Thursday, March 31, 2005

One of Those Days...

Where all you want to do is be by yourself but your house is full of people and work won't stop and you're tired of the world going to hell in a handbasket.

Things to do:

1. Take the One Tonne Challenge.

It's not that hard. But it is that hard.

2. Look what's happening to our glaciers. That's what useless driving and wasted energy is doing to the most beautiful places in Canada.

3. Use cold water to do your laundry. But you know, this begs the question that if it really doesn't make a difference, why do we need cold-specific laundry detergent? Is it better for the environment? Is it cleaner, use less fossil fuels? If it's always been more energy-efficient to use cold water, why are people just realizing it today?

4. Stop throwing away things. Use a broom, not a Swiffer. Buy a wooden cutting board, don't throw them away. Re-use your baggies, invest in Tupperware, eat your leftovers...oh, I could go on but I'm feeling like I'm lecturing, and no one wants to hear some cranky girl nag the general public on some stupid blog that no one's even reading.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

#16 - Touching the Void

What an incredible story, as anyone who has seen the documentary knows, Touching the Void tells the tale of two men, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, who summited the West Face of the 6344m Siula Grande in the Peruvian Alps.

During their descent, Simpson slipped, then fell, and broke his leg. Faced with the impossible, Yates began lowering his climbing partner down the mountain using their ropes. In extreme amounts of pain, Simpson's almost down when he slips right over a crevasse. Faced with himself being dragged over the edge, Simon cuts the rope. And then suffers massive amounts of guilt for doing so, even though, truly, he didn't have any choice.

Miraculously, Joe climbs out of the crevasse, crawls almost back to base camp, where Simon finds him, and ensures that he gets out of there safely, but barely alive.

I love stories about climbers, granted I've only ever read Into Thin Air, but I've watched numerous documentaries on Mount Everest and even interviewed Peter Hillary, and I'm consistently amazed at how much can go wrong. How people willingly know that much can go wrong but still push themselves to both the limits of their own bodies and the limits of the Earth, subject to all the whims and fancies of the weather, the elements, and the impossible battle with altitude.

Maybe because I know I could never climb a mountain. The closest I ever came was living in Banff and hiking to the top of Sulphur Mountain, which was incredible for me.

The documentary is good too, don't get me wrong, but Simpson's an amazing storyteller, and even if you're not remotely interested in climbing or climbers or mountains or tragedy or, well, you get the picture, you should read this book anyway.

From Touching the Void:

"If you succeed with one dream, you come back to square one and it's not long before you're conjuring, slightly harder, a bit more ambitious -- a bit more dangerous."

Isn't that a solid observation for life in general, never mind risking life and limb to climb to the top of a mountain?

Everyday Life

I'm in the middle of two books, am back at work, and am experiencing the joys of everyday life -- doing dishes, making dinner, cleaning the house. Maybe I shouldn't complain so much about being sick.

Feeling better also means surfing the Internet, which can be good or can be bad, the labyrinth of sites all leading you different places. Here's where I travelled today:

1. Do I think Leonard Cohen should win the Nobel Prize? Um, that's a hard one to have an opinion about, I read and loved Beautiful Losers, but haven't read any of his poetry, but do enjoy his music -- but a Nobel Prize? It's an interesting proposition. And that whole Buddhist monk thing he did, hot. Is that shallow of me?

Oh and some previous winners: Toni Morrison, J.M. Coeztee, Nadine Gordimer, Saul Bellow, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Samuel Beckett, shall I go on?

2. Does this woman not have a job? Who reads 4 books in a day, I could barely manage 4 books in a week. But still, quite the title, the competitive side of me would love to start a challenge where I, or someone I know, has a comparable amount of reviews on

3. Yay for writers! Maybe we can finally move away from the conception that online writers are hacks and content should always be free. Too bad it's an American I can't charge all those crazy web sites and kids that stole various articles from the History Television site when I was writing it.

4. Some fancy-schmancy dude is making it his personal ambition to debunk and cut apart Microsoft Word's grammar check. But I do kind of agree it's for writers who already understand the basics of grammar, but shouldn't it be begging the question more so why kids aren't be taught grammar anymore and are therefore looking to an automated program to just "fix" their problems? Enough complaining about Microsoft, start complaining about the education system. And while you're at it, buy a copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

5. What a lovely blog from writer Michael Winter. But the comments are kind of annoying. It's one thing for the writer to write entries as such, poetic, flowing, lyrical, etc., but quite another for Joe Blow to feel like he can comment in the same fashion. Holy pretentious Batman.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Boredom or Death?

