Saturday, April 29, 2006

I can't get this pesky song out of my head

TW and I decided to purchase a pay per view movie last night. However, the advanced technology of the pay per view system escaped me, so with one accidental slip of the finger I purchased Rent instead of The 40 Year Old Virgin.

TW and I loathe musicals.

So: we watched Rent - mouths agape.

The film, lacking true narrative depth, did, however, inspire us to live our lives through song.

This morning, TW just finished a rendition of "I need to brush my teeth" in B-minor. I responded with my rendition of, “Can you wait until I use the facilities” in A-sharp. Then TW responded with the ever popular, “No way sucka” in the key of F.

Dang. This point goes to TW.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Duct Tape or Salted Fish - You Decide

In case of a catastrophic emergency I'm moving to Indonesia. I just learned that while the Department of Homeland Security encourages U.S. citizens to prepare for a disaster by purchasing duct tape, heavy duty trash bags, water, and canned goods the government of Indonesia is much more pragmatic on the matter.

According to a 1998 document issued by the Indonesian Minister of Trade, the nine essentials for living, in order of importance, include:
  • Rice
  • White sugar
  • Cooking oil and margarine
  • Beef and chicken
  • Chicken eggs
  • Powdered milk
  • Corn
  • Kerosene
  • Iodized salt
Additional essentials include:
  • Wheat flour
  • Soybeans
  • Instant noodles
  • Chili peppers
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Salted fish
  • Mung beans
  • Peanuts
  • Cassava or sweet potato
  • Cement
  • Fertilizer
I am not quite sure what I would do with the cement and the fertilizer after a disaster since I have no discernable gardening or construction skills but you better believe that after a year as a haus frau I could at least whip those instant noodles into shape without any trouble. I think.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Getting My Money's Worth

TW and I went to the aquarium last weekend because I wanted to get the most value out of our yearly membership.

As we walked into the aquarium we stopped at the sea otter tank. On that day, a beautiful spring day with temperatures in the low 70’s, the crowds at the aquarium were vast. When we reached the tank, we pushed our way through the crowds of mothers holding their children, elderly people in their wheelchairs, and children in their strollers. Then we planted ourselves directly in front of a couple of toddlers and marveled at the animals. As the sea otters lounged in the sun, they looked like animatronic stuffed animals.

As we continued to watch the sea otters, two of the three of them moved toward each other. Then the limbs of the two sea otters became entangled and they began to roll around in a bear hug. Given the quaint hallmark moment, I looked at TW and said, “Isn’t that cute. They’re cuddling.” She nodded her head in agreement. As we continued to watch them cuddle we both smiled broadly at their cuteness.

Then, without any warning, as the otters continued to cuddle, I spotted a four inch pink appendage pop out of the water. I whispered to TW and pointed at the appendage in an effort to hide the truth of the “the birds and the bees” from the children surrounding us. I failed. Soon after pointing out the appendage, I heard a four year old girl behind us yell, “Look at his pee pee.”

Immediately parents gasped and tried to cover the eyes of their children but other children – those children who slipped through their parent’s grasps – barreled through the crowds and moved to the railing surrounding the tank to get a better look at the sea otter’s “pee pee.” The wily children pointed, giggled, and pointed some more.

I turned to TW and said, “Finally, I think we got our money’s worth.”

Friday, April 21, 2006

It's Like an Onion

A very special attempt at prose poetry written on the stall door of a women’s bathroom in a downtown Vancouver dive bar:

Finding Nemo
This film is like an onion;
depending on your knowledge…
you can continue to pull back new layers and discover
reference upon reference.
It is also known to make audiences cry,
another trait it shares with onions.

Wow. This poem sheds so much light for me on the power of the onion. I will never look at that innocuous vegetable in the same way again.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wacky Easter Revelers

TW and I went to a party this weekend. While at the party I felt hot and cramped because the hostess crammed twenty-five people into the 325 square foot studio. A space, that according to the fire code regulations posted on the back of the bathroom door, recommended that only four full-grown adults or two height challenged adults and three mid-sized children should congregate in the apartment at one time – safely.

