Thursday, December 29, 2005

Accusation of the year

Pav called to tell me J.Lass's funeral was planned for yesterday. I replied to M. Biologique's email knowing he's more acquainted with members of that circle than I am: "... so anyone wanting to pay their respects now will be shit out of luck."

I ended it asking him if it's weird I'm not grieving the way everyone else seems to be reacting to the news a week after her death. I've given up hope of its arrival: the truth is, she had long slipped out of my life to have left a void large enough to make a difference.

***

My father accused me of being a bobo: a bourgeois bohemian. He said I, unlike him, do not obsess over money because I've never lived without it. (True.) He said I, unlike him, am so "above" it all -- meaning the "establishment" -- that I would never be caught gossiping over someone's salary because it's "tacky", nouveau riche-behaviour. (Not true. I can be tacky if I want to be.)

"Oh no, Lily," he mocked. "Money isn't something you talk about because it's all about the art, right?"

I feel like he's paying my way through university so I could be further removed from him. Counterproductive, I'm sure. But what the hell? I wanted to say. You're a communist! What the fuck are you doing asking me how much the kid from That's So Raven! makes? It pisses me off whenever he starts and ends a conversation on the green stuff. Who has it, who doesn't, who deserves it, who shouldn't, where he can find more. It's so gratingly irritating considering our solid middle-class income and relatively comfortable lifestyle. When I confront him about his gauche remarks, he turns it into an issue of status distinction and class conduct. In reality, it's blindingly clear that he's become a miserly curmudgeon.

He changed the lightbulbs to make everything dim. He wastes much of his time figuring out ways to save energy that are both time-wasting and impractical.

"Let's buy a hydrogen cell car," he's been suggesting. "Go on the Internet and find me pictures."

Why not keep the cash for the car and continue driving the Honda gas guzzlers we already own? It's not as if he's even seriously thinking of shelling out moolah for these bright ideas of his. My dad's a tech-whore without the know-how: he's flirted with installing solar panels on our roof, wind energy windmills in our backyard, hot air balloons for travel, folding bicycles for work, the list goes on. We have an 18-foot satellite we never use. We have an incomplete playground apparatus built outside like a deserted cabin in a Bjork video. Oh, and his spending sprees at second-hand shops are legendary. Glow-in-the-dark portraits of Christ, cracked yogourt machines, treadmills that jiggle, clocks that wiggle, dancing non-denominational holiday figures, his crap has filled our entire garage and three-quarters of the basement. Lately, he's been hiding new purchases in the minivan. I feel like he's acting out in his own subversive way. Trapped in a suburban hell with a still-ambitious wife. He isn't happy; isn't doing anything about it either. Blames it on the kids; reminds us as he loves us. Reverts to his childish nature when he's not revering his past. He reminds me of some grotesque version of seasoned banality, a listless bore with a bone to pick.

I might be a boho, but he's just become old.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas

I hadn't the heart to write since my last entry. Part laziness, part avoidance, I've had a considerably eventful holiday (although not nearly as dramatic as Sam Anderson's take on the New York transit strike).

I was a little drunk a few hours ago -- and no, not on the Christmas spirit. My uncle was pouring Bailey's into my glass like manishevitz wine. "You're legal, you're legal," he reassured me. A plastic smile inched across my face as I reached for the milk. Diluting it will make it less potent, I lied to myself. An hour later, I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, slumped over the toilet seat, trying desperately to stave off fatigue before the baby found me.

I woke up smelling of meat.

***

Banana Chic and I went to see The Chronic -- What? -- cles of Narnia. I let her pick the movie because, well, after a bad incident involving Le Divorce and a Russian, I was never allowed to choose anything from Blockbuster again (though it didn't stop me from suggesting Syriana anyway: "It's about oil, and politics! And a fat George Clooney!" The flames from her burning glare tickled my ear through the phone). Now normally, we are a fine audience. We rarely whisper, never talk, and hardly make a noise. But this! This piece of crap was sacriligious! "Why aren't the beavers wearing aprons?" I demanded. "And why am I strangely drawn to that half-naked faun?" Every scene looked like it was taken straight from the original BBC version. "Oh, here's something I don't recognize," Banana Chic pointed out behind her blatant sarcasm. "Right. Like who doesn't expect Gandalf to rise from the dead?" (Aslan, Gandalf, give her a break: she had initially guessed "Golem".) The movie relegated the concept of the remake to an even cheaper state. Every long shot and close-up felt like deja vu: "I could've sworn Lucy walked around with a flask in the first one too!" When Santa Claus bestowed the children with their wonderous presents, I couldn't resist subbing in my own interpretation as the gifts were handed out: "Yah, a pearing knife and some rum. Thanks Santa./ Aww, I've always wanted a bag full of darts; how'd you know?" And Mr. Claus himself looked like a reject from a whimsically gay production of King Lear (featuring Nathan Lane as an all singing, all dancing Cordelia). The whole thing was a rehash of that special childhood memory we shared with everyone from our generation: "What the hell? We paid 10 dollars to see another set of buck teeth?" The producers could've, at the very least, changed something. I mean, Elton John is still Elton John whether or not he has a crotch full of willing man -- the source material isn't compromised due to an element or two of change. And yet! they churn out this shit anyway. Even the Turkish Delight appeared more delicious in the beebs' rendition -- the current incarnation had Edmund eating something that resembled a coagulated tampon from a back alley abortion clinic. Millions of dollars were spent on exactly what? Props from Puppeteer of the Penis?

***

Guitar Guy is back in my life again. Sort of. Shotgun Toter and I attended his first gig. Let me explain how oblivious I am to normalcy: When she suggested that we go, I thought we would be ridiculing the guy. See, to me, it's more believable to go all the way across town to make fun of someone than be there because one of us likes the guy. "Why would I go if I didn't like him?!" Shotgun Toter asked. I was shocked: "You LIED."

(*Full disclosure: I've known Guitar Guy since I was 12. We've grown to appreciate each other's company on numerous occasions, but nothing ever went past the platonic. The reason being my phobia of men. Okay, and him. He's too nice! I've put him through the ringer so many times, he should technically be flapping in the wind, clipped to a clothesline. Yet, he'll continue to be there for me whenever I need company or a laugh. And it's not like he's unattractive because he is, he really is. It's just that, damnit! Why does he have to be so damn decent and dependable? Fucking working class stereotype. But back to the story ...)

So Guitar Guy approached our table during the break. We chatted, inside jokes abound, Shotgun Toter virtually drooling by the verbal wayside. He asked me how I'm enjoying myself. I replied it was nice to hear one song from this century. He promised he'll play something by the Killers. I shrugged my shoulders, Whatever. He hopped on stage and dedicated the song to me. Shotgun Toter swooned: "He's so nice!" Half an hour later, I was ready to leave for the second time -- "Lily, you better stay for this one," he spoke into the mic. Heads turned. How embarrassing. We heard the opening chords to Weezer. Shotgun Toter swooned all over again.

Later that evening, he messaged me, telling me how much he appreciated me coming. "No problemo, but thank [Toter.]" I then proceeded to not-so-casually drop her name in the conversation to fish for his reaction, but he refused to take the bait. *sigh* They'd make a good couple. Two terrific people, both relatively sane: He'll finally find someone to serenade apologies to who wouldn't, in turn, threaten to smash his guitar against the lockers if he did.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Cosmic Joke

J.Lass died Monday evening. From what I could gather, she had been crushed under the wheel of an oncoming snow-removal truck. It's surreal, you know? She was 21-years-old, the first friend I made in Montreal. She was the sole witness to my every freshman experience. And although we had been growing apart lately, she still occasionally called to check up on me because I was her "baby". A fine specimen I turned out to be. She asked me to come out for a coffee two weeks ago and I, instead, politely declined to continue working on my essay. One coffee, one measly coffee, and I refused to tend to her. I should've gone. I hadn't seen her in months. Why didn't I go?

Because I never thought she'd die.

I found out from Swiss Alps as I was making my way to Toronto. He was getting ready to fly home too:

"Lily?" he asked, voice cracking under the strain. "You better sit down for this."

I expected him to ... No, I didn't expect anything. It wasn't right, it wasn't real. Why did it have to happen to her? "An accident", apparently preventable: another reason to mourn. It made me angry; I was numb. A million thoughts raced through my mind: who, what, where, when, why, why, why? "Oh my God," I kept repeating into the receiver, "oh my God." As if to fill an ever-expanding void, a gaping wound that won't heal, "Oh my God," I kept saying. What else was there to say? Was there anything more or less appropriate in a situation like this? What was the correct procedure? I was once again dumped onto foreign terrain, helpless to the fact. Life stood still even as it plummeted.

My life really felt like it was starting to come together again. I was meeting people, they were making an effort to get to know me, I wasn't so cautious anymore.

"It's funny," observed my seating neighbour on the train. "I always see you at Cinema du Parc, and I work there."

Reading between the lines, I could tell he was probably in his mid-twenties. We flirted, talked, teased, and shared reading material for the next four hours. He was handsome, very handsome. A hipster, stylishly put together. Cute, too cute. With a contagious cockeyed confidence. I didn't try to lure him, I wasn't especially witty. Like Oprah says, "If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away." It was a mantra I went over in my head to convince myself to wait out the silent lulls. He'd playfully sneak a peak at me and wait for me to notice. It was sexy. Patience was breeding results.

Then I got the phone call. It was strange: he said he was stunned too (but I didn't believe him). The range of emotions that began seeping into my consciousness felt too incoherent, fractured, disingenuous to reveal to a stranger -- I, not-too-subtly, changed the subject. He offered to drive me home from the station, "Am I going to see you again?"; his cockiness turned sweet, I kissed him goodbye.

I called Pav as I sat waiting in the bus terminal. Heeding no memory of his behaviour a few entries back, he was the only other mutual acquaintance she and I shared listed in my phonebook. "Lily! What a nice surprise to hear from you," he purred through the phone, oozing that famous brand of sex appeal. "Did you hear the news?" I cut in. "[J.Lass] was hit by a truck and," I choked, "she died. You two were close, I thought you deserved to know."

