A late night’s pictures and dreams

Some things of note (if you will) –

I. The funniest Kids in the Hall sketch:

II. If you read John Cleese’s book “So, Anyway…”, and are even a modest fan of the man and his works, you’ll have the pleasant bonus of finding yourself reading the entire thing in his voice. It’s like having Basil Fawlty as your personal narrator (although to be fair, I am more of an Archie Leech woman, myself.) I finished reading this book approximately twenty minutes ago and found it incredibly enjoyable. I laughed out loud on many, many occasions, and found myself giggling so hard on public transit that a women standing just off to my right turned to me, tapped my shoulder, and told me that I was an “absolute delight”, before confiding that she couldn’t wait to dive into her copy the minute she returned home.

I told her to piss off and mind her own business.

KIDDING.

I blushed like a mad thing and told her that I was just excited for her as she.

III. My masked self:

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IV. Disclaimer: This next point will resonate solely with individuals who either live in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, or have spent enough time in Vancouver and its surrounding environs to know of which I write.

Chiefly, the utter madness that is Kingsway, and how lucky I feel whenever I manage to navigate this utterly insane stretch of road and emerge (relatively) unscathed – neither crumpled up inside my severely mangled automobile, nor having run over a rogue, clueless pedestrian (nay, pedestrians), nor having witnessed any sort of monumental crash-cum-pile-up due to another driver’s last minute decision to make a left turn on a red light an run ramrod straight into on-coming traffic.

That road is a bloody death trap.

And five hours later, my nerves are still shot.

V. Fashionable pantaloons:

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I recently bought these sweet running pants from Mountain Equipment Co-op. I love them because they make me feel as though I am wearing a patchwork of old movie stills, even though the pattern is actually beautiful abstract black and white shapes.

For the uninitiated, MEC is the outdoor gear MECca (har har) of every pseudo-mountain person (and to be fair, every hardcore survivor man/woman) this town has to offer.

The place is basically Whole Foods for purveyors of hatchets, kayaks, and tents. Everything is fair trade and organic (including your rage when you realize that you could have purchased the exact same sleeping bag for thirty percent cheaper at one of the other stores just down the road had you exercised one iota of free will and not succumbed to the tractor beam pull of this ridiculous outdoor monolith. But I digress.)

The reason that I was able to purchase these amazing pants in the first place was because my sister and brother in-law bought me another sweet pair at Christmas that were very unfortunately too big and needed to be exchanged. With the store credit I was able to procure these cool duds and now I feel like a right superstar every time I put them on.

(A real 1930’s dynamo, as you please.)

VI. Sun cat:

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FIN.

She creates. She is a creator of worlds.

One of my best friends in the entire world just published her first book.

CPR

It’s called Pedal.

And all of you should read it.

Because it is brilliant.

Today I sat down and read it in one sitting.

By the time I got to the last ten pages my heart was racing, and my face was flushed.

Upon turning the last page, I could no longer keep in my hot, fat tears – my heart swelling with unbridled happiness, with fierce incredulity, and overwhelming awe.

I first met Chelsea Rooney nine years ago in the fall of 2005 when were both admitted to UBC’s creative writing undergraduate program.

Right away I recognized her to be the most talented writer in our class. I’ll never forget reading her first short story in our fiction seminar. To say that I was blown away is a major understatement. I was so fascinated and moved by her writing that I read the entirety of her first workshopped story over the phone to my mother.

Her mastery of the written word left me galvanized and inspired. She made me want to produce magic of my own.

Besides (or perhaps because of) the beauty and depth of her prose, I was also enthralled with her as a person.

A couple of years my senior, she just seemed so epically cool.

I remember her showing up to class one day with one of the Styrofoam coffee cups from The Deli – a take-out eatery in the basement of the university’s student union building that offered a seemingly arbitrary cornucopia of pseudo-healthy options for the student on the run. Always one to buck the trends, my most frequent purchases at this establishment were hot chocolate and giant chocolate chip cookies.

I had just assumed that she too (along with everyone else in the world) would be drinking Deli hot chocolate. When she laughed gently and corrected me, stating that that she was, in fact, drinking coffee, I quaked.

Of course she would be drinking coffee. She was way too cool to drink hot chocolate.

She also wore long maxi skirts, and mid-drift baring tank tops, and eschewed bras, and make-up, and every time I looked at her I just thought, “I want to be just like her.”

While friends, we never really formally cemented our friendship until we both stayed on at UBC after completing our undergraduate degrees. She, as an MFA candidate in the writing program, and myself as  a political science MA.

