Thursday, 29 September 2011

Apocalypse. Now? Really?

In the event of an apocalypse, I have no useful skills. Therefore I would be one of the first to be eaten by stronger, more resourceful folks. 
My main marketable skill, that of being a background singer, would not serve me well in a global post-economic/social collapse society. And I don’t think there will much call for needlepoint pillows when people are scrambling for potable water and tools.
I mean, if you had to choose a survival partner,  who would you choose to fight on with, and who would you make into delicious jerky? 

Given the way the world is these days, maybe I should start eating a lot of garlic and rosemary and make myself be the best “Oh-my-God-has-it-come-to-this-well-might-as-well-dig-in-she-looks-pretty-meaty” that I can be. You may thank me in advance. 
I am not a good candidate for Survivalist Of The Year. My mother, on the other hand, has been preparing for the End of Days for as long as I can remember. When I was small she took me by the shoulders, looked me square in the eye and said “If the world ends, and everyone else is dead, if you have to chop wood, stand in a barrel because if you miss and cut your leg off, there will be no one to help you”. 

She used to make lists on her cigarette package. We’d know if she’d been reading too much post apocalyptic fiction based on the contents of those lists. 

One of her all time favourite books is The Last Canadian by William Heine.

Apparently, it is TERRIFYING.
She can plan for Epic Global Catastrophe, but has a lot of trouble deciding what to have for lunch.  Unless it comes out of a ration pack.

As someone who does not like the thought of camping, hunting or making much of an effort in any way, you can’t imagine how much I dread a world without a familiar social structure, routine and electricity. This is the scenario in which Ted Nugent, his weapons stockpile and his vast army of minions get the last laugh on me. Oddballs, living off of the grid for decades, become leaders. People like me and Perez Hilton, well, we’re not even useful as wild boar bait. 

Unlike my mother, I can’t read those Post-Mega Disaster books. I read Atwood’s The Year of The Flood and it haunted me for months (plus, after I read anything by her, I start talking like she writes. Short sentences. Dripping with meaning. Must remember. Feed dogs. The vacuum poised. So much dust). 
They freak me out because they are so very possible and I am so very ill-equipped to adapt. I wasn’t in Boy Scouts where you learn to make fire and pitch a tent. I was in Brownies (briefly) where you learn to braid and be jealous. 

Approximately 100% of my day is dependent on electricity, fossil fuels, the internet, my good health and capitalism. While much of all those things (except the internet which is infallible and safe for children) needs some work, I hope change will be gradual. It takes time to build up supplies of powdered milk, salt, sugar and antibiotics. And no, Vector wouldn’t make the cut. Takes up too much space and would only add to my anxiety about being fat in a post apocalyptic society.

I know I probably shouldn’t be too worried, but I think a little bit of emergency preparedness is a good idea: flashlight and extra batteries, a bit of bottled water, purification tablets, dog chews to shut them the hell up so as not to draw the attention of the zombie hoards. And maybe just one box of Vector. You never know, right?

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

At My Funeral

I worry a lot about how I’m going to die.
If I die of natural causes, it is likely that I will have a heart attack or stroke, if my family history is an accurate predictor. No one in my family has died from Fabulousness. At least not to my knowledge.
I do worry about falling down an ice crevasse. I was on a trip with my family when I was about 10 or 12 at the Columbia Ice Fields. My dad was a great fan of rocks and fossils and anything geological so hanging out on a glacier was his idea of a fabulous party time. 

Dad at the Columbia Ice fields

It was not mine.
We did go in this weird tank-like thing across the ice where a guide showed us an ice crevasse with water gushing down it and said if someone fell in there’d be no way of rescuing them and they’d eventually freeze to death or die from drowning in the water that was rushing over them.
This is an ice crevasse. 

It is not The Abominable Snowman porn.

This pretty much killed any future in spelunking that I might have had. But it does reduce the chance that I will die in that manner. 
I don’t have any immediate plans to die, although I think it’s something I’ll have to do at some point. I mean, anyone who is anyone does it, right? I hate being off trend. I’m not scared of it, even though I’m not sure there is an afterlife. It’s just there’s a a few things left I need to do. And so much TV I need to watch. So many needlepoint projects.
If there is a heaven, I imagine part of it must look like this:
When I do cross over to the Great Craft Night in the Sky, I don’t think I want a funeral. I don’t like funerals (who does?) and would rather people just remember me as I was before I died. 


And perhaps people could spread a rumour that I am still alive somewhere, living under a new identity. Like a Heart and Stroke Foundation witness protection program thing. 

