Thursday, January 31, 2008

Yay debating

One of my favourite profs made a desperate plea for more facebook friends in class today, and via his facebook page comes this video of a Japanese girl at a piano recital. Everything about it is awesome, especially the boa and the fact that she's pretty much recreated all the parts of the song.

For reference:

Whatever happened to all that hair?

Our debate on the merits of a Mondragon style model for cooperatively run businesses was today. I don't really like the formal black and whiteness of debates. On the one hand I like the idea of worker control and ownership of production and a more equitable distribution of wealth, as well as collectively owned and run healthcare, education and other services. It works especially well in communities where the market fails to provide basic necessities and services for people.

On the other hand, there's a problem of scale which occurs with any sort of democratic institution. The more people you have, the more distanced any one person becomes from the decision making, and for a cooperative that has tens of thousands of worker-owners on three continents there just isn't a mechanism to allow everyone the feeling as if their input is meaningful and valued.

I have other stuff to say but I have to go to bed.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I have all manner of not-nice things to write in my blog but screw that. I got mail. Mail is fun, no?


Pretty yarn and penguins that I immediately pressed into use, courtesy of SeeJayneKnit.


Oh, and a duck.


29/365: Tyler

Tyler lived in the housing complex behind the Dairy Queen. You know the one. It has those light-up plastic ice cream cones that get stolen on a weekly basis.

His family was obsessed with karaoke. They had their own machine and tons of discs for it, and another friend who lived just above them often complained that it seemed as if every night was karaoke night. Every once in a while his mom would bring the karaoke machine in to school for music class, which provided a welcome change from playing Beatles songs on the guitar and Elvis sing-along with piano accompaniment.

The only song we knew on the karaoke machine was the Flintstones theme song, so we'd sing it over and over and watch the accompanying images of women dancing in bikinis.

At one point in time I became convinced that Tyler was colourblind, but he always denied it. I don't know, maybe he just liked drawing people with olive green hair.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

28/365: Mrs. S

She had a name that made all the Romanian kids giggle because it meant something like small furry rodent. Before she was a history teacher she had been a radio personality, reading the news on a country music station. She told us she stopped because she was tired of having to read sensationalized stories that didn't have much real news value like women being forced to have sex with dogs. When she really wanted to get our attention she'd switch on the radio voice.

Monday, January 28, 2008


The snow's started again. This has been by far the snowiest winter we've had here during my lifetime. I remember it snowing a lot one or two years in the 90's but it's really not supposed to snow this much. Not here, not now and not when I have work in the morning. I really prefer the rain.

Meeting with a project group for one of my classes tonight. We're supposed to be debating about whether cooperative structures like Mondragon in Spain could be successfully replicated in Canada. We've been assigned the negative side, which means we're kind of arguing an unpopular position, but meh. Canada's really different from Spain. It's as simple as that. I can smell victory already.

We eventually wandered down to Nuba, one of the few places near SFU Harbour Centre that is open in the evenings. My mom goes there a lot for soup. As I've said before, it's a little cubbyhole of a restaurant off Hastings Street, staffed by a bunch of skateboarder looking types.

The story behind the restaurant is that the owner's grandmother cooked food and represented Lebanon at the 1893 World's Fair, and these are the same recipes they use for their food, which is excellent. Everything's always fresh, organic, delicious and cheap.

Other than that, today has been so uneventful as to almost not merit a post. I guess that's why I've just been posting about people lately.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

27/365: Chris

He's the neighbour I mentioned in this post.

When my parents bought their house, he was the friendly neighbour next door. He and his wife Gwen did a lot of backyard gardening - huge pots of basil, raised beds of onions, carrots, potatoes, beans and peas, trees full of plums and apples and five gallon buckets with tomatoes. He kept bees to pollinate it all. They didn't have enough money to buy much food so they grew and canned it all. I'm convinced that his dog is absolutely insane, but they were nice enough people.

Then, suddenly tragedy struck. Gwen died suddenly as a result of a brain aneurism and things started to go downhill. The yard started to look unkempt and he dropped a lot of their routines. He began to lose an unhealthy amount of weight.

A couple months after that, his AA partner also died, and almost instantly he was back on the bottle, as well as other more ilicit substances.

Last month he had a stroke and he's too paralyzed to leave the hospital. The doctors say he'll be able to leave in about six months, but noone who has been to see him actually believes that.

