Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Almost there....

One more day of work and I'm off on vacation until May 14th. I'm not sure whether or not I'll have internet access during the first week, and I'll definitely not have it during the second, so please don't post too much so I don't have too much catching up to do when I get back.

Mr. Jazz, our friend G and I are going to Paris and Brussels for a week to see friends and catch a Marillion show (check their website here). The joys of having an airline spouse. We do have to travel standby, so it can be nerve wracking, but what the hell, if it gets me to Paris I'm game.

Marillion you ask? Or most likely don't. If it makes you feel better, no one in North America seems to know who they are, though every show I've been to in Montreal was packed. They're a really good British band who've been around for over 20 years.

"The band are renowned for having an extremely dedicated following with some fans regularly travelling significant distances (obviously it's not only Mr. Jazz and I) to attend single gigs, driven in large part by the close fan base involvement which the band cultivate via their website, podcasts, bi-annual conventions and regular fanclub publications." (from the lala.com article linked above)

Is it really bizarre that at my age I'm still a rabid fan of a rock band? Plus there is one amazing thing about them. A thing that's I've never seen anywhere else (except at a Steve Hackett show). During intermissions there is virtually no lineup for the women's loo. Probably 90% of attendees are male so no having to use the men's loo because the women's is so jammed you know you'll never get in. It's a definite plus....

Going to the show was obviously also a perfect excuse to catch up with friends (read: eat like pigs, drink ourselves silly and sleep an hour or two here and there).

The second week we'll be at our cottage recovering from jetlag, hangovers and way too much food and generally revelling in the fact that the winter? She is gone, bitch that she was.

See y'all when I get back!

In the news....

Reason 873 why I'm an atheist.

Yesterday in Slate we learned that the Vatican has made public the results of a "papal investigation into the concept of limbo". Much to our relief, it seems that unbaptized, dead babies can indeed get into heaven. To all you non catholics out there, may god bless your hellbound souls, limbo is where babies go if they die unbaptized since they're not allowed into heaven, 'cause we all know that only us baptized catholics are gettin' in there. So there.

OK, I am exaggerating just a bit. I think virtuous pagans were allowed into limbo, as were pre-christianity Jews - because otherwise that would've caused a serious problem regarding Jesus and his mom, them being Jewish and all. I wonder if Mary was a stereotypical jewish mother. However, it seems if you're a post-christianity jew well.... I'll see you in hell.


It's roadway slalom season in Montreal.

The potholes - craters? - are all over and you hit them at your own risk and that of your tires, axles and other various delicate bits of your car.

Of course, they'll eventually pave over the biggest potholes, but only once enough cars have disappeared into them that no filler will be needed.

Saves money that way, dontcha know....


Front page of the Montreal newspapers yesterday. Guy killed a cop. Guy got bail until his trial. Big scandal.

Now, if you or I had gotten killed and the "alleged perpetrator" got bail, no one would bat an eye.
Why is it a scandal if someone who killed a cop got out on bail? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it, to some extent, a risk that comes with the territory? If you're a cop, it's in the realm of possibility that you'll be shot. Me I'm just Jazz Nobody walking down the street.

Personally, I don't think anyone who murders someone should get bail. But I suppose there's something I'm missing here regarding the murder of a cop being worse. Can someone help me out?

Birthdays and Mush

Sunday was Big Brother's birthday And yesterday I wrote a cool blog for it. As I was hitting publish the electricity blew out. Some yahoo repairing something in the building provoked a blackout that lasted all day. So no birthday blog yesterday.

Now, had BB not once again managed to turn off his comments I would not have been forced to write the birthday blog. But today, since I'm totally lacking in inspiration I will recreate it, albeit belatedly. The things I do for my brother! Sheesh.

BB is a good brother to have. A significant percentage of my sarcasm and cynicism was learned from him. He taught me well. Without him I might have become one of these Pollyanna types. Chipper and saccharine nice, feeling nauseous at my sweetness every time I opened my mouth. For this I thank him.

