Archive for August, 2006|Monthly archive page

Dear Vichy,

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

“epidermal disorganization” is bullshit and you know it.

That is all.

Friends and family

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Things have been knocking around in my head and in conversation with Melle about friends and family.

I can remember family get-togethers where I’ve never felt more alone. You kinda sit there in a room with your “nearest and dearest” and wonder when they are going to ask about school again, cuz that’s the one thing they know about (I got that question well after I graduated for the last time at family reunions–very hard to break the “stereotype” :) To say that I couldn’t wait to be not there is an understatement.

I’ve no kids or minivans or husband to discuss. I like books and scotch and computers. I have a wicked wit and a liberal mind. All of these things alienate and re-alienate me. Don’t get me wrong. These people that I feel positioned to as strangers are also the ones who would give me their shirts or their time or their efforts. But loving from a distance is easier and more comfortable.

Then there’s the friends. They’ve been the people that know where I’m at and know how/what to say for any occasion. They’ve been the people that have seen me doing things that I’m glad to not remember, and things that should be captured in a top-selling novel. They’ve been the first people I talk to when I’m up, down or anywhere in between. Time spent with them isn’t alarming or disassociative.

Not sure there’s anything wrong with this. “You can’t choose your family,” they say. I guess it’s that you maybe feel the loss or the difference between the two and wonder how/why it is the way it is.

Though… at the end of your life, there will be this group of people that have the intimacy of you in moments or years of your life. And your family may not know them, may have never met them. And that is sad or maybe even tragic.

It’s hee-ere

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

Google Makes Its Move

Web-based Office from Google. They’re starting without word processing or spreadsheets, but they’ll be along shortly.

While I agree that Corporate IT will not be wanting to go to a web-based service model any time soon (security, privacy, control…), I do think that the people will continue to drive this: first at home, and then to the office.

Google already owns my ass. Integrated gmail, gtalk and calendar are an integral part of my interaction with my life: my friends, family, the Interweb. And while the conspriracy theorist in me fears anything with that much access to my stuff, there’s no other offering quite as sweet. Ads be damned.

And if they own our home life, it’s quite possible that office life won’t be far behind.

A feast for the senses

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

Last night I had the pleasure of diva company from Helen and Melle. We went with the wine/pizza/Buffy combo, with splendid results.

We each chose our pizza and our ep. I think there’s some psychoanalysis to be done in the results…

Candidate 1
Pizza: tomato, pineapple, pepperoni
Buffy ep: Tabula Rasa

Candidate 2
Pizza: green olives, pineapple, extra cheese
Buffy ep: Smashed

Candidate 3
Pizza: black olives, pepperoni, onion, hot peppers
Buffy ep: Lies My Parents Told Me

The pursuit of happiness?

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

My book club’s most recent selection was Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.

While I think the “happiness” in the title is mostly a good marketing hook to talk about some interesting psych/sociology experiments, the discussion it generated was good.

We talked a lot about makes choices with the idea of becoming happy with the results, and about how humans often defer things now to “achieve” happiness later, as Gilbert describes it: we treat our future selves as though they were our children, to construct futures that will make them happy”. Only problem is that studies have consistently shown that we’re often not that good at making the right choices; rather, we end up giddy in the spot we worked so hard to steer them clear of.

Funny thing is that I think I’ve probably steered toward more than steered away. Perhaps I’m more curious than most, or perhaps, at least at some level, I’m fairly sure that happiness isn’t “located” somewhere, so why not try this path and see what happens? Some of the most satisfying moments of connection have happened with people that were never going to be a forever-thing, whether that’s as a friend or a lover, or…

And what is happiness? Of course we had to get to the big questions. Once you’ve got the basics covered, there’s a whole range of achievement or emotion or relationships that we are free to pursue. But if you don’t have the basics, your definition of happiness will probably include things like a roof over your head, food for you and your family, and a sense of security.

Notice I didn’t mention a shitload of material things in my definition – though I’m pretty sure that fake boobies and a hummer are part of the common definition of “happiness” in the West. Not to say I’m above all that and would be happy in a cave in my burlap clothes. But the idea that the pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of “stuff” seems so… American. Hyperbolic. Misguided. (And surely this isn’t what their founding fathers meant when they made it an inalienable right???)

