Sunday, December 29, 2002


Colby's mention of January Playmate Rebecca Ramos (beware of nipple) is rightly critical, but to my mind, not critical enough. Listen to this:

It's a culturally diverse country, so it makes sense to feature different women. You don't have to be a skinny supermodel in your early 20s to be a Playmate.

OK, Rebecca. I'll take you up on that statement and look at your stats:

Height: 5'5"
Weight: 110
Bust: 34DD
Waist: 24
Hips: 34

Apart from a charming height deficiency, what do you see there? I see measurements that, at the age of 24, I will never see again, if indeed I ever had them.

And as for being 35, well. What's Rebecca's ambition? "To pursue a meaningful personal and professional path with passion." A path in what? Alliteration? I can understand that each of us comes to God (or a job) in his or her own way, and that there are many whose careers haven't reached their height or even realized meaningful form yet at the age of 35, but by that age, most people know what they want to be when they grow up.

I don't mind Playboy that much; I really don't. But, and God help me for saying this, the more explicit magazines are generally far more tolerant of the diversity of female beauty - which isn't to say that they're necessarily tolerant, but certainly more so. I can accept a lot of things, but not that Playboy doesn't have "preconceptions" about women and beauty. Don't quit your day job, Hef.

Saturday, December 28, 2002


So my gift to myself, upon completing my studies, was to go see The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Actually, it was a gift from my boyfriend, because he paid my share of the $27.00 it takes to get two people into a theatre these days, and I've forgotten to pay him back.

Mike and I went to see the first Lord of the Rings movie last year, motivated by little more than the ability to be conversant about it at social gatherings. I was completely sucked in by it; he wasn't, so much. But I daresay it was easier for me: I love Ian Holm and Cate Blanchett, and I have the same lovely soft spot for Ian McKellen that I do for Charlie Watts (it's easy to see why!).

I enjoyed The Two Towers less, but I'm not eager to blame that on the film itself. Every time there was a close-up shot of Orlando Bloom looking serious (often), or gallant riders on gallant horses galloping in the green distance (often), Mike would lean over to me and whisper "poncy", but I'm sure there was a good story to be told, and that Peter Jackson told it well. Look back up at the $27.00 figure I mentioned earlier, and then meditate on this: I went to the famous Silver City Theatre in West Edmonton Mall and paid (well, Mike paid) twenty-seven dollars, and by the time this movie was over, I could barely move my neck, it was in so much pain. Let me explain.

This was the first Friday that The Two Towers was onscreen, so naturally the theatres were packed. Mike and I decided to go to one of two shows playing at 11:30 pm and, having bought the tickets in advance, showed up fifteen minutes early. Now, any of you who have been to one of these massive-screen theatres will know how it's laid out: the seats ascend towards the back, and the first quarter of them are ridiculously close to the screen. The patron is not looking remotely straight ahead to see the film, but rather up, particularly if the patron in question (me) is only five feet tall. Of course we had to sit in that quarter, because the theatre was packed, and no one likes those seats.

I would much rather take my $27.00 to South Edmonton Common, a newer theatre that has almost exactly the same layout as Silver City, but its seats recline slightly, so you can position your neck however it's comfortable, and that full quarter of their seats doesn't go wasted by people who are extremely reluctant to sit there. So three cheers for Cineplex Odeon.

I'm determined to see The Two Towers again, and equally determined not to pay Silver City to do it. Ponces.

Friday, December 27, 2002


Regarding the severance of my tongue... I must say that because I was just a babe, I have no memory of injuring my tongue, just family testimony and a series of infinitesimal bumps going across the middle of it, which could just as easily be taste buds. I wasn't even thinking when I told you how it happened, but luckily my mom corrected me, and we're able to set the record straight. I wasn't sitting on a stool, I was sitting on a chair at the kitchen table, and the accident occurred when I tried to crawl up.

I know why I thought it was a stool, though. Of course I have no idea what our home looked like then, except by the clues of photographs, so at some point I assembled it in my head until I had a concrete image of the scene in my mind, and naturally it was entirely fraudulent - but I didn't realize that while I was writing. For some reason I had placed us in the apartment of an old family friend, a place we frequently visited when I was in elementary school. It was there that I used to sit on the stools by the kitchen counter, with my mom, when I was quite big enough to get onto them myself.

