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Thursday, September 30, 2004
At first I thought, hey, an Iranian movie about gender relations, sounds like my kind of thing. But Arizona Cheryl gently guided me towards romantic comedy.
It was about an ugly, fat girl who ends up with yummy jock guy. It turns out that was just what I needed. Not only was the fellow the yummiest I've seen in a long time, it also gave me hope that an ugly, fat creature like me might end up with a yummy jock guy.
I have to admit, for the first time in a week I finally am beginning to feel better. I spent most of the day tinkering with some publications that go to the printer's on Saturday (a failed dream was to become a graphic designer; occasional flyers and brochures are all I have left now). I actually couldn't wait to get back to work and felt lunch went on for far too long.
Then Arizona Cheryl insisted we eat at the Gramercy Grill (i.e. expensive) and that I have the ribs with blue cheese macaroni. They even provided me with a little bowl for cleaning my rib-dripped fingers. The water in the bowl had a lemon floating on top. It was worth the price.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Today everyone questioned life. Mr. O'Connor of Albino Neutrino divided life into four quadrants. The Boss Man's solution was to become a hermit while mine, secretly, was to just leave. Forever. I've even started looking for a booking.
Oh, I tried other solutions. I tried writing a story about a ship-going hamster. Didn't work. I exercised and pushed myself harder than usual. Nothing. I tried yoga and that stupid downward dog. Nothing! Not a thing! I tried retail therapy. Four knitting books, five tanktops, six shirts, one cardigan, two skirts and $86 dollars later, it still didn't work. Driving aimlessly, loud repetitive technopop tunes, an insane grocery list of creamed honey, alpine chipmunk whole wheat and dynamite-hot chile, two episodes of Sex and the City, three rows of knitting; but still leaving seemed the best choice.
In the end, leaving gave me a big headache. This one was definitely a migraine. I've had very few migraines, all four in the last year. Which, since migraines are a recent phenomenon for me, leads me to conclude that I must have developed a brain tumour some time during the course of this year.
Or, I may have a bout of mad cow disease (also known as BSE). That explains why I keep missing keys wen I typ. Mad cow diseas eats holes in the brain: I believ it's gobbling up my silent vowels. Dam yu, mad co diseas! I hat yu, BS!
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Maktaaq looks funny in French:
Il n'y avait aucun enlèvement de lui des épaules de ce spécimen d'attraction de manhood qui a fait les nouveaux bruits bizarres.
J'ai senti le piratey.
Il a observé chacun aller forkful à ma bouche.
J'ai marché dans la clôture de budgie et tous les oiseaux hushed immédiatement.
***PS I hope everyone is feeling far better than I am.***
Monday, September 27, 2004
In the three days I've been on the peripheries of the Vancouver International Film Festival, I've already seen eight movies.
Today was my record: five films.
I even considered a sixth; knowing that I had to return to my car at some ungodlier hour than it already was and in the deserted warehouse district where teen temp squatters smash windows - that assured that my record would remain at five movies.
I've already discussed In the Realms of the Unreal and my excited ramblings inspired at least three people to see it.
The Python: a mad beaver, an escaped python, a photogenic monkey, a stern headmistress, and unidentified faeces in the school attic. The comic possibilities sounded endless, but Latvian director Laila Pakalnina seems more taken with pieces of lumber and focused the camera on tables, walls and other household items instead of the actors speaking their parts.
The Gift: I saw this one by default as it was showing during one of my volunteer shifts. I didn't think the boob girl (you'll know what I mean if you clicked on the link) was a prostitute. She was a dimwitted moron. That one image of pimpled old man butt grossed me out so much I vow to become a cougar and save myself from ever encountering such a disgusting twin mound of flesh. Spoiler: the concluding suicide made me really sad for all lonely spinsters and lonely bachelors. I hope the gods may smile upon me and let me find love soon.
Pleasant Street: Another default movie, this one was an unexpected delight, in the form of cancer patient Leida. Her friends at one point made her one thousand origami cranes, as little Hiroshima leukemia victim Sadako attempted decades ago. I have a feeling that, with Sadako's precedent, reaching the goal of one thousand cranes might not impart the luck that supposedly accompanies the birds.
