Monday, April 30, 2012

Quick and Dirty Photo Post.. but not actually Dirty Photos.. sorry.

So excuse this moment of vapid attention-whoring, but I got new glasses and I want to show them off.  On previous trips to purchase eyewear I was torn between lighter or thicker frames.  Last week I went in and there was a sale...

So I got both.

That is, indeed, the newly-detesticled asshole cat on the chair behind me.
Pair number two
Oh and in case you were wondering, I also got myself a little bit of a giftie.
Sexy, right?
I'm now tasked with the.. uh.. task of giving him/her/zie a name.  I haven't even assigned it a gender.. most of my other guitars I've given guy monikers.  This one is a little prettier, a little sexier that I'm inclined to lean towards a more feminine signature.

I'm thinking of naming her after a song name.  I've always been a little fascinated by 'name-songs' and always a little jealous of people who have songs with their name in the title.  At least, I was jealous until I found out that one of my favorite alt-country (I really can't lump them in with regular country, but they're not *quite rock*) bands, Blue Rodeo had a song called Andrea.  It's an odd little tune, sung by Greg Keelor, and sounds like some kind of 'My Drug Buddy' type tune.

Andrea I'm so happy that you called 
Just to hear your voice 
Helped dissolve 
The paranoia 
Until the drugs wore off

The name Jolene, after the Dolly Parton tune, is jumping out as a possible option.  It's a fairly unique name and seems to match the vibe I get from this particular instrument.

What are your favorite "Name-Songs?"  Do you share a name with any songs that you know of?

I wanted to upload a video to christen my new whats-her-face, and was inspired as I wrote this post so here you go.  Be warned, I hate seeing myself on video, so I haven't watched this.  If it's terrible, you have my sincerest apologies.

Isn't that one awesome thumbnail image?  I WILL EAT YOUR SOUL!!!  I need a haircut.

In other news, I went to Guelph yesterday with my friend Tess for her birthday.  We loaded up the car with all of our respective children and her SO, and went to see A Suessical Musical along with her sister and grandma.  Was a very late night as showtime was 6:30 and Guelph is about three hours away from here.  The children were extra "F.U.N." (read: Fucking Unbelievable Nightmare) to get up this morning but all in all it was worth it, a fun time for everyone involved.

One last picture.  Although most of the time he's kind of a dick, as I have mentioned, occasionally Simon manages to break out the cute.

It's like a kitty-vampire coffin.  Kind of.  If cats were shaped like guitars.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Put your hand up if you totally saw THIS coming.

It was only a matter of time wasn't it?  Only a matter of time until the horrid shitshow attack on reproductive rights (aptly termed the War on Women by the media) started to creep its way north of the border.

Today Parliament, in spite of Steve-O's empty promises not to reopen the abortion debate, is debating whether to have a big old special committee to discuss the whole “Does life begin at conception” thing.  I caught a snippet on the news this morning regarding the debate, and later came across the story through Twitter (via @creativetweets).

Abortion rights debate spurred by MP's motion

Granted, the definition of the current law, which basically states that life begins when you fall out of your mom's vagina, is rather outdated seeing as it's based on a British definition that goes back about 400 years.  Any woman who has had her ribs bruised to shit by a fetus that seems to fancy itself the next Bruce Lee will tell you that this definition doesn't quite ring true.

But I am not, for one second, buying that this debate is being held in the name of clearing up an old definition in the name of being more scientifically accurate and “in line with 21st century medicine”.  Especially when you consider that Stephen Woodworth, the Conservative MP who brought it to the table, all but admitted that the motion is linked to abortion.

Woodworth wants to have an honest discussion but I think it's a discussion that should be kind of moot.  Regardless of when government rules ‘life’ begins, does one ‘person’ (or fetus') right to life cancel out another person's right to NOT have another person take residence in their body for up to nine months, possibly to the detriment of her own health?

I'd say no, regardless of how this fetus or person got there (ie, the ‘good' abortion vs the ‘bad' abortion) and no regardless of whether the reasons for abortion are considered selfish or noble/tragic.  Pro-choice means choice for all, even if we don't like or agree with those choices.  Anything less and we run the risk of allowing our rights over our bodies to be eroded.

I'm glad to hear that at least the NDP is planning to vote along party lines with the idea that the right to choose is NOT up for debate.  Conservatives, we don't know for sure, but it doesn't look good.  Rae has said that the Liberals will likely be allowed to 'vote their conscience'..

My friend @corecorina posted a link on twitter to a petition put forth by Liberal party member Lucie Pepin.  I will be signing and I encourage those who are eligible to sign as well.  We've already seen from the way things have been going to hell in a handbasket in the U.S. that allowing this debate to open again can quickly dissolve into a slippery slope to the point where even a miscarriage could potentially be grounds for criminal charges.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mommy wants a new shiny.