After 45 minutes of pointing out the fire door exit to the other partygoers TW pulled me aside. She informed me that she was pretty sure she saw a few of the other revelers point at me and remark in hushed tones, “Who invited the crazy one with the faux hawk?” So: I stopped.

For the next half hour I tried to relax but I could not. Throughout the evening, the sour stench that emanated from the majority of the partygoers reminded me of the smells of the shared taxis I traveled in while visiting Zimbabwe. While traveling, every time I hailed a taxi I dreaded the drivers orders to “find space” amongst the nine other full-grown adults already crushed into the compact two-door car. A feat I accomplished but did want to relive – at this party.

TW, embarrassed by my steady pacing – from the bathroom door to the exit door and back to the bathroom door – demanded I relax. So: I tried hard to ignore the rank smells, the fire code violations, and the hushed chatter about my faux hawk but I could not.

As I was about to turn to TW and ask if we could leave, I spotted a woman, adorned in orange and yellow flowing robes with hair shorn within millimeters of her head, walking toward the dessert table with a large plastic covered tray in her hands. Through the semi-lucid lid cover I thought I spotted green, pink, yellow, and blue pastel frosted cupcakes. I turned to TW and asked, “Do Hare Krishna’s eat cupcakes?” TW, annoyed at me for my frenetic behavior earlier in the evening, shrugged, “I think the last thing you need right now is a cupcake.” I disagreed.

So as the robed woman cut through the crowds I followed. When she finally reached the dessert table I was hot on her heels. When she placed the tray on the table and opened the lid I was the first to spy the treasures within. I now regret that decision.

When she opened the lid, instead of basking in the aroma of freshly made cupcakes I inhaled the sulfuric aroma of deviled eggs. I could not plug my nose fast enough. The smell of the eggs overtook the entire room within fifteen seconds. So I immediately sought refuge in the bathroom, the only room with a door, but other partygoers beat me to it.

Since I could not escape the smell of the eggs I decided that I might as well move closer to examine them. It seemed that the colors, which I assumed to be frosting, were actually died egg yolks. According to those shoveling the eggs into their mouths, the pastel blue yokes were flavored with garlic and chives; the pastel pink yokes were flavored with chili pepper; and the pastel yellow yokes were flavored with egg and yellow food coloring. Although fascinated by the display I chose not to cave to the peer pressure – I chose not to partake in the egg eating frenzy around me.

As I stood at the table mesmerized by the inanity of the colored and flavored eggs another partygoer joined me in wonderment. I turned to her and inquired, “I thought followers of Hare Krishna were strict vegetarians and did not eat eggs.” She responded, “Oh, she’s not a Hare Krishna.” Puzzled I queried, “But what about the robes and the hair?” She responded, “She just dresses that way because her boyfriend thinks it’s hot. She’s actually a third grade teacher.” I mumbled under my breath, “Ugh. My life is so boring in comparison.”

So: I ate a pastel green egg flavored with wasabi. I am still regretting that decision too.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Life at Sea

Guest contributor, Marma, provides these words to live by from her fleeting stint on an ocean liner.

