My Week 221: Noteworthy Nonsense

Like a lot of people, I keep notes on my phone to remind myself of things, sometimes writing-related, sometimes work-related, and they’re quite often so cryptic that I can’t figure out which is which. I was on the train on Friday night, typing in a reminder to buy wrapping paper (for the first time in twenty years, we don’t seem to have any, and the gift bags have been passed back and forth to the point that they’re a little shabby), when I realized that the first note was titled “Player One”. And while you would think this kind of note would be writing-related, like for a cool story about a grand chess master who falls in love with his opponent, or the saga of an unindicted co-conspirator who is identified in court documents only by that pseudonym, this one is actually work-related:

Me: So there’s something wrong with my email. I changed my password this morning and now I keep getting error messages.
IT Guy: You’re not the only one. But don’t worry—I can set you up with a temporary account.
Me: Thanks. I don’t want to miss any important messages.
IT Guy: OK. The only thing is that the sender line won’t have your name on it—it will say Tester 1.
Me: Ooh, could it say Player One instead?
IT Guy: No.
Me: But that would be cooler.
IT Guy: I can’t rename it.
Me: Never mind then. Nobody emails me anyway.

And now I have to relive my disappointment at never having a cool nickname. Other weird notes:

1) “Christmas Candle Scents”

This one might not SEEM weird, but it’s followed by the names of the guys on my fantasy hockey pool team. Was I trying to figure out what Frederick Anderson would smell like if he was a Christmas candle? He’s a goalie, so maybe “old leather, wood, and hard work”? And by “hard work” I mean “sweat”, but I didn’t want to be mean. I asked Ken for a nicer word than sweat, and he said “Mildew” which is actually worse. Also, if you think a candle that smells like a hockey player wouldn’t be very pleasant, I just went on the Chapters Indigo website where you can purchase a candle called “Frostbite” and I would much rather that my house smell like a hockey player than gangrene.

2) “Don’t Rub Your Banana On Me”

I once worked with a woman who LOVED bananas. Then we got a summer student who was violently allergic to them and no one was allowed to eat them anywhere near her. Finally, the student went back to school and my colleague was super-happy about this, but around that time, I had had a severe allergic reaction to a naturopathic cream that contained plantain:

Colleague: I’m so ‘appy that I can eat les bananes again! (*She was French*)
Me: Just don’t rub your banana on me.
Colleague: But of course not, mon ami.

And that’s what I loved about her—most people would have been like, “Why the f*ck would I EVER rub my banana on you?” but she was just like “Pas de probleme!” as if it was the most normal request in the world. And I know if I had asked HER to call me Player 1, she would have said, “J’adore your cool nickname!”

3) “Trophy Wife”

I just went on a cruise with my parents, and in the evenings, my mom liked to go to the casino, so my dad and I would hang out together in one of the many lounges having a drink and whatnot. On the third day in, we were in the elevator and an elderly woman was complaining about how hard and confusing it was to organize shore excursions for herself. I pointed at my dad and said, “I never worry about that—he does it all for me” to which she replied, “You’re lucky you’re in a relationship.” I was taken aback but I said, “Well, he’s MY DAD so I guess it’s a kind of relationship.” But after she got off the elevator, my dad said, “I didn’t want to say anything, but last night in the lounge when we were having a drink and a laugh, a couple of guys my age walked by and one of them winked at me and gave me the thumbs up.” And I realized that there is nothing weirder than being mistaken for your father’s younger trophy wife, so from that point on, whenever I could, I would loudly emphasize the relationship, like “Can I get a glass of wine for me and ONE FOR MY FATHER?” or randomly yelling “HEY DAD!” at him from across the deck.  But then I also didn’t want people thinking that I was my parents’ middle-aged spinster daughter either, so I started bringing Ken into the conversation, like “I wish my husband was here—he would have really enjoyed this” until one guy was like, “I’m so sorry for your loss” and I had to clarify that Ken wasn’t dead, he was just at work.

