Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mine was SO merry. Hope yours was too.

You probably won't see me for a while because I'll be playing with my new GameCube. (Santa Claus is a sexy sexy man). I've always felt that Nintendo made the best games. I love Mario and all his cute mushroom friends. And yet, I've always said that I would buy playstation just to get Karaoke Revolution. But guess what??? They make it for GameCube now! I can have all my childish cartoon games and eat cake too! (And play karaoke revolution). I ordered it on Amazon.ca (which is a big deal because I was an Amazon virgin) and they're saying it's going to take all the way until January 5th to get it to me. GAH! But I want to sing now!

Anyway, like I said I'll be playing GameCube all the day (we also have like a hundred and three new DVDs to watch). Except Saturdays. Saturdays I'm going to acting class! That's right, I'm sure this will lead to movie-stardom. Thanks Mom and Dad.

Hey guess what? My darling husband just found out that EBgames has karaoke revolution so I can go pick it up right away. Screw Amazon!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Voting based on looks...My thoughts on the leadership debate.

Yesterday was the leadership debate (for those of you who are not Canadian, we are having an election right now to pick a Prime Minister). While the candidates rarely say anything new during these debates, it does provide an excellent opportunity to seize them all up and decide who looks the most Primeministerial and who's a dork (though sometimes that's the same thing). There were four master debaters. For those who missed the show, here's my take (in alphabetical order so as not to show favoritism):

Gilles Duceppe (Bloc Quebecois): Gilles looks like a vampire. He should be Prime Minister of Transylvania. He was wearing a gangster pin stripe suit which made me suspect ties to the quebecois Mafia, and he had a nice silver tie.

Stephen Harper (Conservative Party): Steve looks like what would happen if a Ken Doll turned forty. This is because his hair is all glued in place and he generally looks plastic. I wasn't crazy about his tie (which had tiny black polka dots) but his tie, shirt, and the little kerchieff thing in his pocket were all of this silky blue material and nicely matchy matchy. He gets the prize for most coordinated candidate.

Jack Layton (New Democratic Party): Jack seems like a nice guy. He looks like somebody's Dad. If we were voting for who should be the country's Daddy, I would pick him. He wore a plain black suit with a plain red tie, just like an ordinary Dad might wear to work.

Paul Martin (Liberal Party): Out of the four Paul definitely looks the most Primeministerial, which makes sense because he is, in fact, Prime Minister. His tie was red, like Jack's, but much fancier. I think he had the best tie; I'll probably vote Liberal.

Just as a side note, The Green Party was sending out a petition AGAIN that they should be included in the debate and AGAIN they weren't on. I'm hoping next election we'll get to see what kind of tie the Green leader would wear (a green tie made of eco-friendly materials, recycled cow dung or some such, no doubt).

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Things I do with my day.

I was waiting for something interesting to happen so I could write a compelling blog entry. Clearly this will never happen. Instead, I though I'd provide you with a more-or-less comprehensive list of how I spend my days.

  • Writing my book. I'm officially on chapter seven but I do have a bunch of stuff written after that. It's a story set on an alien planet where women hold pretty much all the jobs and have two husbands, one for cooking and cleaning, and the other for nursing and raising the babies. They need three men to reproduce (of course) so when they want a child they go and mate with a random third guy. My main character is a kind of lizard man with breasts who is nursing a child that is all weird looking because that random third guy was human! He gets all kinds of flack from the community and goes through troubling times because of this. I know you guys are all itching to steal my idea now, but try to control your urges.
  • Playing Cactus Bruce , which I downloaded off yahoo. This is a highly realistic game where this pirate cactus uses a giant metal claw to catch monkeys and bananas and shoot them at bricks. I used up the trial period and now have "an extended trial period of 5 minutes per execution." Luckily five minutes is enough time to pass one level.
  • Thinking about school work (for my classes at Ryerson). I spend a lot more time thinking about school work than actually doing it, but since most of the work involves writing the thinking really is part of the process. I can even do the thinking while playing Cactus Bruce.
  • Washing dishes. This is hard work (especially in our apartment where we let them pile up to the ceiling and we only have one puny sink). It makes me hungry so after I wash I usually have a snack, creating more dishes and starting the cycle all over again.
  • Blogging. As those who frequent this site have no doubt realized, some weeks I do more of this than others.
  • Redoing my résumé. I fiddle around with this alot. Change a word here. Embellish there. Afterwards I almost always seriously consider applying somewhere. Whether I do or not it makes me feel as if I'm having a productive job search.
  • Playing with pigs. I think they hate me. I make too many sudden movements and they freak out. I feed them carrots (which they love) but they still behave as if I'm a terrifying beast. When I pick them up they try to escape by hiding in my hair.
  • Watching cop shows. I do this in the evening after dinner. My favourites are CSI, Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, Cold Case and CSI Miami (pretty much in that order). Luckily most of these are on 24-hours a day. If none of these are on and I really want to watch something I might stoop to something terrible like Missing or Crossing Jorden, but those ones don't have nearly enough grit and gore. How those shows stay on the air but Enterprise gets cancelled is beyond me.
  • Making dinner. If I'm feeling really ambitious this can take all afternoon and involve looking up a recipe, walking to the store to buy any ingredients we don't have, dicing, dashing, simmering, sautéeing, and all manor of other cooking terms that I have to guess at the meaning of.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Um, I guess I like ears.

So I went to the career centre to discuss the results of my assessments. Assessment in this case being another word for a whole bunch of silly tests which the employment councelor assures me are highly accurate. According to the aptitudes test I'm good at everything, which I'm pretty sure isn't true. I'm not sure how adding and multiplying fractions and defining vocabulary words could possibly be a good prediction of my potential to be a dancer, for example.

The next tests had to do with my motivation and passion for doing things. This has always been my problem. While I can pretty much do anything I feel like, I really don't feel like doing much of anything most of the time. Supposedly the results of these tests are compared against the results of people who are successful in certain careers. Based on this the trusty dusty computer came up with a bunch of careers that I might enjoy. My top three are (insert pause for dramatic effect):

Technical Writer

It was the audiologist that baffled me. Technical writer? Okay, I like writing. Librarian? Okay, I like books. Audiologist? Whadda? My interest in the human ear is casual at best. I looked up all three careers and found that they were all interesting enough (I suppose if they wouldn't interest me they wouldn't have shown up on the test), but all had some degree of ickiness.

Here are the pros and cons.

Technical Writer:
  • I like to write.
  • I get to work by myself a lot.
  • I get to learn stuff.


  • It's mostly freelance so I'd have to sell myself all the time.
  • I'd most likely be writing boring instruction manuals.
  • Probably harder to get into for someone with nil technical background.



  • I like tinkering with gadgets and hearing aids are gadgets.
  • As far as body parts go ears are fairly interesting.
  • I wouldn't have to take my work home with me.
  • More jobs will open up because all the baby boomers are getting old and deaf


  • I'd have to go back to school for 2 or 3 years to get a degree in it.
  • I'd spend a lot of time dealing with crotchety old people.



  • I like books.
  • I could learn a lot of new things while helping people look up stuff


  • I would have to go to school for another couple years to get a masters.
  • I'd spend a lot of time dealing with people.

So there you have it. My career problems are all but solved. All I have to do is pick one of these and go to school for a billion more years. I don't necessarily have a problem with that, but my bank account might.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Fear of LASIK and the Dream of Vision

On Friday, my friend Eireann got her eyeballs lasered. Her perscription used to be worse than mine (mine being a rather wimpy prescription) but now she can see without her contacts and she says her eyesight is getting better every day. I'm so jealous.

It isn't that I'm blind or anything. I can see stuff without my glasses, except everything looks like a post-impressionist painting. If I hold a book a few inches from my nose, I can even read without them. But the dependancy on glasses and contacts is a constant irritant.

Contacts dry out my eyeballs. And glasses? Well, it's about as easy for me to keep them clean for more than three seconds as it would be for me to single handedly repair the hole in the ozone layer.

Unfortunately, despite it's apparent benefits, laser eye surgery deals with two of my worst fears: 1. spending large quantities of money and 2. blindness (in that order).

The more you try to appease fear #1 by going to the discount quack doctor who advertises using Bob Marley songs on K Lite fm, the less paranoid and unlikely fear #2 becomes. Now you're thinking, come on now, blindness? But you forget I watch Star Trek. I've seen phasers (which rhyme with and look like lasers) vaporize people, blow up large starships, and even destroy cities. There's also the voice of some random elementary school teacher in my head yelling "Don't aim that laser pointer at your eye or you'll go blind!"

The other thing that sucks is that you could go, pay your sheckles, laser your peepers, and end up still needing glasses! Only this time you'll have a whole different prescription and so you'll need to buy all new eyewear. How lame is that?

From what I've read I'd be a good candidate for the procedure, being only mildly myopic. So there's a good chance I could see good enough after without my glasses. For now I'll just keep dreaming about it.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Our First Tree

It took some shopping, but we were able to get a tree for $30 at Zeller's. Then we bought some of those fancy schmancy LED lights that are super bright but (apparently) use hardly any electricity. The lights looked swell and cost almost (but not quite) as much as the tree.

