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Sunday, 2 July 2006
It's really hot out.
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: The World At Large
The quarter final game between Germany and Argentina was terrifying to watch since both teams are massively talented. Of course, I root for Germany; despite several blood transfusions I think I can still claim part German heritage. I use the word schadenfreud properly. Germany has advanced to the finals with a 4-2 triumph.

I'm also delighted with France's win over Brazil; not so much with England's loss to Portugal, the diving kings of FIFA 2006. The Italians seem more fun than the Portuguese, who seem vaguely arrogant. I'd already noticed the falling-down thing, otherwise known as "diving" during the June 25th Portugal-Netherlands game. If you're halfway good at it, some opposing player gets a yellow card. The closer the teams advance to the finals more is the pressure to sneak these acrobatics in, and, by god, it looks cheesy.

In my Portuguese/Italian neighbourhood, it's been horn honkin' nearly every day, and I've always viewed this as a public service, a hint to not drive on Commercial for a while. I watch the games at home, preferring my jammies and relatively free coffee to sitting with the throngs. Something creeps me out about crowds, probably germs and noise. Plus, most of the guys act like goombahs.

My hope is a Germany-France final. An Italy-Portugal final could cause bloodshed in the streets; better get my camera ready. July 4th and 5th will be exciting days.

I missed seeing my sister's band for that very reason today. Canada Place seemed a good place for somebody with presumably low white counts to avoid. My sister works in an office there and she got sick, which she never does. I know people who get colds every 5 minutes/hang on to one cold all year, but not Lisa. Anyway, I just think of Canada Place as germ central.

It's so incredibly hot a person just has to sit and they'll sweat. Most days I have a little Gatorade because I'm paranoid about running low on potassium.


Posted by Jetta at 1:40 AM PDT
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Tuesday, 6 June 2006
Here it is, June
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: Living Despite Chemistry
I discovered that I received HGTV by accident; it's not the sort of channel I would gravitate towards. I'm not a foodie [thanks in advance, I know there's a food channel], and I only rent, so the offerings are tantamount to porn. It's a figurative comparison, mind.

The two Scotsmen, Justin and Colin, who do How Not To Decorate, are hilarious. They did a house job for an incredibly irritating woman in Hemel Hempstead who was 30 years old, giggled like a schoolgirl and often stuck out her tongue as she did, loved trolls, My Little Ponys and a steady diet of the colour pink. She had no door on her bathroom, and that room was acidly referred to as having an "open plan." I still can't figure out how the guys got the job because she seemed so excited about the place.
"Few bits and pieces that could be looked at..." she said.
She nearly wept when they told her that the carnival-size troll collection had to go.

She also had 5 evil purse-size dogs who routinely peed and shat everywhere they could. One of them had a snapping problem. There were also fish and birds and a cat was seen roaming around.
"Jesus, will you look at that! It's the size of a Mars bar. It's a Guinness records size turd. Did that wee dog really produce that?"
This woman wanted fur-like carpets.

I hadn't laughed this hard in ages.

After the initial secret mockery was over, the fellows designed a fresh new look for her place and included some of her favourite things in less offensive forms, like two small sheets of troll wallpaper that had to be custom made. They wanted to redo her kitchen like a 50s diner and give her a big honking, pink American fridge. You see? They're not judging.

She loved what they did and no sooner had her nasty little dogs come back from the spa but one of them peed on the new snow white rug. You may have met a pet owner who thinks this kind of behaviour is cute. I've had somebody's cat pee in my suitcase and all they could say was Gee, I don't think they were happy. I thought the cat should've been pistol-whippped.

We meet the woman's boyfriend at the unveiling of the fresh new apartment and boy, he doesn't say much. Likely doesn't get much opportunity, and bless 'im, if he wasn't wearing a pink La Coste shirt, but he didn't look particularly happy, about anything, really. I never did catch what she did for a living.

The upshot was, that only a scant few weeks after this decorating extravaganza she was at it again and filled up the area in front of the fireplace with her My Little Ponys. Justin and Colin were apoloplectic and shouted at the update video, suggesting that the dolls be burned! March those bloody things into the fireplace! In the background, the dogs were sleeping peacefully on a pee stained fur-like carpet.

Debbie Travis knows her decorating, too, although I have taken exception to some of her wild, abstract ideas on the Painted House program. I like the Facelift show.

Often, in Facelift, it is the offspring who initiate the makeover; sometimes the partner is involved, too, and the impetus is the snapping feeling you get after living with something appalling for years on end with no end in sight. Christ almighty, the things you see on Facelift. Typically, it's mountains of clutter, shite that just can't be parted with, or way too much kitsch on display that it makes your eyes water. The people who live in these conditions are for the most part, quite reasonable seeming people. They don't look weird at all until you set foot in their house.