When my mom mentioned this, my first instinct was to edit the post rather than posting a correction, but I'm glad that I've had the chance to sort out these assumptions in my head. It's always a strange thing when you remember events in your childhood in a skewed or false way, but of course this isn't something I remember: this is a story I've been told, that at some point past memory I transposed onto a familiar setting, changing the course of things in my mind. This is good news: even if I can't remember it, I can at least be reminded of what really happened.

Monday, December 23, 2002


It's been a few days, and I'm sorry. I'd been spending so much time at the computer that I came to hate the sight of it for a while there.

Besides which I've been reading! Yesterday I finished reading Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by world-traveling author Gregory Maguire, and... well. What a completely wonderful book. I don't suppose that before this book was written, anyone thought about how hard it would be to grow up with green skin, or about the crippling taxes the Oz Regent raised in the construction of the Yellow Brick Road.

He calls the Witch Elphaba, a name taken from the initials of L. Frank Baum, and follows her life from birth to death. Familiar characters pop up throughout: Maguire's Glinda, for example, is a sort of latter-day sorority snob, unwillingly roomed with Elphaba during their college years. Elphaba herself, predictably, is never truly evil or wicked, but neither does she have immediately likeable qualities - ultimately she is frank, loyal and steadfast (not to mention a genius), but next to Glinda's glamorous debutante, Elphaba is a reclusive academic, driven on one hand by her passion for the natural sciences (she breeds the flying monkeys herself), and on the other by a pathological (but well-grounded) fear of water.

What I found most interesting about this book is that in making Elphaba the hero, Maguire didn't find it necessary to vilify Dorothy, either by giving her evil intentions or by simply turning her into a brat. In fact, Dorothy's... I don't know - cameo seems to be the best word - is almost disappointing because it indicates nothing about her character beyond that which was formed by Baum's original story.

Maguire says that the germ of the book was a curiosity about the nature of evil, rather than a specific desire to exonerate the Wicked Witch of the West, but the reader doesn't really learn much about evil other than the age-old axiom - admittedly often ignored - that things aren't always what they seem.

I read Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Maguire's other attempt to turn a classic story on its head, a few months ago. It's equally good, if not better, and I would recommend it to anyone. But I found Wicked to be somewhat more engaging, probably because the Wicked Witch of the West is, on her face (as it were), a more exciting and likely heroine. Maguire opens Wicked with this quotation from War and Peace:

In historical events great men - so called - are but the labels that serve to give a name to an event, and like labels, they have the last possible connection with the event itself. Every action of theirs, that seems to them an act of their own free will, is in an historical sense not free at all, but in bondage to the whole course of previous history, and predestined from all eternity.

And that's all I have to say for the moment. My keeping regular hours has been somewhat bad for this weblog, because I tended before to write my entries in a fog of sleeplessness, and I haven't experienced the coupling of wanting to sleep with not being able to for several days now. But don't worry: I'll always be back.

Monday, December 16, 2002


I was going to write "I'm angry at the feminists again," but then I realized that I don't want to vilify feminism in its entirety as a movement or a culture, far from it. Right now it's just the ones who dabble in gender theory on an academic level who are annoying me.

Do you believe - and really, I want answers on this - that performing fellatio is an act of total submission? That someone (for the sake of this writing, a woman) is giving up herself to perform this act? Because reading "Postmodern Misogyny in Blue Velvet," I learned from Jane M. Shattuc (sorry - I can't find any useful links) that to fellate someone is to surrender all control and personal identity.

On a practical level: sure, ostensibly the woman is expending time and energy to provide pleasure for a man (the theory omits any pleasure the woman herself might derive from the act), but think for five seconds and you'll realize how vulnerable he is made by this event: a man would either have to trust a woman completely or be quite stupid to put himself in such a position. Not to mention that fellatio is far less potentially perilous for women than intercourse: this is perhaps the most effective occasion for a woman to use her teeth in the event of any danger.

I find it mystifying that the same group of people who are shouting that women deserve orgasms too (a stance I naturally agree with) would seemingly take that to the extreme of denying men sexual pleasure entirely. Who is served by only one person were having a good time? I know, I know, I know that for centuries it was considered sane and appropriate that women not enjoy sex or have orgasms, but does the pendulum have to swing all the way? I mean, why denounce fellatio while simultaneously demanding the reciprocal act?