Anyway if you saw this tree in person you might notice that it actually only has one genuine made-for-a-tree Christmas ornament. That ornament is a very classy yellow chillie pepper with a nativity scene carved into it that we bought in Mexico on our honeymoon. The other "decorations" include action figures, Star Trek cards, and a feathered boa (that's the purple blob in the picture).

I'm really very proud of this tree. Happy Xmas!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Piggies in the Oven

I dreamt that for whatever reason my mother was cooking dinner for us in our apatment. When I looked in the oven window to check out the food, I was shocked to find that my Guinea pigs were running around inside the oven. "Mommy! Get my pigs out of the oven". I opened the oven and Lokai immediately jumped into my arms. Bele was timid about it. It took a lot of coaxing "Come on Bele. Jump Bele," but he eventually jumped.

I took them back to the cage only to find that Lokai and Bele had been in their cage all along and the pigs I'd retreived from the oven were not my pigs at all. I put them in the cage anyway, which freaked out Lokai and Bele. In the dream, Lokai and Bele were full grown and I remarked at how large they were compared to the babies I'd found in the oven. I mentioned that I was going to call the pet store.

Suddenly I thought that I should check the sex of the pigs to make sure we didn't get a whole litter. So I looked at their bums and saw that they were girls (Lokai and Bele are boys). So I took them out of the cage and was kind of holding them against the plastic so they could see inside but not do any nooky. And that was sort of the end of the dream (or at least all I remember).

Friday, November 18, 2005

The price of identity: $137

I tracked down my record of solemnization, sort of a temporary marriage certificate until the real one comes in, and I set off to change my name. My husband and I had already decided, after much deliberation, that I would keep my maiden name as a middle name and add his name as a last name.

So my name would change from: Jennifer Meghan McNicoll to Jennifer Meghan McNicoll Filipowicz. First name: Jennifer; Middle name: Meghan McNicoll; Last name: Filipowicz. Seems logical enough doesn't it? This way I can keep my identity as a McNicoll without breaking tradition or having a last name as long as my arm.

According to the good people at the licensing place, however, you can change your last name for free when you get married, but not your middle name.

There are therefore only four options:

  • dorky hyphenating (McNicoll-Filipowicz, or Filipowicz-McNicoll)
  • keeping the status quo (McNicoll)
  • conforming to tradition (Filipowicz)
  • paying $137 to change my name to whatever I darn well please

Since I'd planned to go with Filipowicz most of the time anyway, I went with the third choice (though the fourth is still tempting). I agree with the whole feminist philosophy about name changes. There's really no reason why women should have to absorb their husband's identity. On the other hand, we're a family now and I want us both to have to same family name.

It's not as if I want change my name to Candy K. Flossbottom. In that case I would gladly dole out 137 bucks. But go through the whole official name change rigmarole just to move my maiden name one slot the left? Come on now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mom's side of the story.

So yesterday I blogged about Bruce Wayne's untimely demise and kind of made my mother sound like an evil fish-murderer. In an e-mail about the incident, Mom had this to say:

"I read your blog on Bruce Wayne. I didn’t find it entirely fair. I can assure you I cleaned his bowl more often than you did.*

Beta fish like small spaces (says the box) Bruce came lethargic and never recovered. The only time he showed any activity was when I tried to scoop him back in his bowl. Each time would be a close brush with death as he’d leap into ladles or on the floor or anything besides his bowl. Yesterday, nobody was sadder than I about Bruce’s demise.

Robin rushed out and bought two beautiful (way more active) beta fish named Mommy and Hunter.** They live it a split bowl and race each other along the side.

I think for a retarded fish Bruce lived a good life. Yesterday 20 kids wrote stories about him so he has some immortality.***"

* This is true. Though I did clean his bowl often, Mom usually beat me to the punch. I didn't mean to suggest I was Bruce's sole caregiver, only that it was important to me that he be taken care of. When he first came home I did internet research on Betas to make sure we knew the proper way to care for him.

** Naming the fish after my sister and nephew seems like a bad omen considering what happened to Bruce.

***It's nice to know that even Bruce Wayne the Beta fish gets his fifteen minutes of fame.

And later:
"In other news, I also confessed to the children who were there that Bruce died. One girl apologized to me twice because she remembered she’d suggested using the jar to catch Bruce. That class was never so excited or motivated. Now on the staff room there’s a wall of fame, full of quotes and such that happened over the month.

They have a picture of a fractured fish on one with “memorable events in room 2 November 17”. All the teachers are saying hello to me and chuckling. It’s pretty funny if you don’t love the fish. But I do feel bad for Brucey. "

Since Mom keeps coming back to this in e-mails, I'm guessing she's all guilt ridden and believes herself to be an evil fish-murderer. Accidents happen Mommy. Just don't try to catch Mommy and Hunter with a jar.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bruce Wayne is Dead

I just got a message from my sister saying that my nephew's fish, Bruce Wayne, has been brutally killed. Bruce was a fighting fish, a black one with blueish fins.

Apparently my mother (and I'm still trying to work out the logistics of this) took Bruce to a school visit so he could help her with an exercise. There, she put him in the sink for some unknown reason. While attempting to retrieve the fish using a drinking glass, she accidentally squished him.

Last week I was all worried Mom was going to starve Bruce to death because she told me that she couldn't find his food and, as a result, noone had fed him for 2 days. Gah! "If you can't find the food, buy new food," said I. When she told me she'd found the food, I was so relieved. Little did I know that Bruce's days were numbered.

Back when I lived at home, I used to make sure Bruce was fed. If his bowl was dirty, I cleaned it. (And never killed him doing it. although I never once put him in the sink). It saddens me that the poor guy is gone, that he wasn't taken care of. Sure, he's just a fish, but he was a good fish.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me?

I woke up this morning and found even after 26 years of being alive I am still not a grown-up. You'd think I'd have stuff figured out other than what action figures, stuffed toys, and DVDs I want (I can't even really figure THAT out). Since I have a husband, I realize I am the envy of a lot of people, some seemingly more grown up than I, but I feel that four years shy of 30 I should have more going for me. I've become a shut in. Look, I'm in my PJs still and it's noon.

Anyway yesterday I had a day. So I have class at 6:30 in Toronto on Wednesdays, so I usually take the 4:45 train. Yesterday however, in anticipation of my supposed upcoming grownupness, I decided to finally register for my program (Magazine Publishing Certificate, which let's face it, will take forever to complete and likely won't lead anywhere). So I checked the good ol' internet for the early train time and buddy said 4:15 and life was good. The GO station is a convenient 5-minute walk from my apartment. Surprisingly less convenient with water poring from the sky. The only umbrella I could find was all bent and full of holes (yes, there were actually HOLES in my UMBRELLA) so I threw it on the ground in disgust like three steps away from my building. The rain soaked through 2 jackets (I'm currently layering a series of spring jackets until I remember to get my winter ones from my parents' house). I arrived at the GO station, Captain Damp of the starship Monsoon, at 4:08ish, only to find that my trusty net had failed me and that the train left at 4:04. GAH! I had to wait around for the train I normally take.

I finally got to the school. Luckily I still made it to the registrar. I hate lining up for the registrar. Most of the stuff you can do online now. You can find courses, register for courses, pay for courses, anything you like except register for the program. This is to keep the administrative turtles employed. So I have to line up behind a bunch a people who can't figure out how to click on the pretty button marked "register for this course" while they ask stupid questions like "Duh, what's a computer?" and the admin turtles help them by taking long minutes to look up things and register for things that would literally take me two seconds if I did it at home. The turtles always have some comment about how much they hate computers, too. Anyhoo. I finally get there, give the lady my filled out form, complete with my VISA number so they can charge my $25 for no reason. She says I should receive a letter in 8 to 10 weeks. 8 to 10 weeks, come on now.

I go to the washroom just before class and discover that I have a surprise visit from (sorry guys)the period fairy. I knew it was coming but forgot because I was having a bad day. But really, when is the first day of your period ever a good day? Long ago I vowed to always have maxi pads in my purse so I would never be caught unawares. So much for vows. No time to go to the drugstore, I checked the washrooms on three different floors looking for one of those machines that sell crappy maxies for 50 cents. No such luck. So I created a pad by expertly wrapping wads of toilet paper around my undies. Ladies, has anyone else ever done this? You'd be surprised at how well it works. (You can come out from under the desk now guys, I'm done talking about my period).

My sweet husband took me out for dinner yesterday to Jack Astor's, the only restaurant that's open when I got home at 11:00 pm (closes at midnight). So we went there at 11:30 and annoyed the staff. They were gracious and did their best not to act annoyed though and there were other patrons. I had a veggies stirfry and a baked potato with everything on it and ate until I was 26. Nice. And luckily I was dry by then and wearing a store-bought maxi with wings and dry weave and everything.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I laughed, I felt stuff

So I just got back from seeing Real Estate at Theatre Aquarius. I was a good play. Sort of a romantic comedy about a guy who's selling the house he grew up in, while going through a divorce, and dealing with a dying Dad. The real estate agent he gets is quirky. I enjoyed it. There's something about plays though isn't there?

Like everyone born after the 1920s, I grew up with movies. Characters in movies go outside and have car chases. You'll never have a whole movie play out in the same living room with only four characters (unless, of course, it's based on a play). And yet, somehow that same set up is popular on stage.

