Monday, June 30, 2003

I`m in Moncton, New Brunswick, speaking French. Therefore I am losing my ability to speak English. You know, everything`s gotten simplified in my head. I brought ``War and Peace`` to read, however, so maybe that`ll remedy things. hahaha. That would mean I`d have to read it in my spare time instead of drinking beer and chatting with people (en francais, bien sur). hm. We shall see.

A good thing though is that I`m realizing that I know a lot more French than I thought I knew. And by the time these five weeks are up, I`ll know more. Hurrah! But right now all my vocabulary has disappeared and i`m bluddy tired - 17 hours on a train! Talking to old ladies! Reading `War of the Worlds`! `Sleeping` unsoundly! Et maintenant, je dois parler francais? um, oui.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Oh, the diet vanilla coke. I had it with dinner. I'm not good with sugar (headaches, fatness ensue), so I rarely drink pop, and, for that matter, I rarely eat fake sugar (it scares me.), but sometimes, well, one needs something sweet. And diet vanilla coke is exceptionally sweet. In fact, I could only drink a third of it. But it's waiting in my fridge for tomorrow. And that will end the diet vanilla coke craving for a while, I expect.

Last night I stayed home and was boring and sick. *But* I got to watch the most recent episodes of "Farscape". Wow. So good it makes me want to write for tv. Now that's powerful stuff.
On Thursday, I went to see a one-woman play at the Fringe festival. It was pretty good, you know, Fringe-y, but not too Fringe-y. Lots of talk about breasts and orgasms and growing old(er). I was entertained. And glad that I never had to go through the torture of wearing girdles or corsets every day. Funny too, because here in Montreal in the summer everyone seems to wear *as little as possible* in public. There is no room for supportive underwear if any underwear at all.

So, after the play I went for tea with a friend and then walked down St. Laurent and watched people and things. Hopped on the metro home and this little old Chinese man sat down next to me. He pulled out a bus transfer and started tearing and folding it. Two stops later he hands it to me. He's turned it into a horse. He smiles and says nothing, just walks the horse over to me through the air, his hand moving from side to side in a happy horse way. I say "merci" and I say "thank you". Of course, I smile too. He pulls out another transfer and makes another horse, which he put on the floor of the metro and blows at to make it move. He smiles, I smile. No one else seems to really be watching. By this time I'm one stop away from where I have to get off, so I make that move that people make when they need to get off at the next stop: sort of a slow lifting of self from seat and towards the nearest open handhold. The old man pulls out a lotto ticket and begins folding it. Right before the metro stops he hands his latest to me - it turns out to be a boat. I smile and put the horse in it. He smiles. I say "goodbye" and "au revoir" and step off the train as he pulls another transfer from his back pocket.
I was walking down a hill by my house today around 7pm, still far from sunset and still as hot as mid-day. I had to get out because I've been sick for three days. Three days that represent the only days I've been sick since last June. Gar. But anyway. I had walked up that hill to go to the store for no particular reason. Though when I got to the store I realized I needed toilet paper and it was on sale (I never buy toilet paper when it's not on sale. I mean, I have principles.) I also needed a sympathy card for my grandma, whose husband died this week (it is sad, yes, I know. I didn't really know him, but she had been married to him for four years. My longest relationship has been two years and several months. So, four years is nothing to shake a stick at, especially when you're in your 70s. So, yes, it is sad.) I also bought a diet vanilla coke, which I have been on the lookout for for at least two weeks, that is, since the first and last time I had a diet vanilla coke. Later on I will explain why a) diet and b) coke. I mean, really, I have to justify it to myself too. So, walking down that hill: 7pm and it was still as warm as mid-day outside. Finally, it's summer, I thought, as sweat found its way to the part my lower back where I notice that, yes, sweat does indeed trickle.

Two male cyclists, in full spadex gear and expensive road bikes, were racing each other up the hill. It appeared to be a finale of sorts and I assumed they had just come from a few hours of cycling along the canal. I don't know whether they were smiling from the competition or whether they simply had to keep their mouths wide open to get enough air in their lungs to make it up the hill. Whatever the case, their race appeared to end in a tie and they high-fived each other. The brown-haired one then turned his bike around and headed back down the hill, to the amusement of his friend. As he powered back up the hill, as I felt every one of my downhill steps shudder through my body, he still smiled, though I could see that every muscle was straining. I wanted to compare him to a machine and then thought that was unfair. Our bodies are not machines. We might think we put fuel in and energy comes out, but there's much more to us than that. What compells someone, after biking up a long hill to turn back down that hill and do it all over again. It is not efficient, it has no meaning other than to do it, and to know that one can do it. A machine does not have these thoughts, and a machine certainly doesn't smile while doing it.

