My Week 234: Up On The Roof

As many of you know, I’m from a very small town, but I work in Toronto, so during the week, I live downtown in a condo. I’m on the 34th floor. I have a balcony but I never go out there, not because I’m afraid of heights but because I’m afraid of falling FROM them. But the view from my windows is always very interesting, because I can see into other buildings as well as being able to look down on other roofs, and I’ve seen some crazy stuff. One of the buildings opposite had this naked mannequin in the window for the longest time. Once in a while, it sported a jaunty fedora, but it never wore pants. EVER. I’m just glad I had the posterior view because looking at mannequin junk every day would be very disconcerting.

Look at my bum!

 Last week, I was looking out my bedroom window, which overlooks another building. I’ve seen it hundreds of times, but I’ve never actually paid attention to the thing that I suddenly noticed and am now absolutely befuddled by. Take a look at the picture below. It shows the side of a building with a beautiful mural celebrating singers and venues in Toronto. There’s also a rooftop which features a ladder.

Ladder to nowhere

 Now think about the ladder. What is the deal with that f*cking ladder? It comes out of a brick wall, goes down and then along the roof, then suddenly stops. It’s not high enough to reach the next level of the roof, and it’s above the door in the brick. If you look closely you can tell that it doesn’t go INTO the brick—it’s just attached to it. It’s either performance art making a statement about the futility of life or a very poorly designed roller coaster.

When I first moved to Toronto in 2015, I lived a different building on the 27th floor. I was initially alarmed by how high up I was, and the fact that I had floor to ceiling windows made me a little dizzy. But I soon learned to love the view—I could see the sun rising over the lake in the morning, and the city lights were gorgeous at night. But the best part was that the condo directly overlooked the roof of the building next door, which, when I moved in, featured a lovely roof garden with raised boxes of shrubberies, lighted paths, benches, and whatnot. Then around the beginning of March, I looked out and saw a crew of workers starting to dismantle the whole thing. I was initially dismayed, but not long after they ripped it apart and took it down to bare concrete, they started laying new rubber membrane and then putting down patterned paving stones. I had ongoing hope that one day it would become an even more beautiful rooftop garden. But the PACE of the workers concerned me. There were 4 men–they arrived around 7 am every morning, and they were gone by the time I got home from work. And after a month, they hadn’t even finished LAYING the paving stones. One Thursday night when I got in, it seemed that all of the stones were in place. Except for ONE SPOT, where there was a hole with a single paving stone missing. I assumed they had left it because it was quitting time, and that it would be easy to finish up the next morning, but I was wrong.

On Friday morning, I got up, and the crew was there. They were too far away to really identify but there were 4 guys—let’s call them Bill, Frank, Bob, and Monty. Over the course of the next hour, as I was getting ready for work, I was fascinated by their activity—or lack thereof—as you can tell by this chronicle which I have named “The Tale of the Hole”:

7:02 – Bill, Frank, and Monty are wandering aimlessly around the roof. Bob comes out of a porta-potty. (I have NO idea how they got a porta-potty up there.) I go into the bathroom and wash my face.

7:05 – Bill is staring at the hole. Frank is leaning against the wall, having a smoke. I put in my contact lenses.

7:07 – Bill is standing IN the hole. Frank is staring at him. I wash my hair.

7:10 – Bill and Frank are BOTH standing in the hole. It’s a tight fit AND they’re facing each other. I dry my hair.

7:15 – Frank is standing in the hole. Bill is about 10 feet away, lying on his stomach facing the hole and using his thumb as a gauge. For what exactly, I have no idea. Monty is hovering nearby. No sign of Bob. I pour out some cereal and go back into the bathroom to put on some make-up.

7:20 – Frank is out of the hole, and Bill is once again in it. He’s jumping up and down. Frank observes him carefully. I put my cereal bowl in the sink and apply mascara.

7:22 – Frank and Bill are kneeling on either side of the hole. They are facing each other and look like they are genuflecting. Perhaps a small god lives in the hole. I brush my teeth.

7:24 – Monty is standing in the hole. Frank and Bill observe him carefully. Could it be a time-travel portal? Maybe that explains what happened to Bob, whom I haven’t seen in a little while. No, wait—Bob has just come out of the porta-potty again. So much for the time-travel theory. Unless the porta-potty IS the portal. Hmmm. I go into my room to get dressed.

7:29 – Monty and Bill are standing next to the hole. Bob has made his way over, and seems to be instructing Frank on how to kill an imaginary insect by stomping repeatedly on it with his foot. He stomps, then looks encouragingly at Frank, who then stomps a little himself. They continue this for several minutes. I pack my lunch.

7:33 – Bob and Frank are still “killing insects”. Monty and Bill are now both lying on their stomachs across from each other, facing the hole, and both are using their thumbs as gauges. Again, for what, I have no idea. I get my bags ready to leave.

