December 31, 2009

Best of the Best, 2009

As every yahoo with a keyboard is doing their list of the best of the year, and I figure that I am at least as smart as the average jerk out there, and way more opinionated, I am inspired to do my list of the year's best, plus maybe a few things that annoyed the crap out of me. Be warned: this post will have no Miley and no Rihanna, no Tiger Woods and no Michael Jackson. Enough already.

Best movie- I actually have not seen a lot this year, which is out of character; of what I did see, I loved Up best, and then Star Trek and I Love You Man get honours for best entertainment value. Honourable mention to Julie and Julia and Duplicity. Stuff I am eager to see - Avatar, Precious, Up in the Air.

Best TV show -Torchwood: Children of Earth: while technically a miniseries, this was far and away the best thing I saw on the tube this year, it was exciting, emotional, horrifying and ultimately heartbreaking. The human side of science fiction, think Children of Men but better (and if you haven't seen Children of Men, get off your ass and go rent the dvd now). Honourable mention to 30 Rock and The Big Bang Theory for making me laugh a lot.

Best New TV show - Better Off Ted: fast and funny, and probably cancelled by the time you read this. It gets crappy time slots because the morons at abc are too busy promoting dreck like The Bachelor and Find My Family. Screw 'em.

Best album - Kelly Clarkson, All I Ever Wanted, with honourable mentions to Pink's Funhouse and Rosanne Cash's The List. Clarkson's album started out the year with an early release and I am still playing it at home. And on my ipod when I run. And in the car. From My Life Would Suck Without You to pretty much every other track, this is pop perfection.

Best concert - Fleetwood Mac. I luuuv Stevie Nicks.

Best book - The Hour I First Believed, by Wally Lamb. This came out at the very end of 2008, which means most of us read it in 2009, especially as is four bazillion pages long. Smart, well written, a modern epic of love and maturity and acceptance and growth. Yes it goes off on long tangents, and they are fantastic. Runner-up was Steve Henly's How I Became a Famous Novelist, because it made me laugh.

Best architecture - check out the beauty pictured above - while my opinion is not objective, as I volunteer there, this is the smashing new Art Gallery of Alberta. And it is awesome. See more at

Best gadget - Kindle!

Best dog - Alfred, granted not new in 2009, but really, is there any doubt here? The little furball rocks. Honourable mention to my stepdog Quinn.

Best moment of the year - getting engaged to K - yes, it was impromptu during breakfast at Starbucks in Portland, and yes as I hear constantly, it was more of a mutual suggestion than a romantic proposal, but what the hell, we did it, however we did it works for us, and we are thrilled and going forward (and by the way, hit Tiffany the same day)!

That's it... on to 2010!

December 29, 2009

New Books & Old Books, Luddites & Morons

I am a card-carrying geek. Always have been, am guessing always will be. And as a geek, I love books and love love love gadgets. When I was a kid the little clip-on booklights were cool. Then the palm pilot, Walkman, iPod, Blackberry, iPhone. All vitally important toys that have endlessly enriched my life.

The newest gadget for book lovers is Amazon's Kindle electronic book reader, and I finally got mine a couple of weeks ago. What can I tell you? It's luuuuuuv. My Kindle is fun and fresh (gadget!), and portable (the damn thing is the size of a book and credit card thin) and totally cool.

As always, content is king, and the fact that the first book I read on my Kindle, Craig Ferguson's American on Purpose, totally rocked was fortunate. Next up is the latest John Irving novel.

Just like iPods have changed how we listen to music, ebooks are changing how we read books. Not familiar with the Kindle? Think an iPod for books, with a screen the size of a hardcover novel, where you download the books you want directly to your e-reader. Books range from free to about ten bucks.

Book lovers are migrating away from paper to electronic book readers.

Are the publishers being smart about it? Nope. Simon and Schuster recently announced they are delaying the ebook release of core titles by big authors like Jodi Picault and Don Delillo (both of whom I buy) until about 4 months after hardcover release date to protect hardcover sales. So do they think that Mr New Kindle Addict, aka me, is going to rush out and pay $25 for the paper version of the book because they won't let me purchase and download it? Or am I simply gonna choose the convenience of some other title for instant download, quite possibly a book from a publisher other than them?

Geez, morons, way to look at the faltering music industry and decide to repeat their mistakes. Let's ignore the new technology. Let's shut out the book buyers and follow the dinosaurs. Or, why not embrace the people who spent $250 plus on a bookreader and sell them newer, faster, more? Douchebags.

The tide is turning in the book world. On Christmas Day, e-books outsold traditional books at Amazon (and yes there are other e-book readers from Sony and Barnes and Noble, though no one really gives a crap as the Kindle rules in popularity and books available).

Are all books available? No. there are 400,000 titles, with more coming. Some they just haven't gotten to yet, others are holdouts. You won't find the Beatles on iTunes, and you won't find Harry Potter on Kindle. Not sure why. Luddites.