Lord, lord, I'm so bored. I've spent over a week inside with this damn bronchitis and never thought I'd be so happy to be going back to work. Actually, that's a lie, because I was damn happy to get my new job after the truly awful experience of being fired by the Boss From Hell.

I'm too tired to read, too bored to watch television, too sick of Free Cell and haven't the energy to write anything. Not. One. More. Word.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Birthday Zesty

And may we have many more, rocking on chairs that support us both as we move into another year together. Remember all those years ago where I stood in the backyard wearing that ridiculous top Sariana gave me, flexing my muscles and showing off, saying, "This is going to be the best year of my life."

I was so wrong. I have now decided for both of us that it will be the best year of our lives.

And I'm nothing if I'm not pyschic. You better watch your ass Warwick. I'm making predictions and you'd better cue up a psychic hotline for all the pissed off customers you'll have when they see the power of the ragdoll and her immensely inflated ego, ahem, intellectual powers.

#15 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

...I couldn't put this book down. I read it in about two hours. It's a young adult book about four friends who find a pair of magic pants; pants that give them strength, support and courage during the first summer they spend apart.

My life lesson today: don't ever assume you're too old to read kid's books. Sometimes, they can surprise you, like your sweet, sweet nephew cuddling with you on the couch because you're still sick at Easter dinner and feeling sorry for yourself.

The book makes me want to tell my girlfriends how much I love them; how much I'm looking forward to getting old with them; how much they inspire me and give me strength; they make me stronger than I could ever be standing alone in this crazy, fucked up world.

#14 - Saturday

The extraordinary success of McEwan's last novel, Atonement, is already starting to be seen in the power of the sales of his latest, Saturday. They are two very different books, but with McEwan's keen sense for detail and the ability to create almost a perfect story, in that the plot, characters and/or situation seem to entertwine without anything seeming awkward or out of place, Saturday seems more self-contained and close-knit, despite being essentially a family drama, like Atonement.

I loved Atonement. It was a brilliant, bittersweet novel about loss and regret; in Saturday McEwan doesn't sweep the timespan, but rather keeps his focus on one, seemingly normal Saturday. Henry Perowne, successful neurosurgeon, wakes up early, heads to the window and sees a plane crash in the distance. This tragic event becomes an overarching symbol for the events of the day: the criminal asapect involved in the crash; the near-death experience for the pilots; and the absolute almost absurdity of watching a plane crash in downtown London.

A strange start to a strange, but yet somehow still absolutely normal Saturday. As Perowne goes through the motions of the morning, falling back asleep, having something for breakfast, preparing for his squash game, McEwan fills up the book with far-reaching and intimate details of the man's life. How he met his wife, whom he loves to distraction; how his children will both be at dinner, one a poet living abroad in Paris, the other an upcoming blues musician.

It's almost as if McEwan challenges the reader to find the mundane in this everyday life--that is until a minor traffic accident derails not only his perfect day, but it somehow comes back to haunt Perowne much later that night.

To say that it's an excellent book would be a glossy adjective that doesn't necessarily exploit the success of the novel. It's almost Hemingway-esque, not in it's prose, for McEwan writes long, luxurious sentence, but in structure. It's a book obsessed with building a character and looking at the world from one day from his perspective, watching that perspective change, and then watching everything float back to normal, but with one of those moments, those ever-changing moments that affect your life forever, behind him.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

I Miss You

There are so many things that I miss now that I'm not working for the Boss From Hell. It's not a strange abusive situation, well maybe just a little bit. I miss the people I used to work with everyday. I miss working hard on something to see the results live that afternoon. I miss knowing about things and being in charge of things and I'm mad that she's systematically getting rid of everyone who built the very structure she dares to rule from.

And things will never be the same again. That's always a sobering thought, that you never realize how good things in your life actually are until it changes.

Renovation Continued...

The scariest thing the Rock and Roll boyfriend said to me this morning was, "We're going to spend thousands and thousands just getting rid of the garbage." Sniff, that's even before new furniture, new kitchen appliances, new shelves to house all of my books--that's just the trash.

The beginning of renovating sucks. Can we skip to the end? Someone call Debbie Travis and Mike Holmes. Can I be considered a charity because I'm bionic?

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Renovation Begins

Today the Rock and Roll Boyfriend and my brother are tearing apart our basement. They have so far found knob and tube wiring, mountains of dead cockroaches (ew!), plaster lathe, really old tiles on top of other really old tiles, and much of the old kitchen the previous owners used on a daily basis.

