Friday, November 30, 2007

Degrees of Consumerism

'Tis the season to be jolly... until of course you receive your Visa bill in January. Not that this has anything to do with today's post.

Yesterday I discovered something new.

You used to have your consumer. Of course you still do have Average Joe Consumer. Mr. Jones who goes shopping for the holidays (do I dare say who goes Christmas shopping?) and buys the idiot proof digital camera for his wife. That, for instance could be Mr. Jazz finding a camera for me. We recently bought one and it pretty much had to be idiot proof. Me and technology? We don't get on too well. I find it excessively complicated to simplify my life.

Now there's another market segment (one that no doubt has been around for ages, but I just found out about), the prosumer* (from professional consumer). This would be Non Average Joe Consumer who knows all about the digital camera and would collapse in a fit of hysterical laughter at my camera. This is the guy who's gotta have the most expensive high end digital camera, even if he doesn't necessarily know how to use it to its full advantage.

So does that make Average Joe and avsumer and Mr. Anti-consumerism a nonsumer? (not that they'd have a name for him 'cause he's basically useless to marketers).

The mind, again, boggles. It doesn't take much to boggle my mind these days...

(For the record, it's qute an elastic word though which can also have other meanings, but those hold no interest to me at this point)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What were they thinking?

Every morning Mr. Jazz and I trudge to the car and head out to work. We cross Mount Royal, Montreal's own little mountain/parc - designed by the way by Olmstead, the same guy who did Central Park in New York. But that has nothing to do with anything.

The "mountain" (more of a big hill actually) is smack dab in the middle of the city. Every day we cross it to get from Outremont (which translates roughly as "the other side of the mountain" where we live) to Westmount (you don't need any translation here, obviously) where we both work.

Yesterday, I noticed that they had repainted the yellow lines on the road across the mountain. In itself, this is good as they had faded away to nothing.

But (of course there has to be a but doesn't there...)

But there has been snow in Montreal, it's winter after all. And when you say snow on the mountain, you say sanding. It's the first road to be sanded because it's a nasty ass hill. So what did our wonderful muncipality do? Yep, they painted over all that sand - they even painted over snow and ice in some places. Because they were scheduled to paint the lines on November 20 and that is what they did. Why not wait until spring? It's not as if people don't realize we drive on the right. Montreal drivers are maniacs, granted, but not such stupid maniacs they drive on the wrong side of the road. We're maniacs in our own lanes. Why waste my money doing this? Because evidently they can...

Obviously, lots of cars use this road, and cars displace sand. So now the whole centre of the damn road is bright yellow. And eventually the rain will wash all this yellow sand away, which will leave the lines extremely, well, unliney. Not to mention the fact that all that sand will be washed into the earth and I'm thinking that ain't very environmentally friendly.

But what do I know? I'm just a stupid taxpayer.

The mind, it boggles.


In other news, I don't know what's been happening with this blog, but over the past couple of weeks I've been getting comments from tons of new people. I don't know how you found your way here, but welcome over.

They only problem with this is all these new interesting blogs I've discovered. I can't keep up! I'm reduced to reading the boys one day and the girls the next.

I need to stop working to earn a living and spend all my time blogging and reading blogs. Yep. That sounds like a plan.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Q&A #7

I'm almost done with the questions. Only two left. Next time I'll do Jocelyn's question on my favourite teacher but today I'll go for Rachel.

Rachel over at Lessons Learned asked:

"My question for you: I've only recently discovered your blog, so I don't know you much at all. Why did you start blogging in the first place, and what has changed since then, causing your funk?"

Well, first off, lets start with the funk. The funk was caused by November. November means one thing: winter is almost here. It's dark, it's grey and it depresses the hell out of me. At that point in the year the whole idea of doing anything other than sitting on the couch eating peanut M&Ms or Turtles (the chocolate variety - evil though I may be I don't go around making turtle soup) is more than I can deal with. As you'll learn Rachel, I hate winter. I loathe winter with a vengence and unfortunately, being in Canada I can't move to anywhere southern to get away from it. Thus the funk. Besides, this blogging thing is cyclic, at least for me. There are always periods when I can't find anything to say - and so I use the handy "ask me" format to get me out of my periods of inspirationlessness.

As for why I started in the first place, I discovered the medium after reading Danny Gregory's book "Everyday Matters". At the end of the book there was a link to his website/blog. I loved it. Through his blogroll I discovered other blogs and through those still others both good and bad and I really liked the concept. And I figured, hey, I can do that.

So I wandered around the net and ended up in a place called Open Diary (how cheesy is that name? The place was sort of cheesy too). And eventually, wandering around the blogosphere I found Blogger. And Wordpress and others, but I'm to cheap to pay for blogging so, Blogger it was and remains.

