I'm Ruined

My credibility lies in tatters, my reputation is shot and, worst of all, I have disappointed my child.

How, you ask, did such a calamity come to be? Well, I confused a Morphin' Power Ranger
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with a Transformer Cybertron.
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How will I live with the shame?


Deep Thoughts

Is it better to have talent but think you don't, or to not have talent but think you do?

Obviously, it would be best for all concerned if those who have talent know it, and those who don't also know it. But watching American Idol, following the vanity press and fan fic arguments on Lee Goldberg's blog, and seeing a rise in the belief that wanting something really a lot means you deserve to get it, lead me to believe that there are a tremendous number of people out there who are completely unaware that they are totally devoid of talent. Who are shocked, outraged and defiant when told this is the case. People who are so convinced of their own abilities that no one, no matter what their credentials, will ever convince them they're not the Next Big Thing. People who will spend years and thousands of dollars trying to prove that their critics are wrong*.

In a way, I kind of admire these deluded souls. The ability to completely and unreservedly believe in oneself in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary must be pretty amazing. A little scary to the rest of us, perhaps, but imagine what it must feel like to know you're right, you're gifted, you're an incredible, if misunderstood, talent. Sure, it's a little frustrating when no one else agrees with you, but you can write them off as idiots and carry on in your own little universe.

I often think it would be easier to be like that than to have a genuine ability and not believe in it, or yourself. Like me. If I think about it rationally, I know I'm pretty good at a fair number of things. But I don't think I'm good enough at anything. Which kind of sucks, since I'm probably better than a lot of the people who think they're experts. But I don't have their faith, their conviction.

Most days, I'd be happy to trade a little talent for some of that self confidence.

*When their critics are, in fact, totally correct.

Favourite New Toy

Oh, I loves me some Google Earth! It's just the coolest app - I thought Google Maps was wicked awesome, but Earth takes Maps and adds all kinds of cool features.

And I love their Terms & Conditions - especially this part:


I'm disappointed, of course - there go my plans for a home nuclear reactor*. Still, it's a marvelous time waster, and they have no restrictions on its use in world domination activities. Unless that falls under "hazardous activities etc."

I'm now going to try to explain to the Monkeychild how it's possible to be in Aldergrove, Canada, and North America all at the same time. We've had more than a few tears over the issue to date, and I will be ever so grateful to Google if we can clarify the situation.

*To be honest, I'm not quite sure how one would use a map of the world, no matter how detailed, in the day-to-day running of a reactor. But I'm no physicist, so what do I know?


For Everyone Who Came Here Looking for Naked Soccer Moms

The Naked Soccer Mom

There you are, lounging around the public library wearing nothing but socks when suddenly the phone rings. Surprised, you hope it's the pizza because you're starving.....for loving and are happy to see the whole high school cheerleading team dancing. As the cheesy music begins you can't help yourself, so you do a cheer, awed by the size of the pizza bill that confronts you. Before you know it a car pulls up and it's the Dallas Chamber of Commerce eating the pizza you've been waiting for. Being the gracious host, you spank all of them, much to their delight.

The air is thick with the smell of someone's cheap perfume as 7 people are now writhing in a pile on the floor eating. You're completely absorbed in it, never having enjoyed so many people eating at once. Suddenly you look up and see more cheerleaders staring at you and you grin foolishly. You're caught! They give you a chalkboard so you can keep score next time and you turn them over to the Jehovah's Witnesses as the cheesy music fades out.

The End.

Courtesy of Porn-o-matic, inspired by Diva


Spanky Goes To War

With a little help from Plot-o-matic , I think I've found my new calling - I'm gonna write movies! Thanks to Lee for pointing the way.

Spanky Goes To War
an original screenplay concept
by sxKitten

Period Piece: A kind hearted prostitute teams up with an alcoholic ex-CIA agent to save the earth from aliens. In the process they deflower four British men on welfare. By the end of the movie they blow up 23 oogly mothers-in-law and end up winning the admiration of their 3rd grade teacher, living happily ever after.

Think Priscilla, Queen of the Desert meets Lord of the Rings.

And if movies don't do it for you, there's always Porn-o-matic


Words of Wisdom

As I was leaving the daycare this morning, MonkeyBoy came running up to me calling, "I have to tell you one fing, Mom!" It's a pretty standard stalling tactic - he either has one fing to tell me, or one fing to ask me, especially at bedtime. But today, he gave me some advice that I will try to live by - and I recommend that all of you do the same. Your lives will be better for it:

"Don't let any bad guys catch you today. Or feed you to their pets."