He tortured me of course, as all big brothers are wont to do. It's part of the job description I think. But since he also paved the way with the parental units (along with JazzSis, who was no slouch in the torture of little sisters department), I forgive him. He was very useful in the "Aw c'mon let her go to ___________ (whatever social event I had my heart set on; they were few and far between since even then I was not a social creature), what could happen?" If only the parents had known! There was never ever any danger of anything happening to me. My absolute nerdiness protected me from any and all of the real fun stuff.

We went to the same Cegep*, BB and I. Had some of the same teachers. More than once, upon hearing that we were siblings the reaction was "Oh My God! Not another one!" Keep in mind that this was seven or so years later. He was remembered. And suddenly I had a quasi-reputation to uphold. I, Jazz, who had never even been enough of a blip on the radar to actually register a smidge of a shadow of a reputation! Here, suddenly, I had a chance to reinvent myself. BB's reputation paved the way. I never became one of the cool kids (there are limits to what you can accomplish in school, teenagers know what material you are made of), but I did leave a good part of the nerdiness behind.

One of BB's most memorable coups was sending in the Mormons. He had started a discussion on the existence of god with them and, for some reason known only to his bizarre self, given them our address. So, like clockwork, the Mormons would show up, wanting to convert him. He was never there of course, he didn't even live at home anymore if I recall. To this day I'm sure he did it to annoy me. I finally had to kill him off, but even then, those wholesome, clean cut Mormon "elders" (what's with that, they were all of 20 at most) wanted me to pray for his soul with them. "What soul", I asked? Oh, and for the record, a good method to get rid of Mormons and Jehovah's witnesses is to tell them you're a Satanist. Never fails. Unfortunately I learned that less many years later.

Alert: Mushiness ahead.

Despite the fact that we don't see each other much - mostly through our blogs - I know I can always count on BB for anything. He's a good man, a good husband (or so I suppose since he's been with Ms. BB for almost 30 years), a good dad and a great brother, 'cause despite all the torture and abuse, I did neglect to add that when he was 13 or 14 he'd actually let me tag along with him and his friends (probably to torture me more, but still). I love you Bro.

Whoa! Snap out of it Jazz!! Maybe he didn't teach me so well. I seem to have gotten rather maudlin there for a minute. Glad I'm over that.

* In Quebec, Cegep is equivalent to the last year of high school and the first year of university for the general program. There is also a 3-year technical program for those not interested in uni.

Friday, April 20, 2007

yes, Yes, YES!!!!

The weather has been glorious for the past couple of days, with at least a few more to come.

The snow has melted except for a pile here and there.

I saw what might be a crocus peeking up in someone's yard.

I actually saw a real live robin this morning on my way to work.

Could this mean that hypothetically, theoretically, possibly, perhaps, maybe, spring might actually have arrived in Montreal?

The mind boggles, and the heart flippity flops and sings with joy.

But terror still lurks. Who knows if it's not just an evil cosmic joke? It has been several times so far.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Virginia Tech Blog (of course)

On his blog today, Neil wrote about the Virginia Tech shootings.

When the same thing (albeit on a much smaller scale) happened at Dawson College in Montreal, I blogged about it too.

We both seem to have the same problem with this type of event : the media. Diane Sawyer’s comments regarding the shooting were ridiculous, and, to my mind, terribly insensitive. Today we are all family? I think not. We might be sympathetic to their pain, but family? No.

A local Montreal TV channel trotted out people involved in the Dawson shooting to give “advice” to the Viginia Tech students on how to deal with the situation. I highly doubt those kids were watching Montreal TV the evening of the killings. So for whose benefit was this show?

It's not that I don't feel for the students and for the families of the dead. I do. I can't begin to understand how horrific this must be for them.

But there’s a whole nasty hovering vulture quality to the coverage of such events that totally disgusts me.

But hey, they need the ratings. Who am I to say.*

Update: It seems Philip Van Cleave of the Virginia Citizen's Defense League has gone on record saying that if everyone was armed, someone would have taken care of shooting the VTech killer before he did his grisley work (see here - unfortunately it's in French). Sounds like a great idea. Let's arm everyone, that way we can have a mega shooting spree and may the last man standing win... I give up. Really.

* And once again my nasty cynicism rears its ugly head....

