Makeover Makeover
We got pretty.

The Colour Test: Shit gets real
So I found this book when I was living in Halifax, working at a coffee shop from 5am until 3, falling asleep to the sound of  Bruce Frisko reporting the 5:30 news, which they mush up and make more palatable for the elderly, who like me would be fast asleep by 6:00pm.  Anyway the book was based on psychological studies from the 70's.  You pick out colours at random, then you do it again, and then this test sees into your soul. 

A few years ago, the test results were all about my intimacy issues.  But now it's moved on.  Or, I should say, I'have moved on.  After all, this is all about me.

Now, you were saying, Colour Test?

"Self-centered, tends to take this personally and is easily offended."

Damn right I take this personally!  Asshole. 

"Emotionally distant even from those closest to her."

This because I chose green third? 

"Is bothered when her needs and desires are misunderstood and she feels there is no one to turn to or rely on. Her self-centered attitude can cause her to be easily offended."

Woah, woah, woah, woah.  Hold the phone.  You didn't have to say it again.  i'm offended!  Damn it.

"Feels as if too many walls and obstacles are standing in her way and that she is being forced to make compromises. She needs to put her own needs on hold for the time being."

Colour test, don't tell me what to do.

Longs to be accepted and recognized. Needs to impress others and be respected. She feels separated from others and wishes to belong."

This test is so bogus... right guys?

"Needs to be viewed and respected as an outstanding individual, in order to build her self-esteem and self-worth. Resists any type of weakness and sets high standards for herself."

This last section is entitled "Your actual problem". 

So, this is basically the shit I wouldn't tell my psychiatrist, and it's all based on some colours I chose out of a line-up. 

So, go on, try it.

I don't know much, but I know you're just a little curious to see how accurate this really is.  

In my defense here, we're all just self-centered geeks and robots starving for attention and assholes once we get it, right?  Isn't pride our best sin?  Who's throwing those stones?  You're hurting my feelings.

I am easily offended and emotionally unavailable. 

So what?

Also, for the record, I don't need you to respect me.  I just like having you around.

The Celebrity Apprentice: TV Gets Good Again
Well well well well well.

Just when we'd started reading books again.

Donald Trump, the schmarmiest privileged white male alive, understands one thing.  Money.  This is what makes him Donald Trump.  And though his smirk makes our skin crawl, his show, on occasion, blows our mind.  If we will pardon our total ignorance of the whole economic system thing, this is our budget for the success of The Apprentice:

1 Rich Asshole (check.)
2 Heirs to his Throne (now that we've fired employees with questions)
14 star-eyed upstarts with business degrees (or "street smarts")
2 teams
1 No-Fail Concept (put rats in a rat race, stir.)

Pretty good, right? 

And since this math equation is turning into a recipe, let's explore how Donald got his dough to rise.

Remember Omarosa?  The Donald realized that Sociopathic Vanity makes Money (which, incidentally, is why we watch reality television.)  Then there was Chris. The tobacco-chewing go-getter in need of serious anger management.  I tried to find a clip of his outbursts, but no luck (I didn't look very hard).  I did however discover that he was busted for shouting at some Casino employees for charging him for his cocktails.  Here is his mugshot:

With the exception of this lady killer (and we are probably being literal here), the Don just couldn't squeeze enough Crazy out of his Harvard MBA douche bags.  This was roughly the time that he introduced The Celebrity Apprentice.

I wasn't very interested in the last season of Celeb Apprentice.  The D was still figuring things out.  His Reality TV was bland and he was just adding salt.  The Celebs weren't Celeb enough, weren't edgy enough, weren't "reality" enough.

Then he added a dash of everything else on the spice rack.

Here's his new line-up.

Bill Goldberg (football and wrestling hot shot)
Curtis Stone (Master Chef and Organics enthusiast)
Carol Leifer (allegedly funny gal)
Sharon Osbourne (who could win this thang. love the sharon. her Quote on the website is "I don't play well with other women, and I can be the nastiest bitch in the world." )
Summer Sanders (swimmer...)
Selita Ebanks (babe.)
Darryl Strawberry (Genius. Legend. All-around nice guy.  Also a serious contender.)
Holly Robinson Peete (of Hangin' with Mr. Cooper fame)
Maria Kanellis (wrestling babe)
Michael Johnson (fast dude)
Rod Blagojevich (political renegade)
Cyndi Lauper (badass, megababe)
Sinbad (I wonder if the Donald will make him change out of his trademark flamboyant jumpsuits when he comes into the boardroom)
and last but certainly MOST,
the one,
the only,
our hero,
our rock of love...

