Last Post Salute.

Let me say, with utmost respect to its context, that I really needed a stat holiday to pop up in the middle of a work week. It’s been another hectic stretch of time, and I’m exhausted.  Of course, this day is not about me and my needs, it belongs to veterans, their families and is reserved for generalized National reflection. Remembrance Day offers a sense of reverence, and a quiet Sunday-type of feeling washes over the daylight hours. Telephone turned off, face freshly washed, quietly listening to the radio with a book on your lap. Coffee on the couch with Benjamin, sitting under blankets in front of the fire with a sleeping dog nestled between us.

CBC 2 is offering a steady stream of Remembrance Day themed music and content. We sat down to a late breakfast, but when 11:00am struck and the Last Post Salute began, our forks were lowered onto the plate, and we sat in silence. Not one to be completely idle I pet my dog, and wipe away errant tears. Thinking about soldiers in a fresh uniform, before they ever see a war zone. What it would be like to say goodbye to your dog–your family, the warmth of home, everything you’ve ever known. To leave behind people who will worry about you, mourn for you, learn to live without you. Not being sure if you will ever return. To die in the worst possible circumstances and conditions, so far away from where you began. It’s an unbearably heavy collection of thoughts.

Editors Note: best remedy for this is to Google ‘soldiers and seeing their babies for the first time’…

…or how about ‘Soldiers and Dogs’? Jeez Louise, have a tissue handy for that one. It then easily rolls into a watching a YouTube montage of excited dogs and their returning masters and it makes your eyes want to explode with a burst of pure salt water.

Ah, that’s better.

After the moment of silence passes, the radio announcer carries on, introduces another song, we release a big sigh and we resume with our poached eggs. We decide to follow our meal with a walk on the beach. Before we do that–we stop by our local pet store. This is something Benjamin does to me all the time–we go out to walk the dog on a lazy Sunday–but first, lets run this quick yet unexpected errand. I ultimately run into a professional acquaintance or customer, old friend or ex-lover and I’m lurking around Petland looking like an extra from The Walking Dead. Unbrushed hair crammed under a red toque, sunglasses firmly in place, giant woolen scarf, yoga pants rolled up at the angle and running shoes; if I had an invisibility cloak, I would have happily worn that as a layer too. I hear a familiar voice, and see a woman I know looking absolutely, deliciously chic in a gorgeous black and red trench coat. Her blonde bob was impeccable. Very Grace Kelly meets Kate Middleton meets Remembrance Day. She’s just come from the ceremony in Riverside Park, which was absolutely packed with people. I’m stricken with a splash of guilt; feeling like a ceremony skipper caught out in public looking perfectly dishevelled, and sans poppy to boot. What a disgrace.

It’s been years since I’ve been to a public Remembrance Day service.  It hadn’t become a ritual for my husband and I–it was always best spent as an ‘at home’ day. Also, as a little girl I know said about being at those services: “You have to stand there and be quiet for a really long time, and that’s just not my jam”.

Amen sister.

I feel as though a full morning of Remembrance Day programming on CBC 2 is as good as a trip to the Cenotaph. I mention that to Grace Kelly, just put it out there that I’m observing Remembrance Day in my own private way–I’m not just being an insensitive non-patriot picking out dog coats without giving a second thought to the millions of people who died for their country.  How can you not? Whatever your opinions about politics, military or war are, you can’t help but get a lump in your throat when you think about all those goodbyes, and of all those poor souls who never came back to say hello.

  Images Courtesy of the Fine People behind the Internet

Dear Writer

Not blogging for an extended period of time is like trying to catch a good friend up over e-mail. We need to do this over a coffee and a scone, or a cheese board and a cab sav, or a week-long holiday in Ibiza. Whatever. I’m flexible.  I really should just set up a web cam, get increasingly drunk, and really tell it like it is. I’ll bring in some special guests to help me hammer out the issues.  It’ll be all lipstick, cackling, cigarettes and black mascara running down faces.  It’ll be longer than “Gone with the Wind” and will be just as epic. Settle in for a good, long tale, bitches.  I’ve done some growing. Developments have been made. Shit has gone down.


Meanwhile, on the road to creative fulfillment there are many deviations and distractions. Once an active blogger, I was a steaming, persistent train engine, and now I’m more like the girl tied to the track.


Sheesh, have you ever Googled “damsel in distress tied to track”? It’s a bit of a kinky thing on the interweb. (The other day I Googled “boozy Judy Garland” and it was almost entirely pictures from my blog).  Sexual undertone aside, that’s a pretty apt description. Not writing is always the default mode, but it doesn’t make it the best mode.  As I write I feel…better. Lighter. Like it’s the most me I can be. Typing away, making my own funny fantasy world; where George Clooney once loved me, and I’m somewhere in between Hepburn, Monroe, Streisand, a classic pinup girl…with just a dash of boozy Judy.


Sadly, the closest I get is Liza in a wig.


My blog used to be my number one time investment; now it is the literary version of an elliptical trainer in the basement than has laundry drying on it.  The fact that I used to write one thoughtful entry a day is as my husband likes to say ‘mind-bobbling”.  I used to check in with the daily stats religiously.  And then I stopped even doing that.  For whatever reason, I checked in with the website one night and noticed that one blog had been read at a rather high rate. I reread it and (is this tacky?) and was totally chuckling at this essay about my robust rear end, and the feminist aspects of Sir Mix-a-Lot.


The blog used to be a bit of a life raft–in a time when steeped in uncertainty, I leaned on the ritual, relying on this made up routine to give purpose to my life.  I was rather desperate for something to “happen” to me.  I mean, I’ve had plenty “happen” to me, I could easily fill a country album with twelve or so tracks about heart ache, but I required some kind of positive advancement.  I wanted writing to be the trampoline catapulting into some fame stratosphere. Or even to step into the meekest puddle of success, to see my name in print.To earn a spot of cash for my written word. To make people laugh. It is my earthly mission to crack wise, to heal with humor, to say completely inappropriate things if it means to break the tension.  That scene in Steel Magnolias when Sally Field is lamenting the death of her beloved daughter, and is bringing the house down with her raw, guttural “Why God, Why” kind of grief–and I’m Olympia Dukakis trying to break the ice with a little Shirley MacLaine beat down. Go on, take a whack at Ouiser. What else are you going to do? Just cry forever until you die, and have someone take over and start crying for you?


At the height of blog productivity I entered a number of writing contests, and was never considered, shortlisted…nada.  At this time last year, I hung my hopes pretty high on those stars, and it was so wounding to go unnoticed.  Did this take a toll on my writing? Yes and no.  I definitely stopped believing that the blog was a portal to anything other an elaborate hobby and a creative outlet.  Even then, I still wrote occasionally, cracking out pieces over long weekends or the occasional long night.  Something did “happen” to me. I got busy, I got involved in committees, theatre projects, and marketing efforts. I have had some extracurricular activity going on since last winter.  The time just wasn’t there to commit to the whole process. Which is great because the writing was more like a treadmill that didn’t seem to take me anywhere.  Recently I got a letter in the mail from a publication company, whom I sent a rather charming story to for a long ago contest.

Dear Writer”

That’s not how you start a letter to the winner. That’s a template for a polite rejection notice.

Dear Loser…Don’t give up your day job“.

This isn’t a pity party, more like a melancholic discotheque.  It’s just not my time I guess. The writing just became a luxury I could no longer afford…because I was out there living my life.  Not that I didn’t have things to write about. Which brings up another host of issues.  How much do I want people to know about me?  In Kamloops, in this medium sized city where social circles course into each other like Venn diagrams, eventually people would connect me to my material, and know some pretty intimate details about my private life.  I once gave my card to a former professor, and then was stricken with horror because the last blog I had written was about my vagina.  I mean, it was humorous and laden with pop culture references, but let’s be honest here–it’s me, three days, an apocalyptic yeast infection and a Sex and the City marathon.  I thought I was being rather ribald, but close friends felt I was too restrained.  Having never written about my lady bits, I thought my first crack at it was plenty racy.  I don’t want to go and make a big axe wound out of things, I like a good punchline but I’m still a lady.  After all, I don’t know if I want to be recognized in the grocery store, while absentmindedly pushing a trolley, and people knowing me without knowing me.


-“Apparently her writing is unpublishable”

-“I hear her vagina is super temperamental“.

There have been a handful of moments, connections and life lessons that have occurred in the last while that could become blog-worthy…there is one time is particular when I was feeling incredibly challenged. Now, haters are going to hate, it to happens to everyone from Bieber to Beyonce–but there was a time when a hater had their sights set on me. I got a proper taste of what it would be like to be a bullied high-school girl in this age of technology. Back in my day a bully would call you on your rotary phone or write a nasty note, now even the most vaguely intelligent person can attack you through a variety of mediums.  It was like grown-up Mean Girls. That experience hit me pretty hard.  What was worse about it was that on legal terms, I couldn’t talk about it.  That was the true beauty of the blog– the catharsis, that incredible release.  Something stopped me.  I became self-conscious.  I was feeling vulnerable.  I feared the over-share. So I stopped sharing.


