Monday, September 30, 2002
I should have worn sweats and put my hair up in a ponytail. I couldn't have been more of a small-town, white-trash, mediocre kind of tumbleweedgal: I watched the season premiere of Friends, but the worst of it is I watched it on tape.
My friend at work taped it for me, knowing I was working the night it was on. The embarrassment here is I actually had to put some effort into watching the show. I don't feel good about it, as it's so very uncutting-edge. I generally pride myself on knowing the esoteric, loving the fringes. Hal Hartley, the 184.108.40.206s, collecting Melmac. Sometimes my interest on the periphery works to the detriment of common knowledge. The BF keeps telling me the dearth of my Star Trek knowledge, for instance, is keeping me from sharing some of our generation's(emphasis intentional--see I know) most important cultural touchstones. Well, why should I really care whether or not Worf is a Romulan or a Klingon? Why, damn it, WHY DO I HAVE TO KNOW THIS? (sidebar--I just googled romulan and klingon to ensure I had the spelling right. Jesus, did you know they have their own language institutes and diplomatic corps? sign me up!)
But anyway, to get back to another cultural, albeit extremely mainstream, touchstone that I'm not entirely comfortable embracing, I watched Friends on tape. And any show on tape is difficult to watch on my tv. The tv's tiny, and my VCR has seen better days. So I had to watch a show, which practically bills wardrobe and set design as primary characters, in black and white. Now, if we were talking Vittorio de Sica, I'd be okay. But we're talking Jennifer Aniston. And that guy who plays Joey. Whatsisname. And they're both better in hair-tossing, sandwich-eating living color. I want to see the subtleties of their highlights, how the couch goes with the drapes, the shade of their capris. Why do you think 90210 was so wildly popular?
So to add insult to my already self-inflicted injury, I had to use a series of moves on the aging machine in order to coax it into returning color to me:
REW. FFWD. PLAY? Still black and white.
FFWD. REW. EJECT. PLAY? No cigar.
REW. FFWD. (press simultaneously) PLAY? Ah ha ha ha. Never! You must watch Friends for the art it is!
Just so's y'all clear on this, Cosh not only DID NOT stiff us on the cheque, he picked it up. All $130 plus of it. It's a king's ransom, paid for by a real prince of a guy.
Sunday, September 29, 2002
I haven't even had a cup of coffee today.
"My god," for those who know me are no doubt saying, "is she on her deathbed?"
Very nearly. I've been sporting one hell of a hangover all day. I spent the day alternating between loafing and clutching my stomach. My guts have been muttering, we've got a score to settle. Now the headache has set in.
Last night was a good one.
Okay, that's enough. This sitting upright is making me queasy and it's time to go back to the prone position.
Thursday, September 26, 2002
Work is really getting in the way of the new fall line-up.
Last night I missed Rory's choice of good versus bad (boy.) And tonight, I'll be left hanging, uncomfortably wondering if Rachel will remain a single mother. Will she choose the doofus, or the, er, monkey-loving doofus?
Off I go to cover a political event. It too covers the arena of choice: does the voter side with the unaccountable or the completely resourceless. (I intended to use a link here to the "Alberta Alliance" but its google search turned up nothing. Point proven.)
Okay, the link was an obvious one--www.albertaalliance.com. I guess I should have known that but I'm becoming a little too google-dependent. And it wasn't there! What does that mean?
I was telling a friend this story of how I went to see A Knight's Tale awhile back. The audience was full of your basic tools who are making me re-think the advantages of the whole movie theatre experience. The seats were packed, and people were actually quite excitable, cheering and jeering at all the right parts. I was sitting next to this guy, on his own, who was really into it. It comes to a point where our hero, Heath Ledger, is in this prison cell, and our villain comes in to generally wreak some more villainous havoc. As he advances towards our hero, who is beaten and captive, this guy next to me whispers under his breath,
Son of a bitch.
My friend says that alone would be worth the price of admission.
Well, I bring this up because I was at a similar outing tonight, of the political entertainment sort. The new interim leader of the nascent Alberta Alliance party is preaching to the converted. We need tax relief, accountable politicians, new ideas, yadda yadda. The folks sitting next to me are wearing pins, everyone's got a folder of newspaper articles and such with them, and they're getting riled up. And when Randy Thorsteinson says climate change is junk science and carbon dioxide is nothing more than the bubbles in your soda pop, people are all, like, talking to themselves, "that's right, no kidding." Everyone was agreeing and practically "amen-ing" in unison.
