Hilarity at London Drugs

So my dad and I were just at London Drugs. He wanted to find a cable so that I could plug my foundling digital camera into my laptop, because he showed me how to put my pictures on the computer (upload?) and then onto a CD. I wanted to get toilet paper because he was driving me home, and TP is one of those things that’s easier to drive home than bus home. I had a 24-pack (On sale!) under one arm.

LD didn’t have the cable. So it’s me, Dad, and 24 pillowy soft rolls.
He stops so suddenly that I bean him with the 24 PSRs.
“Is that Pam McAllister?” he asks.
I look. “And Wendy.”

He does a nifty U-turn. I retreat as well, but there are no open checkouts between us and freedom. Now what are we going to do?

It’s not that Pam and Wendy are bad people, they’re not. They just talk. A lot. Endlessly, ceaselessly. They’re really fountains of gossip and can tell you about the girl you went to grade six with for three months, and that she’s supposedly found a new man after all that unpleasantness in the Colombian jail, but don’t ask, because she surely mustn’t have done that, because really, her mom made such nice lemon squares that time at the Parent Social Night, and really, speaking of that did you hear? Marty (you remember, he was Valedictorian?) He got a sex change and is living as a woman! he has a place in Yaletown, which is really expensive, isn’t it? And of course his partner Jennifer, well, they have a daughter who goes to playgroup with Janet’s youngest, who is doing fine and the problems she was having with the bloodwork and all worked out very well, and of course, you know, Wendy’s design career has simply taken off, she’s so busy all the time and she doesn’t know but she might take a course, the same one that Calvin took that one time when he was trying to upgrade, of course such a shame about his horse, he really loved it and had Wendy do a painting of it, and Stuart decided he needed a copy, but Calvin didn’t want to give it to him, so they fought and it was simply, simply awful!

I can’t work out how they know any of this, since it is not humanly possible to get a sentence in edgewise. I’m serious. I have tried every time I’ve seen them for, oh, 25 years. Not once have I been successful.

So what are we going to do? Dad has a plan.
“I’ll see you outside,” he says, and as smoothly as James Bond evading the KGB, or even a passel of pissed off North Koreans, he’s gone.

I need to make a fast decision. Do I get my sale PSRs, and endure twenty minutes of one-sided conversation or do I forego said sale PSRs and retreat into the perfumed night?

No contest. Sorry, PSRs. I hoist them up on the stacks of bottled water beside me and, not as smoothly as James Bond, but with a pretty good speed and smoothness, catch up with my dad.

We run away giggling. Like idiots.


Kitsilano: a rave review

Yes, I live in Kitsilano. Yes, I do own yoga pants, but I’m not a Kits Bitch. Part of that is the fact that I live in West Kits, not East Kits.

Let’s just do a little comparison:

East Kits has bags of organic arugula from Capers. West Kits has bags of weed.

East Kits wears a fantastic local designer and the Gap. West Kits wears thrift shop clothes and the Gap.

East Kits lunches at Feenie’s often. West Kits lunches at Pita Pit often.

East Kits has a darling little Cabriolet to drive. West Kits is a member of the Cooperative Auto Network and takes the bus, or drives a very late model car that, even when it was new, was an economy car.

East Kits has designer tiny dogs, like Chi-Poms, or Shi-Poos. West Kits has SPCA mutts.

We both do Pilates but East Kits is better at it. West Kits tips over during a pose, laughing.

But I just went up to Darby’s because there’s a benefit there for those who lost houses and stuff in the fire a couple of weeks ago, http://www.kitsfire.com/ and the place is packed to the rafters! I tried to offer my money to Marianne, who lives three doors up from me and who organized the event. She actually turned my money down, and said that we were doing just fine, monetarily!

I looked around the audience and saw West Kits and East Kits, intermingled. Everyone was helping out, listening to great music. It was delightful! Let’s hear it for Kitsilano: We were named after a three-headed sea monster, but we can pull together as a neighbourhood when someone’s chips are down.

Dream Warrior

The cheesefairy’s dream reminded me of one I’ve been mulling over.