Friday, January 25, 2008

26/365: Mr. Toupe

On January first, 1998 Mr. Toupe made his debut. He shuffled once around the park, lapped multiple times by the new year's resolution crowd, who were frantically trying to get in shape before they lost the drive to actually carry it out in their brand new sports equipment.

That first day Mr. Toupe didn't have the right kind of clothing. Seems to me he was wearing a pair of slacks and a checkered shirt with a windbreaker. His heavy gut jiggled uncomfortably and he looked miserable. No one really thought he'd last all that long.

But he soon became a daily fixture in the park. He invested in a decent pair of shoes and he gradually worked up from a painful shuffle to a jog. The pounds melted off as the sweat poured from underneath his artificial hairpiece. And in the end, Mr. Toupe was a good thirty pounds lighter.

Congratulations, Mr. Toupe, for a job well done.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

25/365: Sarah

To my twelve year old self everything about her was just so damn cool in a kind of geeky sort of way. She knew the Lord of the Rings inside out and absolutely everything there was to know about the Rolling Stones and bike riding. At one point in time there were sleepovers and Rowan Atkinson Live and bike rides on ferries to sleep under the stars on Mayne Island with friends, and then at some point we fell abruptly out of touch. In my mind she's still super cool.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

24/365: the Anna girl

Through some sort of horrible misfortune or injustice, she had a bad case of psoriasis or some other unpleasant looking scabby skin rash all over her face, so I was nice to her. But in time I came to find her quite annoying. She was sticky, and once she'd found you, she wouldn't let you out of her sight. She whined a lot. She called me Anna, and at first I tried to correct her but after about four months I gave up. She just couldn't get it right so I started answering to the name because it was easier. In time, I found that this dual name provided an easy out on days when I didn't have the patience to deal with her.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Office space

The problem with short project contracts is that I don't have my own desk. In the evening I have to gather everything I've been working on into files and stash them somewhere in someone else's work space. Sometimes that screws me up

The interesting thing though is the difference between all the different work spaces. The rule is always don't touch or move things you don't need to. Leave everything as close to as you found it as possible.

I find it fascinating, though, the little bits of ephemera that people surround themselves with, how certain aspects of their personal lives are brought in, and others, undoubtedly are left out.

On Friday it was fridge magnets and post-it notes with important information like REMEMBER the Dinner fixings in the Fridge!!! Today it's mountains of paper that I dare not touch. The hand cream sitting beside my computer monitor is not just any kind of hand cream, it's "efficacious" in its description. Must be good, because I've never heard of hand cream described in that way before. Beside it sits a dog's breakfast of telephone cable leading towards the phone. I like the randomness of it.

It has always been a hobby of mine to take these little things and see what I can reconstruct from them. As far back as I could remember I've always had this sense that I don't fit in anywhere and I've never known what to do about it. At some point or other we've learned the majority of our behaviour through watching and mimicing others. Eventually you're supposed to learn how to act and it becomes second nature, but I never got to that point, so I watch people. I really come by my love of sociology naturally.

Monday, January 21, 2008

It's just salt.

IMG_6670_1I took a group of Korean urban planning students out for an architectural tour today. It went fairly well. I wasn't familiar with the tour I was leading today so I spent a couple of hours yesterday learning it. I don't really understand why people have to spend a lot of time and effort studying things. Most of the time I see things once and remember them, especially if they are something really easy like anecdotal history, architectural information and such.

They asked a lot of really good questions, things like why certain developments haven't been as successful as other ones, why the buildings are all so close together that they touch, why racially- and culturally-based enclaves form, and how active Vancouver's Chinese community is in Asian politics.

By far the coolest question that I was asked was why everyone threw so much salt on the ground. Something I didn't know was that in Korea, that's what you do when you want to scare away bad spirits or ghosts. They wanted to know if something bad had happened or if it was a kind of ceremony or special event. I had to tell them that no, it was just cold out.

But my fingers weren't cold! I finally finished my Endpaper Mitts and wore them while I held my cue cards. The ends of my fingers got a little numb but they weren't nearly as bad as when I did my walkthrough yesterday. Yay me!

