Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stalker's delight

The other day I was listening to the messages on my home phone and apart from being offered a low,low interest rate if I acted RIGHT NOW there was a message for "Dr. Smith"* The caller was a worker from a long-term care facility who was trying to get a patient seen by Dr. Smith so that she could then be transferred to a nursing home. The message was quite detailed and at the end the caller left a number. The only confusion was that the caller only left a 7-digit number [we have 10 digit dialing where you need to include the area code].

I tried every combination of Toronto-region area codes with no luck. Then I tried long distance codes that were still somewhat near. No luck. Normally I don't go to much effort with wrong numbers, but as this was a medical appointment, I felt more obliged.

I went over to my computer and searched for the doctor's name on the Ontario directory of doctors. No one by that name came up except for one man practising out west, who happened to be a microbiologist in a public health lab. I knew that couldn't be the doctor mentioned in the message. At that point, I gave up.

When I got home from work the next day I thought that I would make one last attempt to return the call. I figured that by then the original caller would have redialed the number, but I still felt bad in case he hadn't. This time I searched for the name of the long-term care facility he had mentioned in the message. Success! It was located in the U.S., and the number of the facility matched the number he had left in them message. Armed with the proper area code, I phoned the facility.

A woman answered and I started with, "Hi my name is Susan and I'm calling from Canada..."

I think she thought I was nuts. But when I explained why I was calling, she cracked up completely. She said, "Oh this it too good" and then added, "By any chance was the guy's name Bob who left the message?"

I affirmed that yes, it had been Bob and she laughed even more and said, "I assure you that Bob will not harass you any more". She was laughing the whole time though so I don't think Bob was in any trouble at work. I imagine that he had mentioned today that the doctor had never returned his call, and she now couldn't wait to tell him what had happened. I did assure the woman that Bob had left a very professional message.

ah, I hope I didn't cause problems for him. Maybe I shouldn't have returned the message but I felt such a sense of obligation. That, and I'm completely OCD. When I want to solve a puzzle, I am so obsessed. It makes me a good librarian, but weird in other areas of life such as this one.

*Not me, and names changed to protect the innocent. Again, not me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why tourists die

See my bottled water? More than enough for a one hour hike through the desert. It's only 40ÂșC.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

I miss my friends so much. This was a group of girls I know from high school. Six of us went for a Vegas week-end. I haven't kept in touch well with most of them, but it was so wonderful to reconnect on this trip. Actually, I'm not writing about Vegas because I was as dull as dishwater. Glad I went though.

I will describe my desert experience though. It's funny, I do not like summer. I don't like hot weather. When I worked on a ship and we were sailing through the Indian Ocean I was rarely up on deck. Yet I love desert heat. That dry radiating hug from mother nature is my favourite. I would love to live in Salt Lake City [I've never been there but near desert and mountains - Sigh. Perfect].

I went with five friends to Vegas but one friend and I skipped the city the first night and instead stayed at a spa near the desert. The next day we went to a canyon with brilliant red rocks and followed a one and a half mile trail through the desert. By the end my face was redder than I have ever seen or thought possible and I was cramping from dehydration. It was an easy hike too AND I brought water. Apparently not enough. It's easy to see how that dry heat catches up quickly. However, it didn't take us long to recover.

I haven't had a vacation in over a year. This was exactly what I needed. I also discovered that I am over one of my fears and one discomfort. After the desert hike we went and hung out in the hotel spa for a few hours in the afternoon. We alternated between the whirlpool, steambath, showers, and laying on couches sipping tea. Out of the 10 or so women in the area, I was the only one who opted out of wearing anything in the clothing optional whirlpool and steam bath. I am over my body consciousness. At least a bit. And the best part was having a chance to be alone with my dear friend.

I took the red eye home. Although I still don't like to fly, I don't have a terror of flying anymore. I fell asleep shortly after take off and only wake up to hear them announce the landing. I think I must have fallen asleep again because I don't really remember the descent or feeling the plane touch the ground. I woke up at the gate as the plane was ready to debark. Then I came home and slept all day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The long, long, long f-ing summer

I have a poem that sums up this summer for me. It's taken from a poem a friend wrote in high school:

I'm tired of work
I'm tired of life.
Do me a favour -
Give me a knife.

[I always laugh when I think of this poem because my friend wrote it as a complete joke but later heard her mom reading it over the phone to someone. Her mother thought she was suicidal]

Anyhow, depression has kicked my ass this summer. I'm not suicidal, but for a while I was like the living dead. Life has been okay but my moods have not been. I'm feeling better but good grief, I was at the point where I was becoming such an anxious panicked drag that I wanted to start avoiding all friends. It freaked me out.

