Monday, April 28, 2008

20 year anniversary of "Chucks"

I bought a pair of black low top All Stars yesterday. I paid way too much for them and I felt an acid build up in my stomach supporting Converse (which is of course, NIKE), but I closed my eyes and bought them anyway. I need sneakers. Everyday weekend running around shoes that weren't my actually running shoes and that I could slip on and off at the back door. When I saw them I had a pang of worry that I couldn't carry them off anymore. This was quickly replaced by a "Fuck that!" and so I sat through the humiliation of having some barely conscious baggy-panted dude in a striped referee's shirt ask me what size I needed. "Dude" brought me the shoes and then instantly ninja'd away to text his girlfriend and I tried on my Chucks.
I got my first Chucks in Grade 12 in 1988. They were red high tops and my boyfriend at the time gave them to me because they didn't fit him. He also gave me a pair of green low tops which didn't fit well but I bore the pain anyway. I went on to get all-black high tops in New York that I wore all the way through the early nineties. I saw Seaweed and SNFU with those shoes. I saw The Jesus Lizard and left before this unheard of band, Nirvana, played. I threw up on those shoes, spilt fish and chip batter on them and sloshed beer on the toes. I was wearing those Chucks when Bill Stevenson from ALL said he wanted to sleep with me.

And so with "Dude" no where in sight, and my nine year old daughter offering encouragement, I walked up to the counter and bought the overpriced and exploiting fuckers. Fuck they feel good. And you bet your ass I can pull it off. I just wish I didn't feel so dirty.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Infinitely worth it

A friend on mine called me a liar on facebook today. I have Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace listed as one of my favorite books. His note:

You're a liar. No one has read Infinite Jest.

Which is hilarious because it is probably mostly true. Infinite Jest is huge.
HUGE. It is like 2000 pages of small 10pt arial font densely compacted. It is an epic travel over four or five years of a young brilliant, drug experimenting Tennis hopeful, Hal Incandenza, in the "near but distant future". Oh, and it is about his family,friends and intertwining plot webs that connect randomly or nonrandomly over the course of these few years. Once you pick up the book and weigh its tomeishness in your hands and flip open the pages to the see the tiny tiny font, you also realize that the main chapters are really only a thousand pages. The second thousand pages are FOOTNOTES. Yes, footnotes. However, unlike most footnotes(which don't usually appear in long fiction anyway), these tell more detail of the plot in focus and begin to weave other plot angles all on their own.

The characters are brilliantly funny and tragic, the drug excursions are hilarious, and Wallace's "near but distant future" is so creative and satirical that it is both ridiculous and totally believable. To get you started, Hal starts out the story in The Year of Glad. Yes, the US (who has cluelessly convinced Mexico and Canada to form the "Organization of North American Nations" or ONAN) has finally sold the Year Calendar to corporate sponsors to make money. Just wait for The Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad.

Infinite Jest is old. It came out in 1996 and I probably read it the first
time in 1997. Yes, the FIRST time. I have read it three times. One, because I have a shitty memory and the thing is huge and two, because it is that fucking GOOD. It is my deserted island choice.

So, Buy it and read it. I dare you. And then let me know, because I have actually never met someone who has read it- and I LOVE talking about it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Don't it take your breath away?

I learned a startling fact today. Next year more Alberta women will die of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) than of breast cancer. COPD is a potentially devastating breathing disease that causes lung damage and obstructs, or 'blocks' the airways. COPD is sometimes called emphysema or chronic bronchitis.The main symptoms experienced by patients with COPD are shortness of breath and limitation of activity .

The Lung Association of Alberta and NWT posted a Lung Association Report with the following:

The statistics on women and COPD paint a disturbing picture:

  • In 2005, 425,300 Canadian women 35 years of age or over self reported a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (1)
  • In 2003, 4,383 women died from COPD in Canada (2). As a comparison, in 2003, 5,060 women died of breast cancer (3)
  • COPD affects 4.8 per cent of women, 3.9 per cent of men (4)
-Lung Association Report 2006

November 20, 2007
New Lung Association research: Millions more may have COPD than previously estimated
Findings show deadly breathing disease remains seriously under-diagnosed

Ottawa, ON, November 20, 2007 – Startling research findings released today by The Lung Association demonstrate that as many as three million Canadians may have COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Canada's fourth leading cause of death. This is nearly double previous estimates and includes over one and a half million (1.6 million) undiagnosed Canadians (1) and one and a half million (1.5 million) who say they currently suffer from this chronic lung disease.

The research also shows that the disease is highly prevalent among younger Canadian baby boomers - one in seven Canadians aged 45 to 49 (375,000) may have COPD.

This research confirms recent global prevalence data published in The Lancet which states "…evidence suggests that rates of disease (COPD) are generally underestimated."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Introducing...The Meatkini!

Seriously now, what the hell were they thinking? The latest episode of America's Top Model apparently consists of a photo challenge of shooting a meat themed series in a meat packing plant. Yes, that is a meatkini she is wearing as well as a meat bandanna. First of all, while I can attempt a nod at the artistic brilliance of the look and the creativity of tailoring, this just grosses me out: Me, who loves steak, loves a good meat plate, who friends have affectionately dubbed "Meat Whore". I would never wear a meatkini. The whole thing is disgusting. This is waste, consumption and materialism at its very strongest and you can't tell me that that was the artistic point. There was no satire or social commentary meant-this is just producers trying to make money and get youtube hits.
Sigh. and here I am giving it all attention. I need a shower.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Feist: finally gets what she deserves

There was a time, back in the dark, dank Repulik nightclub in downtown Calgary, that I wished Leslie Feist would stop screeching and sing some words. More accurately, I wished she would take her hot little punk rock self and go attract punk rock boys somewhere Vancouver, or Greenland. I admit it, I was jealous. Now, however, I count her as my number one favorite Canadian artist, male or female. She is a talented musician, she has a voice that inspires thought, brevity and motion, and she has brought back into fashion the texture and fabric of old sound and voice. She integrates the best of old recording sound and song with new techno and creates something palpably raw and smooth. So, good for her for winning Junos. It is too bad the Americans couldn't see fit to recognize her for what she is.

Read more

Thursday, April 03, 2008

How to get your students to tell you to "F off"

NAIT's ANTI "Potty Mouth" Campaign:
As if we need more to shake our head in wonder at, NAIT has just launched the first wave in their new "professionalism" campaign geared towards teaching students the proper way to behave in school. The first in the series focuses on profanity or "potty mouth" as one poster cutely puts it. "dress", "behaviour" and "cleanliness in the cafeteria", are apparently themes to come in the future.

I am not even sure where to start with this: the bad clip art and terrible messaging used for public distribution in an institution with over 70, 000 students; the concept that somehow a lame, insulting and condescending poster campaign is going to seriously cause anything other than an outrage; or that the communications director thinks that this is a really exciting series. Really?

I really hope there are some loud reactions to this. I will keep you posted.