Some people have what are called ‘Champagne taste on a beer budget'.  Not sure when it started, if it was as a kid when Christmas-season warnings that “There wouldn't be much under the tree this year' always seemed ludicrous when Xmas morning rolled around, or when I was a teenager and was content with thrift store clothing and a job that afforded me just enough money to keep me in cigarettes, but I've always been more of a Beer Taste on a Beer Budget type girl.  

Population: Me.
I'm not great with having money and I'm especially not great with spending it.  When I was younger it was just a case of not having a desire for expensive things but as I got older it's become a bit of a phobia.  A lot of it stems from some very bad financial decisions during my ill-advised way-too-early marriage.  The ex-hub and I were neither of us very good with finances, probably as a result of neither of us really having any money.

We got into what seemed at the time some pretty serious debt.  There were calls from collectors and there were days when I ate melba toast and jam from the food bank for days on end.

Eventually, with some help and guidance from my parents we were able to climb out of the whole we had dug for ourselves.  This is especially fortunate because it meant that when the marriage fell apart we really had no debt to speak of.  No real property either, but that's a story for another day.

As a result, I absolutely loathe being in debt and I have a hard time making large purchases, especially ones that I cannot pay cash upfront for.  Seeing as I am looking at buying a house within the next year you know this means I'm pretty much shitting my pants at the prospect.

Today I am a happy girl, because I got my tax return back with enough of a return to pay off my remaining credit cards.  I cancelled the one with the larger credit limit and the other one will be locked away, only for emergencies.

This means I am now down to one debt, my huge mother-loving student loan.  It also means I have a little bit to play around with, although the bulk of what is left over will be going towards my down-payment.  

Mommy wants a new shiny:

Say it with me:  “Ooooooh...”
There's one of these babies in our local pawn shop for about $400 bucks.  It's a Takamine acoustic (which is probably my favorite acoustic brand) with a built-in pickup.  This isn't the exact one they have but it's pretty damn close.

My problem is the actual act of spending money.  Over the next week I will probably hem and haw and think of a million and one things I *should* spend my money on... namely the kids, because maternal guilt, you know.  They NEED things like summer clothes and I need stuff for the house and blargh blargh blargh.

I totally over-think this shit.

I can afford it.  So why do I find every reason in the book NOT to treat myself?


I have another post up at Different Paths, Same Destination.  Go read, and while you're there, give the other ladies there some love as well.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Five Years in the Saddle and Other Things of Varying Import...

Ah yes, so here I am again.  Two weeks since my last post and doing what I said I wouldn't do... the obligatory “I'm such a bad blogger” post, apologizing for not posting.


I'm not really sorry.  Well, kind of.  Maybe a smidge.

But life happens, you know?  I've had lots to do and not a whole hell of a lot to say.  Or maybe lots to say, but not much time put it all in words.  And since those things distracting me from the computer are ultimately good things, I don't feel much like apologizing.  I will only ask that you bear with me and express my gratitude to those humble few of you who choose to stick around.

I've done some housekeeping here, to freshen things up a bit.  New layout and such.  It's a bit dark, I know.  I tried to avoid the light text/dark background thing but my aesthetic tastes got the best of me.  I'm a bit dark, myself.  At any rate, it's nothing compared to my newly-created Tumblr account, which I am still trying to decide on a layout for and as such is a complete and utter mess.  I'm still not sure what I'm doing there.  If you click on that link, shield your eyes.  It's pretty garish at the moment.  What can I say? I loves me some animal prints.

Today marked a grand total of five years at my current place of employment, who shall go unmentioned here for the sake of preventing embarassment should their name come into connection with my various ramblings, off-color humour, strong opinions and penchant for saying shit and fuck a lot.

But yeah, five years.  Not bad for what was supposed to be a temp job.

Fresh out of university I was faced with the ungodly task of actually trying to find a job.  Having recently attained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (because fuck employability) attaining paid work seemed a daunting task indeed.  As I was contemplating what to do,  my sister gave me a call to let her know her workplace was looking for a temp to come in for a week and do some data entry work.

I said sure.

A day or two before I was due to start, I called her in a panic.  I had not done paid work in over four years, and previous to those three years of university and one year of maternity leave before that, I had been more or less steadily employed as a convenience store.  Office work seemed way over my head.

Quickly bringing me back down to Earth she reminded me that I was being hired without an interview or a resume.

“Really, Andie?  How hard do you think it's going to be?”

So my initial fears turned out be pretty unfounded.  By the end of the week it had been mentioned that I would be needing work for the summer and after being impressed by my ability to listen to and follow instructions I was asked to stay on.  Summer turned into fall and I stayed on part-time my initial plans to go back to school and upgrade my degree from a general to an honors degree fell through.  When my sister decided to leave the following winter, I figured I was pretty much in it for the long haul and moved into her cubicle.  The work was challenging and even stressful at times but I knew I liked (and still do like) all the people I worked with.  To this day, I can honestly say that I do not dislike a single one of my co-workers.  Given stories I've heard from others regarding workplace drama, that's a pretty rare thing.  I've collected a fair share of customer service stories and this last Christmas I came to a shocking realization that I'm no longer ‘the new girl’ (although learning as I went I got a lot of mileage out of that title) but actually kind of a veteran around the place.  Which kind of blows my mind.  That's what happens when you just kind of show up and never go away, which is the abridged version of this story.