His response was similar to mine. Words were being spoken, but they had no value. They existed to lessen the impact, to take the focus off the blow. "Keep me, ya know, au courant." I assured him that I would. I needed to hear a familiar voice, comfort be damned. M. Biologique didn't pick up. Maybe I needed that. Two steps forward, one step back, forgive me for my moment of weakness. I was too traumatized to play petty games, yet I knew exactly what I was doing:

Tragedy makes the heart grow fonder -- pity grows into guilt. I fished for attention to feed the hungry heart. What could be more crude, more corrupt? I feel immense pressure from myself to cry and not stop for days. She deserves my grief, yet I have little grief to give. It's as if my sadness is not enough, I don't feel right that I'm not shell-shocked or in tremendous pain. I want to be punished, I want to hurt. This isn't how I'm supposed to feel. I am cold, I am wicked. I am ashamed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Update

*Editor's note: Ha, make that 4 dollars. I just spent my last 8 bucks on pharmacy-bought sandwiches, macaroni salad, a stick of cheese, and 99 cent chocolate bars. Damn you CatCouver for inviting me out to paint vagina birthday cards in a bar full of rowdy men with art supplies!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Early morning ramble

When I went to Thailand this past summer, I bought a bottle of moisturizer. It contained facial whitening ingredients. Hell, everything in Asia seemed to have contained whitening ingredients, from talcum powder to paper masks. And although I understand, as a Chinese person, being light-skinned has historically been linked to social status (for only those forced to toil the fields were darkened by the sun), the commercialization of such an archaic concept feels like a minstrel show in reverse. It's bitterly aggravating.

I, undoubtedly, irritated my relatives with my incessant questioning. "Why would you want to look like you're dead?" I'd say. "What's so great about looking so ghastly pale?" I'd ask my cousin. "Don't you want a woman who looks like she leaves the house once in awhile?" The answer was always an emphatic no.

To want to change the colour of your skin has almost become a necessary evil. To tan or not to tan is brought up as often as to bathe or not to bathe. That is to say, it's hardly ever questioned because it just is. Do women dress for men or do we dress for each other, I commonly ask. The horrendous beauty rituals we typically read in history books have normally been constructed and systematically enforced by women. It's as if once an illusory standard is generated, we have no choice but to perpetuate it. Simone de Beauvoir advocated for female financial independence. Thinking that, by breaking free from the source of our absolute dependence, we might be able to live more contentedly. Yet, somehow, somewhere in the past 30 years, something went wrong. The new-found fortune of the new woman now fuels the industry of desire whether or not she believes it is realistic to her. I hate to sound pro-quelque chose, but being a woman is important to me. Maureen Dowd, during an interview about her book, "Are Men Necessary?", said that Ed Needham, editor-in-chief of Maxim, told her he gets tons of mail from women who want to be in his magazine. And this amuses him because, as he explains it, the airbrushed celebrities featured in it are supposed to be a man's guilty pleasure -- not anyone's idea of a seriously desirable partner. We'll always be bound to this convoluted Catch-22 as long as we're social creatures of the utmost extreme. Conceptual theories of equality are less hindered by biological differences than the games we formulate in order to fuck. And we further complicate matters with each social construct when we demand the usherance of a new conception, intending on displacing the old one. But it just as fast becomes the new status quo once the economy changes directions again.

I'm obviously not making any sense. Morning hunger! You dastardly devil! Better end this before I keep going ...

[*Editor's note: Lily currently has 13 bucks in the bank which incidently signals her return home tomorrow (not that it's the, uh, only reason).]

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Capote

I reserve Sundays to allow myself to act particularly spinsterly. Dumpster chic with a hint of Bacall, it's a day when I indulge in era-specific dressing even moreso than usual. I hike about town in my lace-up boots and over-sized cardigan cinched at the waist, patrolling the streets for trends to avoid and trends that are in to avoid. Making eye-contact with hobos, I smile. I tell them, Sorry, no change, but you have yourself a happy holiday. Condescending, I know. But what else could I say? Wife, okay? You're not married? Have a good one, anyway? Wandering different neighbourhoods, down different streets, I scour for enclaves I have yet to patronize, businesses in industries no longer demonized. Vintage vinyls alongside butchers, frayed fashion by furniture galleries, I enjoy immersing myself within this mirage of good taste, this miasme of driftless establishments intended to be undiscovered -- unsound ventures, knowingly brief, a paradox of cool for the seriously hip. Yet, even as I develop immunity to their novelty, the sheer volume of variety counteracts convention, disturbing any plans for long-term routine.

But I do this alone. I prefer it that way. Music is turned up high to form a sensory wall of indifference. I observe the nearby space without having to interact with it: I don't have to be on when I'm not recognized.

The world is too small a place when that "slutty guy" who slipped you his number also knows a good friend of yours. "I met this beautiful, Chinese girl named Lily," she's told.

I hear; I groan. There are a lot worse things than being complimented, but hollow descriptions leave me cold and uneasy. It's unsettling to be talked about (even if it is just one man's opinion).

***

I watched Capote last night. It made me want to re-read In Cold Blood. Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance is a tour de force. The whole cast is exceptional. I admit I even cried a little at the end. (I've been doing that a lot, haven't I?) Clifton Collins Jr. as Perry Smith just embodies his character. The facial ticks, the rage, the loneliness, all under an effortlessly subdued demeanour. He says things in a way in which you never quite believe what he says because how he says it always gives him away. You think, how does he do it? You want to uncover the actor's secret, you want to escape the illusion, but you give up and fool yourself that what you are seeing is real -- what other option is there? And Catherine Keener as Nelle Harper Lee. To see her in "Being John Malkovich" to "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" then this, her versatility as an actress is unquestionable. Never has her abilities been more apparent or complete than it is here. Alright, an exaggeration, but to see her body of work and never recognize her, not "see" her, is quite a feat. When Halle Berry plays ugly, she's still Halle Berry playing ugly. Even as a bloated lesbian with age spots, Charlize Theron reminds you she's acting. But when Keener appears on-screen, she could be wearing no make-up, she could be tearing off her clothes, you get the sense that she understands the human condition and its contradictions. Her voice wavers a little, she scoffs because she means it. What she does best is in portraying imperfect, and thus, incorrect caricatures. I think Keener's characters always seem familiar -- and this is quite true during "Capote" -- because their multidimensional quality appears not through the specifics of the dialogue or the fictional background provided for them by the screenwriters, but in the incalculable bodily movements produced by someone completely in tune with her strengths and vulnerabilities. To borrow the old adage, she acts like nobody's watching.

I was never a huge fan of Hoffman. I've always thought he played a different version of the same stock character: a bit albino, a bit geek. No doubt, he was always dependably good, but he wasn't ever great. Then comes "Capote" and my opinion of him has done a 180. He's that good. Hoffman walks with a bit of a swivel, capturing Truman's limp swagger and small frame. He simply melts into this role without ever falling back on reliable cliches. You feel bad for him when he's looked at strangely, you get angry that he lies. It's an unflinching look at an undeniably gifted, conceited, compassionate man.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Dad's Random Tangents #2

My summer not-fling is on a plane about to land in Toronto in a few short minutes. My dad called to check up on me. I proceeded to tell him about my summer hijinks and the backstory as to why I'm cringing this boy's arrival.

"Daddy," I explained, "He's not, what you say, 'good husband material.' He's over-protective and actually stretches out his arm to prevent me from crossing a busy street! And what is up with that whole will divorce his future wife if she didn't get along with mother-thing? It's weird!"

Without missing a beat, he suggested perhaps the boy should marry the woman instead. ("But don't tell your mother I said that.")

I reminded him that it still didn't solve the dilemma of my having to put on clothes because he's staying with us.

Dad: "What is the English word for 'tolerance?'"

I defended myself. I'm simply not tolerant of the "situation," I said.

Dad: "What do you call someone who is not 'broad-minded' and not 'narrow-minded?'"

me: "I don't know. 'Minded?'"

Dad: "Mild? Not too hot, not too cold? Like barbecue sauce?"

me: "... yes."

***

Sexy Spinster: "Are you coming home tomorrow?"

me: "I could and with little effort. But it took me 7 hours to pull on a pair of underwear today."

Friday, December 16, 2005

Aisle

I went to the cinema with DaDutch last night to go see "Three ... Extremes". I don't even know how to begin this blog entry. 8 hours later and the trilogy of films is still lodged in my memory bank; the images itching to be interpreted. The first of the three shorts is called "Dumplings". It's a dark -- and I do mean dark -- satire criticizing the extent in which society will go to maintain youth, beauty, and, in essence, female sensuality. The second feature, "Cut", plays with our preconceived notions of morality. Roger Ebert wrote:

"[The villain] wants to force the director [the protagonist] to commit evil, so that he will realize he is not so good after all -- that to be good sometimes means only to have escaped the need to be bad."

I had to read that over a few times, desperately struggling to conciliate this idea with the pictures in my head. It makes sense, but at the time, I must've been too focused on aesthetic qualities because the closing shot sort of came out of left field. Although the gore was mostly confined off-screen, both DaDutch and I were squirming in our seats, requesting that the other keep her eyes open, which generally meant me. Fortunately, neither of us ended up getting too spooked to commit the ultimate filmgoing no-no when we realized this movie employed more MacGuffins than a Hitchcock anthology.

The third film of the set was definitely the most atmospheric of the bunch as well as being a real head-scratcher. I simply could not wrap my dumb head around "Box" until now. Was it all a dream? Part of it? Some of it? None of it? I couldn't drop it from my mind: I needed a conclusive answer. So I visited IMDB.com and discovered more than one and immediately regret what I had done. Since the dialogue is delivered sparsely, I might need to watch it again to catch all the nuanced hints. Like, why was it observed that the novelist was a lefty when the little girl used her right hand to throw the dart? Is there a connection there somewhere? Were the two girls one of the same, the "other" being her sexually-tainted childhood that continues to haunt her in a bid to be acknowledged? Redeemed? Remembered? Recognized? Were the portrayed events real or fantasy sequences? Did her guilt manifest itself to become an unignorable parasite? I even toyed with a literal translation, proposing that the characters actually underwent a radical medical procedure to save the other twin's life (a la "Tales from the Crypt"). In any case, I think this eerie ambiguity probably made it even more satisfying for the audience.

The entire thing was a joy to watch: I was on edge the entire time. Beats the hell out of the schlock Hollywood conjures up to meet its annual quota.

***

I met DaDutch in my French class. She's bubbly, highly articulate, well-informed, and surprisingly punctual. I say "surprisingly" not to condescend, but to recognize a quality missing in a lot of university students -- "to be prompt" isn't exactly complimentary in the typical sense (though it should be). I mean, we agreed to meet at 9 p.m. I had arrived by 8:48 and she came in through the doors minutes later, almost on the dot. It was beyond words, this rare occurrence of not having to wait. I couldn't believe it; I wasn't used to being respected on a first date.

