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Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Then I thought, am I sure about that? Maybe sushi isn't my favourite food. I mean it wasn't the first thing that popped into my head. Nothing jumped at me. I just picked sushi because at points in my life I really liked sushi. I like sushi more than, say, headcheese, or internal organ sausages. But, if it came down to a fight to the death between sushi and tom yam kum, which would I bet on? So I went with a question mark.
Now when Trent and I are cheating on each other with various celebrities, do mine all have to be cartoon characters?
Sunday, February 20, 2005
The government is up to something.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
(Sorry, I was having problems with my computer and couldn't make them lighter.)
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Crenguţă still bites. She hasn't punctured skin in a while but delivers, nevertheless, painfully painful bites.
As I begin pondering assassination attempts, I am reminded not to go the Viktor Yushchenko route: "hamsters [can] absorb 1,000 times as much dioxin before emitting their last squeals."
She trains like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 and, quite frankly, we are concerned that she is up to something.
Recently she's taken up alpine horn music lessons. The song of the asparagus wakes us up every night.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Today, I and I alone discovered a new haunting. No one except me and my informer know of it.
The building is in shambles, though my informer works on renovations as he procures the funds. He replaced the flimsiest parts of the floor, though the walkway leading in still presents danger. When he got the place it was full of rat nest and lumps of dead rats. The children of one former tenant were too lazy to use the stairs so they cut a trapdoor into the floor and used a ladder to get down.
Rumour in those parts has it that the wood used to build the house came from a nineteenth century ship.
"Shall I tell you about the ghosts?" he asked me.
Shall he?! He doesn't know who he's talking to!
"Sometimes, I hear sounds that you don't usually hear when you are alone in a house," he said. Perhaps, he speculated, it was the captain of the lost ship.
He claims that he doesn't believe in ghosts. He did add that he would like to shake hands with this ghost if it had a hooked claw replacing its hand.
This is the fifth haunted location in town and the seventh ghost.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Stupid Cupid, the Bitterness Bash, Black Heart Day, I missed all those parties on Valentine's Day.
I met someone and had to miss out on all the fun.
Goshfuckit, I thought I would finally have a chance to join the millions of spinsters who do it peanutbuttery with their dogs and the lonely hearts jacking off to Britney videos. For sure, this year, I thought, I, too, would finally get drunk and sleep with a pimple-assed stranger.
Why do I have to get flowers delivered to the office and three boxes of Godiva chocolates?
Why can't I be like everyone else and pig out on Oreos and then barf them all out thanks to Mr. Toothbrush?
Why do I have to be the most envied girl in the office?
I only asked to be a wallflower, God! Why are you doing this to me?
I thought I would die of boredom from all the comfort of that back massage. I mean, it went on for an hour and all those thoughts of "no girl is as lucky as I am to have you" were killing me. Those cricks are gone! I feel perfectly fine! I'm going to kill myself!
Then the jerk announced he got us tickets to the Bahamas. A four-star hotel, that's what he booked us.
While everyone else is spending the week after Valentine's Day crying their hearts out that nobody loves them, I'll be lounging on a beach with one of those tropical drinks. With an umbrella in it. He'll be rubbing suntan lotion all over me and telling me how much he loves me.
Just the thought of my body out on the beach for everyone to see - flawless, not a touch of cellulite...I feel like such an outcast. I want to wear sweatshirts and jogging pants for the rest of my life.
I sometimes wonder if plastic surgery would be the answer; you know, more wrinkles, a vat-ful of lard injected into my thighs, maybe a masectomy?
You, know, I even suspect he may propose on this trip. He dropped another diamond ring into my champagne at the country club last night. I swallowed it as usual and pretended nothing happened.
Why does this always have to happen to me? How come I'm the only one getting married to a rich Norse beefcake? How come I won't be spending my old age as a lonely bag lady?
Please, please, let me just once taste the bitterness of leaving the fifth message on his answering machine and not having him call me back when he said he would. Just once in this lifetime, I want to cry myself to sleep -- shit, he's calling me agaaaaaain.
I hope it's not "I want to know how your day went." He's so fucking sincere about it too, that's what bugs me.
Just once. Please. Let me be like everyone else and watch the Shopping Network with a pail of Haagen Dazs on my lap. Just one Valentine's Day, in this lifetime. Please.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
One hour overtime, no lunch, on my feet all day, after two days in a row of late nights. I can't think of anything to say, except in a droning monologue - ivefinallyfiguredoutmybusinessplansoicanbecomeludicrouslyrichandstopworkingsomuch
So I propose a game.