4) A poem inspired by waking up from a weird dream at 3 o’clock in the morning:

I quite often wake up in the middle of the night and frantically write sh*t down in my phone. In fact, in My Week 119: Donut Store Memories, the short story titled “Double Double” was based on a dream I had where I was brainstorming with the Canadian writer Eric McCormack. I don’t normally dream up poems, but a while ago, I woke up in the middle of a dream where I was yelling at someone “I’d rather have an anonymous cadre of dubious angels!” I liked the line and wrote it down right away. Then this past week, I was reading a poem by an actual poet and blogger friend, Brandewulf of Brandewijn Words called Wakeful III and I started thinking about all the times I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep because of the negative thoughts that can swirl around my brain.  So I wrote this poem:

They came because the moon had called them
An anonymous cadre of dubious angels
Dancing on the head of a midnight pin.
You etch your rage onto vellum,
Hands heavy with loss
As they waltz until dawn.

Ken read this and I asked him what he thought. “Meh, it’s OK,” he said. That would have been a real blow to my self-esteem, except that last week BOTH Uber drivers gave me 5 out of 5 stars and they would have both LOVED this poem, I’m sure.

5) “True”

The remainder of this note says, “When the ball left my hand, it didn’t always go where I wanted it to, but most of the time it went over the plate.” This is what I heard a winning pitcher say in response to a reporter asking him, “How do you feel the game went?” And isn’t that just the best f*cking answer that you’ve ever heard? He could have said, “We won. Yay.” but he stretched it out into a whole string of words to make it SEEM like he was saying something profound. And maybe he was, in a kind of Zen Buddhist way.

6) “15 divided by 0 equals bacon”

Because it always will.

I get ALL THE BACON.

My Week 118: Any Way The Wind Blows, Christmas Fun

Thursday: Who Has Seen the Wind?

Sorry this post is a bit later than usual—with Christmas falling on the weekend, I was too busy unwrapping presents to do any real writing. Yes, yes I know that the point of Christmas is something other than material possessions, but still, Jesus got stuff so why shouldn’t I? And if you remember correctly, my love of pretty things in tiny (or large) boxes is the main reason the Jehovahs will never have my soul, so I think of it more as an act of self-defence. Also, I like GIVING people things as much as I like getting them, so I’m levelling out the karma in a very satisfying way. As usual, I’ve made my share of holiday gaffes, and here are the top three:

1) I kept forgetting what day it was last week, and on Thursday, my two work partners showed up with gifts because one of them wasn’t going to be at work on Friday. Me? I was empty-handed, having planned to do some shopping that night, so I offered to buy them lunch. Because, you know, nothing says “I bring you the joy of the Christmas season” like a burrito. Well, maybe it does if you’re in Mexico…

2) We had a lovely dinner with Ken’s family on Christmas day. Our sister-in-law AND her daughter are both in nursing school at the same time, and they were telling us about their practical exam, where actors are hired to be emergency room patients and they have to assess them under a time limit. We were like, “They pay someone to act like a patient? That would be an awesome job!”

Ken’s Mom: Ken could do that. You’d be good at that, Ken.
Me: Yes! And he could give them hints if they weren’t sure, like “Psst! Don’t forget to check my prostate.”

Silence.

Sister-in-law: Yeah, that’s not really part of it…
Niece: Um, NO.
Ken: Absolutely not.

Of course, everyone laughed hysterically after a minute, but I had definitely demonstrated a complete lack of understanding about what kind of medicine either of them did.

