That pregnant bitch of a world

I’m in a cocoon, wrapped in self-doubt and misery,
Wondering why everyone tells me to give up on you,
That one year is too long to wait,
That you never felt anything for me,
That it all was just a pipe dream,
Something that the Caterpillar made up
To distract Alice from her task at hand.
(I thought, nay, I know, my task is you…
and a Pandora bit of hope still has faith in that, in you)KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Waiting for you to come to a decision is sheer hell.
I am completely immobilized by waiting to hear from you.
Wanting to hear from you.
Missing you.
Missing our games of Scrabble,
While discussing the finer nuances of kitchen bitching,
And games of 52 pick up with wasabi peas and chopsticks.

What happened that everything came to a full stop,
When things were rolling merrily along?
They’re going like a bloody nose now,
Fast and furious,
And twisted pieces of tissue stuffed up nostrils.
I feel like a bloody walrus.
Why did one piece of news suddenly narrow in your world,
So that you felt your future rapidly diminish?
The only certainties that I can offer are support, friendship, acceptance, and trust.
And aren’t those enough?

I am sacrificing chickens to the gods,
So that you have the courage to accept those certainties,
And I am turning sacrifices into stews
Meant to be slurped in cold September rains.
I won’t really eat them in the rain;
No, I’ll sit and slurp, and watch the drizzle
Wash the pigeon shit off of my patio,
And wonder whether I can still wriggle my toes,
When my soul seems to have succumbed to frostbite.

You are making me re-evaluate everything,
this very moment in time.
I want my future twinned to yours,
strands of a silken rope tied to a bed,
in a nautical knot,
bodies writhing in ecstasy.
And if that is not meant to be,
Then I must go forth into that pregnant bitch of a world,
And look for meaning in the cups of old men,
Whose beards bear the mark of the last dregs of wine from the vat.

But before all that,
Before I kneel at the altar of remorse and self-pity,
Bedecked in withered roses,KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
Smelling faintly of the salty tang of the sea,
I will keep faith,
In you,
That all that excrement and misery,
Will be staid by your hand,
At your command,
And I will be for you,
And you for me.


Stuck in Traffic When Your Life Is a Sad Country Song

After Wednesday, I spent too much time listening to music I really, really like, which, as it turns out is full of lyrics about love and loss. I think every single song resonated with me in some part (some just a line, some the whole song). The one that made me feel like my life was a country western song was You + Me’s self-titled song, “You And Me”:

This verse resonated:

hey say everything it happens for a reason
You can be flawed enough, but perfect for a person
Someone who will be there for you when you fall apart
Guiding your direction when you’re riding through the dark

So my life has become a sad country western song (at least no trucks are involved in the making of that song). I am waiting for you to reach a decision, and I respect that, but it’s extraordinarily hard waiting for you to let me know one way or the other. I am standing at a crossroads with my hand outstretched to you. Fear is such a particular construct. I’m scared of spiders and I sure as heck need someone to either whack the beasts, or capture them and take them out of my sight before they eat me. It’s easy to deal with your fear when you have someone with a large slipper size at your side. Why do all the catchy tunes on the radio have to deal with love? Superbly depressing when you are stuck in traffic and trying to find a station to which to listen.

So today I decided to go out and see if I could sell some of the penny novels I own, as I’m not reading them anymore and they’re just taking up shelving space. Traffic was very amusing, so I decided to share my road angst with you for a lark. I’m house sitting again out in the wealthy neighbourhood of Caulfeild, and the poor dog was cooped up all day yesterday before I was able to make my way to her so when I arrived at the house at 5pm, I found two turds by the door, which she promptly stepped into, in her excitement to see a person…I think should would have settled for a burglar to be fair. I think those turds were a subtle reflection of my life at the moment. So on the weekends, the narrow lanes and narrower curves of Marine Drive tend to be taken over by weekend warrior cyclists, in their tight Lululemon bike shorts Designed in Vancouver and Made in China, squishing their nethers so they can no longer have children (mind you, most of them are baby-boomers). Of course it was my luck to have some fifty year old on his bike thinking that he could race a car and damn the car to hell for not letting him go down the centre of the lane, rather than hugging the right side of the lane to make room for the larger hunk of metal.

