Thursday, August 30, 2007
So, in the immortal words of Ian, HERE'S WHAT I'VE DONE, and if I’m in the mood for it, what I still want to do.
I’ve trekked in Nepal twice (1996 and 2000) – once to the Annapurna, once to Everest base camp – well, at least I tried. Both times I was hit with altitude sickness and so I never made it to my goal. Even all these years later the failure still rankles mightily even though I did make it to 4300 (or was it 4600) meters before admitting that going any further would probably result in very bad karma for me and BB (he was with me the second time and had it too).
I’ve seen the Swayambunath stupa – which along with the Bodnath stupa is probably the most beautiful in Nepal.
I’ve been to Pashupati and watched the ritual of burning the bodies on the edge of the river. It was both beautiful and nasty – nasty because some tourists had no respect and actually stood beside burning bodies to have their pictures taken. Beautiful because there’s no histrionics, no "oh my god, they really fixed him up nice didn't they?", no dragging on of wakes and such. It's done immediately after the person dies and it's done with dignity. And we stayed on the other side of the river…
I’ve eaten Tonkinese soup (Pho) at 5:00 am in Hanoi while waiting for a bus to take us to Ha Long Bay – that place is breathtaking. I’ve seen ruins of the the imperial city in Hue, been robbed in Saigon and held a beautiful but heavy 10 foot long python in my arms in the Mekong Delta.
I’ve snorkelled off Gili Air Island in Indonesia – and while watching the coral all of a sudden found myself on the edge of a canyon. The Island ends HERE.
I’ve toured vineyards and eaten fish and chips on the beach in Oz and become familiar enough with Paris to know my way around.
I’ve road tripped extensively in the southwest USA – I would sell my soul to live in southern Arizona.
Closer to home is where I start having problems, it seems my life is nothing much here but I’ll give it a try.
I’ve tried illegal mind altering substances. More than once. I never really stuck with it though, my mind is altered enough in reality, never mind chemically altering it. Plus smoke hurts my asthma.
I’ve done other unspecified illegal things which I won’t go into because my brother reads this (On se garde une petite gène).
I’ve read thousands of books. If I start at 10 years old and very conservatively figure two books a week x 36 years since then it comes out to about 3700. I’m sure it’s way more though
I bought a cottage with Mr. Jazz though the responsibility scared the shit out of me – and still does.
I celebrated my 40th birthday by skydiving. Freefalling is the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done (along with picking up that python)
Strange exercise this is… It’s weird because I realize that most of my “accomplishments” took place far from home on the other side of the world, and somehow it seems they don’t really count since I was on vacation and well, you do stuff on vacation; it’s part of the deal. Meh… Next up, what I want to do. That one might be quite a bit shorter since I tend to not know what I want to do until about three minutes beforehand.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
A five year old boy paid. He was raped and abused.
I can’t help but thinking that humanity is fucked. We’re sick. We destroy people, we destroy the environment and more to the point we seem to take immense pleasure in it. I think the best thing that could happen is that we be wiped off the face of the planet. Give some other species a chance. They sure as hell can’t do any worse than we did.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
In possibly the stupidest excuse ever to not hold an election, Quebec Premier Jean Charest declared that there could be no election in Quebec before 2009 because 2008 is Quebec city's 400th anniversary.
I fail to see the logic in that argument, especially since the liberals have a minority government. Wouldn't that take the timing of the next election pretty much out of their hands?
Quebec singer Claude Dubois' latest album just went double platinum in Quebec (i.e. 200,000 copies sold). It's a remake of some of his old songs in duets with singers who are very popular today. Kudos to him. Call me a cynic, but I see duet albums as an effort to relaunch a flagging career. But if it worked for Tony Bennett...
Dear Guy in the Hummer,
There is really no reason to pass people on a one lane one way street in order to get to that red light 50 feet away more quickly. Especially when that entails mowing me down. I know driving a hummer dispenses you from the rules of the road. I know the size of your hummer is directly proportional to your penile insecurities, and I feel only compassion for your plight, but get a grip boy. At least you had the decency to look sheepish when I yelled at you. Did your mother yell at you a lot in the street?
If only for that I'll try to fix it with the boss so you don't end up in environmental hell with me because of that behemoth you drive. On second thought, nope. I'll have you sent to the 9th circle of environmental hell for that truck. I can't even begin to fathom how horrific that will be. Rabid environmentalists are scary people.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Of course, this doesn't mean it's not going to get its ass fired. Because that tank? It is so fired. However, this gives us a bit of breathing room in order to get the damn thing done right. This is a good thing, truly a good thing.
So I spent Saturday sleeping, sleeping, and when I was done with that sleeping some more. We were in bed before 11 on Friday, got to sleep eventually (any more details would be TMI and would boost my blog rating to X up from R), woke up at 10:30, had a snooze on the couch at 1:00 and got back up about 4:30, and went to a friend's place for dinner. And verily, it was good. Indeed it was. Yep yep.
