Monday, May 30, 2011

"Oh, this old thing?" and the fine art of self-deprecation.

Mild Trigger Warning for Body Issues and Dieting.  If you're triggered by these things, you might want to skip this post.


I recently read an article link on Feministe's Shameless Self-Promotion Sunday that nearly knocked me out of my seat with its clarity.

Nahida's post on learning to receive compliments struck a chord with me.  She discusses the habit among women to immediately downplay ourself when offered compliments.

Woman 1: "Oh, that's a lovely dress!"
Woman 2: "What, this old thing?"

Rather than taking credit when we are complimented ("Thanks! It's my favourite."), we have a terrible habit of self-deprecation, unconsciously putting ourselves down in an attempt to appear modest.  It's mostly a learned behaviour, as supported Nahida's anectdote about the girls on the playground.  My own experience wasn't so much "You're not supposed to say 'Thank You'" but it definitely wasn't cool to say "I know."

I'm terrible in my inability to graciously accept a compliment, especially in two areas:  My music/art/writing and my recent weight loss.  After losing about 60 lbs, I found I had a ridiculously difficult time receiving compliments in regards to my new body.  I'd consistently jump to point out how much further I had to go ("Thanks, I still have another 25 to lose, though").

It took some time before I stopped myself and went "Hang on a minute! I've worked damn hard at this, and I deserve to feel good about it."  For a time, I started responding to the "You've lost a lot of weight, you look great!" with "Thanks.  I feel good."  This has helped me not only receive the compliment, but downplay the emphasis on how my weight loss has affected my looks and put emphasis on the more important issue, which has been the improvement on my health.  I felt this was important because in the past my weight has fluctuated due to stress and illness and I always found it bothersome when I'd get complimented on it.

"Did you lose weight?  You look amazing!"
"Really?  'Cause I feel like shit."

Still I slip back into bad habits though.  Even today, a friend on Facebook mentioned she had seen me and asked me my secret, to which, in typical Andie fashion, I responded with "Four years of Weight Watchers and a whole lot of patience.  I also took up kick-boxing a year ago.  Oh, and shit load of self-loathing and amphetamines."

Yeah, I'm kind of an artiste in the medium of comedic self-deprecation.

Why did I feel the need to add the last part?  I can assure you it had nothing to do with amphetamines, but probably a little to do with self-loathing, or at the very least, lack of self-confidence.  I still have days of mild body-dysmorphia where I feel gross and fat, even though the rational side of me knows I am not, and this has been exascerbated by the knowledge that I've probably put about 10-15 lbs back on.  I almost feel sometimes like if I accept the compliment graciously that I'm somehow being un-genuine.  Which is bullshit.

I've also been trying to learn how to graciously accept compliments regarding artwork and music, especially music.  In the last year or two I've taken to playing at a lot of open mike nights, as well as posting videos of myself to Facebook (and once, even here).  Compliments I receive on a performance I always feel the need to point out where I fucked up, or missed a chord change, or my voice cracked.  Putting aside the occasional backhanded "You play good, for a girl" compliments, I enjoy the feedback, and it definitely bolsters my confidence as far as my abilities go, so why the need to downplay what I have basically been honing for the last seventeen years?

I liked Nahida's suggestion about calling out people who refuse to accept a compliment, because it is a bit rude, a way of saying "I appreciate your intent, but you don't really know what you're talking about." and THAT is ingenuine.  And kind of rude.

As a feminist issue, all I really have to ask is how can we expect our talents, contributions and accomplishments to be acknowledged and celebrated when we ourselves are so apt to put them off as "Oh, it's no big thing, I just..?"

It might just be a big thing.  So go ahead and say it.  Without downplaying, without self-deprecating, without denying.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Maybe they should have called the baby 'Shitstorm'*

..because it seems that's what the parents in Toronto who decided to keep their baby's gender a secret in an attempt to keep zir unfettered by gender policing and expectations, have effectively created.  For the good or the bad, is what I've got to wonder.  In my honest opinion, if anything damages this kid, ambiguously named Storm, it'll be the media hype surrounding zir lack of gender definition, rather than a lack of defined gender*.  I'm unclear as to who actually alerted the media to the couple's plan, although I think it may have been relatives of the child in question.

Myriads of commenters on the Yahoo article I read, as well as at least one columnist for the Toronto Star questioned the ethics behind this couple 'treating their child as an experiment'.

Thing is, parenting IS an experiment.  There's no strict set of rules for this stuff. 

Myself, I can totally see where the parents are coming from, in wanting their children to explore their own personalities and gender identification without having expectations pressed on them based on what is between their legs.  I'm still completely lost as to what connection there is between a Y chromosome, a penis and an aversion to pink.