I’m surprised that there actually hasn’t been a more serious accident along that stretch of Marine, like one involving an angry motorist edging a cyclists off one of the more scenic points along the route, which is indicative of a cliff down one side. Just saying.

My next driving beef, on this merry route to the booksellers, was navigating the line-up onto Lions Gate Bridge. For those of you who don’t know Vancouver at all, this bridge was built by the Guinness family back in the 1920’s or 30’s to provide some sort of link between the North Shore (read: mountainside) and Vancouver proper. In its time, this bridge was the largest suspension bridge in the British Commonwealth (because the rest of the world didn’t count). Right now, it’s four lanes of traffic merging into either one or two lanes, depending on the time of day and whether you are travelling north or south at that point. The etiquette is for two lanes to merge into one; the drivers in the left lane are supposed to let the drivers in the right lane merge, one and one, like a zipper, and then to two zippered lanes subsequently zipper into one, and thus you have four lanes of traffic politely merging into one with no honking or showing of the No. 1 finger. I don’t think such civilized merging would ever happen elsewhere.

I always do the ‘wave’ to the driver who’s let me in, even though they are supposed to; I feel it’s common driving courtesy. What irked me today was the other side of the bridge, when the one lane parts into three, and when I reached Denman. I believe in driving karma and will allow some drivers in if they need; I’d hope for the same extended courtesy if the driving shoe was on the other foot. And damn them if they didn’t even thank me. I let in three cars on that portion of the drive, from the bridge to West 4th. Not. A. Single. Wave. I like the wave, I think it’s a nice acknowledgement that someone has done you a favour. We usually say ‘thank you’ if someone holds the door open for us; is having someone let you merge in front of them any different, particularly because you were trying to be clever and thought the right lane was empty but had a car parked there so you could go the full run of the lane? I think a ‘thank you’ is in order. Douche drivers with a sense of entitlement that they deserve to be allowed to merge; it’s a courtesy, people! Remember that.

Then there are pedestrians. I firmly believe extra points are awarded when you nick a pedestrian who is not obeying the road rules (I’ve yet to collect any points). Today, it was a game of timing, to see if the pedestrian would be able to cross the street illegally without me having to slow down. He won, and shot me a dirty look. Really buddy? I weight more than you. Not me, personally, that’s the car talking there.

So those were my driving beefs today. I felt like I’d been served up a full roast beef dinner with Yorkshire puddings (still inflated) and peas. I didn’t manage to interest the guy at the bookstore in any of the books. Penny novels from the turn of the 20th century are still, apparently, worth pennies. Anybody want a collection?

The theme of today: A Simple Song (courtesy of Lions Gate Traffic for No Good Reason):

I know that things can really get rough when you go it alone
Don’t go thinking you gotta be tough, to play like a stone

Wrapping Up My Fringe

vancouver-fringe-festivalI had a long Saturday afternoon and evening, taking on three of the Fringe’s darker performances. I decided to be strategic I my selection, and chose plays located at the Cultch Theatre, and thus staggered Little One by Hannah Moscovitch, The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield in the Bosnian War by Matei Visniec, and Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

I was pleased with Moscovitch’s Little One. The play is narrated by Aaron, whose parents died under tragic circumstances as a young child, who was raised by his partially deaf aunt and, upon whose death in his early youth (probably around the age of twelve), was adopted by Mom and Dad. Adopted somewhat around the same time was his younger sister, Clare. Clare might not even be Clare’s name, as she was found abandoned in a derelict building. The happy family are living in a middle class nice Ottawa neighbourhood.

Aaron narrates from the perspective of an adult, a medical student, and the play flashes between the narration, which is set as a series of monologues, and scenes fluidly enacted from his narration. The acting is brilliant and mesmerizing, the text descriptive enough so that each scene is vividly imagined though the actual set is minimalist at best.

