<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Saturday, May 31, 2003

My dad phoned me at midnight to tell me about an article he clipped from the paper. The headline was "Veronica Is Not Coming Home." Veronica was a Romanian child actress, "a type of Shirley Temple" said my father, her most famous movie being "Veronica Is Coming Home." She is now Luminita ("little light") and she lives a hop, skip and a jump away from me. My dad made me promise to call her. Found her name in the White Pages and, as soon as I get rid of my just-woke-up voice, I will call and introduce myself as the slightly puzzled offspring of one of her fans.



Saturday, May 31, 2003

I finally received my Arizona map yesterday. Now the trip-planning can truly begin.

Karen sent me the $500 Tae Kwon Do gift certificate yesterday. She also included a small book called Witty Women. Having just re-read it, my favourite quote is still the last one, from director Nora Ephron: "What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter and add flour and then hot stock, IT WILL GET THICK!" Critical appraisal: best use of uppercase.



Saturday, May 31, 2003

The author of this book I'm reading has a necklace with a small bottle of bubble fluid. When she is alone in elevators she fills the elevator with bubbles. Before she reaches her floor, she tucks the bottle away. The doors open and she stands there innocently surrounded by bubbles.

*****

Travel advice I want to try - I can't remember where I read it - instead of giving money or pens or stickers to kids (and encouraging them to beg) blow bubbles and play with them.



Saturday, May 31, 2003

Met Stacey. The criminals who stole her car left it on the side of the street when it ran out of gas. They plundered it: her passport is gone, her air freshener, even her chapstick. They left their crowbar, axe and wig, however. Two months later Stacey is still fixing her car and she takes the bus to work.



Saturday, May 31, 2003

Jennifer's great grandmother was Romanian. She is also part Russian and part Jewish. She used the word slay yesterday. Twice. Her great-great grandfather was slayed in a pogrom.



Thursday, May 29, 2003

Jennifer didn't bring any lunch today either. Katrina gave her a fruit and lent her a dollar to buy chips. In return Jennifer told about how her pit bull, locked in the car at the time, was framed in the mauling of another dog (who wagged its tail despite the gouge in its back). Jennifer hopes to go to Capilano College to pursue a degree in textile design.

Everyone in the office is coming in on Saturday to complete the Alberta orders.



Thursday, May 29, 2003

Steven has psychic powers as well. He had me concentrate on the number he was thinking. "Six," I replied. It was nine.



Thursday, May 29, 2003

Our illustration class ended early tonight because the teacher had to go to bingo. Under what circumstances I still cannot understand. She also showed us her current project, a retelling of Esther within a retelling of a grandmother's Holocaust adventure.



Thursday, May 29, 2003

While shopping, three very persuasive shopgirls forced me to buy a blue frock. Another scolding shopgirl forced me from a large to a medium. Shock all around that I wear so much black.



Thursday, May 29, 2003

Met Cheryl before class. She had me look at her Edward Gorey pop-up book (The Dwindling Party) while I forced the Eleven Cats upon her. Cricket also arrived early and asked us if we were reading to each other.



Thursday, May 29, 2003

My top twenty favourite English words
1. Barnacle
2. Swindle
3. Spleen
4. Gingerbread
5. Wench
6. Squid
7. Nuzzle-tripe (Smallest and weakest of a brood. A misbehaving child.)
8. Conkerbell (also conkerbill, (a) Icicle; (b) something hanging down from an object, as mucus from the nose, balls of dung in animal fur.)
9. Gallinipper (also garnipper, a large biting mosquito)
10. Snarbuckle ((a) A tightly tied knot; (b) a tangled or twisted rope; burnt or charred remnant (of food): The potatoes are roasted to a snarbuckle; when I went to take it off the stove, it was burned to a snarbuckle.)
11. Fetching
12. Menacing
13. Cattery
14. Qunfidha
15. Teakettle
16. Dilly-dallying
17. Nocturnal
18. Languid
19. Vile
20. Reckon

My top ten favourite Japanese words
1. Tachi (plurals suffix)
2. Namekuji (slug)
3. Kinoko (mushroom)
4. Gutsu-gutsu (the bubbling of a boiling kettle of water)
5. Pera-pera (fluent)
6. Gokiburi (cockroach)
7. Unchi (poo-poo)
8. Unko (excrement, sounds like a girl�s name)
9. Katatsumuri (snail)
10. Komori (bat, the flying mammal)



Thursday, May 29, 2003

Last night I caught the writing class teacher applying eye drops. Her eyes are almost normal. Poor thing.