As far as 'damaging' this child we should probably remember that baby Storm is four months old.  Zir main concerns at this point in time are "I'm Hungry.  I'm Shitty.  I'm Bored."  Somehow I don't think "I'm Having a Crisis of Identification" comes into play at that age.  Besides, I think zie will figure it out.  I think the idea is not to raise an indefinitely ambiguous child, but to allow the baby for it's first few years to be less restricted by those gender expectations that are thrust upon us from the earliest of ages. 

From the very moment we are born and the doctor declares "It's a Girl/Boy!" - at least, in instances where it's clear from the beginning - we treat baby boys and baby girls differently which in turn helps to shape how they see themselves in the context of gendered expectations.  Not having a 'gender'** could result in people responding to baby Storm's individual personality rather than a preconceived notion of babyhood.

Interestingly enough, the number of people who have wagered that Storm is a boy is staggering.  This may have to do with a common societal trope that uses feminine markers to identify as female, so

Baby - feminine identifiers = default = boy.

I'm gonna laugh my ass off if Baby Storm is indeed a girl.  At this point, I'm not wagering any guesses.

Which brings me to where the potential for backfire comes in.  Columnist Caroline Porter of the Toronto Star presented the idea that by refusing to acknowledge their child's gender they may inadvertently make it a bigger issue, by "trapping him in an endless discussion."  I think there is something to be said for this view, as it does seem possible that Baby Storm could end up being defined by the unending "Well, what is he/she?" question.  Because you KNOW, people aren't going to let go of that one easily.

I think, underneath the question of gender anxiety, another issue is at hand that has people wringing their hands, and I think part of it is the refusal of the Wittericks to enforce gender expectations on any of their children.  The older children, both boys, play with nailpolish and the older one frequently wears his hair long and in pigtails.

Somehow people think that by not adhering to strict gender guidelines, they are setting them up for trouble later, from being bullied at school, or that they are going to be gender-confused.  My question is, how many 'gender-confused' people grew up in homes where gender rules were enforced but still re-identified later in life?

As far as kids teasing them, call me crazy, but I think the way to combat bullying is not to try and force potential victims into conforming to expectations (see the case of the teacher who kicked a kid out of class for wearing high-heels "for his protection"), but rather to teach people to just fucking relax already and if a little boy wants to wear nailpolish, or a little girl wants her hair short, it's not the end of the world, just like it's not the end of the world if you don't know what pronoun to use around a four-month old baby.

As for Baby Storm, as the media frenzy dies down, I think he'll figure out who he is.. long before he has to answer the 'which bathroom to use' question.

*For the record, although I've named my own children rather unique names, I would never advocate actually saddling a small child with the name Shitstorm.

**Keeping in mind that sex and gender are often two different things.  Sex is generally (although there are many different schools of though on this) defined by a) genitalia and b) presence or non-presence of a Y chromosome.  Gender's more complicated and has more to do with how one identifies themselves. Someone may identify as female, while presenting as male, and vice versa.  Some gender theorists have eschewed the idea of the binary model and presented ideas that there could be up to as many as nine different genders.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Of Intent and 'isms'

I've been watching a rather interesting flame war unfurl on Feministe right now, in regards to a seemingly innocuous ad from Dove, depicting three women under two frames showing dry crackily skin as before, and a frame of smooth-appearing skin as the after.

The interesting note is how the women are arranged under the before and after frame.  We go from a plus-sized woman of color (directly under the 'Before' sign), to a fairly average, "racially-ambiguous" woman in the middle, to a thin white woman (directly under the 'After' sign).

Click to enlarge - Source
Now, myself, I wouldn't have picked up on this had it not been pointed out to me, but I will admit it does look a smidge like the women in the picture are suppose to represent the 'Before' and 'After', in which case, that's a pretty racist AND size-ist image to be putting out there, what with the played out ideas of light=desirable as well as thin=desirable.  Have we not moved beyond this, people?

Two of the common defences for this ad that are popping up are the "I don't see how this is racist" defence and the "I don't think Dove intended it to be offensive" defence.

Two of the commenters on the thread, one an admittedly thin, white woman, made the "I don't see how this is racist," argument, which would have been fine in my humble opinion (because, hey, not everyone is going to read it the same way) had they not decided to suffix this statement by going on about how people, and especially POC, are oversensitive and looking for problematic issues where none exist.

One of the commenters took to her own blog with a diatribe about her hurt feelers, without seeming to get that while it's totally okay to not see the same imagery (like I said, I probably wouldn't have seen it if wasn't pointed out to me) making statements that basically dismiss the concerns of those who DO see a problem with it, especially those who may belong to said marginalized groups, and THEN have a hissy because people aren't respecting that your opinion is your opinion... well, there's just nothing cool about that at all.  It's the debate equivalent of smacking someone and then saying "What? That didn't hurt! Quit being a suckhole!" and then getting pissed off when they smack you back.