Travis and her team of experts get 3 days to put things right and the results are often spectacular, simply beautiful, cool, and the recipients are grateful and amazed by the transformation. See, was it so hard?

Mike Holmes, in Holmes on Homes, is the guy who fixes what other contractors have botched, bit like the Avenger of Shoddy Workmanship. He really takes it personally when people have paid loads of good money for crappy work especially when the corner cutting might have resulted in, say, the dwelling burning to the ground. He's a big guy and passionate about his work. You wouldn't want to piss him off.

Houses renovated with improperly installed insulation and inadequate structural support are just the beginning of the many crimes that Holmes encounters. He keeps a cool face but you can tell he'd like to kill the previous contractor out of principle.

His team of specialists also have a limited amount of time to rectify the domestic horrors of the jobs they take on, bit like running a marathon, I guess. It all looks fabulous when they're done and Holmes often includes extras that the owner hadn't even thought of, making the unveiling seem like Christmas day to some folk.

Holmes explains rationale for various tasks, and you always feel a bit more knowledgeable about some aspect of dwelling ownership.

Perhaps they could rename this category of shows from Home Improvement to Schadenfreude Haus, because really, it's like watching disaster areas come back to life. Viewing the homes in their pre-renovation state makes you feel so much better about the dust bunnies and assorted problems in one's own space.


Posted by Jetta at 12:21 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 June 2006 12:48 PM PDT
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Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Mood:  don't ask
Topic: The World At Large
Yeah, I know, it's mid-May. It's hot and nobody can think straight. Today I made brownies, yesterday it was lasagna. Where will it end? I think I'd like to do rhubarb pie next. I have the best pastry recipe. More later.

Posted by Jetta at 6:33 PM PDT
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Tuesday, 11 April 2006

Mood:  vegas lucky
Topic: The World At Large
Jeepers, it's April already!

Greetings to my avid readers; yes, I'm still in the milieu. Thanks for askin'.

Posted by Jetta at 6:42 PM PDT
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Saturday, 11 March 2006
Stuff that happens
Mood:  vegas lucky
Topic: The World At Large
Playlist:

Little Village: Solar Sex Panel; Bryan Adams: Diana; Alan Parsons Project: Wouldn't Want to be Like You; Ian Dury: Sex & Drugs & Rock n' Roll; World Party: Way Down Now; 10CC: Dreadlock Holiday; Hothouse Flowers: Thing of Beauty; Dire Straits: Industrial Disease; Nena: 99 Luftballoons; Hothouse Flowers: Don't Go; Jesus Jones: Right Here Right Now; Depeche Mode: Just Can't Get Enough; Hollies: On a Carousel; Judy Collins: Someday Soon; Dusty Springfield: All Cried Out; Fever Tree: San Francisco Girls; Beatles: Lovely Rita; Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose: Treat Her Like a Lady; Five Stair Steps: Ooh Child; Cream: Badge; Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour; Beatles: It Won't Be Long; Hugh Mazakela: Grazing in the Grass; Mary Hopkins: Those Were the Days; Every Mother's Son: Come on Down to My Boat; Elvis Costello: Oliver's Army; Hipsway: The Honey Thief; Glen Campbell: Witchita Lineman; Toto: Africa; Richie Havens: Here Comes the Sun [studio version]; Spin Doctors: Little Miss Can't Be Wrong; Sarah McLachlan: Vox; Jackson Browne: You Love the Thunder; Beatles: Rain; Savage Garden: I Want You; Beatle: Doctor Robert; Blue Rodeo: 'Til I Am Myself Again; The Fixx: Deeper and Deeper; Peter Frampton: I Can't Stand It No More;

Today, being a good day, there was $3/gram cross at the Compassion Club. The waiting room was nearly full and there was maybe 10 numbers before mine. I'm guessing half an hour wait.

Big guy, reeking of cigarette and grubby clothing, wearing shades indoors calls out "Who's got 87?"
I'm right next to him, and say "I do."
Well, he's got 88, and he wants to go out for a smoke, so could I rap on the window when it gets to be my turn and he won't lose his place? The first time he asked me I couldn't make sense of his request; for some reason it sounded like a recording played back at the wrong speed. The chemo from yesterday was still floating around this morning and I'd needed a small hit of Emerald Wonder before I could get going. Had to ask him again what he wanted, and then I agreed to his presumably simple request.