It's weird accepting that my moods rarely have anything to do with my life circumstances. At least I am finally recognizing that and am taking action. And of course the Olympics have been a very soothing background for when I want to turn my mind off.

And I'm off on vacation for a bit. so have fun kids!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pot meet kettle

In the Canadian news today is that our former prime minister, Jean Chretien, has criticized our current prime minister, Stephen Harper, for not attending the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Now Harper is anathema to pretty much everything I believe [morally at least]. I am not a fan of his at all. However, I love the fact that he called out Chretien's complete hypocrisy - during Chretien's long, long, long reign, he only attended one out of five of the Olympics.

Chretien made the point that China is an important nation to partner with and that Harper's no show may have damaged relations with them. Whatever. The fact remains that Canada has tons of raw resources that China is interested in. I think we could have boycotted the Olympics and China would still partner for access to our forests and minerals. Chretien can't seem to live out of the spotlight.

The larger point for me is that neither of these pompous windbags attended the World AIDS Conferences when they were held in Canada. In 2006 when the conference was in Toronto, Harper didn't make the time to attend. He was more concerned about Arctic sovereignty. Meanwhile, in 1996, in Vancouver, the conference where the combination therapy used to save the lives of people living with HIV was announced, Chretien was a no-show. Losers. I wish that newspapers wouldn't cover their current stupid pissing match. They weren't at an event that really counted. I don't admire either of them at all.*

*Interestingly, Canada's former conservative prime minister, Brian Mulroney attended the world AIDS Conference when it was held in Montreal. Of course this was back when the party was the Progressive Conservative party not the current neo-con Regressive Conservative party that Harper leads

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Meme time

I love the Internet cafe near my work. It's so dark and out-of-time.

Anyhow, I took this meme from Brice.

1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie

Opening Credits: Rock Star (Hole) - Not sure how this relates. I'm a librarian. Kind of the opposite of a rock star.

Waking up: Drops of Jupiter (Train) - Aw, I bet Brice would love to wake up to this everyday

First Day at High School: Your body belongs to the state (Consolidated) - a very pro-choice statement. High school was my personal/political awakening so it works.

Falling In Love: WooHoo (Blur) - sure, why not?

Fight Song: Hit me baby one more time (Britney Spears) - Too funny that this came up

Prom: First cut is the deepest (Sheryl Crowe) - None of my dates left a lasting impression on me. Move that to a university dance though and yes, this song is very appropriate.

Life: Dead can dance (Porcupine Tree) - I downloaded this as Dantallion was praising the group but I haven't listened to it yet so I can't comment. From the title though it is how I feel when depression hits and I'm just going through the motions.

Mental Breakdown: All in the family (as in the theme song to the tv show) - good stuff. My family is crazy and central to my life. I cherish them all.

Driving: The Beer Song (They Might be Giants) - I've never driven drunk but I have puked out a cab.

Flashback: It sucks to be me (from Avenue Q) - Perfect! Yes! Pity me one and all!!!

Getting Back Together: Surrender (Cheap Trick) - Cool.

Wedding: Crystal method (Chemical Brothers) - No problem with marriage but I'd have to be on something for me to go through with all the white wedding hullaballoo

Birth of Child: Telephone Operator (Pete Shelley) - Okay, this doesn't fit at all. It is one of my favourite songs though (guy trying to hit on the operator)

Final Battle: The Flame (Cheap Trick) - Doomed to die of a broken heart.

Death Scene: Little Red Corvette (Prince) - I'm much too fast? Hopefully that means a quick and painless death.

Funeral Song: Always on my mind (Pet Shop Boys) - Quite frankly my former flames can tell me this, if this is the case, before my funeral. Like now.

End Credits: The ABC's of Kinky Sex (Lords of Acid) - I don't actually think that the "n" of the song is for necrophilia... I'll have to check.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Going for the gold

I so love the Olympics. For the first few days I was crashed out on the floor of my living room with the remote control right next to me. Whenever I woke up I would turn on the tv until I was too tired to watch any more. Then I'd naturally wake up at 6am and tune in for the first coverage of the day.

I love the fact that I get to sit on my ass and watch all those athletes sweat. Eroswings has been doing a great job of recapping some Olympic highlights and Jon seems to have crawled into my mind and written what my thoughts were [if my thoughts were as coherent as his writing] about the Olympics.

My personal highlights include watching Michael Phelps shatter record after record with grace and style, and in seeing the Canadian athletes achieving some personal bests. I love the fact that this year most of the Canadian athletes are expressing that they want to win instead of the stupid refrain from past years of "I'm growing".