The second common defence for the Dove ad is the "They probably didn't mean it that way, so why are we getting all up in arms about it?"

Because, my lovelies, unintentional messages and images that serve to marginalize underprivileged groups are still messages and images that serve to marginalize underprivileged groups and as such, we should do what we can to examine and be critical of such images, and not just give them a pass because maybe they didn't mean it that way.

No, maybe they didn't mean it that way, although it's hard to imagine that with a company the size of Unilever that SOMEONE on the marketing department wouldn't have picked up on this and gone "Uh, hey guys? About that?"  But unintentional messages can perpetuate ideas and stereotypes just as well as intentional messages, and in some cases can be more damaging when you consider the tendency to give people a pass due to ignorance.

In the thread there was a debate about the similarity of the situation to an episode of South Park, but I think a more apt comparison is the scene in Clerks 2 where Randal uses the word 'Porchmonkey'  while ignorant of it's problematic history (Trigger warning on the vid for racial slurs.  A lot of them - p.s. I'm not the author of the video, so that's not my captioning at the beginning).  The incomparable Wanda Sykes plays a customer who takes great offense to this and is just about ready to jump the counter on him.  Blinded by his privilege Randal insists that it's not racist, and continues to offend those around him with his insistence on using the term.  Wanda Sykes' character is offended, not because she's oversensitive, but because Randal, while not an inherently bad person, is an idiot.  Not for using the word porchmonkey, but for dismissing others' experiences with the term, based on his own privileged experience and CONTINUING to use it after having the negative connotations explained to him.

When a small child says or does something inappropriate that hurts others, we (hopefully.. as a parent I try to) point out what they've said or done and why it's hurtful.  Clearly the child doesn't know they're being hurtful, so we correct them so they avoid this behaviour in the future.

Why is it unacceptable to do the same with adults, or large corporations, or the media?  When a message is unintentional, that is ALL THE MORE reason to call it out and let those put the message forth that "Hey, yeah, not okay."

And pointing out the behaviour, and why it's hurtful.  Like we do with small children.  This goes for any 'ism' that one may come across, be it racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and so forth.

The test for Dove and Unilever now will be their response.  So far it's been a resounding "Did Not!" which is basically what we've been talking about here.  A dismissal, when a more PR-friendly response may have been  an acknowledgement of the public's concerns, an apology for inadvertently upsetting people, and then pull or alter the ad.

It's a better move to go "Uhm.. wow.  Didn't pick up on that. Let's fix that." than to be the kid going "Nuh-uh! I never did!"  The latter option ends up acting as a big 'Fuck You' to all the people who did feel the ad was questionable and felt marginalized as a result.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22, 2001.

My back had been killing me all day.

I was ten days overdue, and quite over the whole pregnancy thing.  Quite over it, indeed. Her original due date had been May 13th, which was also her paternal grandmother's birthday.

The ex-hub (at that point, simply 'the boy') had made plans to go to Toronto that day to see his bio-mom and step-dad who were visiting from way way up north, and whom we only saw occasionally, being that they lived 20 hours away, and we didn't drive.

She handily thwarted those plans.

The pain in my lower back gradually increased over the course of the day.  I had chalked it up to the baby having dropped.  By 2 am the pain was excruciating, keeping me awake and in a state of discomfort and by 3 am the pain was coming in waves.

Oh, God.  In waves.  Being my first pregnancy, I didn't catch on right away but when I thought back to a concept I had heard of called 'back labor', I realized what was happening, and I started to cry.  This woke the boy who asked me what was wrong.

"I'm sorry hun.  I don't think you can go to Toronto today."

8ish months earlier I had been experiencing pain in my legs.  8 hour days at work left me in debilitating pain at the end of the day.  This worried me, given my history with circulation problems.  After a particularly bad night, in tears from the pain, I decided to go to the ER.  It was the boy who had suggested the possibility to which I had promptly pfffffted and shook my head. 

"I'm only, like, a week late."
"Uhm... no.  You're like, three weeks late.  Believe me, I keep track."

