Sufferin' Sucotash!

Sufferin' Sucotash!
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

Sufferin' Sucotash!

Nomar poses for his Chsritmas portrait.


My Very First Published Story is Now Online in carte blanche http://www.carte-blanche.org/issues/01/


Merry Moosemas! What a typical Moosemas home looks like, festooned with Moosemas fun and sparkle!
Look What I Can Do! My new company! www.cg-soup.com


The (Re)Birth of the (New) New Left? or "Norma Rae, meet Jar Jar Binks" http://www.marinij.com/Stories/0,1413,234~24407~2599252,00.html I find it facinating that the industry I'm associated with is going through this "industrial revolution" period, where rules about hours and fair wages are being fought again.


EA Workers a Bunch of Pussies? An exchange I had with one of my gal pals (a lawyer) reveals the need for the return of Norma Rae or someone else with ... balls.
  • A says: Salon is running a story today on the EA exploitation of workers issue. Software engineers are bigger pussies than lawyers even.
  • Maggie says: i know...they're they new coal miners and textile workers...they may have degrees, but they share more with the working classes of the early 20th century than they admit.
  • A says: That sounds most eloquent but I still say that if you have the means, education and tools to overcome the oppression that the working classes cannot, if you still work 80 hours a week for no overtime then you are a pussy.
  • Maggie says: pussy it is...i cannot disagree...


This is from the "Troubleshooting" chapter of the user's guide for my laptop:
If problem-solving is taking a long time, take a break. If you have been fighting to solve a problem for a long time, you are probably frustrated by now. Stand up and take a deep breath. Often, you can find a new solution to a problem just by stepping away from it for a few moments.

Imagine...I found that piece of precient advise in a badly formatted, ill-conceived, poorly written computer manual. The best things in life are free.


What Would You Do? A friend of mine studying medical ethics at McGill sent me this ethical puzzle to solve. She said that there is no right or wrong answer, so think about it, answer honestly, and then post your response.

You're in Florida... in Miami, to be exact. There is great chaos going on around you, caused by a hurricane and severe floods. You are a news photographer and you are in the middle of this great disaster. The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot very impressive photos. There are houses and people floating around you, disappearing into the water. Nature is showing all its destructive power.

Suddenly you see a man in the water, fighting for his life, trying not to be taken away by the water and mud. You move closer. Somehow the man looks familiar. Suddenly you know who it is -- it's George W. Bush! At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take him away, forever. You have two options. You can save him or you can take the best photo of your life. So you can save the life of George W. Bush, or you can shoot a Pulitzer prize winning photo: a unique photo displaying the death of one of the world's most powerful men. So here's the question (please give an honest answer): Would you select color film, or go with the simplicity of classic black and white?


Marge Simpson, Smurfette, and Celine Dion's Mother

Marge Simpson, Smurfette, and Celine Dion's Mother Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

Who would have thought that after years of denying my inner drag queen, I would finally come out this Halloween. Inspired by a half-priced blue wig that matched a square dancing dress I found years ago, I tarted myself up for Halloween this year. I was, of course, outdone by my gay boyfriends--but, they had a professional makeup artist.

I had a great time pretending I was the only Smurfette in a land full of Smurfs. We had a Smurfing good time.


One Gal, One Month, Fifty-thousand Words

Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

Yup. I've signed up for NaNoWriMo and pledge to write a novel--even a bad one--in a month.


R.I.P. Punkin

R.I.P. Punkin
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

I found Punkin pacing up and down the sidewalk in front of my house about four years ago. It was as if my reputation for occasionally taking in stray cats had somehow reached him.

He loved to hang out by the fish pond in the summer. In the winter, he liked to lie on the couch right in the middle of the sunbeam.

He died of the double whammy of feline leukemia and an enlarged heart. The latter is somehow poetically appropriate.


jacques derrida dead impossible to summarize the loss, which has (no) meaning anyway. any way. existence is always/already parenthetical. (m)other, where for art thou?



All the Fish are Swimming in the Water, tra-la-la-la-la-la

All the Fish are Swimming in the Water, tra-la-la-la-la-la
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

Eadwarde Muybridge would have killed for this feature...my digicam snaps 16 frames in quick sucession and then creates a single image of the results.

In this case, my goldfish--newly rescued from the freezing outdoor pond--sashay around their new indoor home to create this subtly changing scene. The fishy's tail goes swish-swish....


Looking at the Future, Brightly

Looking at the Future, Brightly Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

That was the colour of the sky today. I'm not kidding. Just ask the bees.


Hibiscus Bud

Hibiscus Bud Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

I've begun the Fall chore of bringing in the tender plants that have been blooming in the garden all summer. Although most experts recommend a ruthless cutting back of hibiscus and geraniums before bringing them in, I never have the heart to do this, as they tend to still be full of promise, like this hibiscus here. I usually wait until they're long and stringy before I do that. They don't seem to suffer from the extended blooming period. I would certainly suffer from not having plants in flower to see me through the gardenless Winter months.


This Blog Entry Uses the Word Angel I don't remember which particular boy had put me in a funk, but it was palpable on my face when I sat on the metro that morning. I was probably in University. It was Fall. Or, maybe it was Spring. Anyway, I was wearing a light jacket. Why I remember what I was wearing, I don't know, but I would have remembered wearing something heavy. There was a group of people my age sitting across from me. I noticed the woman in the group immediately, as she had very long light brown hair and was wearing a yellow cotton dress--the old fashioned kind of cotton dress, with a semi-fitted bodice and a gathered skirt. It was an unusual choice for any decade. Her face was quintessential well-scrubbed. No makeup. Just lovely. I kept looking at her, but I don't remember if she noticed. She must have, though, because before she got off at her stop, she looked at me, smiled and said, "Everything's going to be all right." I remember being soothed by her parting gesture. In retrospect, it couldn't have been difficult to ascertain that I was depressed. But, what did it take for her to communicate with a total stranger? Courage? Self-assurance? Drugs? Religious zeal? To this day, I call myself an atheist and think of this woman as an angel. Life is more interesting when it's inconsistent. I thought of this incident yesterday when I noticed a woman smiling at me near the doors of the IGA in my neighbourhood. She wasn't lovely like my metro angel. Quite the opposite, actually. Too thin--possibly anorexic. Sun-damaged sallow skin. Bleached blonde hair. Very bad teeth. Wardrobe from the eighties. She was probably my age, but without my many privileges. I locked the car and walked towards her, deciding whether I should return her smile or not. She asked me if the Beetle was mine. It is, I answered. That's my favourite car; my boyfriend's going to buy me one, she said. Not believing for a second that her boyfriend had the means to buy her one, I simply replied that the the Beetle is fun to drive. "En tout cas, madame, vous etes chanceuse." Lucky me. Lucky me for being able to read the subtext of what she said. What she really said. Everything's going to be all right.