23/365: Mrs. Bateson

I never had her as a teacher but I was her lunch monitor for a year, for which I was rewarded with a pair of musical Christmas socks for the holidays and a beach towel with a hot air balloon on it at the end of the year. She always took good care of her monitors. We never saw her husband, but he was retired, and he spent a lot of his time baking cookies for the kids at school, so much so that he achieved a kind of mythical status.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

22/365: D.P.

I kind of think of her as a giant, blobby succubus, even if it's not all that nice of me. All through high school she remained permanently latched to us and there was nothing that we could do about it. She was older - I'm not completely sure by how much.

In her mid-20s, out of school without having graduated, morbidly obese and having never had a job of any kind ever, we were all subjected often to her pleas for entertainment. Soon finding that no one was particularly interested in dropping work, school and other commitments to spend time babysitting her, she looked elsewhere.

She found just what she needed online. She met a man while playing Puzzle Pirates, and they soon became really, really close. He was just her speed. However, in all of this it didn't really occur to her that the boyfriend she met through a children's game site was actually 11 years old until his mother found some rather salacious chat logs on the family computer and decided to have her charged with sexual abuse.

Fortunately for all of us her mother has banned her from the internet now.

Saturday, January 19, 2008



RIP poly-cotton blend fitted sheet. I searched my closet for another fitted sheet to put on my bed and came up empty.

Well, I didn't come up empty. I found one but it was the wrong size completely, which begs the question as to why I had it in the first place.

Anyways, I guess this means I'm sleeping on the couch tonight.

I had errands to run today but I really didn't want to go outside.

Friday, January 18, 2008

21x365: Ms. Mac

She had white hair and a kindly expression, and her job was to keep us all from killing each other out on the field at lunch. When we were being especially good, she'd dig deep into the pockets of her Gore-Tex jacket and reward us with some of a seemingly endless supply of rubber and plastic dinosaurs. I loved those dinosaurs, especially the glow-in-the-dark ones, and I still have some of them today... somewhere.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

20x365: Mr. Peckerell

He was the only janitor at my elementary school and he always did a really good job. I don't remember anything being a mess ever, though that may have had something to do with our age at the time. He always wore green coveralls and he spent a lot of time down in the boiler room. Once a month he'd bring in an old rotary phone or other electronic junk for the boys and I do pull apart during play time. We'd butcher them happily, talking about how much we loved him because he was so nice.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008



I'm finally starting to go through and check out a whole lot of blogs I found through NaBlo but haven't been able to read yet because of school and life. One such blog is Berlin's Whimsy, where Berlin posts about kids, crafting, moving and much else with some really lovely photos. Her posts are thoughtful, contemplative and I think they're thoroughly enjoyable to read. But it was a couple of recent posts about packing bento box style lunches for her kids (here and here) that brought back a lot of memories that I'd forgotten I had.

I give my mom a lot of credit for her lunchmaking. I never went without a lunch at school and overall most of the time she did a decent job of it. In fact, she continued waking up early in the mornings to make me lunches until I was 17. The only problem was that at 6am my mom isn't all that awake, and thus isn't all that creative, so when she wasn't inspired, which was most days, I tended to get the exact same thing.

For most of public school I had a thermos that automatically gave me the status of having the coolest lunch around. Sometimes I got leftovers, especially if we had had some sort of stir fry or pasta, but often it was canned soup. That wasn't so bad, most of the time.

But in those moments of creative burnout mom would resort to the same thing three to five days per week. She would go through phases, and they would only end when either Abby or I would tell her that we had eaten the same thing so many times it now made us nauseous.

There was a Chinese pork bun phase. There was also a frozen meat pie phase. She used to heat them in the toaster in the morning and wrap them in tin foil to keep them warm, which didn't really work all that well. Then when she found out that that didn't work, she started wrapping them in paper towel and then in foil, which only meant that we then had to pick cold, soggy paper towel off of our pies before we could eat them.

At one point in time it was Kraft Dinner. Do you know what hot KD does when you leave it four or five hours in a thermos? The noodles suck up all the sauce, condensation and moisture and expand to form a solid mass of spongey orange crap that fills up the entire volume of the thermos. The result is something you have to cut through with a knife, which on coming into contact with the moisture in your mouth continues to expand until it blocks your throat and you start to choke. I'm not exaggerating much.

By that time the thermos phase was nearly over. I had more than one, and I had a bad habit of forgetting the empty ones in my bag for long periods of time so that they would be extremely gross by the time we found them again. From then on it was sandwiches, which were mostly decent.