Before we can start renovating the next level, he needs to re-wire almost the entire house. There's nothing like an old home; it can catch fire at any time because of the live wires from the '30s just sitting, hanging out, maybe thinking, "let's spark up!"

I, of course, can do nothing to help because just going up and down a set of stairs sends me into a coughing spasm. Bah!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Made Me Laugh...

Not hard enough that I coughed and peed, but just coughed -- but still, very funny: The Man From Funckle's Fame Audit of William Shatner. Damn that man (From Funckle) is one hell of a good writer.

In the News

I know everyone's probably heard of the Schiavo case by now, and you probably don't need another blog about it, but I'm truly disgusted by the absolute disrespect for the humanity of life that people on the right have in the United States. They mistake the sacred nature of life with the physical body; they figure that while poor Terri Schiavo can move her eyes or make some other involuntary movement that there's hope. Please, there is no hope. That woman has suffered in that condition being stuck to tubes and having absolutely no quality of life. Her husband has to see the woman he loved, loved enough to marry, loved enough to fight for her right to die with dignity and move on to whatever comes next, lay in a hospital bed rotting away because her parents aren't brave enough to admit that God probably won't punish them for giving her relief.

My mother lives in a similar state, and I can tell you first-hand that it's not a life. She barely recognizes us when we visit, can't feed herself, can't walk and can't do much except lie in bed watching a television that she probably doesn't understand for hours on end. This is no way to live. And yet, there she is, alive in body, gone in spirit and with brain damage so severe that the few words, sentences, memories she has all come out jumbled in one big mess.

I watched what happened to my father after my mother's accident. How he dealt with it by drinking, by visiting her every day, by trying to be a father (I use that term lightly, and while my dad is a wonderful man; he's a not-so-hot father). It ruined his life, and it pains him every day to see her like that knowing that if we had euthanasia in this country at least she would get what she would have wanted.

The value in life does not come from the very basic fact that one can draw a breath. Life is rich beyond words; and you need a mind, body, and spirit at least working together as a person, however philosophically you determine that to be, in order for a life to be worth living. I'm frightened of a world that has tied up Terri Schiavo so deeply in the twisted fight of the extreme Right in the US, a cause for extremists to act, well, extremely. Please, let her go, give her family peace, it's something I've been craving for almost twenty years now.

Still Be Illin'

So, after almost a week of running a fever and coughing so much I would, ahem, pee myself, I decided it was best to take my bronchitis-full self back to the doctor. With my immune system so suppressed they're still worried about me catching pneumonia, which would be very bad indeed.

So now, I am a veritable pharmacy. I've two different types of antibiotics, two puffers, and my regular meds for the disease. Total cost of all this medicine? In the thousands of dollars. It's one thing to live in Canada for the health care system, but it's quite another to have an old work that fires your ass but still lets you use your benefits. Without them, I would quite possibly be dead.

The scariest thing about being this sick makes me think a lot more about the disease and its affects on my body. I mean, if I can get this sick in such a short period of time and need to much medication I look like a Snowbird on her way to Florida for the winter, I can only imagine what's going to happen as I get older.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

#13 Start Late Finish Rich

Well, I finished David Bach's Start Late Finish Rich. And I'm more convinced than ever that people like Bach make millions telling people things they should know. And I'm even more convinced that any many that recommends buying McDonald's or even considered buying a McDonald's franchise has no place telling me what I should be doing with my money.

See, I'm tired of all the money books telling me I shouldn't be buying shoes. Telling me that the "Latte Factor," Bach's all encompassing term for the money you waste buying frivolous things, is what's separating me from being a millionaire. Because you know what, it's not.

Money books don't speak to women, and even if they try to, they don't speak to my generation of women. Women who have grown up knowing they'll work, raise a family if they choose, live in mainly urban settings or have urban mindsets even if they live outside a city.

A few things he talks about every single book I've read about money make sense: buy don't rent; if you make more money, you'll save more money; invest in a variety of stable investments like mutual funds. But what the book doesn't do is tell me how to be a girl and still save money. The book simply tells me to forget the fact that I love shoes and therefore the value in them is threefold to spending the money. The fact that I think it's worth it to buy brand names because they last longer and while it might cost more to buy something from the Gap vs. Wal-Mart, I know it's better made--or at least it used to be. I still have t-shirts from the Gap when I worked there in high school--they're still wearable. I'm not going to tell you how long ago that was...