She was quite enthusiastic about The Exploits of Moominpappa and Moominpappa at Sea, my two original contributions to the list of favourite children's books. She also liked my list of twenty favourite words, especially the Newfoundland words. Everyone laughed at the idea of a qunfidha. Even the immense powers of the internet have little power to shed more light on this elusive Arabian hedgehog.



Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Margaret told me about someone with no personality. I tried to describe someone I know who has almost no personality. Margaret remarked that my example does have personality. Today my Mr. Personality showed another side of his character, that he has a tendency to mildly break the law. Margaret was right. He does have personality.



Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Laura Lee asked Katrina, the New Zealand girl, whether "I'm hurting" can be used as "I'm pathetic." Katrina said she thought of sheep, as in "I'm herding."



Tuesday, May 27, 2003

In a quest to find out how much a human body, chemically speaking, is worth, it seems we are worth $4.50 (US presumably). I can't imagine why our skin is about $3.50, though the fact that the price is based on cowhide is not completely wholesome. And imagine, the mere 18% of carbon in your body can make a blue diamond.




Tuesday, May 27, 2003

The headless woman got me thinking about Isadora Duncan.



Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Read Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron last night. Margaret was right, it is by Daniel Clowes, the guy who did Ghost World.


I was not completely impressed with it at first, but then - the man with crustaceans in his eye sockets!!! That appeared in my dream ten years ago. In my dream the headless woman from the Calgary Stampede's freakshow lost not her head but her eyes, both popped out in the car crash. In my dream her car crashed onto the shore. She groped for her eyeballs on the rocks, but picked up instead two geoducks and inserted them in her empty sockets. Years later, when I met her in my dream, she was panicking; the geoducks thrived in her eye sockets and grew to enormous sizes. The pressure the now-large geoducks were exerting on her skull threatened to split open her head. I was part of a medical team that would separate woman and geoducks.


(The real decapitated woman at the Calgary Stampede just wore a black velvet bag over her head against a balck background. She had clamps on her neck. My cousin yelled that she wasn't really headless, and the woman left the room.)



Sunday, May 25, 2003

"A half century ago, the proper bride feared losing her virginity; the modern bride fears losing her identity." So true. For links to this story (Confessions of a Midlife Bride) see below.



Sunday, May 25, 2003

Go to Family, Friends and Lovers, read The Bike Trip.



Sunday, May 25, 2003

Have begun researching Navajo history for my trip.

Here's a deservedly brutal review of Ann Turner's The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The Diary of Sarah Nita, a Navajo Girl, New Mexico, 1864.

"The trip is on foot. People are shot down on the spot if they say they are tired or sick or if they stop to help someone. If a woman is in labor with a baby, she is killed." Tiana Bighorse, writing about the Long Walk from Fort Defiance to Fort Sumner in 1864; kinda like the Holocaust Death Marches. The reviewer did not bring this up, but I think Turner had those "seventeen instances of the kindness of soldiers" because she does not want to alienate her white audience.




Sunday, May 25, 2003

On the way home last night, Cheryl told me about her first visit to Flagstaff in Arizona, where she'll be working as a dentist for the next year. She had known that the Navajo and Hopi don't make eye contact, but she found it quite unnerving that her new coworkers seemed to ignore her.

Actually eye contact is not respectful in many cultures and is aggressive in some animals. So, in fact, we who must make eye contact to be friendly are the anomalies.

Salvior recommended The Rez Sisters. Cheryl, newly engaged, recommended the movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. The animators gave all the horses eyebrows to make them better characters.