He goes out front and I can see him smoking. A few numbers later, he's not there and the implications of my agreement are sinking in. If you're not there when they call your number, that's it. Gotta get a new number and that'd be a terrible nuisance especially when it's busy. I have a responsibility not to lose track of this fellow. I hoped he hadn't strayed to the park, but he seemed pretty eager about not missing his spot.

I went out the front door and he was right there with a few others. He asked if it was his turn next. Nope, but in about ten, fifteen minutes it will be.
"I didn't see you by the window and I wanted to find you in enough time."
He thanked me. I thought I heard somebody in the group say "Well spotted, ma'am."

Another 10 minutes later, the fellow comes in and before he sits down, says to me "Really, thank you very much for that."

I stopped by the Food Co-op to get a carton of milk. Wrong time of day entirely to be there, but it beat what Santa Barbara's nightmare queue would be. You only go there in early evening when you have both leisure and a desire to check out the crowd. I was in a hurry to get home because my friend Trish was coming for a visit, and I wanted to start on the baking.

Woman in front of me has a full basket, and I notice that she has soy milk. She didn't miss seeing the 2 litre carton I laid on the counter. Almost presenting it to see how she'd respond but she didn't have the motivation to let the one-itemed milk drinker go ahead of her. Trained from a steady diet of tv crime shows, I began constructing a mini-profile of her by the items in her basket.

She wore a fashionable gore-tex jacket, was probably a few years older than me. Professional looking. The produce she bought was organic--nearly each piece of it confirmed individually at the till with emphasis: "Yes!" or "Of course," in that superior way. She could've just said they all were at the start but where would be the satisfaction?

Then she hadn't put the bin number down on a few bulk items, an indication of her relationship to detail. I deduced via eavesdropping that she does body work. Ah...a healer. Probably doesn't watch TV, and I bet she's a vegetarian. I wished I'd had a package of meat in my order. Then her card had to be run through twice because she'd begun packing the groceries and the connection ran out of time.

In real life, there's probably nothing the matter with the woman in front of me. She had an essence, like she was one of my secret evil dopplegangers. The person I might have resembled had I made better choices. In moments of maudlin reverie, I am reminded of having known many such women, of having attended dinners and gatherings in their beautiful homes. Women who had plans for their lives. Women with terrific partners, women with promise. Women with stability. Women who had earned the right to dawdle at the Food Co-op.

In contrast, I was a middle-aged woman wearing a biker jacket, Docs, shiny, baggy, downright ill-fitting Levis, topped with short, spikey bed hair and looked like she hadn't slept right in days. I illustrated what is implied by the No butches please you often see in personal ads, the sort penned by women like her, who initially sound intriguing, somebody you'd want to meet. But they don't want to meet you. Then there was the milk. The two grams of pot in my pocket, which she wouldn't know about, simply added to the tableaux.

I don't remember how it got to be so goddamn complicated.

The big guy has a nice smile.


Posted by Jetta at 7:51 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 11 March 2006 9:57 PM PST
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Wednesday, 22 February 2006
What to do next
Mood:  blue
Topic: Living Despite Chemistry
There's a two-hour Monty Python special this evening, a greatest hits extravaganza. I used to be one of those people who knew the skits by heart. Some kinda nerd in junior secondary. Today I find some measure of comfort in the absurdity of the plots [philosophers' soccer game, Watney's Red Barrel, etc] yet remembering pleasures from another life is often difficult for me. I ache thinking that I ever had dreams.

Oh, and then I gave myself a quick hair-cut and erased about 10 years/lbs. Something like that. It occurred to me last week that the industrial strength gel I use would have more benefit if my hair were shorter. It is counterproductive to try and get bedhead when hair is too long. It's a physics thing, to go with the chemistry thing that makes me heavy, sad, and tired of living.

I'm quite sure that my left wrist hurts because my watch was pressing somewhere it shouldn't. Last time I did chemo, I managed to get the vein poked where it oughtn't and then right by the wrist bone it started to hurt and swell. The nurse had to take the needle out and use my other hand. Lucky me, I've got two. That put the chemo experience back an hour. Anyway, my wrist feels like that again. It makes me go hmm.

The song trapped in my head? Ramble On, by Led Zeppelin. It's the guitar riff, really, that sounds like crying/mourning and then there's a lull before the drums that gives me a chill because it feels just as bloody sad as the riff. You have to know the song, is my point. That one little note makes me think of turning up a collar on the back of your neck when it's cold, or when you're sleeping and somebody else does it. Anyway, the riff periodically gets caught in my brain, typically during times of high stress.