As I leave, Bill is once again IN the hole. Monty, Frank, and Bob are observing him carefully. I have hope that, based on the efforts of the morning, the hole will be filled by the time I get home from work.

4:30 – I arrive at my condo, anxious to see what progress the crew have made. Not only is the hole still visible, there are now at least 14 other holes where once there were none. It’s going to be a long summer.

So many holes…

And it was a very long time before that roof was finished—if you want to know what happened next, check out My Week 94: Sexy Roof Time.

I’m actually moving home at the end of April to start commuting  to work daily by train. I’m really excited about it, but I WILL miss the views.

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My Week 233: All The Weird Things

It’s been a strange time lately, a time when all the weird things are happening. If you read The Mystery of the Tip Sheet on the Table, I should tell you that was only the “Tip” of the iceberg, haha, and I apologize for the terrible pun, but I’ve certainly had some experiences in the last three weeks that have been completely outside my wheelhouse, and most of them have to do with the magical world of math. I call it “magical” because there are formulas, and also whenever I see someone solve an equation, I squeal excitedly and exclaim breathlessly with child-like wonder, “How did you do that?!” Here are the 5 strange things that have beset my life recently:

1) I applied for a job closer to home. I love my current job, but I have to live in the city during the week, and it’s getting pretty sketchy downtown. The job was kind of the same as what I do now, I thought, and to be honest, I didn’t really want to change jobs immediately, but at the bottom of the job posting it said that eligible candidates would be put in a pool for future positions, and that seemed like a great opportunity. So I applied, and lo and behold, I got an email about an interview. And at the bottom of the email was a description of the interview telling me that I would have to prepare a presentation for the interview panel. On MATH. My first reaction was, “Did they even LOOK at my resume?” Because I have a lot of qualifications and experience, none of which have anything at ALL to do with the numbers or adding or dividing or whatnot. The closest I’ve ever come to doing math professionally was teaching Life of Pi. And then it said at the bottom of the description that there would be a TEST at the end of the interview, and I was like, “What? A MATH TEST?!” because nowhere in the job description had it even mentioned math at all, and it seemed pretty obvious by then that they probably already had someone for the job, someone who was, perhaps, good at math. So when the place called me to confirm that I got the invite, I actually had to ask the woman, “So is the test at the end a math test?” because if it was, there was no point in going, but she said she didn’t think so, that it was probably a “scenario”. Which it was. And ironically, I totally ROCKED the math presentation, but I blew the “scenario” which was writing a letter in response to someone who was very angry. I responded the way I normally would—no, not by saying “Take a f*cking step back”—but in a professional way which is “Please provide more information to help me understand your anger.” It turns out though, that apparently I was supposed to direct them to a variety of different websites where they could explore their feelings themselves. Ultimately, it was not fun, but I DID get put into the pool for future positions, mostly on the merit of my math presentation, which is another one of life’s great mysteries.

Isn’t it magic-y?

2) I went to empty my blog spam folder, which usually contains about 30 comments about Nike shoes or Viagra, and there were 1, 167 spam comments in there. They were all for CBD oil (derived from marijuana). So I emptied the spam folder, and three days later, there were another 2, 000 messages, again for CBD oil, and all I could think was “Someone REALLY wants me to get high”. But then I did a little research and it turns out that CBD oil isn’t psychoactive, so I’m not sure what’s going on there, but the Viagra people need to step up their game.

3) I had to go by myself to do a presentation (this time on my actual work instead of magic-y math sh*t) to a group of around 60 people. I don’t enjoy standing up in front of people at any given moment—I don’t even say much in meetings when I’m sitting down—but someone had to do it, and I was that someone. I stayed in a hotel the night before because the weather was supposed to be lousy for travelling the next day. I decided to order some Swiss Chalet chicken, and then stay in for the night watching the Oscars. I called up Swiss Chalet and asked for delivery, but when the woman gave me the total, I realize I didn’t have any money so I said, “Oh, I don’t have any cash on me. Will the guy take Visa or is there something else I need to do?” and then I realized to my horror that it sounded like I was offering to instigate a porn scene where the lady doesn’t have money but offers to “take it out in trade” with the nubile young delivery man. Luckily, you can pay for Swiss Chalet over the phone,  and a very sturdy older lady came to my hotel room, so no worries there. But then, incredibly, the hotel TV had 54 channels and not one was showing the Oscars, so I ended up watching porn. No I didn’t. That was a joke. I ended up watching a Flip or Flop Nashville marathon.

The presentation the next day went OK, except for the snarky guy sitting right in front of the podium who kept muttering under his breath and rolling his eyes, which was very distracting. At one point, he raised his hand to angrily complain about how hard it was to use a particular report, and I felt like saying, “Well, toilet training is hard too, but I assume you’ve figured that one out.” Instead I just smiled and said, “Here are some websites you can use to explore your feelings about this issue.”