All this will work out as electronic books become the norm like iPods have. Publishers and retailers will rise to the occasion or fall behind.

What does Alfie think? The little dude is not so enamored of the Kindle. He already has to deal with the laptop on my lap, stealing his rightful place, and now I have a second magical lightbox taking up space. Not that it slows the little guy down; plonking on the keys, he just climbs on top of the computer or sprawls across the Kindle to ensure he is the centre of attention. And all is as it should be...

December 28, 2009

101 Dalmations get screwed...

As part of its 125th anniversary celebration, the American Kennel Club has compiled a list of the Top 125 Dogs in Popular Culture.

Knowing that the world has not yet discovered my dog or stepdog, and that anyone who wanted to could vote at to determine this list, any kind of crap could have happened. And it did. Lassie was lowballed, Toto was neglected, that gaggle of dalmations got screwed, George Bush Sr. and Paris Hilton make cameo appearances. People are weird.

The top ten:
1- Snoopy: yep, that makes sense.
2- Texas A&M's Reveille (university mascot): what? who? Must be an American thing.
3- Scooby Doo.
4- Eddie Spaghetti (dog from Frasier TV show); great choice, love that pooch!
5- Pound Puppies (the toy from Tonka): whatever.
6- Dogs playing poker (yes those paintings): okay I wouldn't have thought of this, but it's funny as hell.
7- How Much is that Doggie in the Window? (the song): I think we played this on the recorder in grade four, is that pop culture impact?
8- Georgetown's mascot Jack the Bulldog: what is it with mascots? Did these schools campaign for votes?
9- Who Let the Dogs Out? (that annoying song): It's the macarena with barking, people, is that cultural impact?
10- Brian Griffin (the cynical, substance-abusing talking dog from Family Guy): Great choice people, I love this guy, still should he be above Toto and Lassie?

And there you have the top ten --- where are the classics? Lassie is at #11, Lady and the Tramp are # 21, and Toto from The Wizard of Oz is down at #24. Disney's Goofy is at # 29, Old Yeller at # 34, Rin Tin Tin at #46, 101 Dalmations at #47. Those are the dogs we all know from our childhood, from pop culture lore. Clearly they didn't campaign.

Lower down on the list are some cool dogs I would not have thought of: Marmaduke, Odie from Garfield comics, Bruiser from Legally Blonde, Scotty from Monopoly, Slinky from Toy Story, Marley from Marley and Me, Cujo, and yes, Bo Obama.

Some of the dogs who inexplicably outrank 101 Dalmations on the list? Flash from Dukes of Hazard (they had a dog?), Comet from Full House, Bill Clinton's dog, the song Puppy Love, the Taco Bell dog, Spuds Mackenzie, and the mascot from a baked bean company. Uh-huh. Morons.

And in the "what the fuck" category, also in the 125 are Paris Hilton's chihuahua Tinker Bell, the dog from The Little Mermaid (wait --- they had an underwater dog?), George Bush's dog, Barbie's dogs, Argos from Homer's Odyssey (I don't remember him from the Cliff Notes), and Rex from the movie Firehouse Dog (wait --- there was a movie called Firehouse Dog?).

Forget Cruella De Ville and the Wicked Witch -- the jerks who made this list screwed Toto and those dalmatians.

December 27, 2009

It's not that complicated, and it's kinda boring...

This afternoon we went to see It's Complicated. I chose this flick out of everything out there - Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, Precious, Chipmunks 2 The Squeakwel. Ok, scratch that last one.

I was eager to see this one - love Meryl Streep, think Alec Baldwin is hysterical, and really enjoy stuff by director Nancy Meyers, especially Something's Gotta Give. Myers writes sweet smart literary chick flicks for women over 40, and yep I like them.

My choice. My bad.

While there is a lot to admire about this movie (Meryl Streep, amazing houses, Meryl Streep), it didn't work for me overall. And I never got inside it and forgot I was watching a movie.

Streep is Jane Adler - rich, white, smart, successful, happy, lots of friends, great kids, ten years post divorce, who after years of being alone becomes involved with two very different men, one of whom happens to be her married ex-husband.

With this set up, what could be a smart fast farce instead becomes a revamped An Unmarried Woman about the lead character discover her independence and confidence as a single woman. It's fine, and it's nothing really special.

And what bugs me... it's just not complicated. This flick's title is as dumb as cheese. Sex with your ex? As old as time, my friends. Been there, done that, moved on. Divorced women being successful? Good film fodder in 1975, now just look out your window and see fantastic career women. Steve Martin playing nerdy? Check out Father of the Bride circa 1990. Alec Baldwin being funny and lewd? It's called 30 Rock, my friends. Meryl is great in the flick, as she is in two flicks every year, recently in Julie and Julia, Doubt, Mamma Mia, Devil Wears Prada, and so on.

