Monthly Archives: March 2004

Random Linkage

I was sitting outside smoking and watching a raven bobbing it’s head and strutting along the road. I like watching birds walk when they could fly. It’s kind of comical. Anyway, I don’t have much to write about today, so I thought I’d do a random linkage list. Here’s some stuff I came across recently, in order of no particular importance.

Thirzahs, Tirzahs, and Thirzas

The other day I found my name in the bible in Songs of Solomon. So did this woman, who has a page all about Thirza’s she’s found. The woman I was named after is one of them! (Thirza Jones)

St. Christina the Astonishing

She’s not officially canonized, but her story is fascinating. Patron saint of the mentally ill, St. Christina died and came back to life, flew into the church rafters like a bird and refused to come down. She lived as a homeless woman feeding off her own lactations.

Vixen Love Bot

Yes, it’s sophmoric and silly, but nevertheless this little bot is quite funny as she manages to elude and mystify would be cyber partners.

Picking your nose is good for you

How can I top a headline like that?

My pet fat

When Atkins isn’t enough try lugging around realistic looking blobs of fat to help you in your dieting goals. No joking, this site is serious and I’ve seen it on CNN as well. Please, I don’t want this for my birthday, I just think it’s funny.

1940’s House – Feminist Reality Television

The other night I was at a friend’s house channel surfing when I came upon 1940’s House on PBS. A sequel to 1800 House, the show’s premise is this: a family is chosen to live for a period of time in a house restored to accurately reflect life in the 1940’s in Britain during the war. I didn’t think anything could top 1800 House, until I watched three back to back episodes of 1940’s House. The family dresses, eats, works, as historically accurate as possible, in the 1940’s. And like 1800 House, the focus is mainly on the women’s lives and their personal thoughts on how difficult life was.

This domesticity might sound boring to some who would rather watch people rappelling down buildings and eating earthworms to win thousands of dollars. However we aren’t talking Martha Stewart here, these programs show that “women’s work” is first and foremost WORK! Not only that, the women have the addictional burden of wartime, the Blitz, rations, air raids, black outs, and even nights in the bomb shelter where the sounds of nearby explosions are heard.

Maintaining a family during a time of great crisis becomes heroic. Of course to be as accurate as possible, the women sign up for the Women’s Voluntary Service and are assigned jobs in an aircraft facility. The show even recreates the local grocery with rationed food. At one point during the war when cigarettes were scarce, women were no longer permitted to purchase them. One day when the grocer tells the women he doesn’t have any cigs in stock, they duck behind the counter and steal a package when he’s not looking.

I think what appeals to me the most about the period House programs is that it’s a historical reality show which really does focus itself on women’s lives. Since these are 21st Century women it’s fascinating to see how truly uncomfortable the old roles were. So many women in my generation are afraid to call themselves feminist in part because they don’t really understand what kind of struggles women went through to get us where we are now. They recieve all the benefits of feminist activism, but don’t want to acknowledge how vital it has been for the contemporary woman’s quality of life.

Like any reality show, the women do start to break under all the strain. What’s different is that these women are a part of English history, this stress was a very real thing which a lot of women had to cope with. Add to that the haunting cry of the air raid siren waking the family from sleep. Although this family doesn’t have to worry aboyt any real bombs, they do have to clean up shattered glass and dust from nearby “explosions.” One of the youngest sons notes that he’s learned war is not a game. How timely.

The series ends just as the war has finished, which is unfortunate because it would have been amazing to see how the women responded to attempts to send them back to the kitchen.

This is a truly smart reality show which is feminist in a way no other reality show has touched. We really have come a long way, and yet I can’t help but wonder if in the future there will be a 2000 House and women around the world will wonder how we could stand living day to day under this current regime of white supremacist imperialist hegemony.