That’s not the answer either. I want to tell these stories…but I don’t want any backlash.  While there’s freedom in a blog–it’s a self-governed practice, with access to a host of images., there’s also nothing to protect your written world in the big bad world.  Frankly, that’s why I need a book deal.  There’s something safe about sharing your most personal details in the credible confines of a published formation. With a title and a picture on the back cover and comments on the back from people that are mildly encouraging.  There is also something about the non-credibility of being just some Jane Blogger, spilling my guts onto the internet, something that even Beyonce can’t control.


For the record, let it be known that during that recent era of the ugly hateration, the whole Beyonce/Jay-Z /Solange Knowles elevator incident happened, and I had a great metaphor about being like B & J at the same time, feeling that this bully was just like Solange Knowles. I was going to call the blog “The 99 Problems Stress Test”.  The time sensitive topic got away from me, and after a while it just didn’t matter.  It was something I didn’t want to relive just then.  Though really, it’s how I process grief, by banging it out on the keyboard. I truly believe that everything is connected, making partners out of seemingly unmatchable things is a real comfort to me.   This is the epicenter of my sense of humor: the biggest hurts require the biggest laughs. Like Truvy that hairdresser says in Steel Magnolias “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion”.  For me, in times when I have been touched by hardships and the legacy of depression, humor has been the crutch, the oxygen, the mask.  My sense of humor is my soul; if I were to stop laughing, I’d be in pretty big trouble.

You know where I’m going don’t you?


Ugh, Robin Williams. This is a shotgun blast to the heart. Robin Williams committed suicide. Now there’s a sentence I’d never thought I’d utter. It’s such a poetic, operatic ending that it is too much to bear.  The loudest person in the room, the funniest figure, the biggest ham and cheese on rye snuffs out his own candle at a moderately young age. It brings up lots of ‘tears of a clown’ references, and endless speculations about his demise. Of course, I am right in the mix, reading, speculating and processing.  This has really hit people hard, I suppose for the same reason we fall in love with fictional characters, for what we see in ourselves.  How does it come to be? A beloved man steeped in success;  a beautiful wife, children, fame, accolades and the accessibility to the most incredible people and opportunities closes the door in his California mansion and loops a belt around his neck. Hard to fathom. That’s how deep his own misery was. “Why would you deprive people of your talent?” the masses question the dead. Clearly at that crucial moment he wasn’t thinking about Mrs Doubtfire or the Genie from Aladdin.  He wasn’t defining himself as comic genius or pop culture icon, not even as a husband and father, he must have been a desperate man in a dark place in need for his pain to end Then again, who am I to say what he thought? All I know is that those hurts belonged only to him.  And it shocked the hell out of absolutely everyone.  When I started this blog, he had only died the day before. By the time I actually publish there will be thousands of articles about his life, his death,his demons, his legacy, his generosity, his many characters.

There’s a lot of comparisons to humor and depression.  You know me, I do love to mix up unrelated things, but these are closer than you’d think.  I’ve been in some pretty dark places in my life, and my saving grace has always been the sanctifying power of laughter and good humor.  Of course, all aliments can’t be cured with a good belly laugh, but for the most part…it certainly doesn’t hurt. The thought of the funniest person having the heaviest heart really shook me up.  What got me most was the comments from other comedians (Jimmy Fallon getting choked up, Conan O’Brien breaking the news with Will Arnett and Andy Richter, Norm MacDonald’s heart breaking tweets). What these individuals focused on was his wealth of material, what he gave, what he taught, what he left behind.  It makes you reflect on what you’d want to be remembered for, what you want to leave behind.


In the days that followed the death of a comedian, I inched closer to the keyboard, looked closer at myself.   I wrote my first blog in ages.  It was vaguely like climbing the Himalayas, but it was worth the late nights to make like a masturbating teenager and bang one out for old times sake.  In short, to borrow and reinvent a famous Shawshank Redemption quote: get busy laughing or get busy crying.  Whenever possible. Otherwise everything else doesn’t mean a god damn thing.


Courtesy of Google Images

Thick & Thin

Saturday afternoon of a long weekend.  This time off was so necessary. After a hectic, stressful, busy, emotionally challenging week I am feeling a bit like a filthy t-shirt you wear for the entirety of a four-day music festival.  I’ve seen all kinds of shit.  It was like crawling through the desert on one’s belly, the oasis always beyond one’s reach.  Then you find out that the desert is filled with landmines and the oasis is just a mirage.  Still, as all things must pass, the stress did recede like the ocean after an angry storm, and all was calm once more.  This weekend is the Richard Gere to my Debra Winger.


To take my Officer and a Gentleman metaphor one step further…this week has been the Louis Gossett Jr to my Richard Gere, forever riding my ass and testing me to the brink of sanity.


It’s like…”Thanks a lot universe, what did I ever do to you?”


Leading up to the long weekend, Benjamin and I were making a lot of plans.  ‘Let’s go on a mini break’, “Let’s go to the lake’, “Let’s see people’. And now, past lunchtime on Saturday it’s like…. ‘Let’s never leave the couch ever again”.


After the longest winter ever, the long work hours and Netflix on the couch I’m feeling…like I could use a little bit of a detox.  But then I hear about no bread, dairy, alcohol or caffeine, and I feel instantly bored.  As for activity, I love to be tricked into exercising.  I love my yoga, and a good long walk, but anything with a higher intensity level is too much to bear.  My favorite thing to do when I have free-time is research and write blogs.   I spend an inordinate amount on time on the computer, social media updates and promoting different events.  Endlessly searching Google images for the right picture to capture my particular vision.  It’s satisfying mentally, but it’s no cardio, and does absolutely nothing for my core.  I think about exercise more than I actually exercise. I think about it as I’m drifting off to sleep.  I’ll get up an hour early and exercise.  That’s what I’ll do.  And then the morning comes and I hit the snooze harder than I would hit the gym.  I should really make time, take up jogging, do it everyday.  Then again, nobody looks happy whilst running.  In reality, I’d only run if I was being chased.

Exercise teri hatcher

I mean, I walk briskly from the parking lot to the office, I move around a lot of work and I go to yoga class a few times a month.  But that’s hardly a calorie burner.  My friend invited me over and over to come to kick-boxing. The timing was difficult, but then I finally made it and it was awesome.  I resolved to buy a punch card, go all the time, be fitter, be better, perfect my round-house kick.  And then I took on additional projects and have never been available since.  Free time is feeling scarce, and I do need to maintain my creative life.  Thought admittedly, the writing doesn’t take nearly as long as searching for pictures.  Example, I’ve spent fifteen minutes searching “Baby Got Back”.  But aren’t you glad I did?

rvCPm_TAF7UlYou have to credit Sir Mix-a-Lot for being a true feminist, a pioneer for positive body image.

  • “I’m tired of magazines/Sayin’ flat butts are the thing”
  • “I ain’t talkin’ bout Playboy/Cause silicone parts are made for toys”
  • “So Cosmo says you’re fat/Well I ain’t down with that!”
  • Yeah, baby … when it comes to females, Cosmo ain’t got nothin’ to do with my selection. 36-24-36? Ha ha, only if she’s 5’3″.
  • So your girlfriend rolls a Honda/Playin’ workout tapes by Fonda/But Fonda ain’t got a motor in the back of her Honda


Sir Mix-a-Lot is a true poet.  And he’s right about Jane Fonda.  She doesn’t have much going on in the Honda of her Fonda.  Led to believe that Mix-a-Lot ran a support group for big-bootied ladies,  I dialed 1-900-MIXALOT, to talk about my body issues.  When he said, “To the beanpole dames in the magazines/You ain’t it, Miss Thing!”, I really felt a kinship.  I felt empowered. I was trying to do as Sir Mix-a-Lot says, and “kick them nasty thoughts”, but I think I’ve misunderstood what he meant by ‘nasty’.  Unfortunately, the representative was rather crude, kept referring to his anaconda, and ‘doubling up on my juicy double’…whatever that means I am still trying to figure out.  I’m pretty sure it was Drake; he is long, strong and is always down get the friction on.


Really, if you look at the lyrics with a critical eye, the rapper is still telling you to get a sweat on.  After all, he likes to keep [his] women like Flo Jo.


Goodness me, Flo Jo was a fit lady, known as the fastest woman in the world. Wonder what her secret was, besides God-given talent and speed? The fastest woman in the world also had the longest nails in the world.  Pretty difficult to tuck into recreational snacking with those Freddy Kruger fingers at the helm.