Anyway, after the movie, we proceeded to chew on even meatier subjects I, frankly, would rather discuss more often with people (as opposed to the sludge I normally have to contend with: boyz, boyz, and their obviouz problemz). From the ABCs of art and international politics to the gilded lily that is bourgeois philistinism, DaDutch could not only follow, but frequently followed-up. We didn't go on "tangents"; we "brainstormed" (to use a selective euphemism).

In conclusion: Good movie + great companion = jolly good time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Guilt: How utterly, utterly, gauche

*UPDATE*
What was I whining about? It was all very innocent. Nothing could've possibly happened; it was in a public place. Polite, he was being polite. No one noticed and no one did. I'm imagining things. It was an accident, that's all. A technical error. No reason to fret.

So how 'bout them prawns?

***

He tongued the corners of my mouth. Or that's what I think he did because after he walked away, his saliva stayed on my lips. Let me backtrack: He told me that joke about the pirate and his missing eye (which I've heard a thousand times before because men seem to have it memorized since before the release of their placentas and the cardinal rule is: laugh anyway). Then he said he was hungry. So he stood up. I looked up. He bent over and ... WHOOSH! Lip, smack, paddy wack, Peter Piper pecked.

I barely know him; surely, it was a mistake. Bad aim, confused as to where the location of my -- his? -- cheek was. When everyone in Montreal goes around bisou, bisou-ing each other, something like this was bound to occur, right? Right. But when did an air kiss require gentle lubrication and GPS know-how?

Anyway, since we were around people he knew, I'm betting it'll go over well with the girlfriend. It's deja-freakin'-vu all over again: Always the runner-up, never the crown. Lung ... collapsing ... can't breathe. How do I get myself into these things? I was only there to catch up on some news and read today's paper. Gossip drill, rumour mill: let's pray this doesn't become a high school turf war over his he-parts.

Yet another reason why voluntary confinement is the cure, not the cause.
I need to stay in more.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Getting back in the game one step at a time

I've developed my first ever TV crush. Evan Solomon. Oh man, oh man, he is one accomplished babe. Journalist, editor, television personality, novelist, simply delicious. I can't believe I'm gushing. Okay, I can, because he is so fine, like a lemon meringue pie or a rolled sock in the trousers. 31-years-old and seemingly a workoholic, I can totally deal. His travel plans wouldn't interfere with my worshipping him. Oh, sure, he'll get up from breakfast to fly to Hong Kong and leave me sifting flour by the bread bowl. And yeah, he'll be on assignment to meet Bono or the guy who plays the King of Siam ... 's mentally retarded chimp on Broadway and ruin our anniversary plans. So what? I'll get used to it. Being second banana comes with being over-shadowed. I'll greet him at our studio loft in an apron and nothing else, and we'll sit by the overhead projector and discuss world politics on PowerPoint and gossip about Kofi Annan and "What was he wearing?" and laugh when I bring out the steak because he was with Eric Schlosser "just yesterday" listing the number of cow parts in a conventional burger.

Tee hee hee, I'll say, rubbing his knee and squeezing his bicep. Stop it, you're too funny.

We'll have a night cap before bed after reading articles from the New Yorker to each other, shaking our heads at the media frenzy surrounding Jeffrey Tambor's transexual confession and the arrest of Nicole Brown's killer in a Kazakhstanian golf course. (OJ's hunch had been right all along!)

Three hours later, we'll wake up to have emergency sex because he'd been relocated to the Kenyan bureau. But darling, I'll say as I brush the semen from my teeth, I'm pregnant. He'll walk out without a word and return four months later accusing me of sleeping with Dan Rather. I'll obviously deny it. Don't make this about me! He'll apologize for what he said and send me a bouquet of camillas, making all my girlfriends mad with jealousy. I'll see him walking through the factory doors wearing a uniform he picked up from a dead insurgent overseas and he'll ask where I am and the ladies will point That way, and as he goes to pick me up in his arms, he's shot from behind.

By Dan Rather.

*sniffle, sniffle* Rest in peace, my love. Rest in peace.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Random Tangent #99

There's a certain comraderie people develop with each other when they see someone slip on the sidewalk. You look at the fallen victim and reassure them with a smile. "It's insane, this snow," your eyes seem to say. They nod timidly as they reach for the nearest parking meter.

Sometimes the comraderie is developed at the mere sight of flailing arms. Strangers walk up from behind, passing you by with a gaze that doubles for sincerity. "Watch out now," you sense their comfort.

Okay, so that person was me. Twice. I landed on my bottom twice. It wasn't a busy street, but it didn't make getting up any easier. Although, making eye contact with sharply dressed women who were also wobbling down the sidewalk made it less embarrassing. We gave each other knowing glances, a warning of the impending trek to come. A secret language had been created; a coded message, conveyed: "That's the price we pay to look good."

Indeed, lady with the shearling aviator boots. Indeed.

***

Target: Achieved. Jacket: Acquired. Credit card company: Mucho contente.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Random Tangent #98

Materialistic longing, rising! rising! Consumer rationale, fading! fading! Cropped orange round-neck collarless tweed jacket with puffed shoulders and off-center fasteners.

Says it loves me too (using somewhat less adjectives). Must buy now.

***

I have to admit I approached The Von Bondies's sophomore effort, "Pawn Shoppe Heart", with some apprehension. In all fairness, lead singer Jason Stollsteimer and his entourage did try to shamelessly capitalize on his bloody scrape with the pale Hercules that is Jack White. Anyone who backstabs co-patriots who single-handedly launched their careers should be blacklisted in everyone's guide to hypster etiquette (and other ironic hypocrisies). But even ungrateful ingrates deserve a listening to and it's exactly what you'd expect from Detroit Rawk City -- a perfect blend of distortion and 3-chords with a driving rhythm section. The appropriate antidote to a party hearty neighbour's Limp Bizkit marathon.

Taste isn't relative -- some people just have it bad.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Family Tradition

My parents are regular folk. And like regular folk, they celebrate Christmas. Now by no means are we Christians, but it's the thought that counts.

Our first Christmas with a tree was in 1996/7. My dad found it in the basement of his store. It was one of those "fit wire branch into corresponding slot" type things conveniently left over from the previous owners. Filled with generic decorations, my dad loaded the cardboard box into his trunk and drove home, beaming. It was the find of the century.

The first time we put our tree together, my mother and I carefully inserted each branch into the appropriate colour-coded hole. The final product was reminiscent of God's patchy green pubes. The second time we put the tree together, we decided to fill only the left side and stuck the whole thing in the corner so its obvious baldness could not be detected by the casual viewer. We figured no one would notice its shabby appearance after it was decorated.

We dressed it up with the familiar embellishments: garlands, ornaments, outdoor lights, and pinecones; plastic globes and dollar store Jesus, two-year old ginger bread cookies and action figures; glitter crafts, popsicle stick cabins, paper stockings and unrelated children's art taken from the fridge to hide that other gaping cavity in the tree. It was beautiful really, like a nativity scene re-created by a blind person from a yuletide dumpster.

Every December my mom would take us shopping to pick out our own gifts. We'd drive up to Costco and scan the coupons, hoping something we liked would be featured. "Ooh!" we'd say when we did, "jumbo crayons and a tarp!" Typically though, my mom would find a sweet parking space near Toys R Us and let us go crazy (assuming whatever it was we chose was less than 30 dollars):

"Can I get this, please? Mommy, can I? Can I, please?"

"Ice cream mak-ah. Why you make ice cream? I buy for you, why you make? You crazy."

Afterwards, we'd go home and enjoy our presents for a few days before gift-wrapping them in time for Christmas. We'd wake up the next morning and they'd be under the tree and we'd tear open the packages and act really, really surprised before running to the kitchen to thank her. (*Note: My mom's not very touchy-feely. She'd wrestle, yeah, but until recently, I'd get an awkward pat on the shoulder following, "Why you touch me? You crazy.") Frequently, we'd see stuff we bought months ago there too, like puzzle boxes and shoes or a newly washed blender.

We were known in the neighbourhood as that family who had their tree up by November and didn't (still don't) take it down until some time after August. People thought we were weird when they saw our flashing beauty through the window, but it was just practical: We simply didn't have any other light source to watch TV with. My friends would be surprised to find me plugging in the artifical Christmas tree whenever they came by to hang out -- I'd switch off singing Santa to be considerate during the Simpsons.

***

Thanksgiving was the same tree with handprint turkeys.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Are you kidding me?

I like how my mom slips in "by the ways" in our afternoon chats the way conversation fillers occupy silence; the way you'd start narrating what you're doing by the phone because you've sufficiently updated the other person on the other end ("I never noticed how dirty my ceiling is. ... and now I'm bleeding from the butt. I'll call you back").

The cell phone does a vibrating dance, backlight illuminating the caller ID -- MOM.

"Leelee?" she chimes. "You awake?"

It's 2 p.m.

"No."

She proceeds to make small talk. I can barely position the gadget near the vicinity of my ear, mumbling half-coherent sentences she doesn't respond to. After another mouthful of niceties, she gets to the point: That guy I met on vacation this year? That handsome, yet highly sheepish, boy who took me out on evening dessert runs and picked out that watch I've since stopped wearing? He'll be living with my parents for at least the month of December until he gains his footing in Toronto for "academic-purposes." This coincides with, of course, my trip home for the holidays.

I go berserk. Tongue-tied and sleepy, I lash out at her:

"And what? What does he have to do with me?" I begin. "Did you intend to see to it that I entertain him? It's just like you Chinese people to do this! Always! Oh, two kids, same age, it'll be a gas! That's how you Chinese people think! You'll ... you'll make him tag along when I'm out with friends to 'show him around,' that's what you'll do. And, well," I take a breath, "you'll just find reasons to put us together!"

She is silent. Then:

"Why you so crazy all da time? Yelling, yelling, everytime I call, you yelling. I no say anything! You crazy, I no speak to you!" and hangs up on me.

I sit up in bed and immediately start rationalizing. The disturbing truth escapes from all the grey. Sure, I don't want the burden of tour guide duties, nor do I want to see him feel unwelcome in a foreign country, away from like-minded friends, and completely isolated by his language barrier. There are times when even though I recognize what I'm doing is wrong, I still can't be bothered to do right, compelled to be self-serving for its own sake. And this is one of those times. Anyway, the "disturbing truth" is this: How the hell am I going to get away with hanging around the house in various states of undress if there's going to be a hormonally-charged teenager there? My parents already warn houseguests of my "unmannerly conduct" with playful resignation (unless the news is received in utter horror, in which case, they pretend to be shocked too). Imagine having to reveal to my Potential Summer Fling my Secret Single Behaviour: it'll be an excruciating game of understated blue balls. I'm bloody right to be worried!