We’d eat nachos and drink diet coke every Wednesday afternoon at the campus’ newly erected, and over-priced Irish bar.

We would sit in a corner table and laugh and laugh until our stomachs felt they might rip in two.

Five years on, we still do this.

Both laugh and eat nachos.

Only now we walk more.

And I drink coffee.

If I could tell you one thing (other than to purchase her book) it is that Chelsea has the most beautifully expressive eyes.

They reflect and refract the infinite wisdom and wonder that shape a magnificent human being.

I often find myself getting lost in their splendour, these wise, limpid pools of possibility.

And wonder what story will surface next.

CandV

Dear diary, today was a good day.

Friends!

It’s been almost a month since I’ve last put fingers to laptop in an earnest attempt to pen the CRAP out of a blog post.

But things be happening.

At the beginning of August I traveled to the lush and magical land of Hawaii and spent eight days hiking, running, swimming, snorkeling, attending weddings, and waking up at the crack of dawn in order to witness the most spectacular sunrises of life (again, and again, and again!)

I mean, if there is one thing I can say about crawling out of bed every day at 5:30am – on vacation at that – it’s just that there are some things in life that are hands down worth it EVERY TIME.

I mean, why wouldn’t you want to get up early everyday when you’re viewing things like THIS:

Sunset

IT’S JUST TOO GOOD.

Some other snaps:

Beaching!
Beaching!
Hike
Hiking!
Wedding-ing!
Wedding-ing!

Travelling home I was so incredibly knackered from all of the physical activity, coupled with the early morning beach trips, that it was all I could do to keep my eyes open as the flight attendant prepped myself and the other folks sitting in the emergency exit row. As soon as she left, I put up my hood, wrapped by arms about my body, and settled down to (what I hoped to be) a relatively uneventful five and a half hours of airplane rest.

I was just drifting off to dreamland, when another flight attendant woke me up with a look of grave concern on her face.

“Yes?” I asked.

She looked at me and loudly whispered, “I’m sorry, but I just need to confirm before we take off, as you’re sitting in the emergency exit row, that you are over sixteen years of age?”

Oh how I laughed (and thanked her, weirdly?)

However, I did want to clarify that she was asking due to my physical appearance and not, you know, in reaction to my general comportment.

She just looked at me weirdly and then told me that I looked young for my age.

(I probably shouldn’t have used the word “comportment.” I think it REALLY aged me.)

However, I won’t lie and say that I didn’t smile and smile as I drifted off to (my much needed,) thirty thousand foot, recycled air dreamscape.

Strangely, these early morning events never curtailed after arriving home from Oahu.

In fact, for about two months now, I’ve been getting up before work and running like a loon, mostly in preparation for my marathon on November 2nd, but also because the weather has been so darned hot I cannot fathom leaving the office in the afternoon and belting out a 10k in 25+ celcius temperatures.

Because gross.

Also. Man. November 2nd.

Let’s not beat around the bush here folks – that date is very soon. And what with how quickly days seem to be slipping between my fingers, I’ll probably take a long nap in a week or two and wake up on race day fretting about the fact that I’ve forgotten to pick up my race package in time.

Good grief.

OKAY. What else has been hammering at the proverbial workbench of life…

I have been doing quite a few speaking engagements and interviews for work, hosting the radio show, Big Sistering it up, and trying to get my head wrapped around the idea of sifting through approximately 400 blog posts in the attempt to MAYBE put together a book proposal based on all of these insane musings.

Because you know – everybody has to have a goal right?

Or else what the heck is the point of chewing through those leathers straps every morning!?

Since being gifted with free HD cable, Marc and I have been watching a crap ton of US Open tennis because everything else on the ol’ boobtube is absolute garbage, and the only thing that will ever get me to turn on the television is electric athletes and their incredible displays of strength and agility.

Anything and everything else? Just GTFO.

On September 16th my AMAZING friend Alex and I are headed to the Kaiser Chiefs concert and I have all of the excitement.

Equally because Alex is truly one of the greatest people I am lucky to count as a friend in my life, and also because the Kaiser Chiefs are such tip-top groovemeisters and I cannot wait to get my epic dance moves on to their fab tunes.

The last time this band was in town I was forced to go to the concert by myself, which in retrospect wasn’t all that horrid and turned out to be quite a blast. However, in my nervous state, I drank half a bottle of wine and ended up speaking in the absolute worst British accent of all time to the teenager who wouldn’t stop pestering me for my phone number on the skytrain home.

Because I am the worst and desperately needed him to shut up, I just threw in the towel and gave him Marc’s cell phone number.

