Throw me a bone here

Tonight I went to the gym and ran and crunched and pumped and chinned and ran some more.

I am trying to drink more water both outside of, and during my workouts because my lips currently feel as though they have taken up house somewhere smack dab in the middle of the Sahara.

If I really tried (and well, lost all sense of social decorum – or more importantly, of right and wrong) I could probably give myself a pedicure using only my mouth.

Anywho, it was during one of my many trips to the bathroom to drink water from the sink (I keep forgetting water bottles and as I was saying before, my gym leaves something to be desired both aesthetics and amenities-wise.  ie) no available water fountain.  Seriously, it’s amazing there is even a functional plumbing system in the change rooms and that we’re not forced to drink the rusty water droplets as they leak from the overhead pipes) that I noticed that outside, tied up on the deck was one of the cutest, most forlorn doggies I have ever espied.

I walked over to the window and there he was, lying on the cold hard concrete.  I crouched down to get a better look at the fella (I don’t actually know for sure if the dog was of the XY persuasion – I am one of those strange individuals who assumes that all dogs are male and all cats are female, while holding absolutely zero preconceptions about the sexes of all other animals) and as I folded myself into a squat, he looked at me and actually sighed.

He sighed!!!

Like an old man, leaning back in his rocker, eyeing his pipe that has recently gone cold, pondering whether or not he should refill the bowl with his favourite tobacco, or whether or not there is ample lighter fluid in his zippo, or perhaps how he got that small hole in the top corner of his right slipper – THE DOG SIGHED.

I sighed back.

He then looked at me – a stare that was both long and hard, almost pleading – before yawning a big, darn-right terrific yawn (a yawn like how the lions yawn in national geographic photos or PBS documentaries) before turning away and resting his chin on his front paws.

The word yawn has lost all meaning to me now.

But I digress.

The lonely and abject dejection in his eyes, combined with the fact that he actually just exhaled as if to say – PEOPLE AM I RITE? – pretty much broke my heart in half.

Plus, anyone who is operating on the West Coast of Canada (WCOC or Wuhcock if you will) these days knows that the temperatures have been anything BUT temperate.

It’s colder than Frosty’s carrot stick out there.

Who could do that to their pet?  Tie them up outside, alone in the freezing night air.

Cripes, can you imagine what the whole scenario must look like from the eyes of this canine?  You head inside and proceed to run on a machine that goes nowhere.  Then you repeatedly lift what can only be rubber, over-sized chew toys.  Then you frig around on your back for a bit, contorting yourself into the positions that the cat tends to sleep in- but only when she’s really, really exhausted.

That dog probably wasn’t just tired and sad.

He was probably thinking to himself: “Shit.  What an asshole.”

And let me tell you, he wasn’t the only one.

People who don’t exercise with their pets when it’s a viable option – I’m not purporting that people should run marathons with their super old doggies or Chihuahuas,  but within the acceptable limits – don’t deserve to have the pet in the first place.

Take responsibility and do the right thing.  Spend that time with your dog – they are not the only one who will benefit from the activity!

For example, tonight, in spite the cold, it was actually a super lovely evening.  The jerk owner could have gone for a nice long walk with Mr. Pooch, enjoyed the crisp, invigorating air, got some quality bonding time in, and if they still felt the need to feel the burn, could have gone to the gym after having dropped their dog off back home.

It’s the humane thing to do.

So all you pet owners out there, I have one piece of advice:

HEY – BE A MAN.  DO THE RIGHT THING!

Oh and bring a water bottle to the gym.  Drinking straight out of the tap is for the dogs.

You’re a virgin who can’t drive

Hey Kids,

It’s once again time for the Friday Fry-up.  First on the docket, THIS DRESS:

OMG.

At the beginning of the week I wrote about the walk M and I took last weekend, post-vote.  As we strolled along Columbia Street, bundled up in our warmest warms to protect us from the new winter frost, we window-shopped at the many boutiques and store fronts.