Sexy Spinster said she understood what I was trying to say, but the way I went about explaining it to my mother was all wrong:

"You shouldn't have said, 'You Chinese people,' because it's a problem with everyone's parents."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Waiter, there's kismet in my soup. What else is new?

I worked on my 3000 word take-home exam intermittently between 7 o'clock last evening and 3 o'clock this afternoon. The paper was due at 4 o'clock. I accidentally fell asleep for a good 5 hours, waking up more stressed than the night before. My printer didn't work. I went to the library. All the seats were taken ... except one. The man got up to leave just as I was passing behind him. Out I went with 8-pages of meticulously written jibba jabba clutched in my hand. The bus driver waved at me from across the street. It was Bill. He's cool. We're buddies. He's Greek. I asked him how his fake Japanese girlfriend and 18 kids were. He said they were good. I stared at him incredulously: "Did you just say I looked damaged?" "No, no! You look beautiful, always!" I sighed, "That's okay, I know what I look like. You can say damaged. It's the essay's fault." I didn't even bother to put on a bra and brush my hair. "What time you have to be there?" he asked. 3:55. He looked at his watch. "No problem! I can do! You want me to go 200 miles per hour? I go! For you, I go!"

And off he went, like a speeding bullet. Like a speeding bullet had it taken one too many bites out of a brontasaurus breast. I saw the campus a block away. He wasn't kidding. 3:55. I ran to the journalism office. The bitchy secretary took my paper. 3:58.

I made it. With two minutes to spare.

***

I gave in and signed on to Zip.ca. This means I pay a flat-fee each month to take out UMLIMITED MOVIES. From Asiatic to Zulu, they've got everything! Yes, this will confirm what everyone's suspected for years: I'm a genetic hop, skip, and a beak from a house-trained mutt.

Now shut up and hand over L'avventura. I'll be in for awhile.

Dad's Random Tangents, premier issue

My darling dad called me to ask me how I was, how my French was going, when I was coming home. We discussed the possibility of him investing in my (improbable) magazine. He seemed supportive of the idea. Maybe he was humouring me. My dad has always assured financial backing for any crazy scheme I dream up, as long as they're reasonably feasible and legal. I like that, simply knowing my parents are as gung-ho as me.

He suggested I look up to that lady who also has her own magazine, the one who went to prison:

"Who?"

"You know, that woman on TV. Play with flowers and cake."

"You mean, Martha Stewart?"

"I don't know. She go to jail?"

This is quite off-script. He usually typecasts white people into two categories: Celine Dion and Jean Chretien (affectionately called "droopy mouth"), depending on gender. But this mention of Martha Stewart comes as a shock.

I do believe my dad is diversifying.

***

I wonder how my family's going to be politically divided this time during the January elections. People say you can't live with a spouse who leans differently than you, but last time around, I supported Liberal; my dad, Green; my mom, Conservative. This is how they explained their positions to me:

Dad: "I tell you, Leelee. Everything so dirty, you know? So bad, I die."

Mom: "Why I pay [taxes] so single mommy dri'e bettah cah than me, pah-ty all night, no show up fo' wok?"

Why indeed. I might go NDP this time to maintain the current minority government. It keeps politicians from getting too cocky, and Stephen Lewis said they're more likely to pay attention to public discord and do something about it as long as we let them preserve the status quo. It keeps them humble (*rolls eyes*).

Bah! Paul Martin and his stupid trade ideas. He has mashed potatoes for brains! Surplus smurfplus, what use is money when it's not being properly invested? Did every businessman look up to Gorden Gecco after graduating from college? Money is just pointless numbers on a scorecard unless you do something tangible with it besides counting it. Otherwise, it's toilet paper with security features. Math Judas argued that we should use it to relieve our debt-by-Trudeau. But if we were making timely payments before this nice surprise, I'm sure we can manage to divert a little attention to social-orientated progress. Our health care system has become increasingly archaic in a post-baby boomer era. I read in the paper today that Britain spends approximately 3 percent less than we do (around 10%) on health care, but that doesn't mean we can't still make very necessary changes. Look into Singapore's health care policies, Sweden's, etc. To paraphrase the article, restructuring is not synonymous with "Americanization." We should think of it as an issue of practicality, and not one of cultural assimilation.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Random Tangent #76

Alright, so I was taking a piss, yeah? and it came to me mid-wipe: homophobia seems to be more prevalent in men because it is a direct by-product -- a mirror, if you will -- of the way they view social relationships!

We've heard it for years. Sex, sex, sex, that's all men care about. Now, being a woman, I found that sexist and condescending. It is so not true that's all they care about, I'd defend. Intimacy is an all-pervasive human trait: we all need a shoulder to cry on!

All rah rah equality, and hear me roar.

Okay, but hypothetically, what if that's exactly how men perceive things? What possible link could it have with this irrational fear, near hatred, of homosexuality?

I was brushing my teeth with one hand while trying to hook my bra on properly with the other when another ah-ha! moment appeared. If all relationships were simplified into degrees of sexual interrogation or complex levels of courtship, then it is easy to see why men would feel threatened by the presence of a gay man. Besides living in the vain belief that gays have zero standards and would naturally hunt down straight geezers for some afternoon fellatio, I've always thought it, well, unreasonable to grow dangerously insecure even at the mere mention of l'homme sur l'homme action. But if relationships are perceived to be matter-of-fact, a dualism between predator and prey, then it seems obvious where this bigotry may stem from: a loss of power, forced to be lame, a victimized thug opposite the gaze. I'm sure there is also deep-seated sexism in there, more simply observed as an unwelcome reminder of the shame that comes with being placed in a woman's position. Ancient texts have been known to discuss sodomy in degenerative terms. Surprisingly, not in the context of a man buggering another man, but in the shame of being penetrated, to be on the bottom, to be like a woman and lose your badge of dominance.

Anyway, by this time, I was really late for class and still didn't know which pair of shoes to wear, so I opted to stand in front of the mirror for another good 10 minutes, figuring out why my clothes were messing with my proportions and leaving me paranoid.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Fannypack

Oy! One more assignment and this semester is finally over. I can't wait to start my communication studies again. PimpRV, NappyMop, and I were talking in class when this man -- a part-time student -- approached me and asked if he and I could "get together sometime." Oh yeah, yeah, I dismissed, going right back to talking to my girlfriends, not realizing he already had my number, taken under different pretenses two days ago.

PimpRV mentioned how old he was: "And that receding hairline?"

"Yeah, he's like [NerdQuirk's] even older brother."

Fo sho. Look, I admit I'm especially judgmental because I'm going through a dry spell. Sure, it's been going on for ... before I can even remember and I sabotage promising relationships to dodge potential promise. But I'm young! and maybe a bit asexual. I mean, I find platonic friendships swell. What is the point of showing up at my place when I have no literal need for you? That might sound unconscionably harsh -- and I don't deny that living alone frequently sucks -- but if I'm deriving satisfaction from a renewable source (i.e. myself), why pretend they're someone they'll never be? Why lead them into thinking they are an integral part of making me functional when I am more functional without them? Been there, getting over that. To be so dependent on an idea -- a self-serving one at that, however masochistic -- wasn't healthy for me. I punctured myself with holes to provide an ideal landscape for a two-person play. And although no man is an island, he's no excavated Pompeiian artifact in dire need of a glue gun either. We might be social animals, but it is a conditioned affliction to believe we are not whole until we find our "better half" -- a statistically futile pursuit. It's a paradox: we search for that perfect symbiotic relationship only to realize, too late, that the source of our growth has become a source of dependance.

So let's just be friends. It's all I can hope to offer.

***

Just got Fannypack's most recent release, See You Next Tuesday. A trio of Brooklynites who sound like an urban M.I.A. with infectiously danceable beats. In indie rock news, Get Set Go are okay, listenable, nothing too special. "Abraham Lincoln smoked crack on the downlow." Typical absurdist lyrics. Another recent album I got was Mercedes Sosa. Beautiful Latin voice. She's 70-years-old and has been tackling an illness, but her voice still doesn't sound fragile nor contains the unintentional frigidity found in the music of her cross-over pop successors.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Ivy - In The Clear (catchy as HELL, the good kind).
Feist - Let It Die (sang for Kings of Convenience, a member of Broken Social Scene).
Roisin Murphy - Ruby Blue
Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (it's one-part clown rock, one-part get up and dance).
Pink Martini - Hang On Little Tomato (but if you enjoy covers: Sympathique)

I didn't think I'd enjoy James Blunt because he reminds me too much of a corny artist featured in a Top 10 sappy playlist. But fuck it, he does saccharinity well (odd, considering his intense military background). And for anyone who just wants a relaxant, there's Coralie Clemente. It's French chanson with bossa nova and other jazz-derived influences. There's also PSAPP, Nouvelle Vague, Edan (old-school remixes which explains an appearance by LL Cool J), Isolee (electronic, but accessibly experimental), and lest I forget, Antony and the Johnsons. The lead singer is a fat goth who sings like no one I've heard. He warbles like a swallow and does it so beautifully, floating between a falsetto and a baritone within a bar and octave. He's like Dr. Frankenstein: sewing feminine and masculine elements together as if it's the most natural thing to do. And frankly, he does a damn convincing job. I have so much more music I want to introduce. Anyway, Math Judas has a habit of asking me for recommendations and as a friend, I feel like this is the only way to relieve him of his Iron Maiden monstrosity, save duress. (You know you do, don't deny it!)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Amaretto

Great party last night (this morning?). A lot of positive people. Intimate and fun, I'm glad I went. So ... what next? Well, it seems I'll be home for the holidays, saving my mother a whole lot of moolah. In which case, I'm going for it. That's right, the whole nine yards, kit and caboodle: I'm going to get a PERM. Not just any perm, but one that screams, "SHAZAM, girl! You too much!"

THE GOAL:

THE MORE LIKELY RESULT:


***

HaiPhia and I waited a good hour and a half (if not more) at a Caribbean restaurant for a cavity-inducing mango chicken and an (oh-so savoury) roti to arrive. Needless to say, I (barely) tipped. We were both pissed, looking over at our waiter 5, 10 times. After she lost the argument as to who should confront him and he came over to apologize, we sweetly asked for something free (don't mess with immigrants!) and he threw in a plate of plantains. Pfft, I would've offered him a month's rent, but why fiddle with the details?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Haircut!