Thinking about this makes me think that she didn't do a particularly bad job at all. But thinking about it also makes me so incredibly excited about the thought of bento box lunches that I'm really tempted to get one for myself. I'm not entirely sure if this is purely impulse or not so I think maybe I'll give myself a week before I go do something drastic, even if a lot of people pack a lot of really cool stuff in them.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Your questions answered, out of context, twenty-four seven.


A lot of people arrive here with questions, and I find the answers are far more interesting than the questions themselves. So here goes:

Yes, indeed, I know the words to the prune song, and posted them a couple years ago, here. (Believe it or not, I have gotten 2-5 searches for that song per day since I put that post up.)

I don't know what a newborn alligator's name is. Perhaps you should ask the parents.

Sorry, I don't know where you can find a fabric store in Narita, but if you happen to find one with a good selection of tweeds and suiting, I'd be interested in knowing, just in case I randomly find myself in Japan. I've become quite enamoured with them of late.

Seems to me that digging blackheads out with your fingernails sounds kind of dangerous. You might have better success with some sort of face scrub that has both salicylic acid and ground up pumice in it. Or, if it's horribly, intolerably bad, talk to a doctor about it.

In my experience broccoli doesn't get moldy so much as it just liquefies in the bag in the bottom of the fridge.

The Shakespeare play with the ear poison is Hamlet.

Yes, Roy Dupuis is awesome.

Mercedes Five and Dime was an album by the now most likely defunct band Moist. It's somewhat softer than their earlier stuff. No, you can't have my copy.

I guess the simple answer would be that a Scandinavian craft is a craft made by a Scandinavian. These days I think they make pretty much the same kinds of crafts as everyone else. If you're thinking of traditional stuff, maybe try googling something like "tvaandsstickning" or "twined knitting."

When a cat is headless, it's probably dead. Sorry.

The phrase "strep weeping sore" brings up a host of bad memories. I don't feel like talking about it.

I don't know why "we" go to university. All I can speak for is myself, and that reason is that it beats work. As much as the people I work with are really incredibly nice to me, and as much as I get paid reasonably well, my job has the habit of turning my brain into a sponge. It renders simple tasks at home like blogging, drawing or other such creative activities complete agony and I feel burnt out. I'm of the opinion that exposing oneself to new ideas and people and learning to think is good for you and improves your quality of life regardless of the amount you end up earning afterward. It's not about getting a "good" job. I think if that's the only reason you're in school you're missing the point. Elitist, I know.

Don't quote me on this, but I was watching a documentary once and the narrator said that the sexual habits of alligators and crocodiles are mysterious and very undocumented, so sorry, I can't help you there.

Dressew isn't selling chocolate right now, and may not in the future. In addition to their regular stock, they seem to buy up lots of all sorts of random things from businesses that are liquidating, and this is the sort of stuff that may only ever come in once. The $20 15lb cases of Belgian chocolate were that kind of stock.

19x365: Mr. Clarke with an e

Grade 4 in his class was the first year we had letter grades - a rude awakening. I hated him from the start for being a bit of a hardass, but my second year in the same class wasn't as bad. He earned my respect with his uncharacteristic choice to choose the side of a guy in my class who was caught picking his nose. I wouldn't have said it at the time, but the poor guy had already taken enough ridicule from the other students by that point.

At one point Mr. Clarke decided to start reading us a book. I can't remember the book, but it had something to do with a juvenile delinquent being taken in and taught to fish for shrimp by a black man from Florida. I don't think we finished it, but from my seat in the front row, I had a good view of his ear hair. He had some of the most fantastic ear hairs.

After grade 5 he suddenly retired, telling us he was going to golf for the rest of his days. I saw him a year later, in Costco. I hid behind a clothing rack and watched as he picked up one pair of slacks, and then another, and then one in each hand, weighing them. Two weeks later he died suddenly. I never learned the cause.

Monday, January 14, 2008

18x365: Rene

In grade three I met Rene. He was a year older than me and really big for his age, twice my size, not that that has ever been hard. He said he was from Honduras, and I vaguely remember looking it up on a map to see what he meant by that. He could always be found outside, playing basketball.