Carole Taylor and her fucking budget shoes. Honestly. She makes Ralph Klein look sensitive.

And how is your week going?

Posted by Jetta at 10:05 PM PST
Updated: Thursday, 23 February 2006 12:22 AM PST
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Thursday, 9 February 2006
Okay, so some of it's better
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: The World At Large
At the moment, I am working on networking a Puppy Linux machine with Win98 and am having zero luck despite all the reams of instructions I've been reading. None of it works. Wow...I must be stupid.

Today I have an unwanted appointment with a bone marrow transplant doctor and the only reason I'm keeping it is to shut my oncologist up and to be in the same neighbourhood as the CA to pick up some crap to drink for next week's CT. Sounds exciting?

That said, I think Stephen Harper's made a tremendous blunder. 5 minutes into office and he embraces turncoat David Emerson and installs him in cabinet. Excellent work, Mr. Harper. We look forward to more of the same. Seriously.


Posted by Jetta at 11:05 AM PST
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Wednesday, 25 January 2006
Hardly any of it's good
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: The World At Large
While searching for a suitable birthday e-card for my sister-in-law, I found this hilarious, informative treatise on the F word, a staple of many linguistic diets. Mine too, incidentally, despite my university education and love of good books. I totally appreciated and needed a good laugh.

Wow. Stephen Harper shakes hands with his kids when he sees them off at school. I could feel the warmth right through the television.


Posted by Jetta at 6:58 PM PST
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Sunday, 22 January 2006
Promise them anything
Mood:  bright
Topic: Federal Politics
I downloaded the campaign platforms for all the parties as soon as they were available. The Liberal flavour is 86 pages long so, no, I won't be printing that. Reading it? Well... The Tories have a 46 page offering that 1) used up a lot of blue ink, and 2) for some reason printed 2 up pages so you really have to squint to read it. The NDP platform is 52 pages; again, not gonna be printed.

I looked at the section on child care in the Tory hymn book. They say they will honour the government's existing bilateral child care commitments for one year. Then what? Presumably parents would've signed on to whatever the Tories put together, right? Well, all the Tories are offering is a $1,200 a year taxable benefit (it ain't free and only works out to $100/month)to the partner who makes less money and tax credits to employers and non-profit associations to entice them to set up daycare spaces. There are no guarantees that the spaces will materialise. Here's a quote:

We estimate that this program will create 125,000 new child care spaces over five years...

Again, nothing promised but boy it sounds good. This is not universal, guaranteed child care, it's a bunch of estimates and maybes.

A lot of the language in the Tory platform is meaningless, sounding more like a big padded resume. Much talk of planning for things, and the word "framework" is frequently used. Everybody does it. A frame is meant to either accent something, as in a picture frame, or to provide hidden support, as in a house frame. Actually, I think the word "framework" is redundant. It's a frame, that's what it is.

Many of the grand ideas contained in the Tory platform have no deadline, so they might as well not exist. There's a lot of the "we promise to figure out how to do X" but not necessarily do X. No wonder they issue these things at the last minute.

That bastard Harper will probably do well tomorrow. Chantal Hébert has a really good column explaining why the left got shafted again and the source may surprise you. Or not. There is a discussion on this subject in rabble that raises some excellent points. The rest is made up.


Posted by Jetta at 10:48 PM PST
Updated: Monday, 23 January 2006 6:22 PM PST
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Thursday, 12 January 2006
Whoops-a-daisy
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: Federal Politics
Reading today's paper I thought we were having a second crack at Christmas. Surely you've heard that Tory candidate Derek Zeisman has been charged with the classic crime of smuggling, in this case, a Mercedes Benz and 112 bottles of alcohol. Naturally, Stephen Harper has distanced himself from Zeisman and says that Zeisman cannot sit as a Tory should he be elected unless he gets this business sorted before the election. What are the chances of that? Smuggling is a greedy crime in which the whole point is to cheat customs and excise. As somebody who's had to pay duty on a pair of jeans, I think they should throw the book at Zeisman.

And on the front page of the Vancouver Sun there was a picture of Stephen Harper, keynote speaker at the Canadian Alliance for Social Justice and Family Values Association. Another collection of bigots you wouldn't want to piss on if they were aflame. Well done, Mr. Harper. I knew you could do it.

While we're on the subject of bigots, please have a look at Rick Mercer's blog to view the dream team of Tories cabinet ministers. Nice bunch of people. I'm surprised they even photographed.

Posted by Jetta at 2:54 PM PST
Updated: Sunday, 22 January 2006 10:19 PM PST
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