Heading to Funky Toque for a haircut tomorrow (today?). It's going to be one-part Hitchcock beehive, two-parts mod, and a handsome dash of Clara Bow. Gothic and doll-like, I want to straddle a new look that projects a certain je ne sais ... where she bought her mascara from. It's mussy sex hair, it's just got dumped hair, it's eating two pints of Ben & Jerry's custom-blended tubs of instant-nirvana hair. Or perhaps, more accurately: it's the actually moving on from the painful memories of that torrid affair and taking responsibility for the cycle of ecstasy and loss that constantly appears and reappears as a reminder to deal with my shit before it gets out of control hair. My friends have really helped me through this absurd ordeal. They've been quite frank in telling me what they feel I need to hear, but are good-humoured enough to ridicule my self-bred neurosis when appropriate. I have since seen him twice by chance, and twice, I did not hesitate to emote sparingly. All smiles, he was. All How are yous? and How've you beens? as if strong-arming me to let go of his ne'er-forgotten deeds with the sheer will of his charm is a legitimate substitute for remorse.

No. I like it here just fine. A balanced core, the freedom of neutrality. I grieve, not passively anymore, but proactively -- unburdening my pride with affirmations of my (now warranted) suspicions and reminding myself that compared to the conquests of his past, I have survived undeniably unscathed and intact.

We hate those who mirror ourselves. I tried to fix him to atone for my past. To recognize faults is an attempt to walk away from our own. Point the finger and lay the blame.

So upon reflection and growing detachment, it became clear to me that I had to divorce the concept of "loneliness" with the act of being "alone." It was a Catch-22: Being with him, I was never allowed to carelessly express myself. Away from him, I was stuck with what I had become -- vulnerable to criticism, sensitive to a fault. So for the last few weeks, I've been explaining to each of my closest girlfriends why I haven't been calling and reassured them that, no, I am no longer mourning, and that yes, I am fine -- terrific, in fact. They've been infinitely patient and have respected my temporary, if rather drastic, boundaries.

Huge party tomorrow! WOOHOO!

***

I just put the finishing touches to my project in my publishing workshop class. The assignment asks for a 4-page layout spread for a fake newsletter we are required to create. I chose to christen mine The Narcissist Times. The final page had to be a photo/graphic collage representing the "essence" of our idea. Mine is designed to look like an FBI Most Wanted 9-piece grid. B&W photos of Pinochet, Amin, Kissinger, Mussolini, Tojo, Duvalier, Noriega, Milosevic were placed around the center, Whoopi-warmed, square which is reserved for none other than the fabulously dickless Mr. Geraldo Rivera (with the word "APPROVED" stamped across his forehead in big, bold, juicy, red letters).

My original plan was to use a picture of a sonogram that had the caption: "The unborn child of Tom and Katie Cruise: a crazy war criminal in the making!"

But that didn't show as much promise as using the Fox News reporter -- and part-time moustache model -- for the target of ridicule.

I will try to find a way to upload my project on to my blog by tomorrow.

***

The drunk girls are at it again outside my door. Vulgarity is a matter of degrees. I mean, how might you interpret violent outbursts punctuated by declarations of affection?

"Open this fucking door!" garbled the more inebriated of the two. "I want to tell her that I love her! She's such a fucking good friend!"

The door opened followed by an immediate warning hush.

"Shhhh, not so loud," my neighbour whispered.

"Fuck you! I love her, man! I looo~ve her ... Let me in! Don't touch me, let me in!"

The ensuing racket of shoulders, walls, bobbing heads and elevator doors quickly dissipated. So the dance continued ... out in the parking lot.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tidal

I'm really dreading the release of "Memoirs of a Geisha" this December. Everytime anything remotely "Oriental" rears its head in a mainstream blockbuster, I get hit with the disorienting aftershocks.

I was called Mulan for three years until it was unceremoniously replaced with Anne Frank in high school (long story short: I confessed I occasionally dreampt the Nazis were after me and suddenly, I was known as "that girl who thinks she's Jewish").

I already get approached by grown men in their forties asking me whether I'm "Chinese or Japanese," so I'm willing to bet the next time I hear that, it'll unquestionably follow-up with, " ... and what are your rates?"

Nigga, please [cereal]! If you can't determine the origins of my eyes now, what difference does it make after you find out? It's just my bloody luck to have a Mandarin father, a Cantonese mother, and a grandma who resembles a typical Korean: I end up slipping down the birth canal looking like an Asian parody. I tend to pass for whatever nationality that better suits me on vacation. "Yeah, I can do Japanese. You want Chinese? I got your Chinese right here!" But savvy natives will point out something "off" about me; I'm not completely right for a supposed Chijapthaiporenese. I don't mind being objectified as a walking eugenics lesson, so long as I get to be treated as an inconspicuous localite. It's when the projected image of me is that of a high-class escort that peeves me off. Though I don't necessarily mind being compared to a hooker (money is money, right?), it's the ultra-feminine behaviour that is expected of me that knocks my rocker. I mean, it's one thing to think every giggling sailor-suited schoolgirl sells her panties on the Internet before given the finger by more businessmen than candles on her cupcake. It's another thing all together to make an overture to me and actually expect my quivering body to swoon over these lame-ass proposals (capped off with the ever-attractive, "I want to see you again. Be here tomorrow. You must promise me!"). Isn't there a rational voice located somewhere along the Head-to-Head highway?

It's not like I expect every white guy to be the size of Ron Jeremy (because compared to Chinese troops, they all are. Zing!). Seriously though, I'd at least deviate three or four variations from the same theme at one time. But when it comes to the enigmatic Asian woman, we're apparently all waiting to be kept, fucked, and fed.

How do you say, ah yes, bullshit.

For her highness, the Organic Princess (a.k.a. 6' Amazon)

I thought of warning you about him. You liked him from the start. I was in your way, I know. But I didn't give a fart.

I thought of warning you about him. But your ignorance was a guise. You liked him from the start, I know. Itching to pounce and lie.

And now you play your silly role, a caterer to his whims. Self-righteous and dispossessed, "It's girlfriend," you huff like sin.

It's a pity that you're so boring, egregious in an opprobrious way. You're now in the spotlight, the world's a stage, while he maintains relations with a familiar maid.

Your convenience satisfies him, he has no heart but yours. It's a shame that you deplore me, when he's the consummate whore.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Virginia

Intensity Boy. Mmm ... can't get enough of his sexy side-glances. Oh boy, you can keep laughing at my jokes and monopolize my break, I ain't complainin'.

He better ask me for my number soon or I might just, uh, go surf the 'net or something. That'll show him. Not that I'm waiting. I've been very happy being alone. My friends have been understanding; they've respected my willful solitude. I've been making new acquaintances for the first time since M. Biologique -- he used to actively discourage all my burgeoning friendships. And NorIda told me today that her interview subject for TV class was, miraculously, 6' Amazon! Complete coincidence! She had talked to her roommate on the phone and who should open the door, but the Bob-Barker-ignorant farmer. It was on dumpster diving. Or, what I call, rich kids feigning chicpoverishment. That's where she gets her food from when, I suppose, organic health stores are scarce. So I feel good knowing M. Biologique is being taken care of ... from cash to trash to the (unenviable) table.

***

I remember being in a darkened theatre, hand clutching the guardrail as I hopped down the narrow staircase. My mother and I had been watching Chow Yun Fat on the big screen, his oversized face lining the hallway like dusty street lights at dawn. She and I used to attend movie screenings at the library across the street from old Chinatown. Miniature columns framed the ornamental doorway. An asylum -- or was it the city jail? -- confidently stood nearby. I don't know what provoked this memory. I've forgotten all about it. She'd take me with her; I'd run ahead. The grass, so green; there was enough to hide behind. I remember one particular time, the first of many, when she cried. Uncontrollably. A steady flow of grief. The young boy was found dead from malnourishment. His impoverished family unable to pay for funeral arrangements. Mud-caked body caressed by beasts, he had worked himself to death. She lived it. She related. I was four. Maybe, five. I didn't know it then, but seeing her like that, a fissure made its way to the surface of my heart and never left. I perceived her to be weak; her visible display of emotion, confusing. But I still remember the soundtrack -- I sing it absent-mindedly. About a mother's unconditional love: infinitely irrational, yet perfectly profound.

Despite all that, here I am, 15 years later unable to hold back the waterworks whenever I allow myself to be the fairer sex. I never meant to alienate her, demeaning her good intentions, belittling her, soaking up her resources. Her quiet confidence made me ill, I was bent on being mediocre.

I found out yesterday that "Three ... Extremes" will start playing next week. Three, forty-minute horror films in Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin and Cantonese. My mom's Cantonese, too. A reminder of my mortal coil. Asian cinema help me reinforce my emotional connection with her. Enter Wong Kar Wai's "Fallen Angels" and "Chungking Express". Appetizers, mere appetizers.

Monday, November 28, 2005

F9

Doing tai chi with David Carradine ...

***

Press accreditation? I have to actually work for a media organization to attend the UNFCCC talks? Or for that matter, be employed, period? It's times like these that I regret losing my press pass to a metro thief, but not even that could've got me in because the evaluation deadline was November 2nd and I didn't hear about this until the BBC mentioned it yesterday.

When I was an intern at the Spectator, I used to get PR notices all the time. Garbage days and funeral arrangements, I thought they came without asking. Now that I'm a rusty bum and too unmotivated to take any sort of initiative, I get updates sparingly and, even then, react without concern. "Wake up early? I think I'll pass." (If it doesn't fit, you must acquit.) Conventions: attendance isn't so much boring as covering it is. Potent Quotables isn't a Jeopardy category for nought: they're rare and hard to come by. Besides, deciphering jargon is fun to do only after the entire event is sufficiently recorded, and by that time, you're too exhausted to be witty anyway, churning out as much wry observations as breast milk from a man. I don't know what's worse: Thinking the world inane or thinking the world impressive. Neither one makes me want to be an active part of it.