The best was when they opened it up for questions. Apparently, this is the moment when everyone gets to rail about how those FAT CATS IN OTTAWA are ignoring Alberta and we should go our separate ways. Virtually no questions at all, just soapbox time. Unless of course you count the queries about the GST, and all those other good things which are clearly under the purview of a PROVINCIAL PARTY.
One fella, responding to the Kyoto conundrum and barely coherent, said something to the effect of "My car got 30 miles to the gallon back in '72. And it still gets 30 miles to the gallon. Now what does that tell ya?"
I'm not entirely sure. I don't think Randy knew, either, and it was one of the few times I've seen a politician at a loss for words.
One woman, quite in earnest, said she did some RESEARCH, and it told her Quebec would secede by 2003, and Canada would become part of the United States by 2005. Randy didn't quite know how to react to that, saying only, "Well, I don't know about that..." But she counters, THAT'S WHAT MY RESEARCH TOLD ME. Clearly the Internet is not the boon to mankind we once thought it was.
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Random Thoughts, Rant-Free
* This is the time of year lazy flies buzz in through poorly-guarded, slightly-open windows. There's a slow-moving one resting on my computer monitor right now. He will die.
* Someone in my apartment building is making microwave popcorn.
* Now someone is smoking pot.
* A left hook to the makers of Bumfights: Apparently it's not legal to pay the homeless to rumble.
* I can't believe this satire site has been ordered off the net. People are really, really stupid.
* I felt violated when my email inbox introduced my very first virus into my computer the other day. Luckily, Norton worked and stopped klez in its tracks. I even had it in "quarantine" for awhile before I had to be talked down and guided through what to do next.
I am told I am one of the really, really stupid people for using Outlook Express.
* I understand Gilmore Girls starts a new season tonight. I'm afraid I'm working, and am now left in a position where I have to be all geeky and ask people if they're taping. It's the only show on TV I really like. A show's okay in my books if it goes out of its way to dis Hootie and the Blowfish, while name-dropping Elvis Costello and Belle & Sebastian. Now while I'm a fan of the show, I'm not about to sit down and write some fan fiction. I mean, whoa. These girls is wacked....Of course, I do want Rory to pick the bad boy over her faithful, but boring, boyfriend Dean...I can just picture it now...
* Under the subject Kids These Days, this story makes me sigh with relief. All this time I thought black burn marks in bus shelters were the work of teens getting kicks from senseless vandalism or pyromania! Those wacky teens were just in search of a cheap high!
Monday, September 23, 2002
I have, give or take, three years and ten months in which to get married and impregnated.
I had lunch with a good friend today who has made it her tacit policy to simply not have children once she turns 35. She says it's her mental cutoff, just floating there in the back of her mind. We're both the same age, and apparently I've shut it out of my head. But no more: the panic is starting to creep in. If you've taken a look at the Disney(!) site I've linked above, you'll note a woman's chance of conceiving a child with congenital defects increases greatly with age. I know, I know, it's no surprise. But the numbers are really speaking to me now: At age 30, it is 1 in 384. At age 35, it is 1 in 192. At age 40, it is 1 in 66. ( Just as an aside, do the writers really think it's appropriate to co-author a book called "Pregnancy for Dummies" when they're dealing with Down's Syndrome?)
I used to be all cavalier about my progressing age and seemingly dormant biological clock: "Hah, another year older, another 15 per cent more likely to have problems with childbirth," I'd say, throwing caution to the wind, all wry grins and insoucience. But it's not fair! Suddenly my advancing age is forcing me to go out and do something completely out of character. All a man typically does is purchase a Miata.
BTW, to the BF: I don't plan to act rash. But we may want to re-think carefree days at the beach and leisurely afternoons reading the paper. Honeymoon's over, baby, we've got business to do.
Sunday, September 22, 2002
Our big-city weekend ended up being pretty small-town.
I had dreams of taking advantage of being in civilization this weekend: seeing Jay Farrar, going to TheatreSports, taking in a photo exhibit. I did none of it.
Now, there aren't too many musicians I'd pay $25 to see. Jay Farrar is, marginally, one of them. But once I realized the pre-show ticket sales were over, I'd have to pay at-the-door prices, and I'd have to line up, (all for an unfashionably early show), I wasn't so jazzed.
TheatreSports ran too late. We went to the local repertory theatre and took in Mostly Martha instead, noting with some chagrin, that most of the audience was grey-haired couples. Then we went for coffee and cake. Eschewing martinis or highballs on the city's bar strip made me feel like I was on some kind of church youth-group trip or a first date as a young'un not old enough to get into the clubs. Or, maybe it made me just feel old.