Trillian’s post about seeing a dead opossum got me thinking about roadkill, and how it’s an underutilized resource. Think about it – unless you live close to a decent zoo, roadkill’s really your best chance of seeing wildlife (OK, wild animals, not necessarily live) up close. But you’re limited to local species. While I’ve had plenty of opportunities (not necessarily taken advantage of) to examine opossums, squirrels, coyotes – even a beaver, once – up close, I’ve never had a good look at a porcupine, for example.

It seems to me that there’s an opportunity for an interprovincial species exchange – perhaps an online bulletin board where schools and community groups could post their requirements, and an army of volunteers to source the specimens. There’d have to be standards – I don’t think your average Brownie pack would want to receive their Western Grey Squirrel sample in 5 or 6 ziplock baggies, so we’d want to specify intact carcasses. Perhaps members with extra freezer space could stockpile the more hard-to-find varieties, especially during winter, the prime collection season.

We could call it the Canadian Roadkill Exchange Program. We’d need sponsors – I’m thinking FedEx or UPS, since your window of opportunity is fairly narrow with this type of product. In exchange for free shipping, they’d have the right to use Proud Sponsor of CREP in all their advertising.

I won’t want to leave our American brethren out – they have a lot of cool animals down there, like armadillos, that we just can't get here in the Great White North – and would love to see someone spearhead the formation of the American Roadkill Species Exchange. Volunteers could be called American Roadkill Species Exchange Supporters, and those who got in right at the beginning would be proud to say “We’ve been ARSES from day 1!”


Happy Birthday, Charlie!

It was my grandfather's youngest brother's 90th birthday yesterday. His son hosted a family party at Charlie's golf club - there were only 4 of us present (out of 30 or so guests, no children invited) who were under 40, and probably a dozen over 80.

As birthday parties go it was, unsurprisingly, a fairly tame affair. But I learned some interesting facts about my great-uncle's life, and there was a lot of talk about what the world was like when he was a young man. He and my grandfather were both born on a homestead in Saskatchewan, a few miles from a town that no longer exists. They were 5th and 3rd in a family of 8 kids, and lived, until after the birth of #6, in a 16' x 20' log cabin. How my great-grandparents found the time (and the privacy) to procreate, I can only guess.

My great-grandfather, a Scottish immigrant, sold the homestead and moved the family to Saskatoon in the early 1920's. They were poor - often living on oatmeal for weeks at a time - but he wanted his children to get proper schooling. Uneducated himself, he sent 5 of his 8 children to university.

Charlie studied medicine in Winnipeg, graduating just before WWII broke out. He joined up, the only one in the family to do so, and was sent to North Africa with the British army. I've seen photos of the massive tent city in the desert, and Charlie looking dapper in his khaki shorts. He took part in the retreat before Rommel's forces, then spent 2 years in Tehran, working in an allied hospital. He was called back to London and attached to an American unit for D-Day, was there for the liberation of Holland, and was the first allied medic in the Belsen prison camp. He doesn't talk about it at all. When I first learned about this as a teenager, history classes fresh in my mind, I asked him if the inmates were glad to see the Allies, and he said no, they were too far gone. That statement still haunts me. (I recently reread The Diary of Anne Frank, which says she died 2 weeks before Belsen was liberated. I find it strange to think that my quiet, unassuming uncle came so close to meeting the girl who became such an icon.)

After the war, he moved to Vancouver, and specialized in internal medicine. He practiced at Vancouver General Hospital for 40 years, retiring at 70, then came back to fill in for other doctors for another decade. He's still very popular with both doctors and nurses - a rare thing, I understand. When he had heart surgery last year, even the women from the hospital switchboard came to visit him.

I don't know my uncle Charlie very well; partly because I don't see him all that often, and partly because I think he's a hard person to get to know. The family has a reputation for being boisterous (to put it kindly) but he has always been the quiet one, seemingly content to drift along on the edges of family gatherings. I once asked my grandfather if it was because of what he'd seen in the war, but he said no, Charlie had always been quiet.

And now it's too late - his memory is failing badly these days, and I don't think he knows most of us anymore. I hope he took his brother's advice, though - my grandfather has been encouraging him to write everything down for years. He's the only personal link I have with the war, and there are so few left who can tell us what it was really like.


Burning Bog

Anyone got any marshmallows?

