Monday, May 30, 2005
This "Quote Of The Day" comes courtesy of a telephone conversation with Michele:
Her: I need to call George Bush.
Me: The President of the United States?
Me: er... why?
Her: They've been found. In Ajax. (Ontario)
Her: Weapons of Mass Destruction. I've found them!
Me: You did?
Her: Embodied in four 11-year-old boys.
Shortly after this gem, our call ended when the birthday party started stalking her and we could no longer hear one another.
(p.s. Don't worry - she survived. The house? Not so much.)
Thursday, May 26, 2005
The Sea Inside is out for rental and I’ve been looking forward to seeing it – Javier Bardem is a phenomenal actor. It was in theatres at the same time as Million Dollar Baby (which I saw), both about the same theme. My impression of Baby was… less-than-stellar. I think it’s only “inspiring” to able-bodied people. NB: SPOILER AHEAD! I’m very supportive of the right to do what you want with your life, including ending it if you think it necessary (not on a whim, please), but when you have a disability, watching someone choose to die merely because they can’t walk anymore, hits a nerve.
While waiting for Sea to come out on DVD, I’ve been playing with writing something about how sick I am of creative media using disability as some sort of twisted cripple version of the madonna/whore metaphor. The person with the disability tends to be portrayed as saintly and inspiring or conversely, the disability is an outward symptom of evil. I’m also sick of how playing someone with an illness or disability (and They – the They in charge of greenlighting such dreck - seldom differentiate between the two) is the surest way to get an Oscar nomination. Or how offended I am that this year, three(able-bodied) actors were nominated for playing people with disabilities and only one of the movies (Ray) was about the person’s life and talent. The other two were – as is usual - all about the Tragedy of being unable to walk and how Profound and Uplifting and Brave these people were for choosing to die, rather than spending the rest of their lives in this non-life, this hell.
When I’d only seen Baby, that was what I’d planned to say. Then I watched Sea and…. it’s different. It’s not perfect, but it is based on Ramon Sampedro's real story. It had “been there” credibility, instead of being some able-bodied writer’s idea of using the disability as a plot point leading to someone else’s journey towards redemption. Whereas Baby left me enraged at its presumptions about disability as a Fate Worse Than Death, Sea made me argue both points furiously. With myself. Alternating rapidly. One moment, I defended Sampedro’s right to do what he wished with his life, the next I was yelling about how maybe if instead of lying in bed on the third floor of an ancient farmhouse for almost 30 years, the man had gotten some accessible housing, attendant care and a good counsellor, he might have been able to find meaning in life again.
And maybe I’m as judgemental as the people who think they’d have to kill themselves if they lost the use of their legs. Partly for thinking that Ramon Sampedro’s desire to die was somehow more valid than Maggie Fitzgerald’s. Why? Because he’d wanted it for a longer time. It takes time to adapt to losing the way things were and after 30 years, I think he’d given it enough thought. Which brings me to the other part – the one where I don’t understand the willingness to give up, to not try. Sure, I’ve got my own theoretical scenarios where I can imagine saying “I’m done with this crap”, but I’ve used this chair long enough to know that eventually, you tend to adapt and life gets good again. For me, it’s about fighting tooth and nail to create a meaningful, joyful life. It’s about dusting yourself off and getting back on the horse that threw you. About not letting the bastards get you down.
“Resolved: To take Fate by the throat and shake a living out of her”
- Louisa May Alcott
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
I had a Plan. The Plan involved keeping my eagerness to blog madly at all times about every little thing in check and stick to about three times a week. Let’s face it, my shoulders can’t take much more than that. Then I went to the doctor for my Enbrel shot and it all flew out the window.
See, the clinic has a TV in the waiting room and The Young & the Restless was on. I watched it briefly in my undergraduate days, but didn’t last – the storylines took way too long to wrap up and did I mention the thing about having the attention span of a gnat?
Today, I found out that nothing much has changed in terms of how slooooooooow everything is. Also? Victor has turned a sort of neon tangerine colour (formaldehyde, maybe? He doesn’t look like he’s aged at all in the past 20 years), Nicki’s hair is neon blonde and they still zoom in so close you can count people’s nose hairs.