Now, as for the photo exhibit, we tried on that one. Who knew artists held down banker's hours? We showed up on a Sunday and the gallery was closed. Can artists afford to take the weekend off? I thought these folks were supposed to be starving. I don't think it's a sacred "let's close down on the Lord's day" kind of thing. Artists don't strike me as the Christian type. Unless they're folk artists. And then, who really cares, because no one's banging on their doors; their customers can just peruse the local malls or yard sales for that crap.
We spent today in Chinatown, poking at various mooshy curds, peering into fishy freezers and marvelling at multi-color jelly-cup choking hazards. I bought some prawn chips and the BF purchased some wasabi pea snacks. I am such a sucker for foreign snack-treats. The Concerned One was all, like, "look at all this packaging. The crackers are individually wrapped, then put in tins, which are then wrapped, and put on display in colorful bags...OH the ENVIRONMENT!" And I'm all like, "but yeah, LOOK AT THE PACKAGING! It's soooo pretty."
I guess the weekend wasn't so small town after all. It was ethnically diverse and peppered with some arty cinema. But I ensured my coffee was Tim Horton's. And you don't get more pickup truck than that.
Thursday, September 19, 2002
Oh, Edmonton boys: the mortification!
I don't know whether the main thrust of the humiliation here lies in the lacklustre power from the tools of Edmonton men, or in the company these boys keep: only guys from Edmonton and Ottawa didn't have the right stuff. Ottawa for god sakes! That place is teeming with short-man syndrome.
Not to worry, my City of Champs. Besides! What can possibly be gained from "genital origami" witnessed from afar, by a cold roomful of strangers?
I'd just like to say, in your defense, Edmonton, you've always found better uses for your *talents.*
Some papers and the keyboard on my computer desk are covered in grit. I've spent a little time pulling a tea-towel through the keys.
The wind whipped up in the early afternoon, and seeing as how's I leave my sweltering apartment's windows thrown open to the mercy of the weather year-round, the gusts blew in. It was like a sandstorm on Taylor Drive for a time. And the dirty stuff set up shop in my place.
The wind was blasting the side of the work vehicle. It's pretty solid though, unlike my own 2-door jobby. If I'da been driving that I would have felt like I could have been carried up up and away....
and I think that's what some people were afraid of, today.
The calls started coming in around the same time those folk-art windmills started to flip out in people's yards:
"Are there any tornado warnings?"
"No, there are no tornado warnings."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, but if there were, we'd let you know on the radio. That's why it's called mass communication. If it were one-on-one, well, we'd be on the horn all day, and that message would get out pretty darn slow, wouldn't it?"
Okay, we don't answer the calls that way, but it gets a bit frustrating. All it takes here in this part of the province is a breath of wind, and people are dialing the station, en masse.
I guess I can't blame them. I wasn't here when the Pine Lake Tornado hit, back in July of 2000. Twelve people died. One-hundred forty were injured. It was our September 11th.
Now, there's a web site.
So, this "Tumbling Woman" has been taken down in New York because it's been found offensive to some. One man says it doesn't serve to dignify the memory of the victims. Not very patriotic. Should the artist have draped an American Flag across her shoulders? Wrapped it in her feet? And he goes on to say "It's not art. ... It is very disrupting when you see it." Yes, that art stuff does draw up those pesky emotions.
Well, I know this site doesn't get much in the way of traffic and it's been a couple of years now, but I'm thinking animated gifs are a far less respectful tribute to the dead than the beauty of sculpture.
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
I KNEW ALL THAT CLOSE VIEWING OF 90201 WOULD PAY OFF.
Your Inner Blonde is Tori Spelling
Skanky, wild, and a total daddy's ho.
Things are looking up for you as you've left your plastic 90210 days behind.
But honey, you look horrible as a brunette.
Who's *Your* Inner Dumb Blonde? Click Here to Find Out!
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
IS THIS HOW GANESH DOES THINGS?
I began the day kick-starting my internal organs, proceeded on to ecstasy, and finished off by putting out some fires.
Let me clarify: I practised yoga this morning, then learned that a story we had done on a drug overdose in the city is looking more like it could be Alberta's first case of death-by-ecstasy, then ended the day bickering with someone about a story we'd run. De-stress. Stress. Ah, balance.
In between, I enjoyed some catching-up with old school chums via mass email. In a short time-frame there have been two engagements and two announcements of impending births. And one near-god experience in the form of a meeting with Gord Downie. I, on the other hand, laid exclusive claim to turning yet another year older. I should have mentioned I also now live with a house full of cats, and the neighbourhood children throw rocks at my home.
