Friday, May 29, 2009

Punchbuggy (black and) blue!

I had forgotten about this game, hadn't thought of it in probably a decade.

But for about ten seconds, it had been an obnoxious and not very entertaining way to pass time in the car.

It's one of those unforgiving, unskilled games that when played correctly leaves bruises.

What you do is: keep your eyes peeled.

When you zoom by a Volkswagen Beetle, be the first to scream Punchbuggy blank! (where blank is the colour of the car) while punching your companion in the arm with conviction and maximum knuckle.

It's an easy enough "game" to forget about, except when you're driving a little love bug yourself and witnessing (and in fact, inciting) incidents of abuse everywhere you go. Funny how they neglect to warn you about that at the dealership.

Friday, May 22, 2009

This blog is worth every penny.

Find a penny, pick it up
All day long you'll have good luck

But what's so lucky about a penny, really?
You know what's lucky?
A 20 dollar bill, that's what.
Or a gift card to the liquor store.
But a penny?
Pennies aren't even worth the effort of bending over to retrieve them when you accidentally dump out your coin purse.

The only thing besides luck that a penny will buy you is a thought.
And when people "penny for your thoughts' me, I tend to get insulted.
One bloody cent? Really? Is that all you think I'm worth? I'm sitting here with this really great, nearly original, somewhat lascivious thought in my head, and all you'll give me is a fucking penny? I don't think so, chump.

Luck and thoughts must be the only two things in the whole entire world that haven't suffered inflation. Even a one-cent stamp costs more than a penny (thank you, sales tax!).

Pennies are so ridiculous that they're worth more as raw materials than the amount they're stamped with as currency. If you melt a penny down and sell it to a copper dealer, they'd owe you about 2 cents. It takes 4 cents to make the 1-cent piece. It costs the Canadian people $130 million a year to keep them in circulation even though there are already 20 billion of them floating around. The reason? People don't actually use them as money. They throw them in fountains, collect them in pickle jars, fill up the cracks in their car seats with them (and then maybe clog their vacuums with them). Any reasonable human being would not stoop over to pick up a dropped penny (I myself will not stoop for less than $1) and some people will even throw them out, out of pure penny-disgust, I assume. This is such a rampant problem that they've actually made it illegal to put them to the garbage (this, of course, has proved largely unenforceable). Even homeless people, who dumpster-dive and fight rats for aluminum cans will leave pennies on the ground.

It's hard to take the penny seriously as currency when even the Currency Act says that no business is obligated to take more than 25 pennies during one transaction. If you can't use pennies to pay for things, and you can't stick them into ATM deposit envelopes, then aren't they...not actually money?

And if they're not money, then they're just grubby germ-infested copper discs that weigh down your pockets or misshape your wallet.

Only 37% of Canadians actually use them and they'll all be dead within a decade (not from using pennies, but from old age - because they're old). If you're in a rush, or you have to pee, or you can think of anything you'd rather be doing than standing in line at the grocery store, then it's guaranteed that a very old, very shaky, and nearly blind senior citizen will be rooting through his or her stash of coins looking for exact change. It's geezers like Matty's Aunt Penelope who keep the penny alive (barely). She remembers "when a penny was worth something." When told of our anti-penny stance, Aunty Penny fondly recalled a time when penny candy wasn't just a figure of speech. But for those of us with a serious sweet tooth, we know that a trip to Sugar Mountain can cost us quite a pretty penny. But this day in age, when the cheapest long distance rate is ten cents a minute, gum balls are 25, and calls from a pay phone half a dollar, pennies have become all but obsolete.

Our moronic Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, explains our $130 million annual expenditure on worthless coins with some nostalgia: "I'm a coin collector from way back and I'd hate to lose the continuity of the penny," he said.

Ah, continuity.
I love when people use the "because that's just how things have always been" excuse.
Such a valid argument.
Let's count our lucky pennies he wasn't around during, say, abolition.

In fact, it's statements like that which inspire perhaps the only credible alternative use for pennies.
I don't like to throw around words like 'assassination' , but a sock full of pennies might just teach an important lesson.