I've been keeping a journal since I was 12 and I love to write, so the whole blogging thing is, I think, sort of an extension of that. Not that my blog is anything like my journal. I decided early on to not be too personal on my blog - I don't want to write about what I ate for dinner or the colour of my new PJs any more than anyone wants to read it. And lets face it, it's not like my personal life is all that scintillating.

As to why I blog? It's grown on me. I find I'm filling journals much more quickly since I began blogging. I like the comments, I like reading the other blogs and I really like the aspect that most detractors of blogging hate: the minutae of other people's lives; even if you aren't blogging about the colour of your pyjamas, a lot of your life comes through. It's all in the details. Besides, it helps me realize I'm not the only one with a terribly average life.

I notice much more of the world around me since I started blogging. I'm constantly thinking, "There's a blog in that". I think that's the most noticeable effect that blogging has had on me, this observation of what's going on around me. Granted, it's the idiocy that mostly makes it into here, because, hell, I'm me and snarkiness is who I am. Is life without snark even worth living? There's a question...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Like the March Hare

I'm late, I'm late, I'm late... or at any rate busy, busy, busy. The annual shareholders meeting is looming and I'm drowing in paperwork.

However, ever thoughtful that I am, I figured you shouldn't be too long without your dose of Jazzy imbecility so....

It should be noted that it is highly annoying to live in a one way street sometimes. Like the early morning you leave for work and an ambulance is sitting right in the middle of the street. Right beside your car. Placed so that there's no way you can squeeze out in front of it. And of course there's no one in the ambulance to move it out of the way. Besides, one surmises they are busy saving a life or something.

This is when Mr. Jazz becomes a hero. He managed to back out of a parallel parking spot by driving onto the sidewalk, putting the car pretty much perpendicular to the street (there are times when I think a Smart Car would be a wise investment) and managing to squeeze out between the ambulance and the car behind us with a hairsbreadth to spare. Then jiggling the car around some more until it's facing in the right direction (without scratching any other cars) and backing up the street to the alleyway. The man, I say, is a genius. Me, I would've been obliged to sit there and fume and repeat a mantra of "Die, whoever you are; die quickly so they leave. Die, die, die..." I'm evil that way.

And under the "Only in Montreal" heading:

Chez Parée, one of Montreal's best known strip clubs is advertising a free buffet on evenings the Habs play home games. With a giant screen. I mean, what better way to spend an evening than watching strippers and a hockey game? But wouldn't you lose track of one or the other somewhere along the way?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

It's Thanksgiving South of the Border

Today is that most special of holidays down there in the good ole US of A, Thanksgiving.

That holiday more important than Christmas. The holiday of stuffing one's face and watching football.

'Course Canadian Thanksgiving follows pretty much the same agenda, except, I think on a much smaller scale - here in Quebec at any rate. And I'm not sure about the football thing. I'm never sure of anything having to do with football since it's totally off my radar. Except real football (i.e. soccer). England was just eliminated from the qualification race for this summer's Euro. They didn't qualify!! But I digress don't I?

The most important aspect of the holdiay for me is a day off. And unfortunately since we celebrate T-day on a Monday, it makes for only one day off instead of the two most Americans get since they had the brilliant idea of doing it on a Thursday. That, in my book, was a stroke of genius.

Of course, here in Canada T-day is celebrated a month and a half earlier; surprisingly perhaps, at harvest time. Go figure.

The most bizarre aspect of the whole Thanksgiving circus for me is the presidential pardon. I mean seriously, what the fuck is with that? Who gets to choose the turkey? What are the criteria? Why this turkey rather than the next, and more to the point, what are they being pardoned for?

Isn't a presidential pardon granted to someone who is guilty of something? Aren't turkeys too damn dumb to be guilty of anything except being edible - which isn't their fault at all actually.

And isn't the irony of one turkey pardoning another just a bit too much? Will they pardon Dubbya next T-day?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More Q&A - #s 5 and 6

Jill asked: Peanut M&Ms or plain?

"Now there's a question to ponder", thought Jazz, scratching her head and munching on her M&Ms.

Because you see, there's a lot riding on this question. It is a question of coming down squarely on one side or the other. One can't just make it up as one goes along. There are so many pros and cons.

Plain M&Ms:

  • They can be quickly chewed and then you can suck all the chocolate out of them before eating the yummy candy coating.

  • Or, you can just let them melt down to nothing, creamy goodness for long lovely minutes.

  • On the other hand, though they say chocolate is good for you, I'm pretty sure they're not talking M&M grade chocolate. Plain M&Ms are junk, pure and simple.

  • Junk however is good for the soul now and then, not to mention life saving when I'm PMSing and it calms me right down, thus saving everyone around me from the wrath of Jazz. It goes without saying that PMS wrath is deserved by all those upon whom it is visited. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Peanut M&Ms

  • Not so great to let melt in your mouth. The whole peanut thing, dontcha know. How long would it take a peanut to melt? I'd rather not think about it, the very concept somehow disturbs me to a great extent.