3) On Boxing Day, everyone came to our house because my mom was sick (she’s better now, thanks). I was responsible for a variety of things, including making a cauliflower casserole, which I love, and to which I usually add bacon in a very heavy-handed way. But my aunt was coming and she doesn’t eat pork or beef, so I had to make it without the bacon, because I don’t think it’s nice to invite someone to your house for dinner and be like, “Of course, there’s nothing here for you to eat.” Unfortunately, the weather was a bit iffy, and she left before dinner because it was dark, foggy, and she was worried about the roads (if you’re Canadian, you will totally get that—we never go ANYWHERE without checking both the weather and road reports for the time we’re leaving AND the time we’re coming home). Anyway, that was all fine, until I took dinner out of the oven, and was like, “Dang! I could have put as much bacon in this as I wanted!” Then I was sad, you know, that kind of sadness you get when you’re in a buffet line and they run out of bacon RIGHT before you get there. The only thing that seemed to help was the thought of wearing a tiara to compensate for the lack of bacon. Luckily, like most people, I HAVE a tiara. So now, in all the pictures from last night, I’m wearing a cardigan, jeans, and a beautiful, glittery tiara. And drinking a glass of wine. Obviously.

Anyway, the celebrations were all lovely, and we got to spend some time with K’s girlfriend, the lovely V. But that’s not what I’m supposed to be writing about, according to the title of this post. What I’m really writing about is Wind Turbines. What the hell is wrong with people and their anger over wind turbines? So, here’s the context: On Thursday, someone posted a meme on Facebook of Santa and his reindeer all tangled up in a wind turbine. It was cute and kind of funny, so I posted this comment: “At least he didn’t get sucked into a coal-fired chimney.” Then I scrolled down and looked at some of the other comments and immediately deleted mine because this meme was originally posted by some fanatical anti-Wind group with sublinks like “Anguish” and “The Truth from Europe” and “How Can I Fight?” and I didn’t want to be attacked by them. (Ken just said, “You deleted your comment? You let the internet win!” No, Ken–I just wrote a whole blog about it, so WINNING.) Now, you might be thinking, what the hell does mydangblog know about wind turbines? Well, quite a bit, actually, because Ken and I had a cottage in the heart of Ontario turbine country. I never noticed them, even though apparently they make SO much noise that people have nervous breakdowns just by being a kilometre away from them. We were a lot closer but I guess we’re just deaf (plus, I have to sleep with a white noise machine anyway, so maybe I just found them soothing). The best comment though was “So many eagles and other birds have been innocent victims of these implements of destruction, it’s not surprising that Santa was killed too.” Implements of destruction? So windmills are like nuclear warheads? I didn’t realize that. But if your biggest argument against a wind turbine is that sometimes birds fly into them and are killed, then you better stop driving your f*cking car immediately, because in the world of land mammals, automobiles are the NUMBER ONE IMPLEMENT OF DESTRUCTION. Seriously, I would rather live in proximity to a wind turbine over a coal-fired factory or a nuclear plant any day of the week. People say windmills are noisy, and I realize that makes them so much worse than a nuclear explosion because when a nuclear bomb goes off, you’re dead too quickly to hear it. So let’s see—a renewable source of energy that has virtually no carbon footprint, but makes a little noise, versus black gooey sh*t that has managed to raise the temperature of the planet by several degrees, comes from dead prehistoric animals, and regularly pollutes our land and water with said same black gooey sh*t that has also managed to raise stock prices on Dawn dish detergent. But you know, the jury’s still out on the adverse health effects of being near a windmill, even though the Dutch did it for centuries and are world leaders in renewable energy production. Then again, they grow a lot of tulips, so… (Seriously, that’s the kind of argument I’m seeing on these webpages, like “The Dutch? What do they know? They’re stupid and they grow tulips.) OMFG, I can’t even.

I don’t know about where you live, but where I’m from, wind turbines and transformer substations are subject to some pretty strict guidelines, and in general, must be more than at least half a kilometre away from residential dwellings, and even further away in other jurisdictions. But people will always complain about something—if it’s not a pipeline breaking and leaching poisonous oil into our water table, destroying wildlife and polluting the environment, or radioactive waste from a nuclear power plant causing decades of genetic mutation, then it’s them damn humming windmills, throwing their terrifying shadows on the ground.

People need to grow up and stop being so entitled, ie: “Muh, I like my car! I deserve to use as much dinosaur blood as I want, until it all runs out, and then who gives a sh*t because I’ll be dead anyway. Probably from lung cancer thanks to all the smog. But at least smog is QUIET!!”