Oh, I kid, I kid.
I'm not the type to arm myself with coin-based weaponry.
I'm not even the type to wish any real harm to Harper, whom I'm sure is a nice enough guy if only he was in charge of, say, a hot dog cart instead of my country. I wouldn't mind sending him somewhere that would neutralize him a bit maybe an ice floe up in the Arctic where he could learn some fucking respect for the baby seals.

In the meantime, I'll just keep giving stupid politicians my two cents worth by flushing my pennies down public toilets.
That'll show em.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Herbie The Wonder Dog

I had a couple of failed adoption attempts back in March, and they broke my heart. They reminded me of going to the SPCA in search of the perfect companion and walking by cage after cage of big dogs with sad eyes wanting so badly to be the one that came home with me that their pleading energy was palpable. I left because I knew that large breeds were unsuitable for apartment living, but was heart sick to leave them all behind.

I cried.

My sister adopted Tucker, a beagle mix, from her local SPCA and they both fell so immediately in love with each other that when she left on a week-long trip he suffered separation anxiety even though he was well cared for. Another sister adopted a golden retriever named Charlie who has boundless energy but doesn't bark because his previous owner duct taped his mouth shut.

I wanted one too, but twice the adoptions fell through at the last minute, leaving me emotionally attached and unfulfilled. But the moment I held Herbie in my arms for the first time, I knew it was meant to be. He was meant to come home with me.

Herbie is 5.5 pounds of pure crazy. He rips around my apartment as if it's his own personal obstacle course, deking around chairs, body-checking himself off my bed, bounding out of corners, flying off the couch, and all at the highest speeds achievable by 2-inch legs. And then he'll tire himself out, flop over onto his back, and sleep soundly with his belly exposed and all 4 paws in the air.
He loves car rides and walks. He makes friends wherever he goes. People constantly stop us on the street to say how cute he is, but they needn't bother, because he already knows it. His favourite part of the day is walking down the hall to the trash chute. He often finds treasures along the way: once some takeaway fries, and another time a coffee stir stick that he idolised for 30 whole seconds. Fortunately for Herbie, we take that walk many times a day because Herbie, though small, makes an impressive amount of waste.

Herbie has two girlfriends. One is a rubber chicken named Dolores whom he cuddles with at night and does naughty things to make her bawk during the day. The other is a border collie mix named Mika who is nearly 5 times his size. Mika licks him until he's dripping with her slobber and then they run together, Herbie running underneath her legs in perfect time. When Herbie grabs onto her, she swipes him around as if he's a mop, and they both seem to think that this is great fun.
Herbie has an excellent nose for fun. Everything is a game with him. He likes to collect all of his toys and pile them in his bed. He seems to believe that his bed is his home base, perhaps protected by a magic force field because if he hides something there, he truly believes that no one can ever find it. If he gets ahold of your shoe, guaranteed he runs toward his bed with it. Once it's there, it's his. And it's awfully funny to see Herbie carting around objects that are often bigger than he is. Even shoes can outweigh him, but he's persistent and tireless and he gets the job done. Underwear and socks are particular favourites of his and if I can't find Herbie, he's usually burrowed in my laundry basket having the time of his life. I'm pretty sure that when they say all dogs go to heaven, they mean a big stinking pile of dirty clothes.

Sure there are things I never thought I'd hear myself say until I had a Herbie:
Please stop licking my armpit.
Quit humping Max Keeping!
Make a poopie and then we can cuddle.
Please stop doing unmentionable things to my shoe.
If you keep sticking your head between the balcony rungs, it's gonna get stuck.
I appreciate your amorous efforts, but my arm isn't getting anything out of that.

But no matter how you slice it, no matter who has recently peed on my duvet or stopped to poop at a busy intersection or knocked all the bottles off the edge of the tub, I love this little guy. It helps that he has those proverbial puppy dog eyes. He's just too easy to forgive. But I know that I am fortunate, and that he was worth the wait.
He makes my home a happier place.
You just have to watch where you step.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I fell off.

Two girls walk into a car dealership.

No, that's not the opening line to a really bad joke.

That's just the next logical step in the life of a newly licensed driver.