Move on, nothing new to see here...

December 26, 2009

WTF... What's up with Facebook's Top Ten?

Facebook has revealed their 2009 top ten trends from all users' status updates, and here they are:

1- Apps especially Farmville

2- "FML"- an acronym for "Fuck My Life" - this one is new to me

3- swine flu

4- Celebrity deaths, most notably Michael Jackson, Patrick Swayze, and Billy Mays

5- family, especially references to kids

6- movies, especially New Moon

7- sports

8- health care, which peaked with a targeted campaign supporting Obama reforms in September

9- facebook

10- twitter

Some of this I get, some I just gotta say... what the fuck?

I am on facebook and totally enjoy it. You may be reading this blog through facebook. I especially enjoy my friends' status updates, if they are travelling to exotic places, updating on movies they are seeing, or sounding off on just about anything.

But farmville? Really? Number one? I have blocked farmville updates, and mafia casino updates, because let's face it, you can piss away as much time as you want to, I just don't give a crap.

And #2 is people using an acronym for Fuck My Life? Firstly that is kind of sad and depressing and wallowing for a headline in social media, and secondly, how the hell did new slang become so pervasive and I didn't know about it? Talk about feeling out of the loop.

And then on the list swine flu and celebrity deaths? Yawn... I am glad to say I don't recall a whole lot of this from the people I am linked up with.

What were my status updates about? I just scanned them over for the year, and the recurring things were brutally cold weather, my adorable dog Alfred, and Art on the Block, the big charity fundraiser I chair for the Art Gallery of Alberta. Overall, less exciting than I had hoped for.

Okay, while my updates aren't the cure for cancer, I am proud to say there wasn't a single farmville, New Moon or swine flu status update all year. Still, to my disappointment and now deflated ego, they aren't that dazzling or memorable, or especially wise, insightful or clever. FML.

December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas
Happy (belated) Hanukkah
Wonderful Festivus
Joyous Kwanzaa
Happy New Year
.... and any others I may have missed!

December 23, 2009

Gotta love Lily Tomlin, part deux...

"It's my belief we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain."

- Lily Tomlin

December 22, 2009

Martha Stewart loves the gays back!

Fabulous gay men have worshipped at the altar of domestic diva Martha Stewart for years. And now Martha is giving back the luuuuv.

In the new 15th-anniversary issues of Martha Stewart Weddings, Ms Stewart and company are for the first time celebrating a same-sex wedding, that of Jeremy Hooper and Andrew Shulman, who married in Connecticut in June of this year.

As for the wedding, it looks like fun, a mix of traditional and informal (though I would skip the Dukes of Hazard cake).

As for Martha, keep it up. We want more!

December 21, 2009

Let's tax stupidity!

I was lying in bed watching TV waiting for Desperate Housewives to begin, channel surfing, and came across a story on CNN about the stupidest calls to 911, including one guy who called because he felt McDonald's was over-charging him, cops refused to come, he threatened them, it got stupider and, yes, uglier. He was charged with something (is being a moron a crime?).

Then there was another woman who called 911 when a fast food place refused to make the burger her way.

Really, people, is this what you think 911 is for?

There was a Texas woman who called 911 because she thought there wasn't enough shrimp in her shrimp fried rice, and the Florida woman who called 911 because McDonald's was out of McNuggets.

What is it with these morons? I never have patience for stupid people, even when I probably should out of a sense of grace and community, but this is over the top idiotic even for stupid people.

Of course, it's not just about junk food that stupid people waste community resources by calling 911: according to, an Ohio woman called 911 because her daughter performed oral sex on the mother's husband (the girl's stepfather), and the mother called (why? needed assistance?) because the daughter was apparently better at it. Ewww....

I say hold the idiots accountable - if you make a stupid call to 911, or a fake call to 911, or a "my daughter is banging my husband" call to 911, we're gonna fine you. Our tax dollars pay for this crap - let's make the idiots pay. Tax the stupid people!

Hey kids! Who wants to be a swagger coach?

In the current issue of Maclean's magazine, teenage singer Justin Bieber (I think he is like a junior Jonas) confirms that he has a swagger coach.

When asked why, and what this coach does, the articulate teen says "he kind of teaches me, he helps me just stay swaggerific. I don't know." Uh-huh. Hey, buddy, how about a talking coach?

So assuming that swagger is confidence, attitude, how you walk, how you present yourself, how you handle yourself, pride, maybe a touch of arrogance, and so on, is this coachable? And does a teenage boy of all people need that? If you are 15 and already have a recording career and some level of celebrity, do we need to feed that ego more? Hello Mr Future Tiger Woods, let's ensure you are supremely confident!

