30 July, 2012


i'll be the first to admit that i'm as unhip as the next person (provided the next person is very unhip indeed) but i am not totally out of the loop (ok, i actually am almost completely out of the loop, but i have once seen the loop and can vaguely describe it in a way that will make you look into the middle distance and then quickly find a reason to go away). this is what happened today:

i cleaned the teeth of a 22-year old hipster kid whose hipsterness was evidenced by his hair, glasses, footwear and clothing. he did not have a moustache but i think it was only because his body was as of yet unable to produce one of appropriately emphatic proportions. somehow or other we got onto the subject of music and, judging him completely by his hipster cover, i took a plunge and asked him about a band - a small band, an indie band, a lovely band, really, and a band 99% of people would know nothing about. he gave me a wide eyed stare and proclaimed himself a "huuuuge fan," after which, with the flourish of a magician pulling a second rabbit out of a hat, i named another band. he beamed at me. this, too, was one of his favourites. we tossed some names back and forth, gave each other suggestions and went our separate ways (me - presenting him with an electric toothbrush and floss in a baggie, him - presenting me with the fluoride he had expectorated into a small plastic cup, hardly a fair exchange). i retained a feeling of buoyancy for the rest of the afternoon - here was i, a 40 year old dental hygienist, sharing esoteric musical taste with a 22-year old hipster kid, how cool is that?

it wasn't until the evening that i had to laugh - poor kid, that initial elation at finding a random stranger who likes the same indie stuff that you do must have eventually given way to a feeling of complete horror: he, after all, shares his esoteric musical taste with a 40 year old dental hygienist! i bet he's deleting his ipod playlist as we speak.

24 July, 2012


first of all, my cousin often tells me i care too much. well, be that as it may, that's not something one can exactly turn off and on and i lack the energy to psychoanalyse myself to determine the root causes of this particular shortcoming, so it'll have to remain one of my many faults, faultlets and faultillinions. the reason i'm telling you this is so you know why the hell i'm bothering to explain myself instead of just ignoring getting yelled at by a good friend under the cover of anonymity.

so: there's this great book by william gibson. its main character has an unusually high sensitivity to advertising and trademarks to the point of having to remove labels from her clothes to prevent psychological discomfort and its physical manifestations. to a lesser, far less dramatic and sadly far less literary degree, poor spelling and grammar do that to me. perhaps i don't come out in hives but i have recently realised that seeing a sentence written in the vernacular of today's youth, including all the LOLZ, OMG's, UR (instead of you're or your) and all the rest of their sloppy sms lingo, makes me actually physically uncomfortable. seeing people abuse the english language (and polish - i'm an equal opportunity grammar nazi) makes my gut churn. in fact, it is a feeling oddly similar to watching the cast of a musical suddenly burst into a song and dance number - while i am well aware of the fact that they are not at all embarrassed to be doing this, i am, and doubly so, for their sake and mine.

and so to some "you're" and "your" are interchangeable; to me they are not and never will be. i realise i can be a bit of a bitch about grammar: i might not be as smart as i used to be (it's possible i never was) but believe me, i know. in fact, here and now i give you leave to feel sorry for me, because having this in my head is fucking exhausting. i still cringe when i recall saying "it's important for mister monkey and i" in a sentence that long ago day in vancouver and i know nobody else remembers (well, they wouldn't if i didn't keep bringing it up here). all other things being equal, i would prefer to not give a shit. i am tired of caring about this, and i am certainly tired of feeling a twist in my stomach whenever i walk by a sign that tells me "open monday's." i'd much rather feel that twist when witnessing inequality or poverty or suffering. instead, i get haunted by grammar - yes, i know how fucking psychotic that sounds, but there you have it: i feel like some OCD sufferer, held in the claws of a mental ailment that makes things of small import feel of big import, running around attempting to make everything nice and neat and correct.

so, yes, i realise there are more important things than spelling and grammar - brain surgery, gun control, world hunger, preventable accidents in the home, the harper regime's dismantling of canada, potable water in subsaharan africa, discrimination, racism, the republicans, polar bears etc, etc. but while those things bother me on many levels, they do it quietly and mainly out of sight: they only pop up to smack my psyche around whenever a particularly pertinent headline jumps out at me. i understand typos but poor grammar has lately been so ubiquitous, so pervasive that i cannot seem to get away from it. this, in light of technological advances like spellcheck and google, seems to me inexcusable. and, as i keep pointing out, i'm a bloody immigrant, i'm 10 years behind all y'all anglophones in the whole language learning timeline.

and finally, while i am well aware of my own grammatical shortcomings, i try because i refuse to give up on the idea that anything worth saying is worth saying well.

