Archive for February, 2006

Scandinavian bedding

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

I really have to hand it to the Scandinavians for their quality manchester. They use these fairly thin quilts that are especially light and deliciously toasty. Honestly, it’s a pure delight to hop into a Scandinavian hotel bed and look forward to a lovely night of sleep.

If I were to criticise anything, it would be that they have the typical European tendency for huge pillows. But that’s ok because I carry my own pillow.

I should really buy one of those quilts.

Flying

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

I love to fly. I am a boy. Harry Potter, I think, because he’s the only flying hero I can identify to.

I fly in all kinds of marvelous places but essentially above imaginary mountains that erupt at the top of a lush forest that I don’t have much interest in when I fly.

The mountains are tall peaks and are cinnamon coloured. There is a monastery at the top and a very long, narrow and winding path with stairs between the forest and the monastery. I am so glad I fly. I seldom follow the path because I don’t need to. I soar right up instead. And I’m taken by the view. I usually find myself gradually flying down and it’s not my destination. I catch myself and fly to the monastery, beyond the monastery and I circle it, slowly, quietly, still going up. There isn’t much activity that I can see happening down there. For instance, I have never seen any monk.

At the bottom of the forest there is a plain and farther away, in three directions, there is an ocean. This place can’t be bothered with the noise, smells and commotion of a city. This is what I like about it. I follow sea gulls, or not. I follow the winds, or not.

Today I entered the property of a wealthy neighbour near dusk. I often treat myself viewing the sunset from there. There are many people on the grounds, in the dependencies, near the stables. I could take off anywhere and fly above them unnoticed but I can’t resist. Maybe I am transparent, or very clever, or they are not easily surprised; I have never been noticed. Plus there is this perfect spot for take-off just in a little clearing they have between a wood and a lake.

I am not yet quite proficient and I brush the top of the trees in the wood every time I take the direction of the valley. I think I like it, in fact. Scratching myself a little in flexible branches doesn’t matter; I can fly!

The sunset was dazzling and it quickly turned to a captivating twilight. In the valley there are fields of crops and farms, a broad, shallow and lazy river, more fields and farms and there are cliffs and below them the ocean for a short while. In the bay there is an island. It’s like an oversized tortoise. A very green one. I think it used to be a volcano many many centuries ago.

I glided happily, drawing forms or letters idly. It was becoming dark and I was getting tired. I landed in a clearing and then I walked. How mundane and slow and unexciting.

Could I fly a little more? I would need to choose a proper spot to take-off lest I crash and get caught in the woods this time. I would need to pump my legs to rise higher because when I’m tired, thinking is not enough fuel. There is an orange and reddish light from further down in the valley, I must see that. I know where to take off. I arrange my bags so that they don’t hinder me and secure my scarf around my neck.

I barely scratch my feet, pump my legs and soon the spectacle of the valley reveals itself to me. The crops are glowing, some a deep pumpkin orange, others a luminous creamy colour, some cherry red and others velvety burgundy and crimson, the fields boundaries are illuminated too, a succession of flickering stars, it seems. I have never seen such a festival. Maybe they are celebrating autumn.

I have a camera and I awkwardly fish it from my bag. I had never thought of taking photos, I wonder why. I select the proper setting and press the button. I’m not flying steadily enough for taking a clear photo. That’s a shame because my legs are now too sore from pumping and I must proceed to an emergency landing.

I fly around a little wood, hover over some ruins where I hear two men having an intense and very foreign conversation. I will not be able to fly much longer and I hope their only focus will be on their heated argument. I land, much less noisily than I expected. I make a quick escape from the grounds, the sound from the important conversation fading rapidly.

Grand Master Grace

Friday, February 17th, 2006

It is a proud moment…. Grace has embraced Old School. I have been working diligently to get one of the 3 to enjoy RunDMC or Grand Master Flash and it seems that all the “tricky tricky tricky” (yet fun) work has finally paid off. Nothing makes me happier today than watching my little Grand Master Grace wander around (actually it’s more of a bounce w/ a sway) singing “don’t push me cuz i’m close to the edge… i’m trying not to lose my head… it’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how i keep from going under hoo hahaha”.

