Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's obviously still award season

I have been remiss in my posting duties*. Even more so because Ian was nice enough to bestow upon me a couple of awards. Well, one for real and the other because:

"... if you were selected for the first award, please feel free to take this one as well."

Is he arriving at the point of award burnout??

And, in doing this post, do I feel a touch of Suldog-ness washing over me?

Ok, so this first one is called, for some obscure reason I can't begin to fathom, the Premio Dardos award.

Which means Prize Darts for all you non Spanish speakers out there. No, unfortunately I'm not much of a Spanish speaker myself, I copied that from Ian's blog... Da rools are the same as ever, link to the one who gave it to you and give it to approximately 152,265 others. Exponentially speaking, I was probably the last person in the blogosphere to get it. Does that mean I don't have to pass it on now? Does it die here? But we'll get back to passing on (as in awards of course, not - as in the immortal words of John Cleese in the Dead Parrot sketch - It's not pining, it's passed on. This parrot is no more. It has ceased to be. It's expired and gone to meet its maker. This is a late parrot. It's a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. If you hadn't nailed it to the perch, it would be pushing up the daisies. It's rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-parrot - dead).

Premio Dardos. Prize Darts. I'm still stuck on the prize darts. What the fuck are prize darts? D'you get 'em for skewering other people? Cuz, yeah, I can skewer with the best of them. But really, I haven't the faintest idea what all that's about. Prize darts? Is that a quintessentially Hispanic thing? Were I Hispanic would I have the slightest idea what the hell's with the prize darts? I venture to think not. This prize is the concoction of a twisted mind.

And what do darts have to do with this picture? As far as I can see it's an antique typewriter with stylized writing. I think. Or something.

But. Darts! What's with the damn darts??? Why the darts? Why??? There is no answer I fear. Who me? Obsessed with the damn darts? Whatever makes you think that.

Ian, when he did this, was pressed for time. He listed his 156,875 (or so) names and was done with it. Me? I'm just lazy, so I'm not going to link to anyone either. I think your blogs are all prize darts (!!!) or I wouldn't be reading them. Besides, everyone probably already has the damned thing.

Now the next one is the "First thing in the morning I need my coffee and to read your blog" award. Long name. I already saw this picture somewhere but the caption was different. Something along the lines of "I'm up, what the fuck else do you want?" I think I actually posted it here once. After a long night. Probably.

Problem with this one is twofold: a) I don't have time to read blogs in the morning when I get up because I already cut it close by getting up about 20 minutes before I have to leave. Get up, shower, wash hair, dry hair, dress and slap on a bit of makeup, brush teeth. All in 20 minutes. And I look relatively human at the end of it. I rock people, indeed I do. Blogs aren't even on my radar. I couldn't get my computer running at that hour, much less read blogs; and 2) I don't drink coffee. Ha!

So as with the other one, you want it? It's yours. I'm an equal opportunity award peddler. Yes I am.

* Well, duties might be the wrong word, since when this becomes a duty I'll be out of here so quick y'alls heads will spin. I have enough duties without heaping more on myself.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Endless cold and 50 things

Looking back through my posts, I feel as if I'm constantly repeating myself. I bore myself, I feel blogged out, I can't help but wonder how so many people can have so much to say while I feel as if I'm going around in circles. Nothing good seems to be happening...

As Ian pointed out recently:

"The world has been filled with an unnecessary amount of doom-and-gloom of late and I, like many others do, tend to lose heart just a little bit if I let myself."

The end of winter is weighing heavy. The snow is mostly gone in town, but the cold refuses to let up. A little bit of warmth and bang, back to sub-zero temperatures.

The news is all bad (well, that's par for the course), you can't really make a story with:

Today 100 babies were born to ecstatic parents in the Montreal region; Kelly and his dog went for a rambling walk and had a fine time chasing down squirrels in the park. In other news, a few people actually smiled at strangers in the street and several people were released from the hospital because they were cured. And now the weather. Over to you Carole.

Nope, that just wouldn't work, even though it might temporarily lift the veil of grey.

And so, once again, I'll copy Ian and list 50 things that procure me (or have in the past) a bit of happy, however fleeting. Pointless post, but at least I'll not be whining.