The other thing I don’t like about the word “pursuit” is that it evokes a quest or “the hunt”. We pursue the grail of happiness–complete with the idea that you don’t/can’t have it now, that you must be worthy of having it, that you must fight for it. And then what do you do after you “find” it, presuming your pursuit is successful? And what if my pursuit, my inalienable right to pursue, impinges on someone else’s? Best woman wins? Pursuit seems an aggressive word to me.

So maybe rather than pursuing it, I should be uncovering it. Without going all Hallmark card, there’s got to be actualization and humour and achievement in things today. Just not sure how easy it is for the modern cynic to see it.

—–
Update:

As frequently happens, a bit of synergy in my world. Freewill horoscope for this week:

Psychologists Ed Diener and Martin E.P. Seligman cite 150 studies that suggest economic factors have little to do with happiness levels. For example, the Masai of Kenya, whose per capita income is under $300 a year, are as satisfied with their lives as the 400 wealthiest plutocrats in America. People living in the slums of Calcutta are slightly less filled with well-being, but not much. Your assignment, Leo, is to explore the personal implications of this. Can you get to the point where you truly feel that your ability to enjoy life has little to with how much money you have?

Going wallflower

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

Today was full of pondering a “different” life. One in a different city, maybe different country with small boundaries, a quiet job, unassuming lifestyle, largely solitary existence. I call it “going wallflower”.

I know escapist fantasies often involve Tahiti or a cheese shop, but for me the attraction seems to be in *not* engaging. Like starting over to make things smaller and quieter. It’s not like I’m full-blast loud and social as it is, but there are always certain expectations about what I am, or even worse, what I should be.

And so there’s another woman inside and she goes to work and she goes home and she maybe hangs out a cafe or library but doesn’t really socialize much. And knowing she’s in there is a comfort sometimes–or an escape.

Drole, eh?

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

Went to see Bon Cop, Bad Cop last night with Melle.

You have to be Canadian to get it, probably be from Quebec or Ontario, and have a serviceable knowledge of hockey. But the inside inside jokes? Definitely funny.

Besides reviving my interest in Francophone swear words, the movie has some good physical humour, boobies, explosions and great chemistry between the two leads: Colm Feore (last seen by me at Stratford a couple of weeks ago) as the uptight English/Ontarian cop, and Patrick Huard (well-known comic/actor in Quebec, and this film was created based on his idea) as the French/Quebecois cop.

Tabarnac, that was fun.

Elegant Eco-ware

Monday, August 21st, 2006

The Ecopod

Very good idea for recycling…

Beautiful aggression

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

I’m so really NOT a gamer. All that violence and hand-eye coordination holds no interest for me. I also think it’s an aesthetics thing, maybe? I don’t like hard colours and big booms and comic-scapes.

But this? It’s beautiful and somehow soothing, even if you are a little creature eating what appear to be other little creatures…

Food Hangover

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

In honour of my birthday, Melle took me out for dinner last night at our favourite local restaurant, Verses. I think I’ve waxed poetic on the service and food before.

The people that work there must have autism or something though–they remember the last time we were there, how many people were in our party, where we sat, and our previous wine selections (even though the last time for us was Robbie Burns Day). We’re pretty sure they think that we are a couple, and it didn’t help that we were wearing our “wedding” rings (we have the same ring, a lovely purchase in Stratford). Since I knew I was going to be wearing a pretty little dress, I had given Melle the option of wearing a man-suit or a skirt. She chose the skirt, so maybe a bit difficult to figure out who the “man” is…

On the recommendation of the host, we had a lovely California Cab with our meal. I had baby spinach & goat cheese to start, followed by a succulent steak done with some kinda fruit/spicy salsa & green beans & potatos & sausage of all things. Melle had the ostrich to start (I tried it – think game hen with emphasis on the game), followed by “pork three ways”. For dessert, we had lemon tart with pepper ice cream, and a chocolate extravaganza respectively. I was still full when I woke this morning for a trip to the market.

I think it’s worth noting that we are the same two women who attended the premiere of Snakes On A Plane at 10pm the night before. From the profane to the sublime in less than 24 hours – part of what makes us good pirates. So why the hell are we both single???