I must admit that she does a great job of mixing old with new. She even wears a bandaid on her face everyday for no apparent reason… I like to think that she’s mourning the loss of old school…. but it’s most likely because she’s 2 and bandaids are just plain cool. Oh well…. i’m happy anyway!

Listen to Grand Master Flash today and smile!

it’s okay…that’s what it is

Friday, February 17th, 2006

The other day a good friend and I were discussing suffering. Note: we also discussed, at greater length not long after, the TV show Arrested Development,* so don’t get the idea this was any kind of impressive French-cafe-philosophy-talk I’m bragging about (though he is certainly capable of that level of discussion, I’m more of the discuss-TV-shows-at-length type).

Our “suffering” discussion was rather brief. In fact, the conversation went roughly like:

“Life is suffering”
“Yeah-huh!”

My favorite part was the near glee with which, I at least, smiled after the little exchange. Don’t misunderstand, it’s absolutely true that life is painful sometimes (and I’m more than a little morose, more often than I might like), it just somehow it struck me as true and funny. Not long after, I came across this quote which seemed to put it all beautifully:

Just live that life. It doesn’t matter whether it is life or hell… it’s okay; just live that life, see. And as a matter of fact, [there is] no other way. Where you stand, where you are, that’s what your life is right there, regardless of how painful it is or how enjoyable it is. That’s what it is.

-Taizan Maezumi (1931-1995)

———–
footnote:
* Arrested Development is fantastically, dementedly brilliant and just now it occurs to me there is a loose correlation between being able to find the idea that life is suffering funny and appreciating that show.

then ignore the .css!

Monday, February 13th, 2006

I’ve been having strange dreams lately; here’s the latest.

I was a foreign student in the US and the teacher had given us an essay to write as an assignment.

He was unhappy with mine.

teacher: Your assignment deserves nothing but a bad mark, Miss. It’s text I wanted, not decoration.
me: Then use the .html and ignore the .css!

switchboard operators too have fun

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

When I was 20 I worked as a switchboard operator in a hospital during the summer vacations. One day as I was done with my shift, I stayed a while longer with the girl who was doing the next shift.

She asked if I would dare take the next call and goof around; I gladly took up the challenge!

I spoke with a fake foreign accent and pretended they were not at all at the hospital.

me: “The rehabilitation centre? no, Sir, not at all.”
them: “Ah. Oh, well, I’m sorry!”

They were about to hang up!

me: “But I’m so glad you called. I don’t have much company, you see…”

My friend was so worried she would get into trouble, that she started to giggle and gesture nervously, and that was contagious.

I became anxious to dispose of that potentially embarassing call. I don’t recall what the caller next said or how I hung up.

My friend was eager to get back to serious work, and I was not eager to find out whether the caller would redial and speak with her; I was done for the day and darted out back home.

great expectations

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

Great Expectations” by Elbow is lovely. I can’t get enough of it lately.

birthday

Monday, February 6th, 2006

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite people in the world.

She is one of the most charming and likeable people I know, (I remember, for example, a Thanksgiving dinner where she, at a shy 13, won the heart of a not-easily-impressed College friend of mine when they spent half the meal hanging spoons from their noses).

There is no one with whom I would rather get lost driving; no one who makes me laugh as easily and as much as her; no one who makes the simple things of life — stories about home decorating, long lines at customs, playing board games, sitting on a porch at night — more enjoyable.

She has brought into the world, three of my other favorite people in the world and is a wonderful, strong and loving mother. Her children are, like her, beautiful, funny, talented and good-hearted. I love them dearly and am glad for them that they have a mother like her. I am glad for myself that she is in my life. While I wasn’t so sure about the idea when she was first born, now I don’t know what I would do without her.