Bridesmaid revisited/2

Fall 1998. Long, gold satin empire-waisted dress with large bow over the bum (really). Matching gold satin wrap. Chopsticks with fake flowers Krazy-glued to the end.

What I was thinking:
"Hummm. What is this now? Fourth bridesmaid experience? I can't believe it took me four tries before I got a dress with a bow on the butt. And if I lean just a little over that-a-ways, there's my ex in his tuxedo standing as the best man. What better conditions for being caught in a gold satin dress with a bow on the butt? Am I still standing here? I hope the faux marble background brings out my eyes. What? Is that the sound of my ex seething and hating me? Why, yes it is! Maybe I'll get to hear it allll day long. Can I start drinking yet?"

The dress was eventually recycled. I cut it up into triangles and made quilt-style pillow cases with the fabric. Two of them are currently adorning the back seat of my car (you know, for passengers!)


Bring on the comments!

I found the function that permits anyone to leave comments on this blog.
Even those of you without Gmail accounts. Viva technology!

Also, more bridesmaid photos on the way. Send yours to adriana.palanca@gmail.com.


Bridesmaid revisited

July 1990. Royal blue sequins with fabric flowers, beaded head piece, dyed-to-match satin shoes, and pre-crinkled elbow-length gloves, also royal blue.

What I was thinking:
"Heels sinking into ground. Don't fall over. How much longer could this possibly last? I think they braided my hair too tight. Tension headache. Don't fall over. Cuchi-cuchi... haha, I feel like Charo. Bet you Charo didn't have to endure this on The Love Boat. Probably just leaned on the small guy. Or was that Fantasy Island? How MUCH LONGER could this possibly %$*#-ing last? Breathe. Breathe away the nasty headache. This is your brother's wedding. Be graceful. Breathe. Soon there will be cake. Or me stabbing someone with my high-heeled shoe. One or the other..."

So I think I may want to start a segment in which people send their bad bridesmaid photos and I get to add some sassy interior monologue. Like Cake Wrecks, but with less icing. Send me your snaps, peops. The more hideous the sartorial/facial expression, the better.


Some musical notes

If you still don't know about Matthew Barber, do yourself a favour and click here. 'Timeless' still gives me shivers even after all these years.

And on a completely different note, there's also Albert Hammond Jr. I love the sound of GfC, and the video is waaay cool. Do the opening notes remind you of Alfa Rococo? Me too!


Sports Night

Lawdy, where have I been? No Internet connection at home. Trying to catch up on lost sleep. Making pesto. And watching too many episodes of Sports Night, Aaron Sorkin's other well-written and fast-talking drama/comedy.

In watching it, you will recognise the narrative, tone and even some of the faces - Joshua Malina and Janel Moloney - that later appear on The West Wing and Studio 60. The ever-resplendent William H. Macy even makes a memorable cameo.

Oh, but there's no Amanda Peet - sorry!

It's entertaining stuff. Really. The only hiccup I occasionally experience is watching Peter Krause being awkward and not-cool and conservatively dressed and so not Nate. I long for the edgy, hot restlessness of Nate Fisher, don't you?



Before reading anything, watch the video for "Like me" by Girlicious first.

If you can make it back from the bathroom - if your legs aren't too weakened by persistent retching - come back for my comments.

Did you get yourself a glass of water for that raw throat? Go ahead. I'll wait.

This video is the most atrocious footage I've ever seen in my life. Worse than the Pussycat Dolls. Worse than a Rob Schneider movie. Worse than those new Bell ads. The crotch-grabbing. The clothes. The gratuitous grinding, moaning and booty shakes. I would like to refer to it "music" but I wouldn't want to offend other artists by classing this tripe in the same category.

I would rather listen to a John Tesh album than have to sit through that trash again.

I think I feel a dry heave coming on...



I feel very raw these days. Like my skin has thinned, like my nerve endings have pushed their way closer to the surface. My muscles are perpetually sensitive, ready to react to any stimulus.

A stray hair falls on my arm and I swat at my bicep as if a small insect were padding along my skin.

My toes curl at the first whisper of cold.

I can feel the blood pulsing through my wrists.

I got caught in the rain on Monday night as I biked home from yoga and every drop felt like a tiny stone. When I peeled off my sopping wet t-shirt, there was a red abrasion where my yoga mat had chafed against my chest...

And no, it's not pre-menstrual, thanks for asking.

I think I'm waking up to something new. It's not foreboding, I don't think. What's the word for a premonition of something good? That's the word I'm feeling in my body right now. All over. And like crazy.

NB. I've started Season Five of The Wire - my big excitement for the week! I don't care what they say on the Stuff White People Like blog. And I also have Season One of Sports Night with the dreamy Peter Krause to look forward to.


Saddest Facebook status lines ever

If you're looking for status line suggestions, click here.