So the other night, I dreamed that I had to save society from a poison-skinned blue worm-dragon that was living under the downtown library. It came up from the depths of its lair and all the people around me were paralyzed with fear. It was up to me to save the day!

The hideous worm went into a fine dining establishment (It might have been Lumiere, I don’t really know), and I broke off the top of a wine glass, street-hood style, wrestled the dragon onto a four-top, and pinned the thing to the tablecloth through its neck with the jagged edges of the wine glass.

Any analysis is welcome.

I’m Freeeeeee!

I am never making plans again. That’s it, I’m out. No more planning.

Instead, I’m just going to hang out with fun, interesting, motivated people. That way I’m no longer the sheepdog in the crew, nipping heels and keeping all the people going in the same direction in the same place. Instead, I am free to embrace the whimsy of the world. As a matter of fact, I think I will start by throwing out my calendar! Wait, that might be hasty…

This sudden change of mindset is a result of today’s adventures. I went up to tutor a client, then went to Em’s to go to the gym. But she was in full meltdown, so we didn’t go to the gym. We cleaned her house and then went to a play! With Duncan! And Deb was in the play! She so rocks the Casbah, can I just say?

Afterwards we went for burgers and laughed a lot. The whole outing beat the pants off my original plan, which was to vaccuum the house and visit my grandmother.

I had planned on going to a barbecue hosted by a crazy man, but you know, I might not. Who knows what’s going to happen next! Woo Hoo!

Oh, except I do want to make plans to go to the PNE. Hmm. Maybe I can plan that. Is that ok? Just one plan, right? It’ll be fine.

I can stop any time I want to.

Bad Choices and Star Wars

Okay. I brought it all on myself. I wish I could have been wildly proactive and simply catapulted my way out of the situation, but I didn’t, so here I am. I made all bad choices today.

This morning at the gym, our lovely new gym friend Tracy spots why no amount of Pilates abwork makes me hurt:My legs bend slightly as I go to bring my legs in from a stretching move: I’m using my back for all those moves. So I do a bunch of them again, and gosh darn, can I feel my abs now! OW! I guess I shouldn’t have tried to tough it out so much, huh?

I was supposed to go to the PNE with Gen and was totally psyched about that, but Gen calls and says she has to go to the doctor, because she has an earache and a sore throat. Plus she has to feed her boyf’s cats and fish. No problem, I said I’ll wait til she comes out of the doctor’s to make sure we’re still on.

But do I spend the intervening three hours wisely? No. I go on the internet. I make a sandwich. I do some desultory weed-pulling in the garden. But really, I’m mostly on the internet. Not even for my own betterment. I have conversations about what would happen if the British tried to re-colonize North America and give my opinion on some balloon animals. Not useful. I almost apply for a writing job and then realize it is, in all likelihood, an essay mill. Can’t do that, even if I’d love to write essays for money.

Gen calls, but she is dizzy and nauseated, so we’re not going to the PNE. We’ll get there eventually. Notice how a smart person would have changed her plans in a proactive and dynamic way to embrace the possibilities of the free day? Yeah. Not me. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do.

To console me, E takes me out for gelato. I figure I’ll be be exciting and get something other than lemon or hedgehog, my standby flavours, and I try white chocolate cheesecake with raspberries. Sounds good, right? Sounds like I really went for it. But no.

Hey, gelato-making people! White chocolate cheesecake with raspberries tastes like vanilla with barely discernable streaks of raspberry. Put in more cheesecake, or at least some. And more raspberries, ok? I said it was delicious and ate it with all evidence of enjoyment, but, really, it was just a (very good, but) vanilla cone. Cnuts.

So I’m up a few hundred calories without any kind of orgasm-inducing flavour revelation. Good call, me.

Rented “Cheaper by the Dozen” last night. I know, I know. Again with the choices. But I watched it with E this afternoon. It was cute, but, yes, I felt I could have spent my time better. Even though I sewed throughout the movie.