This seems to be the kind of proverbial hairball coughed up from the feminism of the 1970s (even though Shattuc's piece was written in 1992), which isn't to suggest that those ideas weren't valuable, but that matters have evolved: the work isn't finished, certainly, but women shouldn't have to segregate themselves entirely from men in order to have identities, or want to make them suffer, any longer. In Kiss My Tiara: How to Rule the World As A Smartmouth Goddess, Susan Jane Gilman writes:

I'm not knocking the women's movement of the past years. I'm a huge advocate and beneficiary of choice, workplace-protection laws, and domestic violence legislation. But I also realize that feminism seventies-style is just about the only trend from the disco era that young women today have not rushed to resurrect. Rhetoric about "reconfiguring the phallocentric modalities of the patriarchy," just turns us into zombies.

Like Gilman, I don't know how to approach this subject without being perceived as ungrateful for the work that feminism has done. I am consistently aware of my vote, my work, and the fact that I have personally elected to not learn how to cook (...many things, anyway). In my circle of friends, my boyfriend is known as an "honorary girl," which is the highest of high praise from both sides of the fence: women perceive that he understands them, and men are jealous of him because he understands them.

So I ask you: now that he's an honorary girl, can I make an informed decision to engage in whatever sexual acts I please with him without somehow losing my empowerment?

Friday, December 13, 2002


Timothy Findley's description of God:

"Apparently the carriage had been closed for many hours and Yaweh, perhaps, had been sleeping - even dreaming. Certainly, He seemed to be confused.The footmen waited patiently to help him down.

"Yaweh drew a small tin box from somewhere in His robe and opened it. His fingers were not as long as Emma thought they might have been, though part of the reason for this was plainly arthritis. The knuckles were huge and the fingers curled in unnatural shapes. Something was lifted from the box - placed against His lips and drawn into His mouth. God sucks lozenges! thought Emma, astonished. Just like Doctor Noyes!

"The box was replaced in its pocket and Yaweh put out first one and then the other of His broken, twisted hands towards the footmen. His robe could now be seen by the light of day and it was black with dark blue facings and, deep inside, where its linings could be seen in the sleeves, it was red. His beard flowed all the way to His waist and though it was white, there were yellow streaks and bits of food and knotted tats. His eyes were narrowed against the light and their rims were pink and watery - sore looking, and tender. His lips could not be seen, though where they were was marked by sweeping moustaches growing along the upper lip. His nose was like a bone and strongly hooked and it set Yaweh's eyes very wide apart beneath a broad, high brow that, together with His nose and the general shape of his head, made Him almost unbearably beautiful."

From Not Wanted on the Voyage.

More soon.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002


Thank you Colby for mentioning me, or rather a part of me in your weblog.

I got a lot of teasing in elementary school when my peers found out that I'd sliced off my tongue. For the record: yes, one can have stitches in one's tongue. Here's the story:

When I was two years old, I was standing on a bar stool next to the counter in my family kitchen. I lost my footing and fell, and my chin smashed against the counter. My tongue, of course, was caught between my teeth and sliced off. There was a lot of blood. Thank God for doctors!

It's now back on, in perfect health, and indeed, I've gotten comments on its length: I can touch my nose and the bottom of my chin with it. But sorry, guys: I already have a boyfriend.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002


 For the first time in a few months, I picked up Entertainment Weekly this morning - it figures, since I was supposed to be reading about India's economic development. But that's by the wayside.

Sadly, the magazine tells me that the incomporable Elvis Costello has split from his lovely wife Cait O'Riorden, former bassist for the Pogues. I think I might have actually felt unnaturally sad at this news, and why? I've been an Elvis fan for years, but this doesn't mean he's retiring. I suppose I just feel a little pull whenever anything bad happens to someone who's been affiliated with a band once known as the Nipple Erectors.

I see also that The West Wing is listed among "What Blew" in EW's ratings review for NBC. Trying to explain the ratings slip among 18-49ers, NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker said, "Clearly the young women were taken away by 'The Bachelor'."