Instead of me thinking, you get all the glory. You comment on this post as a historical figure and I try to guess who is moonlighting as that historical figure. Then we all laugh over it over a beer in a week's time. Whaddya say?
Go at it!
Thursday, February 10, 2005
This rooster, based on one found on a Fante flag, now roosts on page 79 of a Korean book about (perhaps) Life. The Chinese characters for life, ming sheng, are on the cover. First published in 1950, my copy is a 1985 book discarded from an Asian library at my alma mater.
I drew this rooster with a pack of felts that belonged to my ex-fiance. Some of the colours (such as the dark brown crest) sported globules of pigment on their heads, more like what you would expect from oil pastels.
The Fante of Ghana, who created the nineteenth century flag from which I adapted this rooster, used applique technique to make their flags. The rooster originally faced a clock-bird and a man who held both birds on a leash.
However, since it's the Year of the Rooster, the clock-bird will have to wait its turn.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
When I was a high school teacher, I walked into a classroom after lunch once to find, amidst the usual teen chaos, a boy making a tower out of markers. He balanced the markers carefully on their ends to make a narrow pyramid nearly to the ceiling.
Another teacher told him to stop.
I saw that he still had about twenty markers to go before he emptied the marker bucket so I began to help him. I would hand him markers so he wouldn't have to get down from his chair; he was standing on his tiptoes to reach the top of his tower.
The other teacher scolded me for helping him when the rest of the class had already settled into their seats and were ready to start class.
I thought, if I help him finish faster, he would achieve his dream of constructing a marker tower, check it off his lifetime to-do list, and face his next challenge, which was to absorb my class.
We got to the last marker. Just as he was about to place it on the tower, it all tumbled down.
I left him to clean up the mess and I started my lesson.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Every two weeks or so, I head over to check out Miss Diana. A 23-year-old from Boston, studying to be a librarian or something, and I can't remember how I stumbled on her blog. Something struck me about her and I return once or twice a month to see how her life is going.
Her life, despite a few details, kinda resembles mine: "listening to ..... in a bar in ....., ...... with good friends ......, ....public library sales & checking out tons of ..... books & delicious ..... snacks!"
That's my life!
There are plenty of other people out there who live my life too, obsessed with book sales and devoting more time to friends than to the career. I'm a dime a dozen.
Yet I don't read every blog written by over-socialized book sluts. I read hers - and here's the reason why.
In yesterday's post Miss Diana wrote, "today, i woke up sexy -- seriously, i rolled out of bed pouring lusty vibes from all over."
I've spent a few months now trying to figure out where Miss Diana gets this incredible gift to wake up feeling great.
She's always photographing herself and there is no malice in her pictures, as you get from some women who get themselves on film only to say "See? I am more beautiful than you could ever be." When the universe threatens to do in Miss Diana and she feels like she could mop up the troubles of the world with her dirtrag of a self, she still ends her journal entries with a "hooray!"
Me, when I think about my shortcomings, I feel like I am staring at a huge chasm of dust that I have sweep clean. It could be the aftershock of evolving from a particularly virulent strain of Catholicism to 1960s-era Maoism where I, as the bourgeoisie European, had to flagellate myself into a froth of self-criticism.
Even when I avoid all confrontation and hardly step outside my door, the animosity of the universe tumbles on me (just now, for example, some angry woman took extreme offense to something I wrote and sent me almost 2000 emails to "punish" me).
But why doesn't Miss Diana plummet into despair? Or, better yet, how can she see so much goodness in herself? Where does this conviction that she's yabba-dabba-doo great come from?
Hurrah for Miss Diana and a happy, happy Tuesday to her!
Monday, February 07, 2005
As longtime readers of Maktaaq remember, I used to work for a lightbulb company.
Along with an infinite number of monkeys, I would sit at my computer in the quality control department, typing manuscripts, trying to come up with Hamlet. When one of us succeeded by even a word in the right direction, the lightbulb affixed to our computers would light up. Then we removed the lightbulb, sent it to the packaging department and began testing procedure again.
So, a few months ago I quit the rat race, or better said, the monkey race, and settled down to the more sedate job of wrangling ghosts in the haunted museum.
