Friday Confessions. Or Not.

You know, there’s nothing I did that I feel the need to confess. Instead, I feel the need to give a list of delightful things that have happened to me this week. If you want to list confessions, go ahead. If you want to follow my lead and be all fluffy-wuffykins, go ahead as well.

1) I got to see the mountains turn pink yesterday. I’m lucky that my classroom faces north, so I can see the North Shore mountains. Especially at times like that.

2) I helped a little old lady cross the street. I was running for the bus, I was starving, and I had to pee. But there she was, shuffling along in her pink tracksuit. I stopped and asked (in true Boy Scout fashion) “Can I help you cross?” and so we crawled our way across Broadway. The drivers waiting for her to get out of the way smiled at me. I felt ten feet tall.

3) November has been so much kinder than it has in past years. We had so much sun this month that The Gloom hasn’t really touched me, in spite of catching E’s cold.

4) I went out last night and bought $27 dollars’ worth of cold medication. On the way to the store, I ran into a delightful lady who chatted with me and then mistook some random guy on the bus for Burton Cummings. Free entertainment!

5) My friend Morgan told me my mannerisms are similar to Miranda Richardson’s while playing Queen Elizabeth I in the Blackadder series. Hilarious!

Anybody else got either blessings or self-recriminations?

Heroes go Poof!

Why in God’s name are they canceling Heroes?

Okay, I know it’s because of the writer’s strike and all, but, really, people, this is an emergency of international proportions!

This is one of two shows I look forward to watching all week. I love the characters. I love the action. I love the fact that I gasp when I watch it. Yes, I am that sad. But apparently the studio execs are ‘re-evaluating their production commitments’. They’re canceling my favourite show.

The only thing I can think of is that some TV marketers have decided that they need to pave the way for more reality TV and other mind-numbing pap. I know some of you love reality TV, and that’s all well and good. I, however, do not. I want explosions and kissing and flying people. I want giant mutants. I want dragons and fairies. I do not want to watch people bitch each other out or compete for some prize or put bugs in their mouth and bungee jump off the Eiffel Tower. Unless I can do it at Cheesefairy’s house when she’s watching whatever the Tyra Banks show is, because I think that would be fun. But only because of the Fairy of Cheese. TV’s just not delivering for me these days.

I think I know the reason TV sucks. I have suspected it for a long time, but I am now forced to come to the conclusion that people are getting slowly stupider. We are devolving into giant sluglike creatures, lightly dusted with Cheeto powder, incapable of making even the most elementary of thought processes on our own (See Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader if you don’t believe me). We will be unable to express our emotions except by twitching our pallid, bloated fingers over the remote, unable to choose between Survivor MCMXII: Whatever and America’s Next Celebrity Plumber.

We’re in serious trouble. So, while humanity slides slowly into the toilet, what should I watch to distract myself?

Didn’t We Already Have an Olympic Mascot?

Passing newspaper boxes today, I could not help but notice the 2010 committee has unveiled the mascots for the redoubtable 2010 Olympic games. My first thought: Didn’t we already have that stone thing? My second: Aren’t they kind of obscure?

But then I remembered that the Inuit inukshuk, a landmark for travelers in the far north, was rejected by most of the common populace, when we saw it. Because Vancouver is not in the Arctic Circle, and the inukshuk has no ties to the spirit of Vancouver. So obviously, THAT design got downgraded to just the logo, and marketing people went into a wild frenzy looking for some more local mascottage.

Squatchi is a sasquatch. Of all three characters, the sasquatch is the best-known creature, but I don’t know who knows of the sasquatch, other than the inhabitants of British Columbia and Washington State. At a glance, people from other countries may think that this mascot is a hairy Barbabpa, or perhaps Hagrid’s love child. This may cause some confusion.

Miga is a sea bear. Again, obscure. Apparently, the sea bear is part bear and part killer whale, and figures in Haida and Tsimshian stories. Miga is black and white and smiley. Just like a bear or orca smiles before they take a big chunk out of you. But not to worry, Miga’s favourite food, apparently, is wild salmon. Perhaps after the Olympics are gone, she could get a gig campaigning against the disease-ridden conditions of the fish farms around here.

Sumi is an aggregate creature who “watches over the creatures of British Columbia” as some kind of animal spirit. I’m fairly certain Sumi is the product of intense marketing meetings where desperate marketers in suits shout things like “More aspirational!” “It needs to be value-added!” “It needs to be a synergistic confluence of the native peoples and their values!” And then everyone goes out for cocaine and hookers. Or is that part of advertising over now? Anyway, Sumi is pretty much a sugar-coated amalgam of traditional Native beliefs about nature. Pretty fricking condescending.

So I give a thumbs-down to the official Olympic mascots. But at least they represent ideas closer to home than the stone thingie. At least they have eyes.

Doctor Do It.

I will post this too late for Tuesday, owing to my pressing need to watch Heroes. NaBloPoMo gods may smite me.

