31 January, 2014

lady bits

dear manufacturers of the euphemistically named feminine hygiene products,*

what is up with the scents? seriously? if i was meant to smell like flowers, i'd have a pot-pourri basket instead of a vagina. cut. it. out. it's vile.

thank you,

concerned citizen with a non-floral vagina

*menstruation paraphernalia for those unwilling to engage in euphemisms when dealing with regular normal body stuff. yes, it's blood. get over it.

29 January, 2014

them's the numbers and the numbers they don't lie

i like to think of myself as an intelligent person. i maintain this opinion by the cunning use of selective comparison, by surrounding myself with intelligent people and finally, through careful and almost entirely successful math avoidance. sadly, this term has brought into my life a class with the charming name "analytical methods for planners" that is almost entirely math and statistics based.

despite the fact that i got top marks in my high school math courses (though even then i did not enjoy them), i balked when faced with calculus, and have since maintained a semi-mythical Fear of Numbers. i am now realising how stupid it was for me to keep feeding this semi-fictional account of things, because it has been proven by my marks (granted, a great many years and an even greater number of brain cells ago) that i can indeed do this shit, and the fear that has since grown does nothing to help me overcome the assignments that i must overcome. my primary reaction is awed astonishment that someone would be so cruel, followed in short order by panic. not surprisingly, this does not help the situation at all, but it has over the years become my default setting.

so whenever i get too big for my britches, and all sorts of intellectually snarky, be so kind as to remind me of the fact that i am mathematical anti-genius. one look at me and c last week trying to scale some maps would have left you laughing uncomfortably (or shaking your collective heads* in dismay). it was to the point where we were considering removing our boots and socks to get at toes to add to the fingers necessary for the calculations. eventually we gave up and i forced mister monkey to try to get this stuff through my head over the weekend…semi-successfully.

i feel rather strongly that if i hadn't made it one of my "things," this fear of math, then my attitude would have remained more open, thereby allowing in a greater understanding. i mean, i don't have to love it, but it sure would be nice not to be reduced to slack-jawed terror at the sight of excel or a scale work sheet. looks like the buffoonery has come home to roost.

*great band name, no? "collective heads"

14 January, 2014

myths perpetuated by american television

  • couples sleep together wearing many layers of clothes even when they're married and sex is officially legal. AND they live in california or other hot places. must be the air conditioning.
  • when not encased in long-sleeved t-shirts, women sleep in sexy bras because they are very very comfortable. sometimes, if they're wearing sexy nighties, they will have a sexy bra underneath, for extra comfort.
  • women sleep in full make-up.
  • in sexual intercourse, the boy bits just sort of fall into the girl bits, without the need for any kind of awkward manoeuvring. 
  • women change their hairstyles seasonally (i.e. television season, not earth's rotation season), so that they will wear their curly hair straight for the entire 14 episodes, and then curly, for the next 14 episodes and so forth. if they change their make-up style, say, going all "edgy," this too will remain the same through the entire season. this must be not to confuse the viewers. 
  • all women have long hair. that's how we know that women are women and men are men and all is right in the universe. if they are police officers or secret agents, their hair remains their crowning glory, because a mannish job like that requires that extra bit of sex appeal. otherwise we would get confused about the roles of men and women in society and that is not good.
  • this is also the reason women police officers, secret agents, spies and assorted sundries always wear very high heels. 
  • when two people buddy up in a secret agent/police type situation, and they have a humorous conflict of personalities, it is always the man who is charmingly immature, rebellious, unwilling to follow the rules; and it is the woman who is serious, unsmiling, by-the-book and must keep the man on track. eventually he might be able to get through to her and teach her that life can sometimes be a lighthearted caper through the radish patch, while she manages to make him realise that sometimes following rules is a good thing, in that fewer people get killed. this is because men are perpetual children and women are mommies…i think. or maybe men are fun and women are not. or maybe… i dunno. you tell me.
  • everybody in the united states of america (with the notable exception of street folk, terrorist cells, and humorous hillbillies) lives in beautiful, spacious, historical apartments. even in new york.
  • strong female characters are bitchy and serious, else they could not be strong. strong woman = bitch. laughter and a sense of humour suggest frivolity and shallowness, unless you're a man, in which case you can be both strong AND funny. 
i could go on, and i am likely to pop back here and flesh out the list. 

why, then, do i watch television? because it's an escape from reality, that's why. 