Last night, which was a dark and stormy night, there was a knock at my door. As lightning split across the sky, I opened the door to behold a finite number of my former colleagues.
"Archibald! Samson! Ezekiel! What are you doing here?"
We all hugged and I invited them in from the cold outside for a glass of brandy by the fireplace.
Once we sank into the armchairs and I refilled their glasses, I rested my chin on my hands and asked how things were at the lightbulb factory. I wondered how the elephants were doing and if the flying poison arrow piranhas were the big seller we thought they'd be.
The monkeys cast sidelong glances at each other.
"Management decided to upgrade the system."
I flashed a risus sardonicus. "That's good news, right?"
"Maktaaq," said Archibald softly, "They want us to type out East of Eden now."
I shrieked. Dropped my glass. The brandy seeped rapidly into the polar bear skin rug at my feet, leaving a stain in the fur...just as lightning ripped the sky in half.
"We're Renaissance monkeys, dammit!" cried Samson.
My mouth open, I looked from monkey to monkey, hoping they would tell me it was all a joke.
Archibald continued, "They want us to type East of Eden no matter how long it takes. No one, not even the capuchins, have a clue as to what it's about."
"At least if one of us had read it or if we had access to Cliff's Notes or even the Hollywood version. But no one has read it. It's over six hundred pages."
Shaking my head, I muttered that the Workers' Compensation Board might have something to say about that.
"No," said Samson ominously, "Management has forbidden contact with government agencies."
"Something has to be done!" I raised my fist defiantly. Thunder roared outside and the chandelier crystals quivered.
Samson's knuckles turned white around his brandy glass until shards exploded out.
His hand bled.
Sunday, February 06, 2005
You know when you do something naughty one day and you spend the rest of afternoon obsessing how you are evil and your path of destruction will lead you straight to hell?
Then you know how you happen to glance at your horoscope for that day after hours of obsessing and the horoscope not only predicted your actions but also lauded them?
Today was such a day.
You walked into a yarn store.
I'll just say 'hi' to my friend, you thought. She had just left five minutes earlier, so you might as well examine her workplace. It'll give me something to talk about next time I see her.
Then you found a pattern you hadn't seen before. Not one of those run-of-the-mill sweaters or the prosaic *yawn* scarf. Not even a quirky hat.
You found a pattern for a knit corset.
A weird-looking corset. Nobody has one of those. I could be the first and therefore the coolest.
Plus, it involves ribbon.
Over a t-shirt and - poof! - you are a princess.
But you stopped yourself. You would not spend $30 on a corset pattern.
You should have just walked out of the store now.
Then the yarn clerk came over. She asked if she could help you.
"No, just browsing" - you should have stopped there - "Maybe you can help me."
You explained that you want one pair of knitting needles. That should do.
Then she frowned. "One pair is expensive. Why not buy the whole kit? It slices, it dices, it even turns carrots into roses and carves boulders into filigree! With guaranteed two-year workmanship, a one-year limited warranty, and 24-hour-half-hour round-the-clock troubleshooting through a free charge-by-the-minute toll number, plus a set of AA batteries. Buy now and we'll throw in this free $49.95 inflatable cutting board!"
Confused, you bought the turbo-engined solar-powered knitting needles and started a weird neck warmer with globule buttons.
You later walked aimlessly, the thought that you traded in the deed to your house gnawing like a muskrat boring a hole through flan.
A scrap of paper wafted on the breeze and landed at your feet. A word caught your eye.
Then you leaned down to read more.
Sunday February 7, 2005:
You need to stand out from the crowd. But how? You need a custom-made something. Splurge!
Thank you, Mr. Horoscope, for making my excessive spending part of the greater cosmic plan.
Saturday, February 05, 2005
I had to leave Ethiopia. Before this, I forgot what happened in my dream.
I do know that there were more white people than black people in the dream Ethiopia. In the real Ethiopia, there are also more white people than you would think, people from Greece and Armenia, three generations deep in Ethiopia, who have no more links to their countries. Or, they are the result of the merging of Ethiopia and Italy. In the dream Ethiopia, there were my parents who had no business being in Ethiopia.
I had to leave Ethiopia. I went to the airport with a flimsy backpack and a large suitcase. The suitcase disappeared.