Pity, because Leida was someone with whom I could be buddies. Her death on July 19, 2003 was significant for me. I can't remember what happened on July 19, 2003 in my own life; now, however, much like people who remember what they were doing when Kennedy was shot or when the World Trade Centre towers toppled, July 19 will mark the anniversary of the day when a potential good friend of mine died.
I met the director, Gerry Rogers, afterwards. Mentioning to someone that I liked her film, he made me tell the director to her face.
I've always found it rather awkward to approach someone important and tell them I think they're swell. I just have never been the swooning groupie type. Just as I thought. It was awkward this time.
"You probably want to see the next film," I said after my impassioned compliments, trying to give her a chance to escape one of her rabid fans.
No, the director explained, she already saw it. Maybe she thought I had something more to say. A long silence occured between the period of the last sentence and the period of this sentence. The director took hasty leave of her mute fan following this interval.
Chinese Restaurants: Funny bits in this documentary on the phenomenon of Chinese restaurants around the world overshadowed by my shrunken bladder.
I crossed and uncrossed my legs. I wiggled in my seat. I rationalized that nothing was holding me back from running off to the bathroom midway. Then I rationalized that missing a single moment in a movie equaled not having seen the movie at all. Yet, my thoughts of the toilet just next door probably obliterated most of the film's dialogue.
After the credits rolled, there was no way I could miss the producer's discussion of the film. Plus, he offered a free screening to another three episodes in this series as today's offering detailed Chinese restaurants in Madagascar, Norway and Saskatchewan, not Mauritius, Trinidad/Tobago and Cuba as was advertised. I would have missed that news if I'd obeyed the call of the bladder.
People in Madagascar use the same iron as my Transylvanian grandmother used.
Principle of Party Politics: Ah, I remember the first time I encountered riot police. During an anti-nuclear rally in Taipei. I don't want to be too critical of this movie, so I'll leave it at that.
Spying Cam: Film Festival staff suggested Flower and Snake. I balked.
"What, don't you like Japanese sado-masochism?" they asked. No, I lived in Japan and I had enough of it there.
They recommended After the Day Before. I asked them to recommend a movie in which no women were murdered. They asked if a movie in which men were murdered was ok. No, no murders. Not men or women. So Spying Cam it was.
Spying Cam is a Korean movie. Koreans have a rather peculiar view towards violence against women. Korean rapists, a Korean businessman once told me, are lauded for their prowess and celebrated by fellow jailmates. A successful rape reflects on a man's virility. This movie had a rape scene.
The actor portraying the rapist sat in front of me. He arrived only two hours earlier to attend this very screening. He was shorter than he seemed in the movie. Technically that should have made him less sinister. He had the big cool hair reminescent of Japanese teenybopper magnets. A female companion, her smooth red-dyed ponytail hung over the chair, sat beside him. The rapist actor looked scary despite his disguise.
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire: There are two other movies on Rwanda's genocide during this year's film festival and I now want to see those (film #1 and film #2). It isn't that I didn't like this one, but I should have known better. It is about Canadian Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire, head of the UN Peacekeeping forces during the 1994 killings. The actual stories of the genocide and the survivors take second place. The title should have been enough of a clue.
Yet I don't regret seeing this one, especially as the director, Peter Raymont, and Dallaire's righthand man in Rwanda (Philip Something-Or-Other) attended this sold-out screening. Hearing about Darfur, Juba, Kigali, and Kabul from someone who lived in all these places made up for the boring films I struggled through earlier in the day.
This latter movie is going to take some processing and major cud-chewing.
Are genocides preventable? Philip Something-Or-Other says yes. I don't think so. That, however, doesn't mean we stop trying to prevent genocide.
Philip Something-Or-Other hinted that something fresh might be brewing in Rwanda. It may take 35 years for the Tutsis to act. A revenge genocide said one of the audience members. No, said Philip Something-Or-Other, pre-emptive violence to protect against further Hutu violence against Tutsis. Then he told us of layers of post-colonial clinginess and the overwhelming power of the UN's permanent Security Council members.
