Friday, June 30, 2006

"the horror! the horror!"

Today's soundtrack:
"Paranoia" by Sam Roberts
"Fear" by Sarah McLachlan
"Nothing Better" by The Postal Service

It's the second day of 37ºC weather. For the record, I don't do hot weather. Warm weather, sure. Cool weather, you bet. But hot, rubber soul melting, sweat creating, muggy weather is not for me. Miguelito, of course, is in some form of Spanish Heaven with this heat. Perhaps there is something in the Spanish soul that thrives in this weather. Like bacteria. They love the heat too, right?

So naturally on this, the hottest day of the year thus far, I ventured out to Pier 1 and Old Navy in search of knick-knacks and pants to fit my ample bottom. I am especially proud of this find. As I was telling D earlier, now Miguel can't say I never buy exotic fruits. Anyhoo, I'm waiting, rather impatiently, for my neighbours to finish their laundry so I can wash the clothes I found today. Why on earth I want to throw anything into the dryer and create more heat today (of all days), I just can't comprehend. But there you go.

There are supposed to be a few more days of this heat, this torture, this miserable excuse for late-June weather. I was wanting to head out to the Canada Day bash down at Ex, mainly in an effort to Canadianize Miguelito, but being in that kind of heat and direct sun for so many hours just isn't as appealing as staying at home and watching The Mansbridge from Ottawa.

I'd go and relax in the hammock, but even though it's covered with shade (beautiful trees in my backyard), it's still a stiffling kind of heat. I think it's the humidity. And yes, I know we're landlocked, but it's just so muggy because of the southern wind. Oh dear, my inner meterologist is coming out. She's not nearly as terrible as my inner geologist. You should have seen her when I went through the Rockies for the first time. "Look at the rock formation, the striations, the folding!" Yes, it was sheer bliss. Well, for me. Don't know about the parents. Focus, Kate. English, not Geography. Right.

On the bright side, even though it's a blistering heat, at least it's not raining. Or snowing. And the heat seems to keep the mosquitos at bay. Well, most of them.

Stubborn little blighters.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

four quick notes

Today's soundtrack:
"Can't Face Up" by Sloan
"These are the Fables" by The New Pornographers
"Tired of Waiting" by The Trews

One, I woke up early today, of which I am very proud. In fact, I was out of bed before Miguelito, which gives me the right to say ¡perezosillo!

Two, I went to Midtown with D in an almost-vain search for strapless bras (we were, ultimately, victorious).

Three, while holding a variety of panties in my hand, I heard "Hi Miss Kate" and look up to see one of my students from last year. Awkward shiftyness ensued as she showed me to the Fitting Rooms.

Lastly, Miguelito is holding me personally responsible for Spain's loss against France today. Apparently my lack of presence in the Tunnel is the only reason for their poor performance (well, there's the weather too, but they always blame the weather - just ask Miguelito about the Armada).

And now, to the Kraft Dinner!

Oh sweet sweet nectar of the gods...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

gawker stalker

Today's soundtrack:
"Vino Tinto" by Estopa

Last night was the going away party for the Spanish Girls, from which I am almost recovered. While I was on my way to meet up with D and L, I walked down Broadway. The street was pretty busy, it being a beautiful day (finally) and the start of the Jazz Festival. And I was looking pretty damned cute, I'll have you know. Anyhoo, so I'm walking down the street with a 12 pack of Keiths in my backpack (clink clink clink) and I notice that oh so cute dress hanging in Divine's window. You know the one. Purple with a 40s vibe. $119. Ouch. So I turn and keep walking, noticing this couple leaning up against the wall. Anyway, the closer I get, the more this blonde woman looks familiar. By the time I walk by I realise that it's the woman who plays Wanda on Corner Gas and Brett Butt is talking on his cellphone right beside her.

So what do I do? Do I stop and talk? Ask for an autograph? Bask in the glory of their oh so wonderful celebrity?

I walk on by, bottles clinking, trying to look as unaffected as possible (is it even possible for affectation to look unaffected?), while reaching for my cellphone so I can share my quasi-brush with celebrity with D and L. I am thisclose to being famous!