Monday, April 16, 2007

Weekend Visits

Mr. Jazz and I spent the weekend with family in Washington (well, Virginia actually) and I was thrilled to death to be leaving Montreal and it’s never ending snow. Of course, Washington (and most of the east coast) had never ending rain this weekend, but it wasn’t snow and it held out until late Saturday afternoon so Jazz was a happy camper. Basically, if it’s warmer than Montreal Jazz is a happy camper. So basically, if Jazz is anywhere other than Quebec, Jazz is a happy camper.

Saturday we went to the Mall – not the Mall as in Macy’s and JC Penney, the Mall as in the Capitol, the Washington monument, the Lincoln Memorial. And the Korean war Memorial, the Second World War Memorial and, of course, the Vietnam War Memorial.*

That one just turned me inside out. Wrung me out and threw me away. It’s simple, it’s powerful, it’s brilliant.

Walking along it, the wall getting higher and higher, dwarfed by the wall and all those names, those thousands of names.

Thousands of men and women, so many of them almost children still, all dead. For nothing.

What a senseless stupid waste.

Anyone who gets his/her country involved in a war should be obliged to go fight on the front lines.

Later: How ironic - Here I am bemoaning a senseless waste of life and I just found out about the Virginia Tech shooting... Why are these school shootings happening only in North America? What kind of a sick society are we living in?

* Funny, when Mr. Jazz and I went to Vietnam, they referred to it as the American War

Friday, April 13, 2007

Must read...

I trust you know Terry Pratchett? And of course Neil Gaiman? Imagine the two of them together.... The result is Good Omens: The nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. An absolutely hysterical must read.

From Amazon.com

Pratchett (of Discworld fame) and Gaiman (of Sandman fame) may seem an unlikely combination, but the topic (Armageddon) of this fast-paced novel is old hat to both. Pratchett's wackiness collaborates with Gaiman's morbid humor; the result is a humanist delight to be savored and reread again and again. You see, there was a bit of a mixup when the Antichrist was born, due in part to the machinations of Crowley, who did not so much fall as saunter downwards, and in part to the mysterious ways as manifested in the form of a part-time rare book dealer, an angel named Aziraphale. Like top agents everywhere, they've long had more in common with each other than the sides they represent, or the conflict they are nominally engaged in. The only person who knows how it will all end is Agnes Nutter, a witch whose prophecies all come true, if one can only manage to decipher them. The minor characters along the way (Famine makes an appearance as diet crazes, no-calorie food and anorexia epidemics) are as much fun as the story as a whole, which adds up to one of those rare books which is enormous fun to read the first time, and the second time, and the third time... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

When a scatterbrained Satanist nun goofs up a baby-switching scheme and delivers the infant Antichrist to the wrong couple, it's just the beginning of the comic errors in the divine plan for Armageddon which this fast-paced novel by two British writers zanily details. Aziraphale, an angel who doubles as a rare-book dealer, and Crowley, a demon friend who's assigned to the same territory, like life on Earth too much to allow the long-planned war between Heaven and Hell to happen. They set out to find the Antichrist and avert Armageddon, on the way encountering the last living descendant of Agnes Nutter, Anathema, who's been deciphering accurate prophecies of the world's doom but is unaware she's living in the same town as the Antichrist, now a thoroughly human and normal 11-year-old named Adam. As the appointed day and hour approach, Aziraphale and Crowley blunder through seas of fire and rains of fish, and come across a misguided witch hunter, a middle-aged fortune teller and the Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse. It's up to Adam in the neatly tied end, as his humanity prevails over the Divine Plan and earthly bungling. Some humor is strictly British, but most will appeal even to Americans "and other aliens."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

It's tough being a woman

Note: I received this in an email and just had to share. I wish I knew who the author was so I could credit her. It's brilliantly funny.

All hair removal methods have tricked women with their promises of easy, painless removal - The Epilady, scissors, razors, Nair and now... the wax. Read on.

My night began as any other normal weeknight. Come home, fix dinner, play with the kids. I then had the thought that would ring painfully in my mind for the next few hours: "Maybe should pull the waxing kit out of the medicine cabinet."