  1. Baloo, Layla and Paluche. Dogs belonging to our neighbours in the country. They're always thrilled to see people, it just means that much more petting and playing.
  2. Ripe tomatoes, straight from the vine, still warm from the sun.
  3. A good book
  4. A good bottle of wine
  5. Arizona
  6. Road trips
  7. Road trips in Arizona
  8. Or anywhere in the US southwest
  9. Sunshine
  10. The ocean, sitting on the beach and watching the waves roll in
  11. Dromana - a little beachside town in Australia, outside Melbourne
  12. Strawberries
  13. Sitting on the balcony watching the world go by after work
  14. A Marillion show (and more particularly the thought of the upcoming Marillion weekend in Montreal the first weekend of April.)
  15. Sex
  16. Like Ian, Joshua Tree National Park
  17. Classical music in general
  18. Bach's concerto for two violins in D minor in particular
  19. Montreal singer/sonwriter Ian Kelly
  20. Because I love him: Kelly Joe Phelps
  21. Gel pens
  22. Journals
  23. Collage artists (and here, a little reminder you gotta play sometimes! Try the collage machine)
  24. Abstract art
  25. Sweet juicy pink grapefruit
  26. The fact that I'm halfway through this - it's a testament to my bleahness that I'm really having to think hard to find these things.
  27. Long walks with Mr. Jazz when we're in town for the weekend
  28. As an adjunct to the previous, discovering all the cool shops and restaurants in my area that I no longer know since we got the cottage and are hardly ever around on weekends.
  29. Having my back scratched
  30. Paper shops like Papiers Japonais, which is an awesome place. They sell paper and give tons of workshops
  31. The desert (any desert - but particularly the Sonoran desert)
  32. Graphic novels (a new interest)
  33. Our red Matrix
  34. Lipstick
  35. An evening with good friends
  36. Playing Collapse and other dumb/easy online games
  37. Mr. Jazz's patented "destresser" hugs
  38. Rainbows
  39. Slow mornings
  40. Good tea from my favourite tea shop Esprithé (sorry, the website is in French only)
  41. Cats
  42. Chapman's Dutch Chocolate frozen yogurt
  43. A really good play
  44. That lovely soft fuzzy green when trees start leafing in.
  45. Band-aids with cartoon characters on them
  46. Paris
  47. The sound of playing kids hollering on the beach at the cottage in the summertime
  48. Hummingbirds
  49. Ripe peaches you can just pull the skin off
  50. The smell of "sunsweat" in the summer. You know, that good sweat that smells so... I dunno, summery. Especially on kids.
Anyone else want to play?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dear #&%**#/....

Dear Provincial Government,

Yes, that time has rolled around again. It's tax time. Tax forms have been received, heads have been shaken, T-4s and RRSP* receipts have been gathered and we're all gearing up to sit down and beat our collective heads against the desk until April 30th the OMG-they're-not-done-wotamigonnado!!! date.

But here in Quebec, unlike the ROC**, we have that wonderful little extra, that lovely thing that makes all the difference in the world.

We get to file two tax returns

Count 'em Mr. Government. TWO. Because some brilliant imbeciles, lo these many years ago, stamped their dainty feet and insisted Quebec should have it's own separate tax system***, thus making the bureaucracy even heavier, and justifying squeezing more taxes out of me.

And so...

Not only do I give both levels of government about half (if not more) of my hard earned cash in the form of taxes both hidden and not, you insist on rubbing my face in it by making me do two different returns.

"Hey you! Moron! Not only am I shafting you all year long with sales taxes and taxes on wine and cheese and gas and pretty much anything else I can think of (hmmm, how could I tax sex and breathing??), now I'm taking my cut on your measly salary, giving you no services in return, and making you do the paperwork twice!! I am government, hear me roar. Plus, I fart in your general direction."

Give us a break, ferchrissake! The ROC just files one return, the feds send the provincials their money (or somesuch, how the hell would I know, I live in the twilight zone that is Quebec), everyone is happy and so many more trees survive.

If nothing else, think of the trees.



* Registered Retirement Savings Plan, you know that hunk of cash that's supposed to take you through your "golden years"? The one that's basically gone now with the recession? That's an RRSP - I think you Americans call it a 401-K.

**Rest of Canada - because everyone knows that Quebec is the centre of the universe known and unknown. At least we Quebecers know it.

*** this was before the Parti Québecois, so for those who think they have the monopoly on idiocy, I beg to differ


Dear Gallery Owner,

I love art. I do. And that piece you have on the wall? I would so love to stand before it for a quarter hour or so and drink it in. Even seeing it through the window... well my dried out, blackened husk of a heart is all aflutter.

What I do not love, what, in fact I loathe, is galleries* whose doors are locked because no one who can't spend $12,000 on a piece of art is welcome.

You're right though, if I were allowed to sully the floor of you gallery, I would undoubtedly not leave with a $12,000 painting under my arm - or even a $700 one for that matter.

However, if the artists I know represent the norm, I think most artists want their stuff seen and appreciated, even if a good portion of the people seeing and appreciating can't afford to buy it.