In other, Ikea-related news, Scotty the Mover came this morning with the furniture Mom shipped out from the Coast. Several of those damned Allan keys later and we have a new bed! The mattress is still a little bumpy, but significantly better. Now if only my neighbours would finish their laundry so I could do the several loads that I have piled up around the house.

In honour Spain's making it to the last 16 (and of their imminent defeat at the hands of the French), may I introduce my future boyfriend? Ooh.. Cesc Fabregas! Hahaha!

Afterthought: A very ladylike curtsey to the Edwardian Sister Lady J, who will soon be returning to Her Majesty's loyal colony after an appropriately long sojourn in Japan. Andiamo, Gianetta!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

after a night of medicinal alcohol

Today's soundtrack:
"Papito" by Manu Chao

Went out with D and L last night (ditched the party on "I'm feeling ugly and fat" grounds). Watched L'Auberge Espagnol, which was (surprisely) really good. And made me want to move to Spain for a bit. Well, maybe not to Barcelona. I don't know enough Portuguese to be able to speak Catalan. Madrid might be nice. Live in an apartment with a bunch of Europeans. I resisted the urge to write Eurotrash there. That deserves a pat on the back. Pat pat pat. Actually, the movie reminded me a little bit of living at Emmanuel, with the lack of cleaning and the fridge.

Afterwards, we headed to the Yard and my neighbour/bartender bought me a beer. I felt very in the know. The beer was out of guilt, I suspect, for a out of the blue, 3am party the other week that woke me up (and then I woke Miguel up, because honestly, who likes to suffer alone?).

But enough procrastination. I.... must.... finish.... the.... Thesis!

Oh who am I kidding? It's time for some more Mayan Chocolate.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

welcome to pity-landia. population: me. sigh.

Today's soundtrack:
Whatever song Miguel was whistling in the shower this morning.

This terrible grey, rainy weather is destroying my weak nerves. Is it any wonder that the English Malady is that of low spirits. I'd quote Cheyne here, but honestly, it'll just take too much effort.


Going to a party tonight with D (I believe our not-so-real boyfriends have better, non-Spanish speaking things to do). Must go and buy beer.


Hair won't do what it's supposed to. Have nothing to wear. 5 pounds too many. Shouldn't have eaten that last pint of Mayan Chocolate.


I tell you, those children starving in Biafra have nothing on me. Nothing, I say!

And speaking of children starving in Biafra, I just came across this article about the Angelina Jolie-Anderson Cooper interview last night. Since I don't have cable (nudge nudge), I'll have to take the NY Times' word for it. My favourite lines are as follows:

"He [Anderson Cooper] praised Ms. Jolie for doing the interview solely to draw attention to the plight of refugees and not to promote a movie. He then seamlessly moved on to vigorously promote his best-selling book."

Now, I've always been suspicious of Mr. Cooper. That 360º show was just another shameless way to through geometry in my face. And the standing. Standing? Who stands? I didn't find his coverage of Katrina that interesting or good. Call me oldfashioned, but I see nothing appropriate about breaking down and crying during every interview. Yes, it's terrible. Yes, there's a lot of water. I didn't see any tears being shed for any of the stories he covered overseas. I guess Americans and the odd - yes, I said it, ODD - American disaster are worth crying over, but the everyday atrocities... eeeh, not so much.

I bet Mansbridge could kick his ass.

N.B. - I apologise for the rampant and unavoidable bitterness. It was, after all, unavoidable.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

in lieu of cable

Today's soundtrack:
"Un poco de amor" by Shakira

Miguel sent this story to me the other day. Annan has a sense of humour? I guess you'd have to have a good one...

I could really get into this whole sport thing if it would just stop raining. I've not gone running in a while, and even my yoga is suffering. Maybe watching hockey (sigh) and the World Cup is enough exercise, with all that jumping up and down, and shaking of fists.

Oh, and by the way...

Take that, Evil Thesis! I shall slay you yet!

but finally...

Quiero decir que yo quiero a Lindell en mi comunidad. But without the crazy falling from the roof with a bag full of Monopoly money.