At least one of us was paying attention.  Anyway.
At the hospital, when they took my INR,  we requested a pregnancy test.  When the doctor came in, he asked the boy if he was the father-to-be.  We looked at each other, shrugged and said "That, depends, what are you saying?"
Emerging from assessment room, we found that about four of our friends (all guys), plus the boy's nephew who was staying with us, were in the waiting room, waiting for us to come out with the results.  I can only imagine what we must have looked like to the others in the waiting room - a Maury Povich episode waiting to happen. 
Labor was a piece of cake.
Or so I thought.  
It really is like bad menstrual cramps, I thought.  My grandmother and her boyfriend had driven us to the hospital, and notified my parents who had already headed to work.
Every 15 to 20 minutes, my stomach would tighten, and I'd ooh and owww, all the while thinking what's the big deal?  This isn't THAT bad.  The contractions, however, slowed to a halt around. 6:30 am.  Rather than send us home, the doctors decided to induce labor, seeing as I was already way overdue.
Jesus Christ on a cracker.  Whole new ballgame.
My abdomen was being put in a vice and twisted to oblivion, seeming to last 20 minutes each time, with only about 30 seconds rest between contractions.  The boy, in an attempt to be helpful, tried rubbing my back with a tennis ball.  I promptly took it from him and whipped it across the room.
"Please.  Don't Do That."  

He ceased trying to help and decided that the best way to support me would be to just stay the hell out of my way.  This was probably the best course of action.

It may have been around noon that the doctors came in and told me I was only 2cm dilated.  They broke my water, and hooked me up to a fetal monitor.  After an hour, the doctor, looking grave came in and told us that the baby's heart rate was dropping, they'd need to perform an emergency C-section.

My response was a resounding "Holy shit, yes, can we do this now please?  No, I mean really.  Like now.  Open me up and get this kid out, already.  General Anesthesia?  Yes please!"  

As they were prepping me for the surgery, the contractions continued annoying me to no end since at this point it was basically pain-for-no-reason, not accomplishing anything.  I badgered the nurses, my OB, and the anesthetist who also happened to be my family doctor, asking when they were going to go ahead and knock me out because holy hell this shit HURT.  A LOT.

They eventually rolled me into the OR and ran the IV line with the drugs that would knock me out.  It's odd, you know... between being put out and coming to, it always seems like no time passes at all.  I woke feeling strange.  My stomach was flat-ish and my throat was sore.  The boy was at my bed, telling me we had a baby girl.  

"A girl? Neat." I said groggily.  My throat was scratchy from being intubated. "I want a popsicle.  please."

We named her Tierney, a Gaelic name I had fallen in love with 6 years earlier when my nephew was born.  It means 'Noble'.  She was given the middle names Catherine, for my mother, and Melissa, for her godmother and my best friend at the time.
Today she is ten.  She's smart and yet innocent, sensitive and yet full of humour, kind-hearted and beautiful.  Ten years ago, she changed me, in that she made me a mother and gave me a new perspective.
Happy Birthday, Baby Girl.

May 22, 2001

Thursday, May 19, 2011

With respect to the Vandals, "We'll have a drink and throw a parade, and greet the rapture screaming 'Hooray!'

I've started ignoring the news.

It's overwhelming.  For real.  For one, I have a lot to say in response to various things I see, but so much of seems like it's all be said or by the time I find myself with time on my hands, we're onto a new topic of the week.

I considered writing about the mom in San Fransisco who had boasted that she gave her 8-year-old regular Botox injections and had her... erm.. "waxed" so she 'can be a star!'  Children's services apparently got involved because holy shit what parent thinks injecting their kid's face with what is essentially botulism in order to paralyze face muscles is a good idea?

The answer to that is:  People who are only a bit dumber and more looks-obsessed than those who
think injecting their own face with a deadly toxin is a good idea.

Don't even get me started on the waxing thing.  I'm pretty sure I don't have to explain the procedure I'm referring to? If so, Google it.  Sorry, but waxing when there is no hair (which in the case of an eight-year-old, is likely) is basically the equivalent of putting duct tape on someone's bits and ripping off, just for a laugh.

Pretty sick, no? I mean, sick, like disgusting, abhorrent and the like.  Not 'sick' like all the kids are saying it these days.

Yeah, I'm old.  Get off my lawn.

Turns out that was a big fat hoax.

So instead of a looks-obsessed pageant mom, we have a fame-obsessed reality show/pageant mom wannabe.  Which still says a lot from a sociological stand-point about our skewed and ultimately mucked-up celebrity culture, especially in light of the fact that in another week, the world will have all but forgotten Botox mom.  I hope her kid gets the help she's going to need.  Sure, she's not shot all full of toxins or rendered pre-emptively hairless, but having a parent encourage you to lie on national television so they can fulfill some dream of fame, or more accurately, infamy is about as fucked as it gets.

In other news, in looking for an image to go with this post, I found this image and it made me giggle.

It's funny, because it's true.

In other news, we're all gonna die. and I blame some particularly sketchy math.  Don't worry though, it's not going to be for a few months, after a period of torment and such, and let's not forget the dead bodies being strewn about the place.   Well, the good Xtians get a pass on all that and get to be vaporized this Saturday.

