Sunday, March 30, 2008

Orca: Ocean Jerk

Okay so I’m reading a book on odd animal behaviour called “Why Pandas Do Handstands”, by Augustus Brown, and I just have to share this tidbit about killer whales:

“The killer whale, or orca, is one of natures’ most ingenious predators, with a wide range of tricks for capturing its prey. Orcas have been known to beach themselves in order to catch sea lions, upend ice floes to tip seals and penguins into the sea, and slap their tails on the water’s surface to wash birds off rocks into their path.”

Okay, all rather foreseeable. I’ve been known to grab a barbeque fork to help hook a box of cereal from the top of my cupboards when I have the munchies and don’t want to take the time to grab a footstool. You’re hungry, you do what you got to do. But this is just cold, man:

“Their most spectacular trick, however, is reserved for sharks. The orca kills its deep sea rival by torpedoing up into the shark’s stomach from underneath, causing it to explode.”

When I first read that, I thought it makes the shark explode – which struck me as less about hunger and more about being a sharkicidal dick. (I don’t blow up the box just to get to the puffed wheat.) But I guess it means that just the shark’s stomach explodes. Which is still cold.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Insight for the Day

On my way back to work from lunch today, I saw a man jogging with his dachshund. Not fast, mind you, but definitely jogging. Oooh those little dachshund legs were going -- the front appeared to be motoring in independence of the rear, but both ends were keeping up admirably. And that dog was happy. Every few seconds he'd beam up at his master without missing a step. Every other few seconds were spent sneaking as quick a whiff of his surroundings as his locomotion and leash would allow (... scent hounds must succomb to their baser instincts after all...).

The lesson? Function can transcend form. Or: Even if you don't think you're figuratively (or literally) built for something, it'll come through if it's in your heart (... but don't forget to always take stock of what's around you. You don't want to discover too late that you jogged past an errant McDonald's french fry.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Superior Wednesdays

Man, how I love America's Next Top Model. Love it! I watch these gaggle of girls who don't have a brain synapse to rub together amongst them, and I am reminded of the prophecy of Judge Judy: beauty fades; dumb is forever.

Do you watch it? These young women who are supposed to be adults invariably bawl to the camera about how much they miss home. Like not one of them has ever even attended a sleepover before in their obviously sheltered lives. Then they call their moms at the end of the day to whine that the other girls in the house have been mean to them. Not that the modelling tasks are difficult. Not that they're sick or they're tired -- that other girls are being mean to them. What do they expect their moms to do? Call the other girls' moms and say "Your 19 year old daughter made my 22 year old daughter cry. Make your daughter be nice to mine."

And this season, all the communication from Tyra comes via an electronic scroll-screen, so these girls stand in front of it and read it outloud like kindergarteners learning to sound out See Dick and Jane, without a whiff of self-awareness. For all we know, some of these girls may only have learned to read last month in order to fill out their application for the show, so they need the group recitation in order to bring them up to speed as to what the flashing letters spell out.

But the kicker is the screaming. On tonight's episode, Tyra told the girls to go upstairs and get dressed. These girls screeched like they'd just been told that Johnny Depp is nude and in the hot tub waiting for them. Introduce the girls to a photographer - they'll screech. Give the girls a new assignment - they'll screech. Look generally in their direction - they'll screech like the Pavlovian rats incapable of independent thought that they are.

I love it. I sit in my pajama bottoms with the centre seam busted wide open, eating Reeses Pieces Cereal by the handful out of the box, wearing fuzzy purple socks on my feet that I haven't washed in I can't admit to you how long, knowing with undisputed certainty that even in my current state I am less of a waste of oxygen than these vacuous bobble-heads who don't know enough to avoid allowing cameras to not only save for posterity their DNA-deep stupidity, but distribute it across international borders. Just love this show!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

*knuckles cracking*

Okay - new day! New start! New attitude! Combined Turtle-Squirrel Perspective (see below if this just throws you for a complete loop) and away we go.

Work, first. I've been wracking my brain on how to make my job less stressful, and finally last night I came up with it: Quit stressing. I've been asking for help with my workload for months now, only to be met with a stony silence that is only shattered when the Committee asks why I haven't done more, done it better and done it quicker. Well they know why. They just aren't acknowledging why. Or doing anything to help me handle the why. So from here on in, I do my best. And if anyone comes down on the Committee because more or better reports aren't being produced and faster, that's not on me. I'm the only one around here trying. They can all -- as my father was fond of saying when I was young -- pound sand up their nose.

(frankly, at this point I would love it if the Committee was found to be ineffective and disbanded. I'm not the one who cares here ... if they care, they need to step up. If they don't step up ... I don't care.)

And next ... oh. I guess work was all I had to rant about right now.

It's a start.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy end of Easter Weekend

Yay! Four day weekend. I had such plans. I was going to get so much writing done. I was going to finish unpacking and rearranging my apartment. I was going to see a movie. It was going to be such an awesome four days, man!

But I forgot one important point -- we're talking about me, here. I traditionally underperform on myself. And how depressing is that, eh? It's annoying to know you've let someone else down. What's the point when you constantly let yourself down?