Chances are, it will be pretty irrefutable that I am dead.
So no funeral. Instead, I would encourage my loved ones to go shopping in my memory. Or raise a bowl of Mini Wheats to toast my life.  Just go out for  a nice dinner and talk about how thin and pretty I was. You can do that now,  of course. You don’t have to wait til I’m dead.

Unless you’d rather.
Of course, if I am to be toasted, it would be helpful for me to have done something significant with my life (and NO, flipping my hair around in a pop band does not count). And I find that whole concept interesting: doing something with one’s life.
What the hell is that supposed to mean?
 I mean, getting up and having coffee, that’s doing something with your life. I’m really good at that. I’m happy if I can get through a day without spilling food on my clothes. Or eating an entire package of rice crackers.
I don’t have lofty ambitions. I may change my mind at some point, but I don’t feel the need to do anything too significant for the sake of doing things. But I do want that attention that comes with doing important things. But without the effort. You know? 
So I think that the phrase for me should be, instead of “I want to do something with my life, I want to leave my mark on the world” - it should be -  “I just want attention and I want people to think I’m pretty”.
 That’s really what it comes down to, right? When I’m dead will I (or will you) care if I climbed a mountain or if I watched too much TV? Sometimes TV is really great, and climbing mountains is hard. I can just watch mountains on the Discovery Channel. They’ll say nice things about me when I’m dead whether or not I established an international children’s charity.  There’s not any particular thing I feel I need to have accomplished before I die, but I think what I’d like to be sure of when I do die, is that I’ve amused people. To me, being funny is more important than being thin. And you all, by now, know how much I value thinness. 

I may feel differently when death is staring me in the face. RIght now it’s just kind of peeking at me from around a corner. Wiggling it’s finger at me saying “Here, kitty kitty”. 

At least, as far as I know.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Hurray for TV

I love the fall. For so many reasons, do I love the fall. So very much.
I love the clothes, the whole back to school thing (as you’ll recall from a previous blog which you’ve printed out and pinned to your cubicle wall, no doubt), comfort food, fireplaces, crunching leaves.
But mostly because with fall comes the return of TV.
Of course, in our household, TV never went away over the summer. We watch shows we hoarded year round, like entertainment squirrels, hidden away until times of TV scarcity. Or we watch whole series marathon style on DVD, without the inconvenience of having to fast forward through commercials. 
But still, nothing fills me with as much anticipation and tingly OHMYGOD-ness as the season  premiers of our favourite network and cable TV stories.

It’s a veritable cornucopia of programs.

There is the resumption of old faves, cliff hanger resolutions and “we might as well watch this season as we’ve invested so much time in watching the last five seasons of this show but it clearly has run it’s course, so we’re kind of committed, in a way”  -  in other words, Dexter.
Here is our TV list:

There was a time, the time before Brian, when I did not watch TV. I owned a TV but did not have cable and only used it to watch the occasional movie. 

Those days were dark times, full of reading books, socializing with friends, getting university degrees. But I guess I had to go through all of that to get to the point where I am at now, where I spend every evening watching different versions of the same detective programs and placing bets on which cable network will show the most nipples. 
TV has brought so much into my life. Not only is it the time of day I look forward to the most, the time after dinner when the dogs are (for the most part) starting to mellow out a bit, Brian is home from work, we’ve had dinner and we have our tea and I have my needlepoint by the fireplace (Known as “Family Time”). 

But TV has given Brian and I a private and exclusive way of communicating with each other, understandable only to us and perhaps anyone else within earshot who may have watched the previous evening’s episode of The Mentalist. Occasionally, Brian and I speak only in TV language. For example:
Brian: Hi diddly ho, neighbour.
Ellen: Oh, that makes me cry in my angry place.
Brian: That sounds like a recipe .... for murder!
Ellen: Oy. What are you eating?
Brian: Some sort of delicious biscuit.
Ellen: It’s a coaster.
Brian: Are there any more?
(please do not tell anyone about that conversation. It’s our sexy talk).
TV has given us more catch phrases, one liners and reasons to shop at than any time in book reading, art gallery hopping or movie attending purgatory ever could. 
For example. I have this T-shirt. Do you know what it refers to?