In a sense, what's missing from all these books is finding a balance in an urban lifestyle. That not everything to do with money is making more or cutting out the things in life that you love. Retirement is important, but so is enjoying yourself. Money is serious, and people should take it seriously, but it's also a made up thing that has take over how we approach everything in life.

I'm tired of books that tell me to work more. That's not the answer at all; the answer is to use your talents to their full potential. To capitalize on the things that you love to do and find the pathway to get there without sacrificing your heart. I know it's cheesy, but I just finished a big fancy paying job and hated myself. What I need a book to tell me is how to spend money in an increasingly throw-away world, in a world where people would rather not worry about the affects of their decisions because they can't see the impact on a global scale.

Be girls, buy things, have your coffee, don't abuse your credit cards, live a balanced life and don't read silly books like Start Late Finish Rich. I need to write a Girl's Guide to Money. I think that's the solution to my problem.

Monday, March 21, 2005

She Made How Much?

I can't believe Sarah Jessica Parker is "upset" that after two seasons she's no longer the spokesperson/model for The Gap. No offense, but the imdb (and yes, I love their gossip read it everyday) states that she made $38 million dollars from those two campaigns. You can't tell me she's that upset; she could retire on that kind of money and never work again. Please, should people even be making that much for enjoying being a girl? I enjoy being a girl, maybe The Gap would like to pay me if SJP's getting too pissy.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

My Eye! My Eye!

Is now yellow, red and quite bruised. Still begs the question: How did I go to bed with bronchitis and wake up with a black eye. Ow. It hurts.

Movies For A Sick Saturday Afternoon

I've been doing a lot of nothing except shuffling around my house wearing two sweatshirts and groaning every now and again, hoping that at some point my fever will come down to something approaching normal (which is not, ahem, 38.7 degrees Celcius).

Yesterday I watched movies. All day. And I didn't even get that too-much-television headache. I simply couldn't move. Except to get up and drink a half-cup of apple juice.

So I watched Touching the Void, a truly exceptional documentary about two men who climb the west face of the Andean mountain, Siula Grande. Then, I watched Reese Whitherspoon in Vanity Fair, which I had high hopes for having absolutely loved Mira Nair's Moonsoon Wedding, and I thought Hysterical Blindess, the HBO film she did was also quite good. But it's kind of eh, the story never reaches the amount of tension it really needs to portray the tragedy and/or strength in Becky Sharp's character.

And then, in a fit of absolute fever-inspired weakness, I watched Shall We Dance. No, not the original Japanese version, but the Hollywood one with Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon and Jennifer Lopez. Yeah, at the end, I bawled, and bawled, like a baby. What's wrong with me? I decided enough's enough and went to bed at that point. Maybe today the fever won't be boiling my brain so much that I actually thought Shall We Dance wasn't half bad. Ouch! Eck! Ow! Stop throwing things at me, I said I was sick, okay?

#12 Playing With Matches - Amy Cameron

I finished Amy Cameron's Playing with Matches on Thursday before the massive sickness set in. It's such a quick, cute read; it's all about adventures in misdating. A sort of chicklit version of a younger Sex and the City, with only the funniest, worst, most awful dates various women of various different ages participated in.

One thing the book does do is force you to re-imagine your adventures in misdating. Like the boyfriend who told you that he forced his ex-girlfriend to have two, count them, two abortions because she was, ahem, "stupid enough to get pregnant," but that wasn't his fault. And no, I didn't run away screaming--I stayed for four more months. Wha?

Or the other boy from university who took me to a wedding, picked up two or three bridesmaids, took me home and I still slept with him. Silly ragdoll.

Oh, the stories, they go on and on, cheers to Amy Cameron for finding the humour in all of this and I encourage every woman to pick up a copy and give it a quick read, if only to feel the ever-reaching effects of feminism--our ability to take a step back and laugh at ourselves.

Wha Happened?

I woke up this morning with a black eye. Things have gone from bad to worse...

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Could I Be Any Sicker?

Well, turns out my bad disease day was just the beginning. I started getting a bit of a cold on Wednesday night, but took some vitamin C and garlic, then drank some throat tea thinking that might send it off into virus hell before I actually got sick.

HA! Fat chance, by Thursday I was running a fever and all the other good stuff, feeling like pack of brick was laying on my chest. Called the doctor, made an appointment for Friday with my fingers crossed that it hadn't turned into something really bad.

Boy was I wrong. Couldn't sleep, fever burned even with the Tylenol and by the time I got to the doctor's I could barely breath without coughing. She says, "Oh boy," listens to my chest and says, "It's bronchitis, but it could have already turned into pneumonia--do you want to get a chest x-ray to be sure." I nodded my head and said, "No, if the treatments the same, just get me started on the antibiotics and I'll go from there."