1. Pink camouflage doesn't look good on anyone.
2. Free drinks are always worth it, even if it means standing in line to shake hands with the Argentinean captain who just ate garlic shrimp and keeps kissing you on both cheeks.
3. Mariah Carey songs should only be sung in karaoke bars by Mariah Carey.
4. Running on a treadmill on the back of a docked ship really makes you feel like you're going nowhere.
5. Drunken gamblers look the same in every casino.
6. Kids are loud. kids in swimming pools are louder. kids with access to ice cream 24 hours a day are loudest.
7. White people (even entertainers) should not sing any song from "The Wiz."
8. "Formal night" for people from Nevada means tucking in a plaid shirt.
9. Only a 13-year old can lay on a deck chair in a bikini eating a plate full of desserts and not look like she's tempting fate.
10. Even tall men from Thailand are short.
11. The redder the sunburn, the more you want to laugh.
12. Judging from the couples holding hands, opposites do attract.
13. No matter how much cologne he's wearing, a drunk man always smells like a drunk man.
14. If you want to make a hot tub unappealing, fill it with teenagers.
15. There are six bars, four dining rooms, and one library (which doesn't even have any books)--am I in the wrong profession?
16. Most people in the world are not good looking.

Phew. Now that this posting is done I have to skedaddle to my rehearsal for "The Wiz." I play "monkey number five." Judging by the favorable reviews of my stunned relatives I think I really bring life to the character.

Are you crying?

I now know with one hundred percent certainty what will make a grown man weep. I made this discovery at a Cambodian restaurant earlier this week. I will share this information with you but ask that you use extreme caution since it is a powerful tool in the weeping game.

Grown men will weep as soon as they bite into the “Pear.” That is of course, according to a ratty, cardboard placard advertising the “Pear.” The placard, situated between the saltshaker and the sugar canister on our table, read, “The Pear is a rich hazelnut ice cream shaped like a pear and dipped in dark Belgian chocolate with torrene pieces. Enough to make grown men weep.”

I decided to test this hypothesis.

So: I hid the ratty placard from the one man at the table, Adam. Then as soon as we finished our meals I informed Adam that I wanted to buy him a dessert of my choosing. He liked my take-charge attitude so he agreed.

When the waiter returned to our table I informed him that I would like to order the “Pear.” He looked at me quizzically. I pulled out the placard from my pocket and surreptitiously showed it to him. He responded, “Oh, that pear. We don’t have any pears since they elicit such strong reactions from our male clientele.”

Upon hearing this news I turned to Adam to explain that there would be no dessert. He, however, was already wiping tears from his eyes. When I asked Adam why he was crying, he explained that the tears were the result of too much hot sauce in his soup. I, suspect of his innocuous explanation, told him my hypothesis. He disagreed. We bickered.

Then I again pulled the placard from my pocket. This time I showed the placard to Adam. Specifically, I pointed to the black and white text about men weeping and conjectured, “If it is in writing then it must be true. Right?” He agreed.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Naturopathic comedy?

Although a big fan of taking Sudafed when I feel the twinge of a cough or cold and taking Advil when I have bad cramps or a nagging hangover, I started seeing a naturopath last week. I guess this means that I am not only immersing myself into wacky Canadian culture but I am also immersing myself in all that is West Coast and crunchy. I never thought this day would come.

The moment I cast off my last pair of misguided Birkenstocks, my freshman year in college – May 1991, I thought I left any and all remnants of crunchiness behind. I thought wrong.

At the naturopath last week we discussed the reason for my visit – sudden and unexplained allergic reactions to common food items including apples. He told me that a syndrome called “leaky gut” might be the cause of my allergies. He, however, did not explain more. Nor did I ask. Instead he handed me a clear plastic cup with a lid. He instructed me to take it home, pee in it, and return it to him next week. Shell shocked by this request I nodded my head, “Uh. OK.”

So this morning, as instructed, I peed in the cup. As I held the full cup in my hands I debated what to do with it since I was not leaving for the naturopath’s office for another two hours. I decided to leave it in the least offensive place in the house – on the back of the toilet. I thought TW would not mind. I thought wrong – again.

As soon as TW woke up she headed to the bathroom and spotted the urine sample on the toilet. She yelped.

I ran into the bathroom to calm TW’s nerves. She pointed quizzically, “Why is this on the toilet?” I explained the situation – cup, pee, doctor, two hours – she responded, “Why didn’t he have you pee in a cup in his office?” I thought about it for three long beats and responded, “Oh you know those crazy naturopaths trying to cut costs left and right. Maybe he doesn’t have a bathroom in his office. I will check today and get back to you.” She seemed mollified, at least temporarily, by this response.

