Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Cooking of Scandinavia

One of the most prized items I got at the junk store was a book, "The Cooking of Scandinavia". It is, as you can imagine, not a bulky tome, but impressive nonetheless. How could you not love a cookbook that says, about a certain kind of cheese, "It's sharp flavor and strong aroma were enough to jounce the brain and startle the heart".

I shudder to think that people in Scandinavia really eat this stuff, because it would be a very, very good reason to never, ever go there.

Among other offerings are recipes for jellied salmon with mayonnaise (don't skip the mayo! Jellied salmon is gross without it!), smoked and fried salmon fins, deep-fried parsley and something called "spaghetti and mayonnaise salad with diced ham and tongue". (I swear to God I'm not making this up. I wish I were.)

This book contains copious, numerous, and infinite ways to prepare herring: , marinated herring, home-cured herring, smoked herring, herring au gratin, and my favorite, glass blower's herring, which I hope involves a huge fire and a large straw
.Here is the front cover of the book, which instantly caught my eye. That is a lurid photo of a big vat of raw fish skin, red onion slices and chopped up carrots. Seriously, that is the best image they could come up with which to advertise their wares? I'll bet it's herring in there. Thankfully, there is a glass of aquavit handy, because you are going to need plenty of that stuff if you are going to tackle the food around here.
There was a big section on sandwiches, and I'm not sure why. Don't people eat sandwiches precisely because you don't need a recipe for one? I suppose if you need to make one out of herring, you do. Also, I'm not sure I would have thought of making lunch out of flaccid chicken skin, an orange and some monkey testicles all by myself.

This was on the facing page. Just in case the last one didn't make you nauseous enough. There appear to be sandwiches featuring raw beef and squid, seal meat with scrambled eggs and alien's tentacles with mozzarella. And don't forget the blue cheese with raw egg yolk. Or an apricot, it's hard to tell. Anyway, they all look vile, and are bound to make one rethink their "Scandinavian themed baby-shower" right smart.
This was labelled as a dessert, which is a little odd for a dish that resembles an organ transplant, but whatever. The splash of cream up in the top does nothing to offset the "AB Positive" aspect of the dish.
The also have a recipe for "Caramelized Potatoes" which is so wrong on so many levels, I cannot begin to articulate it. Believe me, being Irish, this recipe is painful for me to read.
There is also an entry for "Liver and Rice Casserole". It calls for "1 1/2 pounds of beef liver, finely ground". I can barely type that sentence, the image is just that horrible. (Thankfully, there was no picture.) "Norwegian Fish Pudding" sounds like something out of a Monty Python skit.
It is a magnificent book, and a steal of a deal at only a dollar. I wonder how much herring I can get for that.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My New Favourite Place.

When we were at the cottage a couple of weeks ago, my friends Kelly and Anne Marie took the girls and I out for the afternoon. (Kelly and Anne Marie are sisters. They live by the lake very near to where we rent our cottage, and they know every miscreant, odd-ball and ne'er-do-well within 50 miles. They are excellent company.)

They took us to a store (for lack of a better word) that was so magnificently wonderful I doubt mere words can do it justice. It was more of a "retail experience" than a store....I would have happily spent the rest of my vacation at this place. It was sort of like Disneyworld: wildly entertaining, thoroughly enchanting, and you were exhausted at the end. It had every possible thing ever created, and then some. I cannot tell you how awesome it was. Here is a a picture of it from the outside:

You may notice that it is impossible to see the entrance, what with all the flotsom and jetsom on the outside. I was very happy I had guides, or I might still be floundering around trying to find my way in or out. This is just the parking lot.

There were all manner of wonderful things, including: Home made snowshoes

A death-trap of a high-chair.

This clock caught my eye, mostly because it was so creepy I couldn't believe it. The pictures on either side of the clock are those ones that change as you move around. The one on the bottom is Jesus, and it weeps and looks even sadder, if that is possible. The other picture is the Last Supper and the Crucifixtion, depending on your perspective. Sadly, it was left out in the elements too long, and had gotten all wonky, so that neither image was entirely gone from it's companion. (It made the Last Supper look a bit like a particularly bad wedding reception I once went to.) Otherwise, I'd have snatched that baby right up. By the way, nothing in the place had a price tag on it, you just had to guess at what it was worth when you went up to the cash register. I thought that system was a little iffy, since "worth" was entirely relative in such a place. Thing 1 was told her purchase was going to cost four dollars, but she only had three, so the guy took that.