Now, anyone who has ever walked the length of the Columbia waterfront knows that it is otherwise known as Wedding Dress Central or “WDHQ”.  The many shops range from incredibly high end, to give or take a box of triscuits, two Andrew Alberts hockey cards and a napkin IOU and well, you’ve got yourself an outfit fit to be wed.

It was outside one of the latter that I we espied the dress to the left, which in itself isn’t a huge tragedy here.

I look at it more as a sociological experiment.

Specifically, I need to know at what marriage ceremony is this appropriate dress FOR ANYONE IN THE BRIDAL PARTY?  IF THIS IS FOR THE BRIDESMAIDS, WHAT PRAY TELL WILL THE BRIDE BE WEARING? And where is it taking place so I can be there?  Hell, I’ll wear the thing just so I can witness, not only the exchange of vows, but what I like to imagine would be the most epic fashion statement of the year.  Nay decade.

Century?

Paging M. Antoinette, you’re in for a fight.  Plus, these people (wherever they are) not only let them eat cake but look damn sharp (or at least blinding) in the process.

NEXT!

Speaking of weddings, if I were to tie the knot again, this would be my choice of dress for the festivities:

I DO!

For all intents and purposes, a “Banana Republic” carries overarching negative connotations (at least for me) so I always feel a little off-put even checking out their window displays, but heck if I wouldn’t rock this frock while re-affirming my fidelity and troth.

(Oh who am I kidding?  I would have bought this dress in a Finnish flash if the proper funds had only been in place.  And yes, that was a direct reference to my other husband, one Teemu Selanne.)

Yet alas, at present, I am on a strict “try-don’t-buy” clothing diet.  This can be exceedingly hard in so far as I work downtown – a place where, at any given time, the number of beautiful outfits on display can be, to put it mildly, five chillies (or, you know, HIGH.)

So I’ve become something of a roving try-er on-er.  I’m hesitant to enter any one store too often, lest I be blackballed as the persistent jerk that shows up and refuses to purchase anything, ever.

Also, there are specific stores that I just know not to enter, due to the fact that 1) they have the prettiest clothes – clothes that make my knees weak and palms sweaty; 2) the amount of sweet cash dollars required to buy these beautiful pieces are, in the parlance of Cher Horowitz, way expensive – WAY expensive; and 3) because I’m so in love with the clothes I try on I’ve started taking photos of myself in the outfits for posterity sake.

YIKES.

Exibit B (exhibit A can be seen above):

Help me. Please.

To the shop keeps, I am not only a frugal spazz, but a snap-happy, narcissistic  counterfeiter!

ONLY SOME OF THAT DESCRIPTION IS TRUE SO DON’T JUDGE.

Even though I would gladly live forever in some of those outfits, I will freely admit that having a roof over my head is more preferable to spending six months in the rain wearing nothing but a lace dress and superhero heels.

But only marginally.

On a deeper lever, this whole endeavor has also got me thinking about how we price clothing.  What differentiates a one hundred dollar dress from one that costs two hundred?  Or one that costs two thousand?  Can the untrained eye actually tell the difference between the two?

Walk through Holt Renfrew and you can see shoes that are priced at three thousand dollars.  THREE THOUSAND.  Trousers for seven hundred; dresses for seven thousand.

I won’t deny that many of these pieces are incredible (on the mannequins at least – I don’t have the nerve or guts to pull my shenanigans in H.F.  I’m too afraid of a public stoning, or the inevitable pre-requisite credit check.  Plus, in third year of my undergrad, whilst in search of a beautiful dress to wear for my first date with the opera, a security guard followed me around from the moment I entered the store, to the moment I left.)

Our society is stratified in so many areas.  The fact that human beings make judgements based on aesthetics is true, and serves to make hard edges all the harder.

Plus I cannot help but wonder: what is the percentage of the cost of a piece of clothing that goes toward those involved in the actual construction of the garment?  Who is benefiting from a $20,000 coat?

How much was someone paid for that $15 dollar t-shirt?

In trust, as much as I love beautiful clothing, I cannot help becoming more aware of how darn exploitative the entire industry is, and will undoubtedly continue to be.