With the sample a safe distance away from TW, she showered and dressed. However, before she left for work she queried, “How are you going to get the sample to the naturopath’s office?” I responded, “I guess I will have to walk with the cup in hand.” She reacted with a look of disgust on her face, “Ugh. At least use a bag.” I retorted, “Of course – ‘cup in hand’ was a euphemism – it will not be in my actual hand.” She left seemingly pleased by this response.

After I showered and dressed I looked at the cup and thought more about her question – how was I going to get the sample to the naturopath’s office? I decided to put the sample into a Ziploc freezer bag then into a plastic grocery store bag and then into a backpack. To my chagrin, the sample did not fit into a freezer bag. So I opted for two plastic grocery store bags and then directly into backpack.

With the sample carefully placed in the grocery store bags I tried to find a backpack sturdy enough to withstand a possible toxic disaster. Since I do not own my own backpack I picked TW’s backpack up off the floor and examined its fortitude. I thought that she wouldn’t mind if I used her backpack since she was the one who made a stink about using a bag in the first place.

Then I left the house and headed to the naturopath with TW’s backpack securely on my shoulders like a Sherpa on the trail of an Everest hiker. However, each time I moved the slightest bit I heard a slosh, gurgle, and slosh noise emanate from the backpack. I feared a possible toxic spill inside the pack so I slowed down. The walk to the naturopath, which would normally take ten minutes, took upwards of forty-five because I stopped to check the pack after each and every step. Step – slush, gurgle, slosh – stop – open pack – close pack – repeat.

When I finally arrived at the naturopath with sample in hand I pulled it out of the backpack and the two grocery store bags and gave it to the receptionist. She opened her eyes wide and asked if I walked to the office with the sample. I replied yes. Then she asked why I didn’t use their bathroom to procure the sample. I explained to her that I was told to take the cup home and then bring it back full on my next visit. She asked when I visited last. I replied March 31st.

The receptionist suppressed a laugh and explained, “Oh dear. I think the doctor was playing an early April fool’s joke on you. I don’t think he thought you would actually listen to him.” I, unsure how to respond, threw my head back in laughter, “Oh, of course I knew that. Well isn’t this a good laugh. Ha. Yes. Let’s do it again.”

Although this experience was all laughs and chuckles, I think from now on I will stick to the comedy of western medicine because at least then I can get some codeine for my troubles.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wacky Canadian Customs

Since moving to Canada, seven months ago, I immersed myself in the culture of the great white north. I learned to say “eh” after every third sentence even though I am still not sure what it means; I practiced pronouncing the word “about” in a manner of a true Canuck – “ aboot” – but coming from my mouth the aforementioned word still seems a bit affected; and I learned to hold my giggles each time I requested change in the form of a loonie or toonie even though it seems like a very peculiar thing for anyone over the age of nine to request. I did everything and anything to fit into this wacky and wooly culture – that is I did everything and anything until last weekend.

Last weekend TW and I went out for drinks with two acquaintances she knew from her graduate school days in Montreal. As we entered the bar, TW worried that she would not recognize her acquaintances because she had not seen them in close to five years but she spotted them immediately. As we strode through the bar they spotted TW immediately and stood up from their bar stools to greet us – mid-stride. With lightning speed, Amy, one of the women we were meeting held TW by the shoulders and planted a kiss on one then the other cheeks. Once Amy let go of TW, Danielle, the other acquaintance, grabbed her by the shoulders and planted her own cheek kisses.