That's right, ladies, it's Bret Michaels!!

His eyes are like roofies.

We guess his fake love for Tia is stronger than we imagined.  There is no talk of another Rock of Love bus, but Bret does intend to stay on television for as long as we'll let him.  Rumours are that The Bret Michaels Show is in the works.  But if this guy doesn't understand what we love (Clip Missing. Youtube is bone dry for this stuff. Insert scene of drunken girls partying like CRAZY.) about Rock of Love Bus, this could be one long mud-wrestling slut match.  (The bad kind, fellas.)

Anyway, it's kick-off time and we are hoping that Mr. Michaels has more than a few good ideas under that bandana, because we'd hate to see him go too soon.  We just got him back. 

Welcome back, Bret.

We missed you.

Who We Am
I Googled us to see where we be in the Google Who Am We rankings.  We are fifth. 

This is the quote that qualified us for fifth.

"When we say "we're not finished becoming who we are", it's like, a metaphor or something. We're totally done. This is who we am. ..."

Not perhaps our finest moment, but we am who we am.

I want you to meet Number 1 in the Who Am We search.  It's an article in Wired magazine, called "Who am we?".  Thanks for reading the blog, Wired magazine.  Any time you need a freelancer, ring my bell, yo.

Anyway this is worth reading.

But for those of you too busy, lazy, or technologically inept to read, here's a quick excerpt:

"Windows have become a powerful metaphor for thinking about the self as a multiple, distributed system," Turkle writes. "The self is no longer simply playing different roles in different settings at different times. The life practice of windows is that of a decentered self that exists in many worlds, that plays many roles at the same time." Now real life itself may be, as one of Turkle's subjects says, "just one more window."

  I think this clipart image demonstrates the point nicely.

Tags: , ,

No Fear. (Well, some fear.)
may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if its sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young.   - e.e. cummings
Our word today is "fearless".

I've been thinking about fear lately.  Not 9/11, government sponsored, Eat-your-Wheaties American fear; not fear of God, or the devil, or his many fun drunken soldiers; and not fear of fear itself, not conceptual fear.  I'm talking about dagger to the heart, punch in the stomach, every day idiot fear.  You know, real fear.

Here is a list of some of the things I'm afraid of.

1. Crowded buses and streetcars.  (In my defense, this is sort of a rational fear.  Standing on a bus as it slowly jerks towards your destination while dozens of dirty unknowns climb past you is arguably Worth Avoiding.)

2.  Winged-creatures of the night.  Like this piece of shit.    June bugs make me cry.

3.  Heights, falling from.

4.  Enclosed spaces.  (Also see, crowded buses; relationships)

5.  Public Speaking.  Actually, performing, on any level.  Stop looking at me!

6.  Moving quickly.  I cannot drive a car.  I do not ride a bike.  I cannot skate, ski, or surf, and I assume I would be very nervous on a Segway.  Like her.

7. Relationships.  (Also see, enclosed spaces; moving quickly.)  More specifically, the fear of marrying an asshole, or a bore.

8.  Dying alone.

9.  Working too hard.  (See, Wasting Life.)

10.  Wasting Life.  (See, working too hard.)

As you can see from this excerpt (i assure you there is much more. the encyclopedia of my fears is not worth subscribing to.), these fears tend to exist in a fine balance.  My fear of relationships is tempered by my fear of dying alone, so I am forced to exist on a tightrope between them, which of course is terrifying (see: Fear of Heights).  

I offer you these fears because I do not need them anymore.  They are cobwebs left over from childhood nightmares.  They are a series of imaginary problems that have been woven together to construct my cozy little cocoon, which I hotbox in my jammies and assure myself that life is good.  Life is good.  But it could be better.  And this list is seriously slowing me down (see: Fear of Moving Quickly).

So today's objective is to be fearless.  But not too fearless.  After all, our fears make us up.  They define us.  They protect us.  I don't want to wake up and find myself segwaying to work as a motivational speaker who works 12 hours a day just to avoid my idiot husband.   No one wants that.

Today's objective is to be fearless, but self-aware.  Not to deny my fears but to embrace them.  To act in spite of them. 

I have begun to look for ways to act, for moments to seize.  I read a poem at my grandmother's funeral a few weeks ago, conquering my fears of Public Speaking, Death, and Church all at once.  I thought I owed her that much, considering that I would never once play piano for her in my 13 years of Conservatory schooling.  I would not play, in my living room, for my grandmother.  Don't look at me!  Sorry about that, Nanny.  Hope you liked the poem.