And who does that job? Who is a swagger coach? Are they certified? Is it a psychologist working on your self-awareness and sense of zen? Is it someone from America's Next Top Model? Do you recruit on Kajiji?

I have two thoughts on this ---- (1) damn stupid job, and (2) hope that swagger coach is totally gay, at least that way there is a chance for swagger success.

December 20, 2009

Gotta love Lily Tomlin...

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?"
- Lily Tomlin

Happy Holidays, Homophobes!

Openly gay Member of Parliament Scott Brison, sent out this Christmas card to his constituents this year, featuring Brison and his husband and their dog in their home province of Nova Scotia.

Lots of politicians mail out cards featuring their families so this is pretty typical. And then when the card was featured on the website of The Globe And Mail newspaper, the posting got so many negative comments that the newspaper shut down their comments section over what they called "an overwhelming number of hateful and homophobic remarks", saying "we can't allow our website to become a platform for intolerance."

Really people? Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada for the better part of a decade, and even for those uncomfortalbe with the concept, this picture is so tame with the guys standing so far apart they could be cousins (except in Arkansas, when the cousins would be standing much closer).

Should the paper have shut down the comments? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe let the idiots speak and show themselves to be uninformed moronic bigots.

Brison reacted with class: "There's always a very, very tiny minority of bigots. It's their problem; it's not my problem."

December 18, 2009

He's coming out - TV's coolest baby is gay, gay, gay!

He comes complete with a snide British accent (based on Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady) and a drive for world domination, and regularly steals every scene on TV's hysterical Family Guy, and baby Stewie has big news for you: he's gay.

In a recent Playboy interview, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane confirms that Stewie is gay, and that his aggression comes from "confusion and uncertainty about his orientation". Hey, the cartoon kid is just one year old --- he gets some time to figure this stuff out.

Stewie began as an evil child-genius bent on world domination, and since celebrating his first birthday several years ago in an episode called "Chitty Chitty Death Bang" he has through the magic of television remained one-year old. And this feisty one-year-old has become involved in loan sharking, carjacking, robbery, forgery, and killing off assorted minor characters.

This guy is far from warm and fuzzy. Does your one-year-old say things like: "Ha ha ha! Oh gosh that's funny! That's really funny! Do you write your own material? Do you? Because that is so fresh! You are the weakest link. Goodbye."

TV, especially network TV, is filled with upper middle class straight white folks. So much as it is great, and needed, to have another gay character on network television, is this the right one? He's evil. He's bitchy. He's sexually confused. He's one year old. He's a cartoon. Still, I think this is a good thing --- not only is Stewie hysterically funny, the bottom line is that increased visibility leads to increased comfort leads to increased acceptance leads to increased celebration.

Every person, celebrity or not, cartoon or not, who comes out furthers the movement for equality. Hear that, Bandersoon Booper? To quote Stewie: "Well, I'd love to stay and chat, but you're a total bitch."

Gotta love Lucy!

"I would rather regret the things I have done than the things I have not."

- Lucille Ball

December 17, 2009

Man's best friend? Yeah, right...

I am home sick today - pounding headache, upset stomach (stand back people). Doesn't happen often, and not the end of the world. Will be back on my feet and at work tomorrow. Basically have to be, is our busiest time of the year.

If I were feeling better, I would clean the kitchen, catch up on bills and mail, or tackle that Mount Everest of laundry spilling over the hampers. Then again, if I were feeling better I would be at work, now wouldn't I?

So I am in bed, feeling crappy and half- watching TV. So far --- boring morning news shows, repeats of The Cosby Show and Desperate Housewives, and now morning talk shows such as Regis and Kelly, where Kelly is co-hosting with her husband Mark who is actually quite funny and I am learning too much about their sex life, which apparently we are now calling Reindeer Games. Am I so out of touch with slang? Didn't Rudolph play Reindeer games? Ewww...

On the bright side of being stuck home and feeling trampled on and puked up by the universe, I have by my side man's best friend, Alfred the adorable Havanese!

Yeah right. The little dude has no interest in me today. Sure, dogs are pack animals, and yes, Havanese are known to be so attached to their pet parents that they can suffer separation anxiety. All true. And still not the circumstance today. Alfred is in puppy camp, or doggie day care, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Alfie doesn't know how to pace himself, and goes all out all day. Thursday is his recovery day, his "me" day if you will, when he snoozes while I am at work. So today I am being ignored by 14 pounds of canine, as you can see from the pics attached.

Soon enough he will wake up and want to play and cuddle and get treats and go outside. Which will all happen on his schedule (wait, he has a schedule?). Just who is in charge around here?

December 14, 2009

15 more things that annoy the crap out of me

While everyone and their uncle is doing year-end lists and "best of"lists, I feel it is time to focus on what is truly important --- silly and stupid people and things that annoyed me in 2009. The list is long, so out of the goodness of my heart I have edited it down to 15:

1- Glenn Beck - stupid and arch-conservative, hateful and bigoted. Need I say more?