In all, rather dizzying. I jotted down notes to eventually make sense of what I'd learned, far more than I can write here tonight.
So ended Day Three of the my 2004 Vancouver International Film Festival experience.
On a more facetious note, I counted eight pick-up lines today from eight fellows. The most memorable was a guy on the street who looked back at me and said sweetly that I look just like his mom. He tried to rescue it after that but I walked too fast.
Eight guys in one day.
My pale film festival complexion must be what's attracting them.
Friday, September 24, 2004
That quote was in a 1970s book on cartoon collages made using tree leaves. I sought out knitting books again in Vancouver's public library Roman Colisseum Central Brach. I was just minutes away from having seen the first movie of this year's Vancouver International Film Festival, In the Realms of the Unreal about Chicago outsider artist Henry Darger. You know, the guy who wrote the 15,145 page epic about the Vivian Girls and the Child Slave Rebellion.
Director Jessica Yu's questions - Can one's imagination be enough to live on? Can one replace real human relationships and community with those invented in one's mind? - haunted me afterwards and through to this morning. Reduced to another, more selfish question, it asks, will I ever find someone and will I be spared from an old age of typing out my fantasy world alone?
Certainly, I will become a crazy pet person if nothing else. At one point, Darger asked his landlord how much it cost to keep a dog. "Five dollars a month," the impoverished Darger observed, "is far too much for me." Me, I'll have a hamster, a rabbit and a guinea pig, or perhaps multiples of each. Even more so than becoming a multi-pet George Herriman, I dream that, like Quentin Crisp, I might have youthful human admirers to sup with me.
Darger's drawings now fetch $100,000 US a piece, there is a whole wing in the American Folk Art Museum devoted to Darger and Hollywood plans a film on his life. Now that we all welcome Van Gogh into the pantheon of established art circles, Van Gogh's spirit, we smugly assume, might feel less bitter over the fact that he could not sell paintings during his life. Manet, though he tasted some fame in his lifetime, surely has the last laugh now that prints of his work decorate even the most artistically devoid of houses. All this serves not a whit to erase the ostracism and shame in any of these lifetimes. It might help cure our pity at his sadness yet this newfound fame hardly helps alleviate any of Darger's loneliness.
In the end, a spinster is not really an unclaimed treasure. She is a piece of trash best avoided until she is safely dead. Imagination, in the end, is not enough to live on.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
As a card-carrying mad scientist, I've always lamented the fact that I can't breed rabbits with chainsaws instead of those annoying cute ears.
Sure, I can attach chainsaws to rabbits, that's easy enough for any regular messing-with-nature joe blow type.
But breeding chainsaw rabbits, dammit!
That would so cut down on surgery time. With their 31-day gestation period, I could have a whole army of Texas chainsaw rabbit massacres in no time. Yet, with each new litter - from two mutated chainsaw rabbit parents, no less - the bunnies have normal ears.
I've tried genetic modification. I've inseminated female rabbits with microscopic chainsaws. I've fed rabbits razorblades. No luck. Doesn't affect them a whit. I have enough fluffy bunny wabbits for a century of Easters.
As a result I am on a backlog of chainsaw transplants. Does anyone else out there have this problem? Any suggestions from anybody in the mad scientist community would be greatly appreciated.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
It didn't matter what I picked, I was still Fanny. Keep your leeches away from me.
You will be sucked dry by a leech. I'd stay away
from swimming holes, and stick to good old
cement. Even if it does hurt like hell when
your toe scrapes the bottom.
What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla
(Thanks, Fruit Cocktail Girl!)