Basically, you're perpetuating the stereotype that only the rich can appreciate art.

And that pisses me off mightily.

Frothing at the mouthedly,


PS: Yes, I know that's not your piece. It's Marcel Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase". Not only do I know the title and the painter, it's one of my favourite pieces of contemporary art - so screw you and the horse you came in on, you snooty bitch.

* Is this the right term? In French a gallery is basically a store where they hang art nicely and sell it - behind locked doors in lots of cases. In English a gallery seems to refer to a museum. Help me out here anglos!


Dear RRSP People,

Finally. FINALLY!! yesterday I received my last RRSP receipt for January/February 2009 to include in my 2008 tax return.*

I'd like to have you note that I received the last receipts for my other RRSP during the first week of March. But yours, as usual has arrived as usual, over half way through the month!

This my friends, is only one of the many reasons I'm transferring my money to someone else.

I would also like to point out, that half the money invested in January/February is missing from the receipt. HALF. OF. IT. IS MISSING!!!

Yeah, oops you fucking bunch of idiots.

Sure, it's just a few hundred bucks, but if it allows me to wring just $0.50 from the tight fisted government bureaucrats, I want that $0.50.

Which means I'll have to deal with your bureaucracy. Which means I'll have to jump through a million goddamn hoops to get the receipt fixed. Which means that I'll have to prove I'm right because y'all would never fucking make a mistake. Which means arguments and annoyance galore and probably receiving the new receipt on April 30 or something like that.

But make no mistake, I am ready for battle, I am really annoyed and anyone who stands in my way will be trampled. Cause you see, unlike most of humanity, my taxes are done. This was the only fucking stupid piece of paper I needed to send them on their merry way and get my money back. And I am mad. Waiting months for my refund, as will happen if the returns are sent last minute was not part of my plan.

Obviously, my decision to flush you down the toilet of ignominy was the right one.

How do I hate you? Let me count the ways.



* Don't ask. We can include RRSP income from th first two months of the year in our tax return for the previous year. I have no freaking clue why.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nighttime radio

Sunday evening I watched a documentary on call-in radio shows, which mostly focused on André Pelletier, a guy who has been hosting a nighttime call-in show for probably over 20 years now.

Nighttime radio is really pathetic, in the sense of "causing or evoking pity, sympathetic sadness, sorrow, affecting or moving the feelings" - which I'd wager was the original meaning of the word.

So many people out there are lonely, so many people are sad and so many people have to reach out to some guy on the radio because they have no one else in their lives to reach out to.

I don't know how these radio talk show hosts do it. After a week I'd be seriously depressed, and yet Pelletier has been doing it for years. I suppose there's something of a shrink in the guy, he has his callers, regulars almost all. He knows their stories, he knows what to say to cheer them up, he seems to genuinely like and feel for them.

It takes a special kind of person. There's a whole huge world out there while I'm sleeping, and all things considered, I'm glad I know nothing much about it.

Because it's a really really sad world.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Sunny Sunday

Photo: François Roy, La Presse

A beautiful Sunday afternoon in Montreal. It was actually warm(ish). It was the day chosen by the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality for their annual demonstration against (what else) police brutality in Montreal.

Yeah. Police brutality. The cops here are nasty mofos it would seem.

So what's a Collective to do to get its point across? Well stage a demonstration of course. A demonstration that obviously degenerates into vandalism (from the demonstrators) and violence (on both sides) and damn, you got your police brutality right there.

"See? See how brutal those damn cops are?"

Of course, breaking business windows and setting fire to garbage cans and breaking the windshields of citizens' cars is totally justified in such cases. Bystanders being representatives of the big bad state I guess... Whatever.

So, over 200 arrests, lots of vandalism, demonstrators throwing rotten fruit, rocks and other projectiles, cops wading in with tear gas and such. Basically it was a mess. A repetition of last year's mess, and the year before and so on back through the years.

I'm sure that the homeless kids of Montreal have a way different view of the police than I do in my cozy apartment. But um... police brutality? Dudes, you want to see police brutality? Go to the Middle East, or South America or Asia...

But here? Gimme a fucking break.

Granted, there are episodes - the death last summer of Freddy Villanueva in a Montreal North park and the RCMP incident where Robert Dziekanski was tazered to death at the Vancouver airport come to mind. However, I truly believe this is the exception rather than the norm.

Am I just becoming old and intolerant of the young 'uns and their questioning of authority? God I hope not. I think it's necessary to question authority, we've all questioned authority and ended up as well rounded, responsible adults for the most part.

But still and all, having travelled - perhaps not extensively, but a good amount nevertheless - I really believe that we have it good around here, and that a lot of people would love to have to deal with our level of police brutality.