  • On the other hand, such a satisfying crunch to the eating of a peanut M&M

  • And then there's the blend of chocolate/candy/peanut to consider. Though I loathe peanut butter and chocolate - it has got to be the most repulsive mix known to mankind - a nice crunchy peanut in chocolate is simply sublime.

  • And of course, there's the nutrition factor. Peanuts aren't junk food, they're chock full of good things, ergo peanut M&Ms are healthy... they're health food even.
Thus, for all the above reasons, I must come down squarely on the side of the Peanut M&Ms. Nutrition and junk all rollled up in one perfect colourful package.

Ticknart asked: How much of The Silmarillion did you actually read?

With his question, Tick seems to doubt that I actually did read the whole thing. Hmmph.

However, I did. I read it. Yes I did.

Lo these many many years ago (eons ago if we must be honest about it - yes, I am that old), after my first reading of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, someone told me about the Simarillion. About how it explains any questions I might have about the other books. About how everything would be explained!

I figured I must read it.

And read it I did. From one end to the other. For some reason I thought it would actually get more interesting after the first 30 pages.

Newsflash: It doesn't.

It was a long long slog through norse myth. A slog through unpronouncable names of people I really didn't give a damn about. And yet I kept with it. I was slogging through quicksand, it was dragging me down and yet I did eventually make it to the end. At some point it stopped being just a book and became a nemesis, it wanted my sanity. It almost got it. But Jazz prevailed.

Perhaps had I had questions to anwer, it would have been more interesting. Thing is, there weren't any questions. That book did teach me though, that if I wasn't into a book after 50-100 pages, it simply wasn't gonna happen and that I should maybe just cut my losses already.

I still can't quite comprehend how the author of my favourite book of all time, LOTR (which I've read at least 10-11 times), can have written that particular piece of boredom.

But I do have a cool bit of trivia for you. Marillion (that favourite, oh so wonderful band - shameless plug) was named Simarillion at the beginning of time, twenty odd years ago. Then the Tolkien family said: Cease and desist using that oh so sacred name. And they became Marillion. Voilà.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

First snow of the season...

The white plague has fallen on Montreal. And not a lot of it at that. Drivers, however, are carrying on like it's the first time they've ever driven in snow. Selective amnesia no doubt. Do you not remember last April?

"Holy shit! What is this? It's cold, it's slippery! I'd better slow down to a maximum of 10 km/hr and snarl up traffic for the rest of the day."


As if it weren't snarled enough already. As if we didn't live in a country where road conditions suck for half the year. How is it that you're taken by surprise people?! It's nearing the end of November! What did you expect fer chrissake? (Insert heavy sigh, eye rolling and shaking of froggy Jazz head)

And speaking of cars, the Quebec press is having a field day. Or maybe field week, or two? Julie Boulet, the Quebec transport minister is in the middle of a "speeding scandal" , which is sort of ironic when you know that she just introduced a bill to crack down on speeding in Quebec.

The Journal de Montréal clocked her limo doing 132 km on the highway, when the speed limit is 100 (60 mph). The excuse? She was sleeping. Of course.

Who takes the fall? Her driver. Of course. Ultimately, she's the one giving her driver orders, but hey someone's gotta pay, it can't be the minister.

What I find most funny about this situation (other than the irony of her being caught when she's presenting her bill - I suppose it's only natural that the press try and catch her now, though) is how, all of a sudden the media and the population have become so holier-than-thou about speeding. As if they actually drove at a sedate 100km/hr. As if they ever will drive at a sedate 100 klicks.

C'mon, who're we kidding here? I can't remember the last time I drove at 100 on the highway except if there was lots of traffic. Maybe what, 1 person in 5000 consistently drives at the limit?
So this whole "scandal"? It's bullshit. It's not news. Get the hell over it.

PS: There are still a few questions to be answered which I'll get to soon. Looking at this weather is not very blog inspiring, dontcha know.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

It's Friday, we all need a laugh...

... so today I'll break from answering questions and post this most amazing and hilarious nugget.

Rachel of Lessons Learned, bless her, posted a link in this blog, a link to Scalzi's report of his visit to the creationist museum. It's a long post but oh so worth taking the time to read.

Scalzi made his way to my favourites list with that one post. That museum seems positively surreal and his description of it is great. Check out both their blogs, it'll give you something to do while you're pretending to work.

And a new Viagra commercial... "See a doctor if your erection lasts more than 4 hours"! If a guy was poking at me with a woody for more than four hours, I can guarantee he'd also be seeing a doctor for a black eye... and probably a broken bone - and yes, it might just be that one.

Poor Elvis. (If for any reason the link doesn't work, look up Viva Viagra on YouTube).

Q&A #4

I really have to thank everybody for their questions. It's helping me out big time, 'cause right now there's nothing to blog about, except perhaps whining about how much November sucks.

From Geewits - You speak English so well, so I want to ask: Do you ever think or dream in English?