You know, I saw that show once. My God is all I have to say. I watch The West Wing, and if there really is a contingent of female viewers who watch both shows, they must watch WW solely to drool over the forgettable Rob Lowe - with the sound off. Anyway, no harm, no foul, because Lowe will soon be replaced by Joshua Malina, the kind of man I really drool over.

Monday, December 9, 2002


Oh, sweet triumph. I've managed to add links.

A couple of explanations: first, most of these pages are the ones I visit most often, and by-and-large they're entertainment-based rather than news or respectable-smart-person-based. Second, a link to a New Mexico newspaper might seem a bit esoteric for an Edmonton weblog, but Michael Kelly, my beloved father, is its Assistant City Editor, so I frequent it rather, well, frequently. You should too! Finally, yes, there is more coming.

Thanks to Colby for his patient tutorials.



(Blogger seems to choke quite remarkably on long posts, so here's the rest...)

Yes, my friend Andy has gotten me through tough times. His stage fright only made me love him more. And I remember distinctly spiralling into an impotent rage of one variety or another when I was nineteen years old, putting �Dear God� on my Discman and running into my parents� back yard to jump wildly on their trampoline for those four-odd minutes. I felt infinitely better afterwards: I should submit the exercise to a psychology textbook.

He also handed me one of my loveliest inspirations, however insubstantial it may have been, in the form of the song �Wrapped in Grey�. Liltingly, he explains that �your heart is the big box of paints�� Well, for some criminal period of time, I thought he was saying �Your heart is the beat-box of pain.� When I finally picked up the liner notes and saw that I was wrong, I was momentarily filled with disappointment. In a flash, however, I realized that because he hadn�t said it, the line was my own, and swiftly wrote a rather terrible blank-verse poem surrounding it. This is why pencils have erasers, but still.

For your edification and mine, here is an interesting article. Despite Colby Cosh's charge that The Onion has gone stale, it's still good for the occasional laff.



When did I first become an XTC fan? I think it must have been in high school, roundabout the first time I got stoned (no, the pot did not enhance the experience; it simply turned me into a blithering idiot). Someone had made my boyfriend a mixed tape, and two of the songs of note were Dread Zeppelin�s version of �Stairway to Heaven,� and XTC�s �Living Through Another Cuba�. In retrospect I realize that this is a quintessential XTC creation, and was a perfect introduction for me.

I moved on from there. In a spirit of honesty I have to admit that I heard Sarah McLachlan�s cover of �Dear God� and the Crash Test Dummies� �The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead� before I heard the originals, but those were mistakes soon rectified.

Some of my most wonderful experiences were had owing to the genius of Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, not to mention the oft-overlooked Dave Gregory (see Chalkhills for details). I made one of my best friends by quoting

Nigel isn�t outspoken
But he likes to speak
And he loves to be spoken to!

and substituting Nigel�s name for hers. Later, she became my first roommate, in a rundown house for too much rent, and we bounced from wall to wall with Cedar Blush paint while �Senses Working Overtime� bombilated on repeat. My stars, those were the days, when I saw no impropriety at all in strutting around with nothing but cutoffs and a demi-cup bra to hide my shame. This is one life for which one cannot say �Ah, but I was so much older then; I�m younger than that now.� My creaking twenty-four-year-old bones tell me different.

Sunday, December 8, 2002


 I know that it's been two days, and in order to be responsible or semi-responsible I have to post, but for the first time, I don't have anything in particular to say.

I think the lapse is due to the fact that I'm not doing anything: I'm going through a short break in my studies, so the last few days have been spent more or less in my pajamas. In about twenty-four hours it's going to pick up again, making me MISERABLE (this term has been the furthest possible point from "fun").

I've been having a good time since my last assignment wrapped (read all about it below!). I've been watching a lot of All in the Family - what a great show. It immersed me so much that I've actually cried a couple of times - pathetic, I know - and laughed out loud, which is something I don't usually bother with when I'm alone.(do you find that? That cues that would make you laugh in company just make your mind register "That's funny", eliminating the need to laugh when you're alone?). I often find myself double-taking at Rob Reiner, who is one of those people who just looks better fat - he's quite hideous on this show.