Why I Love the Internet and My Friends So, after my restful afternoon reading and replenishing my dry skin, I turn on the kitchen faucet to wash the few dishes I've dirtied today. The normal woosh I get from any of the faucets in this house is a mere trickle. Fearing the worst, I check for leaks below the sink. Nothing. Good. I try all the other faucets. They provide the same lovely water pressure I've grown to count on. Good. I turn off the stereo and listen for telltale sounds of running water. None. Good. I descend into the crawl space (also known as "Where the Genetically Modified Spider People Live"). No leaks. Good. So...what's the problem? Do I consult the home repair books my father has given me over the years? Nope. Do I Google for "constipated faucet". Nope. I IM one of my pals who is known to be able to diagnose and fix many, many things. After determining that the valves controlling the water supply to the faucet are actually on (this is the equivelent to "Is the computer plugged in?"), he suggests that the filter is clogged. I imagine myself decending into the crawl space again, turning off the water main, and dismantling the whole faucet to find the filter. My friend quickly corrects me: the filter is at the very end of the faucet. Without using any tools, I unscrew the thingy at the end of the faucet. Lo and behold! It's full of black schmutz. I rinse it off, screw it back on, turn on the water and wham! Water pressure. I IM him back with a big thank-you. My relief is quickly replaced with disgust, though--where did the schmutz come from? It came from the Montreal water system, that's where...I'm sticking to drinking red wine exclusively from now on.

Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

This not-working thing is getting addictive. I spent this morning potting bulbs (for flowers in Winter) and making my own "spa" treatments. I'm suddenly feeling very Victorian-ladyish...when was the last time you sat on a setee, reading a hardcover book with rosewater and glycerin on your face?


Country Living ... pffffffffffffffffft! There are five cords of wood in front of the cottage. It is currently a huge mountain of birch, maple and other hardwoods I can't identify. I've been stacking it in fits and starts throughout the day. I have blisters on my hands and bruises on my arms from trying to carry more than I should. The pile looks as big as when I started this morning. Oh, and the bear knocked over the garbage bin again and there was garbage strewn all over the road, which I had to pick up with my blistered hands.


Berry Good

Berry Good
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

I coveted these berries while shopping at the Atwater market on Saturday. Having tried to fill a basket of my own with blackberries growing near the cottage, the $22.00 price tag for the wild blueberries is actually a steal; it took me about twenty minutes to gather just enough to sprinkle over my yoghurt.

Basket case

Basket case
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

I have three furry barometers to tell me when the seasons are definitively changing. While they prefer to sleep outside in the garden at night during the summer, I know that cooler weather is prevailing when they start finding and claiming cosier indoor spaces to sleep. In this case, Punkin has decided that the basket beside the TV where I store the remotes and DVDs is the perfect spot to sleep, groom himself and perhaps find some veneration should I decide to light the candles.

Answer to Thursday's Blog Entry It occurred to me last week, while talking about favourite films, that two of mine have a tenuous, but for me visceral, connection: cats. In "Breakfast at Tiffany's", at the end of a film, a cat is abadoned and then found, a hirsute symbol of love lost and regained. In "Alien", the cat is the only other survivor and serves to underline Ripley's humanity as she races to destroy the alien predator. No matter how many times I watch "Alien", my fear is for the cat, temporarily abadoned in its carry-case as Ripley vainly attempts to stop the auto-destruct sequence. In these final scenes, my heart beats "Get the cat! Get the cat!" even though I know the ending will never vary.


Name something that the films "Breakfast at Tiffanys" and "Alien" have in common. Winner gets something from my old office at Softimage. You *must* however try to think like me and give me the answer I am thinking of. Of course, if you come up with something original and surprising, I'll likely reward you with a consolation prize. (Sitting in my living room are two boxes containing the contents of my old office. I gave a lot of stuff away, notably the full-size cutout of Boba Fet and the blow-up pink Princess chair (no one wanted the can of spray cheese). Remaining are lots of mugs, hello kitty things, and a stuffed lemur. I may decide to keep the lemur.)


Lake after rainfall

Lake after rainfall
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

At around six in the evening, the sun came out briefly after a heavy rainfall. The lake was covered in a fine mist and the water was calm. Landscapes like this make me almost believe that beauty is an absolute....


(not for the squeamish) A gentle reminder to wear your seatbelt whilst riding in the back seat of a cab.


Smells like ... burnt toast.... Anyone else notice that the whole city smelled liked dog poo today? I noticed it when exiting the Bureau en Gros in Old Montreal. The smell persisted in my neighbourhood. At first, I thought it was the Bug--I once ran over a dead skunk, and *that* smell definitely persisted, but was localized to the left front wheel rim. But, I gave the Bug a good sniff, and didn't inhale anything other than old exhaust. Funnily, I could smell green apples in the car while driving home, yet there were no green apples in the car...though, I did buy some green apple soda (diet) at Loblaw's this weekend. It's like Spring in Summer....Or, I have a brain tumour...


The Mighty Brugmansia

The Mighty Brugmansia
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

It's finally in flower in my garden. Worth the wait...


Can You Bake an Apple Pie?

Can You Bake an Apple Pie?
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

There's an apple tree beside the cottage that bears small, mealy, but sweet (not tart) fruit. Feeling adventurous, I picked as many as I could and then set out to make a pie.

I've never made a pie before. Quiche, yes. Pie, no. Never. Turning to my dog-eared copy of the Joy of Cooking, I used their recipe to make the filling. The crust was purchased at the Provigo; my mother tried to teach me how to make the perfect pie crust, but I never managed to get the dough to stick together.

The pie was incredibly delicious...I sprinkled raw sugar on the crust before popping it in the oven for that professional bakery touch (as the Joy of Cooking suggested).

I recently took a quiz (What Castaway Personality Are You?) where one of the questions asked what one thing you'd bring with you on a deserted island. I immediately chose "toiletry bag", but after this culinary experience, I think I'll answer "my copy of the Joy of Cooking" -- after all, they have recipes for cooking all kinds of varmints in there as well...Rosie the cat almost caught a chipmunk yesterday...Mmmm, chipmunk.


A New Career? Found this while randomly visiting Blogger blogs: http://job.yslive.com/main.html $45.00 US an hour and I only have to keep men chatting with me. I am nothing if not articulate and well read. And I have boobies....Sounds like easy money.


What a Tomata!

What a Tomata!
After over two weeks in the country, I came home to discover tomato plants that are taller than me. I've been enjoying one every day, and today it looks like two are ripe enough to eat. Salt, pepper, a little olive oil...my kind of cooking ;)


This Just In.... http://tinyurl.com/3ofsz (http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,64596,00.html) "Effective with this sentence, Wired News will no longer capitalize the "I" in internet. At the same time, Web becomes web and Net becomes net." picky, picky, picky...my god! i stopped using capital letters ages ago. i also think spelling is borgois...