I'd like to be Larry King. You know, wear suspenders to hold up my increasingly droopy scrotum, have a harem of ex-wives, and get paid to wear goggles as I feign affection for Hulk Hogan's doorag. Talk for a living. Talk and stare. Talk, stare, and act interested in the latest Hollywood pre-teen orgy. (Lowe & Polanski: The Wonder Years!) I think it would be fun to host a cable show. Maybe innocently install a camera underneath my desk to broadcast what me legs are doing to shamelessly rack up ratings. (Oh, Katie Couric, you widowed whore. Affectionately.) Who wouldn't tune in for hourly updates on the state of my winter-chapped-legs and their generally pasty appearance? This is Nielsens gold, I tell ya! Gold!

I'd still like to be a journalist though. But one of those lazy ones, like Karl Marx, who probably only corresponded with head office when he needed money to support his side hobby, inspiring proletariat uprisings. Or Ernest Hemingway: type a few columns a day, sit by the sea, grow a beard and stare at a shotgun. Or be like one of those stubborn, "I'll editorialize if I want to!" guys: violate virgins, smoke the contents of a trunk, make threadbare fashion statements, weekend bingers on bangers, emergency sex with refugees, then report back to the boss on time to be given another extension.

I carry the torch of this legacy. I hold it high.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Yay for take-home exams!

My film teacher asked us to write an interpretive essay on Francois Truffaut's "Tirez sur le pianiste" (Eng. title: "Shoot the Piano Player") by the first week of January. I'm all too glad to be doing it. Immediately, I went and got "Jules et Jim" to better acquaint myself with French New Wave cinema (next week's screening, I believe, will be Jacques Tati's "Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot"). So far, so good. These movies feel indiscreetly modern, you can feel the seismic shift in celluloid sensibilities. The kinesis, the adaptibility, the visual puns: the movies feel right if only for their artistic accessibility.

Now about the language spoken in the movie. What is it about that frustrating Parisian patter that drives me nuts? I couldn't make out basic salutations during the film! Mush, everything was mush! (Somewhere out there, Fat Albert's Hey, Hey, Hey-ing in his junkyard grave.) And worse, I can't understand Quebecer French either! It's all quack quack here, and yak yak there, here a fromage, there a dommage, everything sounds crap crap. My ear is perma-tuned to only two frequencies: Euro-version and broken immigrant. There's just no room for anything else.

***

Came back from watching "Paradise Lost". I don't know if there can ever be a fair portrayal of would-be Palestinian suicide bombers, but this was damn close (not that I'd know, of course). The conscientious treatment was commendable considering the controversial subject matter. It was critical without being preachy; sympathetic, not pitying. The chugga-chugga current of tension held strong until the end, which, depending on your perspective, was both highly climatic and anticlimatic. It wasn't ambiguous, but from an aesthetic standpoint, it sort of ... was. I don't know! But I do!

Movie. Good. Go see.

***

"And you are?"

He shot me a "Don't do this to me, you know me and you know it" look.

Repartee over, hand shaken and stirred, this candied yam glanced over at his grinning friend before turning back his attention to me as I walked away.

"I'm Stephano," he called out.

I stopped mid-stride: "Of course you are. [beat] You're infamous."

Stephano. Ha! It's S-T-E-V-E. You're French-Canadian, maple syrup veins. Get over it: Everyone knows about your flagrant non sequitur.

But it damn sure don't undermine them cheekbones. Ryan-Phillipe-naked say what?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I hate French

I have to memorize a 5-minute speech on something -- anything -- francais. I chose to do the Cannes Film Festival. It begins:

Le Festival de Cannes est le festival le plus prestigieux du monde. Le premier Festival International du Film a commence le premier septembre 1939. Le mois a ete choisi par les officiers de la ville parce qu'ils avaient realise que c'etait un evenement qu'ils pourraient utiliser pour prolonger la saison touristique de deux semaines. Mais le festival a survecu seulement pour un soir. Il a ete annuler quand la France s'est alliee a l'Angleterre pour declarer la guerre a l'Allemagne.

It ends, not-so-shockingly:

La reputation du festival grandit chaque annee! *Correction: Le festival est le plus celebre maintenant et c'est un des evenements les plus importantes en France, culturellement and economiquement.

One word: Bland.

The last time I had to memorize anything was when I adopted a cockney accent (every third period for a semester) and proceeded to play Balthazar and lazy servant number 2 in Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet". (Oh, versatile poncho, you go from rider to friar with a whip of your fringe!) Intonation, silent Hs, every mouthful was an act of brutal physics. But now, I have to deal with intonation, vibrating Rs, and unpredictable spraying saliva, an act of a sardonic God.

***

I'm suspecting my neighbour is developing a "thing" for me. Too helpful, too nice, too accomodating, too much. I hung out with him until 5 a.m. last night and he drilled me for answers about the state of my love life. Not drilled, insinuated -- listing real and imagined suitors for me to react to. Men are as subtle as anvils; women, as treacherous. "No," I replied. "I'm going to keep to myself for the time being, stay away from the opposite sex for awhile." Then warned ominously: "I don't like to lead men on. Once I find out someone likes me, he'll never see me again. Why bother trying to be something we're not?"

He nodded, ponderously. I hope he got the hint.

It's not like I want to skip on over there on a constant basis. The neighbour's roommate has a girlfriend who looks noticeably agitated whenever I come around. The other day, I asked her boyfriend if he had change for a five-note so I could do my laundry. She snapped at me to go get it from the convenience store downstairs. Though he returned a moment later, happily handing me a few loonies, I couldn't shake off the notion that his disgruntled old lady was trying to brand me through the wall, Kal-El style.

So this is how it feels to be on the other end of a woman's wrath: It really sucks.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Should I be worried?

Okay, I'm returning the dress tomorrow -- I got bored of my reflection.

***

How would you describe your chocolate soy beverage?

"It doesn't taste like milk. More like liquid dark chocolate squeezed from the teat of a bean."

What the fuck ...?

"Yeah, I don't quite get it myself."

***

My therapist's name is Lazarus. No last name. Just "Lazarus." In the same vein as Cher, Jesus, and Wendy's. I've been assigned a clinical psychologist who shares the same monicker as a resurrected dead man from the New Testament. I got Herr Doktor: Dawn of the Dead. An honoured guest at a Boris Karloff charity event. Mister Off-Duty Pulse.

He's also Greek.

"You know psychology is a load of fluff, right?" Readerdroid said through the phone. "I've worked at a psych lab, I've studied psychology, nothing about it is concrete."

Dr. Phil is a load of fluff, but he still maintains his highfalutin lifestyle making grown women cry on national television. ("I have feelings! I am worthy of love! I will beat this chair until the show's producers ask me to stop and cue the emotionally manipulative music!" It's fluff with retroactive substance!) Besides, the service is free and I want to get my tuition's worth. And, in all honesty, I'd like to tell someone details about my life exposed for a purpose beyond satisfying voyeuristic curiosity and garnering pity (because underneath, we've all been suicide bombers seeking martyrdom). I want to reveal parts of myself substantiated by progress, not validation. And being 19, I'm not so self-assured and bull-headed to refuse help. I mean, I don't want to be pushing 50 and continue making sisyphusian mistakes, then expect to be taken care of as if I was still contributing to society.

Superficiality is a stubborn stain. I don't want to be known as "that" girl.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Temptation

*UPDATE*
I live on the 6th floor. My next-door neighbour ran down from a shindig held on the 19th to see me in the dress with his own eyes. Yes, it is that captivatingly hot, practically sacriligious. Please don't make me bring it back! Breathing is overrated!

***

I know I shouldn't have. I barely had enough money, but it was just too gorgeous to pass up. I promise to return it, I will. Just not yet.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com


I look better than great in it. I'm, dare I say, alarmingly fetching. Tastier than a sausage casing and hotter than microwaved butter. It's that one closet staple that exists in every woman's wardrobe that validates her sexiness even after six neverending pasta plates from the Olive Garden and 2-litres of Red Bull. The 20 day refund policy stands. In the meantime, I'm going to have some fun with it, tucked-in tag and all.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Idleness hatches chaos

Suddenly, being a "cool mom" doesn't look too good no mo'.

***

My life is so boooo-ring, yet anxiety-ridden. I'm going to take advantage of the free counselling service provided by my university and spill my heart out to a shrink. Mind numbing pills, damnit. I'm not even an aspirin taker, but Priscilla Beaulieu Presley! I want something with an active ingredient illegal in 43 countries and pending in another 8.

The causes have been identified; the solutions, spelled out -- I've dissected myself to fois gras and still I smell of gasoline ripe for ignition (mmm ... fumigated fried liver). It's hard to take steps in changing when every path leads to another paradoxical personality roadblock. Professional upper, secret downer, I'm not lamenting for myself, merely perplexed with the situation. It's like this: You see an exit and walk towards it, but realize it only accommodates people with floating torsos and shrunken heads, 401k plans and minivans. So I wholly intend on taking everyone's advice (because everyone seems to know what to do) but I'm hindering -- no, make that sabotaging -- my own progress because being "fixed" relies on getting over a fear I'm not yet ready to confront (nor give up, to be honest).

My parents are encouraging me to play the field. "Why you so serious?" they want to know. "You're young. Have fun and fool around!"

But ma~ ... I don't wannnnnnnna ...!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Culture

4, 5? 7? 8? I lost count after getting nauseous for the umpteenth time on experimental film. The entire class was dedicated to torturing my psyche. Flickering colours, superimposed images mixed with industrial, phallic symbolism. I thought an eye surgery montage was a hurricane. "Destroy, destroy, destroy," echoed the soundtrack verbatim. Wheezing wind, squeaky windshield wipers, tears in the time/space continuum. My head nodded from forty winks, the repetition was too artsy for me. Maybe that's why my high school field trip to the Guggenheim Museum was so unmemorable: non-narrative projections scattered the walls, hung in dark rooms, pointless to the masses. (The place looked more promising when it was used as the backdrop to Carrie Bradshaw's flasheratti moment. Oh, Sex and the City, you always make me feel less like a tumbleweed and more like a jellybean.)

Thus, never make a career out of a hobby. School has at once reinvigorated and ruined my interests, yinging and yanging my intrinsic desires until they've become mundane annoyances.

***

Went and saw Deepa Mehta's Water. A gorgeous film set during Gandhi's rise to fame. I don't know what's happened to me, but since moving to Montreal and being exposed to a wider range of movies, I can't stop freakin' crying. I mean, this is me I'm talking about: the chick who laughed at the girls who boo-hooed their way through Titantic as my best friend at the time threw marshmallow-filled sweets at them and snickered at the shape of Rose's boobs. Now, it's like every subtle gesture corresponds to some familial resemblance. Suddenly, shoeless hobos and blind urchins remind me of my parents' struggle in the New World. Defenceless babies no longer fill me with Darwinian dedication, but a tragic desire to shield them from that tank/horse/pimp/fork. These directors are jerking my emotions, damnit! Jerking me around like a maternally-programmed plaything!