Monday, September 20, 2004
Weird jobs that lurk in my past:
1. Telemarketing for the blind.
2. Hand-colouring dice cards for a private lawyers' casino office party.
3. Writing Christmas cards for the lightbulb factory executives.
4. Making small talk with Korean businessmen (or, the ESL equivalent of Japanese hostess bars).
5. Putting 25,000 ladybugs into cloth bags for wealthy socialites.
6. Selling mushroom purses in Japanese flea markets and at Japanese craft stores.
7. Transcribing Taiwanese pranksters' heckles for Bill Gates.
8. Creating crossword puzzles, cryptograms, jigsaw squares, crostic puzzles, alphabet soups, quotefalls, and syllacrostics for Asian teenagers.
9. Editing the phone pages.
10. Cleaning up supermarket aisles covered in shaving foam.
11. Wiping toilets with coins embedded in them - I was a housemaid for the fabulously rich.
12. Kneading noodle dough with my feet for an udon restaurant in Japan.
15. DJing in Transylvania.
Monday, September 20, 2004
I have advanced mad science forward ten notches.
No longer do we face complacent vegetarian rabbits. Thanks to me and a few tiger genes, I have created a cuddly ferocious version of a lagomorph. Captured on film, I unleashed upon little fluffy a wolf fed on yoghurt for a week. The results sent a delighted shudder through me down to the tips of my fingers. I've done it, by Jove!
I bred the sample rabbits, or tibbits. The rabbit's thirty day gestation period ensured that six months later I had an army of tibbits. I then strategically released a few tibbits onto well-trafficked hiking trails. Already news of my creation's invincibility captured major headlines around the country.
Bwa ha ha!
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Alone at night and trapped with only some Asian horror DVDs, I knit and watch. I admit it: I covered my eyes and plugged my ears at the same time. I tried the mute button a few times. When I missed too much dialogue (these were languages I know), I had to suffer through the sounds again.
You know how horror movies are. The music tips you off that something is about to happen. You know when to cover your eyes and plug your ears. Yet, you want to be ready for the scene when the bogeything leaps out and the suspense degenerates into schlock. That's why I peek through my fingers, squinting to make the image less painfully scary.
First up, Audition. Key words: Actor/Acting, Filmmaking, Japan/Japanese, Love, Marriage/Wedding, Murder, Torture. Emphasis on the last.
Though the female lead looks rather ravishing in her last scene (in the kind of outfit that I fancy myself in - pity I couldn't find a full length picture to share), she managed to really give me the heebie jeebies. I used the mute button for her foot fetish.
As I watched, I tried to keep my eyes off the screen for as long as possible. Though I still need help with Japanese, I can manage with limited subtitles.
My first observation is that my knitting became tighter and tighter.
My second observation is that, when the female lead coquettishly asks itai? ("does it hurt?") to her victim, that that itai ("hurt") was a twist on the usual Japanese porn, where the female floozy squeals itai! ("it hurts!") over and over. I suppose in a way the movie is a case of tables turned. Though the female lead died in the end of this movie and in hardcore Japanese porn I never saw the (implied) male perpetrator die.
Audition left me plenty disturbed. I had to watch The Great Mouse Detective one and a half times until I was able to get to bed. Then I also had to sit through a few George Carlin monologues before I felt I could sleep with body parts intact.
Then I was down to one movie. The Eye.
No torture, just ghosts.
I am an atheist and when I think about the supernatural in a clear, logical step-by-step process, I can think away the supernatural. But now there is scientific evidence that we don't know everything about what exists in the universe. So logically, I can't think ghosts out of existence.
Thankfully, this movie didn't cop out with a logical explanation of ghosts. The only problem is that I became jumpy about seeing an apparition. I interjected with Titanic. It helped to get me thinking about freezing in the Atlantic instead. I was thankful. But as Titanic drew to a close, I grew fearful again. Because then I was both afraid of nutso butchers and creepy old man elevator ghosts.
One man saved me from fear.
That man is George W. Bush.
There is now speculation - which means it will happen any day now - that the US will invade Iran.
That news jolted me so far out of my solo horror movie night, I want to run out NOW and prevent another invasion.
Most people forgot the poor girls raped in Iraq thanks to the ministrations of war. The so-called "feminist" morons who wanted a change in Afghanistan so that burka-clad girls, too, can "wear t-shirts and jeans" (their words) went back to their lattes and dignified conversations. It's time for Iranian women to suffer, is it, Mr. Bush?