In grade four Rene became convinced that I had magical, telekinetic powers because I could stack and shelve things like no other. Somehow I was the only person who was able to do it without making them fall down.

In grade five Rene moved away.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Yaletown tour

I spent a lot of time downtown today learning an architectural tour for the Architectural Institute. The Institute has summer staff that do them, but sometimes in the winter they need extra people to do them.

I wandered around with the information from the tour to find that one of the buildings that used to be on the route just doesn't seem to exist anymore, and one seems to have the wrong address written down in the book. Not only that, but the RAV line construction has kind of screwed up the route anyways, and there are a few major buildings that are being renovated so the stuff you're actually supposed to look at is either being torn down or hidden behind canvas or plywood.

Good to know. It would have sucked to find that out the day of.

When I finish my work term I'm going to have to go down there to take some pictures, because Yaletown isn't an area I usually spend a lot of time in.

There's one dumb street down there where one side of the road has one name, and the other side of the street has another name, and the numbers on both sides are all even. I was looking for something down there and a guy stopped to ask if I needed help finding something.

People from out of town always tell me that Vancouverites are really aloof and unfriendly, and I'm wondering if it has something to do with the fact that the majority of tourists tend to gather around the exact same area where there are multiple panhandlers on every corner, and that more often than not, a polite "Can I have a moment of your time?" or "Excuse me, but can you help me out?" is a plea for money.

Friday, January 11, 2008

17x365: E.S.

At first I thought she had a kindly Old World grandmother look to her - grey hair tied in a severe bun, a slight hump to her back, a large nose and creased face. In my mind's eye I could almost see her wearing an Orenburg shawl, baking bread and sweets in a hut in the woods, like all good fairytale grandmothers do. "It's alright if you make a mistake," she'd cackle good naturedly, "How would you know?" It was very reassuring on the first day of the job.

But the next day and the next it was the same thing: "How would you know?" cackled ad nauseum, until she started to look more like Baba Yaga. I was certain she thought I was stupid. After two weeks I was glad to be out.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Surveillance stories


New classes this week. Yesterday it was ecological sociology with the most laid back prof I've had in a long time. No due dates, no late penalties and early dismissals. He seems to do a reasonably decent job of engaging people and getting them all to talk too.

One class called "Leadership in Sustainable Community Development" which I was really, really psyched about but now I'm not so sure. It's exactly the opposite pedagogically, mostly lecture and lecture and deadlines every week and no dinner break and dismissal at 9:30. Hopefully we can suggest some improvements to the running of the course.

Then a class with two of the most awesome profs ever about surveillance in film. We watched Rear Window today and we're going to watch a lot more so it should be good. We were invited to tell our own stories about surveillance and I should have told this one:

At one point in time in their relationship grandma became convinced that old weird Harold was cheating on her. She contacted one of her friends, who was a phone operator at the time and together they organized a wire tap.

They learned that indeed, there was an affair happening, and the friend was able to learn, by the sound of the dialing, what the phone number of the girlfriend was, and through the reverse directory, she learned the girlfriend's address and paid her a visit.

Meanwhile, she also listed Harold as deceased in the obituaries.

They never once talked about it, but the affair was pretty much over after that. Pretty clever, though if you ask me, it would have been smarter in the long run if she had just divorced him then and there.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

5000 Spells


So for Christmas mom got a book called 5000 Spells, and the idea was that she would sneak it onto the shelf in her office between all her personnell files and wait for someone to notice, because most of the time human resources is a kind of magic anyways.

But she decided to open it up and have a look, and the first spell she looked at involved laying her naked on a white sheet in the front yard and throwing popcorn on her until she was covered. I'm not entirely sure what that was supposed to accomplish but it was hilarious at the time.

For now mom's staying fully clothed, but knowing us, I don't think the neighbours would have been the least bit surprised.

Sometimes I wonder how these things get made up though. I can just see a bunch of guys sitting around a fire saying "dude, what will we do to end this drought? Jumping up and down on one leg really didn't help."

"I know, maybe we should get a woman naked and throw popcorn at her."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

16x365: Leanne

All summer the news followed the developments: the brutal murder of a teen-aged girl, the suspects, the guilty stepfather and the tearful funeral, where her grandfather placed a single eagle feather on her coffin before it was lowered into the ground, to honour her aboriginal heritage. Watching the footage it was clear that she was a really special person, that everyone in her community knew her and she had touched everyone she had come into contact with. The whole town was devastated by her absence.