I'm wondering if there was any point to planning my daughter's birthday party for Sunday, since it's my understanding that kids get a free pass, being innocents and all?  Or is it one of those 'unbaptised babies spend eternity in Purgatory' things?  In which case, I guess the party is still on, we'll just have to keep an eye out for locusts on the cake.

And the dead bodies being strewn about.  Can't forget that.

Will it happen?  I'm betting not, just like the other times it was all supposed to come crashing to a halt and didn't.  I'm pretty sure the Mayans were just too busy to finish their calendar as well.

Still I will admit, a small part of me wonders if maybe I'm just totally wrong about this.  It's a very small, niggling part.  Logic would dictate that there's probably just as much of a chance of SkyNet becoming self-aware as Jesus returning to earth to zap up all the living and dead Xtians, while us heathens get to writhe and maybe with any luck, loot a bit, but...  it's an irrational fear I suppose.

In the meantime, I've been having fun creating a 'bring on the Apocalypse playlist, as I've been walking around with Blondie's Rapture in my head all week.

So, without further ado, Songs for the End of Days:

Rapture - Blondie
Heaven is a Better Place Today - The Tragically Hip
Running with the Devil - Van Halen
We'll all get Laid - The Vandals
It's the End of the World As We Know It - R.E.M.
Hell - Blind Melon
Only the Good Die Young - Billy Joel
Devil in a Midnight Mass - Billy Talent
Electric Demons in Love - Electric Six
Alert Status Red - Matthew Good Band
Ain't No Rest for the Wicked - Cage the Elephant

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Oh Blogger, you silly, silly platform, you.

Of course, I'm a glutton for punishment.

Wait, I'll get to that. Some backstory first.

I started blogging back in 2005, on the old MSN spaces platform.  I don't remember too many of the bloggers I read on there, with the exception of my dear friend Justin.  I have no idea if Justin still blogs, but I highly recommend to anyone with a taste for the macabre, to go and check out his photomanipulation art.. the guy is a master.  

When MSN Spaces switched to Windows Live Spaces and all of a sudden you had to be friends with people to read their blogs, or view pictures I said 'eff that shite', archived my blog by way of copy and pasting the whole mess into a word file, deleted my 'space' and moved to a new platform that still required you to friend people, but still allowed (at first) for you to read blogs and look at pictures without actually being friends with people.

That platform was MySpace. 

Actually, there's a funny story about how I ended up on MySpace and the huge but hilarious misunderstanding that ensued.

There I blogged for about three more years, and got heavily involved in some groups and forums where I befriended some amazing people.  But time went on, and the MS universe became a little more unbearable each day, a combination of boredom, the mass e-xodus to Facebook and an increasing number of 'Sorry! An Unexpected Error has Occurred'.

So late 2009 I moved my shit over here to Blogger.

Tonight I decided that I was going to try and import my entire MySpace blog into this on here, but it turns out that the import function is pretty, well, craptacular.  Being the masochist with entirely too much time on her hands that I am, I have embarked on copy and pasting and re-dating each post.  I've now worked my way back to the beginning of 2008, which is where I'll be leaving off this evening.

I'm a glutton for punishment.

In the name of full disclosure I will admit there are some posts that will not be making their way here for protection of the innocent and not so innocent.  One thing I do miss about the MySuck blogs is the ability to set different posts on different privacy levels (ie.. Open, Friends Only, Preferred Readers, Private).  It's not as detailed as Facebook's notes which pretty much let you pick and choose exactly who you do and don't want to see, but it was better than the All-or-Nothing thing that Blogger has going on here.

Looking back, I was a lot more candid on there, and I think the settings have to do with it.  I usually pride myself on being a pretty open book, but there's a few posts that I'm still not comfortable with having available upon a single keystroke.

At any rate, for shits and giggles, feel free to check out the archive sections to see some of the posts I've brought over.

If I find myself feel REALLY ambitious, then I may one day decide to try and work my old Spaces posts (which are still lurking somewhere in the deep dark reaches of my external hard drive) all up in here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sweet Jesus! It's Reverse Objectification Wednesday!

.. and goodness gracious me, I'm not drooling over some obscure indie musician! Okay, in fairness, some of my previous posts weren't terribly Indie, and one was a T.V. guy (albeit a rather obscure one) but mostly I have a soft spot (or a wet spot.. tomato, tomahto) for the musicians.

I'm not much of a sports gal.  I'm definitely not much of a racing gal.  But I have long harboured an unapologetic dirty crush on Quebec race car driver Jacques Villeneuve.

Let's get to the objectification, shall we?