I like to play up my oldmaidness as much as possible. Mostly because the whole notion is ridiculous, and nominally because the whole idea can strike fear in a 31-year-old girl's heart. If I'm not popping out children, I should have at least fronted a band by now. Or flown a hang-glider. Made lasagna. Properly, I mean. You know, with meat.
Monday, September 16, 2002
I've never seen so many wrist-braces and canes in one room in all my life.
I just got back from covering a meeting organized by the Alberta Injured Workers' Society and Provincial Injured Workers Coalition. (cue the Doublemint theme--one, one, one organization in two!) 200 workers pissed off their claims have been cut off or not treated seriously by the Workers' Compensation Board. The problem here is the WCB is not a government body, but one "at arms-length." This can also be described as "accountable to no one." The workers certainly seem to think it has no accountability to them, the "stakeholders." I mean, granted, they spoke of sinister surveillance, the need to tape phone calls, and then proceeded to slander doctors and certain lawyers mercilessly, but these people are on to something. One of their contentions deals with disputed medical opinons: The organizations claim the WCB chooses "contract doctors" to sit on medical panels when there's a difference of medical opinion. They say they're stacking the deck against the claimants. I mean, the workers have a list of doctors who they claim are unscrupulous. Sounds a lot like "experts" who are paid for court testimony. (I don't know if that really happens, but I do watch The Practice.)
And really, how can you root for an organization whose ex-CEO was given a $393 thousand-dollar golden handshake?
And here I thought I could incorporate myself and take care of that nasty case of "mouse-click elbow" that's been developing.
I've decided I'll be wearing a helmet and kneepads, 24/7, from here on in.
JUST BLAHGGING. (This is my own personal entry into the lexicon.)
It would appear I have some blogstipation. Mostly I just don't have much time, and I have no poignant memories nor "slices of life" (Awww) I'd care to share.
What one does in such cases? Link indiscrimately. Well, okay, those weren't chosen so haphazardly. It's another example (see earlier post) of the beauty of online nuptial announcements.
And here's an interesting tool for lazy feline enthusiasts. Courtesy of Metafilter.
Perhaps Colby Cosh would be interested in such a device for Nigel? ((see "linky love" from aforementioned glossary. Or "blogwhore", for that matter, but I'll leave it up to you to glean about whom it is I speak.))
Sunday, September 15, 2002
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO TAHITI TREAT?
I feel a bit out of the loop when going for a fizzy, non-alcoholic beverage these days. 7-11 is packed with way too much selection, and some of them are sized in such a way you'd be toting the bottles through most of your day. The only thing I can be certain of is Coke is good, and it must be in a can. It's enormously better that way. And yet...
Ever felt like trying lychee, mango or coconut drink, with small gelatin bits or "pearl bubbles?" These Asian Drink reviews will let you make an informed choice. Via Nerdy Girl.
Saturday, September 14, 2002
The smell of cooked meat still lingers in my tiny apartment.
Maybe that's why I've been hesitant in the past to buy ground beef. I can't really think of any good reason, but it has been a long time since I've fried up the stuff.
I made spaghetti tonight. Do you appreciate just how much better spaghetti is with the meat in there? For years, I've been getting by on pasta with President's Choice, Prego, or when I'm feeling like splurging, Classico, sauces. Sans meat. But I guess tonight something told me I needed the real McCoy. And damn, it was good. But you know this stuff doesn't come cheap. I think that's why I stopped buying red meat. (Well, that and an ill-fated attempt to become vegetarian, which just led to meals consisting of "appys" with extra cheese.) There was a time while I was making minimum wage when shopping for groceries was a painful chore. Nothing was brand name, everything was researched and price-checked for comparison, all wants were kept in check. I had a little rule that I bought no single item over $3. Let's just say I've learned, you can't compromise on price when it comes to peanut butter.
I think if I ever have a child I'll be handing down that nugget of wisdom, pronto. And when I get old and batty, it will be a mainstay in my stable of crazy adages. "you can't compromise when it comes to peanut butter, sonny."
I will also shout to anyone who will listen, "Golden Boy is a servant of the devil!!!"
These, of course, are the sorts of things golden-agers can look forward to after retirement.
Friday, September 13, 2002
Why is it, do you think, movie-stalkers are all photographers or at least photography buffs?
There's always that scene, no matter if it's a movie-of-the-week, after-school special, art film or blockbuster, where the stalked walks into the small, cramped, creepy quarters of the stalker, and it's filled with photos, many still hanging to dry.
This thought didn't occur to me pondering the opening of One-Hour Photo, but rather while watching TV's Providence. It's just your typical scene mentioned above. Red light and all.
So we're left to assume these guys are not only bloodthirsty and obsessive, but also quite skilled and not without artistic vision.