13 January, 2014

when silly tired people have silly tired conversations

i'm reading a really really boring chapter on analytical methodology for urban planners. my fabulous roommate walks in.

moi: do you know the difference between a projection and a forecast?

mfr: a projection's on a wall and a forecast…

moi: ...is on the tip of a dick!!!

*i collapse in giggles*

mfr:… well, maybe on the tip of a broken dick.

moi: that is BRILLIANT!!!

*paroxysms of laughter ensue*

12 January, 2014

memory lane, not to be confused with mammary lane, which is in a whole other neighbourhood

i really like this one. i used to be clever once. now i'm just…i dunno…not clever.

mad writes rhymes

i am going to go out on a limb here and say that this is likely the only ode to fort mcmurray ever written. i could be wrong, but hey, i could be right. i went back into the past and brought it forth for your enjoyment. wherever you live, it's likely not as bad as this.

here it is, for the linkedly-challenged:

ode to fort mcmurray (2007)

oh fort mcmurray
you strip me naked
remove the sleek hypocrisy of civilisation
reveal the killer within:

i want to clean dried idiot blood
from under my fingernails
with a hunting knife
dulled from much use

oh swirling vortex of dumb
oh mass exodus of the human lemming
leaving your hell hole
for a weekend of puking off whyte avenue
painting my hometown
the colour of your cheap digested beer

oh you, with your macdonald's bags
tossed out the window of your speeding truck
with far too many wheels
and too few brain cells

oh fort mcmurray
you make me ask the question
that man has asked for countless years:
how many skidoos does one person need?

oh backward baseball capped and gold be-chained
oh toothless and uncombed
oh smelly and unwashed
your crusty pants besmirching the already oily breeze
why do you not go home?
the sea calls you
does it not leave a number?
go home
and let me go home too

chalk this one up to progress

i had my google map open and was measuring block lengths in a particularly walkable neighbourhood in calgary when i suddenly realised that 3 years back, i would have been measuring people's dental pockets and oh what a joyous revelation that this is my life now: no blood, no fear of malpractice*, no halitosis, no stress. just click and drag on the google map ruler tool, and whammo! 110m - 150m block length is particularly friendly to the pedestrian. now you know.

*not that this was an active fear, but somehow it was always there, in the back of my mind, this fear that i could do some damage if i put my mind to it.

11 January, 2014

you're off by just a teensy little bit

there's a raging horizontal snowstorm outside my window: trees dancing, huge flakes racing across the sky, wind howling. 

this is what the weather network is telling me:


10 January, 2014

beasts! in the dark!

cooking and drinking with my fabulous roommate tonight (it's our friday date night), talking about why the geese aren't going south for the winter.

mfr: i was walking though the park today and there were quacking beasts in the dark.

moi: quacking beasts in the dark? 

mfr: yes, i AM nature man. 

mfr: doesn't that sound ominous? an ominous form of wildlife.

moi: yeah, it sounds like a title of a book…of poetry.

mfr: yeah, a lot of things rhyme with dark.

in the end, we have no idea why the geese aren't going south for the winter. anyone? any birdolologists (amateur or otherwise) please chip in.

the chinook blues (well, more faecal browns, putrid beiges and noxious greys)

not a happy day.

the chinook continues its nasty job of undermining both winter and my equanimity: streets covered with melting brown slush that's reminiscent of the manure-infused mud and water one can find around a pig farm; disturbingly warm wind whipping the clouds around; boots covered in salt stains despite constant efforts to clean and polish; migraines crouched always just out of sight but ever at the ready; not a sparkling bit of frost to be found for love or money.


oh for a nice crisp winter's day.