Does that make incidents like the ones involving Freddy Villanueva or Robert Dziekanski ok? Absolutely not. These things should NOT happen. Ever.

Maybe I'm just a deluded old broad.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Correspondence

I think it's time for some correspondence... Stupidity seems to be on the rise, maybe it's the never ending winter...

Dear Guy on the phone,

Yeah, so maybe someone DID call your cell from here. There are 15 people here and they don't let me know who they call and when. So if someone calls your, please listen to your damn voicemail before calling me. Cause dude? I am NOT going to run around the office trying to find who called you. And if they didn't leave a message, well hell, maybe they decided they didn't need to talk to you after all. I wouldn't want to talk to you.

Deal with it. If your identity is THAT wrapped up in your messages you really really need to get a life.

Eye rollingly,



Dear Messenger,

I don't care if your package has my address on it. We are not Company XYZ Limited and Mr. ABC doesn't work here and I can't just pull 'em out of my ass to make your job easier. Don't argue with me. I'll win.

Now go away.




Dear Coffee delivery guy,

Why are you bringing me a box of coffee with a bill when I didn't order any? If we haven't ordered coffee in six months it's cause we haven't been drinking coffee for six months. The coffee drinkers all seem to have left the company. Does that mean anything in the cosmic scheme of things? I have no clue. But I don't need coffee and I will not accept and pay for a box of coffee. Unless you give it to me for free. I'm cheap that way.

You can tell your boss that.

What is wrong with you people today?

More annoyed,



Dear idiot on the elevator,

So what if it's Friday the 13th for the second month in a row? That's bound to be the case as February only has 28 days.

It's not a sign, it's simple mathematics. 4 times 7 = 28. Get it now?

Hell, I'm numerically challenged and I managed to figure it out.

It's all about numbers, nothing bad will happen to you.

Decidedly unsuperstitiously,



Dear Purolator and UPS guys, and my mail carrier,

All three of you are sweethearts. You know my name. We always chat. I love all three of you and have no snark at all.

Nope. I got nuttin' for you.




Dear Jazz

Remember your age. Weeknight parties are no longer an alternative. You are an idiot if you think they are.



Tuesday, March 10, 2009

May they all rot in their damn hell

I've been an atheist for a long while now. I've loathed the catholic church for longer. This article (reproduced below in case the link doesn't work) pretty much explains why.

Usually the doings of the church pretty much flow off me like water off the proverbial duck's back. This, however, is too much. Who cares about a child's life after all. And a girl child at that.

I can't even begin to understand how people can follow a church that will allow such things. A church for whom giving an abortion to a nine year old is worse than systematically raping her**. A church that doesn't hesitate to excommunicate those people who are willing to help her - yet does not see fit to excommunicate her abuser. A church whose highest instance (I'm talking to you, you jerkoff of a Pope) approves this travesty. I can't begin to understand how people can look up to this institution.

Organized religion is a boil on the skin of civilisation.

How do I hate these people? Let me count the ways.

OK, after rewriting this several times in order to seem at least partly sane, I'll leave you with yesterday's quote:

Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.

**Of couse the question begs an answer: Did mom have her head up her ass the whole time this was happening? But that's a subject for another post.


Church excommunicates mother of 9-year-old rape victim – but not accused rapist

Brazil rocked by abortion for raped child - Monday, 9 March 2009

Declaring that "life must always be protected", a senior Vatican cleric has defended the Catholic Church's decision to excommunicate the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old rape victim who had a life-saving abortion in Brazil.

Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re, who heads the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, told reporters that although the girl fell pregnant after apparently being abused by her stepfather, her twins had, "the right to live, and could not be eliminated".

In an interview with the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, the cardinal added: "It is a sad case but the real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons. Life must always be protected."

Police believe the girl was sexually assaulted for years by her stepfather, possibly since she was six. That she was four months pregnant with twins emerged only after she was taken to hospital complaining of severe stomach pains.

The controversy represents a PR nightmare for the Vatican. The unnamed girl's mother and doctors were excommunicated for agreeing to Wednesday's emergency abortion yet the Church has not taken formal steps against the stepfather, who is in custody. Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, the conservative regional archbishop for Pernambuco where the girl was rushed to hospital, has said that the man would not be thrown out of the Church, because although he had allegedly committed "a heinous crime", the Church took the view that "the abortion, the elimination of an innocent life, was more serious".

The case has set off fierce debate in Brazil, where abortion is permitted only in cases of rape or a medical emergency. Brazil is one of the most populous Catholic countries, but conservative attitudes in rural areas are strongly at odds with the relatively progressive public view of abortion in major cities.