(Which I am still laughing about to this day.)

(This may also be why I am mistaken for sixteen year-olds on airplanes.)

Finally, I have been reading some absolutely excellent texts of late, including the newest Murakami (melancholy and beautiful, as always), some old Henning Mankell (that I somehow missed? P.S. I am planning a trip to Sweden next April so STAY TUNED), some Jo Nesbo (that stuff is DARK!), some Lev Grossman (TERRIBLE STAY AWAY – dude is an amazing writer but absolutely crap at storytelling and character development), some Carl Sagan (my imaginary boyfriend), much Dostoevsky and Bradbury (my two literary husbands), and will next be venturing into a biography on the late, and utterly devastatingly brilliant Alan Turning.

Lev G

Like so many things in this bonkers world of ours – I cannot wait.

And I leave you all with this little ditty:

SEPTEMBER

sept is an English word for a division of a family, especially of a Scottish or Irish. The word may derive from the Latin saeptum, meaning “enclosure” or “fold”

Ember: a small piece of burning or glowing coal or wood in a dying fire.

ERGO – September = fireplace.

And that has been your piece of monthly trivia.

Pun intended (of course.)

Sometimes fabricated, always real

For almost two straight years I wrote faithfully here at Rant and Roll.

Without exception, I published posts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (and often Tuesdays and Saturdays, depending on when extra inspiration would strike.)

Nowadays, it’s less that I am uninspired to write (in fact I find myself reaching for my laptop more often than not – what with the unending stream of ideas percolating away inside of my brain. Sometimes I actually imagine these conceptions as small nuggets of gold, and my mind as one giant, ever swirl-swirl-swirling miner’s pan.)

It’s just that, I just can’t seem to keep track of days, hours, space, and time – let alone said nuggets.

Flip open my computer on any given day and you will find three or four half-finished posts (as well as three or four half-read Grantland, Jezebel, and Deadspin articles.)

There may even be a Youtube video or two for your viewing pleasure.

So where does that leave me? Where does that leave us?

Pretty much at the same place where I have been treading water for the last six or so odd months.

You see, I just don’t ever remember life being quite this bonkers – always barmy yes, but never to the extent where I feel as though days are simply slipping between the crooks of my fingers and the dips of my toes.

But the crazy thing is (and the big difference from six months ago), is that I don’t feel scared or upset by this.

(At least not anymore.)

Because these days, the warm weather, and fantastic runs, and fabulous friends, and fantastical reads – and all the other magical magic that make up this incandescent, resplendent, and transcendent life of mine – make me want to cut each day up into one million of the finest fragments and carefully sew each one into a soft and sinuous blanket that I may wrap myself in for all of the ages.

And they make me want to share it all with you.

Whenever,wherever the time may be.

Some things.

Sugar (da da da da da daaaaa)

I haven’t eaten junk food in six days.

That is six more days than my previous longest record.

Prior to this almost-week, I am fairly confident that had I ever been the subject of a medical autopsy (as opposed to all of those recreational autopsies), the corner performing the operation (always Dana Scully in my imaginaiton) would have found my corpse to be comprised of 1/3 Rogers product.

However, in a bid to curb my anxiety, up my health-quotient, improve my running (just in case I ever decided to full-on try that competitive racing thing), decrease my chance of familial-susceptible diseases, and just in general TRY SOMETHING NEW – here I am.

The ex-chocolate bar queen.

And you know what?

It’s been the absolute best six days of life.

(It would seem as though in a bid to replace my discarded crown, I am now the queen of excessive use of hyperbole.)

Marc and I have been cooking amazing dinners, eating the delicious produce grown from our very own backyard, and taking the time to sit outside and enjoy our meals.

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I cannot quite explain to you how nice it is to bide my time and prepare a delicious and nutritious dish, instead of eating seven oreos and then complaining about how much my stomach hurts, and then dreading the task of forcing a few bites of a meal down my throat (only to be starving three hours later and repeat the first step which would then ensure a redux of the hurt tummy blahs.)

I think this renaissance (can it be a renaissance if you never remember living the process a first time around?) will be one I stick with.

She was looking pretty beat.

A post-Tough Mudder snap:

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On the plus side, I carried my 180 lbs partner 100 meters and was the fifth woman to finish the course.

On the downside:

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and

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Old friends.

Revisiting this genius:

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So if Bradbury is my all-time favourite author of life, Heinlein is definitely in my top-20. The dude can not only write, but sweet mother of pearl does he ever make you think.

He may not make me quake, and cry, and shake, an die like ol’ Ray, but Bobby A too has a few tricks and treats up his sleeve.