The thing is that I really like machines. And robots. And cyborgs. I like the idea of the human machine so much. But I think that perhaps I'm defining "machine" differently here, as in a machine I "like", rather than cogs and wheels and bits and bytes. If we are machines, then we're very funny machines, chaotic and unpredictable. I can't imagine our cyborg incarnations being any less chaotic. In fact, they'll probably be more so.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

yes, it's been a few days. a very busy few days. for some reason I chose to go out dancing from 2:30 am until, oh, 12:30 pm on saturday morning/saturday afternoon (...). A friend came to town for the purpose of seeing this dj, so, y'know, I was obliged. Hahar, I totally wanted to go too. Little did I know we'd be out so late/early. On top of that, I had a presentation on Tuesday for my class. Somehow I managed to be awake enough to write that and meet with my presentation group. And the presentation went really well! So, I got to have a fun-packed weekend *and* be academically inclined. It's scary that.

Of course, last night I slept for 10+ hours.

I also made this really great bean-lentil curry on Saturday night, which I mention b/c I'm eating the last of it right now. It required the use of over half the spices on my spice shelf! But it was really fast, cheap and easy to make. Yeah, it's the small things that make my day. Some days anyway. Today is a small-things-are-good day, e.g., trashy novel, clean kitchen floor, fleshly washed cat (he needed it), bean curry leftovers, not reading Freud or thinking about Freud or presenting Freud (synecdochally, of course. which may or may not be a made up word.)

There are a few dancefloor stories to tell, but I don't know if I feel like telling them now. And whether they're actually only good stories to me...

Friday, June 13, 2003

mmm, sweet, sweet chemical enhancement.
this really comes as no surprise. but i had kinda hoped for, like, e or shrooms, what with their intensity and all. however, maybe i am not as much about intensity as i am about talking endless theory circles around, oh, "Farscape". and, when i think about it, a five-question quiz made up by somebody on the internet might not capture my entire personality. or, well, it might be the most accurate thing in the world! maybe even the universe.

Youre the baby of the drugs,
and thats okay,
because Im sure,
I could do you all day.

Which drug should you be hooked on? [now with pictures]
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Sometimes I think about how sad it is that I don't have satellite tv. I am missing out on so many things. Like, if I had satellite tv, I could watch every country's version of "American Idol". Wouldn't that be great? And if I had a bunch of tvs I could set them up and wait until everyone was singing "Respect" or "Somewhere over the rainbow" and then I would get to listen to a multicultural, international choir of popstar hopefuls. But right now I'm settling for a weekly viewing of Canadian Idol, hosted by (cough, hack, blaaargh) Ben Mulroney. He's such an assface.
(yes, pink shirt, lightweight khaki jacket, hair. i know...)
Yesterday in the Freud class we discussed many things, among them was fetishism. In illuminating Freud's writings on the subject, one of my classmates went over the many "fetishes" he had come across in his research. I need not say that this research was almost entirely limited to the internet. I mean, why would one go anywhere else? The internet is the Domain of Fetishism!!! It's totally not shocking, I know, but seriously now, once you begin cataloguing all these fetishes, it becomes a bit crazy. And having some kind of fetish appears as "normal" and everyone is then trying to outdo everyone else in their eXtreMe fetishisation of ExTreme things. But, as we learned from Freud, fetishes can and usually are pretty serious pathological states of mind caused by the scariness of the vagina. Oh, maybe times have changed and perhaps fetishism is being rethought or normalized to certain degrees. But remember: If you are unsettled in the least and are a boy, the Vagina = scary scary trauma! You may end up requiring the help of stuffed toys for your orgasming. Or you might go the more traditional leather and latex route. Whatever the case, I only wish boys the best in their initial encounters with the Vagina. May it not scare you into fetishism at an early age. Oh, and if you get scared but don't develop a fetish, then the vagina might make you a homo-sex-ual. That's just how it is.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

The GFG:
Without the GFG, well, I wouldn't be as happy as I am. I wouldn't get to say things like, "Yes, this is the best chicken I've ever had - I marinated it in (all these things) and then put it on the GFG." And those in the know are, like, "I love the GFG!" and "I didn't even bother *eating food* before the GFG!"

