Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Great Fruit Tasting

A while ago we bought twenty obscure beverages and held the Great Drink Tasting. Well, we bought about nineteen fruits to try (most of them from the wonderful markets of Chinatown) for our first Fruit Tasting party.


-freaking out as we cracked granadilla's disgusting skull but liking the taste of the oozing brains
-jack fruit's sudden seeds
-when the innocuous "poison potato" paralyzed tongues and lips
-beautiful dragon fruit's letdown
-after looking up the expected flavour of soursop we concluded it wasn't ripe.

Pictures of the fruits will follow but here's how they fared:

And, since we believe in transparency, the official judge's scores:

Personally, I think papaya is overrated and the tidy, tasty honey pomelo deserves a greater recommendation. Sugar apple and rambutan have flair but I think they lack the stamina to make the playoffs.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Watch Too Many Movies

I Watch Too Many Movies

I don't remember the sound of the explosion. The firefighters laughed when they heard that one. There were reports from Main and Elm that a gun had been fired. I remember a tremendous wumf. Like an enormous barbecue burner being turned out. I had to have heard the explosion they laughed, I was right beside it and the doctors said my hearing was damaged.

The old woman had been thrown up the stairs or I never would have found her. You're not supposed to move an injured body but the fire was spreading so I did.

I brought her outside and laid her on my jacket to keep her off the snow. It seemed like the right thing to do but I regretted it later. I wish I had grabbed the curtains because my jacket got all bloody and I had to throw it out. Plus it was freezing. I looked at those curtains for a long time but I thought it would be irresponsible to leave the old lady on the front lawn. Even if I got the curtains she probably had already got blood on my jacket so it's not like I could roll her onto the curtains and put my jacket on. Eventually, I saw the curtains catch fire so that was that. That's the thing in those situations. You can't overthink, you have to act.

A neighbour ran to phone 911. Later, he thanked me for taking control of the situation because he was in shock. He said I told him to call 911, report an explosion and an unconcious, breathing senior female. I don't remember doing that. I guess I was in shock too. That was the frustrating thing about being called a hero. I didn't remember the good parts. I felt like I was getting someone else's award. I remember this old lady. She looked like a bandit who had been caught by a posse and dragged by a horse. Her clothes were ripped up and dusty. I stared at her fragile body. I thought a Western that takes place in the snow would be a neat, new idea. I held her in my arms.

I watch a lot of movies and this felt like the scene where the person is dying in someone else's arms. I knew it would be a good scene if it were shot from above. Then I thought she was dead. I really started to get into my role. I tried to think about everything the old lady meant to me.

“Don't give up on me.” I said.

I don't know. Maybe I watch too many movies. The hero always has to keep the dying person awake. If they fall asleep it means that they're dead. “Fight it.” I yelled. “You can't fall asleep.” She didn't respond. “Not on my watch.” I shouted. I gave her a quick shake, a test shake, and it worried me. You ever shake a frail old lady? It's scary. It's like a bunch of toothpicks in a ziploc bag.

And that's when I did what I did. Like I said maybe I watch too many movies. Maybe she was better off sleeping. But my mind was fixated on waking her up. I wanted her to show signs of life. And maybe I was upset about being cold and using my jacket instead of the curtains. So I started yelling every obscenity I know. It sounds odd now but all I was thinking was, if she sleeps, she's gone, right? So I'm whispering to her that she's a dirty slut who fucked a pig for a dollar. And that's a light one. That's beginner's.

She wasn't responding so I tried everything I knew. And when you work in international shipping, you hear them all. Tu madre es una puta, darashinai onna, tu es un putain, du hast null hoden, pezze di merda, bouffe ma queue calisse de fag. It was hard to place her ethnicity so I called this old lady a whore in every language. I'm trying Polish, Mandarin, Spanish, Italian, French, German, and all the Swahilii I know. Her eyes start to open. I'm really getting to her. Then I think, she's an old woman, maybe she's racist. So I start saying, oh look who's awake for a big white cock, big black cock, brown cock. It's a long process but I find out that she hates Catholics and the Swedish and she speaks Italian and some Polish. So I'm telling her that she wants a Swedish Catholic to take his greasy balls and put them-

Suddenly she's hitting me, she's awake, she's full of life. And then I'm being tackled to the ground. At first the copsy were arresting me but then they found out I was saving her life.