The performance wavers between comedic, as Aaron describes his sister’s psychopathic and sociopathic tendencies and how the family unit sacrifices all to try to help Clare normalize, to tragic, as the scenes where Clare appears are chilling.

Daniel Arnold does a superb job as Aaron, trying to be a good son to Mom and Dad, and a good brother to Clare: he gives up hockey and his social life to support Clare at home as everyone waits with bated breath to see if Clare can remember her name and stop stabbing herself with knives, how he tries to teach Clare how to deal with Aaron’s new kitten ‘Little One,’ and how tries to escape his stifled teenage years on a family camping trip by hanging out with the girl with the red coat.

You feel for Aaron, as he’s a good kid really trying to do best with a terrible situation that is clearly impacting his life, though his adopted parents seem oblivious to the fact of this.

Marisa Smith as Clare gives a superlative performance. Her blank look and ever present wide smile puts me to mind of the same blank looks that pit bulls have: nobody home; they’re simply, present.

One of the interesting subtexts of the play are Clare’s occasional monologues relating to a set of neighbours, Roger and Kim Lee. The little vignettes of the couple’s life, from when they met, to the first (and only) disastrous dinner with Aaron and Clare’s family, are eerie in the detached curiosity with which Clare describes the scenes. It is clear that she has been peeping in on the couple’s life, and you are led to wonder whether her fascination with the couple had anything to do with her suppressed past.

Little One is a fantastic play, and it was a privilege to be able to see such a stellar performance from both Arnold and Smith, and the highlight of the three plays that I saw.

The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield in the Bosnian War was a very sombre reflection on some of the horrors of the Bosnian war: the mass executions of Bosnian males in Srebrenica, and the subsequent exhumation of these mass graves by international organizations; and the use of rape as a system of terror against Bosnia women.

This play was particularly poignant for me as a I have a Bosnian friend who lived through the horrors of the Bosnia war when she was in her early teens. She shared how one day, when she was home alone, some Serbian soldiers had banged on the door of the home, and she let them in. They seemed to be looking for someone and left shortly thereafter, and when she told her mother of the experience, her mother was terrified that the soldiers might come back and either try to take my friend away to rape her, or to take away the males of the family.

The realities of the Bosnian war did not happen so long ago and out of our memory for us to forget these atrocities. The performances by Sinziana Corozel (as the victim of gang rape) and by Qelsey Zeeper (as the American psychologist who was working on the exhumations of the mass graves before suffering from PTSD) are excellent.

One thing I found a bit disjointing, and took away from the seriousness of the whole play, was an interlude where the two characters list off all the Balkan stereotypes while drinking wine. Perhaps this scene was meant to relieve some of the tension of the subject matter, but it only served to annoy.

Overall, a good play, a solid performance, and a good reminder that such atrocities still need to be fought.

Lastly, Macbeth. The director, Danielle Benzon, had put an interesting twist to this old classic, but opening the play in an asylum where Macbeth is awaiting execution for the murders of Duncan, Banquo, and MacDuff’s family. The play ends with the execution. Benzon does an amazing job of making the script fit this theme, without any major deviation from Shakespeare’s script, relative to both the text and the scenes. The other neat twist was making Malcolm and Donalbain, Duncan’s sons in the original play, princesses instead of princes. The change works fabulously well, with a particularly strong performance from Kallie Jean Sorensen as Malcolm.

A nod must be given to the three witches, James Dolby, Julia Fox, and Madlen Scot, very primordial and thoroughly dissolute, and were ever present throughout the play as they took on the roles of Banquo’s and Lady MacDuff’s murderers, and asylum orderlies. I loved their costumes, make-up, and thoroughly delightful despicableness; I would not want to meet them on a dark night on the heath.

Thankfully, the night was young that Fringe Fest Saturday, and no witches abroad. It had been a great way to end my Fringe Fest experience, and I’m looking forward to the next.