The thing is that I didn't buy the famed George Foreman Grill because of it's fat-sloughing capabilities or anything. I bought it because a) it cooks things fast, b) many of those things are made of pork, c) it was on sale, and d) haha, ah, George. In fact, I usually pour the fat/marinate back over the cooking meat (or vegetables even, but only the ones with fat, y'know, those ones) when it's half-way cooked. I just love the GFG. I love the conversation it inspires. I heart it so bad I should put my name on it. No, I should heavyweight box, have a bunch of kids named Robyn, decide that I need a more efficient way of cooking bacon, and *then* put my name on it. I can smell the pork-flavoured cash now...
A word (or a thousand words) about Television (the medium, the technology, that is).

Sometimes when I'm talking I'll sometimes end up talking about television, whether it be tv shows, the act of tv watching, the craptasticness of my television set technology, whatever. And sometimes I'll preface the tv talk with "Maybe you don't watch tv, but..." as kind of a disclaimer. Like a way to show I "understand" if someone doesn't watch tv and may not be able to "relate" to what I'm about to go on (and possibly on) about. But really, this is just a front, an intellectual ruse. What I'm really thinking is, "If you don't watch tv, well, you're missing out. Boy, who doesn't watch tv? Why wouldn't you watch tv? What's Your Problem?" and things like that. Because at some point in the past, somewhere between the middle of second year university and the end of my first year of working Full Time, I didn't watch very much tv. Yes, I only had two channels really, and they were fuzzy, but I also felt tv was somewhat below me. Now, I may have "felt" that way, but I certainly didn't "believe" in that silliness. I'm so on par with television it's not even funny.

Ah, television. Television is an essential part of my Wasting Time Efficiently (Grand) Master (Flash) Plan (tm). I don't even have cable. I have three (sometimes four) channels in English and four channels in French. I tell you though, that's *a lot* of tv. When I'm in the mood to watch tv, it's like a galaxy of options. When I'm not in the mood to watch tv, it distracts me for a few minutes and then I give up on it. You see, I understand the strength of television. And it is only as strong as its viewer. That's right, I am not weak when I watch tv, no, I am strong b/c I am In Control. I choose not to watch tv shows, but to watch tv, the thing. In doing that, my time flies by. It becomes tv's time. tv and me, we're all symbiotic n' shit. Perhaps an example will illustrate what I mean here: Yesterday night, while not reading for class and preparing presentation for Tuesday, I turned on the tv. A show called "Mysterious Ways" was on. It's totally bad and therefore good and has managed to last over two seasons. Also, it's filmed in Vancouver (and area). So I watched that. Sometimes it makes me cry b/c of the Miracles it illustrates. People in hospital, people discovering their soul mates, people finding Spiritual Strength. Also, Rae Dawn Chong is in it. Usually Mutant X comes on after this show, but not last night. Which is unfortunate b/c Mutant X is also a really bad but great show (even though it's filmed in Toronto, not Vancouver.) So, in my never-ending quest to Waste Time Efficiently, I flipped the channel* and found that the movie "Scream" was playing on one of the French Channels.

French channels are great for showing fairly recent and okay/supergreat-on-a-Saturday-night-when-you-should-be-studying movies. In French, the movie is called "Frissons". I love that.

I guess the key for me when it comes to watching tv is never to think about all the other things I could have done during the time it took to watch whatever the hell it was that I was watching. This is just a very Wrong trajectory to follow when thinking about television. It's kind of like physics. Well, it's kind of about relativity and time. You know, Television Time is not like Reading Time or Showering Time or Making Out with a Cute Boy Time. All of these things illustrate the very relativity of time wasting/spending. I need not go into the highly scientific and rigourously researched equations on the matter.

Hm. It seems that what has happened is that I had too much coffee today. And too much sunshine. But hey, it inspired me to write a blawg entry, so that combination can't be all bad. Not bad at all.

*flipping channels is essential to watching tv. You are not truly watching tv unless you are flipping channels. I'm such an expert at it that I don't even need a remote control. No, I get up and flip the channel. That is how dedicated I am to the act of watching tv (not the amateur act of merely watching tv shows, oh no.)