See, it puts me in a secret club to which only persons privy to the source of these symbols can belong.  The club of TV Drones. 
You know when people who go out and do things say that joke thing about how we shouldn’t watch to much tv because no one wants their gravestone to read “Should have watched more TV”.
Ha ha ha. Well, mine is going to read “Here lies Ellen. She was totally pissed that Zen didn’t get renewed. Stupid BBC”.
Or maybe it will read this:

Or this:

With the return of regular TV,  however, comes the return of Hockey and Football. I’ve endured an entire summer of baseball, which is so nauseatingly boring that I’ve found myself numbed into silence by the utter banality. The commentary, especially, is particularly dull.

Picture me with my mouth agape at how utterly uninteresting is baseball. This is why when you see people sitting in the seats behind home plate, they are always texting. And those are the good seats, people.
Thankfully, in the fall, baseball winds down. Football takes it’s place which is only marginally more interesting because of the intense frenzy it causes. I simply cannot be in the room when Brian watches football. The combination of screaming fans, marching bands and drunken college kids with their faces painted orange or blue or what-have-you, well, it diminishes my hope that mankind will make it to the next century without obsoleting itself doing keg stands, doing drunken donuts in the Safeway parking lot and eating bad street meat. These are the kids who will have to care for us when we’re infirm. God help us all.
So I am currently in our Man Cave with sleeping dogs, snuggled cat and husband watching hockey while reading paper and surfing the net (yes, there are issues here). Soon we’ll watch a couple episodes of Castle (my new favourite). And tomorrow the premiers begin. I’m happy where I am, yet tomorrow is a golden dream that will soon be realized. Life is good. I’ll see you all in May.
Just kidding. I don’t watch TV during the day so I still have lots of time to write about my poops, my cereal addiction and things that bug me. I’ll see you in a couple days.

Friday, 16 September 2011


Fear is my greatest motivator. I am propelled forward in life by anxiety and dread, even as it occasionally paralyses me. I went to school because I feared being thought of as stupid. I run because I fear being fat. I buy a lot of clothes because I fear not being fabulous (and apparently, it would follow that I fear having extra money). I venture out of my house occasionally because I fear being friendless. I donate to charity because I fear karma. 
I avoid the backyard because I fear the spider.
The spider in my back yard is hideous. I’m sure it’s mother loves it, but it is making me lose sleep.

During certain times of the year we get a lot of spiders in our bedroom for some reason. Probably from the insulation filled crawl space in the ceiling. Spiders love insulation. It’s like ice cream and flies mixed together for them. Anyway, I hate to be a cliche, but I don’t care much for spiders even after reading, and loving and believing to be totally possible, Charlotte’s Web. I make Brian flush every one. 

My idea of spiders.

I don’t care if he flushes them or squishes them, but he figures with flushing they have at least a whisper of a chance of surviving, so it’s less like arachnicide to him. He’s sentimental that way, I guess. 
Every spider is named Jimmy for some reason. I don’t even tell Brian that there’s a spider, I tell him there’s a Jimmy on the wall and he has to deal with it. He is totally my protector. Totally.

Brian's idea of what a spider is like.

As mentioned in a previous blog, I am afraid of vomiting in public. Or of having a brain aneurysm at any time. I worry I’ll be too warm sometimes. 
I am also not fond of boats. Having had sea sickness on a couple of occasions and having been in motor boats in a huge lake when we’ve run out of gas and an offshore breeze starts blowing and I have to pee really bad but don’t know the people with the boat well enough to say, hey can I just take a dip and deal with this... well, not interested in boats. I told Brian if he ever wants to have an affair, or needs a place to hide the bodies of the people he kills, he should just get a boat, because there’s no way in hell I’d go on it.
When I was little, my idea of a that hell was a room off of our furnace room in the basement. We had an old house, built by my great grandfather, and it had a coal room where they used to keep the, duh, coal for the furnace. We didn’t use it for anything except storing things including some pickles that my mom made and forgot about for 14 years. It was probably the entry point of these black beetles that plagued our house for years. We called them Visitor Beetles because they only ever came out in droves when we had visitors over.

Entrance to the Coal Room

I was so scared of the coal room my mom could put my Christmas presents in there, unwrapped, and not have to worry one bit about me poking my nose in, even for a peek. My dad used to to say that he had a sister (he didn’t) named Druscilla, who lived in the coal room. He’d say “I once had a sister, Druscilla. Whose face would leave pus on the pilla”. 
Could have been true.

My dad's pretend sister, Druscilla.

My pal Charley and I are scared of what would happen if chocolate and cheese were paired together. We don’t know why. it just makes us feel uncomfortable.
I am afraid of panel vans.
I am afraid of getting lost. Once, when I was 6 I was in BC with my family and we were walking on a beach. I thought it would be a cool in a tv kind of way, to get lost on a beach. So I wandered around a corner and POOF, I was lost.  I quite regretted it after the fact, even though I knew somewhere in my pea sized brain that I wasn’t really lost.   I cried. I got attention. I need attention. A lot of attention. 