It’s a balancing act trying to please this body-conscious performer.  According to the Gospel to Sir Mix-a-Lot: “You can do side bends or sit-ups/ But please don’t lose that butt”.  He also heeds a warning: some brothers will play that “hard” role, and try to tell you that the butt ain’t gold.  Don’t worry, remember your affirmations ladies, your butt is plenty gold.  When non-big butt enthusiasts “toss it and leave it”, you can count on Sir Mix to “pull up quick to retrieve it”.  That’s comforting.  But it’s a lot of pressure to live up to.  Imagine deliberately trying to have a fat ass?


The likes of Twiggy, Audrey Hepburn and Kate Moss were an anomaly in a world that once leaned towards the full female figure.  Certain retro advertisements were certainly geared towards curvaceousness as sexy, and skinny as lacking.


Of course, for every Sir-Mix certified ad encouraging curves, there’s evil advertising that says…”you’re fat, stop that”. Loving this ad below, the clever ad execs behind this gem offered a pearl of a tagline for this product. Shape. “Stop eating”.  Subtle.




Thank God that Warner’s has a Body-Do, because I’m apparently a ‘body-don’t”.   The pear shape is here to stay,  I had a big butt when I was a new born baby.  That’s just nature.  Good thing there are so many wonderful products out there to accommodate your full figure.



Why must generous portions of lady curves have to be reduced to words like chubby? Where is Sir Mix-a-Lot when we need him more than ever?


Easy on the sugar indeed. She’s so hungry and acidic from all the eggs and grapefruit that she’s seconds away from ramming that spoon us that smug bastard’s nose, in the same way ancient Egyptians yank out the brain for mummification.    Reduce this motherfucker.  Then she could enjoy a large cinnamon bun, sickeningly sweet tea and smoke a cigarette with sticky cream-cheese icing fingers while her husband quietly bleeds to death on the carpet.  This is why we need carbs people.


I’m 32 now, skin elasticity is as fleeting as fertility and youth.  How can I have my cake and burn it off too? As always, I turn to Victoria Beckham for advice.  She is a busy mother-of-four, a designer, entrepreneur world traveler, and she is fit as fuck.  How does she do it?


Naturally.  Take the fun of work and then add more work.  I would literally die if I tried to attempt this.  There is almost no space between the treadmill and the wall.  Isaac Hayes died on a treadmill and he was probably in suitable footwear. Me + typing + treadmill x those epic heels=suicide bomber’s certainty of personal injury.


Bully for you Mrs Beckham.  Is that why you’re lying on the ground? I could wear stilettos all day too if all I had to do was laze about on my back kicking my legs in the air.  I will just need a pillow, my phone and somebody’s WiFi password…and David Beckham to pop in and bask in the glory of my beauty.  I don’t know, I have a difficult time prescribing to celebrity doctrines.  Sure, they put in the work to maintain their pristine figures, but if I had a team of people behind me I could make a hobo red carpet ready.   But wait–there are people far busier than you that look better than you, also without the luxury of extra help.


I’d love to see this gal post this on the local Mom Swap Facebook page, and then read the 350 comments over a glass of wine.  This mother of three has a better body than me. What’s my excuse? Meh, I’m not too fussed really.  It’s not as important as everything else.  I mean, if I could naturally look like Audrey Hepburn, that would be ideal.


Since I don’t have a dancer’s body, I can’t help but want to find the balance between happy to improve but happy to love myself regardless of my physical imperfections.


Still, I catch the occasional glimpse in the mirror that makes me wonder whether some crazy-long Flo Jo nails would be a good idea.  Or maybe I should worry less about exercise and just take up smoking.


Then again, you wouldn’t like me when I am hungry. It’s like those Snickers ads, only I don’t turn into a hilarious caricature, but a snarling werewolf.


Hungry + angry =Hangry.  That’s my personal danger zone.  You wouldn’t like me when I’m hangry.  It’s like drowning and having no air to breathe.


This isn’t sounding good.  I don’t want to not eat, all my favorite things involve sitting and a committed exercise regime is not suiting my current schedule.  This is a slippery slope between having a muffin top and being the mom from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.


My brother Mark and I got talking about that film on our morning hike. It’s too sad to ever watch again,  but it still resonates as a genuine fear.  How does that happen…you are born, you are a child–learn behaviors and eating habits, you grow up, and eventually become so obese that it’s easier to burn the house down than to remove your dead body through the front door.  Of course, there is a long road between thick and thin and back again.  You are usually just going along in your life, not necessarily seeing the changes in yourself until you catch a reflection.


These photographs are a few years old now, but a terrific example of body shaming.  Jennifer Love-Hewitt is a happy and well-fed gal and the internet had a field day, hammering her for being “fat”.  For the rest of us, with bodies just like that, it sends a clear message that this is an unacceptable joke-worthy body type.

exercise love11

If she’s happy, and her lover is happy, she is healthy, and her clothes fit, then what’s the trouble?  She’s on holiday, she’s relaxed. Does every day need to be met by a date with the treadmill?  Ugh, the idea of exercise…how exhausting.  The idea of fitting it into jam packed days is even more exhausting.  I wish I could adopt a fictional Gilmore Girls-esque all you can eat, movies and junk food couch potato lifestyle, and still maintain a spectacular physique.

exercise hate

I flip through a magazine, read the weight-loss success stories and for a fleeting moment, wish I were just like the models in the magazine.  But then again, who would want to work that hard? Until the day comes that I shake from me the excuses and muster up the commitment to truly trim down, I’ll be happy as Love-Hewitt, splashing in the water, not for a second wishing I were any different.  What can I say? I like big butts and cannot lie.

exercise hate 2

Images Courtesy of Google

White Girl Wasted

Following the 18th annual Kamloops Film Festival, my immune system crashed like they thought the internet would following Y2K.  Sick over Spring Break. That’s like getting a giant school project assigned at the last minute when your plan was to sleep in, watch day-time television, ride bicycles, and lounge lazily in the sun. This is like the time I pinched a nerve in my neck when I was eight, and had to spend an entire weekend looking over my shoulder to stare out the window.


I knew this sickness was coming, I could feel it’s shadow creeping over my sinuses.  I was working hard to prevent it’s viral blossoming–wheatgrass, acidophilus, as much rest as possible, but with the festival came late night after late night.  I’m no spring chicken, you know.  I need my eight hours.  I was dodging this plague like a fugitive from the law.  By closing night, fueled by gin and tonics (with plenty of lemon and lime, just for that hit of Vitamin C), I took that dance-floor like a death row inmate takes his final meal.


As a rule, I don’t generally take dance-floors by storm anymore.  But back in the mid 2000’s…well let me tell you, I could bust a move to Destiny’s Child with the best of them, party until four am, and be at work the next morning like it was no big deal.  We celebrated opening night by following Oil Sand Karaoke–a fascinating mash-up about a Karaoke contest and the Albertan oil sands…with a Karaoke party of our own. Ignited by the spirited renditions of Meatloaf, Bonnie Tyler, Stevie Nicks, Tom Jones and Reba McIntyre…the sound-technician says right before midnight: “We’ve got two more minutes…do we have time for some Journey?”  Be still my heart. There’s always time for Don’t Stop Believing.  It was the perfect way to end that portion of the night.  Afterwards, a select few hit the town and continued with the cocktails. I’m like Romy and Michelle on the dance-floor filled with festival guests and curling enthusiasts from Kamloops’ simultaneous event,  The Brier Cup. My friend Mallory and I were in the somewhere in between denial and acceptance of looming early work days as the clock ticked well into the morning.  When the company, the music, and the vibe is this good, you’ve just got to cut loose like nothing will ever be that good again.


Heading home at a late night hour, listening to the cab driver talk about the Film Festival and the Briar Cup, and all the folks he’s had in his backseat that night.  He drops a term that I need him to back track on.    According to Urban Dictionary, “White Girl Wasted” is more a cocaine related verb as in: “With this pile of cocaine, I’m going to get ‘White Girl Wasted'”.  The cab driver was meaning it more like teenage girl on prom night.  Healthy portions of giddy and sloppy, with just a dash of hysteria.  Not me, of course, I am the Audrey Hepburn of intoxication.


Oddly enough he was referring to himself, and how he likes to party.  Apparently ‘white girl wasted’ is where it is at, it’s the crown jewel of good times, the Paris Hilton of partying.  The imitation that came from the non-white, non-intoxicated (I hope), non-woman was giggle inducing.  “Haha, WGW”, I chortle, attempting to make some kind of catch phrase and hip gang sign, but most likely looking like I had cerebral palsy.  “Er, what does that stand for?”, the cabbie asks.  “Uh…White Girl Wasted?” I respond.  Holy shit…did I just hallucinate that entire conversation? What was in those G&T’s? “Oh, heh, heh, yeah, right…WGW”, he chuckles, pulling into the driveway.   The trouble with me is that I’m too sophisticated, fabulous and complex that even the most perceptive cab drivers don’t understand me.