Curiously I found myself feeling a sort of back-handed affection for Archie, sometimes wishing that Meathead would just bloody leave him alone. This is probably because he reminded me some of my own maternal grandfather, God rest his soul. He lived in the family home in Kentucky, sitting eternally on his porch swing, and he had to holler everything because he positioned himself right in front of the air conditioner, and between that and the bug zapper hanging from the porch awning, no one could hear him. Poor guy: my mother married a Jewish man and moved to Canada, two very suspicious moves (like Archie, he associated Canada with draft-dodging).

He died, far away from me, when I was eighteen, so I never got to know him very well, but he was always very sweet to me, asking me to sit on his knee and giving me lots of hugs. It was owing to his generosity that I had my first and only run-in with Lucky Charms, for which I'm always grateful. I have no reason to judge him, and truthfully, in many ways I enjoyed him from the same distance that I now enjoy Archie Bunker.

It's just too bad that my grandfather never got his own show!

Thursday, December 5, 2002


 I'd like to thank Kevin Michael Grace for giving me a mention on his site. I had to take a mighty pull on my cigarette before I read it, because I saw my name in big red letters right underneath the headline "Future Pathetic," but it ended up being very sweet, actually.

Now for Elizabeth and Mary.

A few years ago I concluded that most people believe that one cannot admire both Elizabeth and Mary, and I don't really see why. Certainly, they were enemies for what was a very high-profile (but relatively short) period in both of their lives, and their reigns were entirely different. However, as unlikely as it may seem, I have almost unlimited respect for them both.

One only has to take the briefest scan across Mary's life in its entirety to see that forces beyond her control doomed her almost from the beginning. She was the daughter of a woman who made herself the enemy of the Court; her stunted growth made it impossible for her to be strategically married off when she was still young. However, she had much of the cleverness of Catherine of Aragon, as well as the charisma of her father Henry VIII. One can see that immediately by the way she repossessed her throne from Jane Grey and Northumberland's forces, and later, as Queen, crushed the Wyatt rebellion that threatened her rule. She was gifted at inspiring loyalty, this much is clear.

But as Julian Martin, one of Canada's foremost Tudor historians, puts forth, Mary was the foundational catalyst for the English forever associating Catholicism with foreign rule. The combination of having made an unpopular Spanish marriage with attempting to reimpose Catholicism by force in England (Philip II, for the record, considered Mary's methods quite foolhardy) was fatal to her reputation as a monarch. A decent woman, Mary would have made a far better abbess than a Queen.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, was a master at iconography, and held the love of her people for much of her reign. She has been called a philistine who detested change, and there certainly is some truth in that, but her gift was not for creating, but for publicizing. A man in Norwich mockingly called her the "Virgin Queen" in 1578, and she took the epithet and wore it like a badge. Certainly, some of her acts as Queen were questionable, but one must admire a woman in the sixteenth century, named illegitimate from birth, who managed not only to escape death and insignificance, but also to rule a kingdom for nearly half a century and provide it with one of its first senses of true patriotism. Consider what Pope Sixtus V, whose predecessor had excommunicated her, said of her:

She is certainly a great Queen and were she only a Catholic she would be our dearly beloved. Just look how well she governs! She is only a woman, only mistress of half an island, and yet she makes herself feared by Spain, by France, by the Empire, by all.... Our children would have ruled the whole world.

And OF COURSE I saw the Futurama episode about the lost city of Atlanta, Kevin! That was a great episode! Did you really think I could be that clever on my own?

Wednesday, December 4, 2002


I've got "This is the Song That Never Ends" stuck in my head, and it's been there for about two days now. This could be because I watch too much television.

It's that Motrin ad. Do you know it? A mother on a freeway (in what seems to be a sensible Volvo) with her children, who are singing "This is the Song That Never Ends" in the back seat. She looks back and realizes that they've gotten into a bag of chocolate-covered espresso beans, or coffee beans or what-have-you. I forget what the tagline is, but it's something like "Life Demands Lysol".

A couple of years ago I saw a documentary on advertising in the 1960s, and the ad that got me the most was this one: a woman in an apron, holding a vacuum, and flying through the air with an euphoric smile on her face, with the words "MILTOWN: IT MAKES THE HOUSEWORK JUST FLY BY". And it occurs to me today: some things never change.