The merchandise was very loosely organized, and I do mean "very loosely". The glasses and dishware were in one section of the store, the books and such in another, but really, it was a free-for-all, as if someone had just said "oh, it's all junk" and just left it at that. I found these specimens in with the dishes and stuff. They were salt and pepper shakers. I can't imagine how awful it would be to eat dinner with these staring at me the whole time. They were seriously disconcerting, especially with the holes in their heads.

The book section was spectacular. I loved it whole-heartedly. I found this gem, which should come in mighty handy if the hairdressing thing doesn't work out. (Always good to have a back-up plan.) There were all manner of books, from chemistry text books from the 60's to phone books to paperback novels. (Sad, really, how many of them I had read, and remembered, that ended up there.) There was a curiously large number of books about Boy George. I bought a marvelous cookbook, "The Joy of Scandanavian Cooking", which, as you can imagine, is a very slim volume, full of lurid photos of repellant food. And, I was thrilled to find a 1975 Eaton's Catalogue, which is so dazzlingly splendid, it deserves it's own blog entry. Maybe two or three. Anyway, it kept me entirely entertained until the end of our week. And it was only two dollars.

The only thing is, I now know where Kelly buys all my Christmas presents.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Vandalism I Can Get Behind

Thing 1 and I were walking through the neighbourhood the other day, when we saw the following sign near the school:
We were delighted. It enlivened the whole school crossing environment no end.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More Album Art

Truly, this is becoming a very bad habit for me.

This horror is courtesy of my friend Carolyn's son Jonathan. He saw this treasure at a library book sale, and instantly thought of me. Thanks a lot, Jonathan.

"From David With Love" sounds like more of a threat than an endearment. And the leering grimace over the title, to the awkward postures scattered over the rest of the cover, this just has "I'm your creepy neighbour, better close your drapes" written all over it.

I particularly like the lower right-hand corner; David is posing in a raffish manner, complete with brightly striped, terrr-cloth bathrobe and a cigarette at a jaunty angle. He's like Hugh Hefner's low-rent, smelly cousin.

Also, note the pose in the lower left hand corner....who relaxes with their elbow cocked up to ear-level? (A guy who's trying to hide something, that's who.)

The photo above doesn't do his hair justice, but it looks like it has been molded entirely out of plastic, like a Ken doll's.

On the back of the album, it gives a complete biography of David, including the scintillating information that he was born on Feb. 2 1926, and his eye and hair colour, and his height, and used to work for the Hull Condrete and Stone Company. I think they just copied this off his driver's licence. Also, it tell us that "after he was discharged [from the Navy], nobody seemed to care whether he could sing, dance or juggle". Well, the singing and dancing anyone can do, but juggle? I care! I love that they included that particular nugget of humiliation for David. Somebody at this record company really hated this guy.

I didn't get a chance to play this particular album, because A) we have no turntable since I made the Mister toss ours away when we last moved, and B) Carolyn's husband dragged his office chair over the vinyl when it was still at their house. A sad end for David, I really hope things got better for him, because nobody deserves an end like this.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Celebrity Sighting!

While at work yesterday, I saw a woman in another stylists chair that piqued my interest. She looked familiar, very familiar, but I couldn't quite put my finger on where I knew her from. I got the feeling that she looked a bit different from how I remembered her, but she was definitely someone who's face I knew, and more importantly, it was someone I liked.
This ping-ponged around in my tiny little brain for a while, slowly driving me insane.

And then I happened to be up a the desk when she was paying, and when she opened her mouth and out came a distinct Irish accent, it came to me!
"Are you Dolores O'Riordan ?" I blurted (in embarrasingly squeaky little peep.) (She was the lead singer of "The Cranberries", which provided a significant portion of the soundtrack of my life in the early '90s.)
"Yes", she said with a smile, obviously used to having her identity demanded of her. I managed to tell her it was a pleasure to meet her, and that I has been a fan for a long time, and she very graciously thanked me and said that it was always a pleasure to meet a fan.