So I was far more excited than any 30 year old woman should ever be when I saw the following:

Jacques Villeneuve to appear in Disney-Pixar’s CARS 2

Yeah, I'll be seeing this. It's definitely getting a pass on my moratorium on sequel making even though out of all the Disney Pixar movies, Cars was probably my least favorite (which is to say, I still liked it).  But I'll make an exception in this case because I'm a bit of a sucker for a good French-Canadian accent.  They'll make anything seem like a good idea, whether it's seeing the sequel to a film that may steal 90 minutes from my life I'll never get back, or making out with a 50-something Revenue Canada worker while on vacation.

Uhm... yeah...

Let's just forget I mentioned that last part mmmkay?  It'll be our little secret.

So yeah.. Apparently he'll basically be playing himself.. but.. as a car.

A pretty good-looking car, if you ask me.  How wrong would it be to fantasize about sprawling Whitesnake-video style across an anthropomorphized, animated version of a nummy looking race-car driver from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec?


Don't you judge me.

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Favorite Search Terms from the Past Two Weeks.

Usually the search terms that bring people to this wee little corner of the internet are pretty, well, boring.  If not boring, they make sense.

This week the Google searchers are doing me proud.  It all started when someone found my site by searching 'Crotch Touching'.

(apparently I rank around fifth on the search results for that one.  Go Me!)

Here's some of the other odd, random and funny search results from the last two weeks:

I need tropes - well, okay, but maybe Rape apology wasn't what you were looking for.
red or purple kneecaps - If this happens, it may be time to take turns.
Ferris Bueller's motivation - (if only I could be)
foghorn leghorn tattoo penis <--- win.
Bible into tibet
"michelangelo's", "hamilton", "menu", "cannelloni" <-- I think someone is specifically trying to look up my vacation.  That's too many coincedences there.

An affirmation to you from me (and the bathroom graffiti artist at the rec center)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'm one step closer to world domination...


I've just been given the Overlord Award from Bruce and Tucker the Puppymaster at Just Another Day in Paradise.

Three things that are gonna change now that I'm calling the shots:

First order of business:
People who blare their car stereos in parking lots at ungodly levels are to be placed in an echo chamber with their car stereos at full-volume, extra bass until their hearts explode in their chests.  (Yes, this is a BIG peeve of mine).

Second order of business:
It is now completely acceptable, legal and okay to, with complete impunity, slam those people who stand directly in front of building doors with said door, especially if said door has a large 'No Loitering within 15 meters' sign right in front of it for the purposes of preventing people from standing in front of said door in the first bloody place.

Final order of business:
There will be a 10 year moratorium on any film remake, reboot, or reimagining.  Also included in the moratorium  are prequels and extraneous sequels (unless based on a series of books, this limits filmmakers to one sequel per film) NO SEQUELS SHALL BE MADE TO FILMS OVER 20 YEARS OLD. 
Addendum: There will be no more live action movies based on beloved children's cartoons.  No more.  Just stop.  Really.  No. Really.  Knock it off.

That's right bear.  Back into the woods and the second dimension where you belong.  Source

Sadly my rule is a short-lived one, but I now get to pass my Overlord crown along to three lucky successors

Lori at Little Scotia/Vintage Witch, because she would be a benevolent overlord who would leave encouraging notes even when her minions do stupid effed-up shit like leave behind plastic containers from the recycling even though they are CLEARLY marked 1, because hey, she knows we're all trying our best here.

Lance at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog, because as overlord I am sure he would have some of most heinous 'popular' musicians of our times drawn and quartered in the town square for all us elitist music snobs to watch and cheer.  And I'm totally down with that.

D'Artagnan at Support Your Own Agenda because his blog title indicates that maybe he's already got plans for world domination, and I admittedly have a bit of  a blog-crush on him.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It had already been a strange day to begin with...

This is a post for Studio30plus weekly challenge.  This week's prompt is 'The Storm'.  If you're over 30 and not already a member, I encourage you to go check it out.

It had already been an odd day, June 23rd.  That was when we had the earthquake.  It was at some point in the early afternoon that the computer screen in front of me began to waver.  I wondered if I was having some kind of spell.  Dizzy, I tried to focus but the screen kept swaying.

After a few seconds, my co-worker calls over from the next cubicle "Is it me, or are we shaking?"

You see, we inhabit a pretty sturdy chunk of the Canadian shield.  Discernable earthquakes are not an everyday occurrence.

So it had already been an exciting day.

I left work to go weigh in and get some groceries.  While in the RCSS, I noticed the sky had darkened and rain had began to fall.  I cursed as I remembered the windows I had left wide open as a result of the days earlier warmth.  Rushing out with my groceries in tow, I found myself struggling against the wind to get to the far end of the parking lot where I had left the car.  I had been 'adding more steps to my day' as they encouraged us in the Weight Watcher meetings.  