Granted, it's kind of a big step for someone who's only had a license for 5 days, but I'm nothing if not impetuous. One salesman told us enigmatically that if we walked around to the lake, any big fish that we caught we could take home for free. Another one told me that the car I was test driving was for "girls and fags." I told him it was a good thing I was a little bit of both. When another asked if Rory and I were roommates (roommates mind you, the kind that induce eyebrow wiggling and crotch grabbing, not simply roommates that split the rent), we were starting to get just a little put out. A good (guy) friend of mine offered to come with me to kick the wheels and such but I was stomping around car lots with an I-don't-need-a-man mentality.

And I didn't, in the end.

Weird conversation with Litgo:

Litgo is admiring my killer silver heels.

Me: My shoes can do way more damage than your shoes.

Him: In more ways than one.

Me: ?

Him: My shoes are vegan.

Me: Your shoes don't eat meat?


I fell off the bandwagon of the 40-day challenge.
Well, actually, I was pushed.
I fainted.
I took a shortcut to restoring my blood sugar and I'm not really sorry about it either.
But now I'm back on, and I'm willing to add on extra days for penance.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bad Haircut Blues

She called me in tears.
Is it only women who cry over their hair?
After weeks of flipping through the pages of sample magazines, agonizing over the perfect colour, psyching herself up for a significant cut, and saving up the equivalent of half a month's rent, she strode into her hair dresser's armed with a photo and some courage.
She told the hair dresser exactly what she wanted.
And like many hair dressers, this one told her why she was a moron, why it wouldn't work, what she would do instead.
And then she did it.
And it was bad.
How do hair dressers get away with treating clients so shoddily? I thought only airlines could do that. But apparently hair dressers are extended this special privilege also. Whatever happened to the customer is always right? Or even remotely right?

Okay, so maybe they take one look at the photo of Angelina's hair and they know without a shadow of a doubt that it's just not going to translate well to our less-than-lustrous, thinning, kind-of-limp hair. And maybe this other style they have in mind really would suit us better. But if it's not what we want, why are we forced to get it?
If I go into a dress shop and pick out a pretty blue frock, the sales lady will not tell me "Actually dear, that's all wrong for you, let me sell you this ugly green jumper instead, it's really more your style."
If you go to a restaurant and order the lasagna, the waiter is not going to say "Um, no, I don't trust your judgement, let me bring you the grilled salmon instead."
And yet hair dressers don't care what we want. They don't care that it's our head, and we'll wear the humiliation for months until it grows out.

Sometimes they don't even tell you they're giving you the wrong haircut. Sometimes they cut away, making a big show of consulting the glossy photos you've brought with you for reference. And then when it's all over you look more like Katie Couric than Katie Holmes. Not cool.

Or you ask for a trim and you wind up with 8 inches on the floor. With bangs! And a body perm!

They think they know best and are unapologetic when the customer is squirming unhappily in the seat, panic-stricken, mentally running over their hat selection.
They are either unable or unwilling to say "I don't know how to do that cut." They always say "No problem!" and then you leave looking like your Aunt Bea.
It's surprising that there aren't more incidences of violence against hair dressers. Not that I advocate violence, but come on.
Instead on confronting the hair dresser, my friend made another appointment for 6 weeks from now, when she hopes something will be done to salvage the cut\colour. Do you realize what that means? The hair dresser is rewarded for a bad job. She gets more work.

I wondered if only women are this crazy, but a male friend of mine recently had an even more harrowing experience: the hair dresser snipped his ear! He bled, she giggled. And what did he do? He tipped her. To show there were "no hard feelings."

Are we crazy?
Are they?
And if so, why do we keep letting them get near our noggins with sharp sharp scissors?

We need to start a revolution.
We need to take back control!
Okay, so maybe that 50-something tanned-orange woman leaving the salon with pouffy bleached out hair looks ridiculous. But she also looks happy. She got what she asked for.
That's all we want: the right to make our own bad decisions.
If we gamble on a hair risk and lose, at least we'll learn for next time. But when a hair dresser goes rogue, we end up resenting the cut, and the bitch who gave it to us. We are being forced to pay for haircuts we didn't want, didn't ask for, and don't approve of. Nobody goes in looking for "punk-pixie" and is happy to leave with "skunky school marm." Nobody.