During my few hours of wakefullness on Saturday, I watched Red, a tiny red squirrel - damn, we're good at original names! - who hangs out in the bird feeders, chase away a huge mother of a black squirrel. This black guy, I swear, is the size of a 4 month old kitten. Monstrous thing it is, but very very timid. Diminutive though he is, Red is a badass scrapper and made short work of the black guy. It was brilliant, though I felt sort of sorry for the big galute. Of course, Red is the same guy who stole what was left of my pear last week. The core was bigger than he was. Note to self: make sure Red always has plenty of birdfeed, or you might just forfeit your life.
Friday, August 17, 2007
And Mr. Jazz and I are outta here!!!
I'm gonna sleep and sleep and sleep, and hopefully have much to snark about on Monday. And jus as hopefully, have time to catch up with you all.
Have a great weekend sweethearts!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Now, before anyone comments that I should leave this horrible place, let me add - for want of a better word - a disclaimer - I have the right word on the tip of my tongue(fingers?), but it won't come out; anyone have the right word? . Ian? You're a writer, you must know the word I'm looking for... I'm babbling aren't I? Or at the very least digressing - again. Blame overwork.
So.... If it seems that every time I talk about my job it's to complain, you're absolutely right. If a job is perfectly wonderful, what is there to say? So, yeah, I complain when I talk about my job.
This being said, I don't hate my job. Not by a long shot. It's not always hellish, far from it. Actually I quite like it most of the time, after all I wouldn't have stuck around 14 years otherwise, I'm not that much of a masochist. Actually I'm not any much of a masochist (and if that made no sense, I plead exhaustion). It's just that I have a tendancy to get frazzled under pressure (and when I'm PMSing) and hate everything about my work. Well, mostly some people. Temporarily. There are days like that. Waddaya gonna do?
Can anyone honestly say they love all aspects of their jobs all the time? Hmmmmm? Didn't think so.
This being said, if a long lost uncle died and left me his monumental fortune, I'd be out of here in a minute. But I'm sure most people can say that about their jobs.
It's the nature of the beast.
I'm one of those people who is easy enough to content. I have a job that pays very well for what it is, I usually leave it here at the end of the day, I have a roof in town and a cottage (with a dying septic system, but a cottage nevertheless), good friends, Mr. Jazz makes me happy. What else can I ask for?
I suppose I could ask for the perfect job too, but, being a pragmatist, I'm not really sure that even exists. And if it did exist, I'm sure most people would eventually find fault, or think that it's better somewhere else. As Big Brother says, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence because of all the shit that's spread over it". BB is quite the pragmatist too.
I'm not quite sure where I was going with this... um...
I guess that my job is ok all in all and that i'm fine with there being days when I loathe it. 'Cause it gives me something to blog about, dontcha know...
PS: How funny is it that when I googled images for "busy at work" up popped two illustrations by one of my favourite bloggers, Paula. I love serendipity...
Thursday, August 09, 2007
San Francisco had it's "Summer of Love". Montreal is in the middle of its "Baby Boomer Summer of Nostalgia".
I don't know who had the brilliant idea of pulling old 80s bands out of the mothballs, but Boomers are lapping it up.
- Def Leppard with Styx as an opening band
- The Police
- Deep Purple
And what about Pink Floyd? Or did they already pass through and I didn't even notice because I was in bed snoring at 9:30?
Now, I'm not saying that's wrong. Hell I'm on the tail end of the boom myself, so who am I to talk. I like rock shows so long as I don't have to spend $200 on a ticket.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Maybe I was of the ilk of H. H. Holmes, Vlad Tepes, Gilles de Rais or Elizabeth Bathory.
I really would like to know.
Because Karma, the bitch, she has risen up and is biting me in the ass. Hard.
It's the only reason I can find to explain the insanity that is my job these days.
I'm not even able to find time to be evil in this lifetime these days. Which is just as well I suppose, because what would happen the next lifetime along?
Friday, August 03, 2007
When an ambulance tears up the street behind you, sirens screaming, all lights flashing, you let them past. I don't care if your light is red (the probable 6 or 7 of us who had the green weren't going anywhere in order to let the amulance pass), you get your ass out of the way.
Not only is it common decency, I'm pretty sure it's illegal to not let the ambulance by.
And you didn't even have the excuse you were on the phone and didn't notice. You are an Idiot (yes, with a capital "I"). You might argue that your idiocy is not your fault, but rather, falls squarely on the shoulders of genetics. Perhaps. But even idiots can learn simple things like getting out of the way of an ambulance.
I know I'm being totall anal here, but let me explain a really difficult concept to you.