2- Tiger Woods: a late-year addition to the list, I never really cared about him or about golf, now I am totally sick of the jerk, who deserves everything he is getting, but that doesn't mean I need to hear about it.

3- The Jay Leno Show: It wasn't funny as The Tonight Show, but it was on late and pretty much off my radar then. Now it is the same show on earlier, when I do watch TV. And not funny. And with so much product placement it's hard to tell when the commercials start.

4- Puppy mills - the first bust of one happened in our city this year, and the whole thing is heartbreaking and apparently common place; we need a tougher crackdown on such cruelty.

5- My douchebag neighbor who always parks his car illegally and dangerously narrows my way in and out; it's ice and snow season, moron, use your brain!

6- Mother Nature's penchant for cold: MINUS 58 degrees? Really?

7- Barack Obama: yep I am a huge fan, that being said stop the vapid campaign promises and the stupid delays and end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and repeal DOMA - these laws are bigoted and discriminatory, and you need to strap on some balls and do the right thing.

8- People at dinner parties who hog the conversation, turn every discussion back towards them, offer unsolicited advice on our house or our wedding, and then tell stories about waiters doing gross things with food. You know who you are.

9- The network geniuses who cancelled Boston Legal and renewed Ghost Whisperer. Really?

10- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Really?

11- Tito, Randy, Jermaine, and those other Jacksons whose names escape me; seeing as you haven't been on our radar for decades, yes you are cashing in on your brother's death, which is macabre and tacky, so stop it.

12- Wealthy Americans with oodles of expensive health care who don't want public health care for everyone; stop saying you have the greatest country ever if you don't give a crap about your poor people.

13- Crocs.

14- The visual image of clowns having sex. Shoes on. Don't ask.

15- Big farts from little dogs (not that I am naming names).

Okay that's it for now, chances are there is more griping to come...

Gotta love Roseanne!

"My hope is that gays will be running the world, because then there would be no war. Just a greater emphasis on military apparel."
- Roseanne Barr

December 13, 2009

To Murse or Not To Murse

Hip bag. Satchel. Messenger bag. Crossbody bag. Belt bag. Reporter bag. Flight bag. City bag. Camera bag. Body bag. Urban backpack. Shoulder bag. Mini-duffel... wait, did I miss any? By any name, all are truly bags carried by men, or "murse" for "man's purse".

No man wants to carry a purse, or something we call a purse, so until and unless we issue a universal decree to call it the Rambo, we will continue with the uncool and clunky names. Whatever the label, more and more guys are carrying them. It used to be a manly man would jam his wallet, coins, and keys into his pockets and that would be it. Now add in sunglasses, cell phone, IPhone and blackberry, bigger keys with remote car starters, contact lens stuff, a small laptop, winter gloves, and more, and our pockets just aren't big enough. We need a bag to carry all our crap around.

Formerly for hipster guys and raving queens, these bags are now urban chic when done well, and available everywhere from Old Navy to Louis Vuitton. Basically a blend of book bag, brief case, and fanny pack, the murse is a carry-all for guys.

A few years ago, during the heyday of the dreaded "metrosexual" label, the murse started to become more common and get more attention, with everyone from yuppies to thugged-out rappers to me and yes possibly you having them. In the press, you see everyone from Brad Pitt (who I think is really cool) to Mathew McConaughey (who I think is a moron) carrying them.

I often carry one, and own several from a basic brown Tumi crossbody to a flashier green Etro satchel. K is getting a black and grey Burberry one for Christmas (don't tell him - it's a surprise!).

Yet still bags are seen as unmanly somehow. Fashion stores have 'accessories' departments for women, and 'furnishings' departments for men. Why - because it is unmanly to carry accessories? To appeal to the manly man, should the Gucci belt bag feature serious hardware and a Harley Davidson logo?

Sure, carry-all bags are fairly new for men. Are bags emasculating? I sure don't think so. They are totally practical and sometimes fashionable. Suck it up and get over any stereotypes (though you probably don't have any if you are reading my blog). And remember it wasn't that long ago that women didn't wear trousers as they were considered too masculine. Now back to drooling over that totally unnecessary crazy expensive incredibly amazing Louis Vuitton bag on their website...

Gotta love Joan Rivers!

"I hate housework! You make the bed, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again."
- Joan Rivers

December 12, 2009

Dogs and travel

"Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear."

- Dave Barry

December 10, 2009

On being a bad Jew at Hanukkah

So apparently Hanukkah begins this weekend. I say "apparently" because if it wasn't printed on my calendar at work, or my non-Jewish boyfriend hadn't emailed me with the start date, the whole thing might have slipped by me.