You must be joking....

If I spread cat nip on the kitchen floor, how long will it take three cats to lick it clean?


The Birds and the Bees

Okay, I know it's a wasp... Hummingbirds actually sound like Jedi Knight light sabre swords when they swoop in for some nectar. They don't mind the occassional wasp, but they'll attack any other hummingbird that tries to share the feeder. They're small, but they're mean.


Punkin 'n' Me

What do you do on a rainy afternoon? You lie around on the floor with your cat and count the number of hairs on his neck.


Cats in the Country I've been at the cottage for a couple of days now. Today, it's quite cool, so I have a fire going and am happily reading Felicia's Journey by William Trevor. It's one of those books that you want to finish because you want to know how it ends--but, you don't want to finish because you're enjoying it so much. It's satisfying my love for a great story and my attraction to serial killers. I say no more; read it yourself. (I haven't seen the Egoyan adaption of the novel, but the review on IMDB indicates that it's strayed from the original focus of the story.) Accompanying me in the cottage are my three furry friends. I managed to attract them into the kitty carriers for the drive up here by using liberal amounts of cat nip. Rosie sat happily in her private carrier, quietly watching the mountains appear as we hurtled up the 15 north. Punkin and Nomar had to share a cage. Nomar insists that he'll never do that again, as Punkin had a rather stinky accident, from which Nomar could only escape an hour later. Rose-scented perfume did little to mask the smell coming from the back. All stayed in the cottage for the first day, but the call of the outdoors was too strong, and they've begun exploring the gardens around the cottage. I lure them back inside with a trail of kitty litter and we all fall asleep to the sound of nothing. Purrrrrrrrrr....


The End of an Era?   Finally recovered from my intense week at Humber. I can't remember the last time I managed to wake up joyfully for daily early morning appointments. Ninety participants ranging in age from 18 to 80 came to learn from published authors and fellow writers. Mornings were devoted to workshops and the afternoons to talks from the author participants (Edward Albee, Nino Ricci, Alistair MacLeod, to name a few) and various kinds of publlishers and agents. The latter had the tough job of painting both a rosy and realistic picture; your chances of being published are slim, but keep writing anyway!  I attended this workshop 72 hours after I was laid off from Softimage. After almost seven years in their employ, my position was eliminated, giving me the opportunity to truly dive into the week at Humber and be in the enviable position of actually having the time to flex some newly-honed creative writing muscle. Opportunity knocks in the strangest ways sometimes.


I've been at Humber for two days now. They've been filled with fun talks from literary agents, publishers and authors (notably Alastair MacLeod, who, among other things, compared writing to the the stuff of grocery store carts and suggested that you write the end of your story before you actually finish it).   Took the streetcar from the college, which is the in the southwestern part of Toronto and travelled all the way to the Kensington market and on to College street. If you thought St-Laurent was bad on a Saturday, you should trying wading through the corner Bathurst and College.  Had passable food and excellent ice cream.    The first two chapters of what I am far-too-hopefully calling a novel are being reviewed tomorrow. I pray that the few pages I've submitted don't suck.


Cocktails with Edward Albee Next week I'll be attending a week-long workshop at Humber College. In attendence will be Edward Albee, Guy Vanderhaghe, D.M. Thomas, and a host of other published writers. My mentor will be Wayson Choy. To say that I'm excited would be an understatement. After getting really encouraging feedback on some of my short stories, I'm hoping that this workshop will help me focus on my current writing project, a novel about a girl and her time-travel machine. I'm hoping to capture some pictures for posterity, which I will post, time and wireless connections willing.


Would You Sleep with Christopher Walken? On the drive home from the cottage last night, "Weapon of Choice" started playing, which prompted a discussion of whether we would sleep with Christopher Walken. One friend said that she couldn't even imagine it--although she could imagine singing in public at a shopping mall. I dunno. He's creepy, yes. But does anyone remember what he looked like in The Deer Hunter? Does this make me weird?


Cottage Critters The first weekend at the cottage went well. The weather was perfect, and the swimming was excellent--the water was actually the right temperature for feeling refreshed but not so refreshed that it took hours to steel yourself for the first dip. Apparently, I am allergic to mosquito bites. I am now covered in small welts that itch like mad (antihistimines are helping). I actually woke up because I was scratching myself in my sleep. I don't even recall getting bitten. Regardless, next weekend, I will liberally apply a deet-based repellent and keep as much skin as possible covered. This evening, I'm looking forward to slathering aloe and lavender on my bites in the hope that this will calm the itching down a bit. The cottage itself is beautifully quiet. We discovered that bull frogs will sing us to sleep every night without our asking. The wild roses surrounding the structure release their odour pretty much all day, and their scent wafts through the open (but screened) windows of the living room and veranda. No inaugural trip to the cottage is complete without an exploration of the shopping in the area. The closest village is Ste-Agathe, and it possesses a fine Dollarama store, a well-stocked Provigo, a hellish Canadian Tire, and a Tigre Geant. In the latter, I purchased "my kind of flip flops": they have small kitten heels that go fetchingly with jeans and will take me from city to country and back again in sweet urban style. They were only ten bucks, so I bought two pairs; black for evening and blue for cocktail hour by the lake.


Hoser Last evening, after voting and before dinner, glass of red wine in hand, I decided to install an automatic watering system in my garden. I had forgotten until recently that I had all the components to attach and snake soaker hoses through the flower beds in my backyard. With July and August ahead of us, having a system that will regularly get water to the plant's roots will be good for everyone. What surprised me is that it only took about 45 minutes to get it up and running. This is what I did: Installed a double tap with separate flow controls. Attached regular hose to one tap. Attached small non-soaker hose extension to the other (you don't want soaker hose running directly from the tap outlet if it's not close to a plant bed.). Attached soaker hose to hose extension. Wound first 25 foot hose through bed on south side of yard. Kept it in place with stakes. Attached 50 foot hose to end of the first and wound it counter-clockwise through the rest of the garden. Turned on water. Adjusted postioning of hoses. Got very wet. Finished wine. If you're going to try this (and I highly recommend you do if you have any kind of garden to maintain), make sure you purchase some extra washers to keep all the connections tight. Also, you don't have to go with soaker hoses (although they are the best at getting precious water where it needs to go--in the ground), you could embed sprinklers instead. Tomorrow: Install an automatic timer to run it for a short period every night. Later: Perhaps a wicking system for all my flower pots!


What Do They Think They Are? A Monopoly? I just cancelled my service with Videotron. Of course, they asked me why, and I simply stated that I didn't think I'd be using the service much over the summer. They then offered to let me "suspend" my service for $35.00 for the following three months, saving a reconnection fee. When I said I didn't know if I was going to re-connect the service, they passed my up the food chain. The deal then became that I could suspend for six months, and only pay $50.00 to reconnect the service. I decided to cancel the service outright, taking the risk of going to another quasi-monopoly for "free" television signals. Sheesh. Does this seem reasonable to you?