4) Then I got back to the office and was asked to start supervising, in addition to my own team, another team whose job revolves completely around MATH. My reaction again was “Have you even LOOKED at my resume?!” And now not only do I have to try and understand math in English, I also have to try and understand it in FRENCH, because we have two official languages, and math is hard in both of them. At least the people are nice and don’t roll their eyes at me.

5) On Tuesday, I raced to get dinner finished and get ready for bed so that I could be all cozy on the couch in my pajamas in time for my favourite new TV show The Launch (it’s Canadian). I made it with a minute to spare and yelled to my roommate, “Come on, it’s almost starting!” Then I went up and down the guide and couldn’t find it on anywhere. “I don’t understand” I said. “Are they on hiatus already” and my roommate said, “Isn’t The Launch on Wednesdays?” and I said “Yes,” and she said, “Today is Tuesday”, and this is what too much math does to you. So we resigned ourselves to watching The Voice and I was trying to figure out Instagram when I realized my young cousin was starting some ‘live’ video thing so I clicked on it. He and his friend were talking, then suddenly he said, “Hi Suzanne”, and I shrieked and threw the phone down and said to my roommate, “Oh my god, can he SEE me?!” She started laughing hysterically and explained how your name comes up at the bottom so that people know you’re watching, and it reminded me of the first time I tried to send a fax, and panicked when the paper went into the fax machine because there was a phone number on the back of the form that I needed. The secretary at the school also laughed hysterically just like my roommate and explained that the paper would come back out once it had been scanned. “Did you think the fax machine magically transported the actual paper to the person you’re sending it to?” she asked.  “Of course not—that would be ridiculous,” I said, but in my head I was like, “Yes. Yes, I totally f*cking did.” Because faxes are magical. Just like math.

(I just had a short story published in the inaugural issue of a terrific literary magazine called Slippage Lit. It’s called Perfect Food, and if you want to read it, click here: https://www.slippagelit.com/perfectfood)

 

My Week 232: The Mystery of the Tip Sheet on the Table

Something very strange happened to me this week, a mystery worthy of Nancy Drew, and if you’re familiar with the intrepid young detective, you’ll be happy to note that, just like Nancy, I was wearing pearls, and my handbag matched my pumps. Because nothing screams “I can solve crimes better than the Hardy Boys!” like wardrobe coordination. If you come here often, you’ll know I’m quite frequently beset by mysteries—there are so many, including The Mystery of the Mouthguard on the Landing (still unsolved), The Mystery of the Box of Porn on the Porch (it was the wife of the local church deacon—who’d have thought?!), The Mystery of the Salt in My Hair (we’ll never know), and more recently, Who The F*ck Is Daniel: A Netflix Original.

But this one? This one is freaking me out more than all of them put together. Here’s the scenario:

On Wednesday, I was working late, trying to create one Excel spreadsheet by cobbling together the information from about three others. I was having a terrible time so I wandered out of my office and found that there were a couple of people on our floor. I asked the first woman if she knew anything about copying and pasting into Excel, and she replied, “Mais non, pas vraiment—I tink you jus’ ‘ighlight de cell and right-click” (she’s very French, as you can see). I made my way back to my office but on the way, I realized that one of my team members was still working, so I asked her. She was a little more familiar with the hidden ways of Microsoft so she came back to my office with me and we kind of stared at it for a while, and then she said, “I really tink you jus’ ‘ighlight de cell and right-click comme ca” (she’s also French, obvs), and she did it, and the cell moved. So I thought I was all set, but ultimately it didn’t work for reasons which will bore the sh*t out of you, and this preamble is already too long. I finally resorted to individually copying and pasting each of about 150 cells. Then I went home.

The next morning, I opened my office door, and there, right smack in the middle of my table was a “2013 Excel Tip Sheet”. And I was like, “Aw, I work with such nice people!” I went to thank the first colleague and she looked puzzled. “Non, it was not moi,” she said. Then my team member arrived and I brought the Tip Sheet out and said, “Thank you so much for this—it was very thoughtful” and her brow furrowed and she said, “It was not moi.” And then another team member said, “Don’t you lock your office when you leave? How did someone get in there to put it on your table?” and I had a sudden epiphany that made my blood run cold. Someone HAD been in my office! But it was still locked when I arrived on Thursday morning, so how could this have happened?!

The evidence.