I went to see my doctor today, to get more birth control pills. It became clear that Dr. D wants me to have a child. She cited many reasons, including my creativity and flexibility and E’s easygoingness, and lots more.

I need to add here that she has been my doctor for about 22 years. My pediatrician handed me over sometime after puberty, and my (generally) twice-yearly consultations with her have been touchstones in my life.

I trust her implicitly. Her advice over the years has been nothing but fabulous. When my mother forced me to go to her for a pregnancy test after I lost my virginity, Dr. D said, “You used a condom and made sure to have sex the week after your period ended, because you knew that was safest. You don’t need this test, because you’re clearly responsible about your sexuality.” Yes, thank you, Person of Authority.

She trusted my judgment when I said, “I’m sad because my mother died. I don’t want to take pills. I think it’s okay to be sad. This is a big thing.”

A few years after my mother died, she was the first non-friend who observed, ‘You’re back’, seeing I’d come out of the tunnel of grief and apathy.

So when she says, “I think it’d be the best fun you’ve ever had”, about children, I waver. A bit. Because I trust her implicitly.

The problem I have is that I do not want children. I don’t want to be pregnant. I don’t want to give birth. I’m scared to be responsible for another person walking around out there. (As an aside, as a god parent, I would step into the responsible pants, and do everything for the best life of the child.) But I have no burning ambition to breed.

Apparently, if there is a god, he or she sucks at allocation. Because although I might be a fabulous parent, I do not want to be a mother.

Exed.

My ex finally got around to contacting me on Facebook.

Situations like this, as well as macaroni salad and threequels, are why the expression ‘meh’ came into English speakers’ vocabularies.

Yes, I was one of the best friends he ever had, but I’m done there. He’d like to bury the hatchet? What hatchet? We’re not feuding. I decided I didn’t need him anymore. The way you don’t need a boyfriend with a substance abuse problem. The way you don’t need a boyfriend so insecure that he actually thinks about what song should be playing on the car stereo when you pull up at a party.

His message is well-crafted, but I know him of old. I can see his thought processes in the message, and I just don’t share his sentiments. His Facebook profile suggests that his deep-seated insecurities are not resolved, which in turn suggests that the up-and-down cycle of his life hasn’t stabilized. Um, no thank you. I have had enough helpings of that drama, thanks.

Sorry, dude. I was your stability for almost a decade. If you haven’t got the hang of it by now, I’m just not there for you.

Thirteen Hours

...from door to door, to door to door.

I went to see my father in Cowichan Bay today. Up at six to catch the greyhound from Main and Terminal. Transit couldn’t get me there that early.

I made it to Duncan before noon and my dad’s girlfriend Sue picked me up.

At Dad’s house, we had a healthy lunch of grilled cheese made from low-fat cheese and becel margarine. He looks tired and winces in pain sometimes. But he’s alive. Then we talked about iGoogle and he showed me how to read nautical charts. I showed him my garden design and told him about teaching. We have a weird relationship.

Sue drove me back to the ferry. Her teenage daughter was in the car, but she was plugged in to her ipod and didn’t say much. Sue and I talked about property prices and menopause. I really like her. Actually, I don’t know what she sees in my dad, since she is actually very pretty and reasonable and stuff. But I am thankful she likes him.

In the lineup to walk off the ferry there was the most precocious child I have ever encountered. She was so up herself I don’t even know how she was talking. She was all, “They’re going to be delighted to see me!” and when we offloaded, she shrieked, “Small person coming through!”. I was appalled. People with children, don’t let this happen to your child!

I got a seat on the bus next to a fellow with long, tangled dark hair and a violently green hand-knitted sweater. It had some kind of cartoon on it. People were avoiding that seat because he looked a little weird, but I thought he was okay. And he was.

Then my faith in children was restored at the bus stop. Small guy stares hard at the rampant lion in the Birks ad on the bus stop, and then goes into the rampant pose, trying to stick his tongue out like the lion. Cool kid.

It’s been a long day, but I’m glad I went. Dad’s okay.

Beowulf.

I don’t know if I should tell you to run out and see it or not. (Spoilers within)

As an action movie, it is shiny! Lots of flames, lots of smoke, lots of ringing of swords and whatnot. Enough research went into what the Danes were doing in the Dark Ages: What they wore, how they decorated stuff, that I didn’t spot anything too egregious.

However, they did screw with the plot. Oh, Hollywood, I knew you would do that, but I thought the noble force of Neil Gaiman on screenplay duty would hold it steady! Neil, did they put rohypnol in your tea? Because, damn, man. I really thought you’d do a better job.

Much as it was fun to see Angelina Jolie’s glistening breasts and thighs, and The Lips, nudged a little fuller in CGI, and the fact that her feet were inexplicably formed as six-inch heels (IBTP!), she was a living manifestation of the Vagina Dentata, and not a rotting-corpse-breathed horror from the depths. Oh. And then she turns into a dragon at the end. Beowulf battled a dragon late in his reign, but it wasn’t the same being as Grendel’s mom.