If I’ve learned anything from Journey, it’s that for a smile you can share the night, that some will win, some will lose, that some were born, simply to sing the blue.  Still, no matter what happens, don’t stop believing and hold on to that feeling.  It’s a nice, uptempo reminder that better days are right round the corner.  When the long days of winter grind you down, the lack of light calcifies over the bright light inside of you, it’s nice to be reminded that you can actually be a whole whack of fun.  Sassy, wisecracking, fearless, flirtatious, adventurous are just some of the personality traits I can offer.  I am trying to clutch on to these feelings as this sickness colonizes my body.  Alas, never one to be totally bored during an illness, I make a point to surround myself with warm blankets, hot cups of honey laden tea, expensive orange juice, boxes of tissue, a stylish pashmina draped round my throat and of course, “cinema comfort food “. Well worn personal film favorites, that sometimes just play in the background as you snooze, doze, or just pant feverishly like a dog after running on a hot day.

My go-to cold and flu list is as follows:

  • Waitress
  • Annie Hall
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
  • Amelie
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Before Sunrise/Before Sunset
  • Julie and Julia
  • Dreamgirls
  • Out of Africa
  • A Star is Born (1976)

Give me cheese, give me music, give me a happy ending, give me a sad ending, but no guns or car chases please.  This time, having just come off of the film festival track, (seven films in ten days) I opted to curl up with CBC 2 and a good book.  When the illness refused to budge, I went to the place that I dread most.  The walk-in clinic.  A most vile place.  A line up begins more than an hour before the clinic opens, and once inside, it is a cluster of coughing, sneezing, wheezing, hacking patients, noisy children squawking over 100 Huntley Street on the TV in the counter.  Horoscope disclaimer on the other telly: “not meant to replace intelligent decision making”.  The receptionists are unhurried, sipping Diet Coke at 9:15am, eating cookies and wiping their hands on their zip up hoodies.  This place is enough to make you sick.  When I return for my appointment later in the afternoon, I come prepared for a wait.  Wearing sunglasses and a large coral scarf, I brought an enormous juice, cough lozenges, tissues and a well-loved copy of “Eat, Pray, Love”.


I hate to admit how much that story has influenced my life.  A copy of the book was given to me before Oprah got her hands on it, right when my fiance and I were dismantling our relationship and upcoming wedding.  That book tapped into a very primal urge. I too have a wandering soul, and hunger for self reflection; this need to move forward, this desire to look back.  In devouring of Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, and through writing of my own, I made the decision to travel.  During that time overseas, I read and reread the book, underlining passages, and drawing conclusions about my own life through her experience.  Having read Eat, Pray, Love a number of times at different advents of my life, I saw it from a number of perspectives.  This past week has been the perfect time to re-re-re-read the primary source.  Now much closer to the age that Gilbert was when the book started, I see new similarities in our personalities, namely the deathly fear of motherhood equaling the death of adventure. But the true lesson of EPL is that despite the travel theme, that the answers have been inside of you all along, it’s all very Wizard of Oz.  If only at the end of a personal disaster you gain a greater sense of self…well, that’s better than nothing I guess.  A book deal to pay for the trip would also be an acceptable consolation prize.


Like Gilbert, I met my husband on my journey of self-discovery and followed it with a years-long struggle with immigration.  She wrote a sequel called Committed, about how immigration issues forced their hands in marriage.  I read the book before we arrived in Canada and it was scarier than a Stephen King novel.  The longer the waiting process, the more limitations placed on you, all that effing paperwork….unraveling patience of a wandering soul.   What a way to take the edge of a happy ending Liz Gilbert. They traveled extensively while awaiting word from Immigration, we waited in Canada, unable to leave the country until the verdict was given.  And then when we were given the green light, the finances simply weren’t there to get back out on the road.   What I would give for the time and resources to travel the world and report back in colorful prose to the masses. I could eat all the pasta in Rome, detox in India and peruse Balinese marketplaces with Javier Bardem, and live to tell about it.  I would accept a pay cheque for that.


For all intents and purposes, the film festival was like a little holiday: a whirlwind of parties, engrossing films, interesting guests, endless conversations about how we each relate to the stories of others.  One of those nights I heard someone ask aloud “How many times do we live?’–perhaps on the last night, when hipsters in nerdy sweaters were rolling on what looked like some rather exceptional Ecstacy.  One girl rubbed her lips on my cheek, knocking out my vintage earring breathing “Life. Is. Endless” all over my skin.  “Mmmm”, fastening the earring clasp I respond like I’ve a bad taste in my mouth but don’t want to offend the hopeful chef wearing an apron and a heart on their sleeve.  This is not the time to talk about the end of things.  Of course there’s only one physical life of indeterminate years, but to the film lover, you can have a thousand lives.  You can also get glimpses into the future, into the past, over the fence, into other eras, relationships and continents.  If a story is told convincingly, you can escape your body completely and experience this whole other life, gain a whole new perspective on our very existence.


Following Oil Sands Karaoke film was Sex After Kids, with special guest Paul Amos.  The movie got huge laughs, and was a festival favorite.  In the Q&A that followed, Amos talked about the grassroots project–the film was financed by donations, scenes were filmed in everyone’s homes, actors used their own children, and shared their own experiences of life after baby. As a childless woman in her early to mid 30’s this movie was more slightly horrifying than humorous. Faithful readers know that pregnancy and motherhood is a sticky, oft-discussed subject within the walls of this blog.  To me Sex After Kids did for parenthood, what Before Midnight did for marriage; it’s well written reflection of this particular chapter in the human experience.  A transformation that one can not anticipated until this little bundle of joy lands in your lap.


As I was heading to the lobby I saw a heavily-pregnant woman, rubbing her belly and frowning in thought.  I fought the urge to approach her and ask “Are you like totally freaking out right now? I’m freaking out and I don’t have a seven pound fetus pushing on my bladder right now.”  They should show that movie to teenagers in sex education.  Not so funny now is it?  I’ve traveled with my husband and his sister as ‘Team Childless’, and we’d laugh merrily at all the things we would never do as parents.  If this movie taught me anything, it is that children bend your tree branches until they snap like twigs.

sex after kids 6d0defa1670e30bf6bb8e

The closing night film That Burning Feeling had a similar thread of a fresh, modern, urban–a very funny, heartfelt comedy about promiscuity, sexually transmitted infections and the deliberate humanizing of our night stands.  Director Jason James was a delight as our final guest of the season.


Le Weekend was a British comedy about a marriage in it’s thirtieth year; a weekend in Paris, where they honeymooned three decades prior.  The husband is struggling with forced retirement, a restless wife and is confronted by the wild successes of a former schoolmate–the deliciously smug Jeff Goldblum.    The Past (another film set in my beloved Paris) was infidelity, divorce, secrets, lies, a suicide attempt and a coma…which culminated in a rather unsatisfying ending.  What does it even mean? Did she squeeze his hand, what does it mean that he stayed in the hospital room? Is he choosing his new life? I’m not sure I get it…I’m not sure I care. Finding Vivien Maier was so interesting it needs a blog all it’s own.  Gloria was an excellent film, and we followed the viewing with a coffee shop discussion, which was jammed packed with guests.  Gloria was…a rather erotic film.  Surprisingly so.  Like…full frontal.  Audible passionate kissing noise, which had the same allure of an obnoxious date masticating with his mouth open. Lengthy scenes of intimacy which is a kin to walking in on your grandparents making love.   Talk about fifty shades of grey. Still, you had to love this smartly dressed “woman of a certain age” (mid-fifties divorcee), singing along to the radio, who gets her hands on some marijuana and a much older lover.  Her heart gets broken, and she takes that pain to the dance floor–girlfriend doesn’t even need a plane ticket.


The Broken Circle Breakdown came early in the film line up, but I felt it necessary to mention it last as this piece will overshadows the rest of the list.  This film was magnificent.  There was not a dry eye in the house at film’s end.


The story seamlessly shifts back and forth between a new love, marriage, parenthood, illness, loss, despair and the deterioration of a once great love…all amid a gorgeous musical collaboration.


As the social media maven of the film festival, I had come to know all the movies well, occasionally stumbling upon some major spoilers. Spoilers don’t bother me too much, I like to be prepared.  I often check in with IMDb for content details, especially in regards to potentially violent films.  This was born after I was Rob Roy’d, thinking this was a Robin Hood-eque Liam Neeson vehicle, and suddenly Jessica Lange is getting raped on the kitchen table by Tim Roth and is then sobbing and bathing herself in the river in the aftermath.  I’ve also been Sean Penned, and it’s not something I recommend.  It’s not like me to like surprises.  I’m what you call “cinema sensitive”, I absorb the suffering like a sponge.


