If I wish really, really, REALLY hard, can I make it snow?

Ottawa snow

I’d give just about anything for a freak June snowstorm right now. (I was going to say “I’d sell my soul” but just in case there really is a Devil *and* he’s reading this blog, I don’t want to give him an “in”. Plus, he’d just make me suffer through even more heat when he finally got my soul and that would just suck.)

Trust me, if I had that kind of super power, you’d all be digging your way out of foot-deep drifts this morning. (Feel free to thank the deity of your choice.)

My hair hasn’t been dry in days and I’m having vivid flashbacks to my Paxil days. I haven’t slept more than a couple of hours a night in that same time and I’m punch drunk (and, believe me, I’m not a happy drunk). Even the office isn’t a respite — how can an air-conditioned office still be damp? Isn’t making it non-damp part of the whole “conditioning” thing? Granted it’s a step up from drowning in sweat, but clammy is still pretty gross.

And I woke up this morning with a summer chest cold, which isn’t helping the whole hot and humid or clammy thing.

Blah, blah, blah, whinge, whine, sniffle.

(Off-topic aside — overheard in the elevator at work this morning:

young guy 1: “Did you know Michael Jackson died?”
young guy 2: “Really?”
young guy 3: “We should start a vigil.”
young guy 2: “How are we expected to work after that news?”



Where were you when…?

The Alarm‘s “Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke?” is going through my head right now.

I wish I could get away from the Michael Jackson coverage, but it’s everywhere. And it’s going to be EVERYWHERE for days, if not weeks or months. Someone wrote that they’d remember forever what they were doing when they heard the news, just like they still remembered what they were doing when they heard that Elvis Presley had died. I tried to think if there were any celebrity or high-profile deaths I would always remember in that way. There aren’t many.

I don’t remember what I was doing when I heard that Jim Henson died, but I remember putting a black armband (left over from a Tienanmen Square solidarity march I’d attended in 1989) on a baby Kermit stuffed toy I had.

I remember what I was doing when I heard that Freddie Mercury (lead singer of Queen) had died in 1991. I was a majorly huge Queen fan for most of my formative years and seeing his obvious health decline culminate in his death was tragic and heartbreaking.

I remember I was watching “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” in 1997 when news of Lady Di‘s accident and subsequent death came through in a breaking news story. It was my first experience with that kind of massive news overload and that’s what I remember more than her actual death. If she were to have died now, in this age of extreme coverage, I don’t know that I’d remember it at all.

I remember what I was doing when 9/11 occurred. Given the 24/7 news onslaught, it’d be impossible not to. It was a lost work day as people were glued to online news sites and televisions. I channel-surfed for days, watching anything and everything about it. I think that’s where most of my jaded thoughts originate.

That’s pretty much it…and, except for the fact that it’s documented in this blog, MJ’s death would never be one of those that I would be able to recall later.

Bad day for odd ducks

I was a little sad today to learn that cancer had finally claimed Farrah Fawcett. Whatever you might have thought of some of her odd turns, she was iconic. I loved her in “Charlies Angels” — and I so desperately wanted that hair. (I had to settle for Kate Jackson’s surf haircut instead.)

Then what the hell? I have a nap this evening and wake up to hear Nigel Lithgow on “So You Think You Can Dance” talking about Michael Jackson dying? That one’s just surreal.

Call me jaded (and I acknowledge that I frequently am), but can you guess which one will result in epic outpourings of grief and news coverage that will rival that seen for Lady Di? Complete with Elton John singing a song for him, apparently.

(As an aside, TMZ? WTF? “In the moments following Michael Jackson’s death — so many people rushed to the Internet, that it practically stopped the entire WWW in its tracks”?????? Like, ohmygod, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and AIM are so not the “entire WWW”.

Hard to believe, I know.)

I don’t understand humans

The alleged* death of Neda Agha-Soltan in the Iran protests reminds me yet again how much I just don’t understand humans as a species, despite being one (last time I checked, anyway). The instantaneous and excessive grief shown by people in the news, in blogs, and on social networking sites is mind boggling. If this video really did show the final seconds of this young woman’s life, ultimately she was just one woman, just one death in a world that sees thousands of deaths daily. Why should the circumstances of her death make her more grief-worthy than someone else? Being at that spot at that time does not make her a hero; it makes her at best an unfortunate victim. The fact that this is becoming an Internet phenomenon makes me a little bit sad for the future of the human race.

