Thursday, June 29, 2006

Speaking words slowly...

Earlier this week TW and I went to see a hip-hop show at one of the larger venues in downtown Vancouver. As the opening band took the stage we expected to see “a woman who sings like Polly Harvey but raps like Chuck D” – as the promotional materials proclaimed. But instead we saw a white woman from rural British Columbia with no rhythm. This was our first indication that we were in the heart of Western Canada. Our next indications were many:

Indication 2: The opening “rapper” – referenced above – was not rapping so much as speaking words – slowly.

Indication 3: The opening bass player had more stage presence than the “rapper” he accompanied.

Indication 4: Near the end of the set the “rapper” invited a guest artist to tap dance on stage. The guest artist, a white man with dread locks, black fedora, and tap shoes, danced to the “rappers” spoken words. He was no Savion Glover.

Indication 5: The only two people of color within the crowd of 1000 plus were TW and the drunken guy passed out at the table next to ours.

Indication 6: The headlining act sang a song about “craftsmanship.” The chorus rung out, “Craftsmanship. It’s quality that makes people keep coming back.”

Only in Western Canada could a song about “quality craftsmanship” get people moving their hips on the dance floor. I’m thinking about writing a song about architecture. I predict it will be number one with a bullet in this neck of the woods.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Spoons aren't just for soup anymore!

When I lived in Portland, Oregon I used to go to karaoke bars on a weekly basis. I loved karaoke.

Sometimes at one of the nameless Asian restaurant/bars I frequented, I observed a baseball cap wearing woman named Snickers, tunefully play the spoons on her sizable knee as I sang Nina’s “99 Red Balloons”. The first time I saw this feat I felt special until I realized Snickers did not discriminate. She also accompanied the off-key renditions of Duran Duran, Pat Benatar, Neil Diamond, and Bonnie Raitt songs blaring from the speakers. I hung my head.

I did not think of Snickers and that heartbreaking experience again until this weekend when TW and I went to see a Portland based band. The band, numbering thirteen strong, played songs ranging in style from salsa to waltz and big band to swing. Mid-way through the first set, the bandleader introduced a song composed by one of its members. The song, a tango inspired ditty, prominently featured the spoons in the rhythm section.

The rhythmic ting, tang, tong of the spoons made me think three things: Snickers was ahead of her time and I just didn’t know it; spoon players are big in Portland; and I could do that too – no problem. So I tried.

The next day I picked out two good-looking spoons from the silverware drawer. Then I placed them back-to-back on my knee and started to jam to the sounds of the Decemberists playing from my computer. OK, maybe jam is too generous a word - I really started to clank, clank, clank drowning out the melodious vocals of the band’s lead singer.

I continued in this manner through one full album then decided to try my luck with a Shins album. Mid-way through the third song I looked up from my bruised knee to see TW with her Indonesian family in tow.

TW looked askance, “Uh. This is Mini Proportions.” This being the first time I was meeting TW’s family, I tried to regain my composure, “Hi. I was just polishing the spoons.” Then TW’s 10-year-old niece grabbed the spoons from my hand, delicately placed her foot on the kitchen chair, and began to pound the spoons against her knee – tunefully.

Once her niece finished playing the entire Indonesian national anthem with the spoons she looked at me and commented, “Ah. It has been so long since I have played the spoons. It brings back memories.” Flummoxed by this ten-year-old, I responded, "It must be all the antibiotics they feed the beef.” TW shook her head disbelieving, “Yeah, that must be it.”

Friday, June 23, 2006

I am Star Struck

As I was shopping in a venerated Canadian bookstore yesterday I took note of a special display case prominently positioned near the entrance to the store. I, always eager to stop and assess the wares of any and all bookstores in an effort to assure that I am keeping my finger firmly on the cultural pulse, peaked into the case.

Inside the case I spotted two professionally produced signs. The signs read: “Picked by Men for Men” and “Picked by Women for Women”. Perplexed by the vague signage I glanced to the shelves below the signs for greater clarity. That is when I saw this:

Picked by Women for Women:

Pride and Prejudice
He’s Just Not That Into You
The Notebook

Picked by Men for Men:
The Fellowship of the Ring
Angels and Demons
The Art of War
Fight Club

I, not wishing to partake in this petty battle of the sexes, picked up a copy of Pamela Anderson’s new biography, Star Struck, because the world needs more Canada. I am only 20 pages into the book but it is riveting.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A love of the country...kind of

TW and I just returned from an extended stay in the country – a town of 75,000 people - much more rural than our usual vacations. So on this vacation we did what any urban explorer finding themselves in the country would do: we observed the wildlife. Below is a comprehensive list of our sightings:

Countless nameless birds crossing the country roads on foot like speedy cartoon characters.

A raccoon with broken foot also walking across the road. TW, enamored by the wounded animal, ooohed and aaahed when she spotted the raccoon while I placed my foot firmly on the gas and remarked, "dirty animal."

A bear cub with a glandular disorder galloping across the road.

A longhaired dachshund with a muzzle doing his best impression of Hannibal Lechter.

A monk in a friar tuck habit.

A deep-fried turkey. By far the most delicious sighting of the weekend.

Monday, June 12, 2006

When they are not hosting the world cup...

Last night, TW and I went to an Asian night market to partake in the cornucopia of spicy food. As soon as we arrived we purchased some meta-spicy curried fish balls. (For those of you already in the gutter - the fish balls consist of fish meat rolled into a ball shape.)