I stumbled upon the mother-load of spoilers for The Broken Circle Breakdown, and went to the cinema armed with knowledge, and a shitload of tissues. Actually it was a wad of toilet paper that I wrapped like a thick bandage around my hand before stuffing the whole lot in my purse.  I did leave a no-spoilers warning on the Facebook page, gently suggesting that you bring something other than your sleeve for this event.  No matter.  By the end of this heart-wrenching feature about the deterioration of a once happy life, complimented by goose-bump inducting blue grass performances.  There’s something about crying in public that makes me feel terribly vulnerable…as it’s never as simple and elegant as a single glistening tear rolling down your cheek.


…this was more like…funeral crying.  Snotty sobs, gasping for air, lips sputtering.  It’s something I prefer not to do publicly, which is quite difficult as I cry about as often as a new-born baby.  It’s not an attractive look in the slightest.  The toilet paper reserves were dwindling as the movie was jam-packed with emotional land-mines.  I had get creative by folding the sopping wad like origami, as if to make it like new.  Eventually I just sobbed into my scarf.  It reminded me of this time the airport–on my way to New York, a trip once slated celebrate my upcoming wedding with my maid of honor. Standing outside of the departure gate, in what turned out to be one of the last times I spoke to my fiance:  “I just keep thinking that you’ll change your mind”…I whispered, eyes cast on the ground, a volcano threatening to burst.  He smoothed the hair off of my face, smiled tenderly and said “…I won’t”.  I made it to the plane in the same way you drive all the way home, and realize you don’t actually remember driving.  Once in my seat, I was more unglued than Blanche Dubois in “Streetcar Named Desire”.


Sunglasses firmly in place.  Airport napkins balled in a tight fist.  Planes are not a recommended place for a potential nervous breakdown.  There is little to do, and nowhere to go.  Sitting frozen. Staring out the windowThere’s something about sobbing in a airplane washroom that just takes depression to another level.  There’s also your neighbour to consider: the  poor woman next to me, was settled into a good book and blissfully unaware.  This a perfect metaphor for that inescapable sensation of grief–the crushing weight–the Alice in Wonderland outgrowing the Rabbit house.  Nowhere to hide from the hurt.  From this moment forward nothing will ever be the same.  This new reality is so much bigger than your earthly body that it threatens to burst right through your skin; an explosion of teeth, bones and tears and all that pain you felt would fill the room like a noxious gas.  Instead you calmly make paper cranes out of cocktail napkins as your broken heart seeps out of your eyes and nose.
blown up pin up

Viewing The Broken Circle Breakdown in the cinema was a transformative experience, one I would be reluctant to repeat.  Still, it was my favorite movie in the festival.  It did an agonizingly convincing job detailing how the clashing of ideals and the testing of faith can turn the tide.  How marriage vows– promises you made when life was good and love was easy can be irreparably broken by exterior forces.  That sickness ruins, that love is not a cure.  When the film ended, the credits were rolling and I was still sobbing as others were reaching for their coats.  The storyline jumped to the beginning, middle and end so fluidly, tattooed songbird Elise unravels, as pragmatic Didier tries and fails to save his wife and child.  It’s nearly too much to bear. Though I knew the twist in the ending, I was properly devastated nonetheless.  Everyone mingled in lobby afterwards, puffy eyed and sniffling.  Catharsis at it’s finest.  It certainly garnered a very large glass of wine in a dark bar afterwards, where stories were shared, and new levels of understanding occurred.  This is the power of cinema, the shared experience of a story;  how it reminds us of our own battles, fears, desires, and memories that shape us as unique individuals.  All is not lost, as the light dims on another day…  the band plays on regardless, even if the song no longer means the same thing.


All Images Courtesy of Google

Beyonce It Isn’t So

Poor old Beyonce, she performs at the Superbowl…


Gets her funk on during the performance…

Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show

And it was not pretty.


Ms B struck a multitude of unflattering poses while getting fierce at the Superbowl, and the photos were released (because bad photos are better than good photos).  Her publicist contacted the offending website, politely asked for the photos to be removed.  But, once it’s on the internet its kind of like asking the the guy who took your virginity to please put it back.  And so, because of a demand to remove all traces from the internet, there has been quite the back lash, in the form of internet memes.


What’s a meme you ask?

Why, you see them everyday on your Facebook feed.  It can take form in a the way of a link, hashtag, a video, or say, an unflattering picture of Beyonce turned into a joke or a catchphrase.  This term was derived from the ancient Greek word for “imitated thing”, and was coined in 1976 by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his book “The Selfish Gene”. (And its pronounced “meem”–not “mimi”, which is how I’ve been saying it in my head.  Thanks Wikipedia!) I learned this after I tried to jump into a Twitter conversation like it was a game of double dutch and someone dismissed with me: “It’s just an internet meme”, to which I crawled into a hole to Google the concept.  A meme is simply a means to spread a concept or notion across the masses. It is mostly humorous, satirical and if popular, has the capacity to spread like wildfire.


I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy unflattering photos of myself. In fact, I have a ton of not-so-great angles, but you’d hope to be cool and confident enough to brush off a bad picture–‘whatevs, I know how good I look in real life’.


You know how it is, God giveth and God taketh away. Sometimes you are deemed “World’s Most Beautiful Woman!–exclamation point no less–all the times I was given the honor I said “Cool it on the with the exclamation point guys, they already know that I’m beautiful, no need to shout it from the rooftops”.  But sometimes, you strike the wrong pose and graphic designers photo-shop the image next to Chris Tucker in the cult classic comedy “Friday”.

bey firday

Or Ben Hur…

beyonce-ben hur

Or the Mona Lisa…

beyonce mona lisa

I’m not sure what’s happening here…but I like it.

beyonce closet

Oh Beyonce, I wonder if you had just been cool, confident and quiet that you would have earned this hilarious, yet humiliating place in the world of internet memes.  I mean, it’s not like you don’t take an amazing picture, what’s a couple of nasty ones tossed into the mix?  Take it from one “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” to another, we all have bad days.  A lot of photographers and fashion designers say I look a lot like a young Elizabeth Taylor.  Here’s one from a recent shoot.


I’m going to let you in on a little secret.   That is totally retouched.  I mean, of course I am still a jewel to behold, but on any given day without the filtered lens, its a little bit more like:

liz woolf

Hmm, maybe there’s still a soft focus happening here.  Okay Beyonce, here it is, untouched, unforgiving–what I look like first thing in the morning:


Okay, you got me, I was just trying to make you feel better.  I’m actually quite ravishing from the minute I open my eyes in the morning.  That’s just one of the alligator snapping turtles we have at the exotic zoo on our expansive property.  You know how it is eh, B? When you have so much money you run out of the normal things to buy and eventually think you can control things like the internet?  Listen, girlfriend, I know you’ve had a rough go recently, with people thinking you faked your pregnancy, accusing you of lip-synching the national anthem, joking about your hulkish manner and the most recent scandal, soaking with your baby in a hot tub.  But you are Beyonce, and don’t think for a second I wasn’t emphasizing each syllable when I said your name.


You’re going to be okay, you’re young, popular, the wife of a famous rapper and the mother of a baby whom you named after a color.   While you are the victim of the occasional backlash, you have enough talent to bounce back, and enough money to make documentaries about yourself or even buy a planet…and not even a small measly one.  You really have your pick of the solar system.  Because you’re a star darling, and don’t you forget it.  Those knuckleheads behind the internet rarely meme what they say anyway.


Tweets & Twats

My Twitter empire is dwindling…well if you say going from 19 to 15 is ‘dwindling’…or that 19 is an empire, so be it.  Twitter gives me anxiety.  When I try to tweet I feel like a twat.  Also I find the 140-character limit extremely daunting.  You see, I am a wordsmith, and literary geniuses like myself cannot have such limitations placed on ourselves.

There are extremely active comedians, actors and writers, dropping jokes and comments throughout the day.  It’s smart, it’s funny, and I just don’t have that much to say.  Well, obviously I have a lot going on in the old brain factory, but as for funny-throwaway remarks, it feels inauthentic.

I don’t tweet.  I’ve tried.  I’ve dropped a few words now and again, but I feel like such a dolt.  But I feel like a nerdy teen who hangs out in the audio-visual room at lunch, marching up to all the cool kids in the smoke pit and saying “What’s up bitches?” Or like in “Mean Girls” when Lindsay Lohan approached the table of “unfriendly black hotties”, with a ubiquitous African greeting “Jambo”, and then receives evil glares and stunned silence in response.   I don’t speak the language, and I’m just not that ‘cool’.

mean girls

I mean, don’t you worry, I am plenty groovy–I am quite hip to the trends, and people in the know think I am pretty neat-o.  But I think it’s my tendency to over think things, that ultimately causes me to either not tweet, or write a tweet and then not publish it.  “Do people care how delicious this sandwich is? I mean it is a tasty little morsel…but do people care?”  I think in this world of #oversharing, a little #overthinking is a bit of a virtue.

