Sunday, January 28, 2007

Noticing a recurring theme

Gnarls Barkley - Crazy (live)


Thursday, January 25, 2007


California Golden Overtones - Let Go (a capella!)


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Sorting through emotional baggage is tedious. I'm finding that mostly, I'm frustrated at how long it takes. I don't exactly expect a quick-fix, I just get weary when I think about all the times past that I've had to sift through my life. In a lot of ways, it makes me feel very old.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Emotional turmoil

Staying deliberately vague sucks, and I spent a lot of time debating how to do this entry, and whether or not to do it at all. I'm going through a lot right now, but I've got decades of learning how to cope with life to draw upon. I'll pull through — as I always have — probably stronger, definitely wiser, and with a slightly heavier burden to bear until I can forgive. I'm going to need some time, and possibly some space, but I'll make it through.

Try not to be concerned: the "me you know" isn't going to emerge all that different — I'm past my self-destructive years. Many of you probably won't ever know what hit me, and it's doubtful you'll ever see any "fallout", but thanks for being people I know I can count on.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Life as a maternal-figure

I've been a member of the English-speaking Pinky:St forum for almost two years now. It's through the forum that I finally learned the technique of creating sculptural molds and casts — something I'd wanted to teach myself, as an artist, for years. The forum is a remarkably friendly place, newbie-questions are treated with respect and tolerance, and people are willing to share their experiences and enthusiasm for the hobby. I think the camaraderie stems from knowing that you — and the few other active members — are into such a niche, "geeky" hobby, that you can't help but glom on to others who share your interest in these 5" high chunks of giggle-inducing PVC.

The age range of forum members tends to vary pretty widely. Many members, as expected, are teenage girls, but perhaps more of the community is made up of mid-20s to mid-30s women. There's a shocking number of boys on the forum as well, which may seem odd over on this side of the pond, but it's no big deal in Japan, where Pinkys are manufactured and targeted towards teen to mid-30s males. I guess it makes sense: the toys are of cute girls in various styles and colours of clothing. Matt has pointed out that the interchangeability of hairstyles and outfits is actually very similar in concept to that of Lego.

To the heart of things

There's a teenage boy on the forum whose posts I first began noticing about a half-year ago. He's got a morbid, but incredibly witty sense of humour, and he has no problems wearing his heart on his sleeve. One of his first threads concerned the feelings he experienced as an adopted boy in a town where the two dominant races are polarized.

The forum, strangely, has become an atmosphere in which many of the older women take on a role as "village elder" to the younger members who seek advice of all matters, whether they relate to the hobby or not.

I realize that the "young man" in question could be anything from a 50 year-old man who gets his kicks out of deceiving women into believing that he's a troubled teenage boy, to an 8 year-old girl who's testing out an adult's reaction to a persona she develops. Maybe, however, it's just a teenage boy who's got all the usual angst, and then some, who's looking for advice.

Don't worry, adult role-models in my life, I don't share identifying personal information and I don't delude myself that I ought to form some kind of intense emotional bond with this individual.

Well, he messaged me a few months ago for the opportunity to share some of the circumstances that are making him question his place in the world. To greatly oversimplify things, he's an adopted boy in a town in which the two majority races are at odds with one another. The adults in particular seem to be behaving remarkably stupidly about things, requesting segregation in the schools and enforcing social segregation upon the children. So, immediately, he's struggling with his burgeoning identity as an adult, while having to address the possibility that his racial identity may include that the of the culture he's being told to reject. His interests include little dolls, so his father openly questions his son's sexuality, and he has no mother-figure to provide a glimmer of hope that he'd be shown unconditional love. Needless to say, he's got some pretty hefty issues to deal with, and he's been turning to me for help.

So, without getting into specifics, recent events in his life seem to have taken a turn for the good, and the role I seem to have in his life is one of "mother figure", someone to be able to speak openly with about his emotions without being looked down on for having emotions, period. He's a smart kid who knows that he should be more accepting of himself, but seems to need the reassurance once in a while.

It's strange, to fill this role, at this time, in his life. I imagine I must be experiencing some of the concerns that afflict responsible parents; Will I be a positive influence? How do I not fail him or lead him astray?

I guess, like everyone else, all you can do is try to be a good person, and guide others as you would have benefitted from others' guidance. I suppose the old adage, "To thine own self be true," is about more than living life as you feel is best for yourself, but also about imparting the best of yourself to others.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

...speaking of Bruce Campbell...

I swear, every time I watch Bubba Ho-Tep, I love him a little more. Yes, it's a quirky little B-movie about Elvis in a rest home, fighting a cowboy-mummy with the help of an elderly black man who thinks he's JFK, but it's also a surprisingly deep movie about the feelings of ineptitude and regret that come along with aging. The acting is pretty durn good too.


Friday, January 12, 2007

I've come to realize that I'm a sucker for live performances

David Bowie - Heroes

It doesn't hurt matters that Mr. Bowie falls into the same category as Robert Smith, Thom Yorke, Bruce Campbell and Batman, either.