Sunday, May 25, 2003

After our art session (Marlene drew portraits and I drew octopi), we went to see the 3D IMAX movie Bugs. Judi Dench narrated - what a perfect, seductive voice for mantid mating! The audience gasped when Papillo became Herodulla's lunch. I myself thought about eating flies, as Herodulla chomped on one, white shiny innards shining in a black exoskeleton.

The seven-year-old beside me would not shut up. "Now it's gonna turn into a butterfly!" "Did you know that that's a ladybug?" "It's a cocoon!" I almost snapped, "Look kid, I've lived four times as long as you and I damn well know what a butterfly is!" Glancing to the side, I noticed the kid was a little girl, so I forgave her somewhat...after all we must encourage little girls to pursue science careers.

The 3D glasses left dents on our faces. The Inuit comic art show had closed at 4 PM. Dang it! Oh, well, it's around for another two weeks.



Friday, May 23, 2003

Marlene asked a very important question tonight. Are the wriitng instructor's eyes still red? Yes, they are, but of a subdued instensity.

I finally looked up puce. Indeed it is a kind of red.



Friday, May 23, 2003

Met a Nicole from work. She just finished reading Arlene Blum's Annapurna: A Woman's Place. We discussed other books about women and other books about adventures. There is the book about the doctor who gives herself a hysterectomy in Antarctica. Nicoel thought about becoming a romance writer because all the cliches are set out and the genre pretty well writes itself.



Thursday, May 22, 2003

Just got this email from Margaret:

Just thought I'd let you know that your book is doing fine - in fact - probably a little untouched I try not to have it too close to my bed so I keep it on the front counter - face down - away from my plants...kidding...sort of Thanks again for loaning it to me I wanted to assure you that I'm a responsible borrower - I myself have had some nightmare lending stories (and with friends too!) so I understand your initial hesitation

[Margaret evidently doesn't like periods.]




Tuesday, May 20, 2003

All of the three original trainees, Katrina, Steve and I, are disenchanted with the job. We all want to find something new. Rebecca brought candied popcorn to work. Katrina kept getting handfuls every time she approached Rebecca with problems. Jennifer, the new girl, seems to be doing far better than any of us.



Monday, May 19, 2003

Just returned from watching Matrix Reloaded. What a bunch of hooey! Don't see it! Caca! Someone should have done more editing on that crap - enough boring "you are the chosen one; we will win this war" speeches!! And I am glad to see that when they were ripping off Asian movies they also got the ladies walking about with trays serving everyone. Ah, it's nice to be back in quaint old Japan.



Monday, May 19, 2003

Another Margaret gem. If a scorned Chinese woman wants to return as a vengeful phantom, she must hang herself, wearing only red, at the stroke of midnight.

We again brought up the hair and Ring thing. Why is hair such a potent symbol in Chinese and Japanese ghost stories? Margaret suggested a number of reasons. Because hair is so intimate and so connected to one's being, those with a bent for revenge can use it to curse a victim. There is also perhaps the fact that it continues to grow after death. There is also the scene in Session Nine, where the greedy fellow scooping up coins from the crematorium ends up with a fistful of hair. Kind of a creepy Holocaust hair fear...why did the Victorians like to have hair pictures on their walls?



Monday, May 19, 2003

In Bernard Lefkowitz's Our Guys, the victim is asked about bleeding and she answers there wasn't any. In Margaret's hymen survey no one experienced bleeding. Is it a myth? Another Margaret fact, on Chinese wedding nights a white hankerchief was placed on the bed and displayed immediately after. An aunt told me how the villagers came to view her bedsheets the following morning and a spiteful in-law tried to prove it was fake blood by rubbing a lemon in it. Once, stuck in a cab in Manila traffic, the driver told me about his stint working in Saudi Arabia - the bride's in-laws display the bedsheets outside their homes.

(This rather desperate driver, whose wife had passed away two years earlier, explained how Filipino truck drivers can work their way out of Saudi contracts. If they miss their homeland enough, they can circumvent travel restrictions by going through the physical injury loophole. Just pump a little too much air in the truck's tires and, on the hot Saudi ashphalt, the tires will explode. The driver usually suffers a mild injury, for which he has leave to return home to recuperate.)