You have lunch in the kitchen. You pick up the sponge to wash your dishes. You wash your dishes. So far so good.
Now let me explain the really difficult part. Listen carefully. Once you're finished with the sponge YOU. WRING. IT. OUT. Yes indeedy, you wring the damn sponge out because otherwise the water oozes out all over the place. And I end up mopping up the crappy water.
How hard can this be to understand??? You've all got college degrees for crisssake. WRING OUT THE DAMN SPONGE!!!
You are not sponge worthy.
Dear Man at the magazine shop who bought a scratch lotto ticket and won $5000,
For once not at all cynically,
Dear woman in the metro,
When you wear white quasi see through leggings you really should NOT wear a black thong. Seriously.
Why is it so much of this correspondence has to do with horribly dressed people? Are you all blind?
Plus, the floppy flat ass in leggings thing is really not something that should be imposed on others. Keep it at home.
Oh, and watch What Not To Wear, it might do you good. But then again, you'll probably never learn.
Dear guy on the bike,
Don't you dare bitch me out. Don't you dare you stupid fuck!
I had a stop. I came to a full stop. I saw you coming the other way. But hey, stupid me, I figured you would stop because, you idiot, let me explain a fundmental fact to you. When you are on a bike you are considered a vehicle. You are subject to the same laws as the rest of us when it comes to stop signs and stop lights and the rules of the road. I was in my right to make my left turn. I had arrived at the corner way before you.
Granted, some drivers have no respect for cyclists - I know, I've been on a bike. But - newsflash - respect goes both ways you stupid git.
And remember, next time we meet that I drive an Altima. I am way bigger than you and could do you way more damage than you could do me. And I would have no trouble beating what's left of you to a bloody pulp with your bicycle.
It would give me great satisfaction if truth be told. And I'm not even PMSing.
Way past annoyedly,
Why is it that when I have a draft saved and I post it, it inserts itself down the line of posts to when it was written. This is a brand new development. It used to work fine.
Is it because I've discovered that when you won't let me post comments, all I have to do is go into someone's blog who is not on blogger and then come back to the blogger posts, which, for some reason allows me to comment? Because, yes, despite your quest for total blogosphere domination some people still do not blog with you. I've found a loophole in your hatred of me!!!
Is this why you're punishing me and forcing me to take my draft, copy it, paste it in a whole new post and then publish it?
Why do you hate me so?
Thursday, August 02, 2007
It's August. August for me, means summer is rapidly getting to the point where it will start merging with fall. Nights'll get cooler (though you'd never think it these days in Montreal) and there will be a change to the air... It's all very portentious dontcha know. It's the beginning of the end for me.
However, August does have some good things going for it:
- I heard my first cicada Monday. I love hearing them buzz. I had a cat, Charlot (which is how we call Charlie Chaplin in French), who would grab them when they landed on the balcony (or hell, maybe when they flew by for all I know) and he'd play with them for hours until we got home from work. Their shells seemed to defeat him though since every time I'd take one back outside, off it would go. Charlot was also really good at catching flies. He'd eat them and spit out their heads and wings. I kid you not. We'd find those bug pieces all over the house in summer, but nary a fly - and wondered what he hell was going on. Until we saw him do it. It was strange, very much so (Who me? Digressing? Naw).
- I also love the sound of crickets. The crickets are starting to make their cricket racket too. August nights at the cottage are riotously noisy. Love it.
- So yeah, my favourite bugs are August bugs obviously.
- Dog days. We're in them right now. It's hot hot hot, 34 in Montreal today (41 they say if you take the humidity into account). I love hot. I revel in hot. I never get enough of hot. And I hate AC. Took me 10 minutes to warm my toes yesterday after leaving work. Yuck. Give me a fan and I'm good to go.
- Despite that days are getting shorter, somehow they seem to stretch on and on in August. Not only weekends, but weekday evenings sitting on the balcony with Mr. Jazz (though, poor guy, I'm reading Harry Potter right now, so he's pretty much on his own - I feel sort of sorry for him).
There. That's it. I've run out of things to say. I'll just disapperate. Yes, I know, it's about time I finish this damn book.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
The whys of mating: 237 reasons and counting
By John Tierney The New York Times
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Scholars in antiquity began counting the ways that humans have sex, but they weren't so diligent in cataloguing the reasons humans wanted to get into all those positions. Darwin and his successors offered a few explanations of mating strategies — to find better genes, to gain status and resources — but they neglected to produce a Kama Sutra of sexual motivations.
Perhaps you didn't lament this omission. Perhaps you thought that the motivations for sex were pretty obvious. Or maybe you never really wanted to know what was going on inside other people's minds, in which case you should stop reading immediately.