I mean, what is this Motrin ad really suggesting? A good friend once suggested to me, probably rightly, that headaches are caused principally by dehydration, so what I see is a company telling mothers that they need to IMPAIR themselves to get through their days. I mean, the woman was driving, for Christ's sake.

Now, I know that this kind of talk is unpopular, but I've got a significant beef with the way women are used in advertising in what's supposed to be an enlightened age. The only time I've ever seen a man in an advertisement for a cleaning product is the one for Swiffer, whose pitch is that "it's so easy, even HE'LL do it now", and the Lean Cuisine and Hamburger Helper ads for dinners that put themselves in frying pans, cook themselves, put themselves on plates, and then clean up afterwards.

The obvious rejoinder to this is that the ads are mocking men, that they're too stupid to do housework, but I don't buy it. After a long day at the office, what should we expect men to do?

That's all I'll say for now. I'm going to go back to listening to "Sweetness" by Jimmy Eat World to get "This is the Song That Never Ends" out of my head.

Tuesday, December 3, 2002


I see that Kevin Michael Grace has recently completed a weblog entry on Futurama and The Simpsons, and he more or less mirrors my opinion (stated below): he writes, "When did it finally jump the shark? Could it have been when they killed Maude Flanders for laughs and then had Ned dating again in the same episode."

Truthfully, though, and maybe it's because I'm weak, I still cringe when I think of the Simpsons being taken off the air, even in the face of Futurama having been cancelled. I'll agree that new episodes aren't often anything to get excited about anymore, but... but...

He writes, "That show has been an embarrassment for years: poorly written, grossly sentimental, a showcase for witless guest stars unaware that its cachet was long ago forfeited." The problem with the Simpsons isn't, I don't think, that it's become "grossly sentimental" (although I agree about the rest) - in fact, it seems as though it's lost much of its sentiment. Many inferior shows have copied the template of the Simpsons, but forfeited its moral tenor, its emphasis on family. Case in point: The Family Guy. Ugh.

What the Simpsons is missing - and has been missing since Maude died (I don't particularly miss Maude - it's the way they killed her that gets me. Death by t-shirt? Come on.) - is that certain something that elevates it above shows like the Family Guy. A casual viewer likely would not be able to understand why Homer's family loves him, but watch episodes like "Lisa's Substitute" and "And Maggie Makes Three", and you'll get it. They're not hard to come across. I've dutifully watched about ten episodes of the Family Guy and I've yet to come up with any reason to like Peter Griffin, or any reason, for that matter, that his wife hasn't left him.

But look at episodes like "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation" (featuring a palpable absence of Joe Strummer), and you'll realize that the show no longer has the family unity that was at the core of its greatness before. Homer is once again desperate to be intoxicated; Lisa is embarrassed that her father is a roadie and pulls down her "DAD ROCKS" sign. I liked the episode because it made fun use of the celebrity guests, but I think the Simpsons are likely more sick of each other by far than we are of them.

I go on. All this is by way of saying that while I understand that the show is basically finished, I refuse to let go. And Futurama was too gimmicky to have ever really reached the calibre of the Simpsons - it was a fun show, but far too self-conscious and unsure of itself. I got sick of it pretty quickly, but I still hold out fledgling hope that the Simpsons will have a few more truly great episodes. I mean, who could have seen "Skinner's Sense of Snow" coming from the quagmire of Season Twelve? Anything is possible.

Monday, December 2, 2002


Veterans of the all-nighter will understand me when I say that I can pinpoint the exact physical sensation informing me that I've hit the proverbial wall. It's 5:30 pm and I was notified about three minutes ago.

The feeling is often prompted by a conversation on the telephone, or more frequently, by someone asking you a question. I got both just now. It didn't help that the question was, "Do you think Bunuel's association of Eros with death symbolizes his belief that ultimate fulfillment is impossible?" Sure! I say run with it.

In any case the sensation is this. My head fills with cotton, facilitating a disconnect between my reflexes and the aural and visual clues that surround me. Believe it or not, this comes on all at once. My sensory abilities are thus narrowed to fixating on very specific things: for example, right now all I can hear is the sound of my typing. If someone were to speak to me, I doubt that I would respond. Directly after that, my eyes begin to burn and my knees and ankles begin to ache - or, at least, I notice these irritants for the first time.