E went to work. I thought, hmm, what about spending the evening on the couch reading? No dice. I have approximately 350 close, personal favourites here, but I can’t bring myself to get into them because I chose to (again with the bad choices) read all the really high level books for my employer, so that I can mark the book reports about those books. Well, it’s fantastic that they chose from ALA notables and Caldecott winners, but each book is damned tedious! Okay, “The Rosa Parks Story” was rather uplifiting, as was “Sojourner Truth”, a story about a woman who escaped from slavery to speak out against it. But my choices this week,( see, choices again), are terrible and I don’t care at all about whether or not anything happens in them! I’m sorry if someone said the author wrote with “sparse poeticism” (What?) It bores me and it will bore the little Korean kids you’re trying to make care about American culture.

They don’t care, see? They’re going back to Korea in 1-3 years. Rosa Parks has an important lesson for all of us to learn, but these people come from a country where some of their grandmothers were imprisoned in brothels for years for Japanese soldiers. They were called “Comfort women” and they were raped day after day for years on end because one group of people from one place thought they were better than another group of people from another place.

Yes, there are parallels to blacks and whites in the US, but these kids are mostly too young and overworked to be able to appreciate the similarities. So shut up with the adult-chosen “Subtle, wise, complex—superb!” books. How about some fun for these benighted little studyaholics?

Okay, so, after deciding not to read, I thought, hmm, what about dinner? How about some brie on baguette? That’s about right. There’s some brie in the freezer so I take it out and go out to find a baguette.

I check out our movie collection but the only thing I haven’t seen is Star Wars III (Revenge of the Sith? Return of the Sith?) Whatever. I know it’s going to be bad, but it’s on the network anyway, so I click on it and dig into my brie. At least if the movie’s on my laptop, I can browse Craigslist while I watch.

BUT - The brie has done that ammonia thing that brie does when it’s too old. You know, the actual cheese part is fine, but the surrounding (What is that, wax? Plastic? Super Spooge?) stuff has gone all ammonia-ey. I do the best I can to scoop out the brie, but it’s a bit of a lost cause.

The movie’s a lost cause as well.

Padme went from a guntotin’, danger-seekin’ adventure junkie to some passive little whiner who doesn’t have the sense to bitchslap her man before his eyes go all red and buggy and he commits forever to the forces of evil. Cnut.
-The guy playing Anakin still can’t act. His one convincing moment was when the dark mask slipped over his face and I heard the Darth Vader breath come out of the airholes or filter or whatever the hell makes him breathe that way.

Not enough Wookie action in the movie. Lots of screen time for that giant iguana thing Obi Wan is riding around on, but not enough Wookies for my taste. Perhaps Wookies are just too cool and couldn’t commit to a big part in such a crap movie? I don’t know. Maybe today’s moviegoer is unable to interpret Wookiespeak from tone and body language and so the Wookies were deemed not as big a box-office draw as could be. Fuck that shit. I totally understood what Chewie was saying all the time, and I don’t speak a lick of Wookie!

-But Obi Wan was lovely, Ewan MacGregor is a fine, fine actor and really did make me think of Alec Guinness. Excellent studying of videos, Ewan. Plus, I saw “The Pillow Book.” I know you have a big Jedi dick.

-Also, Yoda unleashing his extreme Jedi powers was pretty good. Anyone know what species he actually is? I’m not usually into ancient short green guys with big ears and convoluted syntax, but Yoda had it going on!

I’m still awake, and have still plenty of bad choices to make. I think I might go up to the local watering hole and make some bad choices there. Excellent!

Morgan’s Wedding Speech

Okay. Do you know how damned hard it is to write a meaningful wedding speech about someone that evades a) a very sordid past b) maudlin rambling, and yet conveys the depth to which you love this person?

I do. I just did it. But now I’m going to write what I wanted to write.

Oh, Morgan, God bless you for so many things.