And hair dressers never learn.
My friend's hair dresser knew that she'd given a bad cut. She knew her client was dissatisfied.
She shrugged.
She didn't offer to fix it.
She still demanded payment.
Her client went home in tears.
I thought only accountants were allowed to make their clients cry.

So I'm wondering how I go about starting an angry mob.
Do I just go out into the street and start knitting my eyebrows? Shaking my fist? Do I need a megaphone?

Give me smooth layers or give me death!

Monday, May 11, 2009

God Loves Ugly

I feel bad for those worms who come out to sing in the rain and then die horrible, dessicated deaths, dried out and alone on the sidewalks once the sun has come back out.


Weird Matty conversation:

Me: Are you still putting olive oil in your ears?

Matty: Yup.

Me: That seems weird to me. I'm skeptical of treatments that involve putting something foreign in our bodies when really it should be able to take care of itself.

Matty: This from the girl who just told me that she used to hide her cuts and scrapes from her mother so that she wouldn't try to pick the gravel out of them? Who just confessed that she let so many dirty wounds scab over that she's now probably made of at least 20% rock?

Me: Well. Rocks are organic!


So it was raining like the clouds were having a going-out-of-business sale.
I gave the parallel parking hell anyway.
I got my license.
I smacked that bitch right up.


The other night I was hungry at work.
I walked to stupid Tim Hortons, ordered a bagel.
No bagels.
Soup and a roll, then.
No rolls.
Homestyle biscuits, they told me.
No thanks, I said.
They cajoled.
But I know the score. A basket full of biscuits when all the other shelves are empty means they're rejects. They can't give those things away.
She tells me I can just take a bite and if I don't like it, to just throw it away.
Nuh-uh. I'm not disposing of their garbage for them.
I ordered the Disappointing Soup (they mislabelled it 'chicken noodle' - it wasn't). I left biscuitless.
Still not sure who won that one.


I saw Atmosphere at Barrymore's. It's nobody's favourite venue but fuck it was a good show. The opening act maybe left a little to be desired: he told us to put our arms in the air if we were STD-free. That's a new one. I don't think it's gonna catch on. But Atmosphere was hella-good. I was still vibrating when I got home. And when I guy offered to buy me a drink, I told him that I wasn't. I was good. And when my sister tried to get me to eat cake today, I resisted. She said that no one would ever know (besides the 5 other people at the table), but I would know. This is day 16 and I'm still trucking.

Friday, May 08, 2009

They tried to make me go to rehab but I said

A brilliant blogger was telling a charming story about how she felt her life was revolving too much around the word NO. She said no to her kids more than she wanted to: no you can't have that, no we can't stop here, no we don't have time. She resolved to make the effort to throw a few more yeses into her life, and she very quickly realized how lovely a difference it made to her kids. A quick stop at the 25-cent merry go round at the grocery store made their day.

I wrote to her to tell her that I seemed to have the opposite problem. I am a Yes Girl. Yes I'll have another, yes you can stay over, yes you can cum in my mouth. I'm not a pushover though. I can breezily say no to the things that genuinely distress me. I say no telemarketers (usually quite forcefully). I say no to those annoying salespeople with the perfume and lotion samples. I say no to gerbil-sitting for my wheezy crackhead neighbour. But I don't say no to life's indulgences. I buy the fancy shoes, and the air conditioner I was saving up for be damned. I accept more adult beverages than is wise (how else, but for strawberry daiquiris, would I get in my fruit and vegetable dietary requirements?). I stay later than I should. I buy concert tickets on a lark. I duck out of work early to go dancing. And I'm glad I do, I'm glad I treat myself, it's good to be happy.

But it's also good to flex my fortitude. I'm proud to find this reserve of resolve. I have will power, dammit, and I'm not afraid to break that shit out.

So that's why I'm on this crazy 40-day challenge.
That's why I've said no to roadtrip timbits, and my mother's gummy worms, and fries off Rory's plate, and shots at the bar. No, no, no.