Of course, this isn't time to sleep. Even if I weren't otherwise occupied this evening, I wouldn't sleep: I'd sit here playing Big Money with a completely numb brain until my heart rate was down to a dull roar. You see, in my experience, the body works doubly hard when it hasn't slept, because it needs a higher RPM, say, to function when it's exhausted.

So there's no way to win. I've entered the stage in this process when I am genuinely good for nothing: I can't work, I can't have fun, I can't sleep. Which brings me neatly to my final point: describing all of this makes me wonder why I wanted to take the trouble of describing it.

Back to Big Money.


One more very fun fact about Elizabeth before I get back to it: she ascended the throne, aged twenty-five, on November 18, 1558, and died March 24, 1603. Consider: her accession was the predicate of her sister Mary dying on that very same day. And her death forty-four years later prompted the accession of James VI of Scotland, now James I of England, he of King James Bible fame.

But listen: it's not James's accession that they're going to be commemorating in England - it's the death of Gloriana. Even with a Bible on his CV, James doesn't cut it! Similarly, November 18 was celebrated years and years after Elizabeth's death as Accession Day or Crownation Day, so one can deduce that there was no particular ceremony accorded the date of a monarch's death. (Actually, the people during Elizabeth's reign sometimes got confused as to what they were celebrating: Elizabeth's accession or Mary's death, but that's a story for another day - or another hour, the way I'm going.)

So the Virgin Queen achieves monopoly over her birth and her death. The rest of us can only hope for so much.


You'll all be relieved to know that I finally understand what I'm doing with this kinderculture manifesto, and so I elect that this is the perfect time to stop, as they say, for lunch.

This has given me a lovely opportunity to troll about the Interweb for news of my favorite dead (and surpassing, in my esteem, most of the living) person, Elizabeth I, who ruled England in what is retrospectively seen as total triumph from 1558 to 1603. Popular fascination with her - and her infinitely ballsy mother, Anne Boleyn - has barely taken a breath since the 16th century, so there is a wealth of information available about both of them, although most of it should be foreworded with an enormous neon sign reading CAVEAT EMPTOR.

The 1998 film Elizabeth, for example, is a complete disaster. To feel smug and angry at the same time, I once rented it with the express intent of committing to paper every single one of its inaccuracies. Don't get me wrong: I understand that the entire medium often requires quite a bit of fooling about with history (remember how fond I was of the Christmas trees in The Lion in Winter), but this film took history and made it boring, confusing and unnecessarily violent.

In any case, I'm very excited to be venturing out to England on what will be, coincidentally, the 400th anniversary of Elizabeth's death. The nation will be commemorating her year-round, and instead of sitting in Edmonton singing praises to Bruce McCulloch and West Edmonton Mall, I'll be standing in Westminster Abbey

Lunch time. next to the effigy of the woman I love.


I would submit to anyone who regularly stays up all night to finish work that the hours between seven and nine o'clock in the morning are the most depressing minefields of human existence.

The transit buses start up, traffic jams begin, and for me, a steady hum of chatter begins outside my apartment door as people wait for the elevator. In Edmonton, the sun isn't up yet this close to the Solstice, but that doesn't matter: it's the noise that signals the transition. For me, it is not the beginning of a new day: it's the final nail in the proverbial coffin of yesterday. The prospect of staying up all night can be very exciting: it becomes an expanse of timelessness with every potential. Rush hour from within and without crushes such an idea. The night is gone, and suddenly the one who hasn't slept is just someone in pajamas whose work still isn't finished.

During my six-odd years as a student, I figured out that I'm one of those people who can only work at night. Even if I've got the day off, I'll usually wait until about ten in the evening to get down to things: I don't ask why; rather, I'm simply grateful to have at least that level of self-cognition. There are times when the night moves smoothly into daytime, particularly if I'm enjoying my work, and I won't notice that it's light outside or that the world has gotten noisier. I just keep going.

But there are instances, like this one, when I'm fixated staring out the window, watching people who are purposeful and punctual walk briskly to their destinations eleven storeys below. And I know that I'll be late for everything today, that my hair will stay messy, and that lack of sleep will have turned my attention span into such a narrow tunnel that I won't be able to carry on a decent conversation with anyone.

Worst of all, though, is knowing that this work will still be waiting for me when I get home tonight, and that tomorrow morning, this will all be happening again.