In MY copy of the book, he and his crew follow her to her lair and he kills her there. Later he goes home to Gotland and becomes King. In the movie, he has sex with Grendel’s mother but TELLS everyone he killed her. She fixes it so he can become king there. This changes his character significantly, from pure hero to basely-motivated-killer-for-hire who didn’t do the job but swindled the good people of Denmark and took the throne under false pretense.

Then, after Beowulf dies, they send him off in a burning boat. Because EVERYBODY knows that’s what happens to dead Vikings. And he was from Scandinavia somewhere, right? So he must have been a Viking. Um. No. Beowulf was buried in a barrow with all his gold and stuff. He was much more similar to the Germanic horse lords than to actual Vikings who went a-viking. Although burning boats are sexier than burials, onscreen.

Of course they had to build in more relationship stuff with some women, but I expected that.

Grendel was actually very sympathetically portrayed, and I liked the fact that he was speaking something approaching Middle English: ‘Modder, helfen’ instead of ‘Mother, help’ for example.

And Beowulf had a lot of naked screen time. Strategically-placed swords, elbows, and smoke preserved his modesty, but I did notice he didn’t seem to have any lower belly hair. He also spent a lot of time running around in what looked to be leather boxer-briefs. Fabulous, but I would not want to be the laundress!

Friday Confessions.

Some are good weeks, some are bad weeks. This was a good one. Mostly.

1) I did say I was going to go out to a couple of parties, but the weather and the fact that E was home led us to rent videos and contemplate our navels. I could have been a Fabulous Party Girl. But that’s hard when one is damp.

2) I overslept on Wednesday and had less time at work to revamp the writing program than I wanted. Ho hum, I’ll do it today.

3) I denied a kid a word she wanted to put on a flash card. This is out of character and I’ll try to justify it later. But I sort of owe her a word.

4) I got fed up of simply chasing the cat off the counter, and poured some water on his head to discourage him. I wonder if the lesson will stick.

Anything with the rest of you?

Belly Laughs.

I think what I missed most about belly dancing (beside the dancing) was the laughter.

When you have a bunch of women who are comfortable with each other and you have a Fearless Leader who has a penchant for goofiness, that’s the perfect combination.

It helps that our emotions are close to the surface anyway. But this is a time for many women in the class to really let go of the cares of the week. Apartment hunting, breastfeeding, work stress all slide away and our laughter is free to well up whenever and however.

Sometimes we titter like a bunch of finches. Sometimes we howl like hyenas. Whoop like a troupe of gibbons. Our barbaric yawps are unconstrained by the sheen of civilization and the primal laugh, the one that feels like champagne through the spinal cord, bursts through.

The primal laugh has a lot going against it in modern culture. It has to hide and skulk and find places where it’s welcome. In most civilized places, it turns up its collar and puts on its sunglasses. It does show up in private homes, and if you’re really lucky, in the bedroom. Sex, meet the primal laugh. Primal laugh, meet your mucky, slick, awkward cousin. Those two are a party in and of themselves.

But the primal laugh is always welcome at belly dance class. Come by any time, primal laugh. Any time.

Surprise Adult Moment.

No, it’s nothing dirty. It’s just that sometimes doing something you’ve never done before is easier than you thought it’d be.

For example, buying a turkey is easier than I thought.

I had a coupon from our friend Jim, whose family has controlling interests in a large company that is synonymous with turkey. If there’s one thing I did know about turkey, it was that it was expensive, so a coupon would be a good idea.

One obstacle in my path to turkey-ownership was that I didn’t know where they were at the store. I should have known they were in the long line of frozen prepared meat products and hors d’oeuvres and stuff wrapped in bacon and phyllo. Because that makes sense: The bird carcass that you have to thaw and prep and take the giblets out and stuff with bread and herbs and fruit and sometimes other meat, and then take out of the oven again several times and baste and check the temperature and obsess over like it’s a two-year-old with a fever? It goes right beside the things you take out of the box and stick in the oven for ten minutes. Right.

But I found my turkey and I took it to the till, where I didn’t notice until I was up close that the cashier was ‘in training’. I panic a bit at moments like these. At least one of us should be experienced, right? What if he doesn’t know what to do with a turkey coupon? What if it’s not valid? Even though it has Jim’s family name right on the piece of paper? And he would never give me a fake coupon, would he? No. So it’s going to be fine, right?

So the line inched forward until I was at the till. “I have a coupon,” I smiled like an idiot.

He looked at it and said something. To my chagrin, I couldn’t understand his heavily-accented English. I felt like I was letting the newbies down, turkey-buyers and cashiers alike.

Dude took the coupon over to the Customer Service woman and she sorted it out for me without anything more traumatic than a 30-second hold-up in the express lane (for which I apologized profusely to the customers in line behind me).

I am now the proud possessor of one turkey, which is currently languishing in our fridge freezer.

Bad Behavior has blocked 122 access attempts in the last 7 days.