The dream Addis Ababa International Airport looked more like a fake painting of some Caribbean paradise. Flowers, sun-dappled white-washed walls. The gate was the same. In the real Addis airport, you can't just walk in. It's not like one of our airports. Everyone waits outside unless they have a ticket. In the real Ethiopia, there is a roofed space where people crowd while they wait. There was mud, too.
In the dream, I went into the airport and my suitcase disappeared. I walked down the stairs to the plane. The stairs came out of the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland. People, mostly black, walked past me.
I did not have my ticket nor my passport. They disappeared, perhaps when my suitcase disappeared. I was inside the airport and I could not have gotten in without a passport or a ticket.
I emptied my flimsy backpack on a bench. Miscellaneous rubbish. Three nail clippers. Those things are dangerous and banned from flights, I thought. Someone could hijack a plane with those things.
No ticket, no passport. But I was in, so maybe they won't notice.
I went to the tarmac. The plane I assumed was mine resembled a space shuttle. My dream recycled it from a dream of four years ago; there was another space shuttle pretending to be a plane in that dream.
No flight attendents waited at the door. I got on without a ticket. The seats - about fifteen on each side, facing the middle - already held passengers. Here and there was an empty seat. I walked past each empty seat toward the front of the 'plane' and looked at the person sitting in the neighbouring seat. Every person smiled at me but I went to see the next seat. At the front of the plane, I turned back and found an empty seat at the back, beside two little girls. They smiled at me, too.
I strapped on the seatbelt. I worried about my ticket and passport. To get to Canada, I would have to change planes in Amsterdam. They overlooked me on this flight; the Dutch might be more observant. I reassured myself that my documents were in my missing suitcase, probably already in the plane's hold. In Amsterdam, I would retrieve my suitcase and find them.
Then I woke up.
Friday, February 04, 2005
The first inductee to the Alternative Canadian Walk of Fame is Hammy the Hamster*.
I never much liked Once Upon A Hamster; despite the lullaby qualities of Paul Sutherland's voice, the adventures were pretty gay. You could see the outcome of the story a mile away. The only attraction was seeing Hammy in a car, the hamster actor behind the star probably frightened to death as the car raced on the forest floor.
There's nothing quite so charming as looking into the ever-forlorn and puzzled face of a hamster, lips aquiver, large round black eyes asking you why? why? why? Unlike the golden retriever or the boston terrier, a hamster always looks as if tragedy has just struck. You try and make it all better for the critter but the tragedy was so immense nothing short of a new flood that blots out human existence could heal this rodent's soul.
Deep down, I know that the tragedy that belongs to Crenguţă** is that domesticated hamsters all come from one hamster mother - the Ur-Mother - whose brood during a ship voyage away from the Middle East supplied all bratty children (and grown men) with cute little beasts to torment.
All household hamsters stretch in a long line of short gestational periods back to the Ur-Mother, a long line of incest and rape and bestiality. So interbred are hamsters, that anomalies like the angry biting Crenguţă - who, I have to warn all visitors, is only charming until she clenches upon your outstretched finger - are the norm of the hamster world.
Would a hamster live, like Hammy, on a boat? Heavens, with the threat of torpedoes or what not, a hamster would get very wet indeed. And a hamster can never get wet. Certain death, that’s what a thorough soaking means to a hamster. They stay clean enough with their own saliva.
The problem with Hammy the Hamster is that hamsters are not cute children’s pets. They are nocturnal and fiercely independent. Worse than a cat, a hamster really only loves you for your stash of sunflower seeds. A sleeping hamster, despite its size, will not hesitate to draw blood if you wake it. (Check the hamster’s ears: crinkled ears held on the head mean a grouchy, just-woken hamster.) In extreme cases such as Crenguţă’s, a hand anywhere in her territory merits reprimand. On the other hand, hamsters don’t require walkies. Put them in a hamster ball and they take care of themselves. Sure hamsters are cute, but they are more suitable for the often absent, adult night owl. That’s why Hammy’s show “delighted insomniacs and stoners on late-night television.”
Far better than Once Upon A Hamster, would be a hamster film noir, with hamsters lashing out against everything that pisses them off (which is everything). Give us adults a film of hamster revenge fantasies, hamster vampire flicks, and hamster mad scientists, turning the tables on their human tormentors with questionable medical experiments. That’s what people want.
*Let's not forget that Anişoara's name, by her first family, was Hammy. Long live Anişoara!
**Long live Crenguţă!