Well, I finally got around to watching How I Spent My Strummer Vacation tonight. Season Fourteen has been a controversional subject for Simpsons fans, because the true blues out there know that the show has been going downhill ever since Maude Flanders died.

Embarrassing truth: I loved this episode.

How could I not? It had Mick Jagger, Keith Richards (yes, that really is Keith), Elvis Costello (I mean, damn!), Tom Petty... My boyfriend of many years finds it distracting to have too many guest spots, and most of the time I agree with him (case in point:"Tennis the Menace" from Season Twelve, starring Venus and Serena Williams, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras), but in this case, it made up for the Simpsons cast itself (with the exception, as always, of Apu, for whom, incredibly, there is no character file at SNPP - follow link above) being, well, pretty boring.

It's fairly true that most of the non-musically oriented things that Mick Jagger affiliates himself with identify him as fairly over the hill, but this stuff was great. My favorite part, though, was Lenny Kravitz's seminar on crotch-stuffing. Big laffs!

In conclusion, despite the fact that the episode that actually aired tonight was the worst of the worst, I'm going to keep watching. Troy McClure didn't know how right he was when he said, "Who knows what kinds of adventures they'll have between now and when the show becomes unprofitable?"


It's 4:30 in the morning and there are numerous things sucking my life force from me. The first is a game called Big Money. Big Money is what I do when I should be writing papers about the child's role in the economy. Try it, if you haven't got anything to do for the next nine years. It requires absolutely no skill, and at the same time makes one feel as though he is truly accomplishing something. You achieve status as you move along: I've been a Venture Capitalist, but don't be hard on yourself if you don't get there right away. I've been playing for a long time.

The other thing eating away at me is the text of the sources I'm using for this paper. Listen to this: "It is an injunction not to fall into either the abstract individualism that takes the child to be a self-contained, isolated entity, or into the equally abstract holism, structuralism, or determinism that sees individuals simply as causal effects or epiphenomena of either genetic or social determinants."

Let me just say first that you don't find this kind of writing in history texts, not really. Thank you, Marx Wartofsky's translator. This is from an article called "The Child's Construction of the World and the World's Construction of the Child: From Historical Epistemology to Historical Psychology". Quel pizzazz. You don't find "epiphenomena" or other words that I can't find in my dictionary (an Oxford, thank you very much) in history texts. Or Judith Krantz novels, for that matter.

My position is that these authors are deliberately oblique because they know that the salient and important things they have to say can be summarized and easily understood on one page. And one page doesn't fill a book. I'm not a stupid person. If I looked at this article long enough - preferably from a distance of about three feet - I could certainly understand it. I just get frustrated with points that can be easily distilled into, say, English, and aren't, all for the sake of wankery and a word count.

I can't use the word "wankery" for at least a week now.

Night night.

Sunday, December 1, 2002


I'm moving to Ithaca, and I'm excited about it.

In my efforts to get out of Edmonton, I've come across a creative writing program at Cornell University that I might deign to participate in. It's benefited from the ministrations of writers like Kurt Vonnegut and Adrienne Rich, and the student's thesis is a novel. The only thing I can't decide is whether to get them excited now about my coming, or to surprise them when the time comes.

Seriously, the program takes four students in prose fiction every year, and I haven't got a prayer. And no Cornell means no Ithaca, because, well, it's a college town, and of its roughly 30,000 inhabitants, about 24,000 are students. I believe the rest of them run antique stores.

Actually I'm writing a story at the moment, and I encountered a crossroads deciding where to set it. I'm only twenty-four and I've only lived in two provinces, so really I can only write about Alberta and BC convincingly (and maybe the South, since that's where my family, em, hails from). But I looked up Ithaca anyway, here:

I want to live there.

Imagine! Within hours' distance of Montreal, New York City, and Boston, and there are seasons! I'm one of those people who needs a clear demarcation of the seasons to feel sane. Even when I lived in Terrace, BC, the climate was too much like the UK's for my comfort - basically rainy year-round. But the site says that the mean temperature in January is 25 degrees (F). Whatever other Canadians might say, I love the snow.

I have an idea: let's start a petition. Let Sarah Go To Cornell. Let her touch the face of the Ivy League the way air shows touch the face of God.