20 July, 2012

darling, i haven't got a clue!

  • am i the only one who's sick and tired of summer homes in ibiza* being featured on nearly every design blog recently? i, for one, am ready to see some chic albanian villas.
  • so there's that. also, we were in portugal for 3 weeks, came back 3 weeks ago and i did not blog a single thing about the trip on account of my difficulty with blogging about actual things that are actually happening, as opposed to all the exciting things that take place only in my head. so, let's get this over with: portugal was gorgeous, its people lovely and warm, it was more picturesque than a basketful of kittens which can get annoying after a while, but not as picturesque as i imagine naples or paris might be (pure conjecture, yes) but make of that what you will, perhaps it's a good thing, perhaps i need to get out more, or, more likely, i need to lay off the booze, which (to make this sentence even longer and more convoluted because, hey, so far there are no laws against that, except of course the laws of grammar but seeing as the vast majority of the english speaking part of the world ignores most of them anyways as evidenced by the ubiquitous painfully thoughtless, poorly constructed and spectacularly misspelled status updates on facebook, i will just jump through that loophole and carry on as if nothing happened (why? what happened?)**) was ridiculously cheap, plentiful and bloody delicious in portugal. if you were asking me whether i'd recommend portugal as a holiday destination, i'd say, yea, verily, go, but stay the hell away from algarve which is very much like florida on spring break but with drunken british accents instead of american, and which is a poster child for rampant, uncontrolled and butt-ugly development that does not in any way take into consideration the historical charm or geographical attributes of the land. go to the west coast instead and you'll feel like you're in portugal instead of the redneck riviera florida panhandle.
  • to share our photos i just made y'all a link in the sidebar (kippered pics 2) where you can access the basketful-of-kittens level of portuguese picturesqueosity at your leisure***. can i stop talking about this now? there's some really weird dynamic here that makes me seriously uncomfortable blogging about reality. thank christ there's so much excitement happening in my brain. but i won't write about it because it's late and i'm tired and i'm cranky.
  • we just got back from seeing "to rome with love"and may i just say, woody, i'm on to you! you just keep making the same film over and over again and it's getting OLD, just like your neuroses and your khaki chinos.  we should've gone to see "take this waltz" instead. sarah polley is not yet a one trick pony.
  • chinese food is most emphatically not the same as korean food, which is very different from vietnamese food, which is not at all similar to thai food. if i hear one more person calling a vietnamese restaurant chinese and then saying that it doesn't matter, i'll have to resort to violence. i take my ethnic gastronomy very seriously, y'all, don't make me come down hard on yo ass.
  • hormonal fluctuations can go to hell. i'd refuse to participate but my body continues to betray me. 
  • and as far as corporeal betrayal goes, i have just gotten my very first pair of glasses. so far they are only necessary for reading the backs of wine bottles in the summer twilight, but soon i shall fall off the edge and careen wildly down the path towards blindness, decrepitude, incontinence and death. my eye doctor says i have 2-3 years left before we get into serious reading glasses (and the prerequisite grandma perm that seems to come with) so let's get that seeing-eye cabaƱa boy in training, shall we?
  • inexplicably, the air is starting to smell like tequila;**** i think it's time to go to bed.

*it doesn't help that i seem chronically unable to see the word "ibiza" without hearing it in my head with that annoying lisp.

**if you noticed internal inconsistencies in this sentence, you have my heartfelt congratulations for having the intellectual wherewithal to find your way through the maze of my thinking which is something i am increasingly unable to manage. (hello grad school, hope we have fun together.)

*** warning: shitload of pictures (edited down from the 4000 i took).

**** i 'm drinking a glass of red wine, just so you don't get any ideas.

02 July, 2012


yesterday at a canada day bbq, trying out a new vodka cooler:

j: you know it's sophisticated! it says so right on the can!