I also conquered a deep-seeded fear of food.  When I was 4, my Pre-school class went to Harvey's for a field trip (that's right), and the manager said, "Everyone who pushes this button gets a free hamburger at the end of the tour!"  And I don't remember what the button did, but I remember thinking, I don't want a hamburger. I don't like hamburgers.  If I push that button, they're going to make me eat a hamburger.  And so I hid among the other children and avoided my turn to push the button.  And wasn't I devastated when I learned that I could have a hot dog at the end!  But I didn't push the button.  Now they won't let me eat.  (They did, by the way.  I got my hot dog.)  Such was the anxiety of my 4-year-old self, who struggled daily with a distaste for all things foody.  I have only recently learned that I can train myself to eat whatever I want.  And this morning at the grocery store, I bought carrots, my Arch Nemesis of foods.  Today, I eat in spite of carrots.

So perhaps the goal is not to be fearless at all; but to be fear-driven. 

Oh, but that sounds fast, doesn't it?  Driven.  Perhaps just a fear-jog, to start.

I will cook my carrots in a soup until they taste like chicken.

We Watch Oscars
Wow.  Oscars, eh?  Actors, right?

A guy that comes into my restaurant told me if I wanted more than just my Mom to comment on my blog, I should ask more questions. 


Okay, Here's What I Thought of the Oscars; With the Words Arranged in the Interrogatory.

Red Carpet host Sherri Shepherd, the dumb one from the View, just said "Thank you for talkiing."   I do not enjoy the celebrity that is Sherri Shepherd.  I just don't get. it.  Are we laughing at her?  Am I... racist?

Is Sarah Jessica Parker aging faster than the rest of us? 

Woah, who let Kathy Ireland out of her hamster wheel?  Sorry, Sherri.  I misjudged you.  You're just not into "facts".  You're cool.  Kathy Ireland is a Zombie Robot. 

Neil Patrick Harris is the fucking shit.  He is going to age very gracefully.  Like Dick Clark.

So, this is good.  Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin have this great Smothers' Brothers variety show duo thang going.  Good jokes.  Nice style.  I'm into it.  But I might be the only one.  Everyone looks really nervous when the camera is on them. They're terrified that Alec or Steve, mostly Steve, is going to give up their child-porn dog-fighting secret-family-in-the-basement racket.

George Clooney is livid.  Livid!  What a douche.  Don't you think George Clooney is a huge douche?

Here's a question for you.  Do people go to more movies after the Oscars?  Is there like an Oscars afterglow at the box office?  Do they trick us into thinking movies are good again?

...Are movies good again?

Speaking of tricking, did you see the US headline on the new Bachelor couple?  "How She Tricked Him."  Look, I know I'm the only one watching the Bachelor, but you have to trust me on this one.  Those two are in loooove.  Good love.  She's just misunderstood, and a little young.  Not the most socially graceful but who's gonna cast that first stone?

I don't think I'm gonna make it through the night.

Woah buddy who wrote Precious is an emotional nightmare.  Shit. 

Steve Martin: "I wrote that speech for him."  Funny guy.

Today We Know More About Love 2
To the people who still believe that The Bachelor represents the decline of the American Empire:

You're wrong.  Love is beautiful.  This show is love.

It has taken some time to get it right.  The recipe for a real connection.  Take one, previously loved Bachelor contestant (candidate should be well-spoken, incredibly honest, self-aware, and of course prettier than the rest of us).  Screen thousands of fans who have taken the time to fall in love with this bleeding heart close-but-no-cigar contestant.  Find two dozen men or women who are ideal matches, and who have already established rather strong feelings for this individual.  Send the contestants on eXtreme dates, like bungee jumping or rock climbing (intense conditions should allow for sufficient bonding).  Let simmer for six weeks, while the Bachelor(ette) learns everything they are not looking for in a companion.  Then marry that shit.

Jake was a legendary bachelor.   The man who dumped four women in one episode, because he is incapable of lying.  He is, in fact, a bad actor.  He should have a been a nightmare for the producers, and in fact, if you watched last night finale, you can see how they tried to narrate the story of Jake along their tired old "I love them both" banner.  The voice of Jake moved from room to room recording badly edited sound bites, claiming "I'm so confused," "I love so much about Tenly," "This is the hardest decision I've ever had to make."

Bull shit.  It was easy.  You love Vienna and you want to be with her forever.

Watching Vienna and Jake is kind of magic.  The cynical critic's heart melted and some of us shed tears at the sight of such pure, unrehearsed emotion.