As soon as we bit into the fish balls our faces flushed, our mouths burned, and our lips tingled from the combination of blistering spices. We continued to eat - with caution.

Then we overheard a conversation between two red-faced German tourists also eating fish balls.

Insert German accent here:

Tourist #1 remarked in disgust, "It's like eating nothing." Tourist #2 retorted, "It's like eating sausage but with no flavor."

Flummoxed by this snippet of overheard conversation I turned to TW and said, “Huh, they must really grow them hearty in Germany.” She nodded agreement, “They must.”

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Stool Dust-Up

To the bus patron blocking my exit today:

Please be advised that I, the one with the faux hawk, the four heavy bags of groceries, and the sweat pouring down my face, admire your ingenuity. But as a fellow lover of the bus I ask that next time you bring your own stool – for fear of finding no available seats – that you please situate the stool in a less conspicuous area on the bus. For instance, might I suggest an area of the bus that is not directly in front of the back door? Just a thought…

Mini Prop

P.S. I am planning to bring my own stool – a bigger stool than the wimpy kitchen stool you brought – every Sunday, every Wednesday, and every third Thursday. So, I would suggest that you plan to bring your stool only on my off days so that we don’t have a stool dust-up in the near future. No one wants to see that. Trust me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Jack Bauer - watch your bac

I must apologize to all Mini Proportions readers. TW has been away for the last two weeks so I spent the time alone constructively. I rented the entire first season of "24.” I watched each episode; slack jawed, marveling at the machinations of Jack Bauer and his CTU team and was unable to tear myself away to attend to the blog.

Inspired by the concept of the series – to track every minute of an entire day in real time – I decided to follow suit. Here are my 24 hours for Monday, June 5th (the day before TW came home).

12:00 AM: Sleeping soundly in my queen size bed covered by my green cotton duvet.
1:00 AM: Continuing to sleep
2:00 AM: Still sleeping
3:00 AM: Sleeping some more
3:05 AM: Wake up coughing
3:06 AM: Get out of bed. Go to the kitchen. Take a sip of water.
3:08 AM: Back in bed. Sleeping
4:00 AM: More sleeping
5:00 AM: Sleeping
6:00 AM: Sleeping
7:00 AM: Wake to CBC radio.
7:01 AM: Press Snooze
7:10 AM: Press Snooze again
7:19 AM: Press snooze one more time
7:28 AM: Allow the radio to play and listen to the inane banter about the Stanley Cup playoffs.
8:15 AM: Rise from bed
8:16 AM: Go to the bathroom. Relieve my bladder.
8:18 AM: Download NPR and CBC podcasts
8:20 AM: Check and respond to e-mail
8:26 AM: Listen to podcasts while making breakfast.
8:28 AM: Fret that none of the frying pans are clean and opt for a hardboiled instead of a scrambled egg.
8:30 AM: Boil egg.
8:50 AM: Eat egg.
9:00 AM: Shower
9:15 AM: Towel dry.
9:30 AM: Dress
9:45 AM: Sneak into the laundry room. Put my clothes in the washing machine even though it is not my sanctioned time slot.
10:15 AM: Sneak back into the laundry room. Stealthily put my clothes in the dryer.
11:15 AM: Enter the laundry room to pick up my clean clothes and find a tenant nonplussed by my disregard for the regimented laundry schedule.
11:17 AM: Apologize. Leave the laundry room sheepishly – clothes in hand.
11:19 AM: Put clothes away.
11:45 AM: Check and respond to e-mail – again.
12:00 PM: Start to prepare lunch.
12:02 PM: Close the refrigerator realizing that there is no food in the house.
12:03 PM: Decide to go to the mediocre sushi restaurant down the street.
12:10 PM: Order a tuna roll and a salmon roll.
12:11 PM: Watch biblical paid advertisements on the restaurant’s TV while waiting for my sushi rolls.
12:20 PM: Become enamored by the paid advertisements that consider converting to Christianity from Judaism.
12:22 PM: Food arrives. Forget about conversion in lieu of delicious tuna and salmon.
1:00 PM: Head home.
1:10 PM: Nap on the couch.
1:40 PM: Do dishes.
2:20 PM: Meet friend at café down the street.
2:30 PM: Order a San Pellegrino and banana bread.
2:55PM: Relay the story of my most recent visit to the coffee shop.
3:45 PM: Head home.
4:00 PM: Clean the toilet bowl. Convince myself that if the toilet bowl is clean that TW will believe the entire apartment is clean.
4:20 PM: Read the New Yorker
6:40 PM: Start dinner.
6:45 PM: Realize there is still no food in the house.
7:15 PM: Head to the grocery store realizing I have to purchase groceries if I expect to trick TW into believing I upheld my haus frauly duties while she was away.
8:00 PM: Return home with food that I think TW would purchase – spinach, soy milk, eggs, carrots, wheat free bread, and beef.
8:15 PM: Finish the New Yorker
8:45 PM: Turn on the TV
9:30 PM: Fall asleep on the couch
10:45 PM: Wake up.
10:46 PM: Brush teeth. Wash face.
10:48 PM: Head to Bed.
11:00 PM: Sleep

Now, as I write this entry, I sit around the house waiting for the day when some TV producer will call me so that we can discuss making my life into a series on Fox. I can take on “24” – no sweat.

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