Monday, May 19, 2003

On Friday I told Marlene about the fortune-teller's alcoholic husband. He has a barrel of homemade wine beside his bed and uses a straw to drink while he lies down. Recently he drilled a hole in the wall to the adjoining bathroom and inserted a long tube through the wall so that he can continue drinking on the toilet.

Marlene reassured me that people do drink while in the bathroom; she has an acquaintance who takes a beer with him when he showers.



Monday, May 19, 2003

The artist featured in Saddam Hussein's house is Rowena something-or-other. And this woman was surprised that some dictator liked her work.



Monday, May 19, 2003

Went out for a beer with Marlene and Margaret (the Margaret of the Margaret's Revenge Company). Maragaret recommended Emmanuele Bernheim's Sa femme and Nicholson Baker's Vox. Margaret is fascinated by mistresses and plans to read the new mistress book.


Hauntings, of course, came up again. The first time I met Margaret, she and Marlene had just returned from an ghost-hunitng expedition to Hotel Vancouver. Margaret told us about how she was caught out one night in a park and decided to save whoever was trapped in an outhouse. As she reached the outhouse door, it flew open and no one was inside.


She also explained the significance of the basins of water at Chinese feasts for the dead. Up until that moment the recently dead do not realize that they are dead, so their relatives leave them an offering of some finger foods, after which the dead person washes their hands. At this point their fingernails fall off and the dead person realizes he or she is dead. The dead seem to realize immediately what steps they must, as the newly deceased, take in order to make their stay in the afterlife a pleasant one.


Margaret also told us about a new option for the after-death crowd: turning yourself into a blue diamond.


I told them about the Slam Bang Lodge. Margaret guessed it was a gentlemen's club, though she was quick to point out that you could hardly call someone who frequented the place a "gentleman." Looking at their website, I was disappointed to learn that the name stands for the first names of founder Al Lavigne's children, Steve, Leo, and Anna, and for his wife's first name Marion. But the lodge does sound kind of enticing. "Slam Bang Lodge is built on a raft made from 31 huge spruce logs that Al gathered from the nearby forest. The lodge houses eight guests in four small suites, and has a lounge area and sauna for apres-fishing relaxation. Stargazing and otter-watching are popular after-dinner activities at the lodge. Hordes of playful sea otters live in the surrounding waters, and at sun- down they raft in large flotillas. As darkness falls, the northern sky puts on a light show guaranteed to make anyone feel small." Seems like fishing season is just starting in Kyuquot, but looks like Marlene, Margaret and I will pass - it's over a thousand dollars.


We stood outside looking at the freestyle stitching book and the Japanese horror film stills book (which Margaret borrowed). I promised to get Margaret the information regarding how much exactly the value of a human would be, if we were just reduced to our molecules, as well as the article by the anthropologist explaining Hamlet to African tribespeople, both useful for her philosophy class.



Saturday, May 17, 2003

Today I gathered my favourite art books into one pile. Too many to casually carry around and show them off.

My cargo boxes: if I take them apart I won't have to buy canvases for a long time. Fifteen boxes means 120 panels. Thick, good quality cardboard.



Saturday, May 17, 2003

Marlene also likes the original Japanese version of Ring. At the art show, there was lots of hair. We liked the framed clumps of hair pulled up from clogged drains. The worst was the curly black hair. I promised to show Marlene my book of Japanese horror film stills.



Saturday, May 17, 2003

In search of Karen's Chinese stationary store. The first Chinese bookstore I wandered in was on the second floor, through this narrow stairwell. The three men behind the counter seemed shocked. I went up to them and explained that I was hunting for a certain type of Japanese paper on which intersecting ink lines seem to float above each other. They said they don't carry paper. I asked if they knew of a stationary store that did. They spent a long time discussing leads in Cantonese.

I looked around. Stacks of wrapped pornography, the more high class type I would see in Taiwanese convenience stores. (I first noticed these when I learned the Chinese character for naked.)

The three porno bookshop men made up their minds. "Just walk along Pender in the opposite direction, on this side of the street, and you will find a helpful bookstore."