Maybe if I was Lena Dunham, people would eat up whatever I was saying.

pink dunham

But then again, people apparently tweet nasty things to her, calling her “fat” and whatnot.  My goodness, I would not enjoy being called fat, unless the ‘f’ was replaced with a ‘ph’, and in that case, let it rain!

I made a Twitter account with the intention of building my writing platform, but mostly with the purpose of following Caitlin Moran; author, humorist and all round awesome feminist.  caitlin

And then I followed others like Feist, Lana Del Rey, and Ms Florence…the girls I roll with on a regular basis.  Please–I wish they would ask me to sit at their table and explain that Wednesday’s are for wearing pink.




And I’d show up dressed like Ralphie is “A Christmas Story”, and they’d be like…”no…you don’t get it…you just don’t get it”.

This is the story of my life, this bunny suit represents how I fit into social media.  Before I started the blog nearly three months ago, I used the internet solely for email or research.  Now I find myself living and breathing this new world, but I feel like an outsider.  Facebook is my comfort zone–the A/V room, Twitter is the high school smoke pit.  So mostly I watch from a distance, witnessing effortless coolness in action.  And I’m over here trying to make catchphrases like ‘fetch’ popular, and it just may not happen for me.  And isn’t social media just like some big international high school?  There are cliques; the stars and the trolls, and we all want to be ‘liked’ and ‘followed’.  Bullying is now easier than ever, to be a ‘mean girl’ is easier than being popular. (But isn’t that the same thing sometimes?) And I am subtly trying to be within the realm, without being obvious or ostentatious.  With that being said, it seems it is the vulgarity that catches attention. So as far as this high school metaphor is concerned, I am roaming the halls until someone shouts: “She doesn’t even go here!”  And that wouldn’t be fetch…no it wouldn’t at all.

It doesn’t bother me that four people dropped me from Twitter; I don’t know them, and they don’t know me. I have been inactive at best, and I don’t blame people for being bored with me.  There is a daily tweet though, my WordPress account is connected to Twitter, and my blogs appear there daily.  And as we all know, everything I write is absolute solid gold.  Or gold plated at  least.  At the very least.

tweet mean girls

All Images Courtesy of Google

Beyond “Annie Hall”

My husband and I watched “Annie Hall” the other night, and I figured that I would follow the movie with a cute little review for the blog.  As Ben tinkered in the next room, preparing dinner–I was reading about the film, and about Diane Keaton and Woody Allen.  I just recently watched an epic two-part film “Woody Allen: A Documentary” on Netflix; it was endlessly fascinating. This is a man who basically writes one screenplay per year.  This is a man who has a lots of neurosis and issues, but writer’s block is not one of them.  Some movies are brilliant, some not as such.  But I don’t think that bothers Allen, he just wants to make movies and be left the hell alone.  As a fledgling writer, I love his attitude.  He is not concerned with reviews or statistics, he just gets a story in his head, and makes the kind of film he wants to see.  Of course, while Netflix has some interesting films, it is also an cinematic hospice-where bad movies come to die.  While you could find a handful of Allen’s recent films…(and I think we can all admit his later years have not been the most fruitful),  “Manhattan”, “Sleeper”, or “Annie Hall” is not available.  In order to revisit these films you have to get in the car and drive to the Movie Mart, pluck the DVD off the shelf, all before getting harassed for late changes accrued over Christmas.

“This is why people don’t rent anymore! This is why these businesses are dying–we drove all the way across town to rent these!” My husband fumes.  Yes, we did drive to the other side of town, and sometimes, it’s hard to make it back in time.  In my world, late fees are a god-damned reality.  Like Marvin Gaye once sang in his classic “Trouble Man” there are three things that’s “for sho, taxes, death and trouble”…but I would have to interrupt Mr Gaye, mid-song, “Don’t forget the late fees Marvin”.

Marvin+Gaye+marvin08Okay…calm down, no need to get upset–it was just a suggestion.  Sheesh.

Once home with our DVD’s–“Forrest Gump“, “This is 40” and “Annie Hall”,  we started with Gump and finished with the Apatow comedy.  And how these movies are almost the exact same length is beyond me–Forrest Gump kept stumbling upon moments in twentieth century American history, so the length is justifiable, but what those whiny sons-o’-bitches are going on about for well over two hours is beyond me.  After those two movies; we decided to save “Annie Hall” for the following night.

Annie Hall titlesAnd so there I am, researching before the film, ‘presearching’ if you will.  Woody Allen and Diane Keaton had been in a romantic relationship, made several movies together, broke up, and then two years later, Allen wrote a film that was steeped in references to their failed partnership.   I love this, I love the idea of friendly ex’s.  “Remember how we dated for all those years, and then things went to shit? Well I’ve written a delightful little screenplay that rehashes the whole thing…oh and could you act it out with me?”

annie hall laughing

Though Allen would assert that ‘No, the film is not autobiographical’, Keaton would say that Annie Hall’s idiosyncrasies  were based on her.  Here’s a fun fact for you: Diane Keaton’s real last name is “Hall”, and privately, she goes by the name “Annie”, so you do the math.  (I’m just kidding, no one has to do math here).

As each scene takes place, I am flushed with fond memories for this picture.  I can not even begin to count how many times I have seen “Annie Hall”.  I used to own it on VHS, and nearly wore it out with all the watching, rewinding and rewatching.  This was one of the standard films that would be on in the background when I lived alone for all those years.  Each time I watch it, I find the older I get, the more educated I become, the more the movie reveals itself to me.  This movie is clever, creative, bittersweet, touching and brilliant.  Film critic Roger Ebert said that this film is “just about everyone’s favorite Woody Allen movie”.  It’s simply one of my favorites.

annie-hall-560-allen striped tshirt

More than anything, I simply cannot get enough of Diane Keaton in this film, and watching this 35 -year- old film makes me realize how truly timeless her style is.  I want those outfits.  Though I can’t imagine any good could come of me in full out men’s wear, but she does it well; she’s actually wearing her own clothes, which is so fabulous.  Imagine just showing up on set, and shooing away the costume team, that’s okay, I’m going to go ahead and start a fashion craze if you don’t mind.  This is also a woman who collected her Oscar for this very film looking like this:


She’s also wearing two skirts, cigarette pants, socks and strappy heels in this ensemble.  If I wore this I’d look like a crazy hobo, she does it and it looks so quirky and effortless. Like why wouldn’t you wear all those layers to the Oscars? Why not skip the ball gown and hit up a blazer instead?


As I’m reading about these topics, my research branches out beyond “Annie Hall”, and onto Keaton’s romances with Warren Beatty and Al Pacino, her eating disorder, and other films she did in her early years.  My interest peaked over “Looking for Mr Goodbar”, a film made in the same year as “Annie Hall”.


I read the book in my early twenties and was properly traumatized; the book follows a popular young teacher who hangs out at dingy bars with a good book and a pack of cigarettes, sipping wine and keeping an eye out for sketchy men to bring home for one-night-stands.  The book ends with her rape and murder.  Like…the last line of the book is the last thought in her head.  I then watched the film, (because I’m a glutton for punishment) and it was equally disturbing. The film ends in the pretty much the same way, but of course, the visual is always harder to bear.  A very young Richard Gere is (unintentionally) funny as a spastic street hustler, and Keaton is lovely but ultimately doomed.  I had always imagined that this movie was thought up as some kind of cautionary tale for young single women, but I discovered that it was based on the real life murder of Roseann Quinn.  The story follows the case closely.  This special-needs schoolteacher, in the midst of her masters for teaching the deaf,  lived this secretive double life, and sought her kicks with rough and dangerous men that she found in dive bars.  Her ending is brutal and horrible, and I’m not going to get into it here; but suffice it to say, the exact moment I am reading the sentence with the words ‘vagina’ and ‘candle’, my husband thrusts a spaghetti sauce covered spoon in my face.  I jerk my head back, as if waking up from a nightmare.  Ben is smiling, and trying to entice me into tasting his slow-cooking sauce.

“This is not the right time”, I tell him.

His smile drops, “Just try it”.

“Trust me, I’d rather not follow what I just read with that red, red sauce”.

Ben puts the spoon down, and I tell him about poor Roseann Quinn and ‘Looking for Mr Goodbar”.  When the shock passes, settled in with a delicious pasta meal and “Annie Hall”, I think to myself–“This is how I like my Diane Keaton, safe and sound, and wrapped up in all those layers.

diane keaton four

Sentimental Whack-a-Mole

If you really want to push my buttons, reduce me to tears, make me cry a dozen times, you don’t have to say a word–just turn on “Forrest Gump” and back out of the room slowly; bake for approximately two and a half hours, and return and you will find the gooiest, flakiest, weepiest little pastry inside this cinematic oven.