Approaching the car the wind gained more speed and the sky opened up.  Veritable buckets of water fell from the sky as I hastened to get my groceries into the car although I could barely see.  Water sluiced down my face and glasses, distorting my sight.  Back in the car, I was unable to even wipe my glasses dry as my clothing was absolutely soaked.  I rummaged for an old napkin, which nicely did the trick.  Water squished in my shoes.

Arriving at the ex-hubster's place to pick up the girls, I grumbled impatiently at them, admonishing them not to dawdle, as I was still drenched and by this time, quite cranky.  The ex and I made small talk about the storm's ferocity, but being on south end of town we did not yet realize how serious the situation was.

Driving up the main drag to head home, traffic was unusually slow.  Under an eerily calm purple-pink sky, residents were leaving their homes and walking, dumbfounded up King Street towards Highway 12.  Confused as to why the mass exodus, I grumbled while I sat in the traffic that was so uncharacteristic of our little town.


Normally I don't answer the phone in the car, but since I had been at pretty much a full-stop for the last five minutes, I figured what the hell?

"Where are you?"
"Hey Dan.  I'm on King, heading home. Why?"
"Turn around if you can and come to our place.  12 is closed.  You're not getting home anytime soon.  Tornado struck down."

Whole.  Leigh.  Shit.   Come again?

"uhh, okay.  Sounds good.  See you soon."

The mass exodus turned out to be hundreds of people who were in the vicinity when the funnel touched down on the north end of town and cut a swath through a chunk of farmland, most of our industrial district and in true cliche form, the local mobile home park.

Arriving with the ladies at the home of Sean and Dan, where my other friend Kaylee had already arrived, we were greeted and informed that power was out all over, but cellular networks were still intact.  We sent the children upstairs to play and for a while we all made attempts to call or text loved ones to check in with them or warn those in the tornado's path.  I got in touch with my dad who informed me that other than a small downpour, the weather near our place had been uneventful.  My mother was away visiting my grandmother but promised to stay put until the warning was lifted.  I made numerous attempts to contact the then-boyfriend but the storm had knocked his phone out.

I realized I was still in sopping wet clothes, so I borrowed some clothes from the Danno, him being the obvious choice as at the time I had about 50 lbs on Sean.  As friends were assured, families contacted and stomachs were starting to growl.  When in Rome, do as the Romans do, and when in Canada during a natural disaster that knocks out the power, you do as Canadians do best.  Barbecue and Beer.
We should be in a beer commercial
Driving home that night as night fell and the clouds still hung low in the sky I took the back roads, as the radios were advising people to stay home and off the roads (sometimes i have a problem with authority).  The main highway was still closed.  I was tense as each time the rain started to fall I would scan the horizon for funnels, white knuckled on the steering wheel.

Down one concession the rain fell harder, and I hit a stretch of road littered with leaves and branches.  Along the ditches fallen power lines hung in trees, and I could where the funnel had cut through the brush and across the road.  Ahead in the dark, two figures ran through the rain.  In my hurry to get home to my house (at 105 years old, no storm could take it out) I drove on, but after about 200 meters I turned around to see if the runners needed a ride somewhere.  They were no where to be found.

At home, I was amazed to find that in spite of the destruction that occurred a mere few kilometres away, at my own home, rakes that were left beside the shed stood, completely untouched.  

Monday, May 2, 2011

So, how about that election?

A Conservative majority? Oh, sorry. A "Harper" majority.
I think Matthew Good put it best (from his facebook page):

Well done Canada. We just gave a majority to a party that was in contempt of Parliament. No government of all 54 Commonwealth nations has ever been found in contempt of Parliament except the one that's being re-elected tonight. Geniuses abound.


Let's see what others had to say:

Again.  Fuck.

A 'victory' that is bittersweet, at best.

Having had roughly 24 hours to reflect on the revelations of last night, namely that U.S. special forces had finally captured and killed Osama Bin Laden I gotta say, I have some mixed emotions.  It might be fair to say I'm a little numb.

In no particular order, my thoughts:

I'm happy and relieved for the people who lost friends, family and co-workers in 9/11 who will hopefully find some sort of closure from this news.

I'm afraid of Bin Laden's martydom being catalyst for more aggression against North America.

I'm conflicted because I don't usually believe that justice for taking life should involve taking more life, especially without due process, but in this case, a big part of me is willing to give it a pass, just this time.

I'm irritated with people screaming 'America, Fuck Yeah' and 'Hooray for the good guys!' like we've won some kind of pissing contest.  It's not the Olympics.  It's not the bloody Stanley Cup Playoffs.  It's life and death.   It's not just about one man, it's about the memories of thousands lost, on both sides of the fence.  Let's show a little decorum so we can at least hold ourselves to a higher standard than those people who celebrated and rioted in the streets when the World Trade Center fell.