Sigh. Merry Christmas.

windmills

 

My Week 106: What I Was Thinking, Sign of the Apocalypse

Saturday: I look at my notes

It’s been a pretty quiet week so far, and I wasn’t sure what to write about, mostly because I have a job interview on Wednesday for a permanent position within the secret agency (I’m currently seconded from another position), and as part of the pre-interview process, I had to write a 500-word essay addressing a specific topic. I spent a lot of the weekend working on it, and now my brain has gone a little numb. Normally, I can crank out 500 words in my sleep—right now some of you are probably saying to yourselves, “Sleep? Did she misspell ‘Drunk’?”—and you may or may not be correct. At any rate, these were 500 harder words, and the person who reads them might give me more money to do my job, unlike WordPress, which keeps telling me that I don’t have enough views to ever earn a living writing the fun kind of 500 words. I was in the throes of brain death, so I went back through my notes. I keep notes on my phone about things every week that might be worth writing about; usually by Saturday, I have a lot of ideas, and they don’t all make it into the weekly run-down. Sometimes they don’t make sense when I read them back later, or I’ve forgotten what I was thinking when I jotted it down. Anyhow, for your reading pleasure, here are a few of the weird notes that I found, and what I think they might mean:

1) Harassing wildlife

I think this one came after I heard a story about a co-worker who told everyone he quit smoking, then he snuck outside to have a cigarette. While he was puffing away, he looked up just as a Canada goose swooped down and attacked him, knocking him to the ground. He got up, dazed and confused, only to have the insane waterfowl take a second run at him, knocking him down again. I know this is all true, because it was captured by the security cameras, much to his dismay, more because of the cigarette than the goose from what I understand (we weren’t actually allowed to SEE the camera footage, but having it described to us was more than enough to send us into fits of hysterical laughter). Then, about two weeks later, I read in the paper about a guy who was charged with “wildlife harassment” because he was caught jumping out of a moving boat onto the back of a moose. And by caught, I mean he was stupid enough to post the video on Youtube (there’s a surprise—a guy trying to play rodeo with a full-sized moose being stupid?), and someone reported it. The moose looked genuinely terrified, not unlike my co-worker. But here’s the thing—a guy who scares a moose faces charges, but a goose who attacks a helpless man gets off scot-free? I’m seeing a bit of (just hit 500 words in less than half an hour for the record) a double standard here. The Canada goose is our national bird, and you can’t legally kill one, but still—it should have at least been fined. And the best part of this note on my phone is that it could apply to either story—a goose harassing a guy, or an idiot harassing a moose.

scary-goose

2) GMO Scaremongering

This came after an article posted on Facebook by someone about salmon that have their DNA spliced with a different kind of fish so that they mature faster. Regular salmon stock is apparently dwindling due to overfishing, so these genetically modified salmon can be farmed (which is a nice way of saying ‘sold for food’) instead. All the regular salmon were happy, but the person who posted it was all like “It’s tampering with the natural world—it’s wrong and it will give us all cancer and kill us.” If tampering with the natural world will kill me, I should have died the last time I ate a Honeycrisp apple, because it’s a hybrid apple. And now, while researching “how are hybrid apples made”, I read an article that just told me I was dumb for thinking that the deliberate cross-pollination of other apples to make hybrids are the same as scientists manipulating genetic material to create things which would never happen in nature. What? Like a regular salmon COULDN’T have a one-night stand with a more mature fish? Wait, do salmons even have sex? This note is generating more questions than answers. Anyway, unless it’s a potato that produces its own pesticide, which was a real thing and got banned because it was a stupidly dangerous idea, given that potatoes have a nasty streak and already try to poison us with their green skins and sh*t, I have no problem eating mutant food. Maybe I should, I don’t know, but I’m sure not taking advice from anything I see on Facebook. And if the scientists are listening, then I would LOVE it if you could just invent a bacon I could have without having to ‘farm’ a pig. Now that would be something.