June Monkey This June, Blork and Martine encourage us to confess to the monkeys on our back. I'm pleased to announce that while I am not monkey-free, I did manage to get rid of some monkeys this week: - Applied for new driver's license and medical insurance card after my wallet mysteriously disappeared over a month ago. How's that for procrastination! - Made an appointment to review my sorry RRSP portfolio with a professional. - Put all my bills in a stack so I can easily pay them tomorrow morning. First thing. I promise. - Arranged to have money automatically taken out of my bank account to pay down my line of credit--if I don't see it, I don't spend it. - Resolved to cancel Videotron, because I should watch less and read and write more. I'll do that for July. I swear! Plus, Nip/Tuck is back! - Resolved to put bike in back of car to take it to the bike repair shop so I can ride it this summer. Baby steps....


Cap St-Jacques For those of you seeking a country experience in the city, I highly recommend Cap St-Jacques. My employer treated us to party there yesterday at its Maison Rond Pointe, a facility that you can rent for company or family parties. Situated at the tip of the "cape", it was almost ocean-like--the wind was strong, causing grey-green waves to crash on the rocky shore. It was beautiful to gaze across the Lac des Deux Montagnes and imagine it was one of the bays of Nova Scotia or Maine. A few of us wandered onto the beach a few yards away, and I managed to dig my toes into the sand, getting that much needed connection to a sandy beach--any sandy beach. Take a mid-week trip, before school lets out in earnest, to get one of the cheapest vacations you're likely to find.
The Cottage On a bit of a whim, my friend L and I rented a cottage for a year. We saw it in February, and were charmed by the setting and the cosiness of it. This weekend, we finally got to see it in all its early summer bucolic glory (we finally move in July 1). Imagine a century-olod farmhouse with an acre of meadow in front of it leading to a pristine lake. Imagine the meadow full of indian paintbrush, forget-me-nots, and daisies. Imagine me lying in the middle of the meadow wondering why I hadn't done this sooner.


Mommy just got a brand new digital camera! I desperately wanted a half-decent digital camera--one that had an excellent lens *and* an optical zoom, but was only willing to spend $200.00 CDN. I found one on ebay: a Sony Cypershot DSC P51. I received it this morning and it took all day to charge what I hope are its robust batteries. When they finally finished, it was 11:00 p.m., so I can't regale you with pictures from the garden, but I can give you a glimpse of my little furry guys in their night repose.


Oh, You Kids! My parents found me a set of Cambell Kids dolls at a flea market a few years ago. My mom washed and ironed their outfits and dad made sure they were completely disinfected. During our last crunch at work, my colleagues began using them to star in their own theatre macabre, also known as "Cream of Spanky Soup". Please don't tell my parents. (Yes, that's a naked Ken doll and a Barbie New Beetle in the background.)
I Hate the Grand Prix What wears a white leather suit, gold wrap around sunglasses and has skin like leather? That would be my impression of the crowd hanging out on St-Laurent and Crescent, celebrating in high shallow style fast cars and fast women. Ugh! It's like all of Montreal has turned into the Playboy mansion. While I can appreciate camp style as much as any gal, when icky euro-trash wannabes increase my commute time by 400%, I resent it. Crossing the Plateau and downtown last night at around midnight was pratically impossible. For revenge, I think I'm going to strut around Crescent street in a gold lame halter top and short shorts that do nothing to camouflage my cellulite. Quick, where's my insta-tan spray?


I am Geek! I'm typing this entry on my brand new laptop. A Toshiba widescreen, 3.4 Mhz Intel, 1 GB Ram, NVidia GForce 5700, wireless-ready. I installed a wireless network in my house and now I can surf the net in the garden. Oh, and it has an integrated TV receiver. One last thing: It's blue and matches my eyes. Sweet!


Remembering Benny Chatting with Martine and Kate yesteday at yulblog, we were all reminded of how we needed to see and honour departed loved ones before cerimoniously committing them back to the earth. Benny was sixteen when he died. He came into my lfe, like most of my furry friends, as an abandoned cat. He was brought to me by a young neighbour who had been handed the cat one day in July. Someone in the process of moving decided they didn't want the little fellow anymore, and asked this little girl if she did. Knowing her mother wouldn't let her keep him, she came to me. Benny, was a real charmer. In fact, he managed to get one of my other cats, Edith, pregnant, before I realized that he was old enough to do so. He lived a pretty happy and eventful life--he actually managed to fall down an elevator shaft in a loft I rented in Old Montreal. He had a habit of sleeping on my head and digging his needle-sharp claws into my scalp when it was time for me to put food in his bowl. He'll always be remembered for being "Benny, the lap dancing cat" because he would roam from lap to lap at dinner parties looking for affection (kind of like his mistress). He'll also be remembered for the bad breath he had in later years and for being the life of the party at my mom's 80th birthday celebrations. Benny died in my arms a few weeks after that event, after quickly coming down with something pretty much incurable. Rather than subjecting him to trip after trip at the vet's, I decided that he should be allowed to drift away in the spot he called his--with me in my bed on the fluffy duvet. I finally nodded off and when I awoke in the middle of the night, Benny had, too. Death had been pretty much unknown to me up to that point. When I discovered his little lifeless body beside me, the "ick" factor that accompanied other encounters I'd had with dead things wasn't there. It was just Benny, as soft as ever, but still...oh so very still.
For you radio heads out there Simply brilliant.


What to do when kids visit.... My friend Juliet Waters has just published Fodor's Around Montreal With Kids, a great guide book for parents, godparents, and aunties (like me) who need an alternative to taking visiting munchkins to the Biodome. Practical and also whimsical (she suggests high tea at the Ritz), Juliet traipsed around Montreal and tested many activities on her own son, Ben. You may have caught their picture in The Gazette earlier this week. Anyway, I've given copies to every parent I know, and am keeping one around my house for when I have little visitors. Auntie recommedended.