The old lady's family was cool and I got to hug them a lot at the hospital. We really didn't know if she was going to make it. I mentioned my jacket and they were really impressed with my sacrifice but they didn't get the hint. Eventually, the old lady came around and they brought me into the room to celebrate. I couldn't really understand what she said to me and I asked someone to translate. Finally, someone did.

"What is she saying?" I asked.
“I don't like this man.”

But there's no way that's everything because she talked for about three minutes until I was told I had to leave the room for her health.

(2009 snow walk to a movie store in Wasaga.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gender of Oz

A quick introduction to studying gender roles in our culture. These are the top hits when using Google images to search for Wizard of Oz costumes. Click this report to view a better size.What theories of gender would you draw as a total outsider to our culture?
-Females are not allowed to completely cover their legs?
-Only males are allowed to wear face paint?
-Males can't dress as female characters but females can dress as male characters?
-Females must stand awkwardly. Males must stand straight?
-Males should wear bulkier hats?

Anything else?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Why "be yourself" is Sh*tty Advice

High school students can detect the emptiness behind the phrase "be yourself". Our personalities and passions seem so arbitrary. Who am I? Am I someone who is passionate about being a cop? A pianist? A veterinarian? You don't need Jean-Paul Sartre to see the daunting existential problem of making choices without guidance (God). Yet there is a kernel of important advice in this poorly worded catch phrase.

The phrase "be yourself" is articulated better as:

Every human being is faced with the same struggle: being an individual and living in a group. You strike me as someone who is too accommodating and you should pursue some of your selfish desires for happiness. Consider that a degree of selfishness is good. Being completely selfish will lead to misery -but the same is true of total selflessness. You, like all human beings, must find a balance. Some people have to learn to surrender themselves to the groups so that they can play well with others. You have to learn to find the happiness which lies in asserting yourself against the group and satisfying your desires.

My friends are Pharaohs

This particular time and place that I have been born into is marked by an abundance of manufactured goods. I am surrounded by different textures produced in foreign places by unknown processes. There is a stack of books beside me and an alarm clock. There isn't one thing in this room that I know how to produce. The effect is intellectual not emotional. I don't feel overwhelmed or upset. There is a vague sense that this situation is proper or "natural". Each of my friends is more powerful than the ancient Pharaohs who blogged by collecting crafts and burying them in tombs. We have flying machines.

In 2009 I wish everyone inspiration. A feeling of restlessness while looking at a statue of Alexander the Great.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Best of 2008

The best books that I read in 2008

The Remains of the Day 80%
Never Let Me Go 74%
The Reason Why 72%
Humanity 71%
Wittgenstein's Poker 70%
The Painted Bird 68%

The best movies that I saw in 2008

Sympathy for Mr Vengeance 86%
Adaptation 80%
Heart of the Game 78%
The Dark Knight 72%
Rec 64%

Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Sickness

My Great Great Grand,

How's your health? I'm sick today. I have been for the last four weeks. I have a variation on "the common cold". We don't fully understand how to combat a virus that we refer to as "the common cold". It causes a mucous build up that we cough up and blow out of our nose into a soft paper we call tissue.

Weeks ago I was coughing all day and through the night, frequently waking Liz up. For the first time in my experience, the coughing and runny nose stages are over but the mucous has dug in somewhere above my nose. Occasionally it causes my ears to be plugged. I've never had that before. I went to a walk-in-clinic. That's where I can show my card to prove I'm a citizen of Canada and have a doctor diagnose me for free. Unfortunately the clinic was closing so I couldn't see a doctor. In a real emergency, in my country, I could go to a hospital or phone a number and people would bring me to a hospital to help me right away. (That happened to me when a piece of ice slashed my ten-year old face open and they stitched it shut).

For my current illness, I consulted the internet which suggested Sudafed to relieve congestion. I've taken about fifteen pills over a three-day period and the mucous seems to be giving up. I imagine the future as a paradise with no disease OR an apocalypse with no medicine. I hope you're healthy.