Yes, I'm aware of the unusually high proportion of musicians on this list.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

I am not hungry, again

So, for those who I haven't spoken to recently, Matt, his parents and I went with Brandi to The Keg in Barrie to belatedly celebrate her birthday. After a wait of nearly an hour, we were seated. By then, I think most of us were just about ready to gnaw our own limbs off for sustenance, so it's no surprise that I went ahead and ate the rare steak that was placed in front of me, rather than demanding the medium steak I'd initially requested. Apparently, that was a giant mistake — I came down with food poisoning.

I took it easy on Sunday and Monday, keeping my food-intake to simple things like crackers and the odd celery stick. Suffering no ill effects by Monday, I chose to go ahead with my plan to treat Bruce to lunch on Tuesday. I think dim sum was simply too complex for my poor, abused digestive system to process, so I relapsed on Tuesday night.

Yesterday's intake consisted of saltines, ginger ale and soda water. By 3pm, I had a mild headache coming on. Knowing that the lack of nutrients in my body was probably the cause of the aggravation, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and picked up a 6-piece order of vegetarian California rolls. Sadly, even after eating, the headache persisted and was full-blown by 7pm. I napped — fitfully — over the course of the next two hours. Realizing I'd be useless for the remainder of the evening, I got ready for bed, my headache seriously making me consider the health benefits of weeping in pain. By then, I had nausea as well, a deterrent in taking anything for my headache. I caved in to the pain-supressing bliss of Advil about 1-1/2 hours after going to bed, and was asleep within the next 15 minutes.

So today I realized that dealing with stomach pain is a helluva lot easier for me than a splitting headache, and — starting my day with a bowl of easily-digestible cream of wheat — went ahead and had a sushi lunch with John and Terri. Balk all you want, but when was the last time you had dairy served to you in a sushi restaurant?

My fingers, they are crossed.


Friday, January 05, 2007

First home-cooked meal of the New Year!

On Wednesday night, Matt starting exhibiting symptoms of the bug that everyone had over the Christmas break, so I decided to make a homemade chicken soup.

The chicken stock base I made and froze a few months ago came about from the carcasses created in this cooking venture. So, without further ado:

Leah's homemade chicken soup*

  • 1 L homemade chicken stock

  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce

  • 1 c dried red kidney beans

  • 1 c carrot, sliced

  • 2 large mushrooms, sliced

  • 2 celery stalks, chopped

  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, chopped

  • 1/2 ginger root, grated

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 small yellow onions, chopped

  • 2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cubed

  • 1 c small pasta shapes, multi-coloured

I started by rehydrating the beans while the previously-frozen stock and tomato sauce were simmering, then got to work chopping the vegetables. The carrots, mushrooms, celery and jalapenos were set aside in a bowl. The ginger was grated right into the stock (I could have used the entire root without throwing off the balance, so I'll probably do that next time). The chopped garlic also got dropped right into the stock (mmm...ginger/garlic smells!). I sautéed/carmellized the onion in a frying pan with olive oil, then spooned those into the stock. The chicken was cooked in the pan that the onions had just been spooned from. Water was simmered in the onion/chicken pan to add to the stock. By then, the beans were ready, so I drained and rinsed those and added them to the soup. While the soup flavours mixed, I boiled the pasta in a separate pot, and added the shapes to the individual bowls of soup, rather than letting them bloat (I hate that!) in the soup pot itself.

* All quantities listed are approximate.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

One complaint about Blogger's new set-up

I've been signing into my Blogger account with my Gmail address for the past few weeks, largely without any noticeable difference in quality, but with a few handy new features, like Labels. Sadly, I have noticed a particularly annoying glitch that I'm surprised the Google/Blogger team hasn't fixed: if I try to post a comment to a friend's blog without having signed in to Blogger yet, the comment is lost during the redirect to the sign-in page. I've lost maybe a dozen comments this way.

Anybody know where to report bugs?


Monday, January 01, 2007

My head is like a football

We were over at Kev and Michelle's last night for the annual New Year's Eve gathering. Matt, Caty and I originally planned to go there first, then over to Tito Nano's for his birthday/New Year's Eve party (an annual tradition, for the Garcia family). By 11pm, however — when we were aiming for going over to the other party — I and many other of the party attendees had gotten into tequila shots, putting the kibosh on any plans to leave. Mike brought Guitar Hero, a game which I (unexpectedly) suck at, and Matt (also unexpectedly) has a talent for. Bruce brought Settlers, and a late-night poker game started up for the more sober members of the party. Bruce, Caty and I were invited over to the next door neighbours' house for caldereta, so we went. I didn't get to try any myself, but Bruce certainly seemed to enjoy his helping.

The copious amounts of water I had after my self-imposed cut-off contributed to the fact that I'm hangover-free, no doubt.