Vienna choked when she met Jake's family.  She represented herself poorly, she spoke abrasively, she did not make any attempt to respect and respond to what Jake's family wanted.  Not like Tenly.  They preferred soft-spoken, polite, beige-thinking Tenly.  It actually started to look like we might have our first tragic Bachelor ending, with Jake dying alone rather than forsake his mother.

But.  Jake defended Vienna.  He fought for her.  He said, I can be myself with her.  She makes him who he is.  They light each other up.  Soul mates, she says.  And we are inclined to agree.

There were a lot of lessons to take away from last night's show.  The first lesson was learned by Jake's family, followed by the rest of us, who judged Vienna unfairly.  So she couldn't make small talk with the robots who were lining up to meet Jake.  So what!  If you were on the Bachelor, would you be trading hair tips with your bunk mate, or would you be brooding in a corner, nursing a glass of wine and a Virginia Woolf novel?  Vienna is us, that's all.  And we hate to see ourselves on television.  We always look fatter and bitchier than we do in real life.

So, Jake defends Vienna, the family embraces her (thank the gods), and now we have seen the miracle of true love blossom.  Oh, but Jake just has two more dates to go on.  A magical night of adoration with Vienna.  And a boat ride with Tenly.

This is where we really get to see how badly Jake acts.  He doesn't look Tenly in the eye.  He stays quiet, and when he speaks, he says that they are missing something, that something isn't there.  Tenly doesn't get it.  She's like, What? I'm right here. Jake can't explain.  He is contractually obligated not to.  So they make out a lot and say very little.  Lesson number 2.  He's just not that into you.

And with that train wreck date behind us, finally, we get to see this.

And orange they cute!

The third lesson learned watching last night's Bachelor is that no love is wrong.  You cannot hate love.  The only thing wrong with that equation is you, the outsider, the judge, the fool.  The connection between two people is none of our business, even when it's on national TV and is in fact totally our business.  We are simple observers.  We have our own love lives to fuck up.  They don't need us in theirs.

Last night we learned, at last, that love is real.  And that this is the love - powerful, absolute, self-making - that is worth waiting for, worth dating for, and worth fighting for.

Canada Wins Olympics, Gets Wasted
Yesterday I found myself ravaged by national pride in a startlingly uncharacteristic night of bar shots and celebratory chants in the streets of downtown Toronto.  The crowd at Dundas Square undulated affectionately and throbbed with a conceit that would offend the gods themselves, if they too weren't busy celebrating.  As I leaned back into the cocooning embrace of my fellow Canadians, lifting my head and raising my voice in an exultant howl, I found myself wondering who I was and how I got there.  And when did I start caring about the Olympics?

Rewind a few hours to Sunday afternoon.  Work at the restaurant was eerily quiet; families had elected to eat brunch by the warmth of their television sets.  And who, other than me, could blame them?  The final Gold medal game, Canada versus the US in hockey.  Despite the medal counts, despite the other countries, despite all of the other athletes who worked their tits off for their victories, this is the moment we have all inadvertently (or totally vertently) been waiting for.  This. Is. It.

I tried not to watch.  I didn't want to see, I didn't want to be a part of whatever was happening.  The celebration of the celebrated, the glory of the glorified, the simple congratulation of power.  2 legs bad, 2 skates and a big dick good. 

However, if I thought by some strange miracle that I had a choice in the day's events, that I could avert my eyes from this orthodox slaughter, I was utterly mistaken and it was soon apparent that this was not a moment I could just ignore. 

This in itself was a revelation.  I mean, I know "we" (you) like hockey, but I am not sure I understood the magnitude of this passion.  It has always seemed to me that hockey brings out the worst in people.  Perhaps it was the coach I witnessed as a child, throwing a bag of pucks at the ref and shouting swear words that were quite new to me.  Perhaps it was the fire in the eyes of my seventh grade Social Studies teacher, who insisted we debate the virtues of last night's game (en francais) before reviewing the sexual reproductive system.  Or perhaps it was the Halifax Moosehead's game I attended a few years back, where I fondly watched a Daddy and Daughter pairing watch the game in the row in front of me, recalling the many wonderful Daddy Daughter days I spent at Cape Breton Oilers games, eating snow cones and asking questions every time the whistle blew.  And just as I began to think of the enchanting bond of sports, a player on the opposing team went down on the ice, hit hard.  He stayed down.  The crowd turned fierce, the BOO's had it.  Daughter turned to Daddy and asked, "Why are they boo'ing?"  Daddy, thick in the boo's, relented a moment to explain:  "We're booing because that guy is a liar and a wuss."  "GET UP! QUIT CRYING!" he yelled, as though to demonstrate his point.  My heart sunk, and I got another 7 dollar beer.