So while yes, I’m not buying clothes because I inherently lack the proper funding. I am also abstaining because when I do finally purchase something, I want to feel good – not only for how I feel wearing it, but from knowing where it came from.

I am working on it.

I am making it work.

Singing and scattering pamphlets all the way

This Saturday, M and I went and fulfilled our civic duty by voting in the New Westminster municipal election.

There is something about voting that just feels good.

For me, it’s a mixture of excitement, appreciation, pride, nerves, and just a pinch of je ne sais quoi – it’s a time to ponder the unknown, the possible, perhaps even the regrettable, but any way you slice it, it’s an opportunity for a fresh start.

I also can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be one of those names on that ballot.  I mull over what it would be like to put my job security on the line, nay into the hands of others, having to convince complete strangers that I would be the darn best individual to represent both them and their interests.

That seems pretty scary, pretty bold, pretty cocky and a HECK of a lot of work.

After we cast our ballots, we went for a long walk down to the quay, checking out the different artisanal shops that have opened up in the market.  For a mid-winter afternoon, the weather was just about as exquisite as it could get.

As we were walking, I got to thinking about all the different “things” I have wanted to be.  To put it mildly, there have been many.  Since, well, since I was aware that one day I was going to have to be “something,” so it would probably be a good idea to think about what it was I wanted.

Below is a list of just a few of the things “things” I have contemplated “being” during my relatively short time here on this great big ball of blue and green, formally known planet oiyth (in Bugs Bunny speak, if you will).

1. Age 4.  Veterinarian.  This didn’t last for very long.  I went to a Charlotte Diamond concert with my kindergarten class and Charlotte, that old battle-axe, asked kids in the audience to volunteer what they wanted to be when they grew up.  Being the total team player that I was, I raised my hand, ready to let everyone know just how committed I was to our fury little four-legged friends.  But when she called on me, I suddenly got super nervous and had a hard time choking out “veterinarian” so I just yelled out “vet” instead.  Well, what with the concert taking place in a tent that could accommodate upwards of 500 people, the acoustics were a little lacking.  C.D. misheard what I said and proceeded to make fun of me in front of the entire gosh darn group.

“A CAT!?” she laughed.  “Young lady!  You can’t be a cat when you grow up! AHAHAHAHA…” (And of course the entire tent well followed suit.)

Boy did that ever chap my ass.  I seriously wanted to jump up and yell “Hey Charlie!  NO SHIT I can’t be a cat!  What do you take me for?  Some kind of Bolshevik cretin!?  THANKS TIPS.” (Only, in you know – 4-year old speak.)

It was that moment right there that killed that aspiration.

I should have just said “Je suis un pizza” and called it a life.

2. Age 8.  Model/Singer.  I discovered my sister’s YM magazine.  All the girls in it were stunning and looked as though they were having the BEST. TIME. EVER.  I practiced signing songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat on my neighbors trampoline when they weren’t at home.  One day their teenage son snuck up on me and scared the ever living daylights out of me.  My mortification knew no bounds and I immediately burst into tears.  As he tried to calm me down, I couldn’t help but notice that he kind of looked like that guy in the “some people say I eat too many chocolate bars” acne cream commercial.

To this day that advertisement both makes me laugh and breaks my heart.

That incident on the trampoline, combined with my rapidly developing, all consuming love for sports made for a quick  end to my YM dreams.

I still know all the words to Go-Go-Go-Joseph though.

3. Age 14. Sports Medicine Doctor.  This dream had a long shelf life until the first time I sustained a serious injury playing badminton and I found out that bodies = disgusting.

NEXT!

4. Age 18. English Professor.  Growing up I wasn’t exposed to much literature outside of the classical English canon.  I loved all of Austen, Montgomery, Alcott and Bronte; read Dickens and Homer and Wilde and Elliot and Stoker and Shelley and Coleridge and, well, pick up any English lit. anthology and I’ve read it and loved it.  And not knowing anything else, I thought that I would enter university and continue along that path.

That was until halfway through first year when I picked up Dostoevsky’s “Devils” and had my mind blown so hard that, eight years later, I’m still picking up the pieces.