My favourite kind is a musical. Nothing beats two characters singing a seemingly impromptu duet about how much they love each other, or hate each other, or wish there wasn't a crazy person living under their opera house. The kind of song that makes your heart explode with beautiful melodrama. The kind that would make you switch stations if you heard it on the radio.

Why are musical movies always cheesey, when they work so well on stage? I think it's because the stage reminds you that it's just a fantasy, a facsimile of real life. Singing in the stage world is like thinking, or talking, or yelling, because the people in the back can't see your facial expressions. The best movie musicals kept that stage fantasy in the flick, and never tried to make it seem more real.

Of course Real Estate was not a musical. But it was a good flick, er, I mean play.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Quarter Ritual

Today, while my darling husband babysat a hundred rotating loads of our drying clothes at the laundromat, I travelled to the nearby No Frills to pick up some groceries.

Like many fine shopping establishments, the carts at No Frills require a 25 cent deposit, which you get back as soon as you attach your cart to another cart. This brings rise to an odd ritual.

Rather than getting a buggy from the group of them near the store, it is the custom charge up to an empy-carted stranger, quarter held out in front of you like a fencing foil. Just as the stranger surrenders the rolling yellow treasure, the attacker hands over the 25-cent weapon.

Okay, I get it. This process saves you having to walk all the way back to the store with your cart. Fine. But consider this: After unloading my groceries in my car, on the other side of the parking lot, I walked all the way back to the grocery store to return my buggy. It wasn't until I was mere centimetres away from the cart return area that a gentlemen initiated the quarter ritual with me. That really takes a load off. Thanks.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Trick or Treater upset by condom

So this 15-year-old, Jennifer (no relation), finds a condom in her halloween candy and freaks out. Calls her mom. Mom is so freaked out she calls the newspaper. Jennifer tells reporters she wonders what might have happened if a small child swallowed it.

Come on now.

Even though I still give out the traditional fun-sized chocolate bars, I can see the humour and wisdom in giving a 15-year-old a condom. I'm willing to bet that the evil-doer responsible for giving Jen the immoral device had a separate stash of "goodies" to give to older kids. A joke.

Even perhaps a community service. I may be a naive nerd, but I've spent enough time in high schools to know that teenagers have sex, but don't always want to ask their guidance counselors for protection. If all the trick-or-treating teens in the neighbourhood are getting condoms I'm sure some are being put to good use.

Okay, so more likely a joke. But then she did say trick or treat.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

I trick or treated well into high school, and not just a hockey jersey or a pair of bunny ears either. I went all out. My last year my brother and I went as ballroom ghosts. I had a beautiful (well, ugly) ballroom gown and my brother had a tux and we painted our faces white and has these blood capsules that would make our mouths gush blood. Whenever someone said "Aren't you a little old...?" I would smile with blood-coated teeth. I miss trick or treating.

I still dress up every year. I'm one to get into the spirit of things. Much to my annoyance, however, noone threw a halloween party this year (I know, I could have thrown one. But, darn it, I just threw a housewarming party!) I have my costume sort of ready. I'm going to be Raven from the Teen Titans. I sewed a purple cape and little purple boots out of an old robe. (note I said "I sewed". Normally I'd rather buy a new shirt than sew a button on, but this is how much I get into halloween. There are other things I need to make me actually look like Raven (a black leotard, some grey tights, black gloves (sans digits), some jewels for my forehead, gloves, cape and belt). I sort of gave up on the rest of it for two important reasons: 1. Noone except me, my brother, and boys under the age of ten, knows who the Teen Titans are. 2. I have nowhere appropriate to wear this costume.

I would feel quite comfy wearing this outfit around the house whilst I hand out candy to the childers. Unfortunately, I have class this evening. Noone else will dress up and I'll feel like a doofus. Of course I'll still dress up. I'm not that self conscious.

Maybe I'll get my non-costume-wearing hubby to take my picture tonight and post it for you all. Have a spooky day.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


It turns out that Alberta isn't the only place with badlands. There's some in Mississauga too! Today my husband, Adam, got it in his head that he needed to take pictures of them, so we and our friend Becca went to check them out.

According to the signage, back in the 30s some farmers cleared the land and sort of ruined it. Everything eroded and now it looks cool. Every year this bit of land gets bigger from erosion. There are only one or two sad-looking trees attemping to grow from it. Also despite rumours, it does not lead to the Delta quadrant.

After we checked out the badlands we went for a hike at Fork of the Credit (or something like that) Provincial Park. It had lotsa milkweeds, a railway, and a nice waterfall. That was a long hike and it make me tired (me being an out-of-shape computer nerd with the shortest legs of the trio).

Friday, October 28, 2005

Upload Image Thingie Not Working

I think maybe blogger is trying to tell me something. Like, if I put another post in about my pigs I might be in danger of becoming one of those animal nerds who create websites devoted to their pets. I've been noticing distinct differences in personality between Lokai and Bele and was going to give them each a post of their own.

Today's post was going to be about Bele, the jitterier of the two. He peed on me today by the way (in such an expert way as to wet both my shirt and my pants). Everyone knows that you can't post about an animal without posting a picture of how cute he is.

So I picked out an ultra cute picture of Bele. I clickety clicked the little picture of a landscape to "add image". I browsed. I found. I clicked upload image. "The following images have not been posted: bele.jpg", said blogger cheerfully. As if I had asked it to post eight hundred pictures and this was the only one it hadn't gotten around to. I tried to post a different pic (in case my bele photo was somehow corrupt). No workie. I tried to close the browser and open it again. No workie.

Another day I'll give you a Bele post. Then a Lokai post. But today I'll just wait for my laundry to be done so I can get out of these uriney clothes.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

My Big Secret

For years I've fooled people, even close friends, into thinking I'm outgoing. This is because I've been practicing my good-humoured out-there personality since I was eleven or twelve. I remember the day when I decided ENOUGH with shyness.

My mom came with me to school one day. I love my mother dearly but she is loud and outspoken.* Actually, I admire her for that. It was early morning and my class was sort of lined up, sort of still playing. At home I had no problem speaking my mind but as I got closer to my classmates I clammed up.

I wished my mother would leave. I knew she would never understand why I just couldn't talk to the people at school. Shyness doesn't just make you afraid to say what you think; it erases your thoughts so that you don't have anything to say.

One of my classmates, Ceri**, small for her age, with short brown hair, glasses, and a face full of freckles, cheerfully greeted me as I approached. "Hi Jennifer!"

I smiled at her.

"Aren't you going to say hi to your friend?" Mom boomed.

"I smiled at her," I replied softly.

"You can't talk?" My Mom got louder, if that was possible.

"Jennifer hardly ever says anything," Ceri piped in helpfully.

I cringed, terrified my mother would make a big deal out of it. She didn't. At least she didn't say anything. The look on her face was one of shock, worry, and disappointment. Later, I would hear her talking (loudly) to my Dad about the incident. I'm pretty sure she also talked to my teachers about it that day, too.

I knew that their "help" would only give me more attention and make it worse. But I didn't want to disappoint my mother. And I definitely didn't want to be shy. So I decided I wasn't going to be. I forced myself to talk to people. If I couldn't think what to say, instead of staying silent, I would say something totally out there. This sometimes gave me the reputation of being an airhead, but at least I wasn't the girl who "hardly ever says anything."

Over the years I made out-going Jen my dominant personality. I don't have to fake being her; I am her. I'm comfortable in the skin of out-going Jen. She's funny and people like her. Deep down, though, I'm still shy. Shyness rears its ugly head often when:
  • I have to call someone on the telephone that I don't know.
  • I'm at a job interview***
  • I try to small talk with people who are older than me. Like at a wine and cheese party.
  • I'm in any situation where being a little goofy feels inappropriate
  • In a large group situation.
Yesterday I was so mad at myself. I was in my writing class. I have this great prof who really makes the class interesting by getting discussions going. This often gives me a great deal of anxiety. I'm waiting for my turn to speak, or formulating a thought, and someone else jumps in and the moment's gone. In that class I hardly ever say anything. Yesterday I had a definite opportunity to speak. We were planning out interviews in small group and had to pick one of us to interview the teacher in front of everyone. I could have done it. Noone in the group was super keen on it. The girl who went was voluntold. I should have done it. I didn't force myself past the shyness barrier (something I've been doing since I was eleven years old!) I feel like such a coward.

*Some time later my mother would take me to a bra store and mortify me, while I was in the changeroom, by exclaiming loudly to a sales person "my daughter is self-conscious about her large breasts!"

**I don't actually remember if it was Ceri who played this pivotal role in my life, but I like to think it was. About eight years later, Ceri died of cancer. We weren't that close (we'd gone to different high schools) and I didn't go to her funeral. If I believed in angels I would say that there is one, small for her age, with short brown hair, glasses, and a face full of freckles, who looks out for me.

***I forgive myself for that one. Who doesn't get nervous in interviews? Wonder Woman that's who.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I am now the proud mommy of two male guinea pigs. Aren't they cute? Lokai is the caramel coloured one with the white nose and the other one is Bele. They'll grow to be about the size of a small rabbit. I just got them today and I love them already.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Dead Bodies Rule!