And, here is the miracle of miracles, I was able, against all odds, to shut up. I just kept telling myself, "stop talking NOW; anything you say at this point will be idiotic and possibly result in a restraining order, do. not. say. a. word. And I listened to myself and she went away without noticing the screaming in my head at all.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Week At The Cottage

Each year we rent a cottage for a week on Lake Huron, and we are just finished unpacking from the 2008 installment. It was a lovely week....the weather was spectacular (the best I think we've ever had), and we slept in, read books, swam in the lake, sat on the beach and generally lolled about. Truly, Southwestern Ontario in the summer is one of the most beautiful places I know.
The cottage is only about an hour a way from home, which is good because we invariably forget to pack three or four vitally important things and have to make a trip home to retrieve them. This year, we forgot to bring the popcorn maker, the fan and the scrubby thing for cleaning the dishes. Like I said, vitally important.
We usually declare the cottage a "nutrition-free" zone for the week, and the girls take this as a challenge to be met and conquered. (I figure it's only one week out of the year, and their shiny new livers can handle the onslaught of salt, sugar and Red Dye #2.) As well, I give them each ten bucks at the grocery store to do with however they like. It makes me shudder, but they like it. Usually they revel in this usually forbidden behaviour, and indulge themselves in Fruit-by-the-Foot, Oreos and chocolate cake at any time of the day. Once, I woke up one morning to find a 7-year-old Thing 2 sitting on the couch watching a DVD while eating icing straight out of the container with a spoon. Mostly I was disgusted beyond belief, but a small part of me was mighty impressed at the fortitude of her digestive system. Mine would have rebelled outright at the first spoonful. (In any case, I figured my "Mother of the Year" award was out the window once again.) I do notice, however, that this tends to wear thin by about Thursday, and someone will express a desire for salad at dinner.
I myself develop a severe potato chip addiction at the cottage. I don't know what it is about that place, but I am overcome with a deep and abiding yen for Baked Lays that threatens to derail my sanity entirely. I try to keep it down to a half a bag a day, but it's tough.
One of the things I love about the cottage is it provides an excuse to do hardly anything else but read for hours and hours at a time. And nap. I read two big fat books while away, and thoroughly enjoyed the fact that I "should" be doing nothing else. I think there is a hormone secreted into your brain when you are in close proximity to large bodies of water, whereby you are rendered completely incapable of reading anything more taxing than People magazine. (I know once I tried to read "Anna Karenina" on the beach at Grand Bend and it was impossible.)
We are back to our real life now, and although I enjoy the cottage very much, it's nice to return to my own bed, my own shower and my own kitchen. But I do miss the potato chips.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


There will be no blogs for the week, we are off to a cottage. We have been renting this particular cottage for dogs years, and it is a welcome respite from the rest of our lives.

I've been packing for this all morning, and as much as I love the week away, if someone told me right now that aliens had landed or there had been some freak shark attacks on the west shoreline of Lake Huron, and we couldn't go, I'd be happy enough. The packing kills me, because we essentially have to pack up our house for a week and go. It's too much like moving. Of course, I also think that this means that we could do with just the stuff we take all the time, and the stuff we leave behind is extraneous, and really, we have too much stuff.

It is a lovely chance to sit and read and eat s'mores uninterrupted for a week, and that is just fine with me. I asked Thing 2 what it was she liked about the cottage, and she replied "it's just the four of us, and nobody is busy". That sums it up nicely, I think.

See you in a week.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Canada's Wonderland

There is a big amusement park north of Toronto, called Canada's Wonderland. It's sort of Canada's version of Disney World, only with no wandering characters, and much less helpful staff.

The kids love that place, and I'm sure there was a time when I did, too. But not so much now...I think my ever-dwindling tolerance for crowds has a lot to do with it; I'm seriously stroppy after being bumped into for the millionth time. ("No! You get out of MY way!")

I love roller-coasters, but not the hour long wait to get on one. I adore rides that spin me around so that I am reeling with vertigo, but resent mightily that the wait to get on takes about 50 times longer than the actual ride lasts. And the cost of the food in there infuriates me to the point of having a stroke.

But, the one thing Canada's Wonderland has going for it, is that it is a magnificent place to people watch. I don't know if it's the fact that there are so many people wandering around in bathing suits, (there is a water park there, it's not just what they chose to wear for the day) or that it attracts a certain demographic, but truly, you will never see a greater variety of body shapes, sizes, configurations or contours. Seeing some people, you wonder how anyone doubts that God Himself does has a wicked sense of humor.