***

I want to start my own newspaper. Indeed, that shall be my 10-year plan. Now if only I could find me some people willing to work for free for the first ... 8 or 9 years, that would be sweet. I guess that would mean the content for the first decade would be exclusively focused on hemp products, hairy foreign women, and jigsaw puzzles. "Don't forget the numerous uses for beeswax!" God willing, I doubt that's possible.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Plywood rant

Okay, I did care about the marks; there can never be enough pocket change brownie points.

***

Banana Chic's visit was much appreciated. Unconditionally easy-going, we've lasted longer than Lohan's driving record. Banana Chic came with two of her roommates, Alex and John: two 19-year-olds who couldn't be more different. I got along great with everyone, even if the former tried snookering me with a whole lot of self-aggrandizing malarky and unimpressive proclamations. (The latter was an ardent gentleman and modest mouse who sprung a sketched portrait of me that unintentionally depicted this Asian as a babushka with the face of an Inuit wood carving based on some sea sponge demon: "Oh ... wow, thank you. It's really, um ... You're a decent guy, John, ya know that?") A New Brunswickan on paper only, I gave Alex the benefit of the doubt and naturally believed him when he said he was bilingual because he didn't refute it when I presumed, his companions too polite to confute. Of course, his Jerichoan walls soon fell once we visited the Cinematheque Quebecoise and, after approaching a mounted poem, accused me of "messing [him] up" when I was translating for the rest of the Kazuyo gang (aspiring architects, they love them contemporary design and textiles). Messing him up? He can't differentiate la croix from le crap. Childish and inconsiderate, he handed me garbage instead of throwing it out. Arrogant and passive/aggresive, he tried to get everyone to revolve their plans around him. "So what's the itinerary tomorrow?" I asked. A series of indiscriminate mumbles tried passing for an answer. He spoke for the other two: "I want to visit my uncle. I guess we're leaving after that." My best friend came to Montreal to see me and the boys already wasted over half of the weekend in search of a movie neither she nor I wanted to see (nor Alex, apparently, since he fell asleep during the Iranian documentary and left poor John staring cluelessly at French subtitles). And here he was, too proud to ask for directions and fess up to his shortcomings, rolling his eyes behind the host? Giving me attitude for taking detours from his one-way street sweeps? I calmly informed him that I've revised the plan and hope there would be no objections -- it was imperitive that the next few hours be utilised efficiently.

And it was. Banana Chic and I went to a salsa club where two considerably older Mexican men politely asked us to dance ... then *sigh* went in for the inevitable kill. "You promise to come back, yes? I wait for you next Saturday."

University. It's a term that has many connotations. It carries with it a notion of higher learning, a place for Platonic engagements and intellectual trysts. Nuh uh, Captain Kangaroo. It's high school with more expensive cockfights perpetuated by the same, tired suspects. 20-year-olds are still 20-year-olds, maturity comes only with time. When children play with adult tools, it's easy to fall for the show. It's a sub-culture of dress-up fiends, desperate to understand why grown-ups do the things they do. What is hospitality, we ask, if not a formality to overcome gossip and a cheapskate reputation? What is generosity, we say, if not a lifestyle accessory and social label? Saving graces can't compete when saving face is king.

I am clearly turning into a misanthrope. Daily 4 a.m. wailings for "bacon and eggs!" by wasted undergrads and pounding music played at a deafening Spinal Tap 11 will do that to a person. People are such a pain in the ass. And in this case, I'm trapped because these neighbours of mine tell me that being loud is how they get me to come over (even if it's to pound on their goddamn door). I'm a clown because I have to be; I'm a loner because I want to be. Aren't I justified in being a punishing tease?

It's so sad that the deepest thing guys want to get into is connected to my uterus and continually closed for seasonal maintenance.

Friday, November 11, 2005

"I don't care about the marks. I just want to apologize."

I approached my tres, tres, tres gentille French teacher to say this:

"Je veut te donner un explication pour ma conduite ces semaines passe."

Mais pourquoi?

"Parce que je connais je n'ai pas complete mes devoirs sur l'ordinateur. J'ai perdu mon portefeuille et, mon petit ami et moi, nous avons detache ... Donc, je veut te donner un excuse. I haven't been myself. Desole."

Her reaction? One of unrivaled sympathy and understanding. I do regret saying "mon petit ami" only because he was never that, but I didn't know the word for "friends with benefits that only benefited him." Merde!

Token Post

The only thing that keeps me from compulsively editing the latest entry is by writing a new one. But since I can't think of anything to say at four in the morning, I will make do with this rubber stopper.

***

My Morning Jacket. I listen to Z on repeat, over and over and over again, driven to pleasure, like an overeater at a buffet line.

It was the right decision to downplay the Lynyrd Skynyrd references and up the ante with more Pink Floyd-meets-Radiohead influences, yet emerging with something distinctly their own.

2005 has been a great year for indie rock. The sounds have ranged from mildly interesting to prodigiously complex. Truly great music.

***

Film Aesthetics has offered me the chance to explore the classics seriously. Welles, Murnau, Eisenstein, von Sternberg. I love it. I fucking love it. (The class, not Russian revolutionary propaganda.) But now. Now there's Keaton. The first movie I saw by him was The General and let me say, anyone who prefers him to Chaplin is a man after my own heart. I don't want to fan the flames of this country mouse/city mouse debate, but Keaton wins. Va chier, Chaplinites!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Weeklong Hiatus: Here's a long one

I haven't written in a week. It's not my fault, really. Cops are always sprinkling crack on me. I can't keep them away. And I know it's 'cause I's a chink.

That, and school has been extremely demanding ... for someone who tends to procrastinate until the 11th hour (in which case, it becomes a race to brush up on one's oral skills. Zing!).

CatCouver invited me to see Stephen Lewis's lecture on the AIDS affliction in Africa. A fabulous orator, he was passionate, patient, and effectually moving. After about an hour or so, he opened the Q&A period and welcomed questions. Third in line for the microphone, I practiced what I was going to say for a few minutes behind a lumberjack hipster (who's so post-modern, he's present), simplifying syntax and reminding myself it would be imprudent to bring up Naomi Klein (a.k.a. his daughter-in-law) in any context.

Okay, you.

I staggered back a little and in my worst Phil Hartman-as-Troy McClure voice, I said:

"Hi, my name is Lily. But you-can-call-me-a-fan."*

An eruption of laughter broke out in the auditorium and died a slow death. I tipped my head down and produced a self-congratulatory grin. Sweet, I nailed it.

The presentation over, CatCouver and I decided to hang out some more and headed towards the doors when ... the Boy approached me. You remember the Boy, don't you? Mr. 4-Inches-Erect? The Devirginator? The guy whom I've successfully avoided for over 6 months? The reportedly elusive communications program heartthrob? The son of a bank executive who once dealt drugs if only to say he dealt drugs to obtain street cred? You know, the kid who insinuated that -- did I hear right?-- I'm still on his mind? (He's nearly 25. It's not like I took the dude's daisies; he took mine.) Sorry, but I just don't go for people who go for me. Fear of intimacy or something.

Boy, Cat. Cat, Boy. Great question. You were so funny. I love your hair. Thanks, I'll see you around.

Not two seconds later, I am stopped on the street by four strangers -- cute boys. "But you can call me a fan!" they yelled in unison. "You were so funny." I asked them for their names. Jim, Dan, homo, girl.

Taken hostage by my rowdy neighbours to join them at the student union bar, I am stopped once more by another group of men huddled out on the terrace: "You can call me a fan!" (I recognized one of them as being Steve, that hot polisci prick who infamously introduces himself as Stephano to appear more Italian. When we met last year, this europhile treated me like an invalid because he said the only culture that exists in Canada is in Montreal, to which I countered that even a lack of culture is a fundamental type of culture. Yet, months later, after catching sight of me as an award recipient at the university bursary function, he apparenty changed his mind and was now pro Operation: Pants Off.)

Two hours, and I've already created a catchphrase for the mentally impaired. Hooray! I'm the smartest thing since Gold Bond and sneakers.

Rising up from my seat to take a leak, I walked past the glass doors and hear: "You can call me a fan!" I looked back and it was another political science nut I met at one of those poo-poo wine and cheese parties where beer's always the only thing served. "It sounds exactly like something you would say, Lily! I told the guys around me that you were the funniest girl I know." He went on and on to wax poetic on the merits of my humour.

"Thanks, but I gotta go pee."

It's flattering to be noticed sometimes. But I'm still convinced that that auditorium is cursed. It never ceases to give me trouble. First it was the David Suzuki boobtastrophe, then ... Okay, it's only given me grief twice. Twice too many.

*The question I followed with was: Besides government and NGOs, what is the next most influential entity/industry/social group capable of providing aid and willing to do so? Lewis replied, quite extensively and eloquently, that advocacy is unquestionably the third estate.

***

Lily. Member of CatCouver's hall of fame for the most ridiculous analogies. Quote: "I love my lime-coloured umbrella. I splurged and paid 70 dollars for it at Ogilvy, but it's so worth it. It pops right open and slides into place. Nice and wide. Tight like a virgin's pussy."

***

Bullrider's flying in from Calgary to see me tomorrow. Banana Chic, Sexy Ogre, two male architecture students I'm sure a stone's throw away from g-a-y, are arriving the next day. A coincidence? Or a sitcom concept worth sending to CBS for? (Beats How I Met Your Two and a Half Guatamalan Brother.)

Actually, the only thing these two visits have in common is their failure to give me sufficient warning.

***

Considering no one reads to the end of my super long entries, it's a good place to mention that M. Biologique and I reconciled last Friday when we went to see Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit together. Oh, boo, yourself. Keeping him around guarantees a little spice when all is somber.

Besides, his company has become one of many lately. Pav unexpectedly asked me for my digits today. Weird, considering I've bumped into him this semester once? Twice? Thrice to be safe? Where'd he find out about my class schedule? How'd he know it conflicted with his? Where is my bedpan and who has my dentures?

Damn, this new haircut works it better than a trafficked stripper in Turkey.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Sad

The worst part of getting pissed is admitting to yourself it was from half a pint of Limited Edition Bailey's Irish Cream Haagen-Dazs.