My husband and I went to the Body Worlds exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre. The bodies are actually real humans who had all their fluids replaced with plastic (so they don't rot and smell while on display). They are opened up and dissected in various ways so we can all learn some fascinating stuff about the body. One part of the exhibit shows a pregnant woman and some fetuses at various stages of development. Because of the crowds, and the coolness factor, the exhibit took about 2 hours to go through.

On the way out there was a guestbook to sign. One of the comments left before us said (and I quote) "What the f**k is with the fetuses? NO MORE FETUSES!" Now I know the exhibit sparked controversy and I understand some of it. People are uncomfortable about the fact that these are real dead bodies. With many religions you even need a proper burial or no heaven for you. (Though these people checked the "do whatever you want with my organs" box on their driver's license.) Okay. What I don't understand is what problem is there with fetuses specifically?

Was the writer of the comment worried that the exhibit condoned abortion? Was he/she worried that the fetuses couldn't possibly have given consent to be plasticized? Did he/she have an awkward moment explaining where babies come from to the rugrats? Perhaps if the comment had been more articulate we would understand what exactly this person's problem was. As it is, he/she has been labeled in my mind as a big stupidhead. So there!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Never try to make a fondue dinner and send a package in the same day

In my on-going quest to use all my wedding-gift appliances, I decided that tonight was the night for a fondue dinner. Yes, it was going to be a great day. I just had two little errands to run:

1. Mail a framed 8x10 family wedding photo to my grandmother in Montréal
2. Buy all the stuff I need to make a delicious fondue dinner, including fuel.

Here are some factors which transformed my great day, with easy errands, into a sucky day, with not-so-easy errands:
  • Longo's does not carry fondue fuel
  • No Frills only carries liquid fondue fuel, not the gel kind that I needed.
  • None of the three variety stores near my house carries fondue fuel. Although it was pretty funny trying to explain what it was. Go into a convenience store and try to ask for fondue fuel. I dare you. It's hillarious.
  • At the UPS store near Longo's, it costs $36 to pack a frame the size I have into a box in such a way that it doesn't break.
  • Plus $27 for shipping to Montréal.
  • The woman at the Post Office has 26 years experience so she knows she doesn't sell anything that will protect a picture frame from breaking while in the mail.
  • One package of sponges, bought at the No Frills plaza, is not good enough to package the frame. You need 3 more.
  • It takes 5 minutes to walk from my apartment to the Post Office.
  • It takes 15 minutes to walk from the Post Office to No Frills and back.
  • The Post Office closes at 5pm
  • Longo's and the UPS store is 20 minutes walk from my apartment in the other direction.
  • I don't have a car.
  • I never did mail the picture frame.
  • The cheese fondue burned.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Criminals get field trips to Wonderland

You may have noticed that my blog entries of late have been either non-existant or mind-numbingly boring. This is because as an unemployed person, I do not much all day beyond playing computer games and picking my nose. But now I subscribe to the paper. The Spectator, to be exact, so I can regail you with my opinions on various news articles.

Today's article talks about how criminals in prison can take field trips to places like Canada's Wonderland*. ( This brings to mind a vision of Paul Bernardo** riding the Drop Zone***. ) Most of the article consists of a policeman complaining about how the justice system has gone to heck in a handbasket. He seems to think that if criminals are allowed to visit amusement parks, then potential criminals will think, I might as well molest little children, I'll still get to go to Wonderland.

The point of view from the other side says "We give this sort of permit all the time" but doesn't explain much about why they do it, or what security measures are in place. So either the people at the correctional facilities are twits or, more likely, the article is overly biased. They do give the example that if a criminal is not allowed to drink alcohol, he won't be sent to a winery. I assume this means that child molesters wouldn't be allowed near an amusement park, but perhaps they're just concerned with binge drinking.

I'm not of the mind that prison needs to be equal to the depths of hell in terms of punishment. I think the focus should be on keeping the public safe from violent offenders. Like I said before the reporter didn't say much about security measures, though he gave the vague statement that "sometimes they're escorted, sometimes they're not". The hell??? That one, me thinks, requires a bit more explanation.

In any case the cop seemed more concerned with prison not being a deterrent, than he was about people getting their throats cut while in line for the Minebuster****. Since I have never heard of any such things happening, I really have no problem sharing the Swing of the Century***** with the criminally insane. I might be less trusting, though, when Alliance comes out with CSI: Wonderland******.

*A popular amusement park outside of Toronto
**This guy who tortured and killed a bunch of teenage girls in Burlington (my town) and St. Catharines, and is often held up as a symbol of all that is gross and evil.
***A ride at Wonderland in which they just drop you from really high altitudes.
**** One of those old school wooden rollar coasters, and a favourite of mine. Though this is kind of a joke because there's not usually much of a lineup for it.
***** Another one of my favourites. Just a bunch of swings attached to this twirlie thing. Definitely no lineup.
****** This is of course a reference to the popular show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and its spinoffs CSI: Miami and CSI: New York. BTW, I heard somewhere that they're trying to make CSI: New York more "upbeat". Tee hee.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I think that went well

Me and Adam hosted our first house-warming extravaganza at our apartment. I made some yummy goodies, because I figure if the party was a bust, at least people would like the food. Lots of my friends came and we talked and laughed and a good time was had by all.

So I made a cookie pizza and some bruschetta, Eireann brought some cinnamon squares, my mom sent over some spinach dip with my brother, my sweet husband made some nacho dip, and we still had some mother-in-law cran-apple squares left from thanksgiving. It's all about the food for me, as you can tell. That and drinks. I tried to learn how to make a whisky sour (to use up all the whiskey that nobody will drink) but my trusty internet steered me wrong (it was a bit too sour and whiskeyish for anybody's liking).

Our friend Val had someone parked behind her in our parking lot so she had to stay over night. Poor girl was being good not drinking all night because she has to study for an exam on Monday. She was going to be a designated driver but, alas, twas not to be. My pjs looked good on her though.

Oh, and Amy, that plant from your mom, I put one of the roots in another vase we have in the bathroom. Is there any reason it can't live in the shower? There's a window (only at my neck, so noone rush over to my house to catch a glimpse of nakedness).

Thanks to all who came, and sorry to all those who couldn't come. This will not be the last Filipowicz extravaganza, I assure you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

So long and thanks for all the fish

I dreamt last night that we were rescuing a dolphin.

I was at my friend Mel's house. At least I think it was her house because Mel's mom and Mel's dad were there. They had a kind of zoo in there house. All kinds of animals were roaming around the yard. The dolphin was in a small pool coming off of the sink. The pool was full of leaves and it was raining into it. I didn't think this was healthy or safe for the dolphin.

I was in the yard talking to Adam about the dolphin. Unfortunately the lioness overheard me. "There's a dolphin in the kitchen?" She said. I knelt beside her, grabbed hold of her fir and begged her not to hurt the dolphin. Then I saw her talking to the lion in lion-language (growling and purring) and I knew they were going to eat the poor dolphin.

We had to act quickly. Adam and I caught the dolphin in a plastic bag (like the kind you get at the grocery store only obviously much bigger). I instructed Adam to take her to the car. "You need salt and water right?" I asked the dolphin. When I looked at her I could see she was already getting white blotches all over her. "Salt water," she moaned.

I went to the kitchen and looked through a bunch of dishes and found a big jug. For some reason, I had to full a small jug in order to fill the big jug. Then I grabbed a container of salt and was disappointed to find that it was half empty. I knew I was taking too long.

I asked this girl (not Mel, but I think she stood in for her in the dream) where the closest place was that had a salt water tank. She didn't really answer me but asked me while I was there to pick her up a stuffed dolphin. I was mad because it was like she didn't care that the dolphin would die. Mel's dad was standing in the doorway and kept interrupting. And worse, when I turned around I saw that someone had washed the dishes and I couldn't find the jug I'd filled.

I don't know what happened to that poor dolphin.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Half a kilometre in what?

In the middle of the night my darling husband says: "Oh, pretty far. About a kilometre in." I, being half asleep, did not clue in at first that he was talking in his sleep and probably rambling about nothing. Instead I thought I had missed some crutial part of an important conversation. So I woke up and said "I'm sorry WHAT? Half a kilometre into what?"

My husband just rolled over.

That's when I clued in. But I still wondered. What was he dreaming about? Halfway a kilometre in what? Half a kilometre into the corona of the sun? Half a kilometre into town? Half a kilometre into the haunted forest?

If I'd been more awake I would of tried to have a conversation with him (something that has worked in the past with my sister). My "What!?" probably jolted him out of the dream, but if I'd attempted to stay in the context of the dream I could learn what the dream was about. So the conversation might have gone like this:

"Oh, pretty far. About half a kilometre in."
"That is pretty far. Can you drive me?"
"Drive you? What's wrong with your ship?"
"The engine's broken."
"I can fix it for you. But you'd miss the eclipse."
"That's okay. I'll just try to jump start my space ship so I can fly into the sun's corona"
"Good. Carry on."

When I asked Adam about it in the morning he could not recall the incident at all. He thought it was cool that he talks in his sleep but wasn't able to tell me what half a kilometre in referred to. "I was probably giving someone directions," said he. He would be the type to dream about giving someone directions , while I would probably be the only one to dream about flying into the sun.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Giving the Apartment a Little Class

So I was walking down Yonge Street on the way to class (magasine editing at Ryerson), casually glancing in the shops as I went. That's when I saw the beaded curtains in this funky Chinese shop. They were made of real wooden beads, none of this plastic shenanigans. And, perhaps more importantly, they were 30% off.