So I headed to the site of my demise: the bathroom. It was one of those "cold wax" kits. No melting a clump of hot wax, you just rub the strips together in your hand, they get warm and you peel them apart and press them to your leg (or wherever else) and you pull the hair right off.

No muss, no fuss. How hard can it be? I mean, I'm not a genius, but I am mechanically inclined enough to figure this out. (YA THINK!?!) So I pull one of the thin strips out. Its two strips facing each other stuck together. Instead of rubbing them together, my genius kicks in so I get out the hair dryer and heat it to 1000 degrees. ("Cold wax," yeah...right!)

I lay the strip across my thigh. Hold the skin around it tight and pull. It works! OK, so it wasn't the best feeling, but it wasn't too bad. I can do this! Hair removal no longer eludes me! I am She-rah, fighter of all wayward body hair and maker of smooth skin extraordinaire.

With my next wax strip I move north. After checking on the kids, I sneak back into the bathroom, for the ultimate hair fighting championship. I drop my panties and place one foot on the toilet. Using the same procedure, I apply the wax strip across the right side of my bikini line, covering the right half of my hoo-ha and stretching down to the inside of my butt cheek (it was a long strip) I inhale deeply and brace myself....RRRRIIIPPP!!!! I'm blind!!! Blinded from pain!!!!... Oh! My! Gawd!!!!!

Vision returning, I notice that I've only managed to pull off half the strip. CRAP! Another deep breath and RRRRRIIIIIP! Everything is spinning and spotted. I think I may pass out...must stay conscious...must stay conscious. Do I hear crashing drums??? Breathe, breathe...OK, back to normal. I want to see my trophy - a wax covered strip, the one that has caused me so much pain, with my hairy pelt sticking to it. I want to revel in the glory that is my triumph over body hair.

I hold up the strip! There's no hair on it. Where is the hair??? Where is the wax??? Slowly I ease my head down, foot still perched on the toilet. I see the hair. The hair that should be on the strip...it's not! I touch. I am touching wax. I run my fingers over the most sensitive part of my body, which is now covered in cold wax and matted hair.

Then I make the next big mistake...remember my foot is still propped upon the toilet? I know I need to do something. So I put my foot down. Sealed shut! My butt is sealed shut. Sealed shut! I penguin walk around the bathroom trying to figure out what to do and think to myself "Please don't let me get the urge to poop. My head may pop off!" What can I do to melt the wax? Hot water!! Hot water melts wax!! I'll run the hottest water I can stand into the bathtub, get in, immerse the wax-covered bits and the wax should melt and I can gently wipe it off, right??? WRONG!!

I get in the tub - the water is slightly hotter than that used to torture prisoners of war or sterilize surgical equipment - I sit. Now, the only thing worse than having your nether regions glued together, is having them glued together and then glued to the bottom of the tub...in scalding hot water. Which, by the way, doesn't melt cold wax. So, now I'm stuck to the bottom of the tub as though I had cemented myself to the porcelain!!

God bless the man who had convinced me a few months ago to have a phone put in the bathroom. I call my friend, thinking surely she has waxed before and has some secret of how to get me undone.

It's a very good conversation starter "So, my butt and hoo-ha are glued together to the bottom of the tub!"

There is a slight pause. She doesn't know any secret tricks for removal but she does try to hide her laughter from me. She wants to know exactly where the wax is located, "Are we talking cheeks or hole or hoo-ha?" She's laughing out loud by now...I can hear her. I give her the rundown and she suggests I call the number on the side of the box.

Yeah! Right!! I should be the joke of someone else's night. While we go through various solutions. I resort to trying to scrape the wax off with a razor . Nothing feels better than to have your girlie goodies covered in hot wax, glued shut, stuck to the tub in super hot water and then dry-shaving the sticky wax off!!

By now the brain is not working, dignity has taken a major hike and I'm pretty sure I'm going to need Post-Traumatic Stress counseling for this event. My friend is still talking with me when I finally see my saving grace....the lotion they give you to remove the excess wax. What do I really have to lose at this point? I rub some on and OH MY GOD!!!!!!! The scream probably woke the kids and scared the dickens out of my friend. It's sooo painful, but I really don't care. "It works!! It works !!"