Actually despite my "frenchness" I learned both languages pretty much at the same time. Dad was in the air forde and I spent my early childhood in Nova Scotia. Mom has told me that when I started going outside to play I'd periodically come in and ask whether such and such a word was English or French.

Both my siblings and I are pretty much completely bilingual today because when we were at home unlike lots of parents, ours refused to answer us if we spoke English. We were ignored. Of course, because of this, Mom never did learn to speak very good English. She was able to get by, but was never really comfortable with it. Which is too bad for her but ensured that we would speak both languages.

Together my brother, sister and I spoke a sort of Frenglish. Sentences would be started in French finished in English, questions asked in one language and answered in the other. To this day, if a word doesn't come to mind immediately in one language I'll substitute the other. It made for interesting encounters when my siblings' boy/girlfriends would come over for dinner the first time and we'd start talking like that without realizing it. The blank looks were priceless.

I think of the three of us, I'm probably the one most comfortable in French, as I came to Quebec the youngest. They came here in high school, and finished that level in English. This of course was way before Bill 101 (for you Americans, a French language law in Quebec). I was in elementary school when we got here, which I fininshed in English. Then my evil parents stuck me in French shool for high school (in retrospect: Thank you Mom!), I did my Cegep (a sort of weird junior collge you have here which is basically the last year of high school and first of Uni elsewhere) in English and went to university in French.

So I'm as bilingual as a person can be I think... and I have totally not answered Geewits' question.

Actually I think interchangeably in both languages, depending on who I'm with and the context. Often I decide not to think at all because then I'd have to actually use my brain, which is sometimes more than I can handle...

As for dreaming, I honestly don't know. I'm not big on rembering my dreams, and when I do, I'll pretty much only remember what went on, without actually talking.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Q&A #3

While I was blogged out last week I received several questions, 'cause I guess people are nice that way about helping me out. Although more probably they gave me the questions to shut up my whining already.

Rhea over at The Boomer Chronicles asked me: "What is your favourite yoga position?"

That would be it right there*, presupposing of course that I had enough flexibility to actually do yoga without shattering into a million shiny shards.

'Cause pretty much that's what would happen. I would pretzelize myself and explode.

I've been thinking of doing trying muddling my way into yoga for some months now. Actually since my friend S came back from San Francisco. She and her man are avid yoga-ers. I'm told it's good for relaxation and to focus your mind (that's an interesting concept right there, actually being focused).It's good for flexibility (as proof : that girl there who is so not me). Besides, I'd have the perfect excuse to buy a really cool, expensive and apparently wonderfully comfortable pair (of the I'll-never-take-these-off-again-so-don't-even-try-to-get-me-out-of-them-because-I'd-have-to-hurt-you-real-bad variety) of Lululemon yoga pants. That alone might get me into the yoga thing. How very shallow of me, yep.

I'm not sure how I'd do with yoga though, for several reasons.

As I mentioned, flexibility is not my strong suit. At. All. I'm probably a touch less flexible than a steel bar, so sitting on a mat downward dogging, saluting the sun, cameling, full one-legged king pigeoning, scorpioning like that girl there, and generally tying my legs in knots behind my head would not be among the most relaxing activities for me. The names of the poses are a cool though, especially the "full one-legged king pigeon"...

Then of course there's the meditation aspect of yoga. I've tried to meditate. You know the whole, "gently push your thoughts away as the float through your mind" thing. My thoughts don't float through, they jump in like kids dive bombing in a pool, sink to the bottom and float up again. I found myself screaming "go away, I'm trying to gently push you out and you won't leave!! Go before I have to hurt you!!!" inside my head and metaphorically going after my thoughts with a machete, trying to hack them to bits. I believe that sort of defeats the purpose, right?

The last time I took up an physical activity in order to relax it was Tai Chi. Interesting experience. All those slow choreographed movements. By the end of the class I wanted to run screaming from the room in frustration. Damn, it should take only about 10 seconds to do those ridiculous little dances rather than over a minute each. As though the whole point was to waste as much time as possible. I dropped out. I think I must've been negatively vibing the class. And I felt guilty at not feeling super relaxed like the rest of them claimed to be by the end of class. This said, I'm sure several of them were lying through their teeth. Probably even the teacher.

And yet, despite my frustration with "lets-all-be-mindful-and-zen-and-new-agey-and-drink-weird-ass-teas-rather-than-the real-black-stuff-with-caffeine" activites, I'm not outside running around and playing basketball. Nope I'm probably the laziest person on the face of the planet. Go figure.

Um, yeah, so ... yoga. Sorry Rhea, I haven't quite gotten to yoga yet. I seem to have had a bit of trouble focusing on your question there. Oops.

* I seem to be going all black and white pics these days. I'm getting artsy in my old age...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Q&A #2

Ian over at Or So I Thought asked me this question:

A political question: How do you regard the late nicotine and booze addicted, but formerly brilliant journalist and war correspondent, Rene Levesque? I really don't know how Rene is regarded in the Quebec of aujourd hui.Personally, I admire him both as a jouralist and because he hated Trudeau's guts -- and for good reason.