English professor?  No siree Bob.  I have every genre, time period and country to explore – if I tried to pick just one I would probably end up pulling a Raskolnikov, and I have no intention of introducing an Inspector Porfiry to the already packed group of kooky characters that populate my life.

5. Age 20+. Too many to count!  Or simply just: ?  The possibilities are endless!  Although bearing witness to just how amazing my kitty-cat’s life is makes me think this whole thing just might have come full circle.  I would be lying if I said I have never fantasized about switching places with her because, simply put, her life is ridiculously awesome.  Plus look how pretty she is:

I don’t know about singer, but she could definitely, most definitely be a model.

Go, go, go go!

This ain’t no orinoco flow

Hey Kids,

It’s time for another installment of the Friday Fry-up.  Today on the docket is this super weird ad from Evian:

What is it exactly that they are trying to tell me?  That drinking their water will make me younger?  That it will give me more energy?  That it will give me hair that looks as though I’m in front of an ever-present wind machine?

Or is it trying to tell me that drinking Evian will ensure that I lose the ability to talk and walk and leave me without control over my bowels and/or urinary tract?

Seriously, I’m calling shenanigans on this Benjamin Button crap.

How does this even make sense?  Especially due to the fact that they chose a model who is what – nineteen, maybe twenty years old?  Yeesh.  You know you are living life a little too fast and fancy free (aka no sleep and rampant drug use) if the year you graduate out of your “teens,” you are pining for the simpler days of yore, when you wore Babar onesies and cried all the time.  I really hope that this was not the message the campaign directors wanted to get across in this ad.

I doubt it – but then again, you never know.

I mean really, why not have a majorly old dude sporting a hot young piece of man flesh on his t-shirt?  That way we could move beyond the ever-present and hugely boring notion that aging as a woman IS SERIOUSLY THE SCARIEST THING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD EVEN SCARIER THAN ZOMIBES OMG GUYS GET ME SOME NIGHT TIME ANTI-WRINKLE CREAM STAT.  It would turn this conceit on its head, and make for a pretty interesting, funny, and aesthetically pleasing campaign.

Because seriously, if the ad is geared towards women (which I’m assuming it is – I don’t think there any many dudes out there who date women for their “inner baby” – and if there are, well, that’s a whole other can of worms I am not interested in opening) let’s give them something awesome.

Something different.

Is there no one out there that can come up with an idea that is thought-provoking, and most importantly, NEW?

As my mother used to ask, “AM I TALKING TO A BRICK WALL?”

Otherwise, it’s just boring, lazy and stupid.  Hey Evian, did you hear that?  Your water is Two and a Half Men – BOTTLED!!

P.S. Do babies even drink water!?  I don’t think they ingest much of anything besides breast milk or formula.

So sorry Evian – it’s a fail on all fronts.

On a completely different, totally awesome note: It snowed yesterday!

Now I no longer feel so silly about how quickly my excitement has been ramping up for the holiday season.  There is so much about this time of year that brings out the nostalgia big time.

Catch me at my desk today and you’ll probably hear me humming that age old tune:

“Oh the weather outside is weather…”

We gotta move these refrigerators

I have never understood the whole “I-don’t-watch-TV-therefore-I-am” Cartesian superiority thing – as if watching television somehow negates every book read, every lecture attended, every run gone on or piece of classical music mastered.

(This list has been shortened just in case you’re into the whole brevity thing, but please feel free to populate it with whichever activities you see fit.)

Anti-television aficionados will normally let you in on their secret in one of two ways.  The first usually goes something like this:

Player A (played by yours truly in this scene):  “Hey man, do you watch Breaking Bad [or insert some other amazing television show here]?  I just started watching it this weekend and it’s amazing!”

Player B: [smarmy, self-congratulatory] “No.  I don’t own a TV. Fwuh fwuh fwuuuuuuuh!” [adjusts monocle and top hat]

To which my immediate reaction (as Player A) is: “Shut the front door!  No TV eh? Well, ever heard of a little thing called the internet there Einstein?  Because I’m pretty sure that’s where the majority of the world is getting their television these days! Totes McGotes dude, not owning a TV is one crap excuse for missing out on quality television programming!  [pause]  NEXT!”