As these two women manhandled TW I feared I was next. Ever since I was a very young child I required a great deal of personal space – I even requested that TW sleep on the floor next to the bed when we first started dating – so the thought of two strange women manhandling me sent me into an anxious panic. Nor could I forget how the one other time I met TW’s Montreal friends the cheek kissing confounded me. It confounded me so much so that when I moved my head to dodge the kisses I received two well-placed kisses on my ears – from people whose names I did not even know yet. The cheek/ear kiss is not my friend.

As I fretted over the introductions, the cheek kissing, and the invasion of personal space I tugged at my shirt and futzed with my hair to distract myself. Then, to my chagrin, Danielle let go of TW and it was my turn for introductions. Once TW gained her composure she pointed at me and said, “This is my partner, mini proportions.” As Amy readied herself to lean in for the cheek/ear kiss, TW continued slowly, “She is an A-M-E-R-I-C-A-N.” Amy leaned back, looked at TW, and nodded her head knowingly. Then instead of going in for the cheek/ear kiss she put out her right hand. Danielle followed suit. I shook each of their hands vigorously in an effort to demonstrate my appreciation for the civilized greeting.

The remainder of the evening progressed uneventfully until we had to say goodbye. The moment we announced that we were heading home, Amy again grabbed TW by the shoulders and planted a kiss on each cheek. Once Amy let go of TW, Danielle grabbed TW. I watched – mouth agape. I futzed. I fretted.

Then Amy looked at me with mischievous eyes. She leaned in and planted a kiss on each of my cheeks. I, like a good American, went limp.

I like to think I did my people proud.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

King Kong isn't real?

Prior to meeting TW I always hated when friends in committed relationships would say to me with righteous indignation, "Oh. I would really hate to be back out there in the dating pooling." As a result, I have never made such a comment to one of my single friends - that is until just now.

While out with a friend last night, I will call him Sean to protect the innocent, he regaled me with his most recent story of dating. He explained that he met a woman who asked him to join her for a night on the town beginning with dinner at a sushi restaurant. While at the sushi restaurant the opening conversation proceeded in this manner:

Sean: Do you want to share a number of different dishes?

Woman: No. I actually don't eat any meat?

Sean: Oh. Then why did you suggest a sushi restaurant?

Woman: I just recently stopped eating meat so I sometimes forget that I need to choose restaurants that don't focus just on serving animal.

Sean: Why did you recently stop eating meat?

Woman: Well, after I saw King Kong I realized that animals have feelings too.

Sean: King Kong?

Woman: Yes.

Sean: You do realize that a computer generated ape and not a real animal played King Kong?

Woman: Really? Gosh, maybe I need to rethink this not eating meat decision. Any chance you want to get a tuna or salmon roll?

Later in the evening this conversation ensued:

Sean: So what do you like to do when you are not working?

Woman: Well, until recently I was taking classes to learn how to teach yoga.

Sean: Are you a certified yoga instructor now?

Woman: No. Actually the thought of teaching other people yoga stressed me out so much I quit after the second class.

Sean: I see.

After hearing this story I asked TW if I could rejoin the dating market in an effort to garner blog material. She said, no. I explained it would be for research. She said, no. I explained that I would make all my dates pay. She said, no. I’m not sure but I don’t think she likes the idea. Alas.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wow. I never heard of solar energy.

On the bus today I overheard this conversation:

A burgeoning sorority girl turned to her friend and said, "Why are those windows outside the building?"

Her friend, a full-fledged blonde headed sorority girl holding a green sequined bag on her lap, shrugged her shoulders in response.

The conversation ceased until a balding man smelling fresh from a mid-afternoon bender at a local pub provided a clear, concise, and fact based account of the mechanics of solar energy.

As soon as the man exited the bus the burgeoning sorority girl turned to her friend and said, “Wow. When did they invent solar energy?”

Her friend moved her green sequined back to the seat next to her and responded, “Hmmm, I’m not sure. I probably can’t explain it as well as that drunken Italian man. Maybe we should get off the bus and ask him.”

The burgeoning sorority girl responded, “Nah. Let’s just go to the mall.”