Sheesh.. Politics. But at least this one is an intersting question. Because the whole dog and pony show of politics usually bores me to tears. Or sends me into paroxysms of hilarity. Rarely anything else.

René Lévesque. There's a subject...

First off, I've never been a separatist. I can understand why people would be, most of my friends are or have been including Mr. Jazz. That does not make them wrong, nor does it make them idiots (as a federalist colleague of mine once said). I happen to believe - even as a French Quebecer ('cause despite my angloness, I am first and foremost French) - that Quebec can make it as an integral part of Canada.

Which puts me squarely on the opposite side of Lévesque.

Actually though, contrary to many federalists, I've never considered him the bad guy . Nope, he was not the antichrist. I really liked him and always thought he was a brilliant man. Granted, sometimes he annoyed the hell out of me, but a lot of peole annoy me now and then.

René Lévesque was that oh so rare bird in politics. The exception that confirms the rule. He had integrity. He really believed in what he was trying to do, not as an opportunist who figures there's money to be made, there's power to be had, but as a man who really believed the only way for Quebec was through separation. (I can just hear some people I know saying "how did she live to that age and still be so damn naive") I sometimes think, looking back that he must have found the burden of Premiership and PQ party icon really hard to shoulder - he doesn't strike me as having been that kind of person. Obviously he was ambitious, you don't get into politics if you're not, but he seemed to truly be an idealist.

He had charisma galore, though not the Trudeaumania intellectual "it boy" charisma. He appealed to ordinary people because he was one of them. He appealed to those who actually worked hard to scrape by, people exactly like he was; he wasn't from a rich background. And this, much to the gall of the establishment, who, lets face it, sees the "unwashed masses" as, well, basically nothing important.

When he lost the first referendum I felt really bad for him, even though I had voted against.

And the PQ then started its time honoured tradition of taking out its leaders and quarreling in pubic. He must have been devastated when they turned against him and forced him out of the party he founded...

Which brings us to another point. René Lévesque was obviously crushed when he lost the first referendum, but he was never petty. He said well, it didn't work. Next time maybe. He didn't blame - in the infamous words of Jacques Parizeau after the second referendum - "money and the ethnic vote". He respected that people could think differently from him, he was never mean-sprited about the defeat - at least in public.

And I don't think he would ever have accepted presenting a projet proposing a Quebec citizenship while Quebec was still part of Canada. For me that's totally unacceptable - but that's another blog (besides, BB said it really well in this blog).

And there you have it. Hope I answered your question Ian.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday... damn, no alliteration comes to mind.

It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor. - Neil Gaiman

For the record, the caption to that pic is: "Hey look, the company president is butt naked!"

And to answer BB's question:

Blogged out, you... you of all people, prolific manipulator of language that you are. What hope then for us poor mortals toiling in the mundane groves of academia, trying forlornly to instill a modicum of light in the vast echoing Stygian halls of ignorance and sloth?

Short answer: None.

Though for the record that sentence made me laugh out loud. Reminded me of Don Petzel.

I'm done.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

All Blogged Out

Bleh. I'm in a huge funk right now.

Plus I have nothing to say, which may have to do with being in a funk. I think I might not be the only one, seems a lot of regular bloggers are slacking off these days.

Must be November.

So, how's about we do an "Ask Me".

Ask me questions, any questions, about me, about bubble gum, about the cross-eyed blue bellied tamacrout, about the answer to the question of Life, the Universe and Everything. Naw, forget that one, we all know the answer to that question - and if you don't, it's "42".

Help me out here, gimme some blog food.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Politics and trivia

Last night on my way home from work I noticed that election posters are going up in our Montreal borough. Again. Damn. Some posters from the federal by-election are still up here and there, and last week's school board election - do they really think these posters will entice me to vote for them? That I vote for a fake smile on a poster?

Nevertheless, our borough is now gearing up for a municipal by-election. Our borough mayor was obliged to resign amid much huffing and puffing and rightous indignation by, well, basically everyone who wasn't him.

You see, while he was mayor he misspent our money. Big surprise eh? It's never been done before, right? But him? He spent it on booze. Oh my! I'm thinking there's a bit of envy involved since most people didn't have access to the Glenffidich single malt.

According to media reports, the receipts reveal Outremont spent between $6,500 and $7,500 from January to June 2007, including more than $1,000 on 12-year old Glenfiddich Highland scotch single malt.
That would make the borough's alcohol budget the highest among all city boroughs, even though Outremont is the smallest and least populous on the island, according to Montreal newspaper La Presse.

The alcohol was allegedly consumed by Outremont's borough council and invited guests in a private lounge on the second floor of the council's headquarters.

