Good Kittens Make Good Neighbours

In another installment of “Weird Things I Saw For Sale”, I came across this ad the other day. When I saw the picture, I thought it was strange, because apparently you’re not allowed to sell pets on Facebook Marketplace, but then I saw the description and realized that this was, in fact, NOT a pet but a very skilled little feline who is worth every penny of his $123.00 price tag.

Now, it never occurred to me that you could use a kitten for this purpose, just like it never occurred to me that you should hold a kitten like it’s an ice cream cone, but then I gave it a little more thought. I came up with this clever quiz for you to demonstrate how much a kitten has in common with a sheep/goat fence. You need to read the items on the following list and decide whether they apply to kittens, sheep/goat fences, or both:

1) Can be used to keep out sheep and/or goats
2) Adorable
3) Comes in a variety of colours
4) Might have fleas
5) Needs lots of maintenance
6) Enjoys the outdoors
7) Potentially electrified
8) Poops in a box
9) Hisses if you try to cross it
10) Vomits on your rug
11) Kills birds and small rodents
12) Very long
13) Metal or wood

OK, let’s see how you did.

Exclusively kittens: #8 and #10. Exclusively sheep/goat fences: #13. Both: All the rest.

Now, you may be saying, “I don’t think—” but I’m going to interrupt you in order to explain.

1) “Can be used to keep out sheep/goats”. According to the ad, this kitten CAN be used to keep out sheep and/or goats, and I take the word of the expert who owns the kitten and not some blog reader who owns a sheep and/or goat farm, KEVIN. Also, the ad says it’s a TEMPORARY fence; otherwise, using a kitten as a sheep/goat fence would be very unrealistic.

2) “Adorable”. I have seen MANY adorable sheep/goat fences in my time. In fact, just the other day, Ken and I were driving around the countryside and he said, “Look at that cute fence” and I said, “We should stop and take a picture of it” and we did, because it was adorable.

3) “Comes in a variety of colours”. I mean obviously sheep/goat fences don’t come in as MANY colours as kittens, but they come in several shades of gray or brown, so that counts.

4) “Might have fleas”. I said “Might”.

5) “Needs lots of maintenance”. Fences and kittens are both high-maintenance what with their potential for rust and needing to be amused constantly.

6) “Enjoys the outdoors”. This is obviously true of both because sheep/goat fences live in the outdoors, which they wouldn’t if they didn’t enjoy it, I would hope, and kittens are always making a run for the door to get out of your house.

7) “Potentially electrified”. I said “Potentially”. Also, what do you think makes a kitten’s fur stand on end? And have you ever touched your kitten and gotten a shock? I rest my case.

8) “Poops in a box”. I don’t think sheep\goat fences defecate, and if they did, I can’t see a farmer providing them a box to do it in. Although you never know with farmers.

9) “Hisses if you try to cross it”. This one is predicated on the sheep/goat fence being electrified. In which case, it’s true of both. It’s also true of the Canada Goose, affectionately known as the Evil Lake Chicken.

10) “Vomits on your rug”. This could never be true of a sheep/goat fence because you wouldn’t have one in your house with access to a rug. Unless you also keep sheep and/or goats in your house, and then it would be like a baby gate or something, and I still can’t see it vomiting on the rug, although the sheep and/or goats might. But if you’ve ever owned a kitten, you know they do this all the damn time, and especially when you have company over for dinner, and right as you start eating, the kitten comes in, makes an unearthly yowling sound, and pukes on the rug. Kittens have impeccable timing, which they also have in common with sheep/goat fences. I should have put that on the list.

11) “Kills birds and small rodents”. This is also predicated on the sheep/goat fence being electrified. It also depends on the voltage. Ken has touched electric fences before but he’s not home right now, so I’ll ask him later if he thinks it could electrocute a field mouse. Update: Ken says that the voltage probably wouldn’t kill them but would give them a good jolt, so I’m changing 11 to “Wounds birds and small rodents”.

12) “Very long”. I’ve seen long kittens. Fight me.