And it was terrible because, first and foremost, I LOVE my office. It’s my sanctum sanctorum, my beautiful refuge. It’s bright and airy, and big enough to hold team meetings in, and I have plants and a mini-frig and assorted antique boxes and my signed Gary Numan poster on the wall. It’s the best office of all of them, except for the senior exec. offices. It’s a fact, although sometimes it sounds like I’m bragging. For example, the other day, a new manager started. We needed to have a joint Skype meeting with our director so we had to decide whose office to use:

Me: So do you want to use yours or mine?
New Guy: It doesn’t really matter.
Me: We should probably use mine. It’s big and it has a window. You can see the CN Tower.
Other Colleague: Haha—are you bragging?
Me: No! It’s just that mine is really bright and comfortable. I have 3 screens and those nice wheely chairs…
Other Colleague: So braggy…
Me: No, I…
New Guy (looks around his own small office with no windows and only two screens): Sigh. Yours is fine.
Me: Do you like cappuccino? I have a Keurig.

But now, my office had been violated and I was beside myself. And to make matters worse, we all decided that the only way anyone could have known about my Excel problem was if my office was also BUGGED. Someone has heard all the crazy things that happen in there, which is mostly me having fairly mundane meetings, me singing off-key, me swearing at the computer, and me whispering, “Math…so much math” under my breath (which is a story for next week). And while the idea that we have an office spy and I need a cone of silence seems outlandish, it’s more logical than any of the other solutions I can think of:

1) My office is haunted by a software-savvy ghost. This is highly doubtful because I was given no assistance whatsoever with the Adobe debacle of 2017.

2) I’m being anonymously gaslit (or is it “gaslighted”?). Again, doubtful. I’ve been gaslit before, and it wasn’t anywhere NEAR this helpful:

Bob: I never said that.
Me: You said it to my face yesterday.
Bob: No, I didn’t. You’re imagining things. What are you going to accuse me of next? Telling everyone you suck at Excel?!
Me: You did that last week…
Bob: Maybe you shouldn’t have taken me off FACEBOOK!!

3) The only person who has a key to my office is someone on the cleaning staff. Could it have been a helpful custodian who also moonlights as an IT trouble-shooter and overheard me swearing at my computer? But if that was true, wouldn’t there have also been a cheery sticky note attached to the Tip Sheet that said, “Have an Excel-ent day!”?

But I’ve formulated a secret plan. I have an antique cheese box on the table that contains individually wrapped chocolate squares. I keep it filled in case any of my co-workers are in need of a quick pick-me-up, and I can use this to my advantage. No, I am NOT going to poison the chocolates—I’m a detective, not a serial killer. Instead, I’ve carefully counted the number of chocolates in the box. When I get to work on Monday, we’ll see if any have been taken over the weekend. And if the spy happens to be reading this—do you have anything on how to do a Google Hangout?

My Week 231: A Tribute To A Lovely Floof

Sunshine kitty.

I’ve written a lot over the years about Raven, our little Persian cat. Unfortunately, she passed away last week at the age of 14. I went back over some old blogs and found this one, and I’ve revised it a little as a tribute to her. She was lovely and sweet, a bit of a diva, and we loved her very much..

June 6, 2015

I got home on Friday afternoon and Raven was sitting in the living room. She had her back to me, and refused to look at me.

Me: What’s wrong? I haven’t seen you all week and this is how you greet me?
Raven: I read your last blog.
Me: So? Didn’t you think it was funny?
Raven: Funny? FUNNY!? That’s the 4th time you’ve written extensively about that oaf Titus. You know what I get? POO. Every goddamn time, you talk about my poo. I’m fed up with it.
Me: Well, you poo a LOT. But I take your point.

So I feel compelled to write a little something about Raven. Which is hard, because, aside from the pooing and her keen literary analysis skills, like most older cats, she doesn’t actually do much (sorry, Raven, but you know it’s true. For example, you just spent 11 hours lying on the back of the chair in the living room). But she DOES have some tricks and little quirks that endear her to us:

She comes when you call her. Most of the time. Other times, she just looks at you like, “What?”

She will meow at you until you follow her, then she will lead you to the bathroom and let you know what she needs with a series of glances. The other day, she beckoned me forth, and when we arrived, she sat down in front of the litter box. She looked at me, then looked at the box dolefully. I looked at her. Then she looked at the box again and I realized it needed to be cleaned. Which I did, resulting in her promptly using it again WHILE I WAS IN THE ROOM. No sense of dignity, that one. She also does the same thing when her water or food bowl need to be replenished.

She will jump up onto your lap if you pat your knee, then jump down when you stand up. You don’t even have to say anything—she just GETS the force of gravity.

She likes to play this game where, when you walk behind her, she starts to run away from you like she thinks you’re chasing her. Even when you say, “I’m not chasing you—calm down!”, she still keeps playing.