More Things I've Learned I've never been skinny. I did manage to balloon up to a size 14 a few years ago, but lost that weight and have managed to stay fit fo the past four years or so. Apart from just being generally active (walking, hiking, biking, shopping, etc.), I've found that the Pilates workouts that I've been doing for the past year have made a huge difference in my strength and general body silouhette. I can lift practically anything, bounce a dime off my abs, and my butt, which has always been a flabby rubenesque, is now a lovely round, flat, firmer rubenesque. I prefer working out on my own, at home, in the morning. There are a ton of DVDs out there. I've tried quite a few, and here are the ones that I like and are extremely effective. - If you want to get into the true Joseph Pilates Method, then check out Classical Pilates Technique - The Complete Mat Workout Series. Incredibly fit and quirky Pilates masters ground you in the core Pilates mat workout. I found this DVD indispensible in understanding the moves that form the basis for the other Pilates-based offshoot DVDs. I've worked through to the Intermediate workout, and use Pilates Body Kit, by Brooke Siler, to run through the "classic" workout at least twice a week. Note that the latter is an audio CD, which may not be very useful for beginners. - I've grown to love Ellen, the perky hostess of Crunch: Fat Burning Pilates and Crunch: Pick Your Spot Pilates. The latter provides Pilates-based lower body routines that I find incredibly effective. There's also a 10-minte routine, that I do when I just don't have time to do anything else. The former is the newest title and is currently my favourite. Ellen leads you through a standing Pilates workout that is semi-cardio and all toning. It's followed by a more traditional mat-based Pilates workout. I've been doing this workout for about two weeks, and my rubenesque butt may just look a bit cuter in a bathing suit this summer. Regardless, I'll have the arms and the stamina to swim accross the lake of my choosing.


Music and Mullets Drove to Victoriaville this weekend to see Sam Shalabi and 8 guest musicians debut Alma Venus. Mostly inspired, a little self-indulgent, the audience and the performers both had a great time. In part backed by musicians from The Donkeys (who I've never seen perform before) I was totally impressed by the guitar, bass, drum, and vocal support they gave the composition. A trip to Victoriaville isn't complete without genuine mullet sightings.... My friend L and I spotted two adult males and one child male sporting the legendary hair-don'ts. No female mullets on display, unfortunately. Matrix X3 Watched all three Matrix movies back-to-back yesterday. I'm more convinced than ever that Trinity is really the centre of the movies' mythology...kind of like Mary Magdelene to Neo's Jesus. Otherwise, I confirm that the third movie is the weakest one, especially in terms of editing ... how difficult would it have been to actually weave the three final story lines together instead of presenting them more or less sequentially. Boooooooooooring.... The effects for the final battle between Mr. Smith and Neo were outstanding, however.


Some Things I've Learned You don't have to buy expensive moisturizer. Ditto for cosmetics. Wear sunscreen all the time. Light Carnation Instant Cocoa eases my craving for chocolate. You can make your own body wash using bio dish liquid and your favourite essentail oils. For an instant perennial flower bed, buy three small plants and plant them togther instead of buying one larger plant. After a party, you always end up with leftovers. So, have another party to finish them up!
In the Garden I planted a magnolia tree in my backyard yesterday. After 8 years, I'm finally finsishing up all the flower beds I've established over the years. Last year was the last of the grass. This year, it's the beginning of enjoying 100% garden in the middle of the city. Next year? Good-bye crumbling shed, Hello pergola!


Via Blork, I, too, am publishing the books I've read on the 100 Books Meme. I've not read that many of them, but I've heard of most of them, and I own many of them--I think I own more books unread than read. 1984, George Orwell The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll Animal Farm, George Orwell Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer The BFG, Roald Dahl Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks Black Beauty, Anna Sewell Bleak House, Charles Dickens Brave New World, Aldous Huxley Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres Catch 22, Joseph Heller The Catcher In The Rye, JD Salinger Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky David Copperfield, Charles Dickens Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson Dune, Frank Herbert Emma, Jane Austen Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy The Godfather, Mario Puzo Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck Great Expectations, Charles Dickens The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, JK Rowling Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling His Dark Materials trilogy, Philip Pullman The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Douglas Adams The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien Holes, Louis Sachar I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer Katherine, Anya Seton The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, CS Lewis Little Women, Louisa May Alcott Lord Of The Flies, William Golding The Lord Of The Rings, JRR Tolkien Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blighton Magician, Raymond E Feist The Magus, John Fowles Matilda, Roald Dahl Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden Middlemarch, George Eliot Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie Mort, Terry Pratchett Night Watch, Terry Pratchett Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck On The Road, Jack Kerouac One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez Perfume, Patrick SuskindPersuasion, Jane Austen The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving Pride And Prejudice, Jane Austen The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot The Ragged Trousered Philantrhopists, Robert Tressell Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett The Secret History, Donna Tartt The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher The Stand, Stephen King The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens Tess Of The D'urbervilles, Thomas Hardy The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson The Twits, Roald Dahl Ulysses, James Joyce Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson War And Peace, Leo Tolstoy Watership Down, Richard Adams The Wind In The Willows, Kenneth Grahame Winnie-the-Pooh, AA Milne The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
Today marked the end of one of the longest projects I've ever worked on at Softimage. Here are some interesting statistics of what my colleague and I accomplished in 1 year: 14 books 4,853 pages 876,049 words 2,682 Tim Horten coffees 34 hissy fits (mostly mine) 10 pounds gained and lost several times (mostly gained) I'm going home to hug my cats and look lovingly at my garden, which is growing despite my neglect.


Four Dead in O-Hi-O I'm old enough to vaquely remember this 34 year-old photo: Mary Ann Veccio witnesses the murder of Jeffrey Miller Young Mary Ann Vecchio witnessed the killing of student Jeffrey Miller in the parking lot of Kent State University on May 4, 1970. Three other students were killed and nine others were wounded. Ohio National Guardsmen had been called in the day before in response to some rioting centred around the campuses' ROTC building. The mayor also instituted a curfew. Students and professors were responding to President Nixon's May 30 announcement of the invasion of Cambodia. Many eye-witness accounts of the atmosphere on the Kent State campus that day point out that many students simply wandered onto the Commons, the main gathering place for students, after their classes let out at around noon. There was a protest, but there were also many students simply sitting on the grass, enjoying the sun, and trying to figure out how to get their lunch from the cafeteria--access was blocked by the National Guardsmen who had taken postion on top of Blanket Hill, directly overlooking the Commons and en route to the cafeteria. Many of the protesters presumed that the National Guardsmens' rifles contained rubber bullets. No one thought they were going to die. The Guardsman, in retreat from the easily quelled tear-gassed protesters, suddenly turned around and fired 60 bullets into the crowd. No Guardsman was ever prosecuted, although some thirty protesters were brought to trial. The ten-year old me saw Mary Ann's picture in the newspaper and wondered "why"? And I guess I'm doing the same today, juxtaposing that image with recent images of American soldiers humiliating Iraqi prisoners of war.


He's so cute how he's got really fluffy, curly bits Strange bird.