Borough director Pierre Beaudet told the CBC's French language service that comparing Outremont's spending on booze with other municipalities is misleading because the others include the cost of alcohol in their catering budgets.

And so, Harbour had to resign and now pays for his Glenfiddich himself. Personally, though I dislike the taste of scotch, the smell is nice and I'd go for Lagavuline or Cragganmore.

And so, we have another election coming up. Hopefully the new mayor will be more discrete about his or her spending, or at any rate make sure it gets buried in the budget. Cause I can't take many more of these elections.


In other news, a ton of things you probably never wanted to know about your body:

  • Your body has more bacteria than cells.
  • In one day, a human sheds 10 billion skin flakes. This amounts to approximately two kilograms in a year.
  • Every square inch of the human body has about 19,000,000 skin cells.
  • Every hour one billion cells in the body must be replaced.
  • The human body makes anywhere from 1 to 3 pints of saliva every 24 hours.
  • The human body has approximately 37,000 miles of capillaries.
  • The adult human body requires about 88 pounds of oxygen daily.
  • The width of your armspan stretched out is the length of your whole body.
  • There are as many hairs per square inch on your body as a chimpanzee. You don't see all of them because most are too fine and light to be noticed.
  • The ashes of the average cremated person weigh 9 pounds
  • The human body can survive longer without food than without sleep. While starvation takes a few weeks you would die after about 10 days without sleep.
  • The human heart creates enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet.
  • You blink about 84 million times in a year.

"Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane" Philip K. Dick

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Correspondence is a Dying Art

So I thought I'd do my part to keep it alive:

Dear Pfizer:

Ah the ubiquitous Viagra. The pill that has created more wood than a rain forest....

Maybe you should distribute some free to your ad agency, or whoever the hell actually approves your commercials, 'cause really? They suck.

The "Good Morning" ad with the people dancing in the streets singing was cute there for a while (much less so after 50,000 viewings - can so many men really not get it up?). At least it made me smile the first 5-10 times I saw it.

But the speaking in tongues one? What the hell is the point to that? The only thing I can see is that Viagra makes you so stupid you forget how to talk coherently. Nice.. That's just what I want after doing the horizontal boogie. Conversation with someone totally incoherent because the little blue pill makes him stupid. Am I missing something here? Is it because the blood is extremely tardy in leaving the nether regions to get back to the head? After all as Robin Williams once famously quipped: A man has enough blood to run his head and his penis, but not both at the same time. But if that's the case, and the next day at the bowling alley you're still speaking in tongues, well hell, that has to be painful.

How much, exactly did you pay for these spots? Money wasted. Just sayin' 'n all.



(For our American friends, Zellers is a store that can be situated somewhere between Target and Kmart I suppose. Not as good as the first but better than that latter.)

Dear Zellers:

A couple of weeks ago you decided to give us a break because of the new value of the Canadian dollar. How good of you. Items in your stores will be priced downwards 5% to 20%. How very thoughtful of you. How wonderfully forward thinking.

Fifty items in your stores will be priced down. Fifty! What proportion of the products you carry would that actually be? How many thousands of products do you carry exactly? What did you mark down? Bobby pins and thread?

Do you really think we're that stupid? Ok, you're right, most people probably are dumb enough to think you're really helping us out. As of today the Loonie is worth $1.08 US. Make a real effort why dontcha...




Dear Lotto Quebec:

Your latest radio commercial completely sucks. There seems to be a lot of that going around today. Let me remind you what it's about:

A phone rings, a voice mail comes on. A person starts talking: Hello John. Nice to talk to you. You've always been an idiot John, you've always been mean and dismissive. You've never wanted to join us in our Lotto pool. Well guess what John, we won the grand prize. (several other voices join in) Have a good day at work John!

Now granted it's funny in a stick-it-to-John sorta way. We all have Johns in our lives (ok, that sounds totally wrong but I won't change his name). But why did no one ever tell John he was a prick to his face?

Selling lottery tickets on the premise that it'll allow you say fuck you to people just seems somehow wrong. Appealing to people's baser nature so blatently sticks in my thoat. There's gotta be a more subtle way. Especially from people who have spots on TV all the time about getting help for gambling...




Dear Brunet Pharmacy,

Call Lotto Quebec. Send them a copy of your latest commercial. It is somewhat along the same lines. But it is funny funny funny. Let me remind you which one I'm talking about:

A beautiful bountifully bouncily boobed blonde (now that is alliteration!) says "I do"; cut to her soon to be husband who is about 105 and probably takes Viagra by the bottleful. He leers and says "I do".

Cut to an orphanage in Africa. The nun looks at the other nun and exclaims "$34 million!?" Second nun: "It was left to us by Ocar Poulin!!!" First nun "Who is Oscar Poulin?" Second nun shrugs. First nun: "Oscar Poulin!!! $34 million!! Thank you Oscar Poulin!"

Cut to happily ginning bride. Voice over says: The most important thing is that you have your health...