For thinking, even before we’d met, “Hmm, she’s hot. Is she old enough?”
For talking to me at that dull party in that dank kitchen and distracting me from the fact that my boyfriend had dragged me there so he could get high with busty teenaged girls.
For saving my life. Shut up, you did.
For sharing my love of DH Lawrence on a dark mountaintop.
For pimping boys at me til I got on my feet again.
For not reminding me very often that a certain roommate of yours actually was a maggot-loving whiny bag of priviledged trash.
For the incredible drug stories from Japan:”I found this bag of pills, so I took three, to see what would happen.”
For your delight in telling the dead seagull story about our dads.
For your endless support and pushing me to believe in myself.
For referring to me as your writer friend.
For the knowledge that even though you were sleeping wth my rooommate, you stayed the night so that you and I could talk in the morning.
For introducing me to Sharon and Andreas and your Eric.
For letting me into your family.
For the phrase, “Spank the Patriarchy”
For your stories about your beautiful Korean boyfriend.
For being with me that time at Richmond Center when my ex saw us but didn’t say hi because I was with such a good looking young guy.
For kissing the girl with the bifurcated tongue and describing it to me so I didn’t have to wonder.
For understanding, when my mother died, that I was too depressed to go work out.
For when we did work out, making me laugh.
For teaching me to work my walk, and that hearing Billie Jean in my head was a prerequisite.
For looking better in my jean jacket than I do, you bum.
For explaining how you were going to set your sparkly disco ball butt plug on fire, because even though it was a wonderful butt plug, it was wrong to use it with a new girlfriend.
For turning into a deeply wonderful human being, one whom I am pleased and proud to count among my closest friends.
For having the good sense to marry a girl who has the good sense to marry you.

Good call.

Travelling Pants

“So if we were going to be shallow, which friend would each of us be?”

This is Gen’s comment after we saw The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants tonight.

I am blessed to be one fourth of a quartet of strong female friends. G and I went tonight to see it, as we’d both loved the book. But which friend am I? Is Gen? Em? Arwen?

In the words of Brian Johnson, the geek in The Breakfast Club, “You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But, what we found out is that each one of us is: a brain . . .
And an athlete . . .
And a basket case . . .
A princess . . .
And a criminal.
Does that answer your question?”

Which one of us does not somehow crusade for justice? Which one of us is not afraid to take the hard line? Which one of us does not depend on the others for strength sometimes?

We have pigeonholes for one another: “You ALWAYS do that!” “Cause THAT’s a great idea as usual.” “She’s DOING it again.” (eye roll)

We fight. We learn. We share.

But they’d have a hard time making a movie of us because we’d be too messy, too convoluted, too visceral, too alive. We just won’t stay in our boxes.

Thank God.

The Wedding Crashers (Spoiler Alert!)

Did I like it? Didn’t I? Not sure.

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. I love them anyway, so that was predictable.
Lead actress’s lip stain. Man, if I could figure out how to get product to stay on my face, I would SO be getting some of that, whatever it is.
Christopher Walken being Christopher Walken. I know, I know, I’m a bad person because I like him doing his thing. He’s not reaching as an actor; I just don’t care.
The face comedy, the timing. Both related to VV and OW being on screen. CW too.
The gay little painter brother. He had the name of one of my exes and looked like a friend’s ex if that ex had spent a night on the tiles and bent his face out of shape only a bit. Pretty cool hair, too.
Jane Seymour’s boobs. Okay, that was obv. a body double, but still: Awesome!
Scenery: Please can I be a squillionaire and live in Nantucket?

Didn’t like:
Will Farrell. He just creeps me out, and he’s only doing HIS thing. Mr. Walken’s thing is fine. WF’s makes me want to take a shower and apologise to someone, even though it makes E laugh so hard that I eye the emergency exits and quietly reach for my cell phone in case I have to call 911.
The bondage scene. How is this okay? I mean, it was kind of funny, but, still, it was funny because it was a tiny woman restraining a giant burly man and stuffing his own dirty sock into his mouth. If the genders had been reversed, and even the sizes kept the same, eg, a little twig of a man tying up an Amazon-calibre woman, I’d have thought, “Jesus Fuck! How is it funny that this little disempowered twerp is getting his rocks off subduing a much larger, more powerful woman? I am appalled!” Was it ok because she was crazy? Was it ok because she was a woman? I just don’t know.
And when the gay little brother came in? Was that funny because VV was in a ridiculous predicament, or was it funny because an emotionally tortured teenager was declaring his heart?

Dunno, Bob.

Craig, I love you!