Monday, June 02, 2003

Also this week, I've been spending time (read: wasting time efficiently) researching exercise and ways of eating (I hesitate to use the world "diet" here b/c people misinterpret that to mean a short-term, faddish way of losing weight, when what I mean by "diet" is actually a way of eating healthily and for life.) While I haven't been sick at all since moving to Montreal (shocking, I know), I haven't been feeling all that healthy. Yes, these things matter to me (as always, please send your complaints care of The West Coast, Canada.) What this all means is that I'm going to wake up tomorrow and go for a 30 minute bike ride right way. It's called Morning Cardio, people! While I have been doing my usual 3x/week weights sessions at the Y, I haven't been keeping up in the cardio department, though I have been biking across town a lot, which counts for something. However, I feel like my heart needs more. And I need to be a powerful force when the revolution comes. Oh yes.

This is all really interesting to me though, not just on a personal level. The interweb is chock full of stuff about diet and exercise. It's amazing (though not shocking at all). But, yeah, since this is a blog: on a personal level, I'm a fan of low-carb eating myself b/c sugar and white starches totally do me in. I still eat carbs (I am not insane - I too need chocolate), but in moderation, and I eat so much more healthily this way (which I've been doing for about a year and a half). It's amazing that when, say, pasta or rice is not the centre of your meal, but only acts in a condiment-like way, how many vegetables you eat. And protein, of course. As an example, this site has a lot of interesting information on it: I sort of stumbled across low-carb eating b/c my skin was having 'issues' and a lot of what I read suggested cutting sugar and white flour out of one's diet (or at least limiting it to once or twice a week as after-dinner dessert only). So I did, and voila, my skin got better. And on top of that I got more energy and lost some weight. At that time I was also riding my bike every day and exercising with weights 2 or three times a week. However, I was still carrying around weight on my waist and stomach. It totally went away when I changed the way I ate! So, well, having gone through that experience myself, I find all this stuff on the web chronicling other people's experiences fascinating. Okay, so I find the whole internet fascinating, but right now, this is drawing my focus. I'm also trying to write an abstract about diet blogs, so all this is done in the name of research. Research! Yaay.
Well, thinking about it, it's been a pretty busy week. I never notice these things while they're happening. Probably because I'm too busy watching Farscape and thinking that all I do is waste time watching tv shows on videotape and scouring the interweb for, well, whatever I'm thinking about at the moment. I'm a very efficient time waster. This is why I think I should carry on in the academic world I currently find myself in. And it really is another world. Or, if you'd rather go 80s, prime time and blacker, a different world. Ooh, that joke goes straight out to Ken, as I believe it's in his stylee.

Anyway, I'm still Reading Freud. It's good. I had a meeting the other night with my group (b/c we have group presentations to do - usually I'm not happy about such situations, but in this case, the presentation takes the place of an essay. One cannot complain.) The meeting was fairly productive and also involved 2 bottles of wine. No, not each. But still, good. I'd argue that we needed the mental lubrication. And Freud would no doubt have something to say about that too. He liked his cocaine, I hear.

Instead of more reading, I watched "The Hurricane" on CBC tv. It went on forever due to commercials and a 20 minute break for bluddy news. But it was good and worth it. The kind of story that gets inside my cold, hard heart, making me emotionally vulnerable to long-distance phone commercials and Toronto tourism board promotions (the Globe and Mail had a great article about the ridiculousness of the SARS scare, with statistics on all the other, more probable ways one could die. Ah, statistics, I love you.). I was watching tv b/c I have run out of Farscape episodes - and in the worst way possible! The episode I was watching cut off right before the final 15 minutes! Aaagh! And the person responsible is in Halifax this weekend. I am without my fix. But I am somehow calm. Eerily calm.

Today I went to the market to buy olive oil and capers in a store run by the greatest pair of gay (French) brothers/partners/really close friends ever. I love this store - it is full of all kinds of things you may or may not need. For example, do I need cilantro cutney? Ah, you see, I don't really, but why would I deny myself cilantro cutney? It's cilantro in a jar! I am buying it next time. And some tapenade of some kind too for that matter. You see what kind of store it is? 50 kinds of olive oil, 80 kinds of vinegar... Lots of old(er) people from the rich Anglo part of town speaking loudly in English. One of them was from the same Vancouver Island town my grandma lives in. So we had a weird conversation that went something like "Oh, my grandmother lives there." "Oh really? What's her name?" "Um, Joan. But I can't remember her last name b/c she got remarried." And I am a bad grandkid. She's been remarried for, um, 3+ years... But my brain is packed with *all kinds* of information here. What is remembered and what is not is not always up to me. Just ask Freud.
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