For now, thanks to psychologists at the University of Texas at Austin, we can at last count the whys. After asking nearly 2,000 people why they'd had sex, the researchers have assembled and categorized a total of 237 reasons — everything from "I wanted to feel closer to God" to "I was drunk." They even found a few people who claimed to have been motivated by the desire to have a child.
The researchers, Cindy Meston and David Buss, believe their list, published in the August issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior, is the most thorough taxonomy of sexual motivation ever compiled. This seems entirely plausible.
Who knew, for instance, that a headache had any erotic significance except as an excuse for saying no? But some respondents of both sexes explained that they'd had sex "to get rid of a headache." It's No. 173 on the list.
Others said they did it to "help me fall asleep," "make my partner feel powerful," "burn calories," "return a favor," "keep warm," "hurt an enemy" or "change the topic of conversation." The lamest may have been, "It seemed like good exercise," although there is also this: "Someone dared me."
Buss has studied mating strategies around the world — he's the oft-cited author of "The Evolution of Desire" and other books — but even he did not expect to find such varied and Machiavellian reasons for sex. "I was truly astonished," he said, "by this richness of sexual psychology."
The researchers collected the data by first asking more than 400 people to list their reasons for having sex, and then asking more than 1,500 others to rate how important each reason was to them. Although it was a fairly homogenous sample of students at the University of Texas, nearly every one of the 237 reasons was rated by at least some people as their most important motive for having sex.
The best news is that both men and women ranked the same reason most often: "I was attracted to the person."
The rest of the top 10 for each gender were also almost all the same, including "I wanted to express my love for the person," "I was sexually aroused and wanted the release" and "It's fun."
No matter what the reason, men were more likely to cite it than women, with a couple of notable exceptions. Women were more likely to say they had sex because, "I wanted to express my love for the person" and "I realized I was in love." This jibes with conventional wisdom about women emphasizing the emotional aspects of sex, although it might also reflect the female respondents' reluctance to admit to less lofty motives.
The results contradicted another stereotype about women: their supposed tendency to use sex to gain status or resources.
"Our findings suggest that men do these things more than women," Buss said, alluding to the respondents who said they'd had sex to get things, like a promotion, a raise or a favor. Men were much more likely than women to say they'd had sex to "boost my social status" or because the partner was famous or "usually 'out of my league.' "
Buss said, "Although I knew that having sex has consequences for reputation, it surprised me that people, notably men, would be motivated to have sex solely for social status and reputation enhancement."
But then, men were also more likely than women to say they'd had sex because "I was slumming." Or simply because "the opportunity presented itself," or "the person demanded that I have sex."
If nothing else, the results seem to be a robust confirmation of the hypothesis in the old joke: How can a woman get a man to take off his clothes? Ask him.
To make sense of the 237 reasons, Buss and Meston created a taxonomy with four general categories:
- Physical: "The person had beautiful eyes" or "a desirable body," or "was good kisser" or "too physically attractive to resist." Or "I wanted to achieve an orgasm."
- Goal Attainment: "I wanted to even the score with a cheating partner" or "break up a rival's relationship" or "make money" or "be popular." Or "because of a bet."
- Emotional: "I wanted to communicate at a deeper level" or "lift my partner's spirits" or "say 'Thank you.' " Or just because "the person was intelligent."
- Insecurity: "I felt like it was my duty" or "I wanted to boost my self-esteem" or "It was the only way my partner would spend time with me."
Having sex out of a sense of duty, Buss said, showed up in a separate study as being especially frequent among older women. But both sexes seem to practice a strategy that he calls mate-guarding, as illustrated in one of the reasons given by survey respondents: "I was afraid my partner would have an affair if I didn't."
That fear seems especially reasonable after you finish reading Buss's paper and realize just how many reasons there are for infidelity. Some critics might complain that the list has some repetitions — it includes "I was curious about sex" as well as "I wanted to see what all the fuss was about" — but I'm more concerned about the reasons yet to be enumerated.
For instance, nowhere among the 237 reasons will you find the one attributed to the actress Joan Crawford: "I need sex for a clear complexion." (The closest is "I thought it would make me feel healthy.")Nor will you find anything about gathering rosebuds while ye may (the 17th-century exhortation to young virgins from Robert Herrick). Nor the similar hurry-before-we-die rationale ("The grave's a fine and private place/ But none I think do there embrace") from Andrew Marvell in "To His Coy Mistress."
From even a cursory survey of literature or the modern mass market in sex fantasies, it seems clear that this new taxonomy may not be any more complete than the original periodic table of the elements.
When I mentioned Crawford's complexion and the poets' rationales to Buss, he promised to consider them and all other candidates for Reason 238.
You can nominate your own reasons at TierneyLab. You can also submit nominations for a brand new taxonomy: reasons for just saying "No way!" Somehow, though, I don't think this list will be as long.