Ben and I just finished watching “Forrest Gump”, the sentimental 1994 classic film.  And I know that there are some haters out there; I mean, people despise this movie–and people are entitled to their opinion, of course it’s sappy and melodramatic–but people are reviewing it today and accusing it of being cliched.  This movie invented it’s own cliches.

robin_wright_forrest_gumpTo me, this movie is rife with emotional landmines, a sentimental whac-a-mole, a never ending parade poignant moments popping up everywhere, complimented by the best music of it’s era.

Bubba dies–WHAM!


Jenny and Forrest meet in the water at the Washington Monument-WHAM!

water hug

Jenny giving Forrest the peace sign as the bus pulls away; while The Byrds “Turn, Turn, Turn” plays on–WHAM!

Robin Wright Penn
Lieutenant Dan makes peace with God–WHAM!

lt dan

Mama dies–WHAM!

mama fg

And then as the film winds down, the hits come harder and faster.  After the drug abuse, and abusive boyfriends, Jenny comes home! WHAM–happy tears!  And then Forrest asks her to marry him; she says ‘no’, makes love to him in the middle of the night, and then grabs a cab ASAP while ole Forrest is still sleeping, slicked in a post-coital glow.

Ben reckons that this is a “dick move” on Jenny’s part.

And this is where the internet explodes with Jenny-cide, that bitch ran out on him! She’s a tramp! She’s a whore! She’s an addict; a gold digger! Never mind the business with the endless child molestation that set her on this awesome path, she’s the devil, I tell you the devil!  I think Jenny is one of the most tragic cinematic characters; this girl gets a raw deal from the get-go.  Traumatized from years of sexual violence, in an era where one didn’t seek counsel for such things, she had no structure, no self-worth.  She is always running and there lies the symbolism of Forrest relieving his heartbreak by running repeatedly across the country.   Forrest loved her unconditionally, which is the kind of thing that a troubled person runs the hell away from.  So, while the e-naysayers are out there, smack talking this twenty year old classic, claiming that Jenny is a ruinous opportunist, using him for his fortune; I disagree.  She was a single mother, slinging coffee in a diner, she was hardly biding her time to pounce, when Forrest would have had her home all along.  She didn’t want to take advantage; she also told Forrest “You don’t want to marry me”.  She thinks of herself as damaged goods, doesn’t want to be his burden. Jenny reveals that she has some “early 80’s mystery incurable disease” —oh yeah, WHAM! And she dies, leaving Forrest with the kid soon to be in “The Sixth Sense”.

baby gump

And then, just when you can’t take another moment; there’s Forrest Gump’s gravestone monologue, where he expresses all his love and loneliness to his deceased wife.-WH-WH-WHAM!

Some critics are awfully concerned with the film’s message, what the ending means–what Forrest’s life means.  ‘How can he be happy?’  I don’t think the movie ends happily; I think Forrest would spend the rest of his life longing for Jenny; but his life would have purpose in being a parent.  This movie says that stupidity equals redemption–I don’t think this movie says anything about stupidity being good or bad, just that this one man had this life, and was in a sense, lucky.  Forrest Gump is a racist.  That’s my favorite.  This reasoning is that he was named after a KKK leader; but his mother’s rationale is that the name is to remind him that sometimes “people do things that just don’t make no sense”.  Which is a theme that continues throughout the picture.  And also, the fact that Bubba is a black man of limited intelligence; but it’s not questioned as much as Gump’s intelligence–“oh, so we are just assuming that’s he’s stupid because he’s black!” they cry.  No, I don’t think that’s the case at all; if they wanted to explore Bubba’s character, they would have made the movie and called it “Bubba”.  And also, it’s two and a half hours long, they can’t luxuriate over every single minor character–is that reasoning enough for you, those who felt the gay and lesbian community wasn’t properly represented?  Sheesh, what are we wanting from our movies besides engrossing stories and excellent soundtracks–laughter and catharsis.  Listen, I don’t want to force my cinematic agenda down anyone’s throats; but I will leave you with this thought–before Tom Hanks signed on to the film, the role was attached to Chevy Chase and Bill Murray before it was offered to John Travolta, and like Dave Chappelle, who turned down the role of Bubba, has since admitted regret for not being involved.  That’s the beauty of hindsight bitches!  But as it says in the film; we make our own destinies– sometimes by accident, and sometimes by choice, and there’s no way of knowing how it will all shake out, until it’s too late to turn back.

Fascination Fever

One summer, I had a place in a car pool for a job that was 45 minutes from town. I lived in the same neighbourhood as one of the car-poolers, and we would alternate collecting one another from our respective homes.  In the first week I noticed that he was carrying a biography about John Lennon.  Incidentally, I was reading “Wonderful Tonight, the autobiography of Patty Boyd, wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton, and the inspiration of famous songs from both men.  I began to do my own internet research about Lennon and the Beatles, and we found that our daily journey would be speedy and scholastic.  One day, after two books, and too many lengthy conversations about music, movies and pop culture, he appeared despondent and distant.

 “What’s wrong with you buddy?  You look troubled”.  His eyes fixed on the highway; he shakes his head in disbelief: “I can’t believe he’s dead, man”.

“…Who? John Lennon?”

“Yeah, dude…I just can’t believe he’s dead”. 

“Yeah, like… 27 years ago”. 

It certainly wasn’t news; in fact neither of us had even been born when he was alive. He’s read every word, knowing how the story ended, but on that long stretch of highway, he couldn’t help but wish that things were different. Of course, in the days leading to that particular conversation, discussion of Lennon’s life had inevitably led to his assassination.  Mark David Chapman met Lennon outside of the Dakota apartments in New York City, had his copy of Double Fantasy autographed by Lennon himself, who was on the way out to a recording studio, presumably to lay down some tracks with Yoko Ono.  There is even a poorly centered photograph snapped of Lennon and his assassin, taken on that fateful December day.  Chapman, satisfied with the meeting, suddenly deterred from his violent plans, thought of going home, of not pulling the trigger. But the story doesn’t end that way.  And over three decades later, you still can’t help but wish you could turn the tides, negotiate with long established fate.


The internet becomes a breeding ground for the obsessed to fuel their creepy hobbies and obscure fascinations.  I am certainly not immune to the perils of investigatory predilections.  One late night in New Zealand, unable to sleep, I watched Amelia, the Hilary Swank picture about Amelia Earhart.  I remember a storybook from my childhood about the famous ‘lady pilot’, and her famous disappearance. Though I was aware of how the story ended, my heart was in my throat as the final moments of the film began closing in.  I joined my sleeping husband in bed and laid awake for a long while, wishing things had been different for old Amelia Earhart.  How terrifying that your dream could be the death of you; that the very thing that drives you is what destroys you.  To disappear and be unreachable, silenced and secrets left unspoken—leaving loved ones behind who are unable to make peace with what could have happened to you, forever haunted by the uncertainty and the unknown. 


The following day was fueled by Amelia Earhart fever; I spent that morning sitting on the floor with a cup of tea, watching a 1970’s documentary on YouTube.  The piece regarding  her career and subsequent disappearance was narrated and hosted by a young Leonard Nimoy, hip in his turtleneck and blazer, with cool, expansive sideburns kissing his angular cheeks.  When the film had been produced, the mystery was not yet forty years old; now it’s well over seventy, and the mystery still remains unsolved.    The most recent theory would attest that Amelia and her navigator Fred Noonan, (who is historically speaking, a tragic grain of sand on the vast and endless desert of the Earhart mystery), were castaways on a deserted island.  I suppose that anything is possible, but in all likeliness, Earhart ran out of petrol and crashed into the sea.

 amelia 3

One can surmise that there is a collective desire to be swept up in the romance of the unknown, to either solve a mystery or to wade amongst the million possibilities that fail to alter the final result.  Like conclusive results of an autopsy, knowing what happened doesn’t undo the knots of loss.  Throughout the day, the recent feature film, and the grainy aging documentary fresh in my mind, I couldn’t help but think about Earhart’s husband George Putnam.  I researched further, this time about her personal life and marriage.  Adrift on the sea of imagining, I pictured her husband coping after her disappearance.  He must have been devastated, haunted forever by the loss of his adventurous, trouser wearing wife.  I read Earhart was officially declared dead in absentia approximately two years after her ill-fated flight in 1937.  One website declared that this was done so that her affairs could be finally put to order, but another site stated it was so her widower could remarry.  Horrors!  He did in fact marry again in 1939-which shattered my romantic illusions of a man pacing along a shoreline, holding vigil for a resolution that would never come.