And I can't help but wonder if these damsels in distress have a moment, upon walking into a room chock-full of portraits of themselves, where they feel a twinge of flattery: someone thinks I'm gorgeous!
Thursday, September 12, 2002
SHORTHAND AND CORN.
Terribly tired. Must go to bed. Never enough time to do everything.
Snow flies soon; have important things to do before does:
Go camping again. Avoid thunder, lightning, torrential rain, snow, leaky tents. Also steer clear of tent-slapping teens.
Get lost in Lacombe Corn Maze. Try to get caught up in excitment. Do not let 6'6" boyfriend ruin fun because can see over drought-stunted crop, defeating purpose.
Make annual pilgrimmage to Torrington Gopher Hole Museum. Perhaps document own stand, like he did. Catch new rare albino gopher addition. Send postcards, detailing wonder, fascination, again.
I've never been a temp, but it's starting to look like an intriguing career choice. Albeit purely as a study of human behaviour. This handy guide has documented each type of person you'll find in your typical office. Among my favorites featured: The Guy Who Walks Backwards Down the Hall While Carrying on a Shouting Conversation With His Pal and Bumps Into You While You're Carrying Something Heavy, and The Guy Who Raps his Knuckles on Your Desk Each and Every Time he Walks by
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Save for a few hours of heavy TV-watching, September 11th is pretty much over. As my nan would have said to express relief, "Thanks be to God."
I covered a local memorial today, put on by firefighters and police. The ceremony was meaningful, solemn, and mercifully brief. It allowed me to start the day early, get clip, and phone in a report. All was well.
But there's a new girl in town.
I spotted her at the ceremony, suspecting she was the newly-hired radio reporter at the competition. She was, after all, holding a notepad and not a DVCPro on her shoulder. She is blonde, tall, good-looking and built for TV. She is biding her time working in radio until a bigger market scoops her up. I introduced myself and we exchanged pleasantries, then we got in our vehicles and drove away.
On the way back to the station, I listened to her report, and damn it if I didn't think it was better than mine. To cut myself some slack, the sound quality of her phone is better, but man, so is her voice. And this is how insane my competitive streak is: She used a turn of phrase I wish I had, "RCMP, along with fire and ambulance workers, were dressed in their finest." Well. I used "Red Serge" to describe the traditional, and infrequent (for those of you who think they always look like Paul Gross in Due South) Mountie dress, but I didn't know how to refer to the fancy uniform donned by emergency services workers. Dressed in their finest would have done smashingly.
It gets worse. She got clip of a guy she just found in the crowd who was freaking sobbing, telling of how he had lost someone close to him. Now, while I got good clip from police and firemen who spoke of brotherhood, those were the official words from the official guys. There was no guy on our station, crying about his loss. This is terrible, but you can only hope for that kind of emotion on the radio. And sometimes I don't feel like I'm cut out for this job, because it occured to me to go up to random people and ask them how they felt on this day, but it just felt too probing, and I hate feeling exploitative.
And then the clincher: She used bagpipes behind her voicer. All I can say is, I thought of that too! Really I did! I held a mic to the bagpipe player at the ceremony, because at these things it's always a good idea to get the ambient, but I ended up dismissing it as too over the top. I talk myself out of these things.
This business, and all the attendant insecurities it generates, will ultimately kill me. And if I go out in dramatic fashion, the competition will inconceivably beat me to the punch.
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
In Alberta, we have a place called Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo Jump. It's the site where, hundreds of years ago, Indians drove buffalo over a cliff then dug in for an easy meal.
Well today, you can replace the bison with "media" (or another group of famous cliff-jumpers, lemmings) and the Indians with "competition," and you'll find everyone bolting to the edge of the precipice, blindly ready to create some carnage below.
Tomorrow is September 11th. Pull up a chair, I'll grab you a plate.
I don't want to be a lemming, or, er, bovine. We'll run the news that comes down on the Broadcast Newswire. It's relevant because it will originate from there, but I don't want to have to dig up a series of stories with some tenuous local connection because of the importance of the date. I'm a part of the media, and frankly, I'm interested in watching a lot of the coverage. But I work at a radio station in a town far removed, so I don't want to be wallowing among the carcasses at the bottom of some crag because these damn Indians drove me over the edge.
We're planning to mention a small ceremony, organized by firefighters, slated for tomorrow morning. I also have some clip from the mayor. To be honest, I don't know really how important that is. I guess I just felt we needed to recognize it locally, but anything else is really a push. What will the competition do? I don't know, and I shouldn't really care, but damn it if I don't think I'll feel I've missed the jump of a lifetime come tomorrow morning at 8:46 Eastern.