Went to see the doctor today. Good news, finally. It appears I am in the early stages of a full remission. Full remission, the words never sounded sweeter. It’s funny, because while I was taking the bus to see my doctor, I was looking at all the people on the street and thinking “Wow, I feel normal.” I wasn’t even sure what normal was anymore, but for a moment I knew this was it. No weird thoughts, no agitation, no hyperactivity, no sadness. Just a nice even feeling, all balanced and happy. But not too happy.

What a fucking weird disease! It takes you up, up and away, in your beautiful balloon, then it slams you down into the deepest, darkest pit of despair. It makes you horny, makes you sluggish, no sleep, too much sleep. Day becomes night and night becomes day. And then it can fade away into remission. Go on then, you’re fine now. Bizarro land.

So I’m going to stay on all these things I’m taking, since it seems to be working. Maybe in a year or two the doctor and I will try going off my drugs, but I don’t really mind if I have to take Epival forever. All I want is a normal life, or as close to normal as I get.

And for people who think psych drug consumers are all being conformists, I should state I am still as much a weirdo as I ever was.

Mars is in retrograde so I am eating it and there’s no more left for you. Apparently communication breaks down when this happens. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of the cosmos.

So I thought I would be a bit more experimental in my blog today.

This is what a writer looks like who is writing and has nothing to say, we all do these things day to day. Talk talk talk and there’s nothing to talk about, or what needs to be said will never be uttered. A collection of words beaded for traders cast aside for a statement about safety. Slipping candied ginger on the tongue over and over. Repetitive, I can’t avoid using the letter a. Patterns of symbols clatter to the floor, and in the end all we can do is sleep.

People killed outside and inside of mosques, churches, synagogues, temples. These are supposed to be safe places, sanctuaries. A still place to escape the world and feel faith. What a world we live in. The world is condemning Israel for killing Hamas leader Yassin. Egypt decided not to celebrate the 25 year anniversary of the Camp David accords with Israel. That’s spooky. It looks like things are going to get a lot worse, these things have repercussions all around the world.

But one really cool thing I read about recently was Jimmy Carter condemning Bush and Blair for the war in Iraq. I mean really, it is just him trying to make his daddy happy, it has very little to do with ending “terrorism”.

I’m tired of hearing GW Bush say “Evil-doers” and “Madmen”. Evil-doers just sounds like some kind of elementary school playground slang. “You broke my sand castle! You evil doer!” I don’t think evil doer is even a word. Maybe the Bushes will patent the phrase, the way Trump just patented the words “You’re fired!”

Here are a couple of questions I have about America.

Why was it that on Sept 11, 2001, the only plane approved to fly after the attacks was carrying the Bin Laden family out of America?

Was 911 allowed to happen as a publicity stunt to garner support for two unrelated wars during a single term in office?

There are a lot of conspiracy theories on the subject. I was a bit of a conspiracy theory junkie for a while, so I have probably heard them all. The ones where they start talking about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion I just ignore right away. Those are totally worthless and I don’t like reading the hate stuff.

I wish there was a nice conspiracy theory. Something about giraffes eating sugar pears and saving the world through tantric giraffe sex.

Well, here’s a link to the article on Jimmy Carter

I used to have dreams of snakes, black mambas to be precise. They slithered into my house and I had to catch them. I never got bit, and they never out ran me, even though they are the fastest, deadliest snake in the world. Someone told me that all snakes in dreams meant sex, but that interpretation never sat well with me. It just doesn’t seem to fit.

Maybe we all have our own black mambas to chase and tame. Maybe it’s just a representation of that something within ourselves that could ruin us if we’re not careful.

Things about Saskatoon I remember

So I’m having a beer with this queer friend of mine who lived in Saskatoon ages ago, he’s asking me about what’s been happening in our old hometown.

“Cher was at Fuddruckers this past year.”

“Nooooooo! I don’t believe it!”

It’s true, for those who don’t know, Fuddruckers is kind of like Chucky Cheese. I used to get free time on the air hockey table because an employee went to the same queer youth group as me. I was actually living in Saskatoon at the time Cher made her glorious appearance at Fuddruckers. I don’t remember what they said she played there, maybe it was air hockey.