She waits until you stand up from your chair then jumps into the warm spot. Then when you try to sit back down, she won’t move. You pretty much have to sit AROUND her, or perch on the edge of the seat to avoid squashing her, and then she taps you on the back so that you’ll reach around and pet her. In the winter, she likes to crawl under the covers, squeeze up right against you, and fall asleep purring, which is very soothing.

She refuses to go outside. You know how some cats lurk by the door and try to dart out any chance they get? Not Raven. Once, she accidentally wandered out onto the front porch when the door was left open. When I saw her, she was just sitting there looking confused and scared. Then she saw me and ran back INTO the house. Yep, definitely not a nature lover.

When I come home at the end of the week, the second she hears my voice, she starts meowing from wherever she is in the house, and runs to greet me. Then she stops just outside the kitchen to avoid being trampled by Titus, who is also very excited and most likely yelling, “This is the best day EVER!”, and she waits for me to pick her up and cuddle her.

I think her best trick, though, is that when she’s really happy to see you, not only does she purr, but she leans up and gives you little kisses on your face. I don’t mean licking—I mean little pecks with her muzzle that let you know that she loves you. And we love you too, you crazy, poopy cat.

RIP Raven. We’ll miss you.

Full coat, but she preferred being clipped.

My Week 230: Gaffes and Guffaws

Gaffes

So if you know me at all, you’ll know I’m prone to gaffes, blunders, faux pas—whatever you’d like to call it, I regularly have super-embarrassing moments either of my own making or someone else’s. This week was no different.

1) On Monday, I was in a meeting. We were having a discussion, and towards the end, just to emphasize my own position, I made a statement in which I somehow used the word ‘penis’. I can’t give you a lot of context because I work for a secret agency and this was something that would be considered part of the secret, but rest assured, it wasn’t particularly necessary for me to have used that particular word IN that context. Anyhow, I realized to my horror that I had just said the word ‘penis’. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that word; in fact, I have an absolutely adorable video of my son at two years old, running around the house naked and yelling, “Look at my penis!!” which I will for sure be showing at his wedding. But it’s just that I was in mixed company, and it was a rather high level meeting. So I did what any normal person would do—I said, “Wow, I’m so sorry—I can’t believe I just said ‘penis’!” Because if saying it once is bad, saying it twice will make a situation infinitely better. One of my male colleagues said, “That’s OK—I’d stopped recording” and I was like “You were RECORDING?!” because then I had to think, ‘My god, what else did I say?’ The meeting was pretty much over by then, so I stood up and turned to ostensibly stare out the window, but the truth was that I was trying not to laugh in that hysterical way that people laugh when they’re hoping they don’t get fired for saying ‘penis’ in a meeting. Twice.

2) On Tuesday, I went out for a little retail therapy. There’s a tiny store across the corner from work that sells really cool clothes—I don’t know what it’s called, but I just refer to it as “the store at the bottom of the escalator” and everyone always says “Oh yeah—I know that place.” I went in and found a few things that I liked and went into the change room. The change room is actually a tiny, triangular closet and the mirror is on the OUTSIDE of the door, so you have to put the clothes on, then go out and see what they look like. So I struggled to get all my winter clothes off, and then struggled to put on pants and a top, and then opened the door and almost hit a woman who was literally just standing there. So I said, “Excuse me” so I could look in the mirror. It was hard to see myself with her blocking my view, but I caught a glimpse and I looked ok. Then I said, “What do you think?” hoping that she would take the hint and realize I was trying on clothes, and she looked at me and answered, “Meh.” MEH?! What the f*ck, lady?! So I said, “You don’t think this looks ok?” and she looked me up and down, shrugged, and said, “No, not really.” And I was like, ‘Screw you!’ (in my head, because she was bigger than me), and I bought the outfit anyway. Then I wore it to work the next day, and when I went to the bathroom and caught sight of myself in the mirror, I realized she was right.

3) I pretty much completely forgot Valentine’s Day. I went home on the train a day early because I was working off-site on Friday, and Ken picked me up from the train station. We both said “Happy Valentine’s Day” to each other and I thought that was the end of it. Then I walked in the house and there was a huge bouquet of flowers, a card, and gifts waiting for me. And I didn’t even have the wherewithal to say “Oh damn—I forgot your card and present in Toronto!” Ken looked at me expectantly, and all I could do is sigh and say, “I’ll make dinner.” Luckily, the local grocery store still had cards the next day, because nothing says ‘I love you’ like a belated Valentine’s day card. But I do love you, Ken, even if I get sidetracked and forget important occasions like Valentine’s Day, birthdays, the fourteenth anniversary of the day we met, the seventeenth anniversary of our first date, and whatnot, because you’re awesome at remembering for both of us.

4) I got an email from one of our senior execs while I was off-site yesterday, and I was doing something else on my laptop, so I used my phone to reply. When I signed off, my phone autocorrected my name so that it said, “Thanks, Suzo.” I hit send before I realized it, but now I’m hoping that he thought I did it on purpose and that he starts a trend by referring to me as Suzo all the time, which is much cooler than ‘the weirdo who says penis a lot’.