Um, so in the course of less that 48-hours, a common cold that might make a normal person sniffly for a day or two chased its way like a rainbow after a storm straight into my chest giving me freaking pneumonia. And that's the way things go when you've got an auto-immune disease that makes you take drugs that suppress your immune system. I'm telling you, it's been years since I've been this sick, and of course, it has to happen within a couple of weeks of starting my new job.

Oh, but I've added another title to my 50 Book Challenge. I'll write another entry about it later, when I can actually see the screen without having a blinding headache. And pardon the spelling errors, I'm just typing and posting, screw that perfectionist crap.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Perhaps This Explains It!

Well, the Boss From Hell only hires MBAs to do her dirty work, maybe this article explains why--because they have no souls...

And Now Wednesday...

...has arrived and I'm not feeling any better. In fact, I've started coughing and my throat is scratchy. Stupid disease, making me take the stupid drugs that shut off my immune system so I pick up any virus that your uncle's sister's daughter's schoolteacher might have.

I read a funny article yesterday about a man who claims to be a serial unfinisher of books. I might have to claim ownership of that title as well. Currently, I'm reading a number of books in the vain hope of actually finishing the 50 Book Challenge: Saturday by Ian McEwan, Playing with Matches by Amy Cameron, and Start Late, Finish Rich by David Bach. Well there's actually one book that I finished this weekend that I can't talk about because it's an advance reading copy and I'm not sure if I can spill the beans, but I'm at eleven!

There are so many books I've picked up over the years and never actually finished. My book shelves are littered with them, bookmarks hanging out like tongues, panting at the thought of being able to move to another selection, but never having the chance.

I was telling my friend Zesty today that the best thing about my new job is actually still having a life, a life that allows me to get home early enough to make dinner, to write poetry and to read. Now, maybe I'll actually finish the majority of books I start instead of abandoning them because I'm so stressed out worrying about how the Boss From Hell is going to sabatoge my life.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Ah, the English Language

...And it's ability to endlessly please me with its never-ending evolution: "Wedgie" enters the dictionary.

Now, I Don't Like Tuesdays Either

...And the bad disease days continue. No sleep again last night, upset stomach that Gravol won't quell, and I had to leave Writer's Group early because all of a sudden I felt queasy and sick to my stomach because I missed taking my CellCept at the alloted time. Now, the disease is completely controlling my life; it's making my brain foggy and my body exhausted. I hate it when the disease controls my life.

In other news, I continue to enjoy the thrills of online shopping. I am this-close to being ready for spring with a couple of cute new skirts and two funky new jackets. And today I splurged and bought this pair of shoes by Michael Kors. Aren't they cute?

Now I need a few more pairs of shoes to be quite content for the spring and summer, if only the weather would follow my shopping whims.

Monday, March 14, 2005

I Don't Like Mondays...

So yesterday I got a caffeine latte instead of one without, even though I ordered decaf. That meant I didn't sleep a wink last night. I haven't had any real caffeine in about ten years, excluding the odd cup of real tea I've had on various road trips. Needless to say, it whacked my system right out, so much so that I had the runs (ahem), a fever, and felt my heart race for pretty much 24 straight hours. And who says caffeine isn't a drug?

I was crazy-obsessed with this today, and looked up all the bestsellers since the beginning of the last century. It's interesting to see the trends, which books have now become classics and the scary thought that much of the later (1990s etc) lists are mass market paperbacks, the Stephen King, Anne Rice, Jackie Collins of the worlds. How many of those books are actually going to become classics in the next hundred years? It really goes to show the fickleness of the publishing industry and how our culture in general has changed.

And this cracked me up too, but because I'm half-brain dead from not getting any sleep, I can't think of anything creative...

Here's hoping that my mind perks up for writer's group tonight.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

TRH - Updates

What I'm listening to right now: Heart of Gold, Neil Young (I'm liking Neil Young more and more these days, songs for my middle years maybe, thoughts of growing up with my father, who loved him).

What I just listened to: Beautiful, Snoop Dogg f. Pharrell (I have such a huge rock and roll crush on Pharrell Williams these days, and the way he nods his head during the video that Paris Hilton hot).

What I'm reading: Saturday, Ian McEwan (he's coming to Toronto to read in early April, and I'm really looking forward to it).

Last Movie I Watched: Half-way through I Heart Huckabees, we didn't make it to the end because the DVD crapped out on us...