I've come to the conclusion that nobody looks good at an amusement park, and believe me, some people try mightily. Almost everyone looks as though, as my mother would say, they have been dragged through a hedge backwards. Whether it's because of the rides, which either whirl you aggressively, or get you all wet, or the slathering of sunscreen that makes everyone look as though they've been wrestling with pigs, or the deep weariness that comes from walking a thousand miles and then waiting an hour in line, but most people at the park looked like they could use a good shower and a nap. Some people, usually young or foolish or both, put in a heroic effort to buck this trend, and wore high heels or lots of jewelry or tons of makeup or carefully chosen, co-ordinating clothes. It just made them look like they were trying too hard.

While we were waiting for one ride, there was a nearby family that absolutely enthralled me; I could have watched them all day. Firstly, there was about 30 of them all congregated in one spot, and they ranged in age from tiny, tiny babies to a grandmother who had to have been a hundred and fifty. Honestly, she looked like she had invented dirt, she was so old. Anyway, the women all had on dazzlingly beautiful saris (they were East Indian), which were not only exquisite, had the added bonus of looking entirely suitable for the punishing heat we found ourselves in. They talked non-stop and at full volume. There were two little girls with them, about 4 or 5 years old, who clearly had breakfasted on Ritalin, crack cocaine and Red Bull. Their sole purpose in life seemed to be to make as much noise as was humanly possible, and to thrash the living shit out of each other, simultaneously. Every now and again, an adult in the group would put a hand in between them, but for the mostpart, nobody took the slightest notice of them. The men seemed to be the designated Holder of Babies, because they all had at least two or three of them and any one time. There was one man, who had shaved his head, and it was almost perfectly cubic. Honestly, it was the most square head I've ever seen; there were definite right angles and corners and everything. This group captivated me utterly; I would have happily spent the rest of the day hanging around them, they were such good value for money.

The sun was relentless all day, and Canada's Wonderland has a dearth of shade, and so there was every manner and hue of sunburn you could imagine. Sunscreen isn't exactly difficult to find; you could even buy some at the park, if you didn't mind taking out a small loan to do so. There were some sunburns I would classify as "Deep Fried". I imagine they would need morphine after sundown.

We spent a few minutes chatting to the guy who operates the Merry-Go-Round. Thing 1 remarked that she had had enough of being thrashed around on rides, and wanted something a bit more sedate. That led the Operator Guy to remark that this was actually one of the rides they needed the most insurance on in the park, since it had no restraints. Thing 1 and I to began to riff on the idea that maybe we would start a new ride for amusement parks everywhere, the "Extreme Merry-Go-Round", whereby the thing whips around at a fierce rate, forcing your blood to separate while still in your body! You'd have to wear helmets and gloves, because you'd be hanging on so hard, and bodies would go flying off all over the place. And we would slam on the breaks really hard and without prior notice, and your head would bang into the pole in the horse. (Here's where the helmet would come in really handy.) Thing 1 and I were in stitches during this, and the Operator Guy thought it was pretty funny, too. But he thought that maybe it was a good thing we were not in charge of the Merry-Go-Round after all.

After being pummelled and assaulted and whalloped by rides for ten hours, we called it quits and drove home. It was a good day.

Cellular Hi-Jinks

Thing 1 has recently acquired a cellphone, which has hardly been out of her possession since she got it. This has come in very handy for us, since I can call or text her any time about almost anything, and I do. She puts up with this with a weary resignation, because she knows that I will soon tire of this perpetual availability, and leave her alone.

The other day, though, the Mister got in on the act. He knew that Thing 1 was in the house somewhere, but couldn't find her. He had just come up from downstairs, was pretty sure she hadn't been there when he left it, and she wasn't in her room, the kitchen or the living room. So he called her on her cell phone. Turns out she was in the family room in the basement.

She was exasperated with him, told him he was ridiculous and hung up. We thought it was hilarious.


We are just back from three fun-filled days in Toronto. (The Loudshoes family can only really stand three days of fun with each other.) I love a roadtrip, and this was no exception.
When I was a kid, a roadtrip entailed getting up at the crack of dawn to bring some overseas relatives to Niagara Falls, and possibly being home before lunch. (It is a 2 1/2 hour drive, usually, but not with my dad at the wheel.) My father did not especially enjoy this ritual, and so his plan was to get it the hell overwith as fast as possible. Hence, the early morning departure, the barrelling down the 401 at Mach One, and looking at the falls for about 3 or 4 minutes. I'm pretty sure he'd have just had us peer at the falls from the moving car, if he thought he could get away with it. Then we piled in the un-air-conditioned car and drove home as if the hound of hell were at our heels. There was no radio on, and talking was impossible because of the gale force winds whipping throughout the vehicle. You felt as though you been through a hurricane by the end of it. A particularly boring hurricane, at that.
Now a roadtrip is a much more pleasant undertaking, since we have air-conditioning and I have much more control over the in-car entertainment. Also, a roadtrip is a no-strings-attached excuse to eat whatever is required to make the trip more bearable and which has the added benefit of doubling as entertainment, too. "Treats for the car" has morphed into "my metric weight in carbohydrates and salt" for my children, and I am not a whole lot better, although I did bring cherries and almonds this time around. But everyone knows that calories are simply neutralized when one is eating in a car moving at 100 KM an hour, so it in no way will effect your health if you consume an entire bag of Miss Vickies Lime and Jalapeno chips in one sitting.
The rest stations along the highway have improved dramatically since I was a kid, too. Say what you will about fast-food chains, they are a spectacular improvement on the independant fast-food offerings that were previously available to the hapless traveller. I recall limp, oily fries, tired hamburgers of dubious origin, and watered down "cola" as the only available food along the 401. Imagine our ecstatic gratitude when the put in a Tim Hortons and a McDonalds along the way.
I am apparently very lucky that I am able to read in a moving car without throwing up. I assumed that everyone was able to do that, until I actually saw someone throw up. (Thing 2, as it happens.) I will happily get in a car and drive anywhere, because it means I have both the opportunity and the excuse to eat nutritionally dubious food and read at the same time, and for hours, too. I am also blessed with the ability to sleep extremely soundly in a moving car, and can do so in about 12 seconds of departure. The Mister and I went to Montreal for the Jazz Festival many years ago, one of the first times we ever went anywhere together. He was more than a little take aback that I conked out before we hit the city limits and only woke up 5 hours later when we stopped to get gas. If he had known then what he knows now, he would have been grateful for the silenc. (When Wendy and I drove to the Laurentians last year, I'm pretty sure neither of us shut up for then entire 16 hour trip. Luckily, it was just us, and neither one of us minded.)
But I think the best part of a roadtrip is the coming home. No amount of potato chips can compare to pulling into one's own driveway.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wish You Were Here

There will be no blog for the next few days.....they Loudshoes family will be stomping all over Toronto the Good until Thursday. We will be taking in a ball game, riding some roller coasters and maybe go up the CN tower, after a meeting with our financial advisor. (The CN tower is painfully expensive, and, if the weather is uncooperative, boring as all get out.)

In the meantime, here are a few sites with which you can amuse yourselves:

Graph Jam This site kills me.
Butchered Book Title Requests For those of you who never did find that copy of "A Race Car Named Desire", or "Tequila Mockingbird".
How Many Countries Can You Name In Five Minutes I may have put this one up before, but it still consumes me. How come I cannot get past about 62????

See you in a couple of days!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cellular Crone

Thing 1 was the lucky recipient of a cell phone recently, and she has not been parted from it since. I think she sleeps with it. (My neice has been known to actually sleep with hers in her hand. My sister-in-law gave the alarm company at her factory my neice's phone number, because she knows she will A)always have it on, B)have it with her and will always answer.) I have had a cell phone for about 5 or 6 years now, and when it ring, which it does infrequently, I wonder what that noise is, and why won't that person answer their annoying phone.

But since Thing 1 has gotten a phone, I seem to be getting much more use out of my own. Mostly because of text messaging. I LOVE text's sort of like e-mail, in that I can get back to someone when I feel like it, and it is downright thrilling to pick it up and find "mail".

I am very slow at typing in text messaging, largely because of the fact that I insist on using proper spelling and punctuation. None of that "u" and "r" and "gr8" for Mrs. Loudshoes. The kids think I am hilarious for going to all the trouble to write "you are a pain in the ass", instead of "PITA". But then they go and ask me where they can find capital letters and commas and question marks, because they didn't know they had them on their phones.

Here in Ontario, there is a government proposal to stop people from using cell phones when they are driving. Considering the number of people who can barely operate a motor vehicle responsibly under the most ideal of circumstances, I think this is an excellent idea. (Like the bonehead the Mister and I saw last week who was trying to make a left hand turn from the far right hand lane. In the middle of the block. Without signalling.) I would go further and suggest that walking and talking on a cell phone be banned as well, because far too many people do that and make a hash of it, too.