I missed the stunning opening ceremonies but have kept up with the controversy - namely that the little girl who sang was not the one seen performing the song. The girl who sang was not deemed pretty enough. Oh honestly, yes, it sounds sad and all but who cares? It's another culture. Like the Chinese spokesman said, we have the best of both worlds - the best voice and the best performer. Sounds fine to me. It's only this stupid North American sensibility of trying to make everyone feel good all the time that is making it such a big deal. I agree with the Chinese - best of both. It's a performance for crying out loud.

Alright - back to my seat in front of the tv and some champion eating.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What happens when you leave the gate open...

Weirdos get in.

One got up close and personal with the weeding tool.

Another planted his foot firmly in his mouth.

But somehow a bountiful herb garden grew a month later.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I failed 'sharing' on Sesame Street

The other day I was on my way to meet a friend for dinner, and popped into a drugstore en route (one of the massive ones that sells everything) to buy some food for my kitties. At the counter, there was one woman in front of me and she was dawdling gathering her purchases as the cashier rang through my purchases. The cashier asked me if I had the point card that that particular store offered. You know the ones - in return for being able to profile all of your purchases for their marketing department you get points which you can eventually redeem for merchandise. I never participate in these store schemes.

I told the cashier that I didn't have a point card and then the woman next to me [who still hadn't left] asked the cashier, "Can I have her points?" The cashier said sure. But I interrupted and said, "No." Firmly and to the point. I think they were both in shock but the cashier continued ringing my purchase through.

The woman demanded "Why not?"

I'm not even sure why I said no, but in large part it was because the woman had not asked me for my points. She had asked the cashier. It was almost as if she felt she were entitled to the points. I hate that sort of attitude. To me it's just so crass. To me it would be as if I were in a restaurant and I told the waiter that I didn't want bread and as he took the basket away someone at the next table grabbed it. Nothing technically wrong with it, but I feel that in our North American society everyone is always looking for a deal. I find it gross and tacky. I probably overreacted, but I'd do the same thing again.

[I have had friends ask for my points. However, first of all they are friends, and secondly, they have always spoken to me directly. Then I don't mind.]

I'm not sure if I had a chance to answer the woman before she added, "Do you just not believe in the points program" She was furious with me.

"Something like that". And then I left, feeling her glaring at me.

It's none of her business what my reason was. I felt no need to further engage her. The funny part was that my purchase was only three dollars. Both of us feeling justified and disgusted by the other person over nothing.

Nothing perhaps, but I'm still glad I said no.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Uptight white girl experiences Caribbean festival

In all the years I've lived in Toronto I have never made it to the Caribana parade. Caribana is Toronto's huge Caribbean celebration always held on the August long week-end. The Saturday has a big parade down the Lakeshore with all the beautiful glittering costumes. I was determined to attend this year. And I did. I cobbled together a group of friends and we set off.

We got off the shuttle bus just in time for a very intense, and very cold rain shower. Eventually the rain stopped and we continued on. There were barricades up on both sides of the street blocking off the parade route. We walked to a crossover part so that we could sit on the side of the street with the park stretching down to the lake. There were so many vendors all selling various types of Caribbean food lining the pathway in the park. Yum.

We found a good spot and sat on the grass to wait. It was about noon, and the parade had been listed as being from 10am until 6pm. Nothing came near us until 2pm. Just as the first float passed us, people breached the barricades directly across from us and flooded onto the streets. Suddenly our clear view was blocked. Me and the people near me kept screaming at people to get out of our way. For the most part, they did. The costumes were absolutely spectacular and the parade was progressing. Soon though there were too many people in the street. Instead of seeing beautiful glittering costumes sweeping past, I was now looking at ugly white people in mall clothing. Really, I could just have gone to the Eaton's Centre for the day and experienced the same spectacle.

Even grosser, one of the crowd went up behind one of the dancers and started dry humping her. Apart from being disturbing and disgusting to watch, it made me angry that the dancers were no longer secure. Not to mention the little girl that was standing next to us with her parents had to witness that. The guy did his little show and then walked away, high-fiving and cheering to his friends. Nice. The man next to me kept yelling at the people in the parade route, "Excuse me - are *you* a masquerader?" He was cracking me up.

At that point it was becoming so annoying and the parade was not progressing so we left the parade route. One highlight before all the chaos was seeing middle aged women with truly less than perfect bodies appearing in glittery small costumes and shimmering and shaking along with everyone else. Truly they were beautiful and inspiring. And the younger girls with model perfect bodies were gorgeous.

We went to sample some of the food. I found doubles (Trinidad chick pea patties) so I was happy, and then walked on further past the parade route and had a beer at a restaurant at the side of the lake. However, two hours after the first float had passed us, it was only about 300 feet further down the parade route. Sigh. Next year I am going to get ticketed seats at Exhibition Stadium at the beginning of the route. That way I'll see the beauty of the parade without the irritation of the crowd.