My apologies to any rabid Y&R fans out there.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Of the 23 Victoria Day weekends I’ve experienced since I came to Canada, this was only the third where it didn’t pour buckets all three days. This year, it actually seemed like the first long weekend of the summer (I’m ignoring the rain promised for this afternoon). I spent it doing nothing with great abandon and meandering around the neighbourhood, connecting with other people again after a long hibernation.
It was a pretty good weekend for the memory banks. There was the Chow Chow with a spring haircut that made it look like a lion. I watched six couples doing the tango in the sunshine by a fountain and refuse to speculate why – it’d ruin the moment. And I read Hypocrite in a Poufy White Dress in the park, surrounded by the smell of green things.
Most importantly, I haven't worn socks since Thursday.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
When I first started this blog, the thrill of seeing my words on a web page was enough to make me a little woozy - hey, being public is close to being published, innit? Then my friends and family commented and that was very exciting. I mean, some of them even read it every day! (I clearly excite easily – it makes life more fun) My inner Attention Slut was very happy. For while. Then the shameless hussy started wanting more...
Yesterday, the Harlot linked to me and all of a sudden even Ms. A.S. is a little overwhelmed. I figured out how to put a counter on the site and felt even more light-headed. It’s a more than a smidge freaky to have hundreds of people reading your site. Yesterday, I rode the Harlot’s coattails and thoroughly enjoyed it. Today? Tomorrow? Here's hoping that some of you will stick around. The desire to be Terribly Scintillating is enough to send me to Tuscany immediately. Or a straitjacket. The jury’s still out.
The good news is that I have learned how to post a picture (thanks Ken). The bad news is that I, too, am not crazy with the comment section in Blogger – I can’t reply back using a commenter’s email, so I can’t give you all quite the individual and/or private attention I’d like. On the other hand, with Blogger, I don't spend a lot of time tearing out my hair while I attempt to do HTML. I'm not sure I have the kind of head that looks good bald, so I'm staying put for a while. Luckily, I have the attention span of a gnat, so who knows? I might get myself a "real" blog some day. Perhaps I should look into wigs, just to be prepared...
Thank you all for coming and commenting. Here’s some more spring to celebrate.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
This weekend, I re-watched Under the Tuscan Sun and it reminded me of a week about a year ago where I had my own private “Women Writers” movie festival. In addition to Tuscan, I watched My House in Umbria and Swimming Pool. By the time the “festival” was over, I was convinced that all my writing-related woes (and quite a few of my other problems) could be solved by living in a villa in Tuscany or the south of France. I got pretty specific.
In my dream, I live in a centuries-old house, with deep stone walls, high ceilings and a view of the uncluttered countryside. It is just a 20-minute stroll to the village and I walk there to shop at the market a couple of times a week. (ed.: as old houses and the terrain in southern Europe are not exactly wheelchair friendly, I’ve convenient changed my walking ability status – I’ve already placed myself in Tuscany or Nice, so what’s a bit more messing with reality?)
I have an almost-overgrown garden, with a nice stretch of lawn, large shade trees and a crumbling stone wall lined with lemon trees. In the nooks and corners of the garden are beds of vegetables and herbs, only slightly chewed up by small delicate snails. I cook delicious meals with sun-warmed tomatoes and olive oil pressed in the area. My friends and I have dinner around a large roughly hewn table in the kitchen and we talk long into the night over bottles of hearty red wine.
A little ways down the road from my house is a small dairy farm, run by an older man with a face as wizened as a winter apple and his large, silent son. I buy their cheese or barter it with writing services for his family history. (ed.: I suddenly speak fluent French/Italian) In the morning, I sit in my garden and eat the cheese with large chunks of heavy bread while the cats chase the birds. (ed.: I am no longer lactose intolerant) After breakfast, I tilt my head up against the early morning sun and drink my coffee while listening to the world wake up. (ed.: in real life, I don’t drink coffee and getting up early is against my religion) When my coffee is finished, I grab an apple off the tree behind me and go to my office, where, in between gazing out the window, I write a brilliant novel.
In my dream, it is always late summer. The sun is still warm, but hangs lower in the sky, casting a deeper golden glow over everything. The nights are getting just getting a little cooler, but in the daytime, summer clouds float across the sky, casting their shadows on the ripe fields below.