I realize that the cell phone has become a ubiquitous piece of equipment for the generation under mine, but I do think they overestimate the importance of such a thing. Most people I over hear on their cell phones (and it seems to be just about all of them, since nobody has an indoor voice when they are talking on a cell phone) are not exactly negotiating peace in the Middle East or discussing names for the twins with Brad and Angelina. I witnessed a young woman do her entire grocery shop a few weeks ago with her phone pressed up to her ear and saying things like "grapes are on for a dollar twenty nine a pound this week" and "what do you use tamarind for?". (Can you imagine being on the other end of that conversation? Was it some sort of horrible social experiment to see if someone could actually die of boredom?) There is a value in not being available, if only because you don't have to fill up every waking minute with knowing the price of grapes.

I've no doubt that if cell phones had been around when I was 14, I'd have been frantic to get my hands on one. Nobody on the face of the earth takes their social life more seriously than a 14 year old girl, and I get that this was a big deal for Thing 1. And, truth be told, I'm happy enough to be able to get in touch with her when she's not at home. It give me a sense of connection. Plus, it gives me a chance to tell her how to use a semi-colon.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Damn Birds

A few years ago, my friend Shawnee (she of the Ever Available Hot Tub) was getting rid of a whole patch of mature raspberry canes, and asked me if I wanted some. Holy cow, did I ever! Canes that size (around 3 feet tall) that are already bearing fruit, are impossible to find at the garden stores and cost a fortune. Also, raspberries you get from the store are wildly expensive, except for the 20 minutes they are in season, and go bad about an hour after you get them home from the store. We love raspberries here at Chez Loudshoes, so being able to go outside and just pick some was very popular.

The first year we had them, we got a very respectable harvest, around 4 cups of raspberries. (That would cost about the same as the equivelent amount of diamone-studded gasoline.) We were thrilled. Then last year, the Mister got it into his head that the canes needed to be pruned. Now, if I were pruning raspberry canes, I think I would probably make sure that I did it in the proper season, lest I get it wrong and there be no raspberries for the upcoming summer, and my wife become very sulky. But the Mister is made of different stuff than I, and either pruned them in the spring when it should have been the fall, or the other way around, and the canes just sat there, disheartened and inconsolable, and distinctly without fruit for the duration. This year, he listened to reason, and left them the hell alone, and we are promised a lavish crop of raspberries.

Except for those damn birds.
Just as each little jeweled ruby of a raspberry ripens, a starling or a robin or a sparrow dives down and snatches it up. The bastards.
I know songbirds are endangered because of cats, (the Crazy Lady across the street tells me every single time when Toby catches a bird), and I did have a bit of sympathy for them until this. They wake me up at 4 a.m, they shit all over my car and now they eat my raspberries? Do they want to live at all??? Because I will cheerfully kill them barehanded myself if I catch them at the raspberries again.

The fortress that surrounds our garden this year has thwarted the rabbits most impressively, but does nothing to keep the birds away. I may have to sit out in the patch of dirt and shoo them away myself. It would be totally worth it, if I can just keep all the raspberries and not have to share with anyone. I guess that's the birds' plan, too.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Things I Don't Get.

I understand how big metal planes stay up in the sky, and I also understand how a bill becomes a law, and I get that stealing is wrong, but the following confound me:

Billy Holiday Everyone else seems to think her voice is soulful and poignant and expressive, but I just think she's nasal and whiny.

Jack Nicholson Why is he considered a great actor? He plays the same guy in every movie, namely, Jack Nicholson. Skeevy and pervy and slimy, he creeps me right out. And I hate those stupid sunglasses.

Blue Cheese. Tastes like feet. When they put blue cheese sauce all over chicken wings, I wonder why they don't just vomit on them.

How Members Of My Family Can Walk Past An Eyewateringly Stinky Garbage Pail, And Ignore It.

Watching Any Motor Sport. How is driving a car a sport anyway? The entertainment factor of watching someone else drive something around and around eludes me utterly. I don't even really want to drive that thing around myself, let alone watch someone else do it.

Poutine Normally, I'd be all over something that combines hot carbohydrates with copious amounts of fat, in fact, I spent all kinds of time scheming to get as much of that as possible, but poutine turns me right off. Maybe it's the gravy factor, but I hate that stuff so much, I can barely watch anyone else eat it.