What I'm working on right now: A poem called May (City of Lights) that I want to finish before Writer's Group tomorrow night.

Bad Disease Day

Sunday started off so well, the Rock and Roll Boyfriend and I had an early night on Saturday, and so we were both well rested. I woke up this morning with lots of energy feeling pretty good about my plans for the day. Meeting two lovely ladies for brunch, having great conversations, feeling good about all the wonderful stuff happening these days and then--bam! Bad disease day comes on in a wave.

That's the thing with this medication, and with the disease in general, I don't necessarily feel sick, not like you feel when you've got a cold or the flu, all achy and feverish. I feel run down and tired, because my immune system isn't necessarily working as it should, but I can't see or feel the disease necessarily. It exists somewhere in my blood, my bones, my being, but it doesn't overcome me until I'm really sick.

But lately, the drugs are making me sicker and sicker. It seems the slightest bit of nothing will throw my stomach off and I'll be so ill I'm afraid I might pass out or pass, ahem, in the other direction. There are times that I'm very upset that I let myself get sick again, after each flare up, I swear it's going to be the last time I let the stress get out of control; but every few years when I stop taking care of myself and get carried away in certain things that don't really have anything to do with my real life, I end up sick. And it makes me mad, because then I feel like the damn disease is controlling my life, and not me.

So, after a wonderful brunch, I've been feeling sick all day unable to do much other than type slowly and feel like being ill. Bad diesese day.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Goodbye Imprint

TVO cancelled its long-running book show, Imprint, yesterday. It's a sad thing for the book industry that keeps seeing its marketing and promotional opportunities diminish in a world where people are reading less and less.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

BFH Strikes Again...

And she fired someone else from my old work today. After telling the team that there would be no more changes after I got fired...let's add another one to the list. We'll call it 9.5, and it's simple: She's a liar.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Boss From Hell

Here at TRH, we pride ourselves on being snarky. It's a talent I honed while recapping for TWoP. So, in what is the first of, I hope, many snarky lists, is the Top Ten Ways You Know You've Got A Boss From Hell.

1. She's pure evil. Now I say "she" because female BFH (Bosses From Hell) are very different from male BFH. The male BFH is just usually dumb, ie, a good talker with not much between the ears. The female BFH is truly evil, like Dr. Evil from Austin Powers evil, like says one thing and does another evil, like evil that you could never even possibly imagine evil.

2. She hires people that make her look smart. Even though they're not the right people for the job, and even though the rest of the company really doesn't like working with them, but she keeps slogging away with them anyway--because they make her look good.

3. She uses her employees as scapegoats rather than admitting she's in over her head.

4. She's the biggest, fakest, fakiest, fake you'll ever meet in your life. You wonder if she's ever had a real emotion.

5. She knows how to play the system. That doesn't mean she knows how to do her job; it just means she knows how to show the people above her, who seem to know even less than she does, that she's doing something.

6. She rules by fear and intimitation rather than actual leadership. Now that really sucks because it means the underlings are consistently afraid of getting into trouble instead of being afraid of something going wrong.

7. She loves power more than she loves anything else. And she's not afraid to use it. Which often results in last-minute changes to huge projects that she really doesn't know what's going on in the first place, but feels the need to put her ten cents in.

8. She pretends to care, when it suits her.

9. She talks about people behind their backs and then tries to cover up what she said with a fake smile. Barf.

10. And last but not least, she uses Lauren Weisberger's The Devil Wears Prada as a handbook, and actually revels in the fact that she's just as evil, but without the fashion sense, good taste or even the good haircut...

So there you have it, if your boss displays one or even two of these characteristics, you need to quit now. Run. Run away my pretties as fast as you can because you don't want to waste precious energy trying to impress someone who is so obviously unhappy with her own life and the choices she's made or else she wouldn't be a BFH.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Two More Poems Gone...

I've sent two poems to Taddle Creek magazine today. As always, I'm a nervous wreck about sending stuff out, but my New Year's Revolution is to send out more work this year and see what happens. I don't hold out a hope in hell that they'll actually get published, but if I don't send them out, I'll never know what the world thinks. Ahhh, I wish life wasn't this hard.

Sad Day, This Saturday

Sad day. I went to see The Sea Inside because I've been assigned to write a film review for the Disabilities Studies Quarterly. It's an excellent movie, with a thought-provoking script, lovely cinematography and really solid performances, but I never thought it would upset me as much as it did.