Monday, September 09, 2002
SWEAT PANT CIVILITY
If you know me, you know I rail endlessly against the town in which I live.
I hurl insults at it with abandon, laugh gleefully at its delusions of grandeur, crack snidely when it entertains visions of "real-city" status. Essentially, this burg is without character, devoid of sophistication, in need of a decent used book store. But...
I was out shopping for groceries today, in my sweat pants. That I would do so really illustrates just how far I've sunk. In a proper city, I'd never dream of going out in public dressed like a slob. Now granted, I was coming from the gym, but there should be no excuse. It was in the supermarket when a woman just struck up a conversation with me. It was just about pricing and produce, but it was a stranger. And then, later on in the checkout line, I saw someone I recognized, but couldn't remember his name. Usually under those circumstances, I'd simply pretend not to spot them. It avoids all that unnecessary discomfort that comes with two people, forcing a connection, both having no idea who the other is. But I felt perfectly confident in acknowledging and chatting with him.
I love when those brief moments of civility occur. I mean I'm sure it's been known to happen in larger centres, but it's got to be less likely. And it's not as though I walk down the street and women call out to me and men tip their hats. But I think I'd like that.
Maybe I could deal with this town if it housed a cast of characters: an aspiring filmmaker; a philosophical DJ; a sultry bush pilot with a love-hate relationship for the local doc.
But then I guess I'd have to pack my bags and move farther North. And to be honest, the North sucks.
Sunday, September 08, 2002
It's curious. I've been meaning to mention I've recently seen some of the coolest wedding photos ever. The reason I point this out is not just for esthetic reasons, but the site in question once housed the weblog hosted by the incomparable, and now married, Heather B. Hamilton. Other than the occasional post to The Morning News, she's gone AWOL. The reason for this? She lost her job because she bitched about work on her site, they saw it, and fired her ass. She was the reason I started reading weblogs, loving them and deciding to write one of my own. So she's off in anonymity, perhaps writing under a pseudonym, and I regularly google to see if she's back. A few days ago, I caught the photos under dooce.com. The groom, Jon Armstrong, is also not without clout in the blog world. So you have this perfect pairing.
Well, today, I come across another. Douglas Rushkoff was hitched to Plotzlady. Check out her account of honeymooning in Iceland. I'm glad I only stopped in Reykjavik to refuel.
Here is their photo.
Both couples were married the same day.
Now I just need to find out the anniversary of this icon and his lovely wife. Could it be the same? And I guess it makes nailing down a date easy for the kingpin of weblogs and his uber-blog-chick, should they tie the knot.
THIS PRISONER'S DOCK IS EGGSHELL
I can't tell you what it's like to be looking at a thin apartment wall that's the only thing separating me from an accused rapist.
On the other side of that drywall is the home of a young man who stands accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year old girl. It sounds quiet over there now, but I guess it was a different story Friday night. I'm glad I was out of town when a couple of guys were roaming the halls with baseball bats, vowing revenge. The punk escaped his suite, but didn't get far. When he hopped into his buddy's car to make their getaway, the avengers took the bats to the car's headlights.
He was safe for the night, but then he got home the next day to find others waiting for him. He was making his way up the sidewalk, and my landlord was outside sweeping up the shattered glass, when he says to him, "how come no one ever called the cops last night? A couple of guys were trying to beat me up and no one called the cops."
Well, someone called the cops, alright. I'm betting it was his alleged victim. Once he walked past my landlord, he went upstairs to his suite to find the cops waiting for him outside. They had a stake-out on my building all day. They took him away in handcuffs. I'm assuming he's still in custody. At least, I'd like to think he'll stay there.
Now I know a person is not guilty until convicted in a court of law. And being the objective woman I am, it immediately crosses my mind that maybe the girl was lying. It's been known to happen. But WHY? Why does it happen? I've never understood that mentality. I'd like to think no one stands wrongfully accused. I guess I'm naive.
I don't feel unsafe. But it's safe to say I'd feel uncomfortable if he's out on bail, and I hear him moving around next door. Already, after hearing some movement in the hallway, I've gotten up to peer through the peephole. Not a peep out of him, just other tenants.
My landlord told me when this guy applied for the apartment, just over a month ago, he didn't feel right about him. But the guy kept calling, making it real easy to just relent and let him have the place. The landlord dragged his heels on the application, but eventually handed it over to the management company, with his reservations jotted onto the document. They approved him.
Chalk one up for gut instinct.
Saturday, September 07, 2002
It's still officially the 75th anniversary of the invention of television.