13) “Metal or wood”. There’s no way I can stretch this to make it apply to kittens, at least not the living kind, so I’m giving number 13 to sheep/goat fences.

Overall, as you can see, kittens and sheep/goat fences DO have a lot in common, so I think the person who posted the ad should be asking a hell of a lot more than $123.00. A much better deal than the ad for used rocks at a dollar a piece.

(On a personal note, I woke up on Tuesday morning to an email telling me that I’d been nominated for a Best of the Net prize for my story in the Ekphrastic Review titled ‘Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus’, which you can read here if you’d like, although a lot of you already have. It was as unexpected as a kitten being used as a sheep/goat fence, but it made my day.)

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 120: Search for a Roommate, The Liquor Store, K and I Discuss Religion

Tuesday: The search for a roommate ends

A little while ago, I found myself in an unusual position. No, this is not a weird sex story, so get your mind out of the gutter. What I mean by that is, “in a situation that I have NEVER dealt with before”. I needed to find a roommate. And before you jump to any more hasty conclusions, Ken and I are just fine. However, in case you’ve forgotten, I work for a secret agency in the heart of the big city during the week, and come home to Ken’s loving, and sometimes sarcastic, arms on the weekend. It was a great arrangement—I have a condo in the city and a house in a lovely small town where the Jehovah’s Witnesses can easily find me. Everything was fine, until just recently, when I accepted a permanent position with the agency, which means they will no longer cover the cost of my urban housing. And that’s OK—I’m thrilled with the whole thing, considering that I work with wonderful people and my position is very stimulating (In an INTELLECTUAL way! God, what is wrong with you people?!) And the best part is that I never have to go back to work with the small but horrifyingly toxic group of people that I used to have to spend most of my day with.

Bob: You’re so mean. We don’t like you.
Marcia: Yeah. You think you’re so great with your “professionalism” and sh*t.
Me: Um…aren’t we all adults here?
Bob: What’s your point? Oh, and if you don’t add me on Facebook, I’m filing a grievance against you with the union.
Me: Sigh. I can’t even.

So it’s a win-win situation, except for the fact that living in the heart of the big city is excruciatingly expensive. I looked into moving into a cheaper condo, but anything cheaper was further away, and the cost of the subway every day offset any savings I might have seen, because right now I live literally across the street from my office. It’s the best commute I’ve ever had in my life. Plus, I really like SkyLab. Being 300 feet above sea level helps put things into perspective. Or not. The other day, for example, I was looking down at the street, and I saw someone walking the weirdest looking dog. Then suddenly, it flew away, and I realized it was a pigeon. Anyway, I decided that the best thing to do would be to get a roommate for my second bedroom. I never use it anyway, and a roommate could help with the rent. That way I could stay where I was. But how do you find a roommate? Was there a magicky noticeboard in the heart of the city where trustworthy people could be found? Well, just like “The Club”, it was elusive. Then I was messaging with a friend who said, “You can advertise on the university Facebook pages—people are always looking for rentals there.”

Great idea, right? So I went to one of these pages, and right away, I saw a girl who was looking to rent a room. I immediately messaged her on Facebook and she sounded super-excited. She said she’d come at 1 pm that Thursday to see the place. Wednesday night, I cleaned the condo from top to bottom because I wanted to make a good impression. I made arrangements to take a late lunch, and I popped over to my lobby around 12:45 to wait for her. At 12:50, she messaged me to say she wasn’t coming. WTF? I had CLEANED!! What was wrong with kids today? After fuming for a bit, though, I suddenly realized that maybe it was my fault. First, some of you may remember me railing on about how I was fiddling with my name on Facebook a while ago, hit the wrong button, and the next thing I knew, my Facebook name was Mydangbog. No, that’s not a typo. At least not here. Yes, I had spelled my own blog name incorrectly, and according to Facebook rules, I couldn’t change it back to my own real human name for 60 days. Well, it was embarrassing at the time, but my friends got used to it, and I didn’t give it much thought after a while. Second, for a laugh, I had changed my profile picture to a shot of me when I was 17 years old, and going through what the kids today might call my “Goth phase”. Third, right after the young lady had initially messaged me, I changed my profile picture to a photograph of the garden house that Ken built me years ago. It’s a barnboard structure, out in the middle of our lawn. So, OK, here’s the deal: You’re 18 years old, and you’re contacted by someone with an incomprehensible name who looks like a vampire. After your initial message, the person changes their profile picture to an isolated barn in the middle of nowhere. If that doesn’t scream “potential serial killer”, I don’t know what else does. The only way I could have made things worse is if I’d started sending her random GIFs of Charles Manson laughing. (I just googled this, and there’s actually a website called serialkillergifs.tumblr.com—I’m going to save that for future reference). So I forgave her. After that fiasco, I was finally able to change my name back, replaced the barn with a picture of me wearing a tiara (because nothing says “normal” like a middle-aged woman wearing a crown) and got permission to post my own ad on the university’s Facebook site. I got several responses right away, and ending up meeting a very nice student doing a co-op term until the end of April. So if it doesn’t work out, it’s not forever. Well, as long as she never looks in the freezer.

