Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Too Close to the Singularity

Sorry my postings are so sparse right now. I seem to have fallen into a black hole of time and am having trouble getting out. Things will settle down soon (right) and I will stop neglecting you...
In the meantime, as it getting close to Halloween, may I suggest you cuddle up with a good Zombie book or movie. My favourite Zombie movie is Shaun of the Dead ("this one's got an arm off!")and I also highly recommend Zombieland ("Any regrets? Well, probably Garfield"). If you prefer books, World War Z by Max Brooks is very informative. I also enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; the illustrations are particularly good.
So catch up on your Zombie culture and trivia and I will be back shortly with my next blog which will may or may not have something to do with Zombies.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Slut Clown vs. Diamond Sparkle Princess Zombie

Today I had the pleasure of visiting Value Village in search of some important accessories for Zoe’s Diamond Sparkle Zombie Princess Halloween costume. This is the first year she has embraced the whole ‘Halloween is Scary’ thing. Until now, she has always been a ‘nice’ witch or a ‘happy’ bride or something benign like that. Those of you who know me will remember that I do have a bit of a fascination with zombies and so you will understand how excited I was to hear the addition of the word ‘zombie’ to ‘Diamond’, ‘Sparkle’, and ‘Princess’. In my world, Halloween is meant to be scary.  I like to see their eyes widen as they take a few steps backwards away from the severed arm I have strategically placed on the ground. Nothing wrong with that. Let’s face it, the rest of the year we’re falling all over ourselves trying to make things pretty and nice; we can mix it up a bit at Halloween.

I usually enjoy my visits to the VV Boutique, as I like to call it (if you say it with a French accent it is even better). I have been known to find a few excellent deals in my time and I’m proud to say that Zoe has acquired this important trait as well. A trip to Value Village is usually one of our favourite things to do together and we love to congratulate each other on our finds.

I’m sorry to say there was not much congratulating on our most recent visit which we spent looking for long white gloves for ZoĆ«'s costume. This was my second trip there in 5 days. Our first visit had yielded up the Diamond Sparkle Princess costume but we had to make a return trip as half the costume was missing. I guess we had been lucky on our first visit as the costume was on a rack located outside of the main costume area, and so we didn’t have to go into the fray, as it were. On our second visit, we were forced deep into the bowels of the Costume section. And what a nightmare it was.

I feel comfortable saying here that Value Village has pretty much ruined Halloween costume shopping for me. The costume area is laid out like a fire-trap first of all and you risk your life by going in there in the first place. There were several of us mums in there in various states of decay. You could tell who had been there the longest by the grey pallor of their skin and the zombie like yawns that distorted their faces. We dragged ourselves up and down the aisles, mouths hanging agape, arms outstretched as we wretchedly searched through the piles of cheaply-made accessories and costumes.

Now just a word about these lame-ass costumes, if I may. WTF? I remember when you could go to Value Village in search of a costume and actually find something cool. Employees had gone to the trouble of going through the racks of clothes for sale and had actually pulled out items that could be used for various costumes. You did have to use your IMAGINATION and work at it a bit but in the end you had something pretty good. Now you may as well leave your imagination in the car. You won’t need it and in fact you may do better without it as you take your pick from a bazillion pre-assembled, bagged costumes. And such selection! And such Class!


Value Village, where exactly are you going with some of these costumes? Since when did Halloween turn into a bad Burlesque show? Adults, you go crazy, but in my world it is not, I repeat NOT ok to sell a costume, for a young girl, that looks like it belongs in the back room of Monty’s (the costume, not the young girl). I can only assume that someone back at head office really took the time when he (or possibly, but unlikely, she) was pouring over the catalogues. I can just see it:

VV: “Yes, hello, is that Inner Slut Costumes? It’s the VV Boutique. I’d like to place my order for Halloween costumes”


Inner Slut Costumes Order Desk: “Yes go ahead”


VV: “Yes from the women’s collection I’ll take 200 of the teen ‘Vixen Pirate’, 200 teen ‘Frisky Witch’, 200 teen ‘Slut Clown’, 200 ‘Orgasmic Ghost’, 50 ‘Skanky Sorcerer’, 50 ‘Housekeeper Hussy’, 50 ‘Busty Bunny’ and  500 mixed from the ‘Trash-it Up’ collection.


Inner Slut Costumes Order Desk: “And will you be needing anything from the Children's Collection?


VV: ‘Yes, please, I’ll take 100 of the ‘Red-Lace up Pirate’. Is that the one with the pint-sized fish-net stockings? Good. And 50 ‘Teen Pirate’ and 50 ‘Go-Go girl’. ‘Please add 100 ‘Naughty Angel’ in toddler sizes please, and can you throw in 100 of the ‘Raunchy Grim Reaper’ and 100 ‘Trashy Goth Fairy’?