Who couldn’t write in setting like that?
Sadly, the closest I’m going to get to this bucolic scene in the foreseeable future is my new box of tissues, which sports someone’s idea of mass-produced Tuscany. Who knows… it might be inspiring.
Monday, May 16, 2005
This weekend, we marked the lovely Michele’s birthday and since the Andersen family firmly believes in the adage that “more is better”, we added an early celebration of the birthdays of her equally charming children, Jason and Scott. After a not entirely nutritious dinner, we saw Cavalia. Supposedly, in a nutshell, Cavalia is a show exploring the evolution of the human-horse relationship.
But really, those books that talk about parallel universes? All true. We spent Saturday evening entranced and transfixed. Right before us, the veil between the worlds parted and we were transported to a mystical realm of spirits, magic, unspoken communication between beautiful not-quite people and even more beautiful not-quite horses. During your visit to this world, you become convinced that they have all tapped into something deeper, a connection to one another that is unrealised in our reality. Each moment is marked by gentleness, respect and deep love. It is dream-like, haunting, funny, breathtaking and unforgettable. By the end, your soul is wide open and filled with the beauty of it all.
The horses. Oh, the horses. Grace and strength personified. Shiny coats, flowing manes and tails. Some so white it seems as if all other whites are slightly grimy. The play of the muscles as they run free, unbridled, playing. I would pay money to be allowed to muck out the stables. Anything to get to live with those horses.
p.s. please excuse the messy look of things, while I figure out how to use BloggerBot. As Blogger apparently no longer allows you to posts pics through email. $%#!
Thursday, May 12, 2005
We all know that reality shows are a scourge upon the earth and have no redeeming social value whatsoever. We should be reading Shakespeare instead! Saving kittens from wells! Single-handedly achieving world peace and ending hunger!
Now that we got that out of the way, can we talk about American Idol? Not the contestants, although Bo's my man, for single-handedly introducing good, old-fashioned rock to a generation raised on the pablum of Britney Spears, N Sync and the like. My issues are with the host, Ryan Seacrest. To wit:
1. Could somebody please muzzle him? Or at least explain the difference between a 'host' and a 'judge' and put a stop to his post-performance reviews, which are inevitably gushing, even when the contestant in question has utterly butchered a song.
2. What is it with the - and I apologise for the crudity, but it really is the only way to describe it - pissing contest he continuously tries to start with Simon Cowell? He is hopelessly outclassed and although there was a certain perverse pleasure in watching the tiger lazily swatting the wet, yipping Chihuahua, it's embarrassing and quite frankly, becoming deeply boring.
3. Lastly, while I am in full rant mode, could someone - gently - tell the man that his 'professional' smile is a little too forced. I have seen him smile naturally and he's quite normal-looking when he does. But the professional one? It makes him look like a giant bi-pedal carp.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
This morning, the day after the 8th (or was it 9th?) Smog Day of the year (on MAY 10! Can we all get behind this real quick, please?), I naturally opened my windows. I've spent the entire winter with my windows closed (most of the time because they were frozen shut - I love living in Canada) and at the first sign of something that could remotely be called warmth, open they go.
WHAT WAS I THINKING??
Since then, I've been wheezing, sneezing and crying. Ah, Spring in the big city! Of course, this means a commensurate souring of mood - the word 'crabby' does not begin to describe things around here. To paraphrase the immortal words of Thumper's mother, since I can't say anything nice, I won't say anything (much) at all.
Besides, I'm spending the day with my new best friend.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
If you noticed a dark, sulphurous cloud hovering over downtown Toronto last night, that was me using a lot of colourful words in at least two languages. You don’t get to be this pleased with yourself without walking up Nemesis, who’ll arrive swiftly and smack you down for your effrontery.
That malware I had? I might have gotten rid of it, but before I kicked out its pustulent arse, it left - insert tone of contemptuous disgust here and if you can manage a hiss, that'd be good, too -
Monday, May 09, 2005
This blog will have cat content. With pictures. I share my home with a cat of large personality (and an equally large amount of fur). Her job is to be cute, she's good at it and I have a digital camera. I suspect this may prove to be an annoying combination.
Introducing Mojo, here seen preparing to eviscerate her favourite cat toy.