Times like these make me wish that there is a god and there is karmic retribution and that there is a hell for these monsters.
Thank you, George Bush & Friends, for allowing me to sleep tonight. I have no more reason to think of nutso butchers and creepy old man elevator ghosts. Your scheduled tortures for another nation is just what I needed.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Have you ever had one of those days when you just couldn't wait to shout out Fools! I'll destroy them all!?
Today wasn't that sort of day.
I do, however, often silently mumble that phrase to myself when I am in a queue or walking behind a person with snail-derived DNA.* It's when I am waiting that I entertain mad scientist fantasies. If high school calculus didn't perplex me so, I would have been well on my way to a career in the [mad] sciences.
Snarling ten-foot hamsters with razor-sharp teeth and a taste for human flesh!
Canaries infused with piranha genes and bred for the temperament of a pit bull!
Great white shark heads surgically transplanted on bunny rabbit bodies and surreptitiously deposited in the local petting zoo!
Eight-legged cobra chinchillas that spit out cyanide!
Mr. Dubois, my grade twelve math teacher, put an end to all my hopes. He, the nerd who could play Bill Gates in a biopic, never came by to help me while I waved my hand back and forth.
Victoria Loria got all his attention. He just liked her because her names rhymed.
My dreams would have been realized if I was Peter Pumpkineater. Or Humpty-Dumpty. Or Fuzzy Wuzzy. Or Care Bear.
I ended up in university with majors in Art History and Chinese. No one has ever destroyed the world with that background. I am the laughing stock of the mad scientist community.
I do have a plan. Tarantula fangs grafted on bucolic landscapes! Whippy poison-drenched tentacles attached to the Venus de Milo! Mammoth ten-ton porcupine-spined Chinese dictionaries that leap off shelves onto unsuspecting library patrons! A combination of my two majors: Renaissance statuary that ejects sharpened chopsticks at 160 miles an hour!
Fools, I shall destroy you all.
*Driving emboldens my drunken violent sailor persona.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Sunday, September 12, 2004
What happens to a herd of squashes? You know, that pumpkin-like green spherical vegetable thing that erupts out of the ground like camouflaged pimples upon the earth's face.
Everyone has an opinion about squashes.
Some people add the pluralizing -es to multiple squashes; others are adamant about their right to fewer syllables and require crowds of squashes to stay put as mere squash. The latter indicates that squashes are like water, too many molecules to count in one sitting. They are not sheep, which remain sheep whether singular or multiple.
Squashes grow as green spherical vegetable things independent of other green spherical squashes. They deserve a razor-cut individuality and they can only achieve their individuality by recognition that they necessitate plurality when in groups.
Yet, linguists are not clear as to whether the -es suffix really follows squash in the plural.
The examples of mouse and its plural, mice, as well as goose with geese and moose with meese, indicate that the squash's argument for numerous squashes might translate instead as squish.
Squish, the plural of squash, requires spelling to differentiate it from the verb squish.
There exist such precendents in the English language. Onion was invented as a safety device to distinguish it from union, which, in the original Latin, onion strongly resembled. Celebrated in the annual "Hurrah, We're Not the European Onion" Day that Italians, Germans, Spaniards and others observe, Europeans are just thankful union wasn't forced to change to the spelling of onion, instead of onion becoming onion. No one would have liked to be known as a group of smelly stinky states. The jokes would have been unbearable.
Thus, in order to prevent the vegetal squash from being mistaken for the verb squish, implying the fate of squashes that roll onto highways, the spelling of the plural squash becomes squeesh instead of squish.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
You know how amputees get phantom itches on their dismembered limbs?
After that cocker spaniel ("Bianca") bit me last week, I had tactile flashbacks on the very hand that was bit. And that got me thinking. I have never been stung by a bee. Nor have I broken any bones. A tiger once bit me, however. And that set off the phantom bites in the tiger-bitten leg.
Moral: Never trust a zookeeper who says you can pet the tigers.
(The tiger came from here.)