How did the 2000+ Hurricane Katrina deaths in 2005 completely overtake the sheer horror of 230,000 lives lost in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake? Why did the 3000+ deaths on 9/11 merit more grief and global histrionics than the other estimated 150,000 people who died worldwide that day.  (I understand the global effect of 9/11 — war, retaliation, etc. I’m talking about the immediate visceral sorrow people expressed.) Even if you’re American and more hard hit by the loss of Americans, why do the roughly 2600 Americans who die every day not matter as much? You could say you don’t know them, but most of you didn’t personally know someone who died on 9/11 or in Hurricane Katrina. It reminds me of the outpouring of weepy sentiment when Lady Diana died. Forget the thousands of other human beings who died that day.

This is the same confusion I experience when I ask why the world thinks baby seals are worth fighting to save but cows, rabbits, and other food or nuisance animals are not.

I’m beginning to wonder about this species we’re all a part of.

Mayo, can I be a robot, too?

* I say “alleged” because, having seen the video, I can’t say that I believe that the video shows a woman actually dying. That’s not to say that I know it doesn’t, merely that I’m not convinced. The camera work feels too much like something Cris Angel would try to pull. And the timing is convenient, occuring just when a martyr was needed to spur the protesters. Even if it turns out to be a real death, the hoopla surrounding it still reeks of propaganda and that makes me a little suspicious.


Jehovah’s Witnesses are nothing if not persistent in their zealous quest to bring you to Jesus Christ.

My mother tells of a Jehovah’s Witness following her into our apartment (even into a closet) uninvited as my mother gathered her coat and purse to leave. A friend had a recent encounter in which two Jehovah’s Witnesses tried to open the screen door to her house to enter uninvited despite the two very large Akitas who were growling at them. They’re very lucky it was locked or you might have been reading a very tragic news story. I’ve had friends with very weird senses of humour play cat and mouse with Jehovah’s Witnesses, inviting them in only to start in-depth theological discussions with them or to bring out their pagan/Wiccan/whatever paraphernalia to start of debate about Jesus versus their deity.

I’ve never had a problem myself with Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking on my door, seeking to witness to me. Mind you, I’m one of those people who either doesn’t answer the door or only cracks it open a bit before telling you to get lost. Trust me, I could out-stubborn even a Jehovah’s Witness.

But they’re moving into the modern(-ish) age. Out with the door-to-door witnessing and in with the telemarketing. If you haven’t been telemarketed by a Jehovah’s Witness yet, it’s only a matter of time. Prepare for it now and you can have fun with it. My first Jehovah’s Witness telemarketing call came a couple of years ago. I’d just started up some monthly donations to some environmental organizations and at first, the anonymous call seemed like it might have been a donation solicitation call from one of them. “We know you’re concerned about the environment and global warming and…” He had me still on the line until he mentioned war and terrorism. At that point, I cut him off and asked him what group he was with. I kept cutting him off as he skirted around the question until he finally said he was a Jehovah’s Witness. I actually said “Oh, for f&^%’s sake” and hung up on him. That’s when I started screening my calls.

Last night, a very pleasant young lady left a message on my answering machine as I was screening calls. I couldn’t make out much of what she said, but I heard enough to know that it was a religious call so I didn’t pick up. When I replayed the message, I realized that she was a Jehovah’s Witness as well.

Soon, they’ll be spamming Twitter and witnessing via email spam. And then there will be nowhere to hide.

[Edited January 23, 2013: What the hell? At what point did the title of this become just “P”? I can’t even begin to figure out what I’d originally titled it. Something about Persistence? I can’t leave it as “P”, though. Cryptic is good but insensible? ]

Random thoughts

I seem to have the attention span of a squirrel these days so long posts are out of the question. So, instead, here are some bite-sized nugget, twitter-like posts. (I have some “real” posts partially completed but just don’t feel like finishing any of them right now.)

  • For the second time in my life, someone actually balked at calling me by my usual name (a fairly common and very benign diminutive form of my proper name) because it seemed too informal — the first person who balked (a potential writing client last year) said his wife wouldn’t like it if he put that name in his phone address book; this time, it was likened to calling someone “sweet potato” or “cutie pie”. What’s weirder is that they didn’t object to calling me by the preferred name when talking to me, but writing it down somewhere made it unprofessional. What planet am I living on?
  • I hate price-gouging international couriers. A friend sent a package to me from the US (a heavyish package, with some moderately rare items in it) priority mail and, because it had to go through a customs broker, cost me $50 plus the GST charges (instead of the $6 plus GST that Canada Post would have charged). It’s my own fault, but I’m still really pissed off.
  • Puking is more infectious — across all species — than almost anything else. Got woken up at about 1am last night (after only having been asleep for about an hour or so so I was all jittery and shaky when I woke up) to the sounds of a cat throwing up. Trying to cough up a hairball but only managing to barf up watery stomach contents. I still had to clean it up and it still smells like puke, even when there isn’t much of it. I was already feeling a little blech and that didn’t help. So I ended up having to fight my own stomach contents for the next half hour until I fell back asleep.