That bookstore had a coffee shop in the front and the books behind. Woody shelves with immaculate Taiwanese novels and comics. The cookbooks were bilingual. I found Chinese calligraphy paper and ink, but when I asked about that Japanese paper, the clerk told me to try the corner of Main and Pender. I replaced my items on the shelf and set off, promising I would return if I couldn't find anything there.

The corner of Main and Pender had lots of knickknacks and some lovely $3 Chinese paper-cut cards. I asked about Japanese paper. They sent me back to the bookstore I just came from. On the way I found another bookstore but it was just a bookstore. On the way home I found yet another stationary store. I asked about the Japanese paper. No, only Chinese calligraphy paper. I did buy a brush when I remembered that my own brushes were crushed in a box for the last six years.



Saturday, May 17, 2003

Marlene and I went to my favourite cheap Chinese noodle shop. I took home the barbecued duck and handfed it to Anisoara. Anisoara went in her plastic ball around the second floor, while I answered my correspondence. A sudden crash. Anisoara snuck past the clock-and-chair-barrrier and came down the stairs.

This morning I was startled to see the avocado seed, that I was trying to grow, in flakes over the kitchen counter. I forgot to close Anisoara's cage. Luckily she has more sense than me and returned home. She drowsily got up and went to the loo corner of her cage to pee.



Saturday, May 17, 2003

Laura Lee brought mint brownies to work. After the first piece I sent telepathic messages to her to offer me another piece. Baking is very big at the Yellow Pages. The day before there was a cake auction.

Robbie told us how he ate cookies and brownies and cake the previous night. Diane, our trainer, asked why he ate so many sweets. "Because I was smoking pot," he said, "You wanted to know."

Steve, Katrina, Jennifer and I were moved to our new office. Teresa returned to her previous desk on the second floor.




Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Jennifer, the new temp with knowledge about faecal matter UV lights, was talking about "swindlers" today. Unfortunately I only heard that one word, a word heard perhaps once a year or once every two years. She never explained why she was talking about a "swindler."



Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Tonight I went to the first "Writing Children's Books" class. The teacher is very knowledgeable and funny, but she has the reddest eyes. Extremely bloodshot, as if she hasn't slept for weeks. One of the guys in class thought she was on something. There was also an irritating guy, who is probably really nice but pissed me off to an extreme after he sat beside me after the break. During the second half of class, he returned with a bag of chips. Despite the minuteness of the bag of chips (and, I assumed, the paucity of chips contained therein), he took an agonizing long time to finish that one little bag. And his coat made noises too.



Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Mysterious large blobs of blood in the men's washroom at work. A disembodied tooth. No one knows what happened.



Monday, May 12, 2003

Yesterday at the Mother's Day Powwow, some Fijian ladies gave me a whisk of sweetgrass and some guy gave me a tea candle. Today the new girl in the office told us how a UV light can uncover faecal matter.



Monday, May 12, 2003

Aside from today's depressing Japan news (kid doused in gasoline set on fire, teenage decapitator to be freed in a few months), there was nothing on Yomuiri. But at least we can always count on the Mainichi Daily for sordid headlines. I'm glad I'm outta there.



Monday, May 12, 2003

Goody! A how-to guide for writing hopelessly racist and ignorant novels about Japan.



Monday, May 12, 2003

"Hamaguri, which is a type of shellfish, is an unlikely name for a [Japanese] corporation: it does happen to be a familiar euphemism for the female reproductive organ."

I didn't know that.



Monday, May 12, 2003

The painful story of how one guy amputated his own arm is here. Ouch.



Monday, May 12, 2003

So can we take typing monkeys on board?



Sunday, May 11, 2003

Funny, in Asia we were laughing at the domestic car names there. (My all time favourite Taiwanese scooter slogan: "We reach for the sky and neither does civilization.) So it's universal.



Sunday, May 11, 2003

The Heirloom Tomato site! I like the Russian varieties, but then the Banana Leg caught my eye (#29) as did Black Zebra (#47).



Saturday, May 10, 2003

They weren't using enough monkeys.


Archives

Categories


Coming soon?

Most Commented
Yuck.
Me vs. Kwik-E-Mart


Animals

Asia

Cartoons

Etc