It has always been my dream to have a real wooden beaded curtain at a reasonable price! (No, really, I've always wanted a beaded curtain). My darling husband worries the beads might become annoying after a while (and for him, I'm sure they will, or already have, after three seconds of the thing being up), but he's such a sweetheart he hung it for me anyway. Yes, feminists, I could have put it up myself but Adam's tall and knows where the tools are and is less lazy.

Now I will enrich your life with a pic of my fabulous new beaded curtain. Can you look at this thing without being happy? Of course not.

Friday, September 23, 2005

How Spock Picks his Oranges

New Flash!

Citrus Meld

Drive what all the unique people are driving.

So I was intrigued by this popup ad with a guy in a Star Trek uniform doing Tai Chi. The message: "maintain your identity". I'm all about that, says I. So I checked out the website. Turns out Saab is exploiting people's uniqueness in order to sell cars. To me, this is silly. So here's what Saab is saying:

"Don't follow the crowd! Maintain your identity! Be like these people! Buy a SAAB!" Am I the only person who sees this message as contradictory?

Anyway check it out:

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Writer's Block

Here's the perfect animated gif to depict what it's like to be a writer. I can't take credit for this one guys, my mom's friend sent it to me, and I recently saw it again on some guy's blog.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Remember I said I'd post some Mexico pics...Well here you go.

This is our fabulously ritzy resort Riu Palace Mexico.

This is the beach at our fabulously ritzy resort.

This is me and my hunky husband with two monkeys. The guy said that the monkey's were named Ringo Starr and Jimmy Hendrix. Ringo bit me on the ear. Hopefully I don't have rabies.

This is me walking on a beach in Mexico.

This is my hunky husband standing in the street some where near 5th Avenue. 5th Ave is full of little souvenir shops to buy stuff made by Mexican artisans (or copies of stuff made by Mexican Artisans).

This is Chichen Itza the famous Mayan pyramid.

This is me climbing Chichen Itza.

This is me swimming in an underground, freshwater, tropical paradise called a sink hole. There's a hole where all the sunlight pours in and you can see all the roots of the trees above you.

Here I am in a hammock, trying to to relax!

Monday, September 12, 2005

We're married and stuff

Here we are, all married and stuff. I haven't gone through all our pictures yet, but I did shamelessly punk this one from my friend's blog.
The wedding went really well and everyone said I looked like a princess (which was the goal). Thanks to everyone who took part. Hope you guys had a good time and enjoyed the Polish food and the open bar (but not TOO much).

We just got back from our honeymoon yesterday night. Mexico was great. I'll totally go again. We stayed at the Riu Palace Mexico in Playa de Carmen which seems like the ritziest place in the universe, yet was reasonably priced enough for us to afford BEFORE opening our money gifts. I'll post some pics later. Honestly we were living it up like Mr. and Mrs. Thurston Howell III. All you blog readers should gather your sheckles together and GO!

Anyway the most important thing is that I AM TOTALLY MADLY IN LOVE WITH MY HUSBAND.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

My eyebrows look fabulous....I guess

In my ongoing quest to make myself look beautiful (and somewhat feminin) for my big day, my mom and I got our eyebrows waxed. This is a new experience for me. I made my Mom go first so that I could run away if she a) screamed in agony or b) ended up looking like a pale version of Whoopi Goldberg. Mom's brows looked nice, and she said the tearing, waxing bit wasn't that painful, so I stepped up to the plate.

So the waxing lady puts some drippy wax wherever there's unsightly hair, then she puts some paper strip on top and tears off the hair. Ow! I should have known this process would hurt more than Mom said it would. My mother has had three children, making her some kind of pain-tolerating superwoman. I, on the other hand, have the pain tolerance of, say, a naked mole rat (which I can only assume is a very sensitive creature).

Okay, so it wasn't so bad. However, even a little bit of discomfort seem excessive for a procedure that produces such a slight difference in appearance that it would impossible to notice without the aid of some kind of optical device (like a microscope, or me saying "Hey, do you like my eyebrows?"). Looking good is all about the details.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Things I hate about my job

I'm at work right now. I quit this job already, yes, but my notice isn't up yet. They don't deserve notice, and I find the very fact that I am leaving here soon is making it difficult to withstand this place. I'm not on break. I'm on "personal" which is code for "going pee".

Things I hate about this job:

  • Having to constantly BS to angry customers so they'll stop yelling at me even though I totally agree with them.
  • The colour of the carpet. Greyish-purple with grey design.
  • Lack of flexibility in scheduling. Even if I pretend to be a religious zealot.
  • People who don't know what a mother's maiden name is.
  • People who don't listen to me.
  • Having to say "I recommend" even though there's no way I would put that on my credit card.
  • Wearing a headset without foamies so the plastic digs into my ears.
  • Wearing a headset with foamies so my ears get hot and I can't hear anything.
  • People who don't speak english but pretend they understand me by saying "Ok" over and over.
  • People who thank me for "speaking english"
  • People who don't give their last name when I ask them for their name.
  • The stuffy air.
  • The way all the windows are shaded to prevent anything but florescent light from reaching me.
  • The way nobody notices if I do my job well.
  • The way nobody notices if I do my job terribly. Even if I leave to pee and am gone 15 minutes.
  • People who call from their car.
  • Having to listen to the echo of my own voice.
  • The emphasis on sell, sell, sell.
  • How they keep taking down my drawings
  • Whenever I have less than a minute's break between calls.
  • The "smart" dialing system

I'm sure there's more but I really should be getting back now. The "smart" dialing system will bombard me with calls since I'm gone so long.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ten more days to the big W...

I moved into our apartment for a couple days, but my parents freaked out so I moved back home. It's better this way I suppose. Me being twenty-five and engaged is no reason why I should be allowed to live in sin for ten days. Like my sister says, living at home until the last minute will make actually being married more special.

After hearing about this folks often ask if my family is captain and crew of the starship religious. They're not. This makes it difficult to guess when they'll freak out (there being no bible to determine their beliefs). In any case, I love my family. It actually makes me feel kind of special that those last few day are so important to them.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I hereby tender my resignation.

I quit!

It's official. I gave my notice. When I leave to go on my honeymoon, I AM NEVER COMING BACK.

In answer to your questions. No, I do not have a job lined up. Yes, this will likely be difficult financially. Yes, my job is EVEN WORSE than being unemployed.

I am so better than that place. Yipee.

Friday, August 05, 2005


My friend Vicki at work got me wise to the amusing activity of creating Engfrish by translating text in babel fish from English to Japanese and then back again. Here is a portion of our national anthem Enfrishized:

Order we that the O Canadian
Our all our house and the national
True holy love incandescence center force
And rise true north,
We can stand to supervision because of you,
You release from far, wide
O Canada you observe at that

And the Star Trek : TOS intro:

Space, final frontier.
These are travelling of Starship Enterprise.
The five age chart groups, being strange,
in order to explore the new world,
as for the person going before boldly and without being
in order to find new life and new civilization
in order to go to the place.

The Star Trek: TNG intro is slightly different:

Space, final frontier.
These are travelling of Starship Enterprise.
The continuous delegation, being strange,
in order to explore the new world,
in order to find new life and new civilization
because a certain thing where everyone does before
boldly goes to the place

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Magic White Shorts of Tomorrow

I haven't blogged in a while being that my head has been filled with wedding shenanagins. Thanks to Eva (my soon to be mother-in-law) for hosting Monday's Bridal Shower and Lynda (my Mommy's friend) for hosting Friday's Jack and Jill.

Anyway here is a weird dream I had the other day:

I wasn't in the dream is weird thing number one, nor did I know any of the people in it. (The following is the dream as it appears in the diary entry I wrote the next morning)

This family had a lot of boys living with them (between 9 and 13), and an older brother and an older sister. The older brother hated his job and the Dad kept saying "Quit. You find better one." The Dad was an East Indian man who wasn't wearing a shirt and had a hairy back. He couldn't hold a job.

One of the younger boys was sort of evil and carried around a knife. He wanted to go somewhere or find something (forgot this detail). The other boys lured him into the kitchen by saying that they had found a way to find what he was looking for. They killed the boy with knives.

The boy was now a ghost. When he tried stabbing things/people with his knife it just passed through.

Then he found that he could touch the older girl (but noone else). I guess they weren't actually brother and sister because they were making-out.

The girl got the boy a picture book that told you how to get back from the dead. The book had steps with illustrations. One of the steps said "You need to find the magic white shorts of tomorrow". Another said "You cannot wear an orange shirt with the magic white shorts of tomorrow".

I was thinking I bet he's going to wear an orange shirt when I woke up.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Greetings From Earth

So I'm transmitting my blog to space so all you cool aliens know that we humans (and other Earth creatures) are cool people (and animals and plants and insects and germies).