3) Don’t f*ck with the gluten-free

This came about not long ago when, for a family occasion, Ken insisted on making Nanaimo bars. If you don’t know what these are, they are delicious Canadian confections made with chocolate and a bunch of other stuff, and named after a place in British Columbia. I asked him if they had wheat flour in them, and he said, “Yes”, so I said, “Can you make them with gluten-free flour so I can have one?” and he said, “No. But you can just eat the part that doesn’t have gluten in it.” And I was like, “Oh really?” So the next time we had salad, I put the same salad dressing on his salad as mine, even though he prefers Raspberry Vinaigrette to Creamy Asian Sesame. When he complained, I told him to just eat the parts that didn’t have salad dressing on them. Mwah haha.

4) Lesbians kissing

Two weeks ago, I was walking down the street behind two women. I wasn’t really paying attention, but as I got closer, I realized they were holding hands. Then one looked at the other adoringly and gave her a big smoochy kiss, and I was like “Aw, that’s so sweet.” But two young guys passing the other way saw them too, and turned around giggling and pointing at them. I wanted to give them a smack and say, “It’s 2016—grow the f*ck up,” but the women didn’t seem to notice, maybe because they were minding their own damn business instead of other people’s. I didn’t write about this originally because it’s not a very long story, and not particularly funny. It WOULD have been funny if the two guys had then been attacked by a Canada goose, but that didn’t happen. Sorry.

5) Alltop

Last week, I applied to an online article site to host my blog. Just for fun. But it wasn’t, because the first thing I had to do was fill in an application that wanted to know what my RSS feed was. And I was like, “How the hell should I know?” So I asked a guy from work who has his own website, but he didn’t know either. So I googled it, and entered what I thought was the right thing. Then I submitted my application, and got a message back saying that the site would let me know within six weeks whether my blog was accepted or not, but if it wasn’t, they wouldn’t tell me why. What kind of douche-y attitude is THAT? They did give a list of potential reasons, like “This site is not in English”, “This site is promoting a business”, “This site does not have enough original content”, etc. I looked at the list and mentally checked off everything, but the very next morning, I got a rejection notice which said, “Although we can’t provide a specific reason why we could not include your site, here are the most common reasons.” And then at the bottom it said, “You might find it useful to test your Feed.” What is that? They can’t tell me why, but they can drop a f*cking hint? There was a link to a Feed Validator, and it said my feed was fine, whatever that means, but I wanted to write back and say, “Dammit Jim, I’m a blogger not a computer scientist.” So maybe my content just sucks. Or Alltop does. Or maybe it’s all the swearing. Who the f*ck knows?

Sunday: Sign of the apocalypse (No, this isn’t about Donald Trump. But it could be.)

On the way to my in-laws today for a Thanksgiving lunch, Ken and I passed a large sign outside a store. The sign read, “Dipped bacon caramel turkey.” The store was called “The Sweet Shoppe”—or at least that’s what it said in faded blue letters. I’ve been obsessing about this all day:

Me: What could it mean?
Ken: Maybe it’s some kind of Thanksgiving candy?
Me: With a randomly generated name that includes all the things people love but would be disgusting in that combination?
Ken: It doesn’t sound very good. Maybe that’s why the store is closed. They can’t make money on their weird candy.
Me: Do you think it could be like a turkey wrapped in bacon then dipped in caramel?
Ken: Maybe it’s four different things that they sell individually.
Me: A candy store that sells turkey? Or bacon?
Ken: Maybe the bacon is dipped in something. Like sea salt.
Me: Why would anyone do that? Bacon is already salty. God, I wish that store had been open.

But I didn’t need the store to be open, as it turned out, because I have Google. I couldn’t believe it when I typed in “Dipped bacon caramel turkey” and discovered that bacon dipped in caramel and sea salt is actually a thing. I don’t know where the turkey comes in, but all the recipes I found called for turkey bacon. And while I don’t have turkey bacon currently in my refrigerator, I DO have left-over turkey, bacon, caramel sauce, and baker’s chocolate. I’ll let you know how it turns out. This could be the start of a new career if my job interview doesn’t go well…