Friday: The liquor store

On Friday, I went to the liquor store. This is the opening line of all my favourite stories. Anyway, I went with K, who’s 18 and a half. But the liquor store has instituted this ridiculous rule that unless you’re 19+, you’re “not allowed to handle alcoholic products while in the LCBO”. LCBO is the name for the only place in Ontario where you’re allowed to buy alcohol (except for The Beer Store, which is the provincially-licenced…well, beer store). K looks like she’s at least 19, but I’m a rule-follower, so there was me trying to juggle a 12-pack of Smirnoff Ice coolers and a bottle of wine, while she wandered after me saying, “Just give me the case of Smirnoff—no one’s going to know.”

Me: It’s a stupid rule. I’m complaining.
K: Oh god—you promised you would stop harassing random store clerks with your “complaints”.
Me: I’m not harassing anyone. I’m just pointing out how stupid it is. (To cashier) This is a stupid policy. These things are heavy and I’ve had to lug them around the store and HE’S not allowed to help me.
Cashier: There are buggies when you come in. And baskets.
Me: Putting all this in a basket doesn’t make it any lighter.
K: God no, please stop.
Cashier (sighing): Do you have air miles?
Me: Don’t even get me started on air miles. So, let me just clarify. If I put this in the basket, is he allowed to TOUCH THE HANDLE in order to carry it out to the car, or is that still considered “handling alcoholic products”?
Cashier (exasperated): You’ve paid for the products. They belong to you. He can touch them now….
Me: But we’re still technically in the store—
K: OMG, just stop. She can’t do anything about the policy. She’s just a cashier.
Me: What? I’m simply pointing out how ridiculous this is. I was POLITE. I didn’t swear at anyone.
K: THIS time.

It’s a stupid rule. I stand by that. Good job I didn’t tell her the coolers were for K.

Here’s a sign with even weirder rules. Guess where it comes from:

weird-sign-smaller

 

Sunday: K and I discuss religion

Earlier this morning, I was driving K back to uni. She was scrolling through her phone and said, “Hey—there’s this really funny thread about which religion is the weirdest. Someone just posted, “the one where there’s an invisible man in the sky who’s really interested in what two people do in bed.”

Me: Haha. Scientology is weirder though.
K: What’s Scientology again?
Me: The one where they believe that everyone on Earth descended from aliens that landed on Easter Island in metal tubes. One day, the Supreme Lord Naboo will return from the Underverse to reclaim them.
K: I think you’re mixing in a bit of Star Wars and Chronicles of Riddick there.
Me: Scientologists, Necromongers, whatever. Anyway, Scientologists are kind of like Mormons, but without the orgies.
K: Orgies?!
Me: Isn’t that the point of polygamy? Orgies were the reason a lot of religions got invented. Seriously—watch Sister Wives. I could never be a Scientologist though—I couldn’t follow a religion that didn’t believe in modern medicine.
K: I think you’re talking about the Christian Scientists.
Me: Aren’t they the same thing? I always get confused by the “science-y” part of their names. Although none of them are really scientists when you think about it. Science Fictionists, maybe.
K: People have always believed in some crazy sh*t. Look at Greek mythology.
Me: I know, right? Let’s talk about Uranus.
Both: Mwahahahahaha!