Guffaws

Here are three things that made me laugh insanely:

Terrifyingly realistic for a zombie baby.

1) This ad was posted on our local Buy and Sell page. Take a moment and do what I did. Look at the picture and description and think about ALL the babies you’ve ever known, and consider the great discrepancy between the ad and reality. This is the kind of doll that lives under your bed and crawls out at night to chew your arm off. The only detail I’m interested in is “Does it eat brains?” I mean, what kind of life are you living if you think THAT is a life-like representation of a small child?!

2) Ken and I were in an antique mall a while ago, and I saw this suitcase. “Have Wang, will travel”, am I right? Am I juvenile? Obvs.

Sounds like a fun time.

 

3) In the same antique mall, I saw this old box. I started laughing and said to Ken, “Cold punched nuts? That is indeed a special screw—that’s some real S and M sh*t right there!” and I kept snickering like a twelve year-old and the people wandering behind us with a small child probably wondered how I manage to hold down a job. I wonder that sometimes too. Penis.

 

 

 

 

My Week 229: Facebook Doesn’t Know Me At All

I’ve been really sick this week, so here’s something from a few years ago that still applies today—I hope you enjoy it!

Have you noticed the increasing proliferation of bizarre Facebook quizzes that purport to identify different aspects of your personality with absolute accuracy? While they are, for the most part, as generic as horoscopes in telling you about what kind of person you are, they are getting more and more desperate for new topics as they attempt to mine your data. At first, it was TV shows or films, like “Which Game of Thrones Character Are You?” or “Which Bond Girl Are You Most Like?” Respectively, I got Arya Stark, and Xenia Onatopp, former Soviet fighter pilot and top assassin. This was very disappointing—I really wanted Daenerys Targaryen, Mother Of F*cking Dragons instead of a whiny little kid who makes lists about who she wants to kill instead of getting revenge by setting people on fire or getting her badass husband to pour molten gold on her enemies’ heads. Also, I would have preferred Kissy Suzuki, the badass Ninja Bond Girl. Still, it was better than some of the other choices, for example Chew Mee, Holly Goodhead, Plenty O’Toole, or Pussy Galore. Seriously, am I the only one who thinks that female characters in James Bond movies are named by giggly 12 year-old boys?

“Hey Danny, why don’t we name the new Bond Girl ‘Perky McBoobs’?”
“Oh my God, dude–hee hee hee–that’s AWESOME!!”
“And we’ll call the new Bond Villain ‘Dick Wanker!”
“SHHH! Here comes my mom!” 

But now these quizzes run the gamut from the strange to the ridiculous. I’ve been doing them for a while, and I’ve reached the following conclusion: Facebook doesn’t know me at all. In the last few weeks, I’ve been told that my age is 20, that I will have a baby in the very near future (much to Ken’s and my collective shock), that if I was an element, I would be hydrogen, and that my favourite food is ice cream. Let me just clarify—I’m more than double that age, the only “baby” I currently want comes from either Tiffany’s or the Humane Society, I am PALLADIUM, thank you very much, and I hate ice cream with a passion. I don’t want to embark on a rant, but why the hell would I want to eat something so cold that I can’t taste it? How can Facebook claim to know me if it doesn’t realize my favourite food is steak wrapped in bacon?! Which, to anyone who is not a vegetarian, is known as ‘Nature’s Perfect Food’? And now, I’m totally distracted by the thought of bacon-wrapped steak, and will have to put writing this criticism of Facebook quizzes on hold while I go to the grocery store. Well played, Facebook.

Ok, I’m back. To continue, not only are these quizzes seldom accurate, the path to arriving at a conclusion has become so random and convoluted that I swear Facebook is just making this sh*t up. Case in point: I recently took a Facebook quiz called “Which Philosopher Are You?” It sounded a little more up-scale than “Which Kardashian Sister Are You?”, so I thought I’d give it a whirl:

Question 1: “What is the most overrated virtue?” Ok, well this sounded somewhat philosophical. There were several options, including Honesty, Faith, and Courage, but I went with Chastity on the grounds that IT’S STUPID. That, friends, is an example of empirical reasoning, which is what all great philosophers are good at.

Question 2: “Pick a Desperate Housewife.” I had NO idea who any of these women were. Would a philosopher actually watch this dreck in the first place? Again, I used my powers of mad logic, and chose a woman whose name began with ‘A’, because ‘A’ is the first letter of the alphabet. And the cool thing was that her last name began with ‘B’. Angie Bolen. A totally logical choice, even if I had no f*cking clue who she was.