April's Monkey: Yes, I Cried (This month's monkey graciously offered by blork et martine.) I'm a strong chick, surrounded by equally strong chicks who tend to make fun of me when I slip and reveal the thin vein of vulnerability that lurks beneath my thick skin. One very dreary Sunday afternoon, I decided to plunk myself in front of the TV and watch a film. I was feeling...listless. Normally, I'd be brunching, reading, writing, bricolaging, something-ing. But this afternoon, I just gave in to mental and physical sloth. Little Women (the newish one with Susan Sarandon and Winona Ryder) was playing on Bravo and I settled in for a commercial-free couple of hours of fluff. It was helpful that the dishy Christian Bale was playing the role of "Laurie", Jo's love interest. Anyhoo, the girls go through trials and tribulations, one of them dies and their daddy finally comes home from some prisoner of war camp. I cried. I cried through most of the movie. I justified this by telling myself that a good cry, regardless of the sappy primo genitor, was a good thing. When my friend A asked what I had done that afternoon, still feeling a bit bluesy from the film, I replied wistfully "I watched Little Women. It made me cry." "Maggie! How could you!" While A believes in a good cry, she definitely believes it should be the result of something important. To this day, this incident remains one of the major signifiers of our friendship, marking the moment when I revealed that, midst all my strong chick friends, I may be the sappiest of the bunch.


We Are the Robots I think I had been waiting more than a decade to see Kraftwerk in concert. The last time they were supposed to tour--sometime in the early 90s--they cancelled. Saturday I finally got my wish to see the grandfathers of techno in the fleisch! The four of them (only two from the original group) stood almost stock still behind elegant laptops whilst minimalist graphics played on the huge screen behind them. Musik non-stop.


You Deserve a Break Today Top guy at McDonald's dies of heart attack. He was 60....
Suddenly Spring Today, I walked out of the house and immediately peeled off my light jean jacket. I was actually too hot in jeans and t-shirt this morning. Yesterday, despite being lured by looming deadlines, I decided to start spring cleaning in the garden. The front yard was first. I got rid of all the debris, cut back the roses and fed all the tulips and daffodils that will be in flower in just a few days. It felt great to be working outside in my overalls and Wellington boots. My neighbours were also outside doing their spring cleaning thing and we exchanged garden plans and plants, and just enjoyed being with our little patches of the city. I smell bar-b-q....


Mellow's Wednesday Horoscope You know that looks aren't everything. You also know that you look fantastic. And if appearances weren't enough, you also attract attention by what you say. Everyone in earshot thinks that you're funny, wise, talented or maybe all of the above. They're right, too. Be gracious when signing autographs. Don't you dare charge for anything that you're delighted to give away for free. One of my short stories is being reviewed tonight by my workshop. I hope this horoscope augers well. Dammit, I am cute and funny!


Let's Play Master and Servant Tell this chicken to bend over and take it like a rooster.


April is the Cruelest Month When I was in university, I remember reciting these words to myself as I tried to get through exam and term paper hell. Now that I'm a professional working gal, I'm reciting T.S. Eliot again as I simply try to get through April. Silly me registered for two writing course, which are wrapping up at the same time as a major project here at work. I'm not exhausted, I'm just unable to turn my mind from writing fiction to non-fiction and back again quickly enough. This may result in some rather poetic technical documentation, but also some rather embarassing prosaic fiction. "It was a dark and stormy setup and installation...."


The Secret to My Success Some of you may have wondered why I'm so at ease at cocktail parties, easily debating both the merits of squeezable cheese and the currency of Aristotle's Poetics. The answer is Concordia's Liberal Arts College. Every year, the college produces young adults who can drop any name associated with any aspect of Western Civilization. In three years, you learn history, literature, philosophy, science, art and music. First-year students are forced to go to New York and weather five days of culture and four nights of keeping other hotel guest awake. Second-year students re-enact Plato's Symposium or Dante's Purgatorio. Third-year students feel compelled to apply for a Rhodes scholarship. Last Saturday was the college's 25th anniversary. About ten people from my year attended and I'm proud to announce that we remained the "difficult" year. After dinner, when the speeches and "talent show" began, we high-tailed it back to the bar to drink, and smoke, and laugh at everyone from all the other years who were listening patiently to someone reminisce about their research into the municipal governements of the Weimar Republic. The vice-principal actually had to come over and tell us to be quiet. Despite not having seen some of my college mates for over a decade, we easily fell into old habits--teasing, flirting, debating, mocking. We are still a bunch of overly bright misfits who know just enough about everything to navigate through any stuffy social occassion.


Diversity in all its ... diversity Did you know you can google in "Swedish Chef" or Klingon...or Gujarati? I didn't, and if you didn't either, check this out. Bork, bork, bork!


One Day a Year I find it somewhat ironic that, on the eve of International Women's Day, Sheila Copps' bid to hold on to her riding of Hamilton seems to have been kyboshed by the conservative elements of the Liberal party. Don't get me wrong: I'm not a particular fan of Copps' and certainly joined in the jeering when she allocated federal monies to distribute Canadian flags accross the country just in time for La Fete Nationale and Canada Day. Nonetheless, she was a bold politician--some called her shrill--and I feel her sense of injustice as 20 years of service to an entity has been tossed into the trash heap. She's a vicitim of the political system, but she was also complicit with it. As I look at my own wanderings through private sector and the politics I play in the name of "professional development", I wonder if I shouldn't be more conscious of how I may be perpetuating structures that, ultimately, value the bottom line (whether it's actual currency or the political kind) more than the human beings that contribute to it. As one of my professors said of political and social theory, "Just when you think you understand it, there's Karl Marx coming 'round the corner winking at you."


When Monogomy Becomes Monotomy Gives some credence to Laura Kipnis' musings that marriage has become "work" and infidelity is the inevitable result.


Diva Kitty

I'm Hello Kitty Snow Fairy!

76.57 Watched the 76th Oscar presentation in HD on a friend's 57-inch television. Another friend ran a betting pool throughout the rather dull ceremony and I'm happy to report that I came in second. I would have won, but I voted with my heart, not my head in the "best male" categories. Depite the fact that Benicio Del Toro is looking very scary these days, his quirky charisma holds unknown charms for me. Tim Robbins won instead and he hasn't done anything interesting since "Short Cuts". Voted for Bill Murray because the character he played in "Lost in Translation" reminded me very much of an older gentleman I had a tryst with whilst in a foreign land. I'm glad that Sean Penn won, as I've always admired the fact that he's a good actor and director. Otherwise, all my other picks were based on this simple rule: If "Return of the King" is nominated, it will win. Only other highlight of the evening was that the cold I have has had an effect on my voice. Everytime the camera panned over Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, and Billy Boyd, I would croak the word "Hobbitses" sounding exacly like Andy Serkin's Gollum. It kept me in stitches, at least.


Studio 54 (Warning: This post contains cat content.) My friend L bought me a mobile made of beads and mirrored disks for my birthday. Last Saturday, I set it up in the living room window. The sun reflected off the little mirrors and cast dancing reflections off the wall. My cats, starved of the outdoors, went mad trying to catch the reflections as they moved, multiplied and disappeared simultaneously. But cats aren't stupid; they know a losing battle when they're midst one. This morning, I caught them lazing in the living room, the reflections dancing around their inert furry bodies. I imagined them as denizens of the famed Studio 54 night club: "Rosie" as Liza Minelli in a presecription drug stupor, "Punkin" as a young Calvin Klein feigning heterosexuality, and "Nomar" as the too-hot-to-handle Bianca Jagger.