Yep. I raised her right.

My Week 99: Jet Lag Grumpiness, The Tragically Hip

Jet lag makes me grumpy. I’ll be the first to admit that, or maybe the second, as Ken is well aware of the fact that I’ve been a little pissy this week. The poor guy has a bad cold and slept on the couch the other night because he was coughing and didn’t want to wake me up. My reaction?

Me: What the hell are you doing?
Ken: Um…whuh?
Me: How many times have I asked you NOT to use the couch cushions as pillows?! They’re expensive, and you’re making them all squishy!
Ken: But I—
Me: NO, Ken. You need to stop treating the couch like a flophouse. Use your own damn pillows. It’s not like you don’t have 6 of them all cluttering up the bed and sh*t.
Ken: *weak cough, sneeze* Sigh.

At any rate, I hope he forgives me for my pillow rant, although it’s true that he has like a thousand weird pillows on the bed that he just can’t sleep without—unless he’s on the couch. The fact is that I’m in a continual state of grogginess, thanks to the 6 hour time zone change, and as I get older, I find it harder to readjust my body clock. But Ken wasn’t the only one who felt my ire this week. I hope you’re prepared for this, because I’m about to vent. Here’s the list of 4 things that are REALLY grinding my gears this week:

1) Telemarketers who can’t even be bothered trying.

Twice in the last week, I’ve been the target of a completely uninspired, or blatantly bulls*t phone sales pitch. I’m not sure what’s going on—maybe it’s the brutal heat we’re experiencing in Canada, but people aren’t even TRYING. The phone rang yesterday. We don’t normally use our landline, but the caller ID said “C. Becker”, so I thought it might be, like, a normal human person. I answered the phone:

Me: Hello? HELLO? (sounds of talking in the background).
Guy: What? Oh hi. Mrs. __________? (mispronounces my last name)
Me: No, it’s _____________.
Guy: Haha. Right. Sorry. So….this is just the duct cleaning people calling.
Me: The duck cleaning people?
Guy: No, ducts. You know, like your furnace ducts and stuff. So, we’re having a promotion.
Me: Ah, sorry. We heat totally with wood.
Guy: No problem! Thanks!

“Just the duct cleaning people”. Is that seriously how a company expects to make money? And why the hell are their sales agents using their own damn phones? Anyway, I had his name and phone number on my caller ID, so the other day, I randomly called him back. Don’t worry; I blocked my number first. I didn’t get to talk to “Chris”, which is what I’m calling him, but I left this ominous message on his answering machine in my best Count Dracula voice: “Would you like your ducts cleaned?! Mwah hahahaha!!!” Then I hung up, turned around and realized that K was staring at me.

Me: The duct cleaning guy…
K: I condemn your actions.

But it still wasn’t as bad as the other day, when I answered the phone and a guy with a VERY heavy accent said, “Hello. My name is John Smith and I’m calling from Windows. There seems to be something wrong with your computer—“, and I said, “F*ck off” and hung up the phone. Then I felt terrible, because I’m usually really polite to telemarketers, but how stupid did he think I AM? Now I’m worried though, because when we were in Iceland, I wrote most of last week’s post on a netbook using Windows, and when we came back to Canada, the netbook crashed. All I could do was call up the post on Word, then retype the whole thing, which took me hours. So maybe that’s my karma for being all swear-y at John Smith, and now my Windows might really be f*cked up.

2) Olympic Sexism.

Like many people, I’m disturbed by the level of sexism in the current Olympics. There have been many articles written on the subject regarding women’s achievements being downplayed or overshadowed by constant references to what they’re wearing or who they’re married to. And while I agree with all that, I also think that there are a couple of sports in which women are their own worst enemies by not saying “Screw this.” The first one that comes to mind is Gymnastics. How can you seriously expect people NOT to make a distinction between the genders when you have such a different approach to the floor routine? The guys are all serious and badass and tumbling around, and when they finish a run, they take one weird swivel-y step to turn around. The women, on the other hand, look like they’re trying out for Little Miss Gymnastic Universe—they do their routines with perma-smiles, and shimmy their shoulders and shake their pre-pubescent-looking booties for the crowd in between THEIR tumbling runs. I don’t get it. At one point, I was like “Shouldn’t there be a pole somewhere on that mat?” These women are all INCREDIBLE athletes—why is it the expectation of their sport that they act like pageant princesses? Do they lose marks if they don’t look pretty and sexy? Dump the glitter and gyrating, and bring women’s gymnastics into the 21st century. And don’t get me started on the seeming necessity of the women’s Beach Volleyball team wearing bikini thongs compared to what the guys wear. They claim it’s comfortable and allows them to play better—maybe having sand in your lady parts is a great incentive to win. And just for the record, I’d have absolutely no problem with any of this if the guys were similarly dressed in thongs or glitter or whatever. In fact, it might make me MORE inclined to watch men’s Beach Volleyball.

3) Kidbashing.

This one has been making me grumpy for a lot longer than a week, but hey, in for a penny, in for a pound. Is it just me, or are other people sick as f*ck of all the childbashing that seems to be de rigeur in the last little while? My social media outlets are jampacked with “50 Reasons Why Being a Parent Sucks”, or “10 Things I Hate About My Kids” or “Why Being a Mom Is Crap”. From Twitter hashtags to nasty memes, this whole cyberbullying of our children has to stop. Being a parent is AWESOME. There. I said it. I’m deeply sorry that I don’t want to cash in by appealing to the frustrated parent in you all, but I actually LIKE being a mom. My daughter didn’t drive me to drink (I did that all on my own, thank you very much). She didn’t give me gray hairs (do I have any? I’ll have to ask my hairdresser), and I would never dream of embarrassing her by openly mocking what she does on the internet. Sure, I talk about her, but it’s with affection rather than mean-spiritedness. You know what she DID give me? Laugh lines. Because kids are hilarious. But you’d never know this from some of the negativity aimed towards parenthood lately. I actually read a post by someone who described being a parent as being akin to living in a barren wasteland with an empty soul. WHAT?? All I have to say to that is “Grow the f*ck up. Did you really think that your life would stay EXACTLY the same as it was before you had children? Did you think you could still ‘party with my ladies’, have your semi-annual girls’ weekend, or continue to hit the bars on a Friday night? If so, then hire a nanny and stop complaining.” I’m not wholly unsympathetic—I understand that spending time with the wee ones can be a little overwhelming at times, and when I was raising K, there were certainly occasions (few, I have to admit) where I needed to vent. You know who I vented to? My mom. Or a good friend. Or Ken. I didn’t share my thoughts and feelings with thousands of strangers on the internet where my momentary self-doubt would be archived forever, and where my negative thoughts about childrearing could be seen by my child at a future date. The worst part is that it’s making younger women fearful of becoming parents. I read an article the other day by a journalist who was considering having children, but after reading some “mommy blogs”, she was so scared off that she was re-thinking the whole thing. The most ridiculous thing I read lately was by someone who was so unhappy about being a mother, and the worst part was that her husband got to go out working and be with adults. But then he would come home and leave his underwear on the bathroom door handle, and ON TOP OF EVERYTHING ELSE, she would have to put his underwear away. My first and only thought was, “Why the HELL are you picking up after a grown man?! Did you know that after a while, if you don’t pick up after him, he’ll have no clean underwear and will be forced to do his own laundry like an actual normal human person?” And now this poor guy feels like a dick because everyone on the internet knows he hangs his underwear on a doorknob.

Honestly, I don’t know how anyone can rightfully complain about being a parent. It really is the best gig in the world. You get to spend time with someone who is NEVER boring, and you get to teach them all the stuff they need to know. When you repeat “Can you say Mama,” over and over again, you’re creating neural pathways and networks. When you say “No, that’s hot—danger!”, you’re developing logic and reasoning. And when you say “Play nice and share,” you’re contextualizing the social construct. You’re a f*cking scientist, that’s what you are. So start embracing your inner Ph. D.—the internet, and your children, will thank you.