Anyway, that's why I don't like hockey.  I just think it's ugly, and I like my sports a bit prettier.  That being said, I decided at work yesterday that if the whole country was going to get together and watch Canada Go for Gold, then I should just swallow my feminist, pacifist, hippie ways, and watch the damn game.

I left during the second period to catch the third at a friend's house.  As I walked, I began to feel something.  There was something in the air - the quiet beat of a nation holding its breath.   Houses glowing blue came to life and died again with the roar of whoever was inside.  Birds chirped their indifference.  I'd never heard birds chirp at 4 in the afternoon on a Sunday on Dufferin Street.  The streets were almost empty.   A few defiant mothers walked with strollers, bundled in layers despite the temperate weather.  Their necks seemed swollen with scarves, dwarfing their heads, so that they almost seemed to be emerging from a womb.  Men, too, walked along, alone, heads enshrouded in protective garb.  It was a shabby resistance, these were martyrs without gods.  One man sighed, and said "Oh well," to himself or to me as he passed. 

I felt a sudden surge of patriotism.  I wanted to be wherever these people were not.  The damned walked the streets, defiant of life itself, contemptuous of living.  I, as usual, wanted to live.  LET ME LIVE!

I was just in time for the third period, and if I was bored for a minute or two, distracted by my rarely present sense of shame, I was rapt by the end.  My heart beat in time with the clock in overtime, and in rhythm with the rest of the country's.  My body hunched forward in anticipation of death or rapture, I found myself shouting, "Just put it in!", desperate for the end.  More than that, though, desperate for the win.  I wanted to win.

And we did.

My friends and I took to the streets, a lynch mob of good tidings.  We cheered on the subway, on the streetcar, headed blindly towards Gretzky's in search of more love and high fives.  An American woman on the streetcar sat filming our enthusiastic outbursts.  She told us she liked us and we cheered.  The woman ahead of us clapped along and joined our chants.  Come along, we said.  One of us!  we chanted.  

No one was willing to join our parade of Good Times, but we left smiles behind wherever our love brigade attacked.  Fire trucks and streetcars and taxis saluted.  We didn't even have a flag.  We were just shouting and happy about it.  I didn't even know what we were cheering for anymore.  Ca-na-da!  Four-teen gold!  Beer is gold!  We cheered for maple trees and colours.  We high-fived every passing pedestrian - even some drivers.  No one could resist.  Everyone was celebrating, we were just being loud about it.

And so I found myself watching as my friend, who hadn't watched a single Olympic event, crowd surfed over the bodies of Dundas Square before climbing up the streetlight to lead them in cheers, before being asked to leave and not return by the police.  And I thought, well, if this is hockey, if this is the Olympics, if this is winning, then maybe I can get behind that.

And as usual, I am just a little bit too late.

(Note: this is not my friend.  But I probably gave this guy a high five last night.  Ca-na-da!)

Shell Shock
I want to take you with me, to where I've been.  I want to show you.  But of course I know better.  Writing about being in Costa Rica is like writing about being in love.  I think, "I could never show you this.  You must see this for yourself."  And you are thinking, I don't want to hear about it. 

You are jealous of me.  But, see, I am jealous of me too.  So we're even and as always we are in this muck together.

Four days back and I am already feeling the boredom and anxiety of the city.  But is it the city?  The winter?  My period?  Fuck. 

How quickly and easily one loses one's convictions.  A week ago, all i was doing was waking up, reading, writing, drinking coffee.  And i was thinking "This is it. This is life. This is all I need." 

Now I am doing the exact same thing, except I'm here, and I am thinking "Is this it?! Is this life?!  Is this all I need?!"

When I was alone in the dark, I could bare it.  I could more than bare it, I could embrace it - love it.  There was nothing around me, or at least nothing I could see. When everybody is alone, no one is alone, and I become no one, and I am very happy.

Now there is light on all sides and I can hardly breathe.

Everyone is in love but me. Everyone is happy but me.  Everyone is together, and I am somewhere else.

I find the city quite lonely, and all I want is to be alone. 

So how will I be satisfied?

It will take me a moment to readjust to the light.  That's all.  And then I will hold your hand again.  And then I will look you in the eye again.  And we will be okay, again.

Next week, pictures and revelations from the underworld that some call Paradise.  And perhaps a word or two on Lost, though I think it's speaking for itself these days...

On Holiday

Back in 2 Weeks.


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