There's sort of a myth on my planet that if aliens came down they would see all our pollution/garbage/poverty/war/realitytv and say "EW! These people are way too primitive!" And either A) get as far away from us as possible or B) destroy us and steal our resources. I never believed that. A species intelligent enough and determined enough to be travelling millions of miles just to check us out, would surely give us more of a thorough look over before they denounced us all as dirt poor, polluting, warmongering litterbugs who enjoy rotting our minds with decorating shows and Canadian Idol.

Prove me right. Come on down to Earth and say Hello!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Monday, July 18, 2005

Super Happy Jen and her Super Happy Whip

Since it's my day off, I've been doing the ultra-productive activity of creating my own super hero (or at least a super hero version of myself) using this nifty website I found.

Here she is:

I have to try and get my arms that muscular before my wedding. My dress shows off arm flab too much.

In other news. A couple weeks ago I wrote an article about my call centre experiences. Now two editors from the Spectator want to meet with me about my article and "other stuff". What "other stuff" might refer to is beyond me but she (the editor) says "trust me this is a good thing."

Still don't have Sundays off. Might have found someone to switch Fridays with who's off at 6:30 (emphasis on might). Then I can still go to my writer's group, I'll just be late.

And there's a hurricane in Mexico. Right where we're going to honeymoon. Tra la la!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Stuff(Good and Bad)

The Return of the Parking Bilaw Officer

I got a 35$ parking ticket (again). I really have to stop parking on the road overnight. At least he didn't egg my car this time.

I Have an Amazing Impenetrable Forester.

On the way to work I locked I stopped for gas and, after tanking up at the marvelous price of 95 cents a liter, I locked my keys in the car. I asked the gas station girl if she had anything to open it with and she gave me this wire thing that she uses to reach the pop in the back of the fridge. Some guy tried to stick it in my window but he couldn't reach the unlock button. My doctor happened to be there and he let me borrow his cell phone to call CAA. While CAA did not answer the phone, my call was very important to them, and a CAA membership makes a great gift.

So I asked the mechanic guys if they had something to open it. They said they could for the only slightly inflated price of 25$. Fine. They got out their heavy duty car locksmithing kit (a glorified bent hanger and giant nail file) and set to work. After a few minutes they explained to me that there was some kind of anti-theft barrier in place that made it impossible to break in without damaging the vehicle.

Three people offered their cell phones and one woman told me the story about how she once locked her baby in the car. So I went back to the gas station booth and used the girl's phone to call Adam at work. "I'm stupid. I love you," said I. He called his sister and she brought me an extra key. Thanks Julie!

"Easy" Online Registering

I want to register for the online courses at Ryerson so I can get the certificate in Magasine Publishing, so I can become a magazine bigwig, so I can tell the call centre "chuck you farley". Since I still actually have my student number from the courses I took last year, this should be as simple as going online and clicking "I want that". But I can't register my login for some reason. I called tech support--"Tech support! It's a nightmare!"--and they said I needed to wait until August to use my login. That would make it very difficult to register by July 18! I told them this and the guy said he "didn't know anything about registering" and he e-mailed the registrar for me (I coulda done that, in fact I already did). GAH!

I Just became a Born Again Christian

My manager is going to see about getting Sundays off for "religious reasons". This way I'll have Sundays for Adam and me, and Mondays for me. He's also going to get a list of people that work Fridays but not in the evening, so I can switch that day with them and go to my writer's group! I can beat the system. I can!

Got Paid

Rogers paid me for the articles I published in Today's Parent Toronto, thereby re-establishing my self worth, and reminding me that, yes, I am a professional author (even if extremely part-time)

Friday, July 08, 2005

How do other people beat the system?

A while ago, my work changed a lot of shifts, including mine, from a nice, cushy day shift to a sucky noon-8:30 shift. Yesterday me and this other guy, Peter, were working and it was 7 or 8. When one of us remarked that the rest of our team had already left. This means they somehow got changed back to a premo shift.

"I feel stupid. How were they able to beat the system?" Inquired Peter (or something like that, this is not a direct quote).

Good question. It's not as if I haven't complained. It's not as if I haven't put in a shift change request form. It's not as if they have better excuses.

My ideal scheduel:
  • At least some days off in common with Adam. That means weekends. Preferably the whole weekend like the rest of the universe still seems to.
  • No working past 5:30 or 6. Especially on Fridays so I can actually go to my writer's group.
  • Have maybe ten fewer hours than I have right now.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Me and Adam went to Live8 yesterday. I had to call in sick to go which means (if my work is paying attention) they won't give me holiday pay for Friday. It was worth it because by going to this concert (which was free, btw) me and Adam are going to completely abolish all poverty in Africa. It turns out all we had to do was listen to some cool tunes, and it would convince all the world leaders (the important ones anyway) to a)cancel debt, b)increase aid, and c)make trade more fair for poorer countries.

a+b+c= 0 poverty.

Anyway they wanted us all to go to Live8live.com and sign this petition thingie. I did, so you should too. Everybody knows that people do whatever you want when you give them a million billion signatures.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

War of the Worlds

I'll begin my review of War of the Worlds with an historical fact everybody knows (except perhaps my future sister-in-law Julie who didn't realize it was going to be a Science Fiction!). Anyway here's the fact: when the War of the Worlds radioplay was first broadcast in 1938 people actually believed the world was under attack by Martians. The panicked and fled their homes or hid in basements.

How can you compare with that? You can't.

While at no point did I feel the need to find a storm cellar to crawl into, War of the Worlds was a great flick. Lots of scenes with extras running, getting blown up, being sucked into a spaceship's anus, etc.

As always Dakota Fanning is a fabulous actor, beats Tom Cruise out of the water. He wasn't bad either though. Random celebrities for no reason: Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman (voice).

If you know the War of the World's story, you'll know that you never get the satisfaction of seeing the human race triumph over the alien menace. If you don't know the story/don't remember what happens, I ain't spoiling it here.

Oh, and the bloody roots make for a nice visual.


Sunday, June 26, 2005

I did something to my back

I was hanging out at my friend's house when I moved in a funny way and my left back started hurting (by "left back" I of course mean the left side of my only back). My friend Becca, who is not a doctor but who used to work in a health food store so is just as good, says that one of my ribs is not moving and that it would probably go away while I slept.

My back still hurts today, but it's a bit better I guess. My job is turning me into an old woman.

Definitely my apartment

So our application was approved! We're getting the apartment (see below) on August 15th.


Friday, June 24, 2005

My apartment

So Adam and I put in the application to rent our first apartment. So if all goes well we'll have a fabulous pad to move into once we're married. It's two bedrooms, one bathroom, a living area/dining room and one of those narrow kitchens. It'll be nice and cozy and it's reasonably priced.

Now I just have to figure out where I'm going to put up my Wonder Woman shelf.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Things I'm not good at

This is to contrast the "Things I'm Good at" list. If you are in any position to employ me, please skip to the previous entry.

  • Saying No to people.
  • Sounding confident and sure of myself. (Even about topics I am confident and sure about).
  • Being serious. Even when I'm serious, a part of me is joking. Sometimes people think I'm making fun of them or not taking a situation serious enough or something. Whatever.
  • Drawing noses. Anyone who can draw a nose that is in any way convincing is some kind of super human. This is likely the power I'd get if radioactive goo was poured on me by accident.
  • I lack ambition.
  • I'm addicted to computer games. Not the cool ones with the super graphics that the boys are addicted to. No. I'm talking silly flash games where you match colours.
  • I procrastinate. This should probably be counted under things I'm good at because I'm darn good at procrastinating. The aforementioned computer games help.
  • I'm lazy.
  • I'm shy.
  • I have never, nor will ever, figure out how to apply make-up and do my hair for the purpose of making myself "pretty".
  • I'm terrible at keeping my room clean. (I'm a packrat).
  • I'm afraid of heights.

That's pretty well it. None of this stuff is that bad I suppose. I'm working on the laziness.

Things I am good at.

For my own self esteem purposes I am writing a list of things I am good at. I will not inflate or BS this list in anyway (this is not a résumé). If you do happen to be an employer and you need someone with these qualifications don't hesitate to leave some kind of contact info in the comments below and I'll send you a real résumé (a more impressive sounding list).

  • I'm friendly all the time. This may not seem like a lot but I find it's a quality not many people have. Also, by being friendly I can make other people more friendly (mostly) by putting them in a better mood.
  • I'm good at writing. Not just this blog. I wrote a whole book and I got a few articles published (if you like this blog and you want to pay me to write an article for you, we'll talk).
  • I'm good with computers. I'm patient with them like I am with people. I don't freak out when a program freezes and I have a good instinct for getting programs to do what I want without reading lengthy tutorials. If I can't find what I want, it usually isn't there. In which case I shrug my shoulders and find another way to get a similar result.
  • I'm good with children and the elderly. This has to do with the friendliness and patience I mentioned before.
  • I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm good at art (see my art below) but I did go to university for it and learned a bunch of stuff. What my paintings really show is my unique way of looking at the world, with humour and a touch of fantasy.
  • That reminds me, I have a good sense of humour.
  • I'm honest. To the point of my own detriment. This makes me bad at inflating myself, in a job interview for example.
  • I don't smoke and I rarely drink.
  • I'm intelligent enough to do pretty much anything anybody throws at me.