Giggle Stress My friend B has this coping mechanism where she giggles when she's stressed. Unlike commonly dispensed advise, where stress-bearers are told to giggle at stress, B's strategy inlvolves giggling with stress. This seems like my kind of coping strategy. You're not trying to find a silver cloud in some crappy lining. Instead, you are hysterically embodying the idiocy that modern life sometimes is and displaying it for all the world to see. For glass-half-full chicks like me, a reminder that it sometimes really is half-empty is a necesary correction to a tendency to remain chipper in face of doom. Moreover, laughing with stress doesn't involve that energy-sapping effort of picking yourself up by your bootstraps. Instead, giggle stress teaches you that self-realization may rise from a complete lack of self-reflection. You are what you giggle, indeed.


This Monkey is Alive! Blork and Martine invite us to talk about the times we really felt alive. A boyfriend, who was away at college, surprising me by coming home one week early: Before we said hello, our clothes were off and I was up against the wall. Partying all night at the W in New Orleans: What a city, what a hotel, such debauchery. I still tingle thinking about it. Rolling my 1994 VW Golf down an embankment and surviving: It's true that when you face imminent death, time slows down and all is calm, all is bright... Singing at the Spectrum: If only my day job provided an audience that hooped and hollered. There's little I wouldn't do for that kind of encouragement. Anytime I'm driving towards the ocean: I know I'm going to a calming place. My cat Benny dying this summer: Benny died at home, in my arms. All else was put on hold as we said goodbye to each other.


Embracing Birthdays I have a healthy love of celebrations, especially my birthday. Over the past few years, I've tried to extend it to last as long as possible. This year was no exception, and week-long get togethers culminated in a lovely party where I got very drunk with the people I feel closest to. I received a lot of really great gifts, as well, probably because I'm so easy to shop for. In no particular order, this is what I received: the latest issue of Vanity Fair a Hello Kitty tissue holder and bag two Hello Kitty CDs full of Hello Kitty software some great hanging things--tealight holders, a mobile, and flower vases that will help to bring even more atmosphere and colour to my living room and patio some delicately scented incense and candle chocolate a spring activated CD holder wine a Lego desk pal a monkey candle holder my favourite cake from Gascogne (Ambree) the promise of a 54 inch television some great birthday cards, suitable for framing, including one involving a kitten and a guinea pig in a tea pot Thanks everyone for sharing my birthday. Getting older is fun!


What I don't want for my birthday Yup, that's a platinum, diamond-encrusted Hello Kitty. This report notes something a little too close to home for this kitty, who will definitely be closer to 40 than 30 this Wednesday: "Like many an ageing star, Kitty is known to have undergone at least one facelift during her career, which brought her eyes and nose closer together for a "cuter" look." As Hello Kitty can attest, dear readers, cute doesn't age well. Cheese and wine, on the other hand, do. I'll drink to that!
Super Boob 2004 Who doesn't know about Janet Jackson's exposed breast? Latest news indicates that the FCC will be investigating. From the same story: At the White House, President Bush said he missed the show. "Saw the first half, did not see the halftime -- I was preparing for the day and fell asleep," he told reporters Monday after a Cabinet meeting. Some guys miss all the fun.


Maggie's Musings... A random snippet of from an online chat I had today. I actually wrote this: "Hey! If I had any get rich quick schemes...I'd be rich!"


This article is funny not only because David Hasselhoff thinks he played a role in the fall of the Berlin wall, but also because he thinks he can sing. (Thanks for sending this, A. It was actually so disturbing that I forgot to laugh.)


A Purr-fect Weekend A list of things I enjoyed this weekend: Sewing new cushion covers for my battered IKEA couch: Using some purple silk I bought at Value Village years ago and some sparkly braid I bought deeply discounted at Fabricville, I'm fashioning new cushion covers for my comfy, but slightly cat scratched couch. They match the Sure-Fit slipcover I purchased purr-fectly. When I completed the first one (which included a tricky zipper closure) and slipped the cusion inside, I couldn't get over how fantastic it looked! I don't understand how they can recover an entire sofa on Trading Spaces in a weekend, though. I barely finished two cushions. I'm convinced they cheat by using outside labour. Soylent Green, uncut and commerical-free on MoviePix: What's not to love about this movie, which is inspired, I think, in part by Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" (you know, the one where they pave paradise and put up a parking lot). Charlton Heston and a very poignant Edward G. Robinson solve the murder of a Corporate Food executive and in the process discover what Soylent Green (a staple foodstuff) is really made of. Strong images of an overcrowded metropolis, overwhelmed by greenhouse gasses and a patriachy that is more entrenched than ever make Soylent Green a particularly tasty and kitsch look at the world of 2022. Heston's character is sleazy and not-quite-heroic: watch it and see if you don't agree that he could be an antecedent of William Gibson and Neal Stephenson characters. Mixing water and single malt scotch: An acquaintance introduced me to adding a little cool water to single malt. It actually does bring out the flavour. It also means you drink more. Fasten Your Seatbelts! It's Going to Be A Bumpy Night: Recovering from a vague hangover on Sunday, I was happy to have the All About Eve DVD to take care of me in the afternnon. Nicely restored, with commentaries from the director's son and some guy who wrote an entire book on the making of this film, I had to laugh when I realized that the moral of the film is that a woman is woefully incomplete if by the age of forty she doesn't have a man to wake up to. It actually doesn't matter if you're talented, accomplished, and filthy rich--it's quite meaningless without a man to take you away from the emptiness of success and independence. Oh, and your career is pretty much over byt the time your forty, too. Nurse! "Funny business, a woman's career. The things you drop on your way up the ladder so you can move faster. You forget you'll need them when you get back to being a woman. It's one career all females have in common--being a woman. Sooner or later we've got to work at it no matter how many other careers we've had or wanted. And in the last analysis nothing is any good unless you can look up just before dinner or turn around in bed and there he is. Without that you're not a woman. You're something with a French provincial office or a book full of clippings but you're not a woman. Slow, curtain, the end." -- Margo Channing, beautifully overacted by Bette Davis. The Golden Globes: I pretended that I was still vaguely hung over and watched the Golden Globes, including the painful red carpet interviews an hour before. One interviewer actually tossed Charlize Theron aside for some impromptu bons mots from Bill Murray. As much as I love him, it was so rude, especially with Charlize looking positively creamy! Jane Fonda, appearing with her son Troy, proved that she's hard of hearing by supplying non sequitors to the questions posed to her. Elijah Wood is miniscule. How was it that Al Pacino was allowed to look that bad. Hair! Wardrobe! Disaster in aisle eight! Double up on the Feather Bed: I have two feather beds. I don't know why, but I do. I decided to put both on my matress and see if I could replicate that completely cocooned feeling. For good measure, I tossed a flannel sheet on top for an added soft nappy cotton texture. The comfort of my bed is now out of this world. Really: it's now in another spacetime zone, which is a lot like our own, except everyone is an angel and brownies aren't fattening.


"I hope my work will help build a bridge between laser technology and the traditional food industry." How many times a day do I say that?


In other geek news... ...it's been reported that the FBI has begun raiding homes of those suspected of stealing Valve's Half-Life 2 source code. Read a blog account here. The theft contributed to Valve postponing HL2's release date by a few months. Note that the blogger denies any involvement. It's kinda neat to read about the FBI protecting this kind of intellectual property. They should make a game that involves hunting and raiding suspected harbingers of stolen code, insider trading, and kiddie porn!
Leave the Poor Kid Alone! In August, 2003, 17 year-old Mike Rowe registered the cute domain name www.mikerowesoft.com. In November, 2003, Microsoft began accusing Mike of copyright infringement. It's his name, for goodness sake, and he had the (precocious) wit to add the word "soft" to the end it. I say hire him, don't sue him!


Recommended: BBC's The Office Rented the first season of The Office this weekend. Slightly reminiscent of Spinal Tap in its use of mockumentary-style narrative, The Office portrays the lives of of employees under the Dilbert-like management of the world's most un self-aware boss. What makes this series work for me is that the employees are as clueless as their leader, but not as ruthless. They rarely challenge him, and when they do, they quickly retreat (scuttle) as they're barraged by his nonsensical doublespeak. All are trapped in the ugliness of the city of Slough (think of the very worst of the West Island), a place they ocassionally attempt to leave, but never do. This little capsule isn't doing this series justice, so just rent it. Let me know if you fall in love with Tim the way I have. In the first episode, he encases his nemesis' stapler in a jello mould.


12 Monkeys: Jobs I've done... Persuant to Blork's and Martine's fine initiative, here is a list of (some) of the jobs I have held. Room Service Cashier at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel: At the age of 17, I recommended wine to David Niven, thought that Sally Struthers was ordering for two when she was really ordering for one, and fought viciously with an Italian room service waiter who thought Mussolini wasn't so bad. Receptionist at a food import company: Met Mr. Norton when he came in to pick up Toblerone chocolate for his M. Felix and Mr. Norton cookies. Asked him to marry me. Discovered that Mr. Norton certainly made good cookies, but had *no* sense of humour. Telephone operator for Expos dressing room: During the dark days of drug abuse in the baseball leagues, the Baseball Comissioner removed all payphones from dressing rooms and dugouts. My job was to dial numbers on behalf of the players and umpires and record the numbers they were dialing in a special diary. Everyone hated me. Glorified receptionist at IBM: People would call the main switchboard seeking help for products not manufactured by IBM. I once spent 10 minutes with a woman explaining to her that while I was capable of answering her WordPerfect question, I could not because it was manufactured by some weinie in Ottawa. Technical writer/Trainer for software company specializing in systems for law firms: Learned far too much about how lawyers pad their bills with "disbursement" charges. A dollar a page for photocopies? Puh-leeze! Mistress of all things 3D: What can I say about working at Softimage? I've been here for six years and I get to have this kind of repartee with our customers.


Fatal Addiction One of my nieces presented me with Hostess Twinkie Lip Balm this weekend. The warnings state: "For external use only." "Keep out of eyes." "Not to be eaten." If it weren't for these warnings, I would have poked my eyes out before ingesting this highly addictive and sweet tasting lip balm. A final warning states: "Stop use and ask doctor if rash or irritation develops." There is no warning about my new compulsion to apply the balm every ten minutes. The desire to apply increases if I'm drinking coffee.


I'm a Slight Bitch Courtesy of agencychick. Coincidentally, my friend R sent me this missive of Bitch-i-ness: BITCHOLOGY When I stand up for myself and my beliefs, they call me a bitch. When I stand up for those I love, they call me a bitch. When I speak my mind, think my own thoughts or do things my own way, they call me a bitch. Being a bitch means I won't compromise what's in my heart. It means I live my life MY way. It means I won't allow anyone to step on me. When I refuse to tolerate injustice and speak against it, I am defined as a bitch. The same thing happens when I take time for myself instead of being everyone's maid, or when I act a little selfish. It means I have the courage and strength to allow myself to be who I truly am and won't become anyone else's idea of what they think I "should" be. I am outspoken, opinionated and determined. I want what I want and there is nothing wrong with that! So try to stomp on me, try to douse my inner flame, try to squash every ounce of beauty I hold within me. You won't succeed. And if that makes me a bitch, so be it. I embrace the title and am proud to bear it. B - Babe I - In T - Total C - Control of H - Herself B - Beautiful I - Intelligent T - Talented C - Charming H - Hell of a Woman B - Beautiful I - Individual T - That C - Can H - Handle anything Is there something they've put in the Montreal water?
When Your Life is in Your Hands I know the feeling of losing control of a car, having killed my previous vehicle (a white VW Golf). All it takes is some weird friction/physics thing to happen to a single tire and *BAM*, you're doing a 360, or worse, the car is actually tipping and rolling. Driving from Toronto yesterday had me on tenterhooks. Although conditions weren't as bad as all that, I passed many cars in the ditch between the east and west lanes, including a large Jaguar. The first part of the journey was fine--small flakes barely lasted on the busy 401. As I approached Kingston, the road got decidedly narrower and I felt the need to clutch the steering wheel very tightly in fear of an icy patch I couldn't see in the 5:00 p.m. darkness. The snowy shoulder taunted my wheels with threats of chaos. I must have driven over 200 kilometres at 70 K an hour. Pathetic. But, I'm alive. Got home and poured myself a glass of wine, ate something really sugary, and read for hours until my hands and shoulders finally relaxed.


I am Tall, Blonde, and Dead You are 60's IT girl, model, chanteuse, superstar and Velvet Underground-extra songstress NICO.(a/k/a Christa Paffgen) On 18 July 1988, she went for a bike-ride on the isle of Ibiza,
You are Nico, the 60's "It girl," model,
chanteuse, superstar and Velvet Underground-
extra songstress NICO.(a/k/a Christa Paffgen)
On 18 July 1988, she went for a bike-ride on
the isle of Ibiza, she collapsed and died of
brain hemmorage.

Which Dead Female Punk Are You?
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Know the Future Now! Don't ask me why, but I've been researching time travel recently. I came across this really easy way to get someone from the future to visit you. Includes all the required legal forms. I'll let you know how it turns out. Or, maybe you know already. Donchya love paradoxes? I do. But you knew that already, too.


You know you have too much money when... ...you can waste money on legal fees.