Even the President, Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva, has waded into the row. "As a Christian and a Catholic, I deeply regret that a bishop of the Catholic Church has such a conservative attitude," he said "The doctors did what had to be done: save the life of a girl of nine years old. In this case, the medical profession was more right than the Church."

One of the doctors involved in the abortion, Rivaldo Albuquerque, has raised the prospect of public clashes at his local church, telling Globo, the nation's main TV network, that he would keep going to mass there, regardless of the archbishop's order. The young girl at the centre of the case escaped excommunication only because she is still a child in the eyes of Church authorities. The stepfather, who is 23, was arrested last week, apparently trying to escape to another region of the country. Police say he is also suspected of abusing the girl's handicapped 14-year-old sister. He is in protective custody, and if convicted faces up to 15 years in prison.

Monday, March 09, 2009

More (linkless) randominity

After 3 balmy days, we're back to sub-zero temperatures and snow on the way. Have I ever mentioned how much I loathe winter?

You know how when shallow puddles freeze over, for some reason you have this thin coat of ice and then it's all air*? As a kid I used to love the crunch of the ice as I broke it in (on?) those puddles. As an almost 50 year old I still do. How fucked is that.

60 year old men look really dumb in studded jeans, Harley Davidson belts and HD t-shirts sporting glitter. Hell, anyone would look moronic in a glittery HD t-shirt! But 60 year olds particularly. Even if they do have good bodies. It's a seriously BAD look (and not in a good way).

The worst possible way to wake up on a Monday morning just happens to be my lot in life. The radio station my alarm clock is tuned to plays their "workout" on Monday mornings at exactly the time my alarm goes off. Waking to the sound of a disco mix makes the top of my "Not Fun" list. Granted, I could change the station, but I like waking to that station the rest of the week, and I'm too lazy to get used to another one**. Besides, this gives me a reason to bitch on Monday mornings. As if I needed one.

Headaches suck.

I so have to buy Watchmen. I've been wanting that book for the longest time. But now if I buy it, everyone's gonna think it's because of the movie.... But really, do I care?

And finally, a thought for you on this Monday morning:

Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.
- Eric Hoffer

Sounds good to me.

* I'm sure there's a perfectly logical reason that I probably learned in some long forgotten physics class for this. She who knows all, aka XUP would probably know.

** You know how when you've been waking to a particular sound in the mornings for 15+ years, if the sound changes it's just all wrong to wake up to. 15+ years. How discouraging is that. Can you spell R-O-U-T-I-N-E?


Friday, March 06, 2009

Random Linkiness

Books I'm loving right now

An Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory

What It Is by Lynda Barry

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and various other graphic novels. I'm loving Julie Doucet, Enki Bilal and others whose names I can't recall right here

The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman - recommended by that most talented blogger Blue Poppy who is also the founder of the Squam Art Workshops where I so want to go in September. Unfortunately, my prosaic side always seems to win out over my artsy, spontaneous side so it probably won't happen this year again...

Stiff by Mary Roach. The first paragraph of the introduction reads: The way I see it, death is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship. Most of your time is spent lying on your back. The brain has shut down. The flesh begins to soften. Nothing much new happens and nothing is expected of you.

That pretty much sets the tone of the book.

Websites I'm loving

TED - is an invitation-only event where the world's leading thinkers and doers gather to find inspiration. The talks are available at the website.

Lileks - it's hilarilous, it's wonderful and the guaranteed source of a chuckle when you need one.

A cool 1800s ephemera site - I love looking at the photos and documents. I could waste hours there.

Crazy Dolls - A store Mr. Jazz and I discovered yesterday on our way to the theatre. Their dolls are wonderfully creepy. I need some of them. Absolutely.

Various other things I'm loving

This collage, sent to me by Mary Buek which I won in a giveaway on her blog. I love Mary's art. And this collage makes me happy every time I look at it.

Theatre: Mr. Jazz and I made a resolution in September to see at least 4 plays this year since we're always saying, "Oh, I'd like to see that", and never do anything about it. So far we're at 8 and counting. We've become addicted to theatre. I love the immediacy of it. I love that you have real people performing. We've seen some brilliant plays this season. The Pillowman (hopefully the embed below will work - we saw it in French though...) was definitely one of the best.

Things I've learned

I've definitely passed the age when I can party during the week and still feel human at work the next day.

This is something I'll probably forget again. Thank god I can blame hormones. For the forgetfulness, not the partying.

Sometimes you just feel too bleah to blog - and sometimes you feel bleh but you blog anyway just to see whether you can.

That's about it. I'm not learning much of anything these days.