A Mundial regreso.

Monday, June 19, 2006

and furthermore...

Today's soundtrack:
"Vino Tinto" by Estopa
The sound of Tunisia losing 3-1

Now that all that nancyboy football/soccer action is over, onto the real sport. Hockey. Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals is on tonight, and if Spain's "sumptuous"* victory is any indication of how the games are going today, then the Oilers just might have a chance.

I meant to blog about this the other day, but forgot. Harper showed up for Game 6 in Edmonton and was interviewed during the first intermission. I must say, the man knows his hockey. His was bang-on about the Oilers needing to go to the net and make the shots. In fact, I was so impressed that I'm thinking of emailing Harper with the suggestion that he give up this politics business and coach hockey instead.


* The BBC commentators actually called Spain's victory "sumptuous". Seriously? These guys are almost as bad a Bob Cole!

12.30, today in place

At the moment, the Ukraine is destroying Saudi Arabia in Germany. Just into the 2nd half and it's already 3-0. But that's a side note to the real story today.

Strangely enough, my hair is frighteningly similiar to this fellow's lovely red afro. Although I won't be dressed like this oh so snazzy Spanish fan, I will be cheering them on against Túnez (I've forgotten how to spell it in English).

A few weeks ago, I could have cared less about soccer. Or football. Whatever it's called. This is likely because Canada, as a soccer country, sucks. We're a hockey nation. I get it. So soccer/football/hooliganism has been something of a mystery.

Even though I like watching the game, and now understand the game, there's still only a snowball's chance in hell that I'm ever going to put on a get-up like that fellow (regardless of the fact that I already have the hair).


Friday, June 16, 2006

canadian history for dummies

Today's soundtrack:
"Gold to Me" by Ben Harper
"Aserejé" by Las Ketchup
"Me Gustas Tu" by Manu Chao

A few Christmases ago, or perhaps birthdays, my cousin Erika gave me Will Ferguson's Bastards and Boneheads: Canada's Glorious Leaders Past and Present. It sat on my shelf. And sat. Then it moved with me to Saskatoon. I figured that since I'd already taken a year of Canadian History (or as it was truly known, "Kate's Mid-Morning Naptime") during undergrad that there was nothing new this book could tell me. Bastards and Boneheads has been sitting, for those keeping score, in our bathroom for the past few months. I suggested to Miguel that he read it because 1) it looked like a funny approach to Canadian history (of which he knows only that Wayne Gretzky is the King of Canada), and 2) it would look good sitting in our bathroom (N.B. I am the girl who buys extra fruit and vegetables so that I look healthier in the checkout line at Sobeys).

While sitting on the pot, however, it was inevitable that I'd pick it up and read. I was pleasantly surprised. Perhaps if Dr. D's lectures had been more humourous, like this book, I wouldn't have fallen asleep every class (and I mean every class - the man's voice was like a foghorn!). There wasn't anything I hadn't learned about in the book, although there were some things that I'd forgotten completely about. So I chuckled my way through, and left the book in the bathroom for Miguel.

He comes out of the bathroom nowadays shaking his head in disgust. He just finished the chapter on WWII and Canada's role in the Holocaust (the St. Louis anyone?). The chapter on Japanese Internment is up next. Keep in mind, this is all happening at the same time that The National is running "Your Turn" segments glorifying Canadian multiculturalism. Needless to say, I think he's finding Canada to be a bit of a hypocrite. I maintain that it's just that we've learned from our mistakes. But even that I'm not entirely sure of.

Regardless, if you want a little light reading that will help you pass any Canadian immigration exam (or Grade 10 Social Studies), get this book. Need further proof? Check out Ferguson's summary of the various Bastards and Boneheads in Canadian history in the final chapter of the book. Under "Highlights" for Sir John A. MacDonald, Ferguson writes "John A. was the alcoholic Father of the Nation, and with a father like that, is it any wonder we have been in therapy for so long? 'I know my dad loved me, but...'" (240).

Oh well that's just clever!


Thursday, June 15, 2006

it's the fever

Today's soundtrack:
Hail to the Thief by Radiohead

I have one thing, and one thing only to say about the first team to secure a spot in the Top 16:


I'm going to start speaking Spanish with a South American accent. That is, until Spain gets into the Top 16.

Monday, June 12, 2006

movies and mundial

Today's soundtrack:
Buena Vista Social Club

In feeding my growing World Cup addiction, I came across this on the CBC site.

¡Viva España! I was going to write ¡arriba España! but Miguel says there are fascist connotations with that.

Also, watched both Brokeback Mountain and Everything is Illuminated this weekend. Brokeback was everything people said it was. Fantastic. Set at a cowboy pace. Beautiful. Everything is Illuminated was a surprise, though. I'm still not sure about Elijah Wood's character, but everyone else was strong. Made me want to learn Ukrainian. I guess I live in the right city for that. Anyhoo, I'd recommend Everything is Illuminated to you guys. Liev Schreiber makes a fantastic, erm.. premium director and screenplay writer. The dialogue is amazing. Really. A very quoteable movie. I hear the book is good too, but I've not had a chance to pick it up yet.

Oh, and ¡viva España!

Friday, June 09, 2006

A nationalistic start

So, you're probably wondering, what did get Miguelito (that's me, just in case you didn't notice the author change) to finally write in a blog like this? (yeah, a sisterhood and edwardian... if I were called Eduardo at least!)
Well, I'm pretty surprised too, but as the world cup is approaching I'm experiencing a very weird infectious disease inside this otherwise immaculate body of mine... Nationalism!!!
And it is very very very weird for three main reasons:
1. I never cared a rat's ass for soccer
2. I never cared a rat's ass for any national team
3. I believe nationalism is cured travelling (and I've done that quite a bit lately)
But yes, just a couple of minutes ago, I was saying, shouting, preaching! that Spain was going to win the World Cup.
This might be the sign... prepare your suitcases because if Spain actually wins... that's the Armaggedon!!!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

voting and hoping for tolerance

Today's soundtrack:
"Tired of Waiting" by the Trews
"Use it" by the New Pornographers

First, read this.

I'm still trying to figure out what these recent events are going to mean to Canada (for those of you thesising, I'm refering to the arrest of 17 Canadians in regards to their alleged plot to blow up buildings, kidnap politicans, take over the CBC and, apparently, behead the Prime Minister). Possibly I need to explore my own reaction to the news. Well, I wasn't really that surprised. The word has been around for a couple years now that Canada's name was on a hitlist (long with Spain, England, the States and Australia), and it was in Spain (I think) that they (the police) found maps of subways in Canada (Toronto or Montreal, I can't remember which) in the apartments of those involved with the Madrid attacks. That the men were all from Canada, as in born-here-educated-here Canadian, wasn't a shock. Especially after the London attacks. In fact, the only thing that really shocked me was that CSIS actually managed to catch them before anything happened.

And then I started to think. Was anything going to happen anyway? With the level of RCMP and CSIS involvement as it was, how much of this terrorism was suggested and facilitated from the so-called good guys, and how much would have remained idle banter around the table?

As more news has come out, it's clear that these guys weren't exactly professionals. In fact, they appear pretty amateur. Not that we should be complacent and decide that terrorism will never hit here, but is the level of fanaticism here as high as in Europe? Miguelito and I watched the National and saw some interesting interviews with Brits and the Dutch. I tried to argue that Canada is just more multicultural and open than Europe, but was countered with examples of both British and Dutch multiculturalism. I attempted to maintain that Canadian multiculturalism was different than European multiculturalism, in that we don't require assimilation (too many Borg references to make - to the hyperbolic chambers!), but believe in the idea of a mosaic.

Then somebody went and smashed the windows of a mosque in Toronto. I wondered where this nationally-instilled idea of multiculturalism and tolerance went.