The aptly named Burns Bog is burning. Again. The last big fire was in 1996 - this one is relatively small by comparison, only 2 square kilometers so far. They've brought in the water bombers, but it could be a long battle. It's a peat bog, and as any Irishman worth his salt can tell you, peat burns beautifully.

And right now, the wind is blowing the smoke right into the loading bays of our warehouse - not a lot, but enough to fill the building with hints of burning leaves and bonfires.
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Image courtesy of Google Maps

The weatherman swears it's sunny out there, but from where I sit, it looks like solid, albeit yellow-y, overcast. Apparently you could see the flames for miles last night. I drove within a kilometer or so of the fire this morning, but only saw smoke, and a few helicopters buzzing about like angry hornets (that cliche's mandatory, right, when talking about helicopters? I've never actually seen a hornet, but all the other kids are saying it).


Lost or stolen or strayed, 50 or 60 IQ points seem to have been mislaid

I offer a tip of my hat and a hearty "Well done!" to anyone who gets that reference.

I locked myself out of the house yesterday, and had to drive 60 km to my parents' place to retrieve my spare key. In a long story involving a bike, a tuba, and my brother's inability to foresee consequences, I swapped cars with my parents on Thursday. I keep their car key on a separate key ring, along with the key to their apartment, so when I went to work yesterday morning, I had 2 sets of keys - my regular set, which includes the house key, and their keys. When I left work, I had one set - the car key. I didn't notice that I'd left the house key, along with the coat in whose pocket it was resting, until I was about 5 minutes from home - moments before picking up the Wee Lad from daycare, so there was no time to turn around.

Ever the optimist, I thought surely there'd be an openable window somewhere. And there was - our bedroom window, on the second floor, above the very steep and, at the time, wet carport roof. I briefly entertained the notion of climbing up to it, but the driveway looked awfully hard and I didn't think the Lad would do well if left to fend for himself for a couple of days (especially locked out of the house). So we headed into town.

Of course, my folks were delighted and insisted we spend the night. So instead of getting home at quarter to six yesterday, we walked through the front door at 10:30 this morning.

I'm going to spend the rest of the day looking for those missing brain cells.



At work, we relocated our Toronto office, and I spent a fair amount of time over the past 2 weeks sending out notices to customers. All was good. Then someone decided we needed to send a special, personalized letter to all of our Accounts Payable contacts, with instructions to contact our customer service manager with any questions, and a 1-800 number to do so. I was given the letter and asked to coordinate getting it out to 1500 customers. Then, on Friday, someone decided we should fax the same letter to the same 1500 accounts. So I took care of that, too.

I came in today to find a note on my desk letting me know that the letter (which, thank whatever gods there are, I did not write) contained the wrong 1-800 number. Apparently we asked our customers to call an escort service instead.


Innocent Truth

The children started playing some incomprehensible game in the car involving dinner reservations and a call to the cab company. I was informed that I got to be their chauffeur, and that later I could play the cook.

I'm guessing they'll need a maid next.


Weekend Highlights

Most Ironic Moment
My Green-Party-Activist, "Big Business is an Evil Oppressor" brother teaching the kids to play Monopoly.

Most Inappropriate Comment in a Family Setting
By my 94-year-old grandfather's 84-year-old girlfriend: "Are you coming to bed, Johnnie? Do you want to play hide the weenie?"

Couple Least Likely to Play Hide the Weenie
Dean and I, who, although we shared a room, slept in the twin beds of my youth, with the children sleeping on the floor between us. We couldn't even talk dirty.

Most Inane Comment
Also by my 94-year-old grandfather's 84-year-old girlfriend, while watching an ad for Vileda mops with the PowerZone™™: "Look at that! That's new!"

Most Often Heard Remark
re The MonkeyChild: "He's so cute!"

Best Group Photograph
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My Ex-Husband is a Fatuous Twat

***Warning: Venting Ahead, and a Bad Word***

I was actually reduced to rolling my eyes and snorting in disbelief this evening, a thing which happens almost not at all under normal circumstances.

My ex, whose last name starts with W, came by to pick up Chickadee, and I mentioned that I'd signed her up for gymnastics at the rec centre. "As Chickadee R, I suppose?" he said, R being my last name*. I explained that the rec centre doesn't ask for the child's last name - they need my full name (so they can charge my credit card), and her first name. So yes, she was probably registered as Chickadee R. "I want you to stop doing that," he announced, "it's disrespectful to me."

I thought loudly but did not say "Asshole!" I supposed that would also be disrespectful.

*Or a portion thereof.