13 February, 2014

king of the hill

it's really hard not to feel like a pretentious asshole when buying a plane ticket to kathmandu and stressing to the agent the importance of having to be there on a specific date so that you can have time to acclimatize before hitting everest base camp.

if you know me well, you likely have heard me rant and rave about the everest crowd - pretentious assholes every last one. besides, what's the achievement in paying somebody 50K to outfit you for a trip up a mountain that is so crowded you need to line up to summit? soon they'll put in an escalator or, better still, all mobility access ramp so that the flabby and the infirm can ride up in their power scooters. and yet, in a couple of months, i too shall be adding my carcass to the moving carpet of humanity that litters the crowded slopes of the king of mountains*.

just so you know, this isn't my bucket list that's getting a checkmark; it's my dad's. he and my cousin are so in love with the place they've gone back several times, and this time he wants to take me and my mom along for the ride. and so, instead of hitting my bucket list (vietnam, i'm looking at you. and you, amsterdam, my great love!) to celebrate finishing school, i am taking one on the chin for family. though you must know i'm actually quite looking forward to it. the kathmandu part for sure. the mountain part…not so much (the climbing! the lack of oxygen! and did i mention the climbing?)

i just wish i didn't feel like such an asshole about the everest base camp bit of the trip. next thing you know, i'll be wearing oakleys (sorry, c - you know they're the official sunglasses of the north american asshole.)

*if you know me well, you'll also know that i think everest is cheating, since its base is so high above sea level. sure, it's the highest point on earth, but base to summit, kilimanjaro kicks everest's ass…and that's another mountain filled to the brim with asshole tourists. 

12 February, 2014

a funny thing happened to me on the way to the forum

c and i finished friday's graphic assignment tuesday evening. sure, i stayed at school a wee bit late two evenings in a row, but c did most of the heavy lifting and all i had to do is polish up the sharp edges which is something i adore, so… that's done.

today, after days and days of perambulations, obfuscations and procrastinations, i tackled my essay. i'd been doing research for over a week, reading article after article*, jotting down the salient points in a 5-page file, along with the very best quotes and a general outline. a lot of work, my poultries, especially for a topic that fails to excite. today i began to write. i was one paragraph in when i decided to transfer the essay bits off the notes page into a new document so i could look at both at the same time. simple, non? non.

in the midst of this simple copy and paste, word freezes up and all comes to a standstill. there is a pregnant pause**and then i realise that nothing's budging, so i force quit word and then restart. guess what i find: i now have 2 files, one titled notes, the other titled essay, both with nothing but that first paragraph on them, and the notes are nowhere to be found.

i scoured the laptop, i scoured the interwebs, i tried every flavour of IT snake-oil known to nerd, and nothing. nothing. NOTHING!!! i'd rather have lost that one paragraph than a week's and 10 articles' worth of notes. i came pretty damn close to crying, let me tell you, the upside of which was realising that it's been a damn long while since i felt like crying, which i suppose is a sweet little nugget in a pile of bitter poo.

at any rate, after railing about this on facebook (wherein i had to explain to people repeatedly that I DID SAVE the damn document, after all, i'd been using it for a week so obviously it was saved and also, i'm not a complete idiot and YES, i have auto-save and YES, i know how to search for missing things which all makes it even worse, cause this thing is gone, baby, gone), i went on to write roughly half the essay, pulling the information randomly out of various orifices, hoping the elegance of my prose would cover the alarming lack of organisation. then i thought i'd celebrate, because, honey, i deserve it.

we all know that chez moi, nothing says celebration like a nice glass of vino, so with c's blessings (have two, he tells me, you deserve it (see? i told you i deserved it!)) i went to open a bottle languishing on a shelf.

i plunged in my corkscrew and half the cork came out. i went in again and another piece came out. i went in again, aiming for the least mangled portion of the cork. more chunks came out. again and again, i tried to open the damn bottle and kept getting small chunks of fine portuguese cork all over my damn counter. there came a point where i had had enough (and not nearly enough cork for further excavation) and decided to do it the old fashioned street-thug way - using a knife to push the rest of the cork in.

have you ever done that, my poultries? pushed a cork in? i've seen mister monkey do it, and it looked easy. hah. HAH, i tell you. it wasn't easy. what happened was this: the cork went in easily enough, displacing with its small but notable presence, according to the annoying laws of physics (the displacement of mass and all that), an equal amount of red wine, which went out and up and directly into my eye. that shit stings, did you know? i ran to the sink, washed my face and was ready to laugh at the ridiculousness of the whole thing…until i looked up and saw the walls. the walls covered with matte white wallpaper. in the kitchen. yes. you heard me. and yes, you can draw your own conclusions about the intellect or practicality of the person responsible for that particular decorating travesty. i think i might have been able to wash the wine off if i'd gone after it immediately, alas i was too busy bending over the sink muttering, it burns, it burns! as i splashed cold water in my eyes.