(I have since made my husband promise, if ever I were to disappear in an airplane in a round the world tour, that he would hold out for longer than 24 months to shack up with someone else. I need him to be a Joe DiMaggio type, to never remarry, to always carry the torch, never divulge my secrets to the press, and to always ensure fresh roses were flourishing on a memorial on a bi-weekly basis.)  


My thoughts were consumed by the history, the celebrity, the legacy, and I was certainly not alone.  There are people just like me, perhaps with more money to burn, that are desperate to know the truth about such things.  All the lost souls and their impenetrable secrets, deep underwater, buried in the earth, locked away in people’s hearts. The world is simply bursting with secrets that we are rarely privy to.  The iconic figures that captivate national attention have specific exceptional qualities, talents or skills that first gather focus, and then merit respect.  Earhart’s passion for flight was so great that she was willing to die for her craft-she knew that her goals were risky and still she pushed forth fearlessly.  Her rationale was simple: she wanted to see if she could do it.  What better reason is there, beyond money, fame or accolades-just desire to achieve.  I wonder what would have happened if she had survived the mission, and gone home as planned.  Would she have retired as she promised? Would she have been satisfied? Would she have delighted in knowing the mystery she left behind?  I wonder the same about Marilyn Monroe, what she would have thought of the conspiracy theories and mythology that surround her life and death to this day. 


While living in Australia, I caught the second half of the documentary “The Many Loves of Marilyn Monroe”.  Curiosity ignited, I followed the program with a series of Google searches, trying to piece together details about her short life and lengthy legacy.  Trust the internet for photographs and commentary; disjointed detailed accounts of her history, her behaviour, and even more about her mysterious death. But I was not satisfied, only more intrigued and voracious for information. Benjamin and I took a stroll through Hay Street, Perth’s chic shopping district and found the most delightful consignment book store amongst Tiffany’s, Burberry and Gucci.  In Elizabeth’s Second-hand Bookshop, we found a 500 page text called “The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe”, which was all the glamour I could afford in that particular neighbourhood. I bought the book and carried it out of the store clutching my new purchase lovingly to my chest.

Marilyn Monroe Arthur Miller

Summer was passing and the stifling weather had cooled in Perth.  The dampness of winter crept inwards and I felt illness roll in along with the bad weather.  Within 48 hours I had a debilitating head cold and was unable to work.  It is a rare occasion that I become ill with a cold or flu, but when I am struck down by a germy invasion, I fall like the Roman Empire, and it’s always ugly.  As the sickness infiltrated my body, I retreated into the biography, reading either curled up in bed, or while soaking in the tub.  After the Monroe biography ended, I couldn’t deny the sadness I felt.  I couldn’t believe she was dead.   To have read that whole book in a mere 72 hours was to have watched her perish in one continuous cataclysmic crash, as if she was both the speeding car and brick wall.  Still, it seemed so sudden.

“Oh my God, Marilyn Monroe just died!”

 “Oh my God, when?”

“50 years ago!”

The circumstances in that plane, that locked Hollywood bedroom, outside the New York apartment building are grim and fantastic.   Suddenly those figures are forever shrouded in their final outcome, and it’s impossible to see past the fog.  Though I know how these stories end, I can’t help wishing it were different.    But, wanting doesn’t make it so; once the machinery of fate is in motion, not even God can pull some mystical emergency brake-ceasing all action that leads to tragedy.   What remains are fragmented, feverish late night Google searches.  But satisfaction could not come from a simple answer. American writer Ken Kesey states: “The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery.  If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you’ll always be seeking.  I’ve never seen anybody really find the answer–they think they have, so they stop thinking.  But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom.  The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer”.  And so the fascination fever may never break, and we will spend our lives trying to prescribe answers for incurable questions.   


Images Courtesy of Google

Grim Peeper

The other day my husband was sitting on the sofa, laptop on lap, looking at Facebook.  He often looks at videos about cars, and all I hear is this sound of a chainsaw, but I’m assuming it’s some fancy engine that is being endlessly revved…because that’s the done thing when fancy cars are around, can’t just be enjoyed in silence–gotta rev, have to rev!  Oh yes, and squeal those tires too.

car girl

Oh wait…no, that was an actual chainsaw, decapitating people.  “On Facebook?” I ask.  All I get are pictures of cats, babies, selfies, and weddings.  Ben tells me that this is not the first time he’s seen stuff like this–“On Facebook? Really?”  The worst I’ve ever seen is testicles shaped like a heart.

The following day, while on a hike, Ben broke the quiet, saying: “I really can’t get that decapitation out of my head”.  No shit.  I think the minute you see heads being forcefully removed (is there any other way?), and you are “Hmm, anyhoo, what’s for lunch?” that’s the bigger problem, being so desensitized to violent images that it passes through you like a summer breeze.

The internet has a serious dark side, and for every picture of Ryan Gosling and a cute kitten, there is are murders, severed limbs and “Two Girls and One Cup”.  These images sear themselves onto your brain and stay with you until it’s time to go to bed.  And in the dark, next to your snoring husband you think “Why did I look at those pictures of Nicole Brown Simpson?”  I think people are generally interested in murder mysteries, but the written word is one thing, but the gory blood reality is another.  And that’s just the thing…I remember a time when you would really had to work hard to find disturbing images…now it’s generally interspersed with just run of the mill pictures.  I suppose I notice it more, now that I have this blog, in researching ideas, or searching for images, I have occasionally crossed over to the ‘dark side’ by accident.

Years ago, while on a John Lennon tangent, I was watching videos on You Tube.  And I came across something called “John Lennon predicts his own death”, and so I clicked on it–and there was this black and white picture, of what looked like his dead face.The image was closing in menacingly, with the most terrifying guttural, growling Satanic sound I’ve ever heard.  It was so disturbing that I shuddered and trembled and shut off the program, leaping out of my seat.  I bolted from the computer, and reached for my phone.  I called a friend, who then tried to find it, but couldn’t.  Others I told about it also looked but it had disappeared.  So, there’s reason to believe God put it there specifically to punish me for being a morbid, internet using time waster.

john lennon

(the picture was actually from the back of “Imagine”, doctored to look creepy–cheers for that!)

But this not the first time this kind of thing had happened.  One summer, I worked at a mine, and as the season wore on, you occasionally got placed in a job, and then left alone for the whole of a ten hour day.  I was placed in a data-entry position, with about three hours work to do.  There was no one to be found, and I got the distinct impression that the worst thing I could do was to bother anyone for another task.  So I mucked around on the internet, read about movies, actors, and in wondering how actress Natalie Wood died I stumbled across the website “Morbidly Hollywood”.  This website is rife with disturbing details and even more disturbing photos–if you dared to download the PDF…which I did not.


The following day, I was put back in the office, with even less work, and this time, they had assigned another girl to the job.  We achieved the task it in less than an hour.  “What do we do now?” she asked me.  “Yesterday, I just mucked around online”.  And reluctantly, I mentioned “Morbidly Hollywood”.  “Pictures and everything?”  “Uh, yes, but I didn’t look at the pictures”.  But this girl was fearless, and looked up the website and opened up all the images.  Tupac mid-autopsy, Marilyn Monroe face down in bed, and purple Chris Farley on the floor, taken by a hooker named Heidi, the last person to see him alive.

To this day, I can not enjoy “Tommy Boy” because of that stupid picture.

In this tiny office, she was looking at bruises and lacerations, getting her nose closer to the screen to see better, while I stood by the door, my fingers lashed over my eyes.  After all that time spent on the dark side; she told me how her father was killed, and what it was like for her to see his body in the morgue, and then later at the viewing.  The conversation had taken such a grim turn, and I really wished we had spent the day looking at kittens instead.kitten-in-a-sweater-kittens-5890480-670-578

See? You can totally live with yourself after seeing that? No one ever lies awake at night thinking “I wish I hadn’t seen that kitten wearing that knitted sweater”.

And the more time I spend on the internet, the more I realize its dangerous powers.  There is so much useful information, recipes, trivia, but there is plenty of evil,negativity and bullying as well.  I’m a reasonably intelligent woman in my 30’s, and sometimes I can’t handle what I’ve seen, I can’t imagine this world through the eyes of a child or teenager.  While I sometimes feel this draw towards the dark side, this overpowering morbid curiosity, I understand the consequence of seeing these images: sleepless nights and death of innocence. So while curiosity may have killed the cat, (lord knows I wouldn’t want to see those pictures), the proverb does assert that satisfaction brought him back.  But what satisfaction can come from this dark side?  It all comes down to choice, I choose to look at this, I choose to not watch that.  But sometimes, it just springs up on you, and you have to live with that image–and mostly make peace with the fact that this is the world that we live in…that someone is wielding a chainsaw while someone else is flashing a camera.  That is when you turn the laptop off, run away from the computer, go out into the fresh air, and walk until those images float through you like a summer breeze.