Inner Slut Costumes Order Desk: ‘Anything for the men?”


Bob: “Yes, please, I’ll take 100 Normal Ninja, 100 Plain pirate, and 100 ‘scream’ face masks.


Inner Slut Costumes Order Desk: “All done!”


Bob: “Great! thanks! Oh and one more thing, could you drive over all the costumes before we get them and could you be sure to go through and pull out half of each costume? Thanks, Inner Slut!”

It’s certainly scary, but for all the wrong reasons. I was dismayed to see a group of teenage girls, barely 14, holding up costume after costume from the aforementioned list. Nothing like a 13yr old girl dressed up in a corset, ripped stockings, a skirt that could also be used to bundle broccoli, and a whip. Pretty terrifying if you are a parent. What exactly is the point of cobbling together a few bits of trashy fish-net, a black body suit and some scraps of red lace, throwing in some pieces of plastic, and calling it ‘Strumpet Skeleton’  or something like.  And if you really want to be a ‘Skanky Sorcerer’ and you think that you are going to look anything like the model wearing the costume, think again. Half the time only a few pieces of the costume in the picture are included (as I learned with the Diamond Sparkle Princess ensemble) and the rest of the time, they are so cheaply made that they are falling apart (as I also learned with the Diamond Sparkle Princess Cape which looked more like something you would put on the end of a Swiffer and dust your ceiling with than a princess cape). Disappointment-in-a-Bag strikes again.

The only thing good about the trip was that I was disgusted enough to snap out of my zombie state and re-reanimate back to my normal, if slightly enraged, state. ‘Nice costumes’ I muttered to the employee on duty in the section. She was dressed in something that may have been called the ‘Dirty Devil’ costume herself so it wasn’t surprising to see her look completely confused. I gestured to the huge pile of costumes and paraphernalia that lay all over the floor and was about to mention that it was a bit hard to find stuff when I noticed she was holding a set of ‘Red-Neck Teeth’ in her hand. I then also noticed that she herself was missing most of her front teeth. She then noticed that I had noticed both of these facts and suffice to say an Awkward Situation ensued. I doubt she was planning on using the ‘Red-Neck Teeth’ for her own advantage, but the possibility had presented itself nonetheless. She quickly moved on and I, feeling more like an asshole and less like a zombie, grabbed Zoe and got the hell out of there. It  was a moment of humanity in what was otherwise a seething pit of Halloween Smut and it snapped me out of myself long enough to realize that not everyone had the luxury of cushy jobs and dental programs and that she probably didn’t want to be there either with a bunch of bitchy zombie mothers demanding this and that while their offspring ransacked the joint.

So we headed home gloveless and later on Zoe poured fake blood all over the front of the Diamond Sparkle Princess Zombie gown and dabbed black make-up around her eyes. She finished the look with a splash of fake blood around her mouth that dripped effectively down her chin and neck. She looked appropriately scary (although she also looked adorably cute at the same time but I wasn’t going to tell her that). ‘Mumma can you teach me how to walk like a zombie?’ she asked.   Boy could I ever.

Thanks for reading



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oxygen…I need oxygen…

I don’t know about you but I’m pretty sure mornings are going to be the death of me. I may be an old lady by then, but it’ll still be a morning that will do me in. I’ll be late for an early tai chi session or stitch n’ bitch or something like that and my elderly lady friends, wondering where I could possibly be, will call in at my house and find me slumped on the sidewalk beside my car, one shoe on, a tea bag in my hand, my face frozen into a puzzled expression (one that you might have on your face while trying, unsuccessfully, to understand why you are trying to unlock your car with a tea bag). When the lady friends go into my house to call for help and have a restorative cup of tea, they will find my keys in the kettle. They will shake their heads and say to each other how I was never very good in the morning.

I can remember being a small child and wondering why it was that I was always being rushed out of bed. What exactly was the hurry? I would overhear my mother saying things like ‘She really needs her sleep, this one’ or when I was invited for a sleep over, she would warn the hosting mother that I was ‘hard to get out of bed’. Later, when I became a lifeguard, it was only under the most dire of circumstances that I would agree to work an early bird shift. First of all I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to get up at 5am and jump half-naked into a pool of cold water, and secondly, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be much help to anyone in my half-asleep state anyway even if they did get into trouble. And those early bird swimmers are so chatty! They want to talk about everything from last night’s game to the latest political shenanigans, to their current medical conditions. My one-syllable grunts did nothing to deter them either.

Chatty early bird: ‘Good morning sweetheart! Did you catch the game/show/news last night?’ Boy that minister/goalie/gal sure messed up the play/lines/etc.