4) People who try to screw you over on Facebook buy and sell sites.

Ken and I are still trying to offload a lot of the furniture we had at the cottage we sold recently. The best way has been by using local Facebook buy and sell sites, but it can be frustrating at times. Most people are great—they come when they say they will, they give you the money, and they take away your stuff. Then you get the people who take two days of constant messaging and questions like “Is it in good condition?” (no, I posted it because it’s a piece of crap) to finally arrange a time to pick up an item. THEN they suddenly want to know if you’ll take half the asking price. You say No, then they come over when you’re out and try the same sh*t with your unsuspecting husband. But he’s no dummy (because you told him what the price was and he knows better that to barter on his own) so they leave empty-handed, having wasted everyone’s time. People like that are jerks. Enough said.

5) Amid all the grumbling this week, there HAVE been some good moments. Ken and I repaired the broken down antique settee that I got a garage sale and it looks great. I made risotto for the first time and it turned out almost OK. I bought groceries and it didn’t cost me a small fortune as it would have in Iceland. I saw Lisa, my Lancome lady, and she gave me a lot of free stuff. Which brings me to the thing that made me laugh my ass off this week. I saw my parents yesterday, and I gave my mom some peach-scented foot lotion, Calvin Klein body lotion, and lipstick that I got from Lisa. She called me last night:

Mom: I hope you don’t mind, but I gave the lotion to your Dad.
Me: No, that’s fine…
Mom: He’s decided to become a chick magnet so he needs soft skin.
Me: I—what?

So ladies, beware. If you see a really cool old Scottish guy who smells like peaches, you’re in trouble.

Saturday Night: The Tragically Hip

hip2

Last night was the final show of the Tragically Hip’s final concert tour. The lead singer, Gord Downie, has incurable brain cancer, and rather than fade away, he’s going out in fine Canadian style by bringing the country together. You might have seen the memes about Canada being closed for the night because our national broadcaster, the CBC, was showing the concert live across the nation for those who couldn’t get tickets to be there in person. Free. No commercial breaks. 3 hours of song. So that we could all embrace the band whose music was the soundtrack to so many of our lives. Hundreds of thousands of people watching all at the same time, some at huge parties with massive screens, some at home with the people they love, watching a man give everything he had left to the nation HE loves. It was inspiring and heartbreaking all at the same time. In a year that we lost Bowie and Prince, two other icons of our youth, it seems incredibly unfair that Gord Downie, man, machine, poem, should be lost to us as well. And when the time comes, we’ll miss him fully and completely. Just wait and you’ll see.

Here’s the link to one of my favourite Hip songs—Nautical Disaster.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8Fi46BFAF0

 

My Week 60: Facebook Quizzes

Thursday: Facebook doesn’t know me at all.

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. At first, it was TV characters, 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 their 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!”

And then they high-five each other and eat cheesies. Yep, that’s how Bond characters are named. Anyway, I’ve been doing these quizzes for a while, and I’ve come to a couple of conclusions. First, Facebook doesn’t know me at all. In the last few weeks, I’ve been told that my age is 24, that I will have a baby in the very near future (much to Ken’s and my collective shock), and that my favourite food is ice cream. Let me just clarify—I’m double that age, the only “baby” I currently want comes from either Tiffany’s or the Humane Society, 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. Yep, I would definitely have made a great philosopher.

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—why do vegetarians eat eggs? Aren’t eggs little chickens that never got born? And now you ate them, so they’ll never have a fighting chance. I draw my own moral line by not eating lamb or veal for that exact reason. I strongly believe that animals should have the opportunity to cavort and see the world a little before…well, you know. And now, by that same logic, I have to give up eating eggs. Great. Thanks, philosophy.

Question 4: Pick a condiment. I was torn between soya sauce and salsa, but I went with salsa, because if these questions have ANY bearing on what philosopher I’m most like, I’d rather be Che Guevara than Confucius.

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 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 the 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 this 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’. Unfortunately, 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 West 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. Yep, that’s me, all right.

(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.)