I get a hearty congratulation from my friend and she hangs up. I successfully remove the remainder of the wax and then notice to my grief and despair.... the hair is still there... All! Of! It! So I recklessly shave it off. Heck, I'm numb by now. Nothing hurts. I could have amputated my own leg at this point.

Next week I'm going to try hair color......

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Random Mutterings

Today, topping of the "people that annoy me" list: In the more popular blogs, commenters who leave the “Yippi I’m first” comment, then, as a second comment, the “Now to go read the blog” comment. Nobody but yourself cares you’re first and if you think being first makes you special, think again, it only makes you annoying.

10-ish year old boys should not have more boobs than I do. Granted there’s not much boobification going on with me, but still, a 10 year old boy should not have boobs. Ever. How can a child be that fat?

Spring still pretty much refuses to arrive in Montreal. I’m going to see family in Washington (DC) this weekend and am looking forward to experiencing he real thing, if only for 48 hours.

How is it that in North America, pretty much the richest continent in the world, there are so many homeless wandering around Montreal (to name just one city). How can it be that with so much money around, children still go hungry and people live in the streets? The mind boggles. (Yeah, I know, I’m a bleeding heart and all that. I have my moments. Sue me).

I feel like eviscerating someone today. More to the point I think it would actually be lots of fun. Damn hormones.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Off for the weekend....

Disclaimer: Some might find this post offensive. Consider yourselves warned.

Long weekend this week. Because of Easter I have Friday off. I'm not too big on God, being an atheist and all, but hey, if it gets me a day off, I'm all for it.

Besides, how can I believe in a God who would get so pissed off at his people he'd have his son go down and be crucified to pay for their sins. Not simply run through with a sword. No. Crucified.

And not for his own sins. Nope for humanity's.

Where is the logic in this? I have this thing for logical reasons if you feel the need to have people crucified.

Is it just me or is this god guy a deeply sick person? He would have to be a total psychopath 'cause really, what on earth does this accomplish?

You are a god. You have this son. Presumably, you quite like your son... Or not. Because you look at all them humans down there, sinning and having all manner of fun and decide, "Hey, they're sinning non stop these creations of mine. I have to put a stop to it. I know, I'll have my only son tortured to death to punish them!"

Now, is it just me, or is this the sign of a sick sick mind? Besides, it doesn't seem to have worked, does it? From my vantage point we're all pretty much way up there on the sin-o-meter.

Reason #569 why I'm an atheist.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Women and Hair, Part II

A while back,I decided to let my natural colour grow back in, after years and years of “totally natural” un-natural hair colour.

And so it has been done. A couple of weeks ago I got my hair cut, the last of the colour taken out and now I’m the proud (?) owner of a head of grey…um… salt 'n peppa hair.

There are still moments when I go past a mirror and do a double take. I also notice women who have grey hair now, which I never did before. But all in all, I quite like it. I think it looks pretty good but what the hell do I know. And no, I can’t post a pic. Remember, I still pretty much live in the 20th century, so I have no home computer, microwave or digital camera.

The reaction has been, to say the least, varied.

There have been several “If you can’t find anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” reactions. The type where you know they’ve noticed. Their non-comments speak volumes.

Then there are the “Oh my god I can’t believe you actually went through with it” people. The ones who squeal. Shudder inducing to say the least.

And the “You are so brave” people. That one stymies me each time. Brave how? I stopped colouring my hair; I’m not going to Iraq! If I don’t like it I can change it. Amazing how hard it seems to be for some people to grasp that concept.

And one person who seemed to take it personally that I would actually dare show grey, thus sending the cause of women spinning backwards 100 years… That was strange to say the least.

Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, all the negative feedback comes from women. Men, well they pretty much don’t give a damn. But then men don’t seem to have the same emotional entanglements with hair that women do (pun intended, it was so bad I couldn’t resist).

I’m beginning to think that there’s quite a fascinating sociological study to be done on women and hair.

I’m also beginning to think that I must have been a guy in another life, ‘cause my hair? The lower maintenance the better. Annoying, time wasting stuff it is.