I didn't know they'd actually mix in alcohol! Real alcohol! Didn't they think of the children?!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hallowe'en

Forget Louise Brooks, I dressed up as a fantasy Asian stereotype. Vulcan hair, smoky eyes and fake lashes, v. rouged lips and my sister's pink cheongsam with thigh-high black stockings (held up cleverly with ... *sigh* elastic bands). A Madame Butterfly incarnate sans the tortured affair with an American rake. Uh huh.

I told NorIda's boyfriend that the Great resembled a cross between a middle school talent show and a Suzanne Sommers workout video.

"No charisma," was how NorIda summed up this opening act. "They flew all the way from Australia to do this?"

I agreed. Then the Go! Team appeared.

And it was beautiful.

The driving guitars, the pounding percussions, and the ubiquitous melodica. I was in dance dance heaven, jumping beside a dude rigged out as a tampon (whom NorIda mistook for a light). I told him his costume was so structurally correct, he must be quite familiar with the product.

The problem I have with these shows is the amount of indie kids who are 6'2" plus and think growing out their hair like Fabrizio Moretti is a good idea. Buddy! I can't see over your already enlarged cranium, you think I can scan above your bush? This isn't a Supreme's audition: trim your tree!

And the old geezers who sport shirts that would've fit them in the womb. They mosh like spastic preteens on a slurpy high and grind against women decades their junior. It's harder to watch than Fox News. Oh, you think your graphic tee will be mistaken for tongue-in-cheek vintage chic? No sir, we all know you got that thing when it was brand spankin' new and all the rage in novelty beer marketing. But it's no secret they'd still get some early bird poon by the end of the night because there's always that one dopehead who'll fall for their patchy beard and paint-splattered jeans from Jordache because she never had a dad growing up.

***

Love life is picking up again. Who knew men were such shy creatures? You approach them and suddenly, they're no longer crustaceans with monosyllabic vocabularies. I watched my first episode of Oprah today about -- don't act too surprised -- the labyrinthal mind of men explained. Jay Leno, Brian McKnight, and Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly were the O's panel of oracles. Watching it, I convinced myself of something between the sexes. Maybe Lord Byron was on to something when he wrote in Don Juan:

"Man's love is of man's life a thing apart,
'Tis woman's whole existence; man may range
The court, camp, church, the vessel, and the mart;
Sword, gown, gain, glory, offer in exchange
Pride, fame, ambition, to fill up his heart,
And few there are whom these cannot estrange;
Men have all these resources, we but one,
To love again, and be again undone" (Canto I, stanza 193).

I'm trying to agree with what Byron says without coming across as a Victorian reactionary. In the modern context, I think it unabashedly declares that we, as people grouped in camps of cake and candles, are naturally different and will approach life thus. It (almost) goes without saying that neither gender consciously tries to undermine each other (though by certain individuals, I'm damn sure) and perhaps our intrinsic contrarieties are what make us equals in the realistic, as oppposed to politically correct, sense. To be a product of a social condition is not a mistake so much as a visible example of unquestioned superstitions and maybe, just maybe, unconscious biological urges not yet understood. And when they are fused to the already undemanding division of pop discourse, another social norm is reinforced and relegated to being yet another superficial creation fought over by movement mouthpieces ...

Thanks a lot Oprah. I'll stick to CSI from now on. Mmm ... cadavers.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Sho 'Nuff

Both, I say. I have to unfuck both my computers. B-O-T-H. Is it too much to expect machines to work properly nowadays? Is there a bylaw that states, "Thou shalt not possess fine tuned equipment within a 100 km radius" or did I miss the seminar on preserving consumer goods in the box they came in like a limited edition Hans Solo ceramic figurine?

***

NorIda procrastinated buying the Go! Team tickets so we're going to approach scalpers. Weeee!

***

I officially cannot stand in a forest and adjust my iPod settings without getting hit on by middle-aged men on bicycles with Asian things:

"Excuse me, are you Japanese or Chinese?"

Chinese.

"Are you lost?"

No. I'm from here.

"You need help?"

No. I'm not lost, I was just ...

"Oh, you have a map."

No! I'm from Montreal. I was just changing a song!

"Well, you look great!"

God-fucking-damnit!: "Uh, thank you ..."

And yes, Mr. Hobo-Bling-Biker, I can see that area of the field is wet, but thanks for your concern for my shoes.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Here I go, sermonizing again

The thing with customer service is that the people on the opposite end of the line tend to be most gracious and helpful when you bother to say your pleases and thank-yous. When my first wallet was stolen earlier this year, the MasterCard rep. went out of her job description to comfort me as she typed. I called the immigration offices in Toronto today to replace my citizenship card and was given a quote of $224. Egads! That's, like, one DKNY bag from their autumn/winter line. George, as he called himself, was quick to arrange for an appointment to help me gather all the important pieces of ID in one foul scoop. As of this entry, I am pretty much an illegal alien (without the whole hassle of seeking political asylum and making ends meet while waiting for my child to be pushed off a Tropicana transport truck at the agreed drop-off point). To be a recognized person within the geographic borders of superficial lines is to purely exist on paper because bureaucracy has made us fragments of ink and plastic. To be invisible is to lose proof of your license to benefit from the social contract thought up by Rousseau. It sort of feels like an eerie counterpart to Enlightenment values where the dichotomy lies between the right, at birth, to further individual pursuits through the state and the privilege of being born in a state where individual pursuits are encouraged. In such instances, stupid laminated cards don't seem so stupid anymore; a developed dependency complex for daily survival.

***

7 months until I enter the third decade of my life. Go ... 20s!

***

I don't know if you've noticed (actually, I didn't until HaiPhia brought it up), but I have a bad habit of forming theses under the most mundane conditions. They might not be coherent or even cogent, yet nothing stops me from over-intellectualizing from my keyboard. I'm not sure why I do this, maybe I just like to write, but I find the Hegelian dialectic process is relevant within the private domain as well as the public. I think it's not so much that we should constantly re-evaluate our behavior and the global community that shapes us, but that to challenge the everyday is to remember why we've chosen to live in repetitive motion and whether if that, indeed, suits us.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Careless; Confessional

My wallet was stolen from me on the metro. Stupid, stupid, stupid. NorIda bought me a ticket home. Instead of moping, I snuck into the political science party, saw Swiss Alps and cheered myself up, dancing with strangers pulled from their booths. The live band was funktastic, but them white people were content just tapping their feet, bobbing their heads, smoking that weed, and swigging the bottle. Get up, damnit! This is why privileged hipsters are a pop culture punchline! Swiss Alps introduced me to L, who told me she was on the school shuttle that day I chatted up the bus driver and performed a Seinfeldian exchange. She said she was mighty impressed with my pep and improvisational skills, but I think she was just making conversation. (Although old Greek bachelors with fake Japanese mistresses are crazy funny nonetheless.) L in turn introduced me to, my oh my, Mr. Intensity -- the formerly dreadlocked heartthrob of journalism. He and I know each other from class, we explained. Then he whispered something in her ear as we shared a laugh.

"What did he say about me?" I teased. "Look at him, already running his mouth like he knows me."

"He said you're beautiful. And that you're going to be a famous newscaster."

That's not for me, I dismissed. I'll just be sucking off the boss all day.

*sidenote: We coolly flirted in an unusual noir-manner. Mr. Intensity smokes like a Montrealer. Not surprised, not impressed. I suppose it beats Elmeraler's mock aroma of wino blossoms and musk. And everyone's always trashed. Simply said: Hard men are good to find, but can't stay hard for me. Go crochet that on a pillow.

***

I missed M. Biologique by mere minutes. He was apparently very drunk and spotlight hungry. Swiss Alps said "the group" is behind me (they're like the mafia except gender balanced and susceptible to cheap liquor). "Don't worry, baby. We've discussed it and we all agree he treated you like crap."

Ha! To be worthy of being the topic du moins. I guess this tidbit was supposed to be a comfort to me though the knowledge that they continue to share two-faced pleasantries with this unconscionable creature is ... disenchanting.

Is it wrong to wish the fucker misery and isolation? Narcissists don't suffer half as much as they deserve. Bad childhood? Get over it. Couldn't they take their own lives and return the world to Technicolor? It's like a bad dream I can't shake off. He took advantage of my nature and being, and quite generously exploited every weakness. "It's your fault for staying." I was a stinkin' mess of Stockholm Syndrome: appreciating him for withholding abuse instead of providing kindness. "You must've seen this coming. Why didn't you leave?" My mental state simply can't get any worse. I am in such an over-compensatory mood nowadays that I feel guilty when I'm not crestfallen and beaten. I don't know whether to be crying or kicking myself for letting him get to me. I charm my way through crowds and confidently talk up lustful schmoes, all the while staunchly afraid of being discovered as the less attractive me. I hate him for making me into an impressionable ball of wax: so weak and malleable, resistent to reason. To feel this crippled should be a crime.

Relief was supposed to come from shopping, but my freakin' wallet is gone. Grief, utter grief. I'm no longer even a Canadian citizen anymore. I have no IDs to apply for additional IDs. Country-less, job-less, and lovelorn; I'd be meat-less if I weren't so optimistic.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bird Watch

I have a tearful confession to make. I had a terrible dream about Michael Flatley last night. Yes, ladies and gents, the Lord of the Dance tried to rape me. Well, not exactly rape per se, more like rubbed his ... lower, naked, hairy half against my "coconut" *runs away in tears*. He walked around in tattered T-shirts with no pants on and showed off his mullet like a hockey player in heat. (He had the pretentious air of a ladies' man without the attire to pull it off properly.) When a mutual acquaintance of ours approached us soon after (because the Irish-American toe tapper and I would undoubtedly have common colleagues) and asked him, point blank, if he and I ever had "sexual relations," he guffawed and said (and I quote), "No. We were faking it for show." (Extrapolated meaning, perhaps?)

I was so relieved when those words left his chapped lips. I felt like a '50s schoolgirl with superstitious ideas of pregnancy (where zealous hands and bare legs led to a lifetime of ever after). He then proceeded to push me away, turned his back (still sans pants *shudder*), and drove off in his frou frou Ferrari.

I woke up with an existential aneurysm. Vomit just wouldn't have cut it.

*sidnote: There are some drunk girls outside my apartment faking loud orgasms by the elevators. I suppose I'm not so pathetic after all.

***

I'm going to dress up as Louise Brooks for Hallowe'en. Instead of buying a wig, I cut my hair. I have looked like this for two days:

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I enjoy the attention I'm receiving from portraying a silent movie star. My recent Dietrich-inspired wardrobe helps too.