Me: guh

Chatty early bird: ‘You know each time I see that sort of thing I say to myself, Chuck, you called it! And you know, they really must think that we’re all a bunch of dummies if they think we’re gonna buy that line about the blah blah blah. Don’t you think? As I said to my Joan, I could see that one coming a mile away blah blah blah

Me: nurg

Chatty early bird: ‘Well, nice talking with you. I better get on with it! No time like the present! Early bird catches the empty lane! HA HA HA HA! I’ve got to get the kinks out of my neck from when I changed the tires on the car before I came here this morning. The 10k run usually does it but this morning it didn’t work. You take care now!’

Me: weh

And with that I would wake up enough to go and check the pressure on the O2 tanks again just to be sure that they hadn’t lost any pressure since the last time I checked 5 minutes ago. This would give me a chance to suck back three more blasts of straight 100% O2 that I would inhale like it was the last thing on earth. That would revive me for long enough to scan the pool for bodies before dropping back into a semi-conscious state.  All I can say is that I am very lucky that there never were any emergencies. I’m pretty sure I was the very last resort to call in for these shifts. The bottom of the barrel, so to speak.

So it’s really no surprise that I still can't handle mornings very well. Except now, I have, inexplicably, three extra people to sort out in the mornings. How did this happen? Was I not paying attention? My typical morning goes something like this:

6:00 have dream where tall (well, taller than me anyway) dark stranger is making dinner

6:15 tall dark stranger has moved on to unloading the dishwasher

6:20 tall dark stranger is finishing the reno

6:30 tall dark stranger is talking about the latest interest rate increases. Why would he do that? Now he is talking about stocks. WTF, Tall dark stranger? Get back to the kitchen and make me tea!

6:31 realize that tall dark stranger is actually the radio announcer. Feel deep sense of loss.

6:54 wake up like a spaz upon realization that 20 mins has passed. Heart palpitations and cold sweats.

6:55 bolt downstairs to wake up 13 yr old Jacob, banging on 8yr old Zoe’s door on the way. Yell hello to husband (who is actually on the ferry to Vancouver).

6:56 overfill kettle, turn on burner, scramble around for breakfast items.

6:57 yell at Jacob to GET UP and then go back upstairs to have shower.

7:04 remember that I turned on the burner. Try unsuccessfully to get anyone’s attention. Run downstairs soaking wet and half naked to turn off burner. Realize that kettle was not turned on either.

7:05 go back to shower to rinse conditioner out of hair. can’t because Jacob has gotten up and is in the shower. Whatever. Get dressed.

7:10 crack eggs onto the pan. Make tea. Forget tea bags. Add tea bags after the fact.

7:11 a serene Zoe calmly enters the kitchen, dressed, hair done, reading a book.

7:20 Jacob wanders into the kitchen in a towel holding one sock. I suggest he get dressed.

7:21 burn toast.

7:22 realize that burner is still off. Mainline tea in the hopes that it will wake me up.

7:25 attempt to sit at table and eat breakfast with kids.

7:28 Zoe asks me if that is how I am going to wear my hair today. Sprint upstairs to do hair. Realize hair still has conditioner in it.

7:32 announce to all concerned that really we should go soon.

7:33 Kent phones to say hi. He is at the breakfast buffet on the ferry. Make a note of this fact for future consideration. It’s Ok. He’s not reading this anyway. Well? Are you? Nope. See.

7:35 Jacob wanders into the kitchen with a pen and a piece of paper. He announces that he is just going to do his homework.

7:40 practice Bhutanese Mountain Method of deep-breathing to promote calm and relaxation.

7:41 Bark out orders to the effect that we really NEED TO GO NOW.

7:43 look for keys

7:45 look for keys

7:46 observe children waiting by the door. look for keys

7:47 find keys in hand.

7:48 get in vehicle

7:49 get out of vehicle and into one that starts

7:50 drive down road

7:51 drive back to house so that Jacob can get his backpack, sports bag, and lunch.

7:59 arrive at Middle School where Jacob informs me that he is playing Prospero in The Tempest that day at 1pm at the the Royal Theatre or something like that and not to be late. Right.

8:14 arrive at Jr. School. accompany Zoe to Quad area. Notice that I am wearing my gardening clogs. Whatever.

8:20 back home to change my shoes. Notice that burner is STILL ON.

8:30: leave house for work.

8:32 come back to house for lunch

8:35 leave house for work

9:00 get to work. Check messages. There are already two messages from Jacob: he has forgotten his homework on the table, and his production is actually at 10am instead of 1pm and it’s in Sooke.

9:10 Close my eyes and think of tall dark stranger…

And so, with various permutations and variables, this is how my weekday mornings roll out. Where is the 02 tank when you really need it. Perhaps, Kent would suggest, if I wasn’t up all night blogging…


Thanks for reading-