Dance break.

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About a boy.

Look at this dude.

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HE IS SO CUTE I CANNOT EVEN.

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This August will mark eleven years that I have had this brilliant, bonkers man in my life.

That is like – more than one third of my life.

(That is like, MORE THAN A LONG TIME OF MY LIFE.)

How do you even spend that much time with someone and now bludgeon them to death with a pineapple one morning over brunch?

I have no idea.

Good thing we never eat brunch.

Anywho, he’s just such a marvellous person who makes my silly little heart smile all the time, and sometimes I feel like a broken record just waxing eloquent all the live-long day about all of the full-stop brilliant things he is doing with his life, but I don’t care because he is a difference maker and world builder and all of his energy and brilliance shines light into the lives of his many students, and his words, and deeds, and thoughts and passions impact so, so many who come up to him and say “thank you thank you” and those who may not even know it, but who will wake up one morning, on a sun-drenched Thursday morn, and just think to themselves, “wow.”

Because that is what I do.

Everyday.

Game over man! GAME OVER!

Hey kids!

I have a confession to make.

But first –

WHAT THE CRAP IS THIS:

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Argh!

Foot-less tights!? WHY?

I mean, it’s totally my fault that I purchased them without realizing that they are, in fact, footless.

But at the same time, I just assumed that anytime I bought something marketing themselves as “tights” that they would, you know, cover my feet.

HENCE THEM BEING TIGHTS.

And why in the ever-loving heck would I buy fleece-lined tights, if not for the sweet, sweet heat they would bring to my frozen tootsies throughout the long, and frigid Canadian winters?

Certainly not for the slimming factor!

These things bring a bulk to my calves previously known only to competitive stair runners and long-distance cyclists.

But I digress.

I will suffer through this fashion injustice.

If only for potential blog hits.

NEXT!

Back to the original purpose of this entry – my confession.

This past Saturday, Marc and I woke up late and decided to go see Ender’s Game. It is one of his favourite books of all time, and for many moons I have been extolling the virtues of Mr. Scott Card’s literary genius to all those who asked if I too had read the book.

Only, I had, you know, never actually cracked it open.

I AM A GIANT FRAUD!

I’m not exactly sure why I pretended that I had in fact read the book. I think a lot of it has to do with protecting my nerd cred – I have read and loved so much science fiction, that I figured by admitting that I had omitted such an important novel, people might take me less seriously.

(Even though the more I think about it, people would probably be more likely to forgive this literary transgression, than you know, LYING TO THEIR FACES LIKE A BALD-FACED SCOUNDRAL.)

Even Marc had assumed that I had read it – and was shocked to hear on our exit from the theatre that I had no knowledge of the written words in which to compare the film.

(SPOILER: I thought that movie was pretty grim, and Marc just downright hated it.)

In preparation of watching the film, I read a really fabulous article on Grantland this past Friday by Rany Jazayerli.

It looks at the controversy that’s surrounded Card and his career for the past decade – his rabid homophobia, and xenophobia to be precise – and how these views stand in such sharp contrast to the messages of love and tolerance that permeate so much of his writing (and in particular Endger’s Game and its sequels.)

It made me think of how it is we are able to separate an artist from their art – and who we are willing to make exceptions for, and why?

For instance, I have never understood Hollywood’s enduring love affair with Roman Polanski. To me, the man is nothing more than a rapist who refused to face the consequences of his actions, and I couldn’t give two cares about his movies or his talent for storytelling.

I also don’t care if John Galliano ever designs another dress, and I certainly don’t care if [insert name of professional athlete convicted of doping/sexual assault/animal abuse] ever plays another game for the rest of their lives.

And yet, despite this hard-held views, I will always, always give the latest Woody Allen film a try.

I definitely don’t feel good about this choice, but it’s something that I do, and that I accept.

My love for Annie Hall is just so strong that it propels me to seek out what this man – this quirky, strange, totally perverse man – might next deliver to the big screen.

It’s an off-putting balancing act: while I definitely do not support his life-choices (in fact, I find them downright disturbing), I do really like many of his films.

And I like that I am at least conscious enough to identify this push-pull binary that lives inside of me, despite the fact that it’s an on-going struggle to figure out where this leaves me standing – especially if we’re talking moral, and not literal ground.

But alas, such is life. I’ll just have to keep working on it.

And in the meantime, I’m going to crack open Ender’s Game and finally see what all the fuss is about.

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Because if I know one thing that’s going to help both my morality and nerd cred, it will be to finally stop lying about having read the book, and to just read it.

Finally.