End commercial.

Now that is how you appeal to people's bitchy instincts.




Dear Municipal and Provincial Governments,

On Halloween the Federal government announced tax cuts and a 1% decrease of the sales tax, due to all the money they have lying around. I can't help but wonder why they didn't announce they were paying down some of the country's debt with all that surplus, but I'll have to write them directly about that. 'Cause me, if I have both surplus and debt, the equation isn't all that hard to resolve. And it's not like I'm some sort of math genius or anything; hell, I still sometimes count on my fingers.

We couldn't help but wonder how you guys were going to manage to get those few dollars to fly from our pocket into yours. 'Cause what one god giveth, the other taketh away, gods being the greedy fuckers they are.

Well, it seems there's a plan to create a new 1% tax in Montreal on everything we buy which will go to repairing the infrastructures. Is this true or not? Who knows. Will it happen? If it doesn't it'll be something else. I have not become a cynic without reason.

I don't dispute that Montreal infrastructures are falling apart. Hell, overpasses are morphing into underpasses on a disturbingly regular basis. But damn, can't you just once give us a break? We are taxed to the gills as it is. Quebec is one of, if not the most, taxed places in both Americas. This being said: Where the fuck does our money go? How is this province being managed? Why does it cost us so much more? And they want a country... lordy, they can't even manage a damn province. But that too is a rant for another day.

Can't we please please please just keep those few pennies in our pocket? Just this once?




Dear Pfizer again:

Maybe you should learn from the spoofs your product has engendered and do something really funny like this*:

* Gotta love google images. In case Blogger pulls the image it's from and I thank them on bended knee for finding this. It made my day.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

What a way to celebrate 300 posts

Ian tagged me on this one so what can I do besides answer… Plus I'm beginning to suffer from blog fatigue, so an easy meme is just the ticket today.

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night?
Mr. Jazz. We had friends over and actually I don’t remember the why of it, but it was really really funny.

2. What were you doing at 0800?
At 0800 this morning? I was reading Dorky Dad's blog and voting on the best tagline.

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
That would be 8:00 am so reading DD’s blog.

4. What happened to you in 2006?
No doubt lots of things. Unfortunately nothing really stands out. How pathetic is that. I know we travelled, but for the life of me I can’t remember where we went last year. Europe I think. I was diagnosed with asthma (but even that is no biggie, I just get it when I have a cold). All in all I suppose 2006 was rather a routine year. Unless I won the lottery but I have Alzheimers and don’t know it and that particular bit of information, along with everything else that happened was sucked into the black hole that has become my brain. Come to think of it, even without Alzheimers my head is pretty much a black pit of nothingness.

5. What was the last thing you said out loud?
“I love you, have a good day” – or words to that effect – when Mr. Jazz when he dropped me off at work. (This no longer holds true as I started this early this morning and didn't manage to finish it till now)

6. How many beverages did you have today?
So far a glass of water and a big glass of orange juice. I’m gearing up to go make myself a cup of tea. It’s early morning, it’s not like I’ve had time to drink that much. But I have eaten an apple!

7. What color is your hairbrush?
Honestly, I don’t even have a hairbrush. My hair is short I wash it, fluff it while drying it and go. I haven’t combed my hair per se in years and years. Low maintenance is my creed.

8. What was the last thing you paid for?
Sex? Na, much more prosaic. That would be lunch yesterday and a yummy lunch it was, made even yummier by the fact that I unexpectedly met a friend I hadn’t seen in forever, and it turns out that though she’s been working from home, her company asked her to come in one day a week – and she works 10 minutes from me!

9.Where were you last night?
I was home, having dinner with friends and in the immortal words of Urban Pedestrian: “some intoxicating grown-up conversation and clever wine”

10. What color is your front door?
Black, nicely highlighted by street dust. At the cottage it’s white. I think. Or is it beige? No. White. Yes. Definitely white. I’ll get back to you about this one Monday…

11. Where do you keep your change?
In my wallet of course, which is in my huge bag, which you might laugh at if you’re a male, because really, who needs to carry around so much shit. But I’ll have you know that if we face nuclear (or as Dubbya likes to say – nuculur) holocaust, I can survive on what’s in this bag. Can you say as much about that wallet in you back pocket? I thought not. So be nice to me, your life might depend on it.

12. What’s the weather like today?
Rainy, windy, chilly. Typical November weather. (Though as I post this it's now sunny, windy chilly)

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor?
I can’t narrow it down to just one. But if I can choose two, and I can because I’m the one doing this meme, it would have to be Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia and Haagen Dasz (stupid brand name that, as if we don’t know it’s 100% American with extra fat added in, but I digress), so HD Mayan Chocolate. That touch of cinnamon? Oh yeah! But if I had to eat only one kind of ice cream ever again, it would be Cherry Garcia. Always and forever.