Fanatical, Passionate Interest In Any Professional Sports Team. You know you're not actually on the team, right? And that you have nothing to do with whether or not they win or lose. And that the people who are on the team don't give a hoot if you cheer them on from your living room or not. And also? It doesn't matter AT ALL who wins anything. Ever.

How Toby The Cat Has Not Cottoned On To the Fact That the Humans Do Not Want To Play At 5 in the Morning. How many times does that cat have to get sprayed with water before he figures that one out?

Why Movie Theaters Are SO LOUD. Do they think I'm in another room? Because I'm right there, I can hear it. They don't have to crank it up so that my ears ring for an hour afterwards.

Baseball Hats Worn Backwards. It instantly takes off 10 points from the wearer's IQ. Double that if worn with pigtails. Everyone who does it looks like an idiot.

The Tony Awards On TV. The Tony awards are given to Broadway shows. Unless I've been to New York to see one of them, why would I want to see who wins what?

Hummers. Big, ugly and they inhale gasoline. What's to love? Did I mention ugly?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Kibbles and Bits, Again

Sorry there was no blog last night; the Mister was "tweaking" my computer, which usually means that I am without access for at least 24 hours, and then it takes me another 18 or so to figure out how it works all over again. This time, he put the latest Windows system in, which looks cool, but seems to work pretty much the same as it always did. Once he "tweaked" my computer and the upshot was that the keyboard was completely discombobulated, and all my question marks came up as exclamation marks, which made it look like I was ridiculously excited about everything ("How are you!") and everything else had French punctuation, with little squiggles under the c's and accents over the e's. It certainly gave my writing a more European flair, but did little to enhance the overall coherence.

Thing 1 got a cell phone on Monday, and has not let it out of her steely grip since. I'm sure you were aware, since it was all over the news, but Thing 1 was the only Grade 8 student in the entire world that was without a cell phone. Grade 8 students in Mogadishu had cell phones, for God's sake, but not her. That was recitfied 48 hours ago, and no doubt it was on the BBC World service. She claims she doesn't sleep with it, but I am tempted to call her at 3 a.m. to test it out. (The only problem is, she is likely to actually still be awake at 3 a.m, whereas I am not.)

It has been a very warm and rainy June here, and everything is lush and green and fertile. It is like living in Brazil. When my parents and I were in Calgary at the beginning of last month, it was brutally hot here, 32°C, with a humidex of 40, or some unholy number like that. (In Calgary, it was about 9°C, with gale force winds and rain in Biblical proportions. When we were sitting in the chuch waiting for the wedding to begin, I was all decked out in my sleeveless linen dress, and turned to my dad and said that I wished I had a sleeping bag to tuckle up in.) It has been so humid and sticky that the doors and jambs have swelled so that Thing 1 has twice been trapped in the bathroom. (It never happens to Thing 2, because she rarely closes the door when she's in the bathroom.)

I have embarked on a new project, my "First of the Month" project, whereby I take a picture of the same bit of the garden on the first day of every month. I plan to make a fabulous scrapbook page out of it, and then I get sad because I realize I am spending my time planning scrapbook pages. How old am I?

The air conditioning stopped working on the van the other day. (Himself spent an entire ride home from work with his hand over the vent asking "does this feel any cooler to you?", like he had lost all powers of thermal detection, and needed my superiour skills to suss it out.) The Mister went to the dealership today, on the off chance that it was still under warrenty. We knew that that was a distant dream, since anybody who takes anything into a dealership is told that, whatever the problem is, it's not covered under the warrenty. (The warrenty, in case you didn't know, is much like the Russian constitution: on paper, everything looks wonderful, but worthless in the real world.) The guy at the dealership assured the Mister that it would be covered under the warrenty, provided, of course, that it was not damaged or tampered with. I figured that meant "used as it was supposed to", but as it turned out, it was covered under the warrently, and we will get it fixed for nothing. Now, we do have to wait for a part to come in, which will likely take about 6 months, and there will probably be some nefarious charge that will be passed on to us. ("Sorry, you have to pay the fifty dollar "Monday Through Friday Surcharge", which we have to charge you because we work on Wednesdays.") The Mister is a bastard, because he purposely lead me to believe that we would have to take out a second morgage to pay for it, and nearly made me have a stroke until he relented and told me otherwise. Hate it when he does that, and I fall for it every freaking time.

And that is the state of the Loudshoes house for another day. How was your day!