What I do remember is the radio stations kept playing “Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves” over and over. It got to the point where I could sing a few bars and be guaranteed to drive my mother spare.

Fuddruckers is on 8th Street. 8th Street is the main driving route of all the bored teenagers. They just go up and down this one street. Like sharks, always moving. I was one of the teenagers that drove around too, but I hung out with gay boys, so we drove up and down the strip where the boys were, listening to New Order and generally acting dramatic about everything.

I think everybody in Saskatoon does it, the driving around thing. Joni Mitchell probably did it too. She went to the same high school I went to, and the school was so proud of that fact. There was a signed photo of her in the trophy cabinet. Of course, at the time there was no music program, no art program, no writing program, and no theatre. So, there you go.

My friend just told me she went to the same high school as Neil Young. Too funny! What a pair we make.

There’s this local legend about the train bridge where Joni lost her virginity.

The place I lost my virginity in burnt down.

And that makes me think about my Neil Young friend’s favorite pizza place, Dynomite Pizza, which blew up. For real.

That’s not a Saskatoon story though.

When I was a little kid I was convinced my mother was living a double life as Nana Mouskouri. She went off to Canada Council juries and I would be left alone trying to process where she could be. I saw this woman on television, Nana, and she looked just like my mother. Nana was touring. Nana sold records.

Nana wasn’t my mother, but it took me a few years before I was sure.

18 years of living in Saskatoon and I had never seen the fabled Joni Mitchell. This was it, I was at the airport, on my way to my new adult life in Vancouver. I was all fresh faced and hopeful, and there, sitting in Robin’s Donuts, was Joni Mitchell. My mother was trying her best to impart advice about life and how things would be. I could only see Joni Mitchell, drinking coffee and waiting for the same flight as me.

Last night I had a dream about Eclairs. Not the pastry variety, the sync 16mm cameras. I was surrounded by all this shiny old school technology, god, maybe it was a wet dream. I would love to shoot my feature on actual film, that would be so nice. It’s so pricey though, bleh. I heard a nasty rumour that Kodak is going to stop making film and just stick to digital. I think that would be tragic, there’s something so gorgeous about film.

Oh, now I’m hungry for a real eclair. Mmm, eclairs! Stop it! Stupid Zyprexa gives me carb cravings like you wouldn’t believe. When I was on it before if there was a carb within ten feet of me I’d eat it.

Dream Cup

I just had the weirdest dream. My cousin took this coffee mug I had that had the word Dream stamped on it in iridescent lettering and threw it on the floor. But instead of shattering, it just melted into nothingness, then he smiled at me and the alarm went off and I woke up.

It Gets Dark, It Gets Lonely

So I am finally feeling like making art after 3 years of not producing anything. I’ve been an art bum. Crud. But now I’m inspired, and I’m just thinking about what it’s like to make art. It’s so hard sometimes, just me and my thoughts alone in a room with some technology and dirty laundry piling up. The blacks get washed with the whites because my brain is somewhere else. And it’s so constant, I’m sitting down at breakfast with pen in hand scribbling in case the magic sentence that works will show up for some coffee. Walking down the street so fancy free and I totally space out while my characters have a conversation in my head that I need to go write down. Recently at an art event some friends were surprised that I brought my sketch book.

The Muse strikes at odd times, it’s true. Sometimes a gentle tapping, sometimes a full on punch in the face. Sometimes she’s there for hours getting giddy and you have to call her a cab to send her home. Sometimes she runs into my bedroom in the middle of the night and shakes me awake with the perfect moment.

The hardest part is when the concept is still so abstract, so fuzzy and out of focus, far away but you just know it’s there. Excavating your soul until you can make sense of it, and then trying to put it into a form other people can make sense of.

It’s worth it though, I think. I try to believe that anyway. I make work so other people don’t feel as lonely as I do. Yeah, if someone asked me today why I make art, that’s what I would say.