I paid homage by watching it for hours on end. I've previously documented my addiction to the cathode ray tube, so I don't need to tell you it's like smack to me. My drug of choice today was TLC. Almost like THC, dude. Trading Spaces ad nauseam, A Makeover Story, A Wedding Story, A Personal Story, you name it. I can't bring myself to watch A Dating Story because it makes me wince. And as far as I can tell, they're missing A Terminal Disease Culminating in Death Story, but it's quite possible I just haven't scoured the listings thoroughly enough.
So after watching all that great television, why, OH GOD WHY, am I left with nothing on but PSI Factor and freaking Dan Akroyd?
I'm sure if TV's inventor, young Idaho farmboy Philo T. Farnsworth, could have envisioned Global's program offerings three-quarters of a century down the line, he would have "accidentally" taken a dip into the potato hopper.
I met a young woman who's taken up a post at Heritage Canada. (Or "Canadian Heritage" if you prefer. I don't know whether the department's been re-tooled in recent years or someone fought back at the French-language corruption of it. I could make an educated guess, though, and go with the former.) The description of her day-to-day work was nothing short of alarming. She was employed solely to help prospective grant recipients guarantee their success. And she was to assist them in getting as much money as they possibly could. She told of a woman in Fort Mcleod who phoned the young lady in question, with a budget for some theatre company in the historic/resort town. The theatre director said she had whittled down her budget to just $7000. That was all she would need this season, she said with some satisfaction. But the young Heritage worker was dramatically winking over the phone, letting her know, without saying so outright, that in fact she qualified for much more. It turned out the government had pencilled in an amount closer to $42 000. If the theatre company didn't make a case for that amount, the feds wouldn't renew the allotment next year. Frankly, I am for some arts funding, but this was madness.
It's examples like that which reinforce my political beliefs as right of Liberal. But you know, I'm starting to swing back to centre. Why? Leadership.
Now granted, Paul Martin is attractive to conservatives because of his fiscal record. And it's partly for this reason I feel this sort of fuzzy sense of trust in him. True, he's older, and his dentures are showing, but I feel the need to back him BECAUSE HIS TAKING THE COUNTRY'S HELM IS INEVITABLE. Yes, I'm basing my vote on zeitgeist! And in my estimation zeitgeist comes by way of a person's (or thing's) perceived attractiveness and press coverage.
There's nothing I like to do better on a Saturday than drink a pot of coffee and read The National Post from cover to cover. (I'm currently battling a self-imposed boycott, after the firing of the Ottawa Citizen's publisher, but I'm starting to have a change of heart.) For awhile, I suffered from Canadian Alliance fever, having been exposed to too much Stockwell Day in the early days, and I got caught up in the excitement a party exudes when there's a leadership race on. But time, and brains, were not on Stock's side, and I eventually saw the light. Stephen Harper is impressive, mind you. My colleague at work, who is not right-of-centre by any means, tells me when she sees Harper on television, she can't pull herself away. I know what she means. I too, am attracted to a man who can speak eloquently and gramatically. But a policy-wonk, alas, doesn't hold the same allure as a demagogue. I know, I know. Yes, Stephen Harper is the better man. But the excitement's gone.
I was briefly dating an Alliance lackey last summer. He was conservative in most every sense of the word, but I somehow found it sexy he woke in the morning and put on a tie to go to work. However, there was a lot of drinking involved in our short-lived relationship, he had a shelf full of the appropriate books whose spines had never been cracked, and I ultimately broke it off because he cancelled plans on my 30th birthday. But his proximity to power and the conviction of his beliefs intrigued me.
So the Alliance has soured for me. But: Stehen Harper is smart. He cuts a somewhat striking figure. Speaking to him in person, one can get lost in his eyes. Of course, after having met BC's last NDP leader, Ujjal Dosanjh, I had self-professed Ujjal-mania.
Joe Clark, thank god, is on his way out. I like his glasses, and his heart. And I briefly entertained the idea of supporting the Tories after he announced his intentions to step down. As for those who will succeed him: I haven't heard Peter MacKay speak. That works in his favor. He simply has this leader-in-waiting sheen about him, albeit a fucked-up face. Bernard Lord, by contrast, just seems like a dweeb. But now that the party has closed the door on uniting the right, I have closed the door on them.
Following the same thread, Alexa McDonough's announcement to step down should have brought about a renewal of interest in the federal NDP. It didn't. I may be rating politicians by their physical attractiveness and perceived popularity, but I'm not a moron.
Gilles Duceppe has a snappy name and a slick 'do, but the Bloc? See argument above.
So where does it all leave me? I could, for the first time in my life, be voting Liberal come the next election. There's a momentum there. There's A LEADERSHIP RACE happening, a true feast for political voyeurs. I'm not examining the issues on a rational basis, I've decided to do it on a visceral one. I'm swept up in popular opinion, and the excitement that comes with betting on a winner.
But if Stephen Harper decides to grow some sideburns, and ditch decidedly unattractive members such as Myron Thompson, all the while getting front-page attention from the nation's dailies, I could give him and his party a second look.
Thursday, September 05, 2002
I feel like I did back when I was driving my unreliable car, dubbed "Code Blue."
Back then, not too many years ago, I drove a 1979 Toyota Celica. She was very cute and not in the Japanese style at all. In fact, one treasured friend told me the car spoke French to her. It was small and cozy, laid back and sentimental, with blonde wood touches at the gearshift and wheel.
Elle est belle, n'est-ce pas? she would whisper into the vents.
Code Bleu was French, if not young: she was sleek, anything but flashy, chic. But the run in her stockings was starting to creep.
She made fashionable runs through Montana, BC, Alberta, Idaho, Washington. Hardly a complaint. When the temperature soared, and we drove past the wrecks of autos overheating on the highway, you could almost discern her mortification if the same were to happen to her. It never did. The elegant heat gauge would simply tell us it was time to pull over and let her cool a little.
But her chignon was starting to slip.
We drove to a ghost town in Northern BC. We spent a nice day, three friends and I, exploring. When it was time to go back, we made it just a tenth of the way back up the hill. We made a number of attempts, to no avail. A gold-panner in the vicinity took pity on us and the old girl.
"I can give you a jump," he offers.
"But the car dies as soon as it gets going again," I whined.
"Well, then we'll just keep doing it, and if that doesn't work, I'll WINCH you up."
Clearly, we couldn't have run into a more helpful old-timer or a more capable truck.
After six jump-starts the car made it to the top of the hill. And then it proceeded to die. We called a tow-truck. We hitched her up, and carted her back home with as much dignity as could be afforded, with four of us piled into the cab for our strange, $400 dollar tow ride home. It was on this adventure that she got her name.
It was the alternator that time, but over the years, it became apparent she needed a rest. I was driving from Red Deer to Edmonton and she just kept losing steam. She didn't have her heart in it anymore. She'd had a hard winter: too many cold nights alone, a set of threadbare tires, an unfashionable rear-wheel drive. I tried to coax, but I knew her best days were behind her.
"Just get us to Leduc, and I'll let you retire." And I did.
I have a shiny, new thing now. It doesn't have the same fashion-sense or character of Code Bleu, but I no longer drive white-knuckled on the highway.
As I said, I'm feeling that same sense of insecurity I once did with my old Celica. I knew it was stylish, but you couldn't rely on it.
I'm having some trouble with Blogger.
Sunday, September 01, 2002
I broke a good story over this long weekend. Unfortunately it involved stupid, drunken antics.
It started when I got a call at the station Saturday morning. A guy passes on a news tip, saying he was listening to the police scanner (one out of our range) most of the night. A ground search was underway . Apparently some dude had driven his skidoo into a lake. Alcohol likely involved.
Yes, a SKI-doo, not a SEA-doo. And, no, summers in Canada are not arctic.
I made a number of calls to no avail. RCMP at all relevant detachments are out. I can't find the location on any map. But I have this tip. And I need to confirm it. So I go past the police administration numbers and talk with dispatchers. Now, dispatchers are a surly bunch. They clam up, they speak in police-ese, they have no hesitation in telling you, in no uncertain terms, they are not telling you anything. But, I asked a series of specific questions and one fellow confirmed the basics. I got through about three questions before he realized what he was doing. Bingo. It can go to air. Albeit I'll have to throw in a "details are sketchy but..."
I drove out to the site, in the company vehicle, using 4-wheel drive which proved to be necessary on dirt roads my Hyundai wouldn't have appreciated. Police, Search and Rescue, and volunteers had mounted a mass search. They were checking the shoreline and surrounding area for signs of the 31-year old from the Rimbey area. What happened, the RCMP officer told me, was the guy had gotten on the skidoo, took off, got partway across the lake, and the machine sank. His friends on shore called out to him, and he yelled back he was okay. By the time they readied a boat for his rescue, he had disappeared into the drink.
RCMP would not coment on whether or not he had been drinking.
Of course what's really at issue here is the ostensible stupidity of this person in taking a skidoo out on the water. I have now been informed the practice is a growing sport.
"The do it all the time, it's becoming a craze. It's a new sport, but it's growing. You see it on TV all the time. TSN, TNN, ESPN...You can drive your skidoo on water as well as you can on the snow."
Well, sir, apparently not.