At this point, I still don't what is going to happen within our society in reaction to this. Seeing what's happened in both the Netherlands and England, I fear that road of intolerance because of intolerance. So I wikied "islam" and read up on everything I could. I started reading the Koran. There is a lot about this community that we, as Canadians, don't know. A fantastic point was made the other day, however, that Muslims are not just their religion, and shouldn't be looked at as such. There are cultures behind all this, be they Iranian, Pakistani, or Moroccan, that go beyond praying a certain number of times a day. Personally, I still don't by the line that women have to cover up because of a modesty before God, not because of sexism. The same rules used to exist in the Catholic Church until the Second Vatican Council. The difference is that within Islam, there is a struggle between maintaining the traditions and habits of their Islamic ancestors (eg: they dressed like this in the 10th century, so we're going to keep dressing like this now) and modernising without destroying the intergrity of Islam.

But this is nothing new under the sun. Tolerance is the balancing act of every religion, culture, and society.

Monday, June 05, 2006

we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming

Today's soundtrack:
Twin Cinema by the New Pornographers

Let me say this first: no matter how appealing it looks, drunk yoga is not advisable. Ever.

In other news, I've been noticing that Mark Rogstad (of local CTV News fame) is sporting better hair (marginally) and funky glasses (although only when he's on location). I have several theories about this, but the most likely reason is that he's just tired of being mistaken for his annoying younger brother (I assume younger, anyway) who can't seem to go a newscast without making some embarrassing and widely inappropriate remark.

I tried Googleling for a picture in order to show Mark's transition from awkwardly embarrassed older brother to Diva's frequent flyer chic, but was somewhat tragically unsuccessful.

Furthermore, in between editing, revising, and vomiting over my excuse for a chapter, I caught glimpses of Spirit Bear on CTV. Shudder. You know, I lived in a logging household in BC during this whole thing, and honestly, I've never heard of this kid. As a result, while the credits rolled, I actually shook my fist at the TV. Miguelito claims I'm biased, but I prefer to think that I'm just slightly skewed. Content aside, though, this movie was terrible. When is Canada's movie industry (and yes, I know this was a movie of the week type of deal) going to produce something that's actually enjoyable to watch? If I had to see that damned kid look into the distance and spiritually commune with the bear one more time, I was going to go watch The Da Vinci Code in order to cleanse my palette of such filth.

Thank you. That is all.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

yoga! yoga! yoga!

Today's soundtrack:
So-Called Chaos by Alanis Morissette

I went to my first yoga class in a while today (I'm needing to calm my soul after that Lost finale). Jivamukti Yoga, which I think is what I studied in Nanaimo. But then again, it's likely that all yogas are frighteningly similar. The chanting at the beginning and ending was familiar, but the lecturing at the beginning via the David Life Lecture on CD was a little much. I've heard all the lines before. That humans are the only species that take milk from other animals. That the baby animals are ripped away from their mothers (appropriate level of drama in the voice). That is takes more energy to produce a hamburger patty than to power a SUV (more disgust in the voice now). All this built into a fevered, yet measured pitch. And I suppose that if one were willing to take everything at face value then Mr. Life's statistics (the source is unnamed) are convincing.

But they are also horrifically biased. All statistics are. Ask any statistician. They'll tell you. It's all about the questions you ask, both how and when. In the case of meat production, it's about which figures you include. Do you only count the farmers? Or do you include the truck drivers? And does that mean you must include the entire oil industry? The only thing said in the 15 minute rant/lecture/tirade that resonated with me was that we, as humans, consume too much. No argument here. After working at McDonalds (shudder), I've seen firsthand the amount of food that people order, eat, throw-away, and this is not to mention the amount of waste behind the scenes. Does anyone really need a SuperSized Fry? A SuperSized Diet Coke? Sigh.

But the yoga itself was fantastic. I think I'm definitely at an intermediate level, which is great athletically, but I worry about the lifestyle involved. I'm not about to become vegetarian, for the sole reason that I could never give up Kelly's Secret Spaghetti Sauce. I have no interest in becoming vegan. To be honest, I don't see veganism or vegetarianism as necessary for advancement in yoga. Here's hoping they don't tar and feather me for that. It always amazes me how people involved in things like yoga (yes, yoga!) wind up being some of the most judgmental people in the world.

Going to try Vinyasa Yoga sometime next week (body permitting) at a different studio. We'll see if that one is a little less preachy.