlfriend got to go. The performance was phenomenal. All old rocker jokes aside, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend were both in good shape and were able to give higher energy performances than I have seen younger performers give.

I have been to some concerts but never one by such a huge band. Yes, they started their musical careers more than forty years ago, but that’s why they are great: They are not only musicians but icons of what Rock and Roll is. Townshend no longer smashes guitars (too expensive, repetitive strain injuries) and Daltrey looks like an ad for multivitamins, but they still rock hard. ‘My Generation’ was deliciously ironic. Honeys, you ARE old, and you don’t want to die. On the video screen for this song were images from the past sixty years of teenagers hula hooping in the fifties, love-in-ing in the sixties, punking in the seventies, gothing in the eighties, and raving in the nineties.

One of the unexpected bonuses of last night was getting to watch the crowd. There was a huge mix, from people who had been fans for 40 years to teenagers. That’s what good music does: It lasts. A few of my favourite fans:

Annie Boy: Overweight, about 20, a riot of red curls, wearing a (possibly ironic) sweater vest in a Kelly green. Sang along to every song and had tears in his eyes for ‘Behind Blue Eyes’. I wanted to hug him.

Hippie Guy: Decades-long fan. Cheered himself to pieces, flipped his Lipizzaner- white mane in a frenzy of headbanging. He flagged a little in the middle but regained his energy to rock out for ‘Pinball Wizard’.

Family Dad: Brought wife and two teenaged kids. Had to put his bificals on to type into his BlackBerry before holding it above his wife’s head so he could take a video.

It was amazing.

Public Service Announcement.

Ahem. NaNoWriMo is a scant 24 days away. Anybody with me this year?

www.nanowrimo.org

I am excited. Very excited. After a week of “Oh, God, I have no idea what I’m going to do,” Ideas have started sleeting through my brain. I must say, I love my brain. With it at my disposal, I am seldom bored.

Crap. This just in. This year there’s a chat room. I am doomed.

Guess What They’re Selling!

I’ve just come across the most astonishing advertising line I’ve seen in a while:

“Engage in a landmark of shimmering glass, sleek concrete, and reflective pools.”

What do you think they want you to buy?

Lowbrow Confesion.

I don’t read highbrow literature. Atwood, Mistry, Toews: They are >ahem< as closed books to me. Don’t get me wrong. I consider myself quite well-read, owing to parents who encouraged me to read anything that came my way, as well as an education that included The Canon, the list of Dead White Guys who wrote on a rainy island half a world away. As a result, I can catch an allusion to Hamlet or Beowulf or the Olympians. I also have read a lot of nonfiction about things that have interested me at one time or another: animals, architecture, feminist theory, salmon and history, to name some. I can talk a lot about some stuff.

However, I do not confuse ‘reading’ with ‘improving myself’. Reading is for pleasure and for finding things out, not for humourless journeys into 1930’s Pittsburgh to read endless pages of a character’s angst.

For pleasure, my shelves are filled with Terry Pratchett, L.M. Montgomery, Charles De Lint, Juila Quinn, Nora Roberts, etc. Okay, I love Kinsella, but mostly when he’s writing as Silas Ermineskin. I do not have ‘literary’ tastes. Further, I have never attempted to look ‘more intelligent’ with my reading choices. Okay, when I went to Philadelphia with Dad for Bo’s birthday, I purposely didn’t take any romances, in case Dad was embarassed by them on the plane. But for fun, I am not reading about tortured coal-mining families in Cape Breton. I am reading about fashionista vampires and modern-day superheroes.

So I don’t understand why people give me gifts of books that I will probably never read. I have been given ‘The Oxford Guide to English Literature’ twice. By the same person, even. I have never opened it once. I have been given books by Carol Shields, La Atwood, by several authors whose names escape me, who write about childhoods starved of affection and the resultant dysfunctional adult relationships. Why? Have I somehow misrepresented myself? Did they look at the Nora Roberts in my hand and assume it was some OTHER Nora Roberts, one whose novels are ‘deeply haunting journeys through the soul’ or something? There’s only one Nora Roberts, and she’s very rich because she is populist, not highbrow.

And I read her books like they are fricking crack.

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