In other news, my asshole cat, Simon, had his visit with the vet and has been officially rendered sterile and female cats in the area rejoiced.  Bob Barker would be proud of me.  Simon, not so much.  That's a post for another day.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

An Easter Tale from my Idyllic Childhood

My parents run a local magazine (the Tay Report - 49 issues for 49 dollars!) and this week my mother's column reminded me that some of my .. ahem.. creative parenting practices.. are something I come by honestly.

Picture it, Aurora Ontario, 1986.  Get your tissues ready, folks.

A small, quiet child about six years of age wanders forlornly around the house, brightly colored basket gripped in her pudgy little hands. She peeks in corners and under furniture looking for the brighlty colored candy eggs she has been anticipating for weeks.

But there is nothing there...

That child was me.

Meanwhile my parents were being awoken after a night of merrymaking by my sister, age 14, hissing at them in disgust.

“You forgot to put Easter eggs out for Andrea! She's been wandering the house for an hour! What the hell is wrong with you two??&rdquot;

They promptly leapt out of bed to find me downstairs, eyes filling with tears as I told them about the Easter Bunny's oversight.

&ldquot;Mommy.. Easther Bunny forgot me...  Wath I bad?&rdquot; (I've added the lisp here, because it makes the story that much more pathetic and heartbreaking in that Cindy-Lou Who kind of way - yeah, total manipulation all the way).

“Why, Santy Claus? Why? ” - Source

Thinking quickly on their hungover feet my parents assured me that since the Easter Bunny had so many kids he had to hide eggs for that he would need two whole days and that he would surely come the next day.

To their credit, my parents never missed another Easter.  Now here's the part that Tay Report readers didn't hear about.  For years afterwards, I was convinced that the Easter Bunny came on Easter Monday.  I couldn't quite place why I knew this.  I guess maybe I had repressed that particular Easter, the Easter I was forgotten, somewhere deep in my tiny little psyche.  I was told over and again that, no Easter was always on Easter Sunday.  But a little nagging part of me insisted that there was a time, once upon a time, that it fell on a Monday.

My mother's revelation has made everything so clear.  Not just my confusion regarding the Sunday/Monday issue, but also where I get my penchant of messing with my kids heads, ever so slightly, in the name of both maintaining the credibility of childhood myths but also for my own cheap amusement.

Thanks, Mom and Dad.  Happy Zombie Jesus Day.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Oh, Toronto Sun, I guess I shouldn't be surprised..

But this seems sad, even for you.

I stopped reading the Sun years ago, not being able to take the sensationalist, pearl-clutching, chicken-littling right-wing rhetoric. I got tired of the blatant objectification that is the Sunshine Girl, Michael Coren's rampant bigotry and homophobia, and hell I even got sick of the snarky little comments in the letters section.

For a publication that started out as a youthful voice in the face of the Old Guard of Canadian news media, they're not exactly a bastion of progressive thinking.

So I guess I shouldn't be surprised when they show a distinct lack of sensitive for trans issues, by referring to Former-now-current Miss Universe contestant Jenna Talackova as a he/she on their front cover.

Keep it classy, Sun Media.

I had hopes when I saw the headline on their homepage that read "A True Heroine" that Mike Stroebel's column about Talackova would be a little less insensitive and transphobic, but again, I was disappointed.

Disappointed but not surprised.

I can't put my finger on it but both yesterday's column and the follow-up today  seemed to ring with a bit of snarky condescension.  Maybe it's the reference to 'men-turned-women' and their 'advantages' in the beauty pageant circuit.  Because, sure expecting a contestant to drop trou in order to prove that they 'meet gender requirements' when none of the other contestants are expected to (I could be wrong.. is the lack-of-swimsuit or 'most-legitimate-vagina' competition a new thing I haven't heard of?) is nothing compared to the advantage of leaner muscles and no monthly bloating.

The Sun's lack of sensitivity not-withstanding, there are issues with the idea of having to 'prove' oneself as a woman in order to compete that are wholly problematic. Let's pretend for a minute that there aren't a MILLION AND HALF things about Miss Universe that are problematic.  One's gender and how they identify goes so much deeper than simply what kind of equipment resides in one's crotchal area.  I, for one, even without her having had gender reassignment surgery, would be willing to give Jenna Tarackova the benefit of the doubt when she says she was 'born' a woman and would thus meet the guidelines of being a naturally-born woman, since being a woman is more than the presence of a vagina or breasts.  Why shouldn't the Miss Universe pageant do the same?

Once again I offer the caveat that my knowledge of transgender issues is limited, so my grasp on some concepts and terminology may be shaky, and I totally invite people to call me out in the comments if I fucked up.

That said though, I would think that advising a major publication to avoid terms like He/She is a pretty obvious no-brainer.