14. What excites you?
Excite me in what way? As Ian said, let’s not state the obvious. Other than that, books. Even after all these years the “excitement factor” of books is still through the roof for me. Also, food. Well, meals with people I love, actually. Be they family or friends – though actually I consider most of my friends family – nothing revs me up like the thought of a lovely meal.

15. Do you want to cut your hair?
Like, today? No. I get it cut every three months or so and my hair is short so basically it's something I do regularly. And what kind of dumb question is this? This being said, I don’t have issues with hair other than that I find it sort of annoying. If it were an option, I’d shave my head, but I don’t work in the type of environment where that would go over too well unfortunately.

16. Are you over the age of 25?
Way to over. But at the same time I’d never ever want to go back there. The very though throws me into paroxysms of panic and horror.

17. Do you talk a lot?
No more or less than anyone else I suppose. I’m terribly average dontcha know. Obviously, it depends who I’m with, but I do have a tendancy to be more of a listener than a talker in most situations. I tend to ask questions to get people talking, that way I’m spared entertaining them.

18. Do you watch the O.C.?
No. I watched the first season – or was it the second? – but lost interest rather quickly, because a lot of the time I felt like slapping the characters silly and yelling at them to grow the fuck up even though they were supposed to be teenagers.

19. Do you know anyone named Steven?
Yes, but he writes it Stephen, and I know (slightly) a Stefan, and how about a Stephanie – do they count?

20. Do you make up your own words?
Yes, sometimes. Actually I did that yesterday and one Mr. M. thought it was quite funny. And he totally got what it meant. I usually do it when my brain shorts out and the word I need doesn’t come popping up. So I make one up. Much easier than actually thinking.

21. Are you a jealous person?
God no! I think it’s a total waste of energy. Besides what’s the point of being jealous if, for instance Mr. Jazz is flirting with someone else. It’s not like jealousy will stop him from cheating on me if he wants to. So there’s no point to it really. Like Ian, I’m also not much for envy.

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’.
I don’t think I have any, but I have a friend whose name starts with E – Erin. Damn I love that name.

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’.
Karine. A relatively new friend – she’s a good friend’s girlfriend. And looks like she’s gonna be around for a looong time. Thank god, because she’s perfect for him. And she’s an absolute sweetheart who I really should get to know better.

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list?
What’s a received call list? Does that go with a cell phone? If so, I don’t have one, and if not I still have no idea what it is. I’m such a hopeless techno-idjit

25. What does the last text message you received say?
As if I would say! But, um, see above question, no phone, no text.

26. Do you chew on your straw?

27. Do you have curly hair?
No – at least not when it’s short. It gets wavy if it’s longer though

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?
The loo? Home after work? And if you mean travel, Australia again in March probably.

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life?
An ex. But he’s not really in my life anymore so it’s moot. Otherwise, the people I know are actually pretty well behaved, considering. (why that last word? Considering what? My brain is getting stupid here...)

30. What was the last thing you ate?
Beef teriyaki

31. Will you get married in the future?
I’m sure Mr. Jazz wouldn’t be too amused if I got married, especially since I’ve been married to him for forever.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?
Am I supposed to have seen 15 movies in the past couple of weeks? This said, it would be “Sauf le respect que je vous dois”. A really good French movie. And Monday I saw what is the worst movie I’ve seen in a really long time: “Belle Toujours” a follow-up to Bunuel’s “Belle de jour”. 38 years later the charaters meet up again. Even Michel Piccoli can’t save this movie. Thank god it was only 70 minutes, or I would have had to kill myself. Of course the director was 98 when he did it – so he might’ve been somewhat gaga – but damn…. Nope, even gagaism is no excuse for that.

33. Is there anyone you like right now?
What type of question is that? I like lots of people. You have a problem with that?

34. When was the last time you did the dishes?
Yesterday evening.

35. Are you currently depressed?
No. I’m not PMSing so I’m fine. I’m actually quite a happy person all things considered. I take things in stride and don’t obsess over things I can’t change. Besides when I do get depressed I usually annoy the fuck out of myself within a day, two at most. The annoyance takes precedence over the depression and since I can’t stand myself, I get over myself pretty quickly.

36. Did you cry today?
Was this written for teenage girls? Is there anyone you like? Will you get married? Are you depressed? What colour is your hairbrush? Do you want to cut your hair? Oy gevalt!!! No I didn’t cry today. See above answer. The same can be applied to snivelling.

37. Why did you answer and post this?
Because Ian tagged me. Because I do as I’m told. Mostly because I didn’t want Ian to feel crushed that I hadn’t taken him up on it. If he could live through it, so could I. I felt like I'd been dared. Besides, had he been crushed he would have killed himself and I would have felt responsible for five minutes which would probably have been better spent staring vapidly off into space.

As to the five I’m supposed to tag… It took me so long to complete this, I can’t force my brain to think of anything more. The brain, it is on strike. Do it if you want. And Ian, for the record I began to hate you half way through... Damn this is long.