And I didn't even get a visit from the Easter Bunny. Crappy rabbit.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Turtle Perspective

It’s Christmas in Hawaii. Back on “the mainland”, you have stress. Work is piling up. Coworkers don’t know how close they come to forcing you to reduce them to photographs on the side of milk cartons. Chances are your apartment is messy, your bank account isn’t what it should be at your age, family and friends wonder why you can’t attract a nice guy into your life (obviously you’re not the one to ask – you want to tell them to track down the guys you’ve met over the years and ask them why none have stayed for a longer conversation than “Hmm, that’s fascinating. Nice to meet you, but I’m going to walk over *there* now”) and you realize you’ve spent your entire adult life in pursuit of a paycheque rather than your dreams because the brief period of time in your life when you did pursue your dreams you had to constantly explain to people that no, you didn’t quit a good job with little thought to your financial security and no, it isn’t the same as running off to join the circus because you’re good at what you’re doing now and can actually make it as a writer and no, the sky in your world isn’t purple with pink polka-dots and you actually are in possession of your senses, you just wanted to try being happy for once in your life. And it didn’t work.

So you need The Turtle Perspective:

You're standing barefoot on the rough concrete Waikiki pier, watching the pale sun rise over Diamondhead at 6:00 a.m., shoes in hand to save them from the cool ocean waves lapping over your feet, sleep still in the corners of your eyes, unbrushed hair pulled back from your face to curl around the clip that casually holds it. The humid fresh salty air opens your lungs and soothes your body as you listen to the water break against the nearby beach and rush up the sand, only to retreat with a swoosh back under the next wave eager for its turn to arrive. Down by your feet a sea turtle peeks his nostril above the surface for a quick breath before plunging back down into the shallow water for his breakfast. You are calm. You are relaxed. You are content. Ahhh.

(Use as Required. But in your vision, don’t get so relaxed and calm that you fall into the water. It scares the sea turtles)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Party Crashing (Niece-Appropriate Post)

(if I'm going to write about her, I figure she should be able to see what I'm saying)

This weekend was my niece's 10th birthday party. I had promised her last year to come down for the big one-oh, and one must honour one's commitments to children. They may look like they aren't paying attention to you when you speak, but then they repeat something you said in passing under your breath to yourself, and you realize they are like owls -- except, while owls appear to be all eyes, kids are all ears.

Thus ends the extent of my first-hand knowledge of kids. I have only my own experiences as a child myself for all other opinions.

Speaking of my own experiences, I wish I had had a birthday party with Dance Dance Revolution for PS2 when I was a child. Oh, how my mother wouldn't have had to plan any other single thing for my parties -- just plug in the game, and go out for a quiet dinner with Dad content in the knowledge that when she returned we wouldn't have even noticed we had been left alone with the good china cabinet and her beloved soapstone carving of an Eskimo hunter. (I broke the soapstone carving when I was 11 by doing the mexican hat dance, which I had learned that day at school, around the dining room table. I say Mom should have seen this coming, and not have placed the dining room table in such a manner that it taunts a young girl into doing a mexican hat dance around its circumference. Surprising, she sees this differently.)

(btw, my brother and sister-in-law did plan more things than just the PS2 -- including a movie premiere complete with red carpet and paparazzi, and a mocktails drink station next to a decorate-the-cookie-yourself station.)

So here's some of my favourite pictures from this weekend -- none of which include the aforementioned brother because he appears to be under the impression that he was raised in a far-off Amazonian jungle village that believes if you take his picture you've stolen his soul and if you post this theft on the internet then anyone can control him like a voodoo doll ... or whatever. But the picture I can't show you of my 6'4" brother playing Dance Dance Revolution with a 10-year old cutie who can't be more than 4'2" definitely qualifies as a favourite (and was a feat to get them both in the frame).

I love the anticipation on my niece's face as she starts to open the present I got her:

Until I see that I obviously wrapped it a bit too tightly...

And here is my sister-in-law and niece taking a mother-daughter moment.

And the result of a hard day dancing.

So now I'm back home, in the midst of the things that I haven't brought myself to unpack after my move at the top of the month. I'd take a picture and show you, but there are some things people just shouldn't see lest they never look at you the same way again. I guess like my brother challenging his daughter's friend to a dance-off.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Squirrel Perspective

I was walking home yesterday fully engrossed in talking to myself and imagining the worst for my performance review on Wednesday (a long story that I won’t give credence to by spelling out here: suffice it to say my boss is putting the responsibility of the backlog that has been caused by our three-person office being reduced to a two-person office for almost a year now solely at my feet for no reason other than what I have to assume is personal) when I heard quite the scuffle coming from the trees across the street. As I paused to watch, two squirrels played Tag in the trees.

Except I got the distinct impression that “It” wasn’t so much wanting to tag the runner as tear his fuzzy wittle head clear off his boney itsy shoulders.