What is Hanukkah? It is the Festival of Lights, an eight-day celebration commemorating the rededicating of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabee revolt in the 2nd century BC. According to the Talmud, there was only enough oil to burn the eternal flame for one day, and yet it lasted eight days, the exact time it took to prepare more oil.

Why am I a bad Jew? Well, I had to google what Hanukkah is to have the info above. Oh, and I don't celebrate the holidays. Or eat kosher. Or go to synagogue. Or follow any of the 613 mitzvot (commandments). And I like boys. And not Jewish ones.

Truth is, Jews have lots and lots of holidays, and Hanukkah isn't really one of the major ones; it's more of a kids holiday, and has over time morphed into a pseudo-Christmas substitute. Not that I observe any of the others either.

Some people are traditionalist and follow the letter and spirit of religious holidays. Others treat the rules more like a buffet where they pick and choose what they want. I just don't really participate. I was raised essentially as a high holiday Jew, and I guess am still a cultural Jew, though basically agnostic --- you embrace whichever set of beliefs fits you, I haven't found something that fits me.

I celebrated Hanukkah with my family when I was growing up, which we did as a gift-giving and family feasting holiday rather than a religious one, and since then have often celebrated Christmas with friends, and was at first surprised by the lack of religion in the gatherings. I did not have a menorah (the nine-branch Hanukkah candelabra) until K bought me one last year.

This is a great time of year; I believe holidays are about friends and family, and I have those. Time together, lots of food, exchanging a few gifts with those you love, spoiling the canine kids --- it's all good to me. And yes the rituals are enticing; we have both a Christmas tree and a Menorah... damn, totally forgot, I gotta buy candles in the next 17 hours!

Harry Potter and the habit of watching stuff over and over

It is a record-breaking brutally cold winter night, and we are cocooning in the basement. Yes, beside the fireplace, under the comforter with the dogs again, favourite winter place! We could have broken out the scrabble game, but that was sufficiently ego-bashing last week, so this will be a tv night. Rather than sitcom repeats, we opted for a dvd.

Tonight was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. K and I are working our way through the Harry Potter movies. We borrowed the set from my friend Kathryn (who is a tad obsessed with Potter world). I have seen each one as it came out in the theaters, except the latest; K hasn't seen any, which is wacky weird.

So far, I am enjoying Potter the second time around. Totally entertaining adventures, and Ron Weasley cracks me up. And no I haven't read the books, bought the puke-flavoured jelly beans, worn the costume, or named my dog Harry. But I am enjoying the movies. Not sure if K is, as he is popping in and out of the room like Endora. But gayer.

I love movies and see a lot of them. Aside from a select few -- Star Wars, Moulin Rouge, Princess Bride, Chariots of Fire, Laura, The Devil Wears Prada, anything James Bond -- I rarely repeat. If I've seen it, I've seen it. Which is kind of weird, I think, because I have music that loops endlessly over and over (Rosanne Cash, Fleetwood Mac) and sitcoms I watch over and over (Sex and the City, Seinfeld). There is also the crap I totally avoid because sitting through it once would be once too often (that's you, According to Jim).

So why is it different for movies? Not sure, maybe more effort (okay that sounds so totally lazy), or more concentration required, or they are more plot driven. We'll see as we work our way through the 53 Harry Potter flicks. And then I am sure there is a all-day marathon of The Nanny on the tube somewhere...

December 9, 2009

My new favourite quote...

"I'm still imagining a thing where I eat my way out of a room filled with McDonald's french fries. It's floor-to-ceiling french fries. The way you save yourself is you eat your way out."
- Tina Fey

December 8, 2009

Your Fun Is Not My Fun

In talking about fun, that great American philosopher Spongebob Squarepants sang that F is for friends who do stuff together, U is for you and me, N is for anywhere and anytime at all.

So besides the obvious spelling issues here, I think that there is another big "miss" --- basically, what you consider to be fun may bore me to f'ing tears. And vice versa. Your fun is not my fun.

Last week a friend of mine suggested we go for a run together. Okay, time for weirdness and feeble excuse. I like running, and I like you, and I sure as hell am not gonna run with you. Running is me time, an escape from other people. You may like running with other people, I don't. Your fun is not my fun.

This sounds obvious, and yet is I think a breakthrough. Just because I like running and like you, doesn't mean I like running with you, which always made me feel awkward or obnoxiously selfish somehow, like I should want to do this. Not anymore.

The rest of Canada was watching the Grey Cup last week (Yanks - think Super Bowl but way smaller, and Canadian), I have zero interest. Drinking tequila, seeing horror films, playing hockey, standing in line to see New Moon, reading Sarah Palin's book... all things I just don't enjoy.

It's a mystery why we like some things and not others, and why those things change. Used to love skiing, haven't done it in ages. Use to love Count Chocula, haven't had it in decades. Use to hate the music of Sinatra and Elvis, now think it is amazing. Why?