And in all of this I somehow missed the fact that the town they were talking about was my own, and she had not only been a student at my school but in the same grade as me.

I walked into Latin on the first day of school to find that our teacher had rearranged the room into a circle of chairs around a single, candlelit table with her picture in the middle. We had to share our memories of her, because not only was she in my grade in my school, she had spent an entire semester in the same classes as me, sitting right behind me, and nothing I did seemed to be able to summon any sort of memory of her at all.

When the baton was passed to me to speak, I whispered that I wanted to pass, and our teacher, thinking that I was overcome by emotion, skipped me. It's probably better that way.

Monday, January 07, 2008

My tripod and I go places.

Namely, the light show at the Van Dusen Gardens a week ago.






I spent eight hours at work today so it didn't really feel like the first day back at school.

15x365: Frankie Muniz

Alright, I've never actually met him but in the summer of 2004 I was working in the summer camp program at SFU at the same time they were filming Agent Cody Banks on campus. My group included a gaggle of pre-teen girls. I say gaggle because they kind of reminded me of a bunch of geese, constantly honking "Frankie! Frankie! Frankie!"

They each brought with them backpacks full of fan art, pictures and magazine clippings and would disappear without notice at the randomest of times. We had to call security for them a couple of times which put us on edge for the entire two weeks.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

It would definitely be a conversation piece.


I was dragged out to an antique mall this morning to see a chair that my parents think would be perfect for my apartment. It came out of a hair salon somewhere. It's small, square and covered with turquoise vinyl. It has a footrest and a large brass and plastic hairdrying dome attached to a chrome pole, that has been converted to a reading light. I'm mulling it over.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

14x365: Laura

She had moved here from Alberta with her mother. Her father was going to join them when he was finished selling the seven golf courses they owned, where they had lions and tigers. When he got here they were going to live in a mansion. She used to go to private school, you know, and didn't know how to spell because kids from private schools didn't need to know how to spell. Her uncle was part of the royal family in England and her cousin was best friends with the president of the United States. She wore old, torn clothing and went to public school just to disguise the fact that she was so rich.

She invented a band called the Payolas and wrote all their songs and got them on the radio. Quite an accomplished career for someone who was only twelve years old.

Friday, January 04, 2008

13x365: Yuri

On tour in Berlin with a youth orchestra, Yuri defected from the Soviet Union one night. When his mother heard, she pleaded with the police to allow her to visit him in the West. She told them that she would take his cello to him, and remind him of how much he loved to play for his comrades and country. She eventually succeeded in convincing them to let her go, and returned to Russia a week later, minus a son and a cello, and never to be heard from again.

Being thus reunited with his instrument and livelihood, Yuri began a brilliant busking career, eventually making it to Canada, where he learned English, became a vegan and joined an artists' collective in the Gulf Islands.

He spent time with us whenever he was on the mainland. He had an odd odour, a mixture of pot, garlic and unidentifiable other substances, though mom would never let him smoke in the house.

The garlic was another matter. There weren't many things for vegans to eat in the 80s, so breakfast for him was always the same thing: homemade eggless, milkless bread toasted with peanut butter and sliced, raw garlic that he would cook himself in our kitchen. It didn't take too many times for him to visit before mom had had enough of his bizarre eating habits and started making him oatmeal with nuts and fruit in it for him.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

12x365: the chocolate milk man

He came on Wednesdays and I waited for him faithfully on the stairs of our house, even when it wasn't Wednesday. In fact, one day my parents couldn't find me anywhere so they called the police only to find me sitting on the front steps, waiting for him. He didn't come that day.

I'd sit out on the porch impatiently until I saw the yellow Dairyland truck approach the intersection and then I'd run indoors to drag the nearest adult out to get a two litre carton of chocolate milk.

I used to think he was the most generous man alive before I knew you had to pay for it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Five things that hurt more than my back hurts right now.