Question 3: “Vegetarians are….” There were several choices, mostly negative, like ‘Missing out’, ‘Annoying’, or ‘More moral than you’. I chose ‘Probably right’; the fact is, I would BE a vegetarian if it wasn’t for the whole ‘steak wrapped in bacon’ thing, which I just can’t let go of.

Question 4: “Pick a condiment.” I was torn between soya sauce and salsa, but I went with soya sauce, because if these questions have ANY bearing on what philosopher I’m most like, I’d rather be Confucius than Gongora–I’ve seen too many sci-fi movies to not believe that comets are harbingers of doom.

Question 5: “Worst thing you’ve ever done?” I wasn’t copping to anything except Gotten Drunk or Stolen Sweets. I picked stealing candy, because aren’t ALL philosophers alcoholics? Drunkenness will not define my philosophy. I stand by that statement. Also, once when I was 4, I took a piece of bubble gum from the variety store. My mom found out and made me go back and apologize to the store owner. It was so mortifying that I pretty much avoided anything illegal from that point on. In fact, I once got caught going through a red light and went to court just so I could tell the judge I was sorry. She reduced my fine—I call that karma. There I go, being all philosophy-ish again.

Question 6: “Pick a teen drama.” The only one on the list that I’d ever seen was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Maybe this was setting me up to be Vlad the Impaler or something. Was he a philosopher? I’m sure he had a reason why he impaled all those people. Or maybe not. Sometimes philosophy is so f*cking enigmatic.

Question 7: “Your ideal Saturday night?” I was too distracted at this point by Facebook’s sidebar headline: “Miley Cyrus wore a prosthetic penis on stage last night”, so I randomly picked cooking. I hope to hell Julia Child was NOT a philosopher.

Question 8: “Which European city would you live in?” My first reaction was ‘Why isn’t Glasgow on this list?! WTF is up with that?’ Scotland had to have at least ONE philosopher, so I googled it. There was a list, but I didn’t recognize any of the names. Then I saw a picture of Steve Carrell (the American actor) next to someone named Michael Scot, and got suspicious that the Scottish philosopher site was also run by Facebook.

Question 9: “You promised to hang out with your Grandmother tomorrow. What do you do?” Some of the options were ‘Cook for her and her friends’, ‘Cancel at the last minute’, or ‘Grin and bear it’. Well, my grandmother passed away a couple of decades ago, so I chose ‘Look forward to catching up’.

Question 10: “Right now I am….” At this point, I had no idea how any of these random and absurd questions could lead to any particular philosopher except for Jean-Paul Sartre, so I chose ‘Confused’.

The program calculated my responses and came up with this: “You got: Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Although you believe in individual freedom, you think that social contracts are necessary in order to allow society to function in a rational, non-impulsive way.” Close enough, Facebook, and in true philosophical fashion, I have logically concluded that it was my choice of Angie Bolen that led to this revelation.

I still had a little time to kill so I did the next quiz on the page which was “What Fossil Are You?” I went through the series of questions: Pick a vacation plan (visit a castle), pick a pattern (psychedelic), pick a moment from Drakes’ Hotline Bling video (WTF? Random.), pick a Greek goddess (Athena), pick outdated 90s slang (Aight), pick a moustache (Old-timey Western Saloon Keeper), pick a geologic time period (Ordivician, because it sounds Illuminati-ish and cool). I got this:

“You are just like an ammonite! These awesome looking sea-critters were everywhere back in the day, but not much is known about their behavior. Like them, you are elegant as fuck, but also seductively mysterious. People have been known to frame ammonites’ likeness on the walls of their majestic mansions and palatial villas and the same will be certainly be said of you one day.”

“Elegant as fuck” and totally philosophical? OK, maybe Facebook knows me better than I thought….

(Ken commented that he was confused by the fact that I normally put an asterisk in the middle of a swear word to keep this site a little more PG 13, but I used the F word twice at the end without an asterisk. I reminded him that they were direct f*cking quotes, so it was OK.)

 

My Week 228: Dishing It Out

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks and I know I have a lot of catching up to do, mainly because I got tagged for a couple of things by some blogger pals. I try hard to keep track but I only post once a week, so sometimes I have to go a ways back to remember what I’m supposed to be doing, and I only respond to these things if a) the questions are interesting or b) I can just make sh*t up. I don’t have an “award-free blog” which I recently learned is a thing, and frankly it befuddles me. It’s like celebrating Christmas but telling people “don’t buy me any damn presents” or being the Jehovah’s Witness of blogging (and in a strange twist of fate, they actually just came to my door right now to battle for my immortal soul, as they do fairly regularly. I won, as I also regularly do, but they took a moment to remind me that Jehovah loves me anyway, which is an award in and of itself, am I right?). Anyway, I guess some people have their own agenda or whatnot, and blog awards interfere with that, but me, I’m always looking for a topic that I can turn into something mydangblogggy, and just have a good time with it. Now, I’m not fishing for any more nominations—I’ve been tagged in a few awards already and it’s just the nicest thing imaginable to me that someone cared enough about my writing to do that, especially since I know that I’ll never get a Pulitzer or even a White Pine Award (that’s an Ontario thing) but goddammit, I’ve been nommed for the “Made My Dish Award” and I’m super-pumped. This award was totally invented by my friend Cecelia at Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks because I made dinner using one of her recipes, and it was delicious (I used gluten-free pasta but don’t tell her because I don’t want to give this award back). So now I have to answer her three questions, and they’re very good ones:

Unwrapped? Hard pass.

1) When you leave a restaurant, do you look for a bowl or mints or candies?

I might look for them, but I would NEVER touch them. Have you never seen those exposés where they take a blacklight and shine it on the candy bowl? There’s enough feces on those fruit drops to give you a nice healthy dose of dysentery. It’s a sad fact that a lot of people don’t wash their hands after they use the bathroom on the grounds that “I never actually touched anything” but YOU DID, BOB. And then Bob touches the candies with his poopy hands and it becomes a dish of norovirus-covered nougat. I have a strict policy to never deliberately ingest anything that is offered to me in an unwrapped state (see below for details). I also sanitize the handles of shopping carts, as well as the headrest and tray of my airplane seat. I recently watched a documentary about airline cleanliness, and it was a shock that not only are airplanes hotbeds of bacteria, but that the headrest is the dirtiest part of the plane. Who knew?

2) What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

I assume that means “on purpose” because I have eaten a lot of stuff I never intended to. In fact, the other day, I was walking downtown and it was really windy. In Toronto in the wintertime, they lay down salt on the sidewalks so heavily that it’s literally inches thick, but people walk on it and crush it until it’s as fine as sand and intermingled with dirt and other unsavoury elements. So there I was, walking along and talking to Ken on the phone:

Me: So I’m taking the 4:35 train on—oh my god!!!
Ken: What’s wrong?!
Me: The wind just gusted and blew sidewalk salt into my mouth! Argh!
Ken: Eww.
Me (spitting): It’s stuck to my lip gloss! Oh my god, it’s from the SIDEWALK. People PEE ON THE SIDEWALK!  I’m going to get so sick!

And I did. I just spent the last week on antibiotics, and I don’t know if it was the dirty sidewalk salt, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

3) What is a candy that should be invented/sold?

If there was a candy that tasted like a good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, I would be happy, although I know you can get ice wine chocolate, so maybe it’s already been invented. I used to really like salted chocolate but right now, that’s giving me terrible flashbacks.

And as you know, if you answer any or all of these three questions in the comments, you can also claim a “Made My Dish Award”, the dish in question being a blog.

Also, I was tagged by my pal and fellow Canuck (with an abiding love of Denmark), Cyranny of Cyranny’s Cove for the Solidarity Blogger award, so thank you for that. There’s only one thing I have to do for this, and that is to talk about what solidarity in blogging means to me. So I’ll get serious for a moment and say that if it wasn’t for this wonderful blogging community, I would never visit other countries, try great recipes, learn about art and graffiti, read incredible poetry, listen to great music, laugh (especially at the adventures of Alistair and Alexis), cry, commiserate, rejoice, grieve, think deeply about important topics, and mostly try to bring a little levity to YOUR world.

Synergy:

Ken and I have been married so long that sometimes we don’t have actual conversations. We just KNOW.

Me: That.
Ken: Yes.
Me: I know, right?
Ken: Uh huh.

The other night, we were driving home, and we passed a sh*tload of pylons:

Me: What?
Ken: Couldn’t get a building permit.
Me: Parking lot then.
Ken: Mmm.
Me: That fire.
Ken: Yeah.

The one thing we DON’T have synergy with, though, is music. Especially when we’re driving and Ken has control of the radio.

Me: What IS that? Is that a documentary? Like, on the radio? NO.
Ken: She’s an author. It’s interesting.
Me: She’s crying because she got divorced and her mom won’t forgive her. Her mom needs to be more supportive and you need to find something else to listen to…OK, I’m not 60—try again…this sounds like elevator music…Disco is DEAD, Ken…not COUNTRY!…put on Virgin Radio…you just switched the channel from one commercial to another…go back—that was Nirvana…yes, I know you hate that Calvin Harris song, but I like it—don’t be so judge-y.

We usually just end up compromising on the Comedy Channel:

Ken: Is that?
Me: Yeah. I love him.
Ken: That one joke.
Me: I know, right?

And just this morning:

Ken: The doorbell rang?
Me: Yup.
Ken: Jehovah loves you.
Me: Obvs.

Synergy.