There’s no question. Craigslist is my new favourite site in the world. Thank you, Craig, for the personal ads, the free stuff, the jobs, and especially the funny stories about poo. For my money, you just can’t get enough of that stuff!

Also, thanks for teaching me the word ‘asshat’. I’ll be teaching it to my British friends in exchange for their own hilarous slang, such as ‘pants moustache’, ‘ladygarden’, ‘bargainous’,’chav’, and ‘cnut’.

Also: Thank you to the folks at The Original Student Calendar. After nineteen-yes, nineteen-years, you have finally produced a calendar with an attractive cover. This year, I don’t need to buy some wrapping paper to cover it, or think up my own cover design to hide the Polestar Graphic Design Team’s cringeworthy attempts at cover art. (I know that Em and Arwen didn’t mind last year’s cover, but I did, owing to my predjudice against the colour orange) But this year, I actually simply painted out the logo and dates on the cover, mimicking the pattern on the actual cover. It’s lovely. If I knew how, I would post a picture of it to show the world that it is, in fact, a work of art! My dad knows how, but he is sailing in Malaspina Strait. Or maybe the Gulf of Georgia. Or maybe he’s on an island. Anyhow, he’s away. But my calendar is here, and that’s a blessing. Now I can start planning things past Labour Day.

The Kindness of Strangers

So last night I was out in the neighbourhood, and I cannot believe we’re halfway through August, and it was my first patio night. Ah, beer on a patio, a true measure of civilization.

I was wending my way home and ran into Rubin and Kim at Sausi’s. They were just leaving for the Fringe, and were talking to Dan, Chambray’s boyf. He’s writing a novel and was having problems with one of the characters. I don’t know Dan, really, except through Chambray, but it seemed the neighbourly thing to do was to sit down and see if I could help.

Now, there’s been a lot of stuff in the wind lately about feminism and how men and women relate. Wrestling through Dan’s character problems last night gave me another angle on it.

His problematic character is Stephanie, a 36-year-old who works in an art gallery. Dan calls her a nymphomaniac. (Trouble alert, trouble alert!) But there was something about her that just wasn’t clicking for him, so we started talking about her and I began to see the trouble. He wasn’t seeing her ‘nymphomania’ as a disease, although he described it thus. He was seeing it as her whole character. Everything about her had to do with her “abnormal sexual desire.”(More on this later) Furthermore, he wasn’t creating her as a character, he was treating her as a tool to create plot points. So I explained how I saw this and we worked some more on her background, on her person, on her habits outside of the sexual ones, and he started feeling a lot better about her. Saw that instead of just sticking her into situations, she was someone with other motivations than sex.

Now, this is a man who is otherwise well attuned to people. He has a reputation as a caring, responsible guy who is thoughtful and deliberate in his actions. Last night, I saw him put a almost-passed-out drunk stranger into a cab, give the cabbie 20 of his own dollars, and ensure that the girl knew her own address. These are not the actions of an unenlightened man.

So courtesy of Google, I did some looking up of the term, nymphomaniac. There’s no such thing! There is sexual addiction, compulsive sexuality, and a couple of other terms, but there is in fact, no way to measure if someone is a nymphomaniac or not! Albert Kinsey even defined the term as “Someone who has more sex than you.”

So I got to wondering why this obviously well-rounded man would see a ‘nymphomaniac’ as not a person? What makes a woman who has a lot of promiscuous sex an un-person? The morality issues? No. People who cheat on their spouses continue to hold status as people. People who deliberately have sex with others’ partners are still people. The neediness issues? (There has been a lot of talk about ‘nymphomania’ as a symptom of low self-esteem.) No, people with low self-esteem are just that, people. With low self-esteem.

The only thing I can think of is that, maybe even subconsciously, many men feel threatened by a woman who wants a lot of sex. Ergo, the label of having ‘unnatural appetites’. By unnatural, I mean, of course, ‘wants to get it on when a man doesn’t’.

But here’s Dan, this modern, caring, intelligent guy. And he can simultaneously believe a woman who wants a lot of sex is not a person, and that the drunk girl needs to get home before someone preys on her.

Have we really come very far in the feminist battle?

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