According to The Happiness Project, there are three types of fun: challenging fun, accommodating fun, relaxing fun. Challenging fun - my learning to run and working hard at it, enjoying it and feeling sense of accomplishment. Accommodating fun - reading a princess book to my 4-year-old niece, not something I would do on my own and yet fun because am spending time with her. Relaxing fun - curling up in the basement with Hummer-size popcorn and watching seven episodes of "Bones" back-to-back on DVD - totally enjoyable with zero effort. All types of fun are, well, fun.

So should I accommodate fun, and go running with this person? It would presumably make her happy, I do like running, we could all do with being a bit kinder to others. And yet I would enjoy the run more if I went by myself, my own best challenging fun. Does it seem weird or nasty to say would rather do it by myself than with you? (ooh, dirty comment in there somewhere).

Easy answer - screw what you want, it is about me me me. Gonna run with myself. Inside at the gym - it's a tad chilly out there.

December 7, 2009

Gotta love Rita Rudner!

"We've begun to long for the pitter-patter of little feet -- so we bought a dog. Well, it's cheaper, and you get more feet."

- Rita Rudner

Winter Blows

I have lived in Canada my whole life, and in Edmonton for more than six years (think just steps south of Santa). So I should be used to winter. But there is winter, and there is WINTER.

As I write this, it is 7 AM on Monday morning, and the according to the radio is -46 (MINUS) outside. That is like minus 50 in Fahrenheit, like it matters at this point. Yes, that is with wind chill, and yes we are headed to a balmy high of minus 29 today. Anyway you slice it, f'ing cold.

I like the change of seasons, and the first snow is always really pretty. But then the real stuff kicks in - short days, nasty driving, grumpy people, bad winter fashions, and bottom line it's just f'ing cold.

After working all weekend, there's non-work work to do today. K also has the day off, we have some wedding stuff to do, and some prep stuff to do as having people over this weekend (ie need to plan and buy food). Housework is calling my name (easy to ignore, do it all the time). Plus I gotta go to the gym. Really I do, my fancy shmancy suits are getting tight.

Winter has always had its beauty, and its drawbacks, from the inconvenience of bundling up and getting around to the need to wash your car every twelve minutes to the cute fuzzy dog becoming the shivering dogsicle you need to thaw out, but it's manageable.

Right now I am sitting in the cuddly warm basement, wrapped up with Alfie and Quinn in a comforter, beside the fireplace, all toasty warm with the radio on and a hot cup of coffee beside me. Pretty damn awesome.

Now is the time to get up and go, get a jump on the day, head out into the brave new world and accomplish things! Or blow it all off and stay down here all day playing on the computer and watching crappy tv while staying cosy and comfy... hmmm... choices choices...

December 5, 2009

Texting for Morons

Driving home from work yesterday was a snow-filled adventure. We had our first big storm of winter, getting about 25 cm of snow so far (for you on the old system, that's about 92 feet), with lots of wind and very cold temperatures -- the airport was cancelling flights, bridges were closed, I saw several city buses conked out on the major roads, the city was pretty much a mess.

So bad as it was -- and a day later the streets remain an icy snowy mess -- let's face it, we live in the north, and winter happens. So what the fuck is up with the widespread burst of rampant brain-deadedness that hit all the drivers out there?

Yesterday I am leaving work, driving at like 5.30 PM, it is pitch black, the 6-lane Jasper Avenue is down to 2 lanes due to snow and dead transit buses, and the jerk beside me is texting while he is driving. Excuse me? Leave your brain outside in a snow pile?

Then about 12 feet and 20 minutes ahead, at a busy intersection, and remember pitch black and snow and wind, a guy rushes across the street carrying one child and pushing another in the stroller -- and typing on his phone. Hey jerkwad-- I am hitting the brakes on an icy road trying not to plow down your kids, do ya think that message can wait a bit?

And then, moron #3 -- as the road curves right, there is a dunce making a left turn - remember, pitch black, snowing, messy roads -- and Mr Airhead is tap-tapping on his phone as he slides thru the intersection. What is Mr Buzzwhack typing, "hey, honey, I am about to slide into a nun pushing a baby carriage?" What the hell couldn't wait?

So to be of service to these and other morons out there, here's Alfie's basic rules of safe texting:
1- Don't text when driving.
2- Don't text when walking across the street.
3- Don't text when walking across the street in the dark when it is snowing.
4- Don't text when walking across the street with young children in the dark when it is snowing.
5- Don't text when walking up or down stairs.
6- Don't text when walking on a tightrope.
7- Don't text when flying a plane.
8- Don't text when you are a professional athlete having multiple adulterous affairs.
9- Don't text when you are an idiot (that one's for you, Sarah Palin).
10- Don't text during the movies or a concert... okay that is not really a safety thing, it just annoys the hell out of me.

I hope this helps. I am here to serve. Morons.

December 3, 2009

It's shocking... little Alfie is the victim of discrimination!

In this sometimes harsh world, where we have racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, ageism, and more ism`s, there is another evil to add to the list... Havaneseism!

Today I was looking for 2010 calendars - in the bookstore, in the pet store, and then online at, and yes I was looking for Alfie-esque Havanese calendars in among the pet calendars.

So all I can say is... what the hell! Not a damn Havanese calendar anywhere. I saw calendars for retrievers, pugs, Maltese, Scotties, poodles, schnauzers, collies, and tons more. Even the hated pit bulls have calendars. Friggin` dachshund calendars everywhere. Themed calendars like cute dogs or sleeping dogs or rescue dogs or dogs in costumes. And still not a damn Havanese calendar anywhere. Some breeds have a menu of calendars; not only are there Chihuahua calendars, there are calendars for tea cup Chihuahuas and puppy Chihuahuas. And don`t get me started about the calendars for Schnoodles and Goldendoodles -- sure they`re cute, but those are not real breeds people! And they get a damn calendar.

The only Havanese stuff to be found is a few things from a rescue society in the US; in among the usual pet stores and book stores there is nothing, nada, zip; for those of us with Havanese pooches, we are missing out on tons of branded knick knacks and assorted crap; for the vendors, you are missing out on sales.

So is this just a missed opportunity, a case of an uncommon breed not yet on publishers` radar, or is there something darker and more sinister here. Are Havanese too cute, too Cuban, too irresistible... Oliver Stone would see a conspiracy. Glenn Beck would see discrimination and an attack. Then again, they are both raving idiots... still calendar people, you could have had my dollars today!

All hail the boob tube.. and us boobs who watch it?

Yesterday morning during my drive from home to doggie day care to work, the morning crew on radio were playing one of their call-in games and this one caught my attention.

Their question - men have on average 105 of these, and regularly use only 16; what is it?

My absolute favourite answer from a caller was "IQ points", but alas that wasn't what they were looking for.

The answer? TV channels.

I don't have 105 channels. I may have 30 or so, and probably regularly watch seven - CNN, CBC News, Comedy Network, assorted shows on the major networks, like Bones, Desperate Housewives, Cougar Town, NCIS, The New Adventures of Old Christine.

When I was a kid there were three networks, and we all followed the same shows - MASH, Dallas, Cosby. And maneuvered to stay up late and watch more. Now there's a bazillion channels, we have TV's in every room, and NOT A DAMN THING TO WATCH.

Last night I channel surfed from top to bottom about nine times and then turned the tube off. What the hell is Eastwick? How many CSI's are there? Who are these people? I wound up reading a book; how outdated is that?

One of the channels I do get, A&E, was showing a tacky-thon of back-to-back episodes of I Didn't Know I was Pregnant. Yep, it's a real show, and yep, our world is coming to a swift and furious end.

So the primetime TV menu is crap, therefore we are all watching less TV, the networks are on a downward spiral, and in my humble opinion they totally deserve it.

Then this morning on the internet, aka my TV replacement, I saw an article about how as much as we talk about the decline of television in the western world, TV is actually the primary window to education, opportunity, and women's rights in the third world and is on an upswing there.

Good stuff to hear, and much as I admire that noble use, my immediate concern is still not damn thing to watch in a world of Jon and Kate marathons and Accidentally on Purpose.. really, people, that's the best you can do?

December 2, 2009

Those damn Grammy nominations make me feel old and out of touch... or are they just goofy?

Today the people who manage the Grammy awards,whoever the hell they are, announced their nominations.

Grammy's are for artistic excellence, unlike the People's Choice awards which are literally a popularity contest as determined by telephone survey, and the American Music Awards, which are based on sales and radio play.

The nominations for best song of 2009 (the award given to songwriters) are:
1- "Poker Face" performed by Lady Gaga: great dance track, made her an icon, though probably not her best song
2- "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" performed by Beyonce: fun song, better known for its terrific and now iconic video, and my guess is the likely Grammy victor
3- "Pretty Wings" performed by Maxwell: huh? what the hell song is this?
4- "You Belong To Me" performed by Taylor Swift: sure she's the teen of the moment, but really? Not her biggest or best song, and aren't we over this Taylor Swift thing?
5- "Use Somebody" performed by Kings of Leon: once again, what? who? Best song of the year?

I am used to not knowing some of the Best New Artist nominations, but not knowing song of the year? Is it me or is it them? I listen to the radio all the friggin' time. What about Love Game by Lady Gaga? My Life Would Suck Without You by Kelly Clarkson? The Fear by Lily Allen? Anything by Pink? These Grammy people should consult with me.

On the upside, we don't see any Miley Cyrus on the list of honour!

She knows her value...

"I'm selfish, impatient, and a little insecure.
I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle.
But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."
- Marilyn Monroe