my shirt was also covered with attractive splashes of wine, as was the counter and the floor. obviously, those are no big deal. but come on, porous white wallpaper in the kitchen? what. the. fuck. and to really flesh out this story, let me tell you that the number of glasses of red wine that i spilled over the years at my roommate's other houses, usually all over very light carpeting, was so great that i was no longer allowed to drink red.

i think i may be done for the day.

the wine, by the way, is very good.

P.S. i just 'fessed up to my fabulous roommate (on account of it being kinda impossible to hide, unlike the one time i spilled grape juice on their white master bedroom carpet and hid it by moving all the furniture 2 inches to the right) and you know what he said? "if some is pink now, we're going to need more red wine." best roommate ever.

*real books are for fun. for research, it best be electronic or i ain't gonna read it.

**for all you pc users, this is not a typical daily occurrence with macs. it's very very VERY rare.

07 February, 2014

the trooff, the whole trooff and nothing but the trooff

i've had several conversations lately with various friends and it got me thinking about the concept of honesty. let me preface everything that is to come by saying that i do believe in honesty. anyone who knows me knows that i am mostly upfront about what i feel and why i feel it. yes, i wish i was better about dealing with unpleasantness in a work or school environment, but hey, it ain't bad.

however, the idea of being completely honest, utterly and totally open about what is going on in my head makes me feel ill. i am an intensely private person, though i know you find it hard to believe. but surely you must know that even when i open myself wide, i am keeping a whole lot hidden. i have never been dishonest here, but i have never been completely honest either. you know very little of what's been going on in my life (other than what you've inferred or imagined) and i intend to keep it that way. what you know is how it all made me feel. i have no qualms about sharing my feelings.

one of the most spiritually uncomfortable moments of my young life was when a (catholic school) teacher said that when we die, all that we have ever thought or done will be projected on a large screen for god to see. i remember feeling nauseous at the concept - even with the implied notion that god already would have known all my most secret thoughts. my head is, and has always been, my own. my thoughts, my dreams, my fantasies, my ideals are mine, mine, mine.

i also find the concept of total and complete honesty in relationships morally repugnant. it feels like violation to be expected to share absolutely everything and keep nothing secret. i would not want mr. monkey to share his whole being with me, and i would never reciprocate if he did. i need my secret self. i crave it. and i think it is everyone's right to have that inviolable core. i don't think it's wrong if others believe in total honesty, i just don't buy it for myself.

the only case for full and total honesty that i do buy is with oneself. it ain't easy, but it's vital.

and lest you think i have closets full of skeletons or bodies buried all over the continent, well, i could tell you that is not the case, but i prefer to keep that to myself.

06 February, 2014


it's not even 8am, so clearly i am not drunk. just a quick disclaimer to get out of the way, because i fear i may be heading in a sentimental direction and i don't want you to jump to the obvious, though wrong, conclusion.

mr. monkey and i were walking home from a lovely dinner party a couple weekends ago, carefully navigating the ice mountains that cover our sidewalks this bipolar* winter (-25ºC! +15ºC! again! and again!), when it occurred to me that while it may be inordinately hard to get one's own measure (so many complicated ego-driven, willfully blind, confusing, mood-related ups and downs!), it's really rather simple to do it via one's friends.

think about it - the quality of your friends says so much about you, don't it? well, i choose to say it does, largely because hot damn, i am one lucky lady in the friend department. when i take a mental inventory of the people in my life, i come up with the corollary that i must be pretty damn awesome myself to be surrounded by so much glowing awesomeness. if there's one thing i've been lucky in (and i've been lucky in so much! praise the little flying manatees!), it's the people in my life.

and now there's new ones to add to the pack - the ones at school (and you know who you are) who make me happy happy happy to see their shining mugs every day; the virtual ones on here who have held my hand when i most needed hand holding, virtual or otherwise; my fabulous roommate who doesn't really count as a new acquisition but whom i have gotten to know ever so much better over the last year and a bit and who has exceeded all my expectations** and who brings so much laughter and surreal humour to my daily life.

all the black sad bits in my life are more than offset by the gleeful gaggle of gorgeous gems that are my friends.

*never mind the polar vortex - the bipolar vortex is what we've been going through and it's exhausting.

**maybe my expectations are too low. note to self: increase expectations. surely that couldn't ever end badly!