The story follows the end of the life of Ramon Sampedro, the first Spanish man to officially petition the court for permission to legally end his life. Sampedro was a quadriplegic who had lived, he felt, without dignity for almost thirty years. In the end, he got his wish, but only because of the people who loved him and not with the blessing of his country.

Following an accident she had when I was fourteen, my mother has lived for the past nineteen years in a chronic care hospital. The result of a massive brain injury, she can no longer walk or sustain any form of what Sampedro would call a dignified life. At least he had his mind, and could make a rational choice about what he wanted to do with his life; my mother, unable to think rationally, must live in this in-between state, not really alive, but with a body well enough to keep on living. I wish more than anything that she could just tell us what she wants, because I know she would not be happy living in the state she's in, or has been in, for the past two decades.

The movie profoundly affected me, not only because I completely agree with Sampedro and how he needs to be the one to decide his own fate, but also in the fact that I wish I had more dignity in my own life. I wish that I wasn't so selfish and could visit my mother more. I wish that I didn't feel so sad about missing her in my life almost every single day. I wish that there could be an end so that my entire family could still have peace, but I'm afraid that's not going to happen any time soon.

Oh, and then I finished Miriam Toews Swing Low, a memoir written from the perspective of her bipolar father in the few weeks before he takes his own life, again, a quest for dignity, and I just cried and cried. Like I said, sad day. But hey, at least I got one book further along in my 50 Book Challenge.

Saturday, March 05, 2005


One of my favourite web sites, Pop Culture Junk Mail, has a link to Popstrology where you can find the #1 song from the week you were born. Does this mean I have to appoint James Taylor's "You've Got A Friend" as my theme song? Um, I'll think I'll keep looking. The Rock and Roll Boyfriend's one is better, he's got Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World."

Friday, March 04, 2005

J to the "L"-ow

Is there a song anywhere in this single? Don't get me wrong, I'm obsessed with pop songs and am not ashamed to say I've downloaded quite a few from iTunes, but really, when will J-Lo actually have a song that's a song? It's what's wrong with so much pop music coming from the mainstream, there's a good beat, and fancy dancing, but not much of a song--lots of things that count as a chorus, but not much else.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I Wonder How Long the Wait List Is?

A library on Long Island is now loaning iPod shuffles as a part of their inventory. Kind of cool, but it also must kick up the fines a fair bit if you, ahem, "forget," to return it.

Pet Peeves II

So, I live in Canada. And anyone who has read about Canada, seen Canada on television or in the movies, knows someone from Canada or has browsed a Canadian web site realizes that we have weather here. Yes! It's a shock, I know, that living relatively close to the, um, north, would result in something as foreign as the weather.

Now, I'm not about to suggest that other places in the world don't have weather, like the poor sods in California now who are just now realizing that there is a possibility that state might honestly collapse into the ocean. Now, I feel bad for them, I honestly do.

And it's still early days to forget the massive amount of people whose lives were ruined by the tsunami. Even though that's not technically the weather, but a wave, but get my point.

Right, so how come no one knows a) how to shovel their farking sidewalks or driveways? or b) how to drive in the snow or c) how to put salt on the ice so that disabled girls like me with bionic hips don't slip, slide and dislocate their brand-new joints?

Pick up a shovel. Put on a coat, mitts and a wonderful Canadian toque, and get off your ass and shovel your bloody sidewalk. If not for me, than do it for the booming granny in my neighbourhood who has no choice but to take the subway, hence she needs to walk from the house she's lived in for the past forty-five years past your lazy-ass non-shoveled mess of a sidewalk and try not to break her brittle neck.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

50 Book Challenge

I'm a bit late, considering most people started the 50 book challenge (link via the truly magnificent 50 Books) in January, but I might hop on the wagon now and see if I can actually do it. Now that I'm working in publishing, maybe it might be a good idea to pump up the read this year...

The concept of keeping track of the books you've read over the year isn't foreign to me per se, but it's something I often forget to do. A couple of years ago I got a copy of Stephen King's On Writing for Christmas. He said that he doesn't watch television (pah!), but he does read, often upwards of 70 books a year. I remember saying to myself, "Seventy? Is that all?" and wanted to see if I could beat him. Yes, I honestly entered into a completely fictional race with Stephen King to see if I could read more than he does. Yeah, the first year I didn't even come close. I read over 60 books the following year and then didn't keep track at all of the reading I did last year (We'll call that my lost year, all I did was work, have surgery and then get fired, so it doesn't count). So, I started off this January keeping track of what I've read so far, and um, it's kind of pathetic.