My mother will be angered that I got lost on purpose. Just so you know, mom, the time I got lost at the garage across the street, that was not on purpose, but asI have no memory of it, who knows. I’m a devious little bitch.
 I got lost in Shanghai, in what I figured must have been a residential/slum area. Everything was grey/green and no one looked friendly to me. I was not blending in. Someone was getting their hair cut on the street. Someone else was doing their dishes in a sink outside their front door. I eventually found my way back to the hotel and we went out for dinner where we were offered things that looked like eyeballs.

Me with picture of the things we were supposed to eat when in Shanghia

I am afraid of accidentally eating an eyeball.

Or even eating one on purpose. Because then I’d know I was for sure crazy. And I fear being crazy. I  mean, more crazy.
There is that super annoying saying that you should do one thing everyday that scares you. I suppose the point is that you become more confident and experience life more fully. I suppose that this refers to things like sky diving, taking that pilgrimage to India, or wearing mixed plaids together in one outfit. 
In that case I am totally totally afraid of binging on Vector.
Guess I’d better get a bowl and just do it, to conquer that fear, right?
I fear what Brian will do if he ever finds out exactly how much his Vector I eat in a day. He can be very stabby.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Radio and Real Estate.

We used to do a lot of radio morning drive shows. Not so much any more, although we still do a few. These involve getting up very very very early and going to a radio station where they probably don’t have coffee or a super mega class mixing board and you sing into their mics. Then you get pictures taken.

Radio hosts on billboards – they usually appear in trios. The one wearing sunglasses is the most uncool. They have tried every stylist trick in the book and the only way that they can make him look even a little less like the biggest, most boring actuary on earth, is to put him in sunglasses and have him fold his arms. Heads up, Mad Dogs of the world, we aren’t fooled.

Why are so many radio personalities nick named “Mad Dog”.  I’ve been to a lot of radio stations in my day and done many times, one of the guys hosting is called Mad Dog, but his real name is Craig, or Don, or Martin. Are there no other monikers besides “Mad Dog? Like Angry Albatros? Ticked Tiger? Irked Iguana. Time to mix it up, I say.
Radio people are always friendly. They want to make you feel at home and will give you stickers, or if you’re lucky, a keychain with the station call letters on it. 
Have you ever noticed that when they show radio personalities on billboards, there’s always one wearing sunglasses, and there’s always one standing in semi-profile with their arms crossed?  It’s like there are no other photographic set-ups possible. Other than the two hosts standing back to back with their arms folded.

Oh they’re crazy.
Why do they need to be on billboards in the first place? What is the station trying to promote? They weren’t hired for their good looks. They were hired for their velvety voices which, of course, can’t be translated into a visual. I kind of want those voices to be “disembodied” - I don’t want to know what they look like. I like a bit of mystery in my day. In my mind, all male radio announcers look like John Corbett 

and all women announcers look like Anne Mroczkowski from Global TV in Toronto.

 Why burst my bubble?
Real Estate agents are the same deal. Why do we need to see their huge, toothy grins instead of, say, the house they are trying to sell? Do I choose the real estate agent who is selling the best house, or the one with the best DaVinci veneers? 
I met a real estate agent years and years ago, and she had teeth that were so huge and white and perfect, it was kind of frightening. They were the size of dominos, so white they made her eyes look yellowy and she wore bold jewelry that emphasized her ample... um... ampleness. Think Samantha from SATC, but more likable and less one dimensional. I don’t have any interesting stories about her as I only met her once. I could make up a bunch of stuff.  Like maybe she was a huge praying mantis with a police siren light for a head. That kind of thing.

Years later, when I bought my condo, I had the sexiest real estate agent ever. I didn’t choose her because she was red hot, but rather because she was the mom of a friend. She as probably in her early fifties, but you could fry an egg on the sassy energy she put out. When she was in the groove with some kind of business thing, she would walk and snap her fingers like this:

She also referred to Starbucks as “Starbuck” as in “I am going to get a Starbuck, would you like anything?”. She wore very high heels. I found her to be fascinating. 

So what would happen if we started breeding real estate agents and radio announcers? What would their children look like and be like?
Maybe something like this?

Or not. Probably just normal. But normal isn’t really very funny.

This post was totally pointless. My apologies.