Up and down, around the trunk, from branch to branch and back again, the head squirrel kept the slightest of leads on what appeared to me to be a squirrelly serial killer. Front guy would sprint left on the top of the branch with his pursuer’s claws inches from his hind quarters, then zip a 180 to beat it back from whence he came. On rare occasions, they remained silently poised on opposite sides of the trunk, awaiting the slightest scratch from the other side of the tree that would give away the other one's position. Finally, the lead squirrel dodged and deked and skirted to the branches of another tree to safety, leaving his pursuer to chirp angrily that he’d better not return to the tree if he values his nuts.

Nuts probably started it all. One probably snatched the other’s, and the race was on. But what could have possessed the one squirrel to do whatever he did to enrage the other isn't really the point. Here I was entirely amused and entertained by what I would imagine was of the utmost and dire consequence to these two squirrels locked in mortal combat -- well, mortal chasing, at the very least. But – not to put too fine a point on it – someone else could be just as amused and entertained by the fact that I'm concerned about a performance appraisal. Like unemployed people. Or people who work in coal mines who wished the greatest danger they faced was an old-fashioned verbal confrontation scheduled from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. in the middle of a week. Or two squirrels in the bowels of a nut dispute.

Ah, nature. Always lying in wait to knock you down a few pegs whenever you think the world revolves around you and your problems.

(remind me sometime to share with you my Turtle Perspective)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

If you're going to dislike a haircut, dislike a $16 cut.

(Hey, did you know you can just put your digital camera's image card directly into your laptop - screw the photo cable? I didn't until my sis-in-law enlightened me. What a world we live in.)

Years ago I decided the hell with hair salons. You pay all that money to have someone who is supposedly trained and experienced to do your hair, they ask what you want ... and then they just give you whatever cut they want to anyway. They use your hair without your permission or request to experiment with whatever new style or cut or form they are itching to try out -- and then they ask you to pay them $50 to $60 bucks for using you as a training head.

So since then, I've just gone to SuperCuts. Or CornerCuts. Or whatever they call that place where you just walk in, don't pay for a shampoo or style if you don't want to, then 30 minutes and $16 later you have a bare minimum cut that they didn't waste a minute on fluffing or contouring or waxing or hairspraying or otherwise hacking at your hair unnecessarily just to get their own hairstyling rocks off. My theory had been: If you're going to dislike a haircut, dislike a $16 cut.

Odd thing was, I had yet to walk out of DiscountCuts dissatisfied. For the past few years, I've walked out quite pleased. No products, no runway experiment dos. Just a quick, clean, cut. Quite pleased.

I went against my better judgment a few weeks ago, though, and went to a pricey salon. I was going from quite long hair to shorter hair, and I thought maybe someone with more skill and experience was prudent. Just to be sure I got what I wanted, though, I brought a picture:

I know. It's a picture of a picture. And a picture of a hair product ad, nonetheless. But I think you get the gist of the cut I was looking for.

This, however, was what the "stylist" gave me.

It was a spitting image of the stylist's hairstyle, surprise surprise. I guess regardless of what I wanted, she wanted a twin. (The first picture I took showed what I really felt a bit too well. No one looks presentable with a glower. So I forced the corners of my mouth into a makeshift smile.)

I was able to restyle it somewhat to something a bit more in the neighbourhood of my desires:

(a little easier to smile)

But if I'm ever tempted to go to a salon again, I hope I know enough to revisit this post and remember that salon stylists are just whores who empty your wallet and walk out of the hotel room without so much as a look in your direction.

Go to the corner whore. She ain't pretty, but she'll do what you ask.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Place-Holder Post:

I'm really jonesing to share my adventures with a new haircut ... but I haven't unpacked my whole apartment and for the life of me can not find the cord that allows me to upload pictures from my digital camera to my computer. The story is really only compelling if you can follow along with visual cues. Blast my random packing in the last moments of my ill-planned move!

Until I tear apart my boxes, I'll have to settle for telling you that I am on the verge of financial impropriety.

I've already spent more money than I should admit on the aforementioned move (I threw money at the problem of not having friends to help me move and not wanting to move the heavy stuff myself ... and I fear fistfuls escaped my grasp) and now my vehicle requires some serious repairs (didn't help that putting together non-individually-heavy items in bulk quantities into my RAV4 created a heavy load for the already ailing struts ... throw in the random slush and piled ice encountered on Edmonton's side streets, and I could practically hear my poor KITT -- yes, its name is KITT -- crying for me to just let it die).

Obviously that isn't enough for me, though. Coming home from work I found the most fabulous pair of eyeglass frames. I've been in the market for months and haven't found a single frame worth writing down the particulars. And in this one store on Whyte Ave I found two pairs that would raise me up from the geek I am into a rather chic chick. (I know! The frames are THAT good!) I can't possibly hand over my Visa right now. I just can't. Can I?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The First of What May Be Many Changes of Mind!

On February 29th I decided to blog. Now, I've decided to split-blog. One for movie reviews, one for the delightful imagination of Deb. Achu.

Welcome to the one borne of my imagination, where I wax philosophic about whatever picks my butt on a given day. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin...