Friday, July 30, 2010

And your fears are?....

Friday, 30 July 2010 - Fear lives in all of us. We often fear what we do not know or what we don't understand. We fear heights, open spaces, enclosed spaces, depths, deep water, spiders, bees... But fear offers a challenge that we will sometimes step up to the plate, bat in hand, and attempt to knock it out of the ball park. Unfortunately, fear can also offer complete paralysis. There are just some fears that take more than a good friend holding your hand to get you through. But what about those fears that are so deep, they seem impossible to overcome?

For some, there is no greater fear than naked public speaking. For many more, there is a fear of being in that audience. There is no doubt a direct negative correlation to those you want to see naked, and those you will. The same can be said for topless and nude beaches. On St. Maarten/St. Martin, the beaches are beautiful.  Unless of course you are on the French side. On the St. Martin side, the beaches are all topless and many are clothing optional. Those who choose to exercise this option are often old, with butt cheeks that have a leathered look to them. These are obviously glutes that see a lot of the sun (and probably are burned on to the retinas of many sun seekers) and not a lot of sunscreen. As for breasts... well, they too had a hang time of which Shaq would be proud. When it comes to fears, this is something from which one should run.

What about the ordinary things?  Elevators are a fear that could encompass a few other phobias; enclosed spaces, strangers, heights, body odor, cheap perfume and the naked guy on his way to the 12th floor to give that speech. Not sure how you get around all these fears.  You could take the stairs if your knees can take the load. Escalators are often in a state of repair and out of service. So you could just suck it up and call the car.  While you are in there, today is a great day to overcome your fear of strangers.  It is Talk In an Elevator Day.  Of course there is nothing there that says you have to talk to another. You could just talk to yourself. Perhaps the other people in there with you have a fear of the touched.  Think of it as a public service.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Crocs and rolls.... well, buns really.

Sunday, 25 July 2010 - Do you know why women's feet are so much smaller then that of a man's?  So they can stand that much closer to the kitchen sink.  No? Ok, the real reason is Louboutin's look that much better on a smaller foot.  Even Christian couldn't make a size 12 look sexy. But what about those women with puffy wide flat feet?  Could Mr. Blahnik make those feet look sexy? This could be what started the Crocs in public trend.  Honestly, there are some shoes that are not actually meant to be worn in public. Even to be worn in the garden, one should ensure a high fence and lush hedging for fear someone might peek.

A friend of a friend has pink Crocs in the house as guest slippers.  This is bordering on a valid use for Crocs. One, you are indoors.  Two, you can almost guarantee they will still be there when the guests leave. Well, most of your guests wouldn't think to leave still wearing them. But explain to me the number of people wearing these to shop, to coffee, to dine?  No matter the size of your feet, this is footwear that turns your feet in to flippers...  walrus feet.  Stylish.

Last week friends and I were out for dinner at an excellent restaurant in a hip part of town.  The table beside us had two couples who seemed well 'healed' until you looked at what was covering their heals... there was two pairs of Crocs!  Now I know it's summer, and it is the west coast (which generally means anything goes), but seriously?  The food was better than that.  There is a hot dog cart just down the way.  Crocs are best suited for street meat. Mind you, even the street meet a few blocks over won't wear Crocs.

Now as far as hot dog carts go, Vancouver is famous for Japadog... yes, it is a culinary experience that is hard to give justice to in print. Japanese style hot dogs can include hot dogs stuffed with edamame, Kobe beef dogs, terriaki dogs, and dogs with plum sauce. This hot dog cart got so famous that it had to open a store front restaurant to try to keep up with the masses.  It's been frequented by Arnie Schwarzenegger and Stephen Segal and featured on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. It is Culinarians Day.  If hot dogs are on your menu today, try something new.  Experiment with your toppings. Change out your dog. Or, get creative and make a masterpiece. KD and hot dogs with ketchup doesn't count. KD and bratwurst with sauerkraut and caramelized onions...  maybe. It's also Parent's Day.  Perhaps that means your kids should cook for you...  KD and ketchup it is!

There is a chef inside all of us. There is something very organic about putting together varied ingredients, and something deeply regenerating about creating a meal for those for whom you care. Go ahead and cook with abandon today.  Get down to the basics of life...  nourishment, love, sunshine and good shoes.

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
                        Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'll have a large fries and therapy.

Saturday, 24 July 2010 - The full moon is but a day away.  Not only does this affect the tides, but Mother Earth's lunar body has an even greater effect on the tides of lunacy, pulling on our nutter juices. Crazy is a spectrum ranging from the touched to the totally off, and every one of us fits on that spectrum somewhere.  With the full moon, we take a step to the right... or is that the left?  Guaranteed someone you know will be a little more loony tomorrow. This scares me a little.  Tomorrow is also my birthday.  It is a big one... one of those new era birthdays that causes me ponder my mid-life crises and look at convertibles. I was already expecting to be a little crazy.  The full moon ultimately means I am indeed spending my birthday in the right place.  I am at home in Seattle at the Fortress of Crazytude where I shall feast on the craziness that is my family.

My boys give me brief moments of knowledge that I am not nearly as crazy as I am often accused. My boys, my ego and my superego, also provide me moments of pure joy. Those moments rarely end in jail (thanks to the critical thinking of the superego), are sometimes a little impetuous (thanks to the id - that's me), and often organized (thanks to the realistic ego). Thank god for the American girl who holds on to the bail money.  Freud would be very proud... or very very afraid that it takes three of us to make one psycho. Ah, er, I mean psyche.

While we feast on craziness, we shall do so with the blessing of the Catholic Church (another source of madness). Today is the Feast of St.Christina the Astonishing, Patron Saint of insanity, mental disorders, and psychiatrists.  Christina Miribilis was born in 1150 in Belgium.  She suffered a massive seizure at the age of 21 and was presumed dead.  During her funeral, Christina sat up to join in on the festivities. She said the smell of all the sinners in the room is what woke her.  While her soul was separated from her body she claimed to visit heaven, hell and purgatory... and on her return was given a mission from God to make penance for all the souls in purgatory.  So... Christina spent the rest of her life throwing herself in to horrible situations, including floating down a river to the water wheel which threw her body around like a ragdoll.  She was unharmed.  Seems Christina had the blessing of god and spent the rest of her life finding new and interesting ways to get off... ah.. I mean torture herself. If its self inflicted, do you need a safe word?  Today is also Drive Thru Day.  I KNOW you can get a drive through wedding.  Can you get drive through psychoanalysis?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Caution: the beverage you are about to enjoy is hot.

Friday, 23 July 2010 - Complaining is the great North American pass time.  If we don't have what the neighbours have, we complain that we don't have enough.  If we have a small inconvenience, we complain we are going to be late and it was someone else's fault.  When it gets dark at 1700 hrs we complain that we go to work in the dark, and come home in the dark.  When it gets dark at 2230hrs, we complain that we can't get to bed early cause it's too bright and the kids out the back alley are still out playing and laughing and having fun. When we are young, we complain about the old people.  When we are old, we complain about the young. When we are young we complain about how LOOOOOONG a year is.  When we get old, we complain about how time goes by too fast.  We have dogs, but we complain that they shed too much.  We get a non-shedding dog and complain about the cost of hair cuts and grooming supplies. We buy a couch in to which you can sink, then complain that it is too soft. We get a practical car that has good mileage, and then complain that there isn't room for the ski equipment, the Bernese mountain dog, and plywood.  We get a truck, and complain about the cost of fuel.  Hell, we buy gas guzzlers and then complain about the raping of oil from the Gulf and how greedy the oil companies are. I could go on and on and on, but we would no doubt complain about that as well.

Then there is the weather...  Canadians have a particularly annoying habit (or so my American sister tells me), of avoiding any real conversations with meaningless chats about the weather.  Don't worry, we can complain about that too. It seems that whenever there is an elevator to ride, and you are not alone, you can count on a Canadian starting up a bit of mindless word exchange with "Nice weather we're having eh?" or "How about all that rain?"  It is quite remarkable.  As I have begun to pay attention to this phenomena, I have come to see how true that is.  Get in to an elevator in the States, and you will get "How about that game last night?" or "How about that Obamacare?"  I don't believe Americans only talk sports and politics, but it seems slightly more interesting than the number of days of rain we've had, or how, after complaining non-stop about the cold and wet spring and early summer, we can then turn around and complain about the arrival of summer.

This year in the Pacific Northwest, the summer weather was a long time coming, and very overdue.  It is now summer.  The sun is gracing us with her rays of vitamin D and melanin enhancing properties. The fourth sweater can now be left off, and the heavy socks are a thing of the past... and future.  It will be fall soon enough and we will be back to the cooler temperatures and increase in rainy days. It astounds me when we complained about the cold for so long, that three days in to a veritable 'heat wave' (yes, the temperatures almost hit 90 degrees), we started complaining all over again.  I got in to an elevator yesterday and had someone say to me "So... is it hot enough for you?" No.  No it is not hot enough for me... it's summer.  It isn't even hot enough for summer. It's summer.  That's why summer clothes are small. That is why pools are busy.  That is why patios sell Sangria.  If it isn't hot in summer, than it is merely spring.. or fall... or winter.

I'm sorry I didn't get asked that question today instead of yesterday. I won't complain about it, and it is very early in the day.  Someone will ask it again today and it will be fitting. It is Hot Enough For Ya Day. If I were throwing the annual Jamaican Me Crazy Party, we could be talking about my Jerk Chicken. If it was hot tub day, we could be talking about the water. . If you were in New York or Paris and viewing the latest winter collection from Paris Hilton, it could be about the clothes ("That's Hot").  It IS National Hot Dog Day, but I don't think they are talking about the tube steak. If we were having a hot beverage and you had just burned your lip on the molten hot black sex in a cup, it could be about the coffee. But, alas, it is about the weather after all.  Caution:  The summer season you are about to enjoy is extremely hot.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Spooning on a hammock

Thursday, 22 July 2010 - A slip of the tongue can get a girl in a lot of trouble.  Tonight, while standing about on a platform with two men in blue, we got to talking about the coffee one had in his hand which was reported as being bitter and black.  I replied "just the way I like it".  You would think I would of caught myself... or realized what I had said.  I was referring to the coffee, but as I look at the partner, well, he could be described as bitter and a little black.  That might be a slip of the tongue... or it could just be my inside voice and my outside voice are on a swob jap.   I mean.. a job swap. Apparently my brain cells are in a hammock somewhere.

Today is Spooner Day, also known as Spoonerisms Day.  A spoonerism is one of those slips of the tongue where the start of words may get swapped around. Reverend Spooner was born in England in 1844 and was a long time lecturer at Harvard.  He was famous for flipping his words.  Seems Spooner wasn't dumb, or even lazy... seems his tongue just couldn't keep up with his tongue.  So when I'm looking for a good sparking pot, it's not about marijuana, and it isn't about finding a place for the car... it's because my tongue is not able to keep up to my brain.  I'm thood with gat.

Maybe it has nothing to do with keeping up to my brain.  Maybe it is more about my brain cells on vacation.  I'm seriously beginning to think that the older I get, the more brain cells that take time off.  I worked them very hard for a very long time and they have earned 8 weeks of paid vacation annually.  If so, in any given time, up to a full sixth of my brain is in a hammock somewhere between two trees.  I can only hope that when they get back from that vacation they come back ready to fire thoughts around in my head again.  Thoughts can be elusive, and the more I work, and the less I need them, they seem to vaporize.  I think that when you work too much and play too little, thinking actually becomes difficult... near impossible even. And yet, all you end up with is brain cells on vacation, but the body is still punching a clock (clunching a pock?).

So lately, I've been thinking about the number of days I have worked, and the number of days I've vacated.  The ratio is not good. Indeed it is appalling. So much for not working more than needed, and working on the rest of my life.  I am hugely unsuccessful in having a 'rest of my life' so I work, which makes it  hard to have a 'rest of my life'.  Sense something a bit circular? I sure do. I just don't know how to get off the merry-go-round.  I have to find a way to get the rest of my life in to a hammock.  Today is surely the day to do it.  Today is Hammock Day. String up some string between a couple of trees and swing. I will likely not spend today in that hammock, but I will spend today sorting out how I will spend the next 8 days away from work. Perhaps if I take my body away from the punch clock, I could get some of my brain cells back in the game. This is valuable advice for all of us.  Seriously...  take some time to hang around and breathe.  This is good advice. I hope I will take it.  Kugs and Hisses....  Me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

18 years and 18 shots of golf


Wednesday, 21 July 2010 – Do you remember your first drink? How about your first drink of tequila? When you first sipped the amber liquid from the Scots, did you immediately swoon, or swallow hard and breathe deep?  As a Scot, I’m fairly certain that my first drink came before I could form lasting memories. A little scotch and warm milk could soothe anyone in to a restful sleep.  Teething? A little scotch rubbed on your gums made the ache go away… or the care.  Either way, it worked.

As I got a little older, my grandma and I would always have a spot a tea after shopping and running errands.  On Sundays, we would opt for a wee sherry instead.  Harvey’s Bristol Cream was the sherry of choice.  To this day, I like a spotta or a wee sherry after a day of running errands. To the Scots, alcohol wasn’t only part of the cultural blanket, but was medicinal…  therapeutic… a cure for whatever ails ya.

Then, when I was about 12, I discovered I had a sweet spot for tequila.  Turns out that tequila is pretty good mixed with grape Kool-Aid. Perhaps because there was never a huge taboo around alcohol when I grew up, that a glass of beer with pizza on an occasional Friday night was pretty good, or that a glass of wine with dinner was part of the meal, I never really hit the legal drinking age green… or stupid about the effects of alcohol.  While friends were getting their stomachs pumped after the party (well, after they left the party), I was still at the party, relatively sober.  I worked in a bar and saw enough of the crowds bad behavior to think that it would ever look sexy to get that polluted. The legal drinking age draws a line in the sand, but it doesn’t tell you what side of that sandbox hold the smarter kids.

What makes people in Canada more able to handle alcohol at an earlier age? In Canada, the drinking age is 19… or 18… or 19… or 18… or 19…   really depending on what province or territory in which you live.  In the US, it is 21.  That is 21 no matter the state, or your maturity.  Are Canadians that much more mature?  Or, is the bottle of beer so much more engrained in our lives that really, by the time you are 18 or 19, you’ve already been drinking regularly anyway, they might as well tax you.  Or… is it just that at 18 or 19 you should be taxed just because?

Today is Legal Drinking Age Day. It was in July 1984 that President Ronald Reagan signed a bill setting the legal drinking age at 21 throughout the entire country.  I guess Rotten Ronnie wasn’t able to handle his liquor prior to 21 and decided that this made the most sense.  The liquor taxes are so much smaller in the US compared to Canada that there probably wasn’t as big a financial incentive to lower the age. In Canada, folks between the ages of 18-21 probably single handedly pay for the interest on our debt just in beer tax.  We are a socialist country no?  Or are we just more social?

I got an email joke from a friend one day last week that listed a handful of words that are hard to say after a few drinks.  They ranged from words like ‘proliferation’ and ‘preliminary’ to ‘anti-constitutionalistically’ and ‘transubstantiate’, to the near impossible ‘sorry, you are not my type’ and ‘no thanks, I’m not hungry’.  What is it about alcohol and snacks that go hand in hand? Is it because the only time 7-11 could possibly sell the mystery meat sandwiches and tube steaks of questionable "tube" is when you are just too drunk to ask?  There are the Gaines Burgers and the Gaines Burgers with Cheese at the In and Out, and Jack in the Box stays open late because they only start selling when the bars are letting out.  Then there is the chips, chocolate, and Chef Boy R Dee at the local corner store.  Do you ever wonder why the corner store carries on that canned pasta? It isn’t because people do their weekly shop, it is for us drunks at 3:00 am that decide they could really go for a can of ravioli. Fortunately, today is also Junk Food Day.  Go ahead.  Eat all the crap your stomach can take.  Then when you are throwing up in the morning you can play the universal guessing game called “What the hell did I eat last night?”  That game doesn’t have a set age…  and, like golf (a sport with 18 holes because there was 18 shots of whiskey in a bottle),  it was probably invented by the Scots.  Bottoms up!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Horrorscopes and New Moons


Tuesday, 20 July 2010 – My horoscope says that today I am concerned about “connections and communications of all kinds… writing, thoughts, letters, emails, phone calls and the mental process in general, and that close personal ties are a focal point for my feelings.” 1. I can see how this applies in my life, after all I’m about to have another birthday, where I get to get older and yet don’t get any smarter, or wiser, or more mature.  I have spent the better part of the last month in a funk about the connections and communications in my life, and what does it all mean as I continue to get older as a single girl in the big city.  I really am NOT getting any wiser.  I am definitely NOT more mature, and I am certainly NOT smarter than I was this time last year or even last decade.  Another horoscope’er says that “A new opportunity could come (my) way today. It might seem like a dream come true… check the facts carefully to make sure it’s as good as it seems.” 2 Wahoo…. Today I will be offered the job of Towel Girl for the Seattle Seahawks… and the keeper of the muscle rub.
These horoscopes are a funny thing. They are often just vague enough that they can apply to anyone.  Take for example the first horoscope.  Are we not all concerned about communication?   You check the mail to find that letter you were waiting for still isn’t there and you are concerned about it. The horoscope would fit.  You have been waiting for a phone call all afternoon.  You are concerned about a communication.  You have a spat with a friend, and you hope to spend some time talking it out, but you spend the afternoon worried about the argument.  Again, your relationship is the focal point of your feelings. 
I am certain that there is at least one thing in this horoscope that applies to every one of us in some way today. If you are single, you are concerned about your lack of relationship.  If you are not single, you will at some point today be concerned about your relationship (I wonder how much trouble I’ll be in if I don’t get home straight after work?).   The other horoscope basically says ‘caution… an offer could be too good to be true… do your research’.  This really fits everyone.  If an offer seems too good to be true, it just might be too good to be true.  That position I just got offered?  Its for the Old Timers game… former NFL’ers who are all past 60, with replaced knees and hips, a lot of extra pounds and I’m the one with the muscle rub.
A Leo is a sun sign and my element is fire.  Apparently that makes me fiery, self-assured and drawn to the heat.  Ok, I would buy the drawn to the heat part of the equation.  I have winter sweaters and summer sweaters.  The only real difference in the collections is the colour.  I am not a moon sign, and yet, I’m a night-owl who would be just as happy under the moonlight.  But I’m pretty sure I can make the characteristics of the moon signs fit who I am with just as much success.  Also, it’s probably a pretty safe bet that the moon sign’s horoscope is just as good a fit as the rest.
Today is Moon Day.  It was on today’s date that astronauts first went for a stroll on the surface of the moon.  I wonder what the horoscopes said on that day? How about this one:  There is great opportunity to explore somewhere you have never explored before. You will see things from a new perspective if you spend time contemplating the larger picture around you???  Not bad huh?  I could write these horoscopes.  Just need a few vague’alities and a few general’alities spiced up with a little wishful thinking’alities. 
Did I mention my horoscope also says I’m looking for a little romance this evening? Well no shit. There’s something else that applies to us all!


1.Leo horoscope on DailyHoroscopes.com for July 20   dailyhoroscopes.com
2 Horoscope.com version of the Leo horoscope for July 20  .http://my.horoscope.com/

Monday, July 19, 2010

Don't flitch, it'll happen to you too

Monday, 19 July 2010 - Here's a mouthful... mid-life crisis. For men, a mid-life crisis is usually cured with a hot car, a bottle of "Just for Men", and a divorce. It's become such a reality, that it's almost cliche... You can bet your last dollar that every guy will go through this somewhere between 40 and 49. Guaranteed, bookies wouldn't touch that bet with a ten foot pole.

Research says that men go through a midlife crises out of fear.  Fear that they are losing their health (they aren't as able to clime Mt. Hood as fast), their attractiveness (the magnet isn't so powerful anymore), fear of aging, fear of not reaching their goals, and fear of dying.  Seems about right.  Fear of losing health can result in joining the hockey team, a football team, collecting sports gear, taking up running, learning the intricacies of beach volleyball (for the sport... seriously), and trade up their golf clubs.  As a result, and as part of aging, this brings on pulled groins and hernias, pain, strain, limps, bruised egos, and a larger than normal bar bill.

The fear of becoming less sexually attractive is good for the economy.  Sports car and motorcycle showrooms lick their lips when they see the solo 40-something male walk through the door.  They can smell the manopause for miles. Sex on wheels, 0 down, APR. The barber's business drops off a little, and the high priced hottie at the specialty spa salon is suddenly booked solid, and half her clients are men.  A rising market is men's cosmetic surgery - did I say rising?  Yes, there is even an increase in the number of male enhancement procedures, to say nothing of the happy pill market.  Divorce lawyers rake it in, and insurance agents get a bigger commission as the life insurance gets bumped up before the skydiving weekend in Honolulu. The midlife male is actually very good for the economy.  We shouldn't discourage this rite of passage.  We should market the hell out of it.  Manopause could really help with the downturn.

But what about women? Is her midlife crisis as predictable? Do women suddenly want a hot car, a 20 year old boy toy, and their college years back?  Typically, a midlife crises for women comes after her children are grown or gone off to Uni. Suddenly, she has the time to do the things she always wanted to do, is financially more stable, and her hormones are hooped.  Menopause (there's a word that makes a tonne of sense), brings on a physical line in the sand that causes the psychological crisis.  Have I lived my life the way I wanted to? Should I have done something different? Is it time to change my life?

Sadly, we just don't market the woman's midlife crisis as effectively. It gets wrapped up as an often negatively viewed 'MENopause', and instead of marketing hot sports cars, we market yam creams and hormone replacement therapies.  I'm guessing that you could really get more bang for the economy's buck by a new approach.  I'm pretty sure the best cure for feeling bloated is a wild diving trip to the Galapago's.  Hot flashes... best managed with a hot convertible Porche. Sagging boobs...  new boobs... but not just any boobs, the way too perky D's that scream sexpot... and for every woman between 40 - 49, all boobs come with a little lipo and neck laser.  You can jack the price of the puppies up, just value add. Sports equipment is easy to sell if you make it pretty.  Hell, we'll spend anything for the latest pink 3 wood, or flowery snowboards.  We don't flinch at the way too expensive ski jacket... if it's cute and makes us look hot.  With the hot flashes, we sure don't need too much padding in that jacket.  We'll even pay for the 20 year old boy toy... take him to Chucky Cheese, EB Games, Bermuda. The travel industry is missing an entire market... never mind kids, why not "hot young playthings fly free"?  There are websites out there that have figured out this market.  There are websites for affairs, little something on the side sites...

What doesn't seem possible during this part of the human condition, is fidelity and harmony.  How can you when you are so desperate to recapture something that is as elusive as youth, vitality, singledom?  Today is Flitch Day.  The idea was that the monks would give a flitch of bacon to any couple who could prove to a jury of their peers that they had lived together faithfully for the entire year. Seems even then the midlife crisis was alive and well and living in the 15th Century as not too many flitches of bacon were ever given out.  There may not have been any Lotus dealers, but I bet there was some pretty spectacular headdresses and super shiny armour with a capeline you could open... a convertible helmet if you will.

If you haven't hit your midlife crisis yet, don't worry you will.  While you wait for it to hit you, celebrate Hug Your Kid Day.  They'll move out soon enough, and you can trade in the minivan on something a little sexier.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

I scream... you scream....

Sunday, 18 July 2010 - It's summer.  It's that time of year when fruit tastes better, water is more refreshing, and fresh washed sheets are more crisp. Logically, the third Sunday of July is Ice Cream Day. When does ice cream taste better than on a hot summer day? Is there a sweeter music than the twangy bell ringing sounds of the Ice Cream Truck's version of Claire de Lune? I'm sure Debussy's remains are rattling with pride (ok, maybe horror) at his moonlight movement becoming synonymous with dirt riddled kids everywhere running home for money for frozen milk on a stick.

What ever became of the Dickie Dee?  Remember this guy? He was a borderline or in-training pedophile, with a modified bicycle/portable freezer, and if you wanted an ice cream  you had to bend over and practically fall in to a cold pit to pick one.  He rarely helped, but often watched with great amusement (from behind). There wasn't a tinny rendition of Debussy there...  just the annoying ring of bells on a bar.  There used to be this ice cream that was literally iced vanilla milk on a stick.  I can't completely describe it's taste, but it was on a stick, wrapped in a white paper with red and black writing.  We would never have such a thing today - it wasn't sealed with military grade wrapper, nor would it be fancy enough to sell.  They were delicious, but they are no more.  Now in order to sell as an ice cream (at $4 a piece), you need exotic nuts, dipped in chocolate, with pieces of chocolate bar, gold leaf, fudge, peanut butter, and a hint of cappuccino.  At McDonalds, you can't get much more than a basic cone unless you want an Aero (chocolate or mint) swirl ice milk blended with mint sauce and chocolate sauce and Skor candy bar pieces and bits of French fry croĆ»ton on top.

Ben and Jerry's?  There's another gone over the top ice cream selection.  With flavors like Chubby Hubby, Cake Batter, Mission to Marzipan, Fossil Fuel (made in the Gulf?), Phish Food, Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream....  What the hell are these?  Which one is Ice Cream and not a combination of crap you wouldn't want to eat unfrozen?

To celebrate Ice Cream Day... I recommend trying to find yourself just some plain old ordinary Ice Cream.  It's like a treasure hunt. I wish you luck, and ask that if you find success, please pass on the secret location of the Ice Cream.  If you find a Dickie Dee, I ask that you pass on this location to the local authorities.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for plain ice cream.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pimps and regrets

Saturday, 17 July 2010 - Do you have anything in your past you really truly regret? Are those moments in your life the moments that define who you are or do the regrets define who you are not? This was recently posed to me in as part of a quote of the day (thank you friend) in relation to the mistakes we make in our lives. Mistakes define who we are not.  But as for regrets, do you regret what you did, or do you regret the outcome? Was the fallout just a little more than you had intended but the act itself was still alright? There are people who live lives full of regrets so it would seem then that regrets are what define. But to me, regrets are positive. Regrets mean that at least you did something. There are many who are paralyzed to act for the fear of regrets. Imagine if you life was full of should have's and could have's... which can also lead to a life of regret.

There are many things in life that we could have done. There are probably many more that maybe we should have done, but didn't. At least looking back on your life, you can say you know what the results of inaction have been.  Would you do the things you didn't if you got a second go at it all? History tends to repeat itself so you likely wouldn't be in any different a place in your life than you are at this moment, and still we look back on our lives with a list of should have's and could have's that would give Mr. Clause a run for his money.

Yes, we could have moved to Hawaii and been a professional surfer... or professional bum.  We could have finished the theology degree and become a priest... or pedophile.  We could have wrote the greatest American novel, sold the movie rights, and lived a life of luxury... or spend every second or third month in rehab. We could have finished that degree in Existential Philosophy... or do and be nothing.  We should have put others first, but we spend time on number one. We should have spent more time with loved ones, but we love them regardless. We should have been more open with the people around us, but we show vulnerability to those that matter. We should have finished that book, but we read so many other interesting comics. We should have made a more deliberate difference in someones life, but we make a difference in small ways every day.  We can spend our lives worrying about them, or we can pick up where we are and get on with life. Today is a good day to start, as it is Toss Away the Should Haves and Could Haves Day.

There is a blog I came across called My Big Regret.  I stumbled across this 'regret':
What kind of life might I have had? Maybe I would have gotten married. Maybe I would have had kids. Maybe I could have received my PhD. Maybe I could have traveled. The entire trajectory of my life has been shaped by a disease I have no control over. It has changed me into a person I don't want to be. - 40/F 1
This made me sad.  Maybe, could have, should have...  My best girlfriend, my sister, has MS. Despite the challenges that this disease puts on her life, she married - walked down the aisle with the aid of her trusted  service dog. She had children with the aid of excellent medical care.    She has a good friends, good family (myself included), she has a life to be proud of in spite of the challenges. Sure she should have lived disease free - but she doesn't.  I'm sure she could have lived with regret and remorse - but she lives, and I am so very proud of her and proud to call her sister.

My sister travels, goes to yoga and movies, shops, picks up groceries, loves her children, plays and reads, keeps the family organized, tries new treatments... takes charge of her independence.  That power wheelchair she cruises around in certainly helps.  July is Wheelchair Beautification Month.  Xzibit... Pimp this ride!!

1.  Regret found on My Big Regret blog.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dogs and balls

Friday, 16 July, 2010 - The modern world has us struggling to keep too many balls in the air when all we want to do is try to keep one or two priorities from hitting the ground or going tits up. Selecting the balls we need to keep in the air isn't always an easy choice. Do we focus on the things that might keep our personal lives on track, or do we choose the things that might keep our careers on the right path?  I am trying to find a way to keep all those ball in the air.  The problem is... I neither know how to juggle, nor have been able to learn.  I started with two balls (that sounds wrong) and alas, they hit the floor.  I tried the three ball (polyorchid?) juggle... and the results were even more disastrous.  In trying to juggle three priorities, everything hit the dirt.  Does that mean I am ultimately monorchid?  It is Juggler's Day which is just not something I think I can participate in with any real effort.

Alas, in keeping my one ball in the air, I had dinner last night with a former colleague and mentor, and the new colleagues that surround him.  It was a seaside United Nations, represented by the east, west, north and alas, Europe. There is something very grounding about spending time with those who have challenged you in the past, and comfort in being challenged by someone familiar that can force you to look at the future. There is an internal juggling that takes place in these moments: There is a desire to recapture the past, and excitement in trying to catch hold a new future. Do you stay with what you know, and continue to do what you do, or do you apply what you know and do what you have not yet done?  Which ball should you keep in the air?

Do you focus on the personal life ball?  It's the warm and slightly fuzzy pastel coloured ball that may or may not have been recently 'groomed'.  Do you focus on the professional life ball?  That's the green ball that pays you for the grooming. Or do you focus on the inner self ball?  That ball is a little more elusive, often grey in colour, and very opaque. Everyone has this 'inner self ball.... it's just a matter of shades of grey and degrees of tinting. Some of us are driving pimpmobiles with black windows and a rocking stereo system. Others are driving minivans or hatchbacks. No matter what your ride, the ride in life is a series of ups and downs. if you haven't yet learned to juggle, today is the day to play with your balls and get your life in order.

If your balls aren't enough to keep you busy today, you could enjoy a good old fashion tube steak. Take in a ball game or hit the local Street Meat cart and order yourself up a hot dog.  It is Hot Dog Night. I'm thinking there are only two ways to take in the celebrations on this one... with or without onions. Woof.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Customers always right.... a right nutter.

Thursday, 15 July 2010 - You head in to your local Starbucks (I know... there is a topic I know NOTHING about), you step up to the till, and viola... they know your beverage, right down to the 3/4 full instruction.  This is service. It is all about knowing your customer, and knowing what their beverage of choice might not be that big a deal but it is a little something with a big payoff.  Not only do you get your caffeine headache cured quicker, but you'll likely come back again, thus increasing your caffeine intake, and ultimately, creating a larger headache earlier tomorrow.  It is the ultimate marketing play. What's better than a dime defense?  You got it... a coffee offense... no matter how many dimes it might cost.

In some industry's getting to know your customer is a good thing. Coffee shops? Check. Restaurants? Check * and cheque please*  Hookers? Check *and STD check please*. Pro Shop? Check. Dress shop? Check.  Shoe store? Check and Check.  Public transit? Oh dear god no. (Well, maybe that hot lawyer who commutes from Aberdeen... you know who you are.)  Yes, there are all kinds of folks on the public transit system you may just not want to get to know. They guy with the Pitt Bull Terrier and the dreads... not so much.  The nipple tweaker (his own), gotta go with no on that one too. The flower picker (not his own), ya no.  There is Kung Fu Panda, and Kung Fu Kodiak. They are entertaining enough, but just not someone you want to invite around your good china or the crystal. So Get to Know Your Customers Day should maybe not be celebrated universally. Maybe today there are a few professions that should refrain from ordering cake... police, methadone clinic workers, sooth sayers, gong farmer, body snatcher (well, depending on your personal 'bent'), chicken sexer (again, depending on your thang), psychiatrist. Regardless of your industry, if you do want to get to know your customers, today is a great day to make that commitment. if you are a psychiatrist, I don't think it's the same thing to have your customers committed.

It is now the middle of July, and that puts on a very fast downhill slope from the peak of summer to the valleys of winter.It won't be long before we switch from complaining about the heat, to whining about the cold and the rain. I'm not sure what it is about us that we seem to always have a complaint about what Mother Nature sends our way.  As her customer, I would just like to say... I will NEVER complain about the heat. If you were really willing to get to know me, Dear Mom Nature, you would know that what I really want is another 40 days of pure, unadulterated, unclouded heat! In order to fulfill that order, I would need today to be a fabulous summer day. Legend has it that whatever the weather is like on St. Swithin's Day, the weather will continue to be the same for the next 40 days.  As the saying goes:
St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.1
There doesn't seem to be any meteorological proof this holds up, but hey... if the weather is good today, I'll be hoping it will.  If it isn't, I can only hope that the English again got their lumps in there arse.

1. Info on St. Swithin's Day found at http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/stswithun.html

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Please do not touch the seats

Wednesday, 14 July 2010 - God love the Kiwi's...and I'm not talking about the fuzzy fruits (although that may indeed be what I'm talking about).  The folks from New Zealand have brought the world many great things... The moa, the kiwi bird, the tattoo, and the All Blacks. Okay, the tattoo might have older roots than this, but the Maori sport tattoos better than any other.  The All Blacks too sport tattoos nicely.

But New Zealand brought us something else that we celebrate today.  Today is World Nude Day... well at least the day it is celebrated here in North America.  In the birth place of the birthday suit day... they celebrate it in February (New Zealand spring is a warmer option than the current winter).  If you are going to hang out with a bunch of Kiwi's (New Zealanders), maybe the All Blacks, why not hang out with them with their kiwis (fuzzy fruits) hanging out (I'm still not talking about the fuzzy fruit).

So what would one do to celebrate such a milestone day?  I checked out the World Nude Day website, to find a contest to rate celebration videos.  Seems celebrators play tennis, do a bit of gymnastics, sing and dance, and for the Canadian entries... do back flips in to snow banks and water ski. Yes, there are just some sports (and some songs) that are hard to watch with the participants naked.  I guess there is something freeing about your girls and your boy out bouncing around like tennis balls.  There is probably something even a little more entertaining about a song and dance sans clothes... after all the songs were sans talent.  The talent on the other hand seemed to be well-equipped.

In some cities, World Nude Day will be celebrated with a nude bike ride, a nude run, a day at the beach...  This past weekend, there was an attempt to break a Guinness World Record for a world wide nude swim.  People stripped down, headed to a local beach and tried to be counted..  Of course the local contingent was at the nude beach (no problems) and a not nude beach (problems).  Imagine being the officers that have to show up and break up that beach barbeque...  "I'm sorry folks, but you are going to have to put your fire out... we are in a high fire alert area.  Oh, and I'm going to need to see some ID".  Where would you keep your ID? What "pocket" would suit best?  Do you carry a Prada bag with you?  Guess there wasn't too many arrests, and certainly not for concealed drugs or weapons.  Not much concealed there.  (Of course if there isn't a high level of grooming... anything is possible).

Personally, I will celebrate briefly while I shower.  I will leave the bigger celebrations, the pandemonium of the clothesless, to others.  I hope that the celebration stays off the public transit system. Its bad enough trying not to touch the handrails and the grab bars. How would you deal with the seats... and the bareness of the bottoms that utilize them?  That would be an entirely new level of chaos... though well suited (ha!) for Pandemonium Day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

To the fools go the spoils

Tuesday, 13 July 2010 - Paradise is subjective.  For some, that might be a few moments with a quiet coffee while your two little ones take a simultaneous nap. For others it might be a secluded tropical beach, a cabana, a cabana boy, and wee umbrellas in the drinks. For me, it might be as simple as finding a few days to golf, read, and get a little sunshine.  Actually, I'll take any kind of warm.  My paradise does not include cool winds, or even air conditioning.  I love the heat. But Paradise, by definition, should be elusive.  It should be a state of being that is sought but rarely caught; a state for which we strive by living our lives with as little negative impact on those around us as possible.  I wonder whether all those virgins are really necessary?

Maybe if we had all those virgins to offer the heads of BP we could have caused less damage to Paradise.  Perhaps Paradise for them is to now find a way to cap the flow of oil and clean up their shit.  It seems as though  the company's Paradise was a spot a few miles out in the Gulf where they could suck up the earth's spoils while spoiling the earth, the wildlife, and the livelihoods of the Gulf's residents. The Gulf, once a paradise, is now a greasy mess of dead and dying, tar balls and tears. I don't know how to handle the images of the oil soaked. It brings me to tears each and every time.  The fools at BP have not quite paved paradise, but I'm sure they have kept their paychecks coming and the parking lots full of luxury gas guzzlers.

Today is Fools Paradise Day.  Personally, I would prefer if BP hadn't lubricated the Gulf, but maybe that is just a fool's wish.  I drive a car. I buy fuel. I can't imagine life without a car.  To that end, I am one week in to a personal experiment.  I am without a car for 3 weeks.  It is a chance to find out just how easy it is to live without a car.  I work for a public transit system, and I nod in appreciation to the many professionals who use the system to commute. I am amazed at the number of people who make this earth conscious decision on a daily basis. I will likely only manage to eke out 3 weeks without a car, as I can see the limitations (especially with my 75 pound furry pal that is missing out on valuable beach time), but I can also see that this is a viable, and responsible option for commuting.  Maybe if we could all do the same, we would limit the number of oil companies seeing paradise as an oil rich well, miles below the oceans surface in eco-sensitive areas.

Imagine going to work for BP right now. Your company has a low public opinion, is responsible for possibly decades of clean up needs, and has killed off wildlife as though it was sport.  That might make it a little hard to get up every morning or admit to anyone you work for BP.  Employees died in the original platform accident, so that can't make it easy to go to work. I bet there are a few disgruntled people clocking in currently.  Today is not their day.  It is also Gruntled Employees Day... a day for those who don't have any difficulty getting up for work each day, and who actually seem to enjoy their work.  Are you Gruntled?

Monday, July 12, 2010

One eye looking at you...

Monday, 12 July 2010 - Your eyes are a window in to your soul.  They too are the windows through which we see the world ourselves. Imagine then if those windows get cracked or broken? If you have to look at life through cracked windows are you still seeing things the way others see them? Do you really see the world around you the way others see? When one person sees blue... is 'blue' the label put to the colour they see and is your version of 'blue' exactly the same?

There isn't any real proof that even the colours we see are the same. So in effect, not only are your eyes your windows to the world, but they are unique to you.  Two people see the same movie and one see's a romantic comedy, the other sees a social commentary on artificial insemination.  The same two people read a book.  One finds the book trite and weak, the other finds great solace in the message. Our eyes are but windows through which we gather information. Our minds are what extrapolate that information and turn it in to our beliefs, our experiences.. our memories.

So what if you have heterochromia (two eyes of different colours)?  Do your 'windows' allow you to see both sides? Do you have one window tinted and would that taint/tint your version of the world? Today is Different Coloured Eyes Day.  Perhaps it is intended to be a day of appreciating the differences in eye colour, or to appreciate those who have two eyes of different colours.  I would suggest that it could be more effective if we were to spend the day appreciating not the difference in the colours, but rather the differences in perception. Each of us has a unique view of the world in which we live.

It isn't uncommon for the world one lives in to go through changes that aren't readily perceivable by others.  Your world can change quite drastically merely by adjusting how you process the information that comes in through your eyes.  What your eyes see looking out doesn't change, but what others may see looking in might. To truly celebrate Different Coloured Eyes Day, spend time looking in to the eyes of those around you. Don't just register their colour.  Go deeper than that... attempt to see the world they way they see the world. It may create for you a deeper understanding of the people you see every day, but never really see.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cheer up the censored

Sunday, 11 July 2010 - What the beep? It's Sunday already? How the beep did that happen? Wasn't it just Friday a few hours ago? Well, beep, isn't that just the beep? Another weekend, come and gone and beep if I didn't get a beep thing done.  I would have taken pictures but the beep black bars are beep to look at.

It's hard to believe that censorship has it's place in the world today. If you were really going to attempt to censor, you would have to censor the conversation at the next table during coffee - and probably your own.  You would need to censor the commercials, the football announcers, the cheer leaders, the billboards, the radio, the magazine rack, the galleries, the bus stop ads and pretty much every conversation on the trains (in rush hour and out).  The less we censor however, the less we get bothered by the things that once upon a time would have sent congress in to a tizzy and Auntie Mabel to a myocardial infarction. Censorship is a slippery slope we have been trying to scale for decades.  Every now and again we make a misstep and slide down the slope a little.  Fortunately, we keep getting back up and make up a little bit of ground.  But we are still far from the top of that pile of full out, non-beeped fucking bull shit.  Oooh... a swear.

In Canada, censorship of books coming in to the country relies on a book falling in to one of four categories (hate literature, treason, obscenity and sedition) and then relies next on the customs officers determination of artistic merit and/or educational value. I want to know how you get that position?  In order to do that job effectively, I would assume you can have no religious values, no prejudices, no political affiliation, no attachments to people of the same or opposite sex and do not identify as either male or female, gay, straight, bi or trans-gendered.  And what about when the line blurs or moves a little more toward freedom of thought and speech?  This line has been continually moving for decades... centuries. As recent as 1962 "Lady Chatterley's Lover" was considered pornographic and banned from entering Canada. You would think that the graphic comic book version would be a more likely target.  Is there a graphic novel version?  I could maybe force myself to sit down with Lady Chatterley if it had pictures... and video??

Today is Censorship Day or Bowdler's Day.  Thomas Bowdler was an English doctor who re-published works by Shakespeare to be more appropriate for women and children.  Imagine taking out all the good Elizabethan sex scenes out of Hamlet?  Why else would you go see the story of the black Prince of Denmark?  (Perhaps that is just the version in my mind...  Help!!! I need a censor.)  Thom also re-wrote the "Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire" to take all the juicy bits out.  The Gladiators were no longer happy Romans.

The act of censoring literature, and subsequently television and motion pictures, became known as Bowdlerizing - or to Bowdlerize.  Mr. Bowdler (Senior Censorship??) was born on todays date in 1754.  I'm sure if it hadn't been Thom, we would have found another to do the same job.  How about Orel Roberts or one of our many high and mighty beeping Popes?

Today, books and magazines are being stopped at the border, so our libraries and books stores are being Bowdlerized, all because the violate somebody's sense of appropriateness. You would have to question the validity of such governmental effort. In today's Internet world, why bother?  If you can't get the book at the corner shop, you can always log in and grab the content for yourself.  The Internet would have been the bane of Thomas's existence. Go ahead and try to censor this medium.  Shit, this blog could be edited.  I said a bad word and often suggest it's good to fantasize about 'Hamlet'.

Besides, without the Internet, and porn, and controversial content, how would the lonely people stay connected (or disconnected) with the world? An evening spent with the keyboard could really cheer up some. Today is also Cheer up the Lonely Day.  It is likely the Internet is not what is intended by cheering, but let's be honest... who of us doesn't turn to the Internet when we're alone or looking to fill a void from time to time? Hell, maybe this blog fills a void.  If that helps cheer up someone feeling alone... then it's worth it.  It has been known to fill a void for the writer.  Cheers!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ode to a cup of coffee

Saturday, 10 July 2010 - There is a poet inside all of us. This is not what i would consider a thought provoking opening, or for that matter a real meaty start to a posting.  It is just so. Don't you know. The truth ignites, And turns on the lights. Ok, ok, that wasn't so good, but what can you expect from me at 0425hrs, a bottle of wine, and a day in the scorching heat?  I could have started with "There once was a girl from Nantucket".  Seriously, I thought I did ok with that one.

Today is Clerihew Day, names so in honour of the birthday of Edmund Clerihew Bentley. Eddie Bentley did not invent the British luxury car, nor is he the founder of Bentley College in Boston.  Eddie was a writer, who, in addition to a few detective novels, invented or rather made popular a four line rhyming poem - often biographical in nature.  This short but sweet wee poem became known as a Clerihew.  There are several more famous Clerihews out there, but here is mine...

There was a girl from Thunder Bay
Who moved to get away
She now lives on the west coast
She blogs and posts.

So, I haven't fully followed the 'script' as it were.  A Clerihew almost always uses just the person's name as the first line, and is in the format of AABB.  I got the alphabet part right.  It's a start. I could have been Dr. Seuss, but that role was already taken, and my long drawn out, badly rhymed tales of a coati and his rag-tag pack of pals didn't really have a children's audience.  Besides, all I could rhyme with Coati was Payote and I'm certain that would put me closer to the Alice in Wonderland stories. The pack of pals are from Colombia, Peru, Belize, and New Mexico.  Kind of like Alice in Central America really.

There was likely a real purpose to these four line poems.  Edmund Bentley published a book called Biography for Beginners.  Imagine getting through 11th grade history and merely having four lines about all the great figures in history?  I may have actually stayed awake and remembered who Cantor was and what he was famous for. (I did have to look that one up... he's the infinity guy from math class).  Four line chapters would have been brilliant... and would have got me out to the picnic tables so much sooner.  Why was History always scheduled before lunch?  Never first period - so you couldn't sleep through it 3 days a week, and it was never last period so you could skip out early.  No... it was second period and it took the full 75 minutes.

Today is also Hop a Park Day. It is kind of like a hop on hop off tourist bus.  You are supposed to spend the day hopping in to one park to enjoy it's spoils, and then move on to another park for whatever it has to offer. I live on the west coast (as my Clerihew says), and as such, could spend the remainder of July hopping parks. There are hundreds of parks in my immediate area, and each has something wonderful to offer. However, as a real city slicker, I get my fill of 'green' on the golf course.

That girl from TBay who moved to the coast
Loves her coffee the most
Log it, burn it, pave it she quotes
Build a Starbucks to tote.

Friday, July 9, 2010

In the dog house again..... yippee!!

Friday, 9 July 2010 - So there you are, hanging out on the front lawn, watching the world go past.  You idly lift your head every now and again, and wonder...  "will I ever get that roof replaced?"  and "the doorway is looking a little ragged".  When you start envisioning new paint, new eaves, a larger porch, and better landscaping, you know that it is July and it really is time to get started on those repairs.  After all, if you chew on the door jams any more, you won't need a new doorway, you'll need a garage door and a remote opener.  Your great room could become a drive in. Rex himself would be embarassed to have guests over.  Rex, for those who don't remember, is my Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and really quite particular.

July is Dog House Repairs Month. There is the Dog's house, and there is the dog house.  One may be more proverbial than the other.  So that got me to thinking...  how would one make repairs to the proverbial dog house?  I could live nicely in the dog house.  But my dog house would require a pool table, 60" plasma, the latest Xbox complete with pink controller, a subscription to NFL TV, a well stocked wine fridge, and a scotch cupboard (which a friend tells me has seatbelts pre-installed).  Perhaps my idea of a dog house is actually more a den of iniquity...  a place of borderline ill repute... basically - a place my friends would feel comfortable.  It's a home like structure, and Rex would be welcome as well.

There is the 'dog house' where one goes when one has done something wrong, unacceptable, shameful... like leaving the lid off the peanut butter or forgetting to pick up that box of tampons.  Then there is the 'dog house' where one has done something really bad... like say... the neighbour. That dog house does not require repairs.  That doghouse should be leaky, dank, the springs should be coming out of the sofabed, and it should be not in the garage, but a lean-to off the side of the garage.  The dog house I'm talking about is the former.

In my perfect world, when one deserves to be in the dog house, I think the punishment should be NOT being in the dog house.  You, hunny, can stay in the house with whatever DIY disaster you have created, and I shall go to the dog house.  Play a bit of Halo, embibe in a wee dram, watch a game, read a book, have some friends over....  The punishment can be a lack of reward.  And when things are done, and the toilet seat is down... then you too can enjoy the dog house.   The strongest form of behaviour modification is a random positive reinforcement.  It is why gambling is so good at creating gamblers.  There is always the chance of something paying off.   Think about this one... if the dog house was a good place, and you could go there when good things are done. If you make the right repairs to the dog house, I bet you can use this den to  increase the good behaviours.

So when you are looking at Fido's digs and you want to build him a better porch, a leak-proof roof, and some landscaping... consider too fixing up the other dog house. It would almost be like obedience training if managed correctly. If this is a little over the top, you could always reward with cookies.  Today is Sugar Cookie Day. It might be a little easier to whip up a batch of sugar cookies than it will be to get the flat screen installed. Personally, I would have to take the shoes out of the oven, and then where would I put them?  Thought....  a shoe closet in my dog house!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

SCUD missiles and the enemy

Thursday, 8 July 2010 - There are few things in life that allow you a total escape.  The iPod up high and your running shoes on the pavement...  that is an escape.  Sunshine and a good spy novel... that's an escape only if you shut off your phones and can find silence.  But load up the Xbox or the PS3, pull out the pink controller (yes, the controller is pink), load your weapons, and shoot the shit out of anything that moves... that qualifies.

I don't see the lines of video gaming and the real world blurring, but the video game world can sure blurr the real one if only for an hour or two. Who can worry about laundry when there are aliens attacking?  Mail to go through?  Not while there are legions of tanks to move across the land.  Paper work? Bah...  I have a bout with Evander in a few minutes.  Put up your dukes, lets get down to it.  Yes, the older I get, the more I appreciate the simplicity of the escape.  Did I mention I'm a Rock God in my video world?  I can hammer a bass line with the best of the Geddy Lee's and  Flea's. Of course I only have 5 buttons and a toggle for strings, but I Rock.  The screen tells me so.

In the world of first person shooter games, I am usually tagged as bait.  Seriously lacking in weaponry skills, but for a girl... I could be so much worse.  And really, in team games, I'm ok running in to the open in hopes of  drawing out the enemy.  Everyone needs a sacrificial lamb. I only hope that the rest of my teammates are 12 year old crater faced teens with a penchant for Coke and pizza pie... well and A.  Today is Video Games Day.  I could see this being a full weekend,  a week, or even a summer.  One day?  Seems too small for such a massive industry.  There is a National Video Games Day coming... but we have to wait for September.  I can wait, but I will not let this one pass me by.  I may even hook up the Wii and take some time on the tennis court and bowling alley. I wonder if at my age I can call in with Carpal Tunnel and stay home from work? I guess once I hit publish on this post that might be a little more challenging.  Do you think anyone from the office actually reads this?  I gotta hope not some days.  Other days, I think they might find out there is more to  me than my evil exterior. (Really... there is more than the evil exterior... there is the evil interior).

Today is also SCUD Day - Savour the Comic... Unplug the Drama.  I don't know much about the reasoning or the meaning behind such a day, but it sounds like a good reason to kick back and find a good laugh in anything that comes your way.  Drama?  Who has time for drama?  Besides, I was told by a very good friend that I only had until today to live in my drama.  This is the line in the sand that was drawn for me.  It may not be as relevant for anyone else, though I am willing to bet that every one of us has something that we could draw a line in the sand about.  If you do, today is the day.  Drop the drama in your life and find the inner comic... the humour of it all.  Dig deep if you must.  Find a reason to laugh at yourself and at the 'drama' around you.  How serious can we take this life anyway?  We start bald and toothless, and after growing out lovely locks and good strong teeth, we go back to that starting state - only without the cute factor.  That alone should be worth a giggle.  Think about it, if we could live life backwards, we would get more tolerable to be around, and just get cuter.  Think SCUD...  find the funny.  And if all else fails, launch a SCUD at the attackers.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Yes, those pants do make your ass look HUGE.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010 - To tell you the truth, I sometimes write these blogs days ahead, or days behind.  I would like to blame the blogging system for the late posts, but alas, I have to be honest.  It is me. I get rapt up with the other crap in my life, and rather than sitting down to write, I post-pone in...  the last three days posts... were poned.  They were Post pones.  Ok, that's enough pun ishment for one blog.

Seriously, today is Tell the Truth Day. This is the one day to be truthful in everything. If someone asks you "do these jeans make my butt look big", tell them the truth.  Say "gee, I do not find that anything I say to that will make you happy, therefore, I refuse to answer for fear of lying or upsetting".  That should be smooth enough.  And... in the ensuing argument that will no doubt follow... do not say ANYTHING about her mother unless it is the truth.  No wait... do not say ANYTHING about her mother.

But perhaps the toughest person you will have to be truthful with today is yourself.  Lying to save us from our own feelings, emotions and fears is something that we all get very good at doing.  Indeed we get so good at it, that we don't know we are telling ourselves little white fibs just to get through the day. Do you deserve the chocolate bar calling to you at the till?  Of course you do, after all you only had a salad today (with steak, bluecheese, nuts, fried onions with a side of garlic bread).  Can I spend the day sitting in the sun with a book? Certainly - you walked everywhere yesterday (to the grocery store three blocks away, the coffee shop that was on the way home, and you did walk down to the mailbox...  1347 steps).

These are the little lies we don't even register.  What about the big lies we tell ourselves?  I for one, have a very tough exterior.  Those around me tell me I am a strong, independent woman who is smart and capable.  Inside, I know I am afraid, I need more support than I will ask for, and I second guess everything I do because it probably isn't being done right or with enough thought.  In reality, I am not anything like the persona that people seem to believe.  Does that make me the consummate liar? Or does that make me human?  Do we all lie to ourselves, and about ourselves to make living in this world easier? Do we only lie about the things that we are sure aren't hurting anyone else? In telling these lies to protect the innocent, do we hurt ourselves?

There are so many common little white lies that we hear every day that I think we've come to accept them not for being lies, but for something else. Perhaps they have become filler in our conversations or a way to boost oneself. How about the gift you opened last Christmas that you had zero idea what it was or what it would be used for and you said "Thank you, I love it".  Lie.  Truth... I have no idea what this is, or what it does.  "No officer, I have no idea how fast I was going."  Lie. Truth... Shit, I was 25 over the speed limit. I hope he didn't clock me at the worst of it.  "I am sure I sent that to you.  Let me look in my email."  Lie. Truth... I hadn't even started it. It just seemed so insignificant to me. "It wasn't me."  Lie. Truth... it was me... it just wasn't worth taking credit for. "I am so glad you called, no.. I wasn't sleeping."  Lie again.  Truth... I was sound asleep, and I don't know that I even remember the conversation. It must not have been very scintillating.

Well, today is going to be about telling the truth... to myself. I will admit to the chocolate milk on my cereal. I will admit to standing still on the escalators and will attempt to take only the stairs. I will not crap on myself if I don't, but I will not let me off the hook with a little white lie. I too will be honest with those around me.  I will not say it will be easy... that would be a lie. I will attempt to protect your feelings, but won't feed you a handful of crap.  So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not ask me if you look like you lost any weight, or if the pants do anything for your backside. You don't want to know, and I don't want to tell you the truth.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Buckets of breasts and thighs.... a.k.a. Porn and Chicken

Tuesday, 6 July 2010 - The internet brought about an entirely new industry of skills and professions.  There is graphic web design, there is hosting, there is large data storage and optimization.  There are thousands of people who's job is to buy, sell and analyze web advertising.  An entire stream of jobs hover around the YouTube site, and don't forget YouTube program hosts.  There is internet porn jobs that range from "talent" to downstream sales (not sure that sounds right... but it does sound dirty). The online porn industry probably has a large number of large storage specialists on their rosters... and girls whose names end in "i". 

Every type of business in every country can be found online.  That means there must be enough webmasters out there to fill a medium sized country. If you were to fill a state with only those webmasters from iPorn you would need Texas.  (This might not be that bad a state... with that many iPorn Masters, there would have to be a lot less republicans.)  Whatever your business needs are, or your business's focus, your website is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have.

I don't think I'm the only one that does MOST of my research on anything... tattoos, restaurants, wines, liposuction, gun courses... without going to the internet first.  I look up locations, reviews, prices, previous work, maps to get there, and more all before picking up the phone. And ultimately, I only pick up the phone if the company's webmaster hasn't yet built a way for me to communicate quickly online.  Can I make a reservation or book an appointment online like I can getting to the geek bar at the Apple store?  Can I find out if a table for 6 is available at 19:30? Can I send an image that looks like something I want permanently etched on to my body before I get there?  The website is no longer a colourful Yellow Pages ad and I am, quite frankly, offended when that is all I am getting. Give me features.  Give me a reason to shut down the computer and see you in person... but not because I'm frustrated that you couldn't answer my questions before hand. I want to see you in person because your pages are fabulous, you understood my wants, and you had some really cool shit on your site.

iPorn sites have an ace in the bag (ooh... another bad reference).  When people go to their sites, its pretty clear what they are looking for.  They want porn, they want it annonymously, and they want it now.  They don't want to then call in, book and appointment, fill out an information form, or even give you a name.  If you want a name you are probably going to get some name like John Smith.  Hmm... I wonder what is the most common fake name given to a porn site?  The webmasters of these sites must have a convention or something.  Webmasters of ANY site deserve a little pat on the back once and a while.  For good websites, they deserve more than pats.  Today is Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day. If the site is good and you are drawing kudos from your customers and fans... take them somewhere nice.  If the site is eh...  street meat (hotdogs, not hookers).

Today is also Fried Chicken Day. If your site is of the porn variety,  I recommend giving your webmaster a bucket of chicken, delivered... with napkins.  A slippery keyboard should be reserved for those late night  content changes and bandwidth issues.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Live to work....

Monday, 5 July 2010 - Having a life outside of work is a ton of work.  I find it so much easier to get up, put on my work wear, go do what they pay me to do, and come home to do it all again tomorrow. With work, I usually know what to expect. I can do the job with some level of proficiency, and at the end of each two week rotation, they pay me for doing the job.  And in the end, it is just so much easier to go to work than it is to not work.

Work is a known, quantifiable, predictable entity.  In some ways this is what is so appealing about work.  Work can also involve a lot of change and challenge, which too is incredibly appealing. When work is constant change and much challenge, I don't think too much about my not at work life. When work gets a little predictable, I start to look at my not at work life and wonder what the hell I'm doing with the non-work days.  I spend some of that time getting ready to be at work... laundry, lunches....  But away from getting ready for work on non-work days, I find the rest of that time rather stressful and, frankly, down right depressing.

I made a promise to myself two and a half years ago that I would not continue to live to work, but would rather work to live.  On paper (and on a computer screen), this looks easy enough.  But then along came some very challenging work with lots of change, lots of opportunity, and was a project with a fast approaching deadline. Work was exhilarating. There just wasn't enough time for life outside of work.  As a result I missed C's entire first year, lost touch with my family, lost touch with my friends, and worse, forgot how to get to Whiterock. Honestly, I loved every second of it. Work defines me. Sad, but true.

Well, the deadline was made, the project finished on budget and early, and then the day to day operations began. Finally, I had time to once again re-connect with the people outside of work (re-re-connected?).  I re-visited (re-re-visited) my work-to-live promise.  Then came the Olympics.  Another project, and another fast approaching and unmovable deadline. Wahoo.... work work work.  Now I have to re-re-re-connect with friends and family, and here I am, on Workaholic Day re-re-re-visiting my work-to-live plan.

The thing about us workaholics...  we rely on work to keep us sane. We rely on work to distract us from the rest of our lives, because we all work too hard to have them. Work is a distraction that keeps us from facing the reality of our lives. Don't know what I'm afraid to look at... there isn't anything there of which to be afraid. There isn't a bad relationship to worry about... there isn't a relationship to be bad.  There isn't screaming kids to come home to... there isn't any kids.  There aren't too many social engagements to be late for, cause there isn't that many social engagements.  Am I afraid that I will look and see a void?  A void could be looked at as a blank canvas. A blank canvas could be an opportunity whereby I get to create the life that I work to support.

It is workaholic day and I am proud to say that I have the day off.  Granted it is part of my regularly scheduled days off, but we don't have to focus on that part do we? Tell you what... I will not look at the Blackberry all day. Well, maybe only to check my mail. Baby steps.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

If you could be invisible for just one day...

Sunday, 4 July 2010 - There is so much that could be obvious about today's post. I could follow up on the July 1st post and talk about celebrating Independence Day in Canada but truly, there isn't much of a celebration to write about.  I had a little shop (just tee shirts), a little breaky, and then off to work. Alas, there was no vacation on this side of the 49th, and no stat pay.  There sure won't be any fireworks and I suspect there won't be that many crazies out riding around on public transit.

But the day is all about going unnoticed.  July 4 is Invisible Day.  Is it akin to 'fly on the wall day' or is it more like 'oh wo is me day'.  There are days that everyone can feel a little invisible. These days can be brought on by bouts of pity (that one is me), they can be brought on by a sense of failure (again... could be me), or they can be brought on by the super powers of another dimension and can make the rest of the world jealous as hell.  Well, it would if they could see you.

If you could be invisible for just one day, what would you do with that day?  Would you hang out in the dressing room of the Seahawks and admire the offensive line?  (Hey... now THAT really does sound like me.) Would you walk amongst your office mates and superiors to hear what they won't say to you? Would you sit in on the dark backroom negotiations of the G20 summit and then use the information to potentially really make a difference?  Or, would you use it to play pranks on people all day long?  If it were me, I would want to spend it in the dressing room of the Seahawks playing pranks on the offense, defense, and special teams.  I mean come on...

It was also on July 4th that Lewis Carol told a story to Alice Liddell that would eventually become the story of Alice in Wonderland.  In celebration of this great tale... every time I think of the boys in the dressing room, wearing their towels and their smiles, I too will be smiling... like a Cheshire Cat.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Attention shoppers, there is a limited time deal on beans....

Friday, 2 July 2010 - Attention Walmart Shoppers...  there is a special today on cat chow and ammunition. Do you ever have one of those days when you wake up, shower, get dressed, head out the door and then accidentally catch your likeness in a pane of glass on the way in to the office tower? You know those days when you were pretty sure you looked better when you left the house than when you arrived at work... only to discover that your own mirror may have you deceived.  It's not a full on full length mirror crisis, but it does trigger full on reflection reflection.  Which reflection is accurate?  Odds are the one you saw when you left the house is the better bet.  Is it double or  triple-pane glass? That reflection could then be a merged view of two or three images. 

No matter how bad a day I might be having about what I've put on to be in public, or what I saw as I passed by the Holt Renfrew display windows... there is a web site that can always lift my spirits.  I'm sure the emails have made it in to you inbox once in a while, but folks, let me just say this once... if you have doubts whether or not the outfit is fit for public consumption, it probably isn't. Just take a short visit to www.PeopleOfWalmart.com. Sorted by state, there are a few states that are more frightening than others, but here in Washington, there is plenty people of Walmart to give you the willies enough to check all reflections you come across just to be sure you are not website material.

Sam Walton probably had no idea what was to come when he opened the first Walmart on this day in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas.  However, that being said, check out the Arkansas state pictures.  They have got to be some of the best.  Maybe he not only knew what was to come, but could appreciate the retail genious of giving all those folks who do not get dressed up enough for a trip to the Big K somewhere to congregate, buy ammunition and stock up on cat food and baked beans.

When the weather warms up, the same folks you'll find at Walmart will be invading our beaches and parks... in wife beaters and bathing suits no doubt.  They will pack up picnic lunches with all the good sandwich fixins and beans they could carry.  But in keeping with a theme, July is Baked Beans Month.  I bet there will be a few great specials in the canned goods aisles.  Shop on.  Just, wear shoes, a shirt that fits, and pants that, at the bare minimum, cover your glutes.  And please please please check for skid marks.  Thank you for shopping at Walmart, and have a nice day.




Thursday, July 1, 2010

Follow up on today's post

Thursday, 1 July 2010 - So the jury is in on the iPad.  It took me too long to post the post (probably not any longer than any other post), there are too many errors (possibly not more than most) and it DEFINITELY doesn't fit in my 'breast pocket'.  Too hard to conceal.  Requires full body harness.  Dang it anyway.  Oh well... how was your Canada Day?  Mine had cake, balloons, surrounded by family.  Carry on.

A tartan skirt and a fifth of cake??

Thursday, 1 July 2010 - So today it is Canada Day. Though this is a holiday best celebrated in Canada, I am south of the 49th and in a different zip code entirely. In fact, this post is different than most because I am posting from an iPad of which I have yet to determine if the laptop can be replaced by a larger iPhone. I will reserve all judgement until the end of this post. Should it be full of typos more than normal, blame Steve.

Zip codes are quite a sorting system. It's like the Dewey Decimal System for houses. A way to sort where you live, how much you earn, and your preference in coffee shop without actually asking you anything more than your zip. My current zip would suggest I will be celebrating the fourth of July, but like any good odd ball, I shall spend Canada Day in the USA and Independence Day in Canada. It could have it's challenges. For starters, I ordered a cake on Monday in the shape (should be easy) and pattern (also should be pretty straigh forward) of a Canadian flag for the occasion. I am in the US, not THAT far from the border, and I was asked if I could provide a picture of the flag for the decorator. Who knew the Canadian flag was so unusual? Then I went searching for a Canadian anything to go with the cake. I had to settle for red and white balloons. I still had to pay for the blue ones, I just asked that they not inflate the ones that were blue. Initially I got some confusion, and finally I got some dirty 'you must keep slaves in the garage' looks. I do keep something in the garage, but he doesn't answer to slave anymore. He prefers "porter".  This is a zip code that you would be convinced is miles away from all other civilization.  Granted the US postal code system is pretty impressive. And today of all days, I must bow to it in appreciate.  For in the US it is Zip Code Day.  If you live in a good one... hooray.  If you live in one at all... hooray.  In Canada we have a system all right.  It seems to resemble the system in Britain, only not quite that organized or geographically based.  It appears to be nothing more than a series of alternating letters and numbers that make up some kind of 'system' that only Postee's and the Census Bureau can decifer.  .

For July 4 I will be back in Canada in a postal code that begins with V.  I suspect this stands for Vancouver. I once lived in a postal code that also started with V but I was living in Campbell River. Prior to that, a postal code that started with P - but there wasn't a city, municipality or town around that I can come up with that started with P. I just don't understand the system as it were. But I digress.

To celbrate the 4th of July in Canada I will get charged extra for the blue balloons, but I won't have to provide a picture of the American flag... We know what that looks like in Canada. It looks a lot like our big brother's favorite teeshirt that we hope to grow in to one day. Recently a friend from Colorado took an oath to become a Canadian citizen. This will be her first truly Canadian Canada day. It is for her that I struggled with the bakery bubba that did not know what her new flag looks like. Did I mention this was but an hour or so south of the Canada-US border and a city that just hosted the Olympic winter games? I wonder how easy it will be to order a Stars and Stripes flag cake on Sunday? Bet you I can get a pre-decorated icecream cake and not even have to call ahead. Still, given a green card or a work permit I would be here (south of the 49th) in a moment. I may find the over-inflated sense of patriotism a little thick to swallow sometimes, but anything can be washed down with a little highland liquid. I wonder when Scotland Day is?  I could celebrate that anywhere... all you need is a tartan skirt and a fiftth.

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