Here's the list:

1. A Conspiracy of Paper, David Liss (took me forever to read this book, and I didn't enjoy it as much as The Coffee Trader)
2. Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby (I like him, I know, guilty pleasure, but I know nothing about soccer so it was a so-so read for me)
3. The Last Cowboy, Lee Gowan (excellent book, by the way)
4. Robinson Crusoe (for abridging, but I'm counting it anyway)
5. Frankenstein (see above)
6. Devil May Care, Sherri McInnis (trashy chicklit that wasn't half bad)
7. Other People's Children, Joanna Trollope (a shamelessly engaging book that I was surprised I actually enjoyed as much as I did)
8. Evening Class, Maeve Binchy (I had PMS, that's my only excuse)
9. Dry, Augusten Burroughs (a really good memoir about a man who comes to terms with being an alcoholic, it's painful, but fabulous)

Note the tragic lack of, um, substance in the above list? I'm actually ashamed to call myself a reader.

Oh, and I've made a vow to buy no more books until I've read everything at home that I've got that hasn't been read yet. Yeah, these books fill an entire bookcase. So, I'm going to start the 50 Book challenge. I'll keep you posted. And to whet your appetite about Dry, here's one of my favourite quotes:

"Like cubic zirconia, I only look real. I'm an imposter. The fact is, I'm not like other people. I'm like other alcoholics."

--Augusten Burroughs

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Motorcycle Diaries

The Rock and Roll Boyfriend and I watch a lot of movies. Probably way, way too many movies, but when a) you've just had surgery and b) you can't really do a whole hell of a lot, it seems that movies are a good way to pass the time.

It's getting to the point, though, that I can watch the first five or ten minutes of a film and know whether I'm going to hate it or not. Gone are those starry-eyed days of wonder where I'll hold out hope that View from the Top will actually redeem itself in the last ten minutes of its run, yeah it doesn't, shame on you Mark Ruffalo.

I've watched a lot of really bad movies lately, and considering the run up to last weekend's Academy Awards was usually me trying to cram in all of the favourites so I'd at least have a snowball's chance in hell of winning my Oscar poll, that's kind of strange. Let's see, is it at all shocking that Little Black Book really sucks and Brittany Murphy really needs to lay off the, ahem, blow and eat some solid food, no. But I still watched that film from beginning to end, even though it was trite, demeaning to woman and made a mockery of Holly Hunter's always-excellent performances.

Annnwaaay. We watched The Motorcycle Diaries on Saturday. It's a magnificient picture, with Gael Garcia Bernal playing the part of a young Che Guevara. Okay, he's lovely, I mean, really lovely and I have a super-huge crush on him, and have ever since I saw Amores perros (I even rented The Crime of Father Amaro {embarassing I know} just because he was in it and making out with a cute girl). But that's not the reason why The Motorcycle Diaries was good, it had great performances, a wonderful script, lovely cinematography, all the makings of a typically fabulous film, no, it's more the spirit the film managed to capture that embraced me from beginning to end.

In one of the extras, Bernal, or someone interviewing him, states that he channeled the spirit of Che to prepare for the role. Now, that might sound corny, but Bernal's performance adds a measure of brevity to the role, unlike many of the Hollywood counterparts winning Oscars for portraying real people through caricature (I'm looking at you Jamie Foxx; oh, and you too Cate Blanchett, but I forgive you because you were robbed, I say, robbed by Mrs. Martin in 1999).

Bernal's "Che" is serious, studied and intense, but it's also entirely human. It shows that singular moment where your life changes so immensely over such a short period of time that you just can't go back to being who you thought you were. It takes you through an intellectual journey as you watch the man fully realize his beliefs; not with big swinging actions, big bats or fists, but with simple gestures, like shaking hands with the lepers he's taking care of, treating them like human beings, not aliens, or, well, lepers. It's a wonderful movie and one that I'll add to an ever-growing list of favourites Bernal's been in; Y Tu Mama Tambien, of course, being there as well.

I wish I spoke Spanish just so I could enjoy the film without having to read the subtitles.

And one other thing, it's a road movie, and it's so hard to capture the wonder and beauty of traveling without making it seem trite, almost paying homage to great beat writers from the same time traveling around the US, finding out the same politics, but listening to very different music. All in all, in the pile of dungheap worthly films I've watched lately, Alexander, I'm looking right at you, The Motorcycle Diaries is well worth the late fee, because no one ever brings their movies back on time, I don't care what Blockbuster says.

My Boy is Ten

My friend Heather took this photo a couple of weekends ago. We went for a walk in the woods. It was a bit cold at first, neither my boy nor ...