to add insult to injury (cue annual rant), the majority of the population continues to wreak linguistic havoc by equating warm with nice (i.e. "it's nice out" when wading through ankle-deep manure-like slush does not meet my criteria of "nice," and when what they really mean is "it's warm out"), and continues their socially-acceptable and media-supported hatred of winter. why am i the outlier, the weirdo, when, having chosen to live in a cold climate, i actually embrace the winter and find things to love in it? i'm tired of having to defend to people (even friends sometimes) the fact that i do indeed love winter and no, i am not merely lying to myself about it, har har.

isn't it a sign of some kind of mental and emotional balance to try to embrace the reality of one's surroundings instead of choosing to bitch constantly about the fact that we ain't got no palm trees lining our streets? i don't know, maybe it's not, but i do think that some of our happiness does stem from facing a situation's reality and the reality here (well, in edmonton, not so much in calgary with its infernal chinooks (i am here temporarily and am therefore exempt from the reality clause of having to learn to love chinooks)) is several months of serious winter. as in november to march, with probable snippets both before and after.

my suggestion is to face reality and in the case of winter, the suggestion has two sides: a mental one (you live in alberta; embrace the climate; don't feed the hate) and a practical one (buy clothing that is appropriate to the conditions - calling something a winter coat does not automatically make it a winter coat. it should also be… i don't know.. warm?). it's astonishing how simple the latter is, and yet how some people figure a light fall coat will do double duty in -35ºC (mister monkey is exempt here, because the man is actually truly never cold and would likely sweat to death in a parka).

i'm happy to note that more and more the streets of our cities are populated by young people wearing weather-appropriate attire. amazing how much happier you can be when you are dressed for the conditions. hah - maybe that, right there, is the answer to all  most of life's problems: rubber boots in vancouver, mukluks in edmonton, flip-flops in honolulu = happiness.

(note: i do realise that i bitch about the weather and then about people bitching about the weather. like i said, my excuse is that this windswept city is not my home and i didn't choose it. )

06 January, 2014

reality revisited

it's currently -40ºC with windchill. before i made my peace with winter i would question the wisdom of living in a climate that could literally kill you in minutes. now i just shrug and put another layer on. still, no walkies for me today.

and no runnies, either, if the last 3 weeks are any indication. during my holiday times, i totally and completely let myself go: i ate too much (par for the course of a polish christmas), drank waaaaay too much (mister monkey's newly discovered astonishing mixology skillz will be the bane of my liver), ran maybe 4 times and after my one-on-one yoga instruction completely and utterly failed to do any yoga. and so i am entering the new year with an overworked liver, a few extra pounds, and a terrible attitude of laziness. let's hope the routine of school helps me get over this, cause otherwise, my poultries, i'm in serious trouble.

which brings me to the title of this post - as someone who takes great pride in self-awareness and an approach to life rooted firmly in reality instead of fantasy, i was thrown for a loop in recent months by my inability to grasp the reality of a certain situation. you see, when it comes to people, i am a total optimist: you need to kick me several times, and in strategic places, before i see you are less than awesome. it seems that i have finally arrived at that point - realising that beautiful words do not reality make. when someone tells you how absolutely fabulous you are, and how important in their life, and then completely and utterly fails to back that up with solid action, well, eventually even a starry eyed ijit like yours truly will see the light.

i think spending time with my fabulous people over the holidays clarified things for me as well. granted, i tend to be the one who calls, who arranges, who ensures that contact is maintained, but those of my friends who fail in this regard have a long history with me and a solid base of mutual respect, understanding and love. they also treat me well, can be counted on and are a constant in my life. and so, in the new year i am ready to offer up blessed thanks for my wonderful friends, while also promising to maintain a clear vision of those who would give me a bag of assholes wrapped in sparkly paper, hoping i don't notice.*

tomorrow i head back south to finish my edumacation. i am neither dreading nor looking forward to it, though i am little worried about the upcoming group work (please, please, please, baby jebus, don't put me in a group with the baboons**). as you know, i'll keep you in the loop. onward and upward!

*come to think of it, it's kinda a double whammy, innit? a. giving me a bag of assholes and b. thinking i am so stupid i won't realise what i've been given. i.e. not worth any real trouble AND ALSO dumb. yoiks.

**with apologies to actual baboons.