I'm apathetic because I know this is merely a symbolic victory.  Bin Laden's capture and subsequent death won't end terrorism, it won't end the blood spilt over conflicting ideologies.  This is a continuation of an ongoing cycle of violence with no end in site.

I'm still more than a little amused with the fact that Barack Obama's address cut into the end of Celebrity Apprentice.  Suck it, Trump.

Yeah, so all in all.. don't know how I feel.  There have been a few choice things I've read around the interwebs that addressed it nicely:
Yes, bin Laden the man is dead. But he achieved all he set out to achieve, and a hell of a lot more. He forever changed who we are as a country, and for the worse. Mostly because we let him. That isn’t something a special ops team can fix - The Stay-At-Home Feminist Mom
Osama Bin Laden is dead.  Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy. - Jill at Feministe
The world breathes a sigh of relief that the foremost terrorist leader has been eliminated, and rightly so, but let's not lose sight of temperance and grace. This is far from over and the actions we take and the words we speak today will color what happens in the future. - Everything I like Causes Cancer
ten years ago, i may have felt different.
ten years ago, i may have felt a bit of righteous and well deserved retribution.
ten years ago, i may have felt that good triumphed over evil...
ten years ago, i would have felt that we struck a huge blow to the terrorists.

i may have felt that we knew where they were and were coming for them.

not yesterday.
not today.
not tomorrow.

revenge is a dish that is best not served.
it is a dish that is best a lost recipe.

today this feels
like a lie.
a ruse.
a spin.
a hide the weenie.
a slight of hand. - Bruce's Evil Twin at Stupid Stuff I See and Hear
and this which has been going around Facebook:
I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure - Mark Twain

Vaguely creepy dream recap...

Had to get this down.

Foreboding, my stomach is in knots.  I can't rid myself of this nervous feeling.  I'm home, alone.  The house is dark and it may or may not be raining outside.  It's inarguably windy.  I sit down at the computer, and I'm trying to write something, a blog post, a short story, who knows? I struggle to type the few choices phrases that float through my head.
"It's a good night for a killing."
"Suicide is the last great performance art"
I try to write but my efforts are continually interrupted by the howling wind and my need to check door locks, and windows.  To peer into the bushes.  My heart won't stop racing.  I hear faint music and I realize my cell phone is beside me, ringing.  It rings, but is not lit up.  picking it up, I answer:

"Hi," a masculine voice answers.  The voice on the other end is smooth and calming, but I am anything but calm.
"Can I help you?"
"Not today."
"I'm a slave."
"Excuse me?"
"I'm a slave, that's all."

At this point I force myself awake.  I'm still tense and I have a sense of unreality, as I am hearing breathing which I think is my own, except that the sound doesn't match my rhythm.  A slight movement and I realize that one of my daughters has climbed into my bed.  Again.

Not sure what is going on my subconcious.  Last night it was tornadoes.  We were caught up in a tornado that threw our car a few hundred feet, then roared overhead as we (me, my girls, my friend and her daughter and my parents) hid in an old pre-school building.

Something is up with my sleep patterns.  It's going to be a long night.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I've been a bad Canadian...

... in the past, but tomorrow I'm going to get my butt out to the polls and put in my vote.  That's right folks, there's another federal election in Canada tomorrow.  I have a feeling it's going to be a nail-biter.  There's a lot at stake here, from what I understand.

I have my candidate picked and those who know me well (and are familiar with our political parties) can probably guess where my vote is going.

I am admittedly not terribly well versed in the political sciences, so I'm not going to get into a huge analysis of the parties and what they are offering.  I'm just going to encourage others, especially those in my age cohort or younger as we do seem to be pretty lax in the giving a shit area.

Boredom or Apathy?

(okay, maybe that clip is not entirely relevant... I just like playing with the idea.   And I love that film.)

Basically, if the same people are voting every election, the same candidates are going to get elected, and we're going to get the same bullshit.

We could get the same bullshit anyway.  But if the same people are voting, we guarantee it.  Or worse.

If you feel that Harper's minority has been doing a decent job, make your voice heard.  If you think the last few years have been an utter fucking travesty of a shit-show and that we are in desperate need of a change, then you need to be out there as well.  Hell, if you think the whole deal is pointless and we're fucked either which way, then show up and spoil your ballot.  At least that will be saying SOMETHING.

Okay, soapbox time is over.  In the name of adding a little levity to the situation, I encourage anyone who hasn't to visit this site for a good giggle.

Vintage Voter

It's worth clicking if just for Gilles Duceppe's hair.