No Man Is An Island Entire To Himself

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAOff of a far and lonely Northern shore,
An island sits,Jutting out of the waves by the high tide,
Squatting on the sand at low.
Arctic storms rail against its sides,
And hurricane winds rake their claws against its face.
The island is a rocky point,
Bereft of any earthen flesh
Save for a small oasis of green
At its very peak,
Where sits a small pine
That reaches out for the mainland,
With its branches, in supplication.

This island looks to be alone,
Ravaged by water, wind, and dust,
Scoured grey and grim,
Slowly aging, thirsting for the main.
Yet, if you peer at its feet,
At the low tide,
Small pools of life look up to their leader,
That keeps them sheltered from the cruel elements.
Anemones, barnacles, crabs, limpets, and starfish,
All gather in vibrant colours,
Purples, reds, oranges, greens, and blues,
At the granite’s gray-scale base.

And as your eyes rise to the top of the monolith,
You will espy, at the foot of that small and strangled pine,
A small nest,
Where a tiny wren has made her home,
Sheltered from the gales,
Hidden from the raging rains and bitter cold,
Kept safe by the roots of the protective arbour.

She was buffeted about by a winter storm, one year,
Flung far from her home in warmer climes.
Tired, wing-sore, wind-worn,
She alit the shoulders of that stern island,
And found the pine,
Its branches reaching for the mainland.
The wren reached her wings out to the island,
And the two connected,
In need of each other,
Whilst the storm rallied about them.

The island at first doubted
Whether the wren would stay, and
Be tempted back to her proper place,
Abandoning the rock to its lonely thoughts.
The wren simply nestled deeper into the roots and rock,
Determined not to give up her safe abode:
For a snug and dry home,
Solid and supported,
Comforted and cared,
Once found,
Is worth to keep.

And so if you go to that wild and far-flung corner,
Of the Northern coast,
And find that lonely isle,
You will espy that loyal wren,
And know that each has the other.

Wasabi: Farming ‘the hardest plant to grow’

The only joke I’ve ever made up:

What did one Japanese bee say to the other Japanese bee?

Wuss-up, bee?

(sounds like ‘wasabi’ when you say out aloud…)

And now for something completely different:
Farming ‘the hardest plant to grow’

Terrible Pick-up Lines (possibly offensive)

A friend recently texted me the following message: Need some of the most atrocious, hilarious pick-up lines you’ve got 😀

The background to this request was that a girl he was chatting to online had challenged him to come up with the worst pick up line… (I like her already!). She threw down the gauntlet with this doozy:

“Do you like dragons? cause I’ll be draggin my balls on your face later.”

My friend parried with these beauties:

“Girl, you should sell hotdogs, because you already know how to make a wiener stand.”

“Want to play Pearl Harbour? I’ll lay back and you blow the shit outta me.”

“Girl,  do you wash your pants with Windex,  because I can see myself in them.”

Feel free to email me to add your own priceless prick-up…er .. pick-up lines.


Missionary Positions (not always appropriate)

Painting from museum in Cartagena, Colombia. I daren't dwell too much on what is going on here.

Painting from museum in Cartagena, Colombia. I daren’t dwell too much on what is going on here.

So this blog isn’t a writing-based one, as I heard this on the radio, and I will caveat that the article from which this came was on a Very Serious Topic. I’m not be facetious or sarcastic, the CBC article was about a paedophile priest who was recently convicted of 24 charges of sex crimes against youth in Nunavut. What was particularly awful was the choice of description about the asshole’s past:

“Witness after witness told court that Dejaeger used his position as Igloolik’s missionary….”

Seriously, they couldn’t come up with a better choice of phrase? His position as a missionary…Oh lord, this one could have been very funny if it wasn’t for the fact of the subject matter.

This example brings the point home about being careful with one’s choice of words and though you might be trying to be funny, humour isn’t always appropriate.

Vancouver Fringe Festival 2014 Review: Thus, I Curse Love – ZOUCH

Thought this was going to be a D&D wet dream kind of thing but it ended up being a very entertaining and well-acted play.

Vancouver Fringe Festival 2014 Review: Thus, I Curse Love – ZOUCH.