And while it hasn't (so far) been as bad as I thought, it hasn't been easy either, at least not today.
Today, I worked 16 hours straight, went home for a 3 hour nap, came back for 8 more hours of work, will go home tomorrow for a 4 hour rest, work another 8 hours, and if I'm lucky, get another 4 hours of sleep. My resistance was low. Wayyyyyyy low. In the 11th hour, I remember thinking how much I deserved a treat. But while that may be true, I settled for a sandwich and a brisk walk to good tunes despite the crappy weather. And it was okay. I made it through. I kicked some day 13 ass.

So it turns out all my friends were wrong. I'm not an alcoholic. I'm just a happy lush who "can quit anytime." I'm not addicted to YES. I'm not an incorrigible hedonist. I can say no to the luxuries to which I've become accustomed....just don't ask about the sex. Everyone needs a vice.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Car Sick

Thick, dark cramps in the lowest pit of my stomach.
I feel my self esteem hinged on my (in)ability to parallel park.
There's a reason I don't drive, a good one. I don't talk about it, because these are the feelings it elicits.
My friend tries to teach me his technique using his belt buckle as reference. I am distracted.
Another friend uses her pickup truck to teach, though she admits that even she can't park the thing.
I pay for lessons and spend the whole time trembling and flinching.
I hold it together behind the wheel, but as soon as I'm done, I am sick. Literally. Usually on the sidewalk.
I'm trying to shake the past, to forget the things I can't forget.
But I keep reaching for the lever to turn on the windshield wipers to wipe away my tears.

I can do it when no one is watching.
I can learn on my own.
It's the instructor who makes me nervous, the idea of the tester and his clipboard and his judgement.
Pass - fail.
It scares me to be so vulnerable, to have someone witness potential mistakes. It takes me back to a time when those mistakes would be punished with blows.

I am terrified.
Driving triggers my terror.
I am terrified.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

How do I feel this good sober?

I gave up booze, and to celebrate one week of sobriety I spent the night at a bar called Tila Tequila.

I was well-behaved:

I felt at least a dozen different erections pressed in my back without losing my temper;
I was grinded on by hordes of drunk frat boys;
I danced on the second floor catwalk above the bar with my friend like we were a couple of unemployed strippers without caring that my dress was too short and my panties not plentiful enough;
I blew kisses at the fans we made doing so;
I told one boy that my name was Sophie
and another that I was 35 (he would have guessed 27)
and another, celebrating his 20th birthday, that Rory was my girlfriend....and listened to his "I saw Brokeback Mountain and I totally get it" \ "Women's bodies are so beautiful, and I bet you girls have quite the advantage!" diatribe without cracking up or giving anything away;
I asked a stranger to lend me some toilet paper (I didn't give it back);
I kept my cool when a guy asked if I was "wearing anything underneath" and told him it was a mystery;
I danced in another direction when the same guy asked for a peak;
I smiled and shook hands with the admirers outside who'd enjoyed our show, and told us to "keep up the good work";
I grinned through the pain, and when my knee was quickly swelling up to the size of a watermelon during the cab ride home, I simply commented "at least it's still sparkly!"

I did.
I did it all without a single drink.
Even when my friend insisted she would keep the secret, that she would take it to the grave, that I'd never have to admit that I had a single sip, and that no one would ever know.
Even when she asked if shots count.
Yes, they do.
I had none. Just a bottle of water.

Day 7? Day 8?
A fuckin breeze, man.
Bring it.
I got balls.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Outdoor fucking starts today.

Day 6...

We heard a noise.
It was kind of an ordinary noise, a dull bang. A thud.
We didn't know that anything was out of the ordinary until we saw the body on the ground.
Ambulances raced to the scene, but they sure took their time leaving.
So we knew.
We knew before we saw the lumpy body bag that he was gone.
Another jumper, the second in two months.
The second in two months.

That's what I saw tonight.

We had a puff or two out on my balcony, but I munched on rice cakes instead of reese's pieces. It didn't make the weirdness go away, that spot in my belly that still hasn't come to terms with the sudden loss of a friend or the body lying broken 4 floors below.

It was a strange sort of day. I drove in the rain. My dog pooped in the middle of the street. I feel off.

Today is the first of May.
Horray, horray.