Kind, concerned people have been asking me when I'm going to go to the doctor to get checked out and to be honest, I really don't think I will. Am I sore? Yes, I'm definitely not 100% but I also know that I'm not so bad that the doctor isn't going to suggest anything other than to take some over-the-counter drugs, refrain from strenuous activity and wait. Maybe some light stretching. Besides, I can think of things that have hurt more:

1) I stepped barefoot on a piece of glass the night before a dance recital and waited in Emerg for a doctor to pull it out. When I told him that it was from a mason jar he thought it would be easy but it wasn't because the piece was kind of corkscrew shaped and required a lot of twisting and jiggling to get it out. He told me he stuck some anaesthetic cream on it but I don't believe him, and he told me to stay off it for a few days. I danced on it the following night but by then it had subsided to a dull, persistent ache.

2) I always laugh at the cat runs fullspeed down the hallway and skids into the closet door as she's trying to turn. That's exactly what I did one morning when I heard the phone. I leapt out of bed, ran out the door, and while I was turning to run down the hall, my left foot slipped on the laminate and I skidded across the floor, catching my thumb on the frame of the bathroom door.

At first I thought it was broken but after a few days I started to regain mobility in my thumb and wrist, though it was a good three onths before I was able to squeeze the shampoo out of the bottle. There was one other thing though: the rug burn on my upper thigh, hip and left breast because I happened to be buck naked at the time. First the rugburn hurt and after a few days it started to itch and there are some things you just can't scratch in public.

3) At my rowing club we had a ramp to get down to the water, the angle of which changed with the tides. When carrying boats down this ramp, we had to put the boat over our heads and the order of people to carry goes from tallest to smallest down the ramp, which means I've always been the last person down. That also means that there's a point in time while we're all going down the ramp where only two of the eight people are actually holding the 4-500 lb boat up. Most of the time I was okay with that. You just lock your elbows and walk slow.

But one day in November of 2003 I just wasn't at my best. I don't know why, but I just felt kind of weak and tired. I had the boat held over my head, people began to drop off in the middle and then all of a sudden I felt something under my left shoulderblade snap. My left arm buckled and the boat came down in a controlled fall on top of my shoulder. I don't know what did more damage - that or the fact that I raced on it the next day but I was out for months and it never completely healed.

4) When I was really young I had a particularly nasty strep infection that turned my body overnight into one big angry red rash that was particularly bad around my face, armpits and genitals. I was prescribed penicillin and sent home, only to return to hospital, because the penicillin had caused my kidneys to fail and my skin was no longer one big angry rash, but one big angry open oozing, weeping sore.

Too bad I didn't know this at the time:

5) When I was seven they were busy replacing one of the bridges in a local park and had dug a big pit out for the footings. Beside the pit was the older, narrower bridge, scheduled to be replaced. I came down the hill towards the bridge only to find that it was full of people who would not move when I called at them so since I couldn't stop I missed the bridge, flew over the pit and landed underneath my bike at the bottom of the creek. I don't know where those people went but they certainly didn't come to help me. Twats.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A smashing good time


I don't do resolutions. I had meant to do the cliche 10 most memorable posts of 2007 or a recap about the past year but I was in a car accident Sunday night, our vehicle is a write-off and I'm sore so I'll post whatever I feel like and you will humour me by reading it.

I prefer to call it an amateur seatbelt demonstration, because it occurred to me as I flew into my seatbelt that I could have been flying elsewhere instead. Or perhaps a whoa, there actually were airbags in there? demonstration, because the dashboard said they were there but it was used when we bought it so you can never be sure.

I wasn't particularly scared or hurt or anything, just shocky for a while. There's a point when you relax because you realize that there's really nothing you can do. The airbags deploy in a disorienting puff of grey fog and you're thrown first forwards and then sideways and you grab your sister because you know she's alright but she's screaming and you really want her to shut up. And then you go find the passenger in the other car who is alright but she's screaming because the driver's hunched over into the steering wheel, but he's alright. He's just in shock.

I'm not sure if I'm the least beaten up of everyone or if it's that I don't bruise easily and I have a relatively high tolerance for pain. No way to tell. I didn't feel like lifting any boxes at work yesterday so I didn't.

My mom has large bruises where her seatbelt cut into her upper thighs. At first the one looked like a blue arrow pointing toward her crotch. Since then, the bruise has gotten about six times larger, and now looks like blue and purple flames coming from the general area of her crotch, like the kind of flames people stick on the sides of their cars. We've been making jokes about it.

I took a picture for insurance purposes, and even though she was wearing underwear, I'm not going to post it. She asked me not to, but I wouldn't have anyways.