Oh, how I love the bus.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Is there such a thing as a bathtub ladder?

While on a weekend getaway for our anniversary, TW encouraged me to take a bubble bath so that I might relax my stressed muscles from a hard day of drinking beer on the top of Whistler Mountain. I immediately balked at this suggestion because I do not like the idea of sitting in my own filth under the pretense of relaxation. TW, however, assured me that if I put enough soap in the bath I would not see nor would I come into contact with said filth. Under the logic of her seemingly irrefutable argument, I relented, and filled the tub.

As the tub filled with water I added soap, and more soap, to ensure the perfect soap to water quotient. Once the water/soap mixture reached the lip of the tub I turned the water off and dipped my right toe into the murky soapy water. Within minutes both my legs, both my arms, and both my butt cheeks were fully immersed in the tub. I then lay back in the bubbles and relaxed.

After fifteen minutes TW knocked on the bathroom door to check-in about our evening plans. As she poked her head into the room and saw me lounging, she pointed and gasped, “I think you might have put too much soap in the tub.” Through hearty guffaws she continued, “You remind me of the episode of the Brady Bunch when Bobby tried to wash his clothes but the washing machine overflowed and the laundry room filled with millions of bubbles.” I looked around at the soapy water annoyed and responded, “Very funny.”

Once TW left the room I opened the bath plug to allow the soapy water to drain from the tub. As I lifted the plug I immediately noticed that the water sped down the drain but much of the soap remained on my body and in the tub. So in an effort to lessen the amount of soap remaining in the tub I turned on the bath tap again. However, as the water hit the soapsuds it created even more soapy water.

At that moment, I found myself surrounded by ever increasing amounts of soap and realized that I needed to try to extricate myself from the tub as soon as possible. So, I placed my right hand next to my torso and tried to raise my body weight up off the tub floor enough to get my legs under me. However, my hand slipped and I fell back into the tub. I then tried to use both of my hands to achieve the same result but again I slipped. Next I tried to lean my torso forward toward my legs, place my hands and arms between my legs and try to raise my torso and buttocks enough so that I could get on my hands and knees. This did not work either.

After five minutes of failed tub removal attempts I called to TW as she watched television in the other room. When she stepped into the bathroom I explained my dilemma. She responded cautiously, “So, what do you want me to do?” “I thought maybe you could help pull me out of the tub.” She remarked, “I’ll try.” Her tone of voice did not instill confidence.

As TW neared the tub I reached my arm out toward her. She grabbed my arm, close to the elbow, and pulled – hard. However, she was unable to help me up out of the tub because her hand slipped down my soapy arm. We tried again. And again. And again. After our fifth failed attempt TW suggested we call the front desk and ask them to send someone up to help me out of the tub. Since I was naked I nixed that idea immediately. She then suggested I just wait in the tub until all the soap and water dried out sufficiently to give me enough traction. I waited for two minutes before I tried to stand once again. This time I landed directly on my tailbone.

In a last ditch effort to live a normal life outside of the bathtub I asked TW to hand me all the available towels in the hotel’s bathroom. As soon as she handed me the three hand towels and two bath towels I lifted my buttocks up off the floor and gently placed one of the towels underneath my two butt cheeks. I then used the remaining four towels to line the rest of the tub. Now, with the tub lined from wall to wall, I again placed my arms next to my buttocks in an effort to heft myself out of the tub. To my surprise the towels provided just the right amount of traction to enable me to lift myself up and out.

Once out of the tub TW asked, “Don’t your muscles feel more relaxed after soaking in the tub?” Unable to disguise my sarcasm I remarked, “Indubitably. I would love to take another bath right now.” At that moment, TW lifted her palm in the air like one of the Supremes, picked up the hotel room phone, and started dialing. When I asked her what she was doing she replied, “I am calling down to the front desk to see if they might send up a bathtub ladder.” I did not laugh.

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