The second scenario is a little different:

Player A: “Hey man, have you ever seen The Wire [or insert some other amazing television show here]?  I just finished the series and I think it changed my life!”

Player B squints their eyes, and curls their lips.  Their voice is thick with disdain.

Player B: “No.  [Pause] I don’t watch TV.

Now, my first reaction to this situation is, as Player A, to laugh while giving Player B some serious side-eye.  Then I am overwhelmed by the urge to scream, “OH YEAH?  NO TV EH?  What about movies then?  DO YOU WATCH MOVIES, ARSEHOLE?  Because I’m pretty sure television can be just as beautiful, engaging and life-changing as any film, and I can guarantee you there is as much filth being produced on the big screen as there is on that little box!”

[Pause for dramatic effect and to ensure that I didn’t drop any unplanned double entendres.]

And then I round house kick them in their kidneys.  No of course I don’t.  (I would never do that.)

I box their ears.

(I kid, I kid).

Now, while I’ve never quite had the guts to respond in this fashion, it has taken some mighty yoga breathing to keep this rage-attack at bay.

I mean, what can I say?  Like one Homer J., I’m a rageaholic.  I’m addicted to rageahol.

Because honestly, the whole, “all TV is shit TV” excuse is tired, played-out and completely untrue.  Now, to clarify, is the majority of current television programming awful, mind-numbing crap?  Yes.  Undoubtedly and tragically, yes.   And unfortunately, there seems to be an insatiable thirst for this glut of shows that are, for lack of a more poetic term, utter garbage.  (See: most reality television, anything produced by Chuck Lorre, the current Law and Order series [and all of its spinoffs], anything with “housewives” in its title and of course pretty much everything broadcast on the CBC).  This is truly regrettable, because it is this saturation of mindless, unimaginative, monotonous slime that gives an entire medium a bad rap.

In reality, there are a number of truly great shows on television – and (fingers crossed) until the day we see the premier of “Two and a Half Jersey Shore’s Big Bang the Biggest Loser”, this trend will continue.  Or at least until the zombie apocalypse comes to town,  but by then I’m pretty sure people will have bigger fish to fry than arguing over the merits of television.  One thing though – all those schmucks who don’t watch the Walking Dead are going to bite it hard and fast (or should I say, be bit hard and fast), so let that serve as a warning to you all.  Netflix that stuff, pronto.

This zombie will settle the TV debate once and for all. Or you know, eat your brain.

Great television is transcendent.  It is a dramatic art form at its finest and should be celebrated.  Maintaining a storyline throughout multiple seasons without the writing, directing, acting, cinematography (etc. – the list goes on and ever on) suffering, becoming stale or over the top, or losing its momentum is beyond difficult.  It is damn near impossible.  And when this feat is achieved, it is magic.

This magic is so rarely achieved nowadays within any artistic channel.  And because of this I believe we should be galvanizing our forces in all areas, instead of trying to break down one (or multiple) artistic vehicles for the sake of self-aggrandizement or the propagation of whatever lame notion happens to be au-courant that day or month or year.

This too is tired and overly played out.  And it doesn’t make you cultured, it just makes you uniformed.  It’s like walking into a drugstore, perusing their book selection and them proclaiming all literature trash.  Drivel exists everywhere in all forms.  To write off an entire group because of this fact is uninspired and lazy.

So Player B, don’t tell me that you won’t watch TV and somehow think I will admire you.  And especially don’t tell me you won’t watch TV and then inform me that you’re heading out for a night at the cinema.

Because I will tell you that the comedy you are going to watch probably won’t be funnier than Arrested Development -or that inner-city drama won’t hold a flame to The Wire.  I will tell you to open your mind.

I promise, no one is going to force feed you The Bachelor.  I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.

I will tell you to start with Rome – and do as we Romans do.   And always remember, no one likes a chicken: