Thursday, November 29, 2007

she doesn't make it easy

My World of Warcraft paladin is level 61 tonight, Internet. I can't remember exactly when I started playing again, but it must have been a month ago, so let's just say it took a month. At this rate I will reach 70 by August, 2008, by which time the next expansion will surely be out. Still, at this moment I feel like I could DO ANYTHING!

[James and I recently wrote a song about my paladin (sung to the tune of the Plain White Ts' Delilah of course) that goes like this: Hey there Dehlilah, what's it like in Stormwind city?/I know that you are tough as nails but I still find you pretty, don't you see?/No one can Holy Wrath like you... Actually, we did write that song, but I don't remember the words. I made those new ones up. Holy Wrath is my paladin's second-favourite spell, after Hammer of Justice. And you can bet there is an MC-Hammer-esque song that goes with that one too.]

I've been sick all day, as I believe I mentioned, and I am holding this giant glass mug of juice, and that is awesome. It's the beer of juice. I am getting beer-sized vitamins from this juice. And if it doesn't make me feel better, I may have to mix in some peach schnapps, and then I will be getting cocktail-sized alcohol from it, as well. And then I will take some NyQuil, and we'll see if I can get up in the morning. SCIENCE!

That is all.

Deletia: the condom friend ever useful to you.TM

This public-service-type announcement from India makes the very good point that you will live a happier live without AIDS. The catchy song, Bollywood-style dancing, and guys dressed up as giant condoms are awesome. I also like how all the bystanders in every scene just look mildly puzzled--they probably couldn't afford to cast real extras.

Actually I watched Deepa Mehta's Water this morning so this is kind of a nice reminder that Indian culture is not all pain, suffering, and prejudice. They should probably include a version of this video on the Water DVD, in fact. Because that movie made me cry big time. (It doesn't help that I'm sick either. I am far more predisposed to burst into tears when I'm sick, because I basically lose my will to live.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

scams that are not scams

OMG, so this is from the archives of and it's so funny I couldn't stop laughing: Mama Crazy.

I wrote my first book review for publication yesterday, and now I can't find the book I had to write it on. My first thought was that it vaporized the minute I submitted my review, like DRM-ware or something. The logical part of my brain knows this is not the case, that a physical book does not disappear from a physical apartment, but I still am having trouble mustering the energy to look for it when its disappearance could be so aptly and poetically explained.

Getting free books in exchange for writing 250-word reviews of them is the BEST SCAM EVER. And it's NOT EVEN A SCAM.

I'm home sick from work today, and I got two new X-Files discs in the mail as if Zip and Canada Post KNEW I would need them. I can hardly leave my couch, and I've been taking a steady stream of tylenol, vitamins, and zinc.

And not just sick with lazy-itis

I'm obsessed with the end of the world, so both the idea of Alan Weisman's book The World Without Us and his cool interactive website feature fascinate me.

I'm sick today, and I have very little work to do. Thus all the blog updates. I wish I had my lozenges with anesthetic and my Dristan. Or, better yet, my couch and my remote.

O Hai

A hilarious and bittersweet essay from nerve called "Personal Inventory: The Erotic Appeal of the Land's End Catalogue." "These are images more invasive than any Victoria's Secret spread, because they don't inspire lust. This is a pornography of regret, and the longer you stare, the more seductive it becomes. These sixty pages are a self-pity trap; any sane lonely man would do well to avoid them."

Wednesdays are the worst

In his blog, Canadian copyright activist and scholar and all-around cool guy Michael Geist says that the new, soon-to-be-announced Canadian copyright legislation will beat even the American Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the extent of its draconian, uh, bullshit. (Sorry, normally I can come up with better words but not when I'm angry.) The first thing all users'-rights-loving Canadian citizens should do is write to their Member of Parliament, the Prime Minister, and the Ministers of Industry and Culture. You can find out right here, from Online Rights Canada, who your MP is and how to contact them. (That site will even write a letter for you, but said letter has the wrong Ministers listed for some reason.) (My MP is conservative jerk Laurie Hawn, but since I've read enough of his dumb communiques about "family values," he owes me at least one reading of a letter about copyright reform.) Michael Geist also has a list of 30 things you can do to help steer copyright reform back into the realm of the reasonable and sustainable.

Here is how to contact our Prime Minister, his address is:
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
K1A 0A2

The Minister of Industry:
Hon. Jim Prentice
C.D. Howe Building
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5

The Minister of Culture:
Hon. Josée Verner
Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

The Canadian Copyright Policy Branch is also a good place to send your letters:
275 Slater Street
7th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0M5

Letters mailed in Canada to a federal politician do not require a stamp, and are that much sweeter if composed while at work.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In which I congratulate myself on my own adorableness

Jocelyn: The things I want on cute socks are, in order of priority: 1: robots; 2: monkeys; 3: pirates; and 4: all other animals.
James: That is the cutest thing you've said in quite awhile.

3 Things I like about my job

1. I have a tiny space heater under my desk. It has been there since I started working here, but today I decided to check if it works and it DOES and now I will never be cold at the office again.

2. My boss is obsessed with Office Space, and at a meeting yesterday she mentioned that we should all wear "flair" to an upcoming event. She also laughed when I did my "Hey, Peter, what's happening" routine. No office where the person in charge understands why Office Space is funny can ever be really evil.

3. I constantly push the boundaries of work-appropriate clothing and no one seems to care. I regularly wear ironic Internet t-shirts to work (usually with nice pants or a skirt), I wear armwarmers, I wear my airwalks or my vans, I wear my pirate hat (well, not at work so much as to work) and no one says anything or looks as me pointedly. I think this is because I am a member of Generation Y and everyone knows we have no regard for society's values anyway, so the bar has been lowered.

1 Thing I don't like about my job

I have to go there every weekday and it makes me tired and I don't want to be here and I want to go home and glue things with Liquid Nails and go see Love in the Time of Cholera. And have a club soda with lime juice. And go on Facebook without having to feverishly tab out of my browser window everytime someone walks by.

Links I stole from BoingBoing

From the Wacky News desk: Homeless man found living in elaborate underground home. This guy dug a 200-square-foot underground residence beneath Fresno. I can't even begin to explain to you how awesome that is. There is a slideshow of pictures.

According to Metafilter, the woman who does the announcements on the London Undergound has been fired for her blog in which she made up snarky fake Tube announcements. (Thanks to the news furor around this, the website is temporarily unavailable--bandwidth issues no doubt.) I like "Passengers are reminded that a smile is actually a friendship signal and not a sign of weakness," personally.

Morning work schedule.

Every morning, I have to read the education-related news and send some of it out to my colleagues (if it's related to the work our branch does, which is technology stuff). This is called "environmental scanning" since "morning news checking and reading and sending" sounds silly. This means that approximately 3.5 times a week on average, I read an editorial about how ALBERTA TEACHERS ARE AN EXPLOITATIVE, WHINY BURDEN ON TAXPAYERS and THEY ONLY WORK 50 HOURS A YEAR and THEY ALREADY GET PAID MORE THAN EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD and TEACHING CHILDREN IS EASY DON'T YOU KNOW THAT and YOU KNOW WHAT'S EVEN WORSE THAN UNIONS? TEACHERS' UNIONS! and so on in the EDMONTON SUN. And then I spend the next ten minutes fuming at my desk and WRITING THINGS IN ALL-CAPS.

No job should make you read the Edmonton Sun. It's inhumane. It is an affront to my liberal democratic values and a painful reminder that the province where I live is not the place I imagine it to be.

In fact, since Metro came to Edmonton (one of those free daily papers that is funded by advertising and contains news items such as "PARIS HILTON LIKES KITTENS, SAYS INSIDE SOURCE"), the Edmonton Sun has been giving out free papers downtown as an effort to compete, I think, and gain new readers. Except these attempts always backfire with me. Not only will I not read the Edmonton Sun for free, I would not read it if THEY PAID ME $5. I would read it for $10 though, I'm not crazy. But then I would make fun of it on my blog.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Things My Dad Is not Very Interested In, In Spite of The Fact That Every Christmas Gift Guide Aimed At Dads Seems To Think He Should Be

  1. Cars
  2. Baseball
  3. Beer
  4. Aviation
  5. Barbequing
  6. Hunting
  7. Ties/Cosby sweaters
I can't make a list of the things he IS interested in, because he reads my blog, and he will then know what direction my gift-buying is going. [I'll give you a hint, though: he likes 19th-century philosophers, club soda with lime, small desktop cannons that shoot elastics, chocolate-covered peanuts, looking up word origins, and appropriate reference books for looking up word origins. And actually, I think he probably is at least mildly interested in aviation. Hi, dad! I love you!]


I have developed a (bad) habit of not sleeping well on Sunday nights as the spectre of work looms over me. I wake up on Monday mornings with a kind of insomnia hangover. Last night, I woke up so many times during the night, but somehow in between I kept having the same epic dream in which I went to Las Vegas to participate in some kind of World of Warcraft event. Yeah. I'm tired today.

I feel pretty strongly that the solution is Tim Horton's.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Holy animal conflict, batman!

It starts kinda slow, but don't give up on it. There are buffalo throwing lions in the air, and I am not even kidding.

4:04 pm on Friday afternoon? Are you frakkin kidding me, Internet? NO ONE is working. As far as I can tell, 1/3 of my office is currently talking about Dr. Who. I wish there was a "let's all just go home instead of pretending to work for 25 more minutes" alarm that would suddenly go off, and we could all file out instead of ashamedly watching YouTube videos and instant-messaging our friends.

Earlier: For best results, hum "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King while you watch

A man built a floating personal island with a frame of bamboo and recycled plastic bottles. This is an absolutely amazing project in and of itself (and the fact that it is reminiscent of the Disney Swiss Family Robinson treehouse doesn't hurt), but it also seems like it could be a precursor of the future. The more people there are on the planet, and the less land there is, the more likely it will become that we will be living in Waterworld. Only, hopefully, without Kevin Costner. Everyone living on little floating islands = sounds OK. Having to live in an overwrought, badly written movie = nightmare. (Also, having an adorable family dog on the island = Cool. Brawling with pirates = cooler.)

I am totally ziplisting Swiss Family Robinson.

I had Swiss Chalet for lunch, which I deeply, deeply regret. Doesn't Swiss Chalet seem like one of those franchises that should have gone out of business a long time ago? Now I feel both still hungry and vaguely ill.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A typical assortment of non-sequiturs

James [quoting Flight of the Conchords]: "You're kind of weedy and shy... but some girls must be needy for a weedy shy guy." I love some of their lyrics.
Jocelyn: I'm needy for a weedy shy guy.
James: Good, because I'm a weedy shy guy!
Jocelyn: You're not particularly weedy. Or shy.
James: I don't know what weedy means.
Jocelyn: It means, like... I don't know what it means.
James: I'm more barley.
Jocelyn: You're burly. Barley is a grain.
James: So is wheat!

Oh, yeah:

I'm convocating today, thus symbolizing The End Of my Illustrious Library School Adventure. I had to style my hair in such a way that it would look work-appropriate, but not interfere with my silly cardboard hat later in the day. I am going out for one last SugarBowl lunch with three friends who are also convocating today. Also, it seems that a few people close to me have gotten me presents for the occasion. Presents! Oh boy! I kind of forgot that graduation was a presents-thing, as Anya would say.

I'm confused about whether I should be excited. I didn't go to my undergrad convocation, so this will be my first graduation since high school (CLASS OF 2000! WOOOO! AND SO ON!). I don't feel excited, but I also don't feel completely not-excited; that could be the presents-thing thing, though, or the notion of Indian buffet for dinner. And I don't feel particularly proud--not going-out-and-framing-my-degree-tomorrow proud--but I also don't feel completely not-proud. I'm a little adrift. And later I will be wearing a silly cardboard hat with a tassel.

And not all Christians do

I was wondering how long it would take for the kinds of Christians who like to ban books to set their sights on The Golden Compass. And now it's happened, albeit in a Catholic jurisdiction. (Although it hasn't been banned, just temporarily removed from shelves while it's under review.) (As adamantly anti-book-banning as I am, I have to admit that when you're talking about religious schools, the waters get murkier. Although why they bought the book in the first place is a bit of a mystery. But making kids ask librarians for books--like PORN? Why bother?)

It's so ironic that the movie, which apparently dispenses with a lot of the anti-religious material from the series, is what is raising the books' profile enough for them to get banned.

I understand the sentiment behind wanting not to have a book like The Golden Compass in a Catholic school library. What I will never understand is the notion that people (children?) are so flexible and vulnerable in their beliefs that being exposed to something they don't agree with will--what? convert them? cause them to break down in tears? Destroy their lives? Exposure to what we don't believe in helps us to understand what we do believe in. And if a book can change your mind, then maybe you didn't really believe it in the first place. I firmly believe that reading a book that infuriates you is a helpful and illustrative exercise. In fact, there were things about His Dark Materials that infuriated me, but it would never occur to me that because of that, I should try to prevent others from reading it. I guess that's because I'm at ease in the post-modern world.

[PS. I love the part of the article that goes, "Two other books in the trilogy by British author Philip Pullman have also been removed as a precaution." Good move! I think while you're getting rid of the first book, you should also consider the third one, in which humanity declares war on God. Just as a precaution.]

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The day has not lived up to the snow, at all. If I start to cry, do you think they will let me go home?

Proprietary software headache

Except for the ubiquitous Windows, I don't use any Microsoft products at home. This is partly because I am cheap, and partly because I really believe that the future of information and ethical computing lies in open-source. But work is another matter, of course, and today Internet Explorer and Word 2007 are both giving me sass. I should get to take a personal day because I have a headache because I can't figure out how to make a new bookmarks folder in Internet Explorer. Or work from home, where Open Office and Firefox do exactly what I want them to do, all the time, right down to telling me I'm pretty every time I turn on my computer. (OK, not really.)

I thought posting this would make me feel better, but it really doesn't.

You are about to read what is, maybe, the longest run-on sentence ever!

Morning, Internets!

It's only 9:02 AM and already I have checked off two of the things on my to-do-at-work post-it. That means it's time for a little illicit blog-posting, thus (probably) disobeying the work computing agreement I agree with every time I log onto the network and possibly ensuring THE TERMINATION OF MY CONTRACT. On the other hand, I think they're going to be pretty hesitant to dismiss someone as professionally dressed as I am, so I should be safe.

(Re: the post-it. Most of the people I work with have Crackberries, and we use Microsoft Outlook for everything. People have laptops and tablet laptops and, I don't know, robot butlers. It's a very high-tech office, which makes sense since I work for the tech consulting branch of the ministry of education. I'm the only one who insists on kickin' it old skool by writing things in a notebook I carry around. Although I would undoubtedly get addicted to the portable e-mail too, if only I were funded for it. However, I know I'm the only person in the world to say so, but I kind of like Outlook. Every time I get a meeting request I'm touched: me? You want little old me at your meeting? Well, sure, honey! And any computer program that lets me colour-code things is guaranteed to go over well.)

I woke up this morning and it was still dark outside and snow was falling and the streetlamps were lit up like cheezy streetlamps are lit up in cheezy paintings. I've lived on the Canadian prairies for most of my life, and you'd think that by now I would be disenchanted with winter. And I am, for the most part. But the first big snow of every year looks like Christmas and Narnia and my childhood and, I don't know, Little House on the Prairie, and it wins me over. There is something ineffably romantic about the world being covered with new snow. And this is particularly true on the street where I live now, which being a Historical Area has cast-iron streetlamps and brick buildings and lovely trees. I wished I could stand there in my slippers and bathrobe drinking coffee and watching the loveliness of the scene, but unfortunately I don't own a bathrobe and I don't wear slippers because I hate having things on my feet (true fact!) and I am incapable of making my own coffee because I am coffee-retarded and, also, because I believe very strongly that I play an important role in keeping expensive but necessary coffee places in business, because I remember the Time Before Starbucks, and it was a cold, cold time. (In my fantasy, I AM Starbucks' business plan. Their business plan just says "Jocelyn's bizarre attachment to evil corporate coffee," and then has a bunch of appendices with graphs and charts.) Anyway, it was pretty much the nicest thing a dewey-eyed romantic like me can wake up to. I shall try to make the rest of the day live up to that precedent.

Monday, November 19, 2007

May I suggest you buy this? #15

Hello comrade mini-notes with buttons [set of 4] / $11.50 from Pressa Russa
[i just ordered a set of these in another style, and I wish I could have bought these ones too...]

Friday, November 16, 2007

May I suggest you DIY this?

I've been finding lots of great stuff on etsy lately, but I can't do a "May I Suggest You Buy This", because I need to keep the great stuff a secret--it's present-buying time! However, here are a couple of crafty projects I'm definitely going to try in the next few weeks: from A Little Hut, fabric + paper gift tags; and from jmday, a ribbon storage box. I go crazy about Christmas crafting, although hopefully not in a creepy, Stepford way. I've been looking for an excuse to start using grommets, and I think I've found it: gift tags. And this year I am trying to make something for everyone on my list, and it can't just be 10 identical striped scarves (although now that I think about it, that might be cool... I could make everyone wear them in one picture... it would be like an older, dowdier United Colors of Benetton ad). Anyway, to sum up, as good final sentences do: I'm obsessive.

It's Casual Friday here at Jocelyn Work HQ, which means that I am wearing jeans, albeit fairly nice ones, and not one but two dressy shirts, and the scarf I made. Still, I am happiest in my Casual Friday Jeans. There's a parcel waiting for me at the post office, and holds at the library. I bought a coffee for a homeless guy on my way to work today, that's just the kind of day I am having. If you were here, Internet, I would kiss you on your little button nose. And then I would make you wear a stripy scarf and pose for a picture.

PS. I'm so star-struck since David Lloyd George commented on my blog yesterday! I regret my apathy about the League of Nations. I see the error of my ways now. And if Woodrow Wilson has a blogger account (or William Lyon Mackenzie King, be still my heart), I'm going to look even more foolish.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sarcasm, the lowest form of wit.

Since you, Internet, do not spend time every day reading education-related news as part of your job, I can't imagine you've heard about this: An Alberta MLA introduces a private members' bill stating that in high school social studies, Canadian history should constitute 75% of the curriculum.


I'm interested in encouraging patriotism as much as the next person, and like a lot of other Canadians I marvel at the way Americans can recite facts about their country. But 75%?!? This is going to mean cutting other material out of the curriculum, of course. So here, based on my sketchy rememberings of what I learned in high school social, is a list of topics we could probably eliminate...

  1. World War II. World War I is more significant from a Canadian perspective because it led to negotiations about Canadian sovereignty. II may have some historical significance, but with our new Canadian focus, we don't need it.
  2. The League of Nations. I think we should keep the UN, because Canada's role as a peacekeeping nation is an important part of our national identity. But the League doesn't matter to us at all. Ditto with Woodrow Wilson and his fourteen points, spheres of influence, manifest destiny, and fledgling European nations' journeys to independence. Gone.
  3. Communism, socialism, and Marxism; the Russian Revolution. In fact, since this is Alberta, let's eliminate any teaching about any political ideology to the left of, uh, the provincial Conservatives.
  4. The Cold War. Actually, we should probably do a little unit on the Cold War now that I think about it, because of NORAD and Lester Pearson. He won the Nobel Prize, right? A Canadian! We can spend a day on that.
Ta da! Pedagogically sound, right? I should write this in letter form to the MLA who suggested it, except before I would be allowed to do that, I would have to answer a quiz. The more members of the Famous Five I can name, the more minutes of his time I get. Ready? Here we go! IRENE PARLBY! Ha, didn't think she'd be first, did you? Well, there's more where that came from!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

work fridge haiku series

san pellegrino
stolen food, we're watching you
i wish you were mine

consider myself
a woman of principle
except days like this

(When I worked at the public library, all the work fridges had signs that said: "STOLEN FOOD - We're watching you." I always thought that was weird. I mean, it's not the food's fault it's being stolen. They should be watching the FOOD-STEALERS. Unless it's talking Muppet food: "Help! Help! I'm being stolen!" It also seemed like kind of an empty threat. I mean, if someone were really watching the stolen food, then it wouldn't be stolen any more would it?)

Writers' strike hilarity

From The Morning News: A letter from Hollywood by Josh A. Cagan. "Won’t the cast of Lost be surprised when they realize they’re not lost on an island, but at TARGET! Watch as they discover a hatch-load of savings!" Heh.

More on

It just occurred to me what while writers are on strike, it might be a writer's strike, since all we're left with is a bunch of people who don't know how to use apostrophes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Possible signs my workplace is living in the past

Training material contains these instructions: "Open up your internet browser (Internet Explorer or Netscape)..."

Work dispatch # 1,092

The little sign on my cubicle still says "TBA," and I'm thinking it would be awesome if those were my initials. From now on, you can call me "Theresa Bethany Albanese." Or anything else that creates the initials "TBA." Unless it's mean. Like, uh, Tiny-Brained Alcoholic.

I think I need a little plant for my cubicle (the plant would also have the initials TBA), and some toys. It just doesn't feel like TBA's home. Although, in a minor victory, I reprogrammed my voicemail so that my message doesn't say that someone named Kevin can't take your call. I think this is a step in the right direction. Baby steps. I may also inquire about whether it is OK for me to install Firefox. Internet Explorer makes me enraged, or at least, mildly annoyed.

Another baby step: I am wearing a pretty scarf I made out of fabric I got from Wal-Mart for $2. That makes me feel pretty good, and in fact, is the only thing that makes me feel pretty good at this particular moment. It's an important scarf. In fact, I think I would say it's very necessary.

I barely slept last night and woke up feeling weirdly alert. It was crazily windy--end of the world weather--and now it's snowing. All night, the wind was whistling around my high-rise, and it felt like I was in Wuthering Heights, so I couldn't sleep because I was stressed out about whether I have TB. Wouldn't that be ironic? TBA with TB!

I'm tired, obviously. I need (a) more coffee and (b) to channel this enthusiasm for the English language into my actual job. Jocelyn! Edit something! OK! I will!

Monday, November 12, 2007

The problem with going to Mac's to buy milk right after you wake up is that "Sparks Eggs Farm" may appear as "Sparkles Egg Fantasy." Which is confusing, to say the least.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hot love on the hot love highway

James and I watched The Office Special (the Christmas episodes) tonight. I have now watched the whole British Office and I am ready to start on the American version--fortunately, since my ignorance about this show is alienating me from my peers. As such, I am humming "Freelove Freeway" until further notice. (This is the song David Brent plays on his guitar in one of the most excrutiatingly embarrassing episodes of The Office. It goes, "Free love on the freelove freeway, where the love is free and the freeway's long." And then it gets better.)

It's Canadian Finals Rodeo week (weeks?) here in Edmonton. This is such a weird time of year because there are people in cowboy hats EVERYWHERE, and as James pointed out, "not in an ironic way." I kind of like this, however. It reminds me that where I live is only one of several Albertas. I don't really like visiting the others, let alone living there, but I like being reminded of their existence. It's refreshing to remember that others construct reality differently from us. Also, I think if I pay $5 to the United Way, I get to wear jeans to work for the whole week.

Just around the corner from me is a beautiful old school building that was built back when Edmonton was a wee city in arms. It's one of those utterly charming, traditional red brick schools that looks like somewhere you would go to learn about The War, or get caned. People book weddings and/or wedding photos there all the time, and yesterday as I was walking home from lunch on the South side, a whole bridal party was standing outside the side door, smoking, even the bride in her white dress and a scarlet cape. I loved the juxtaposition of formal attire and informal standing-around-smoking and had to remind myself to keep moving so as not to appear weird.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Same bat-channel

Facebook turns its users into endorsers [NY Times]. I'm not sure if this new Facebook advertising scheme is going to be completely evil or, uh, less than completely evil. It launches tonight, so we'll see what happens, one way or the other. I am so, so opposed to the pervasiveness of advertising, and yet I always get almost-won-over by these arguments about it: "We're just telling you about things you will really want to know! It's not advertising if you can use the information!" Well, yes, it is. And yet.

Speaking of things that are less than completely evil, this week I discovered Better World Books, which sells new and used books. You know what I love even more than normal bookstores? Bookstores with carbon-neutral shipping that donate some of their money to literacy non-profits. That's profits for non-profits--I haven't given up on capitalism completely, yet.

Saving the world is tiring. On Thursday, I am going to serve dinner to homeless people at the Mustard Seed Street Church. This is something I don't do very often, and last night I remembered why: because carrying 6 kg each of frozen mixed veggies and perogies, a giant box of Oreo cookies, and a 5-kg toupie ham (plus, to be fair, some groceries for myself) home on the LRT is exhausting and sore-making. I woke up at 6 am, took some Tylenol and turned on my heating pad, and went back to sleep. Then I woke up again at 7:25 and realized I still had to go to work, even if I WAS still tired and in pain. There's nothing worse than waking up, feeling like you want to die, and realizing that no one else cares.

I'm having a crazy day at work. My supervisor is ill, so I seem to be basically running the whole province of Alberta. Fortunately, I am doing a pretty good job, so it's unlikely you'll notice any service disruptions.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Whereas normally I am not influenced by world events

Today, to celebrate the highest Canadian dollar in something like a hundred years (US$1.0869), I am buying things on the internet. From American stores. Hah!

Thanks, Canada. Thanks, price of oil. Thanks, crappy American economy. Cheers.

Yet we have extensive trade with them

The Alberta Education site acknowledges the Canadians and Newfoundlanders who gave their lives for their country. I know this is because at the end of WWII Newfoundland hadn't joined Canada yet, but I still find it hilarious. Lolz.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Try to ignore the clumsiness of how these two photos were combined (I couldn't get my camera back far enough to squeeze it into one photo), and witness the enormity of my dishes. I washed all my dirty dishes, Internet. It took all my dishcloths and a whole episode of This American Life and ALL MY COUNTER SPACE.

I'm gross.

Currently listening to: Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, November 3, 2007

These are the times that try men's souls

At the end of July, 2007, it was James's and my six-year anniversary and we had a BBQ, like the sick, self-congratulating couple we are. We brought a package of lentil and bean patties* because we couldn't remember if any of our friends were vegetarians (they weren't). I kept the unopened box of frozen patties, put it in my freezer, because I know something about myself: I am LAZY. I tell you this as a friend. I knew that it would inevitably come to this: I would be so out of groceries, so bereft of food options, that those lentil patties would start to sound pretty good. I knew it was only a matter of time until Future Jocelyn started asking questions like: Well, how bad can they really be? Vegetarians eat them! I wasn't looking forward to the day when I would have to eat them, but I knew it was coming, as certainly as I know my own death is coming. And I knew better than to throw them away, because no matter how gross they were, I by definition would not eat them until there was nothing better around, so in that sense, they would actually be beneficial. Every time I opened my freezer, for four months, I glanced at that box and thought, no, not today.

Until today.

Today I had to eat one of the bean and lentil patties, Internet. I had to eat it with a Lipton's Sidekicks concoction called "Singapore Curry Noodles," but that's a story for another day (suffice it to say, I actually really like the freeze-dried vegetables. They're like little VITAMIN SPRINKLES!) I took it out of the box dubiously. It was shaped like a hamburger, with little coloured vegetable chunks in it. The box strongly recommended frying it, which bode well, I thought. How bad could something fried be? Especially something that claimed to contain Basmati rice? After I had fried it, it had a nice crispyness to it, and I put it on a plate with my camping noodles, and I took the plate into my living room, where I was watching Buffy and sewing.

It was not very good, Internet. I mean, I knew it wouldn't be, but I sort of held out an obscure hope I barely dared to admit to myself: maybe it would be so good I would buy MORE! Maybe I would discover a delicious vegetarian alternative to burgers! Maybe I would add something to the ever-shrinking list of foods I like to eat! No such luck. It was not ludicrously bad, but it was certainly not good. And not only that, but it represented my capitulation, the depth of my failure, and also, my own conviction that that capitulation was coming--a foregone conclusion. I fully believed, beforehand, that I would fail--KNEW that I would fail. And then I failed. How pathetic.

Universe 1, Jocelyn 0.

I'm going to a potluck party tonight, and I'm showing up late, and I'm not bringing anything, but I really hope there's some good food there.

* What is the difference between a lentil and a bean, anyway?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Three recent but otherwise unrelated things I am feeling great about at this moment

i. self-possession Last night I was coming up the driveway to my building after walking to my sister's for dinner (and Bring It On) and this weird guy started talking to me. I know I've written before about how uncomfortable these awkward hitting-on situations make me, and how badly I traditionally handle them. And I was listening to my iPod, so the first assessment is always, Do I take my headphones off for this person? I unwisely chose to, and I got this:

Guy: Hey, do I know you? I thought I recognized you from somewhere.
Jocelyn: No, I don't think so.
Guy: Hey, do you live around here? I thought I knew you. Can I ask you your name?
Jocelyn: No.
And then I took out my keys, and I went into my building, and I pulled the door shut after me, and he wandered off. It was AWESOME. I might have been kind of mean, except I didn't feel guilty; I felt assertive, like I had managed, for the first time in my life, to avoid being made uncomfortable by a weird guy.

ii. bus-adventure I had to get a Criminal Records Check done today before I can start my new job. In order to do this, I had to go to the RCMP headquarters, which is actually not that far from my house. So I rode a bus I had never ridden before, the 8, and I got there and saw a bunny in the parking lot, and then it turns out I have never been convicted of any crimes! Score!

The 8, this new bus I just discovered, actually goes all the way from Kingsway Mall to Mill Woods Town Centre, and if you are from Edmonton you know that that actually represents a great distance. Since I was already riding the bus to go home, I decided to just stay on it to go to Mill Woods. It was exciting, Internet! It turns out that it is actually a really long bus ride! In Mill Woods, I went to the fabric store, and then I came home. Altogether, it took 4 hours.

I told James about my trip and he emailed me back: "You're such an explorer." Like Coraline!

iii. unrestrained fangirl gushing I don't mind admitting to you, Internet, that I want to be Sarah Vowell when I grow up. Not only is she the author of several great books, but she is also on National Public Radio, AND she was interviewed in a documentary I saw about the band They Might be Giants, AND she wrote the forward to the book I have about bomb shelters (Waiting for the End of the World). Basically, she gets to do everything I want to do, to write about everything I want to write about, and also to be in animated movies that I am less than crazy about. And she apparently pals around with people like David Sedaris, Dave Eggers, and Nick Hornby.

Anyway, I am currently reading her book of essays The Partly Cloudy Patriot, and it's great. I'm not that interested in American politics, except in a sort of bewildered outsidery way, but Sarah Vowell makes me understand how smart Americans can still believe in their country. There is one essay in this book, "The Nerd Voice," which you absolutely, absolutely need to read, Internet. It manages to articulate something that I have never been able to state as clearly as she can, although I've pondered it many times: that George Bush somehow managed to become president instead of Al Gore, in spite of the fact that he is, clearly, a moron. (The reason I have always insisted on, which also accounts for the popularity of Ralph Klein here in Alberta, is this: people, illogically, DO NOT WANT A POLITICAL LEADER WHO IS SMARTER THAN THEM.) Not only that, but it also manages to explain what this fact has to do with Revenge of the Nerds, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Internet, and Abraham Lincoln paper dolls.