Well there it is. I think I'm a pretty good person.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

My Dream Shelf

Adam bought me a beautiful black shelf to display my wonder woman action figures on. To you this may not seem like a big deal, but allow me to explain. When most people say "Some day, I'm going to own a Ferrari," or "Someday I'm going to have a big house with a pool" I say "someday I'm going to have a shelf where all my wonderwomans will be displayed in order of height."

It is so beautiful you would weep. A Wonder woman Barbie on one end, then my Justice League Wonder Woman, then the first appearance collector's edition Wonder Woman, then a regular Wonder Woman action figure, and finally, my little Wonder Woman bobblehead. As a backdrop, my Wonder Woman comics.

I'm going to clean my room and then get shelves for the rest of my girls! Yipee!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Monsoon Driving

Yesterday I was driving home from St. Cath when I noticed that I needed gas, badly. A light drizzel had begun, but no big deal, I could tank up. I got off the highway and ended up in this tiny town with nothing but a Tim Hortons and some cattle (while the sign by the exit promised an Esso, it was nowhere to be seen). I got back on the highway.

It was then that the sky opened up and deposited an olympic-sized wave pool onto the highway. Waves from the sky. And fork lightening, with loud thunder. I remembered the boy that was hit by lightening a few days ago.

People were stopping at the side of the road. I was driving 60 clicks on a 100 click road (normally cruised at at 120+). Nobody passed me. I eked all the way home with reserve light on.

Later that night, when it was dry out. I tanked up at the price of 77 cents/liter. Thank you, monsoon

Monday, June 06, 2005

My Art

Some people (you know who you are) have been bugging me that they've never seen my art. So here some pics of it.

This is one I did with oil on a big scrap piece I found in the wood shop. It's about four foot tall and 2 foot wide, I guess. The reflection in the eye is a picture of me either dead or asleep. The painting's tears are made with this varnish stuff which mixed with the charcoal I used for the eyelashes for a nice mascara running effect. 2003.

This one I did in oil on three wooden tiles (again, stolen from the wood shop). It's a self portrait where I'm bleeding to death. Cool! I'm not sure why I was all about painting myself dead, maybe I was depressed or something. Anyway I always hung this painting by nailing straight through my arms, legs, heart and head. People thought this was some religious alusion to the cruxifiction, but that's sillyness. 2003

This one isn't very big, about twice the size of my head. It's part of a series where I used find creatures in the wood. Like, this knot hole looks like a set of teeth, and this one looks like a big ear, etc. It's in oil, as usual. 2002/2003

This is pretty large. Like, 4 feet by 4.5 feet, or something (I never measure, I should, but I'm lazy). I used a mixture of oil, charcoal and chalk pastel. This is much more impressive when you see it in person. It's got a lot of stuff about me(or at least me at the time). 2002/2003

This one I like even though I painted it a long time ago and it's actually not done very well. Anyway it's in acrylic on a 2 foot by 2 foot piece of masonite (okay, so it isn't actually square, but close enough). It's up in my room, and it still makes my smile. Nothing funnier than naked twister with big round cartoon nipples. 2001ish

THis one I did in oil on two pieces of wood I stole from the woodshop. THe one on the left is pegboard, the othe in the same type of wood the tiles were made of kinda. Anyway, it's a self portrait. And those are my legs too. I miss those shoes, those were cool shoes. 2003/2003.

Friday, June 03, 2005

I had a dream last night.

Let me try to remember...

I was bored, or something, so I went to the mall. My friend Amy was there (best friend since grade school) was there with a bunch of our friends. Dream friends that is, they aren't really friends in real life, though I do know them. Here's the people I remember:

Amy L (a friend of ours that I haven't seen since high school but Amy kept in touch with her and went to her wedding)
Leanne W (went to school with us but were never really friends. Neither I nor Amy, to my knowledge, has seen her since high school)
Katherine (Becca's maid of honour, who lives in BC and I know doesn't socialize with Amy).
There were more I think I don't remember.

Anyway I asked if I could hang out with them. They said no. They were going to watch a show together at Amy's house. What show, I don't know, but it was some drivel that I don't like (ie Dawson's Creek or Sex in the City). I was still hurt to be left out. It was very grade eight.

I ended up going to Amy's house anybody. Amy's Mom asked me why I was upset. I told her I wasn't invited to Amy's party.

The next thing I remember is curling up with Adam on Amy's couch and the other girls trying to get us to leave.

Amy's a nice person. She wouldn't leave me out, especially if I was THAT keen on watching drivel with her. (I've watched drivel with her on many occasions, and forced her to watch Star Trek, which she considers drivel). I think this started because my sister kicked me and Adam out of the tv room last night. Soon I'll get my own place and the tv will be my oyster.

Monday, May 30, 2005

In other news...

The article I wrote for Today's Parent Toronto made their website.


Stuff that's going on in my life. (a safe, drugfree substitute for valium)

As I may have mentioned before, I have a full time job at a call centre in St. Catharines. We're working on a campaign will a certain American credit card company which means I get to talk to Americans about their credit cards.

Here are some phrases I here frequently:
  • What for you want my mother's maiden name?
  • I've had this card for years and you people still haven't given me an increase!
  • $300! That's ridiculous! I got more money in my pocket right now.
  • (after reading a really long script about a product) What was that now?
  • (after telling customer his credit limit, and annual percentage rates) I have a question, what's my credit limit? And what's my annual percentage rate?
  • You guys are always charging me late fees! What is this late fee for?
  • What's this overlimit fee for?
  • I've got credit cards with other companies and they don't ________.
  • Is my card activated yet? Is my card activated yet?
  • I'm on my way to work/church/wherever, can we speed this up?
  • Actually I'm calling about my wife's/husband's/daughter's/son's/mother's/father's/cousin's card.

Other stuff that's happened since I last blogged.

  • Becca and Drew got married (so, according to tradition, they should now be known as Drew and Becca) I direct your attention to http://merther.blogspot.com/ for some thoughts from and pictures of the groom. I wrote a big long blog about the wedding but it was swallowed by the abyss and I didn't feel like writing another one. We (the bride and bridesmaids) were fashionably late to the ceremony (hairdresser was late, and MOH forgot the ring) but the rain held out long enough to have a beautiful ceremony in the park outside an art gallery.
  • I got my first credit card. I don't plan to charge anything on it (I hate owing money) but it will be nice to have for net purchases and stuff. Also I think working for a credit card company has gotten to me.
  • Adam is getting a full time job in Mississauga. He's worked for them on and off for a while doing graphic design stuff (websites, advertisements, those cheesey touchscreen things at casinos, etc). Now the full time guy is leaving and it's Adam's turn. We don't have any idea how I'll get to St. Catharines and he'll get to Mississauga when we only have one car, but I'm sure we'll work something out.
  • Tomorrow, Adam and I are going to see a play at the Shaw festival (we won the tickets at Drew and Becca's stag and doe).
  • Adam and I have been looking for apartments in Burlington for after we're married. Some of them are not bad, and fairly reasonably priced (unlike the houses).

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Pre-wedding funness

I'm at my good good friends Becca and Drew's house in St. Catharines. (I met them in my Kindergarten class.) They are getting married on Saturday!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yippeee!!! My fellow bridesmaid Kerri, wedding planner extraordinaire Amanda and yours truly are all on laptops: not just for nerds anymore (though all three of us are nerds, except Kerri and Amanda). My sexy fiancé Adam is watching Kevin (the best man even though Adam is really the best) and the groom play a silly boys' shooting game on the Playstation. Katherine is being all maid of honourish and planning wedding stuff. And the Becca is sitting next to me holding a shoe and playing with the future Mr. Becca's hair. Now she's telling a bridesmaid horror story involving red bridal satin and white sunscreen.

Anyway. Today we had the wedding rehearsal at the Rodman Hall, a gorgeous garden outside an art museum. Apparently, my job as bridesmaid is to stand there and look pretty. Must remember not to figit.

Afterwards we had a delicious dinner at a restaurant. I had shrimp in a yummy cheesey sauce with mashed potatoes with bits of skin! (potatoe skin, not what you were thinking). After dinner Drew and Becca gave us all thank you gifts. I got earrings and necklace that will match the bridesmaid dress and (more importantly) a CAREBEAR. I got Cheer Bear because I'm so cheery. It's pink and has a rainbow. I think we were supposed to pay more attention to the jewlery but I'm a six-year-old trapped in a 25-year-old's body.

Later Katherine and Kevin and I (note we don't live in St. Cath) went to get the bridesmaid's dresses steamed. We left at 8:40 and navigated a bunch of oneway streets which, rather than being laid out in a grid pattern, were designed in the 1800s to make the Americans get lost when they come to invade us. The bridal store closes at 9. We got there at 8:56.

I am so gosh darn excited that two of my bestest friends are getting married!!!! The music that we'll be walking to is playing from this laptop. I can picture Becca walking up the aisle (grass) in her pretty white dress with pretty pink roses. It's going to be the best wedding ever in the history of the universe (until September, when Adam and I are getting married).

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Canadian Politics...or When will our leaders graduate kindergarten?

Okay so conservative leader Stephen Harper* has joined forces with the evil Bloc Quebecois** so they can cry "non-confidence" in PM PM*** and call a new election. He's pretending this has to do with the sponsership scandel, but clearly Steve just wants to be prime minister.

Meanwhile, the NDPs are supporting Paul Martin as long as he does whatever Jack Layton**** says. So the person who almost nobody voted for is now running the country. O Canada.

For the record I must say that I didn't vote for any of these guys. However, Paul was elected fair and square so leave him alone so he can start actually running the country. People! I don't really care if an election is called because I don't think the results will be all-fire different from last time. I'm still voting Green (it's not just for hippies anymore).

*Stephen is anti-gay-marriage and was pro-war-in-Iraq, making his slogan "Make War Not Love".
**The Bloc's only agenda is to seperate from Canada. Obviously so they can be the leaders of their own country.
***Prime Minister Paul Martin currently has no agenda except to stay prime minister. This means he must do nothing that will offend voters. This means he must do nothing.
**** Jack Layton is a dork.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

My controversial opinions.

I 've decided to make a list of all my opinions which are somewhat controversial. Usually when I meet someone new, I don't tell them these things because I'm afraid they won't like me. Anyway here's the list (in order of what I think of first):

  • I am an atheist. That means I don't believe in God. Unlike some atheists, who just have a lack of belief, I actually have a firm belief that God does not exist. While I respect those who are religious and know many intelligent, rational-minded theists, I am continually baffled as to how intelligent, rational-minded people can believe in fairy tales.
  • I can not see anything wrong with homosexuality. I believe that it is a sexist attitude to say that it matters what gender your partner is. I believe that gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry and that the union should be in fact called a "marriage" not a "civil union" or any other dorky thing to make it sound different because we all know it isn't. I also admire homonsexuals because they have the courage to come out of the closet and be themselves despite social norms.
  • I believe that war is wrong. It is murder. While I understand that sometimes governments and soldiers go to war with the best of intentions, it is never never never a good idea. The bad always outweighs the good, and any good that comes in the end could have been acheived with less blood, and less money.
  • I believe that abortion is not murder. It should be a woman's choice whether or not to have a baby (even if she's had unprotected sex). It is ridiculous to give any rights to a human life before anything resembling a brain has developed.
  • I believe that stem cell research should be allowed. I understand that this research has the protentional to treat everything from Alzeimer's to AIDS (and other diseases that don't start with A). Why people have problems with experimenting with human tissue, I have no idea.
  • I believe that humans are animals, more specifically primates. Even if Darwin didn't have that theory it would be obvious . Look, we have oposable thumbs, they have oposable thumbs. It ain't rocket science.
  • I believe that scientists should go ahead and try to clone animals, including humans, for no other reason than it's cool.
  • I believe that it's okay to eat bacon, steak, pork, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, sausage and bologna, even on Fridays. If we all became vegetarians and let all our farm animals roam free in the wilderness, they would all die of exposure, hunger, thirst, or stupidity in a matter of days. Cows, pigs and chickens have been bred and raised to be our food, to not eat them would be a waste.
  • I believe that every person is kind, unkind, annoying, rude, polite, considerate, inconsiderate, loving, hateful, intelligent, and stupid.
  • I believe that the Star Trek franchise is the best science fiction franchise ever. It beats Star Wars out of the water. Star Trek: the Next Generation is the best series of any genre.

Well that's all I can think of right now. I'm sure some of you hate me by now, but that's a risk I was willing to take in order to express my beliefs. Woohoo!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Real Life Super Heroes?

Ostrich Boy (a.k.a. Captain Weirdo)

So in 5 years we can all have wings. If you can't fly I don't see the point (unless you want to be Ostrich Boy). It's kind of cool that the brain can recognize new body parts though.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Johann Hari on the bizarre world of radical plastic surgery

X-ray Vision Girl

My fiancé sent me this article about a girl who can diagnose internal illnesses just by looking at people.
Ananova - X-ray vision girl amazes scientist

Friday, April 22, 2005

5 minute blog entry

I have five minutes left in my break. Here's what's been going on in my life.

Becca & Drew's stag and doe went well. Sucked that I had to work the next morning.

Mon. Toronto Zoo. Awesome. Saw all the usual animals. 2-month-old baby warthogs. Adam took pics with his cool overpriced new camera www.filipowicz.ca/gal

My day, everyday, is talking to americans about their credit cards. It would be hillarious if it wasn't work.

The end. Break over.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Why Mommies Make Great Lunches

You might think that now that I've reached the ripe old age of 25, I'm past the stage of having my mom make my lunches. You'd be wrong. Today my mom had to leave early and could not make my lunch, so much to my chagrin I was forced to endure a lunch that was not made with love.

The difference?

Lunch made with love includes:

1. Sandwich: two slices of a delicious and interesting new type of bread, filled with at least 3 or 4 slices of smoked turkey, and piled high with vegetables not limited to lettuce (optional tomatoes, red pepper, cucumbers). Everything is glued together with a gerous helping of mayo and (in case that fails) the mountainous sandwich is stuck with no less than two toothpicks. It is cut in half because "the whole thing won't fit in one ziplock bag.
2. Drink: Either a waterbottle, or delicious juicebox
3. Perifferals: Including (but not limited to) cookies, cupcakes, apple, banana, fruit salad, yogurt, apple sauce, strawberries, pudding.

Lunch made by me:

1. Sandwich (when motivated): Two slices of whatever bread is left on the counter from breakfast, with one or two slices of whatever meat is hanging out in the fridge, and one Kraft singles slice. It fits in one ziploc (though I do squish it a bit to get it in there). OR 1. Frostbiten frozen dinner (If not motivated)
2. Drink: none. I get water from the tap when at work.
3. Periferrals: Yeah, right, that's it.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Cool Pictures

I just want to direct your attention to my fiancé's website www.filipowicz.ca/gal

He just got a new toy (digi camera) and he's been using to take all kinds of super-cool pictures of close-up pussy willows and swans and stuff. I love my fiancé dearly but he spends too much money on toys. Hugs Adam! The pictures are cool though. Check them out!

Friday, April 01, 2005

April Fools and Free Computerized Twister Spinner

April Fools, the one day a year when everyone is as silly as me. I discovered a couple April Fools jokes on the net today:


I'm too late to fool anyone because, as everyone knows, if you fool someone after 12 that makes you the biggest April fool of all the fools (or something like that). But what I can give you is this:


Download it (Just clickety-click on the above link and say "yes" to whatever it wants you to do). If you're like me, you still have your old Twister game kicking around but you never play it because you need a third person to spin (and it's hard enough to convince even one person to play). Your troubles are over with this computerized spinner. You too can enjoy this gorgeous Flash replica of the Twister spinner, with audio spin-calling. That's right, the spins are called out in my own voice so you don't even have to look at the screen. Just dive for that big coloured dot!

You can also see the program on-line by clicking here.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

So what's with the Bunny?

I'm all about learning the non-christian origins of holidays. Me being a Godless heathen and all. Anyway, after a brief search on the good ol' internet I found a guzillion different origins of Easter. All of them infinitely less depresso than being nailed to a cross and coming back zombie-style.

Okay so back in the day there was this Godess named Ostara (she had lots of names actually some of them quite close to the word Easter). Anyway she was the Godess of fertility and of the rising sun. Incidently the word East (as in "the sun rises in the East") also comes from Ostara. Being the Godess of fertility, Ostara was all about the bunnies and the eggs. Bunnies being prolific breeders and eggs being mini baby factories.

One story I like is the one where Ostara entertained some kids by turning her pet bird into a rabbit. The rabbit laid all these bright coloured eggs. (not chocolate ones. The net is pretty vague on the chocolate origins except to say that it was probably the Germans' idea. Go Germans!) Anyhoo good ol' Ostara gave the eggs to the children. What a nice lady.

Another kind of cool story is that some people (I don't remember who, I'm writing this from memory) used to go into the forest and get all kinds of different eggs. This was the first Easter egg hunt. The eggs were different colours because they were from different types of birds (saves time dying). Then they ate them. I guess they realized this was kind of gross because they started dying chicken eggs instead and putting them in baskets made to look like birds nests.

All this fun stuff happens the first full moon after the spring Equinox. Or in our case, the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the Equinox. That's when Ostara makes the sun rise and makes the spring come and makes all the animals get busy.

McNicoll Traditions:

On Good Friday we do jack all. Jack all is open. There's jack all to do.

On Easter Saturday (why isn't it called Easter Saturday anyway?) we dye hard-boiled eggs with food colouring. Then we colour them with markers. Adam is infinitely perplexed as to why we, after dying the eggs, would need to colour them again but it seems perfectly logical to me.

During the night a giant bunny comes and brings us chocolate. She also hides all the easter eggs around the living room. Some years she leaves us badly rhyming clues that lead all around the house and eventually to our Easter baskets (ie: "When you go to watch tv, and Easter clue is there to see"). This year she didn't do the clues because she left them on her old laptop by accident.

On Easter Sunday we find all the eggs and chocolate. Then we have an egg fight. This is one tradition I was unable to find an origin. It's certainly not something we invented because I found several references to families doing this (including one brief reference in My Big Fat Greek Wedding). So what you do is you hold your Easter egg so only the end is exposed. Then you tap it against some other person's egg. Whoever doesn't crack wins. What do you win? Nothing. I think it's a European thing.

Then we make deviled eggs. Yum!
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