If you're looking for random amusement, read on. Names have been changed (obviously) to protect the boring, the random, and the grammatically inept.
  • Wayne Gretzky is glad that Fluffy's spay went well.
  • Mats Sundin is today is grocery store and coffee tonight with friends!
  • Chris Chelios agrees that the price of our freedom from sin was paid by Jesus' blood.
  • Ron Hextall is glad to be spending time with Claude, but sad they can't do anything because of his shoulder.
Please note that none of the afflicted are friends of mine. This is a random sampling I came across while doing some research. It may seem very bitchy of me to be ridiculing these probably-lovely people - and it is. If Chris loves Jesus, then I fully respect his faith. As I respect how worried Wayne must have been about Fluffy.

What so exasperates me about these status lines is that they perfectly embody what I dislike most about Facebook, that is, knowing the minutiae of other people's lives. It's almost as bad as having to listen to someone's inappropriate cell phone conversation in a crowded bus.

As a writer, the information is certainly being socked away for the day when I have to create a similar character, but as a sarcastic know-it-all, all I can think is, "if you're not going to tell me something interesting or new about your life, don't bother!"

I suspect that it's just a matter of perception. My friends are clever, creative people and they always manage to compose status lines that are notable, funny or surprising. Wayne, Mats, Chris and Ron are not my friends, so maybe their status lines are uninteresting to me because on the surface, they seem trivial and/or boring.

Maybe Fluffy is a sickly cat and every intervention has been fraught with anxiety. Mats could be an agoraphobic and his getting out of the house is a great achievement. Maybe Chris was a meth head and his love of Jesus is inspiring other meth heads. Ron... well, Ron...

I don't understand Ron. If he's enjoying spending time with Claude, what's he doing on Facebook?

So I know this post is hypocritical. First, I have a Facebook account and check it regularly; therefore, fully consenting to have access to the lives of others. Second, I change my status line frequently and sometimes spend more than a few minutes composing a fun, clever phrase; therefore, subjecting others to reading about the minutiae of my life.

If I were a truly upstanding individual, I would delete my Facebook profile entirely, but it is occasionally very useful to me. So until I develop some backbone, I will try to keep my shouts of "who cares?" to a minimum.

Also, please feel free to contribute your own status line favourites.


Tampax for beginners, Take two

This is the front cover of the pamphlet I received in secondary one or two. Targeting kids ages 10-12, Accent on you is a rather comprehensive and well-written introduction to the reproductive system, puberty and personal care.

As an adult reading it for the second time in 23 years, I assumed that the booklet would be cheesy, but it's not. In fact, some of the text is quite sensitive in tone, for example: "Learning to accept menstruation as a natural, normal part of a girl's life will aid you in developing respect for yourself as a woman."

Highlights include the exercise page, which demonstrates some basic stretches, and the Accent on Boys section, which is considerably shorter than the girls' section. Although Tambrands can't sell the boys anything, they still did a very thorough job of explaining a boy's experience of puberty.

Also, considering the fact that this booklet was produced by Tambrands, the company that produces Tampax, it was a nice surprise to discover no product placement until page 8 of 30. The tone is heavily marketing throughout the rest of the section, but at least the language they use to sell tampons is very similar to the text used in their print ads.

A lot of effort was obviously poured into this campaign, which is remarkably integrated, consistent and human. The information in practical and sensitive, and it answers questions that young adults may be otherwise too embarrassed to ask (i.e. "Do some boys' breasts get a bit bigger and become sore at times?").

I bring these images to your attention in response to some contemporary tampon ads, which bandy about words like revolutionary and no-slip grip (no-slip grip? Are we still talking about tampons?). Not surprisingly, today's tampon ads have turned your choice of sanitary products into another brash act of self-expression. Although these ads are still targeting teens, the tone is more aggressive, the images more dynamic and the vocabulary more scientific. Oh subtlety, where art thou?

The positive side of this change is that advertisers are no longer propagating old beliefs about women needing to *take it easy* during their period. It permits young women to do more than a few sissy stretches. Another interesting shift is that there don't seem to be any girls in tampon ads anymore. The models used in Accent on You are age appropriate, but today's tampon brand models are generally more mature.

Probably to help young girls imagine the type of self-confident woman they want to be someday. Between tampons, shampoos, cell phones and Diet Coke, the next generation of women is apparently taken care of.

And if you missed this link above, do read Seth Stevenson's excellent, "Can Tampon ads be cool?". It's worth the detour if only to read the words, "It's like the Gatorade of feminine care."


The promotion

I have never been an overtly ambitious person. As far as I'm concerned, the only things that matter are doing work that I enjoy, working with people that I like and respect, and having enough money to pay my bills and fund a little yoga on the side.

To compound matters, although I am sociable, I am not naturally inclined towards networking and self-promotion. In fact, when I occasionally post a link towards this blog on my Facebook account, I worry that it will irritate my friends.

"Ugh. Is she pushing that blog again? Who wants to read that?"

Needless to say, I frequently undersell myself. So when a new position was announced at the office on Monday, I gave myself until Wednesday to work up the courage to ask if I could apply. Fate intervened when my boss called me into his office on Tuesday and offered me the position.

It still took me until this morning to accept it.

I have the skills to do the job well. My biggest worry was being given the job and not having the support of the people that matter the most. So I have spent considerable time over the last two days discussing it with my colleagues and closest friends, being reassured that everyone is supportive of this move, that everyone will still like me even if I'm doing something different.

And they are. And they will. And I'll be great. And I think I'll be okay with having more responsibility, more heft. How do I know? I know.

Oh, and Rob Brezny told me so in this week's Freewill Astrology:

Pisces Horoscope for week of August 14, 2008
Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the UK, chose an unlikely context to propose marriage to his future wife: She was kneeling in front of the toilet wielding a scrub brush. I expect a comparable event in your near future, Pisces: An appealing invitation or big opening will come your way while you're in a humble position. The only advice I have is to put down your scrub brush before responding.

Onwards and upwards I go.


That song in the Old Navy commercial

Saddened by Canada's inability to win an Olympic medal? Envious of the Togolese and their plucky bronze-winner? Listen to Ingrid Michaelson instead. 

"The way I am" is one of the prettiest songs I've heard in a long time. And it effectively drowns out the sound of the American national anthem as Mike Phelps wins another gold. SIGH.


Something to hate about cell phones

Among other things, cell phones are making tardiness acceptable. Let me explain.

The other night, the usual suspects decided to meet at Rockaberry's between 7:30 and 8:00pm. I arrived first, at twenty to eight. Within minutes of sitting down, I discovered that not only had I forgotten my cell phone at home, but that I was book-less as well. Buh!

Knowing that my friends would be along shortly, I ordered a green tea and took advantage of the moment to entertain pleasant thoughts. Fifty minutes later, I was feeling less patient.

I wasn't angry with my friends for being late. If I had my cell phone, it would have been easier to bear the wait because I would have received the calls apologizing for their tardiness.

It seems to me that now that cell phone use is so widespread, most people are less attentive to the time. "If I'm late, I can just call." It is very considerate to call, true, but if I was ever late before cell phones, I just made a bigger effort to rush. Now that I can call and apologize, I tend to move a little slower while preparing to leave.

I'm usually fairly punctual, but it seems to me that there was more punctuality - and less cancellations - before we had our electronic *out*.

Is it just me?


Weekend musings

  • I met Haggis, the cat with opposable thumbs on his front paws. It looks like he's wearing mittens. And apparently, he uses theses kitty thumbs. I turned to Powell and said, "Was that evolution that just walked by?" They should have named him Darwin.
  • Ever notice that when you attend a wedding, you spend a good portion of the night looking for friends? Wandering over to the bathroom or standing on tiptoe to see over the crowd at the bar, trying to spot that familiar orange shawl or red dress? Or even more common, asking "Did you see...?" Why is that?
  • Dehydrated and leg-weary after the wedding, I watched the U.S vs. China basketball game on Sunday morning. Several American players sport tattoos the length and width of their arms, and at least one of them has Chinese characters running down the back of both arms. Now if I were on the Chincse team, to put my opponent off his game, I'd sidle up behind him and say, "Those tattoos? In Chinese they really mean 'yo mama is so fat...'"
  • Marky's latest theory: Bungee for Small Dogs. Every week, tiny, yapping dogs are attached to bungee cords and tossed over the side of the Decarie Expressway. If they spring back up intact, they may continue to live. If they get squooshed by a Provigo truck, c'est la vie! At least there are no orcs in this latest theory.



And to cap off the laziest blog week in history, I bring you [momentary hush] Esthero!

I promise to be more scintillating next week.


Who's with me?

Anyone else cranky, headachy, sleep-deprived and stuck at work when you could be at home watching DVDs and eating crackers in bed?

Me too!

Do you know how much writing I could be doing right now? Chapter Five is not going to get revised by itself. And I have a screenplay idea that I am trying to develop and failing miserably at.

Can't 90 degrees go an afternoon without me?

Please submit your escape plans immediately. I'm not going to make it until 5pm.


My apologies, part II

Despite my best efforts, I am getting a *grano* reputation. And what I am about to publish will not help disperse that notion.

For those of you that read my previous crazy Piscean-remise-en-question, please read the following with as little irony as possible.

Weiiiird. Thanks to FreeWillAstrology.com for that.

I think the universe is trying to tell me something. If anyone figures it out before I do, please email me. In the meantime, I will go back to gazing lovingly at my organic, locally-grown carrots.


1943 Guide to Hiring Women

Apparently, I'm unemployable.

1943 Guide to Hiring Women:

The following is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine. This was written for male supervisors of women in the work force during World War II.

Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees

There's no longer any question whether transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and how to use them to the best advantage. Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from western properties:

1. If you can get them, pick young married women. They have these advantages, according to the reports of western companies: they usually have more of a sense of responsibility than do their unmarried sisters; they're less likely to be flirtatious; as a rule, they need the work or they wouldn't be doing it — maybe a sick husband or one who's in the army; they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.

2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Most transportation companies have found that older women who have never contacted the public, have a hard time adapting themselves, are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It's always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.

3. While there are exceptions, of course, to this rule, general experience indicates that "husky" girls — those who are just a little on the heavy side — are likely to be more even-tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.

4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination — one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit but also reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job. Transit companies that follow this practice report a surprising number of women turned down for nervous disorders.

5. In breaking in women who haven't previously done outside work, stress at the outset the importance of time — the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.

6. Give the female employe in garage or office a definite day-long schedule of duties so that she'll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.

7. Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be nervous and they're happier with change.

8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. Companies that are already using large numbers of women stress the fact that you have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and consequently is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.

9. Be tactful in issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can't shrug off harsh words the way that men do. Never ridicule a woman — it breaks her spirit and cuts her efficiency.

10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl's husband or father may swear vociferously, she'll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.

11. Get enough size variety in operator uniforms that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can't be stressed too strongly as a means of keeping women happy, according to western properties.


On the reading pile

Just finished reading

Dress your family in corduroy and denim by David Sedaris

Some notable excerpts that left me breathless and 'wow':

He looked as though his life had not only passed him by but paused along the way to spit in his face.

'The two of you grew apart,' my mother would say. She made it sound as if we'd veered off in different directions, though in fact we had the exact same destination. I just never made it.

Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you're offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone's feelings.

Currently reading

Bottomfeeder by Taras Grescoe

More astonishing to me is the fact that anybody eats the hagfish, a lampreylike bottom-dweller that haunts abyssal depths two miles beneath the surface. Lacking a spine, a gas bladder, or even a jaw, it employs a rasping tongue to burrow into its prey. Marine biologists who find whale corpses on the ocean bottom often observe that the flesh of the dead giants is actually crawling—a grisly submarine puppet show courtesy of the thousands of hagfish writhing through the rotten meat. Threatened by a shark, the hagfish will excrete mucins from dozens of pores, choking its attacker's gills with gallons of rapidly expanding slime. (It then sloughs off the mucus by tying itself into a bow and squirming the knot down its body.) The hagfish gets my vote as the most repellent fish in the sea. Yet Koreans consider it a delicacy: they import nine million pounds a year and savor it as an appetizer after broiling it in sesame oil.

About to read

Candy Girl: A year in the life of an unlikely stripper by Diable Cody

From the woman who wrote the Academy Award-winning screenplay for Juno. This slim tome focuses on Cody's brief career as a stripper. Too bad they didn't include free pasties...


The Dark Knight

I try to like movies. I really do. I stride into that cinema full of hope... but am only rarely rewarded for my enthusiasm.

When I walked into the Cote des Neiges cinema tonight, my belly happily filled with tonkinese soup, I was positively giddy. After all, I was going to see The Dark Knight - I had every hope of being treated to a cinematic experience.

[sound of loud buzzer]

The performances were everything they were hyped up to be. My beef is with the screenplay, which had holes in it a mile wide. It makes me angry that filmmakers will serve us inconsistencies and doubtful plots without the least remorse. I have questions that the blinding lights and crumpling metal of an exciting car chase cannot obliterate, and until someone can answer those questions, I am staying off The Dark Knight bandwagon (not that they need me anyway).

Here goes:
  1. The mob money was irradiated to help the police track it. How and when did they irradiate the mob's money? Did they know it was going to be stolen? How did they know the irradiated money would end up in the mob's hands?
  2. If the Joker stole the mob's (irradiated) money during the bank robbery, did he then place it into the five banks? If the police were able to track it, then I would have to assume that it was the same pile of money. And yet, the mob bosses were acting like they knew about the money in the five banks. If that was not the money stolen by the Joker, then was the money in the five banks (of unknown origin) irradiated too?
  3. If the Joker stole the money from the mob bosses, why was Lau able to get it out of the banks before the cops arrived? Seems to me that Lau was working with the mob bosses, and not the Joker. It couldn't possibly be the same pile of money, and yet the plot would suggest it was... and that it wasn't.
So which money is which? And what's with the fake Batmans? And that scene in the parking garage? And what was happening in that scene under the highway? Aaargh!

Good luck.
Signed, The Party Pooper

NB. Super coolio trailer for Watchmen though!