Monthly Archives: June 2010

I’m An Ageist

Something happened today on my walk to the grocery store that is very typical. I was coming towards a group of kids who were maybe 13 or 14 years old with my daughter in her stroller. I did what I do every time I approach someone coming the opposite way on the sidewalk: I moved to the right, expecting they would also go to their right and we would pass each other in an efficient and practical manner. Sometimes, one person goes to the left, which is not what traffic customs dictate, but it’s okay because the intent is the same. Every once in a blue moon, however, you meet a different set of humans on the sidewalk who will do neither. These specimens are named kids.

I define kids as any person under an approximate age of 19, a group that can be further divided into children and teenagers. Kids are very insular human beings, having little concept of consequence or how their actions affect others. And in many circumstances they can be highly annoying by sheer virtue of their age. They think they’re funny when they’re not, they think they’re smart when they’re not, and they think they’re super cute when they’re super not.

Now, I love kids. I have nephews and nieces, I have a baby daughter and I want more. And I think all those kids are perfect and hilarious and thoughtful and bright and good looking.

Which is why THEY would never approach a woman pushing a stroller with a group of their teenaged friends and SPREAD THEMSELVES ACROSS THE ENTIRE SIDEWALK.

AND NOT MOVE.

FORCING ME TO GO OFF-ROADING INTO THE BUSHES.

Should I have just mowed them over? They’d survive. Plus, they’d learn a valuable lesson that would make society respect them so much more. I would be happy to do my part. For society.

A less drastic, and perhaps less effective approach, would be to just stand there and force them to walk around me. I should remember to do this next time.

I don’t mind when children do this because I understand they haven’t really learned how the world works. But adolescents have no excuse and I suspect they’re just being asses. Asses who can’t see past the end of their own noses. Which means it may be a myopic issue.

Clearly, a whole subset of our society needs glasses.

MOVE IT.

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Upchucking

Vomiting is one of my least favourite activities. It never starts, goes or ends well and it makes your throat sore. Plus, if you’re like me, the little blood vessels around your eyes explode and you’re left with dots of red, like micro chicken pox. All so that your body can rid itself of whatever it is that hasn’t been sitting well.

My stomach is unsettled this evening and I’m reminded of a time not too long ago when I was barfing all the time to lose weight.

Oh, lighten up, I meant because of pregnancy. I was very, very nauseous for the first 17 weeks gestation with my daughter. I knew I would be sick because my sister was sick with her pregnancies, and we’re both kind of nauseating people.

I meant nauseated. I am, in fact, rather delightful.

But I digress. I kind of wish I would throw up right now because very often it makes me feel better later on. It sure did when I was with child, though I’m not sure why given that most of the time I only brought up bile. You know how it is when you’re nauseous; food doesn’t really turn you on.

So I guess what I’m saying is the following:

1) I don’t like to vomit.

2) I kind of want to vomit.

3) Vomiting is bad for your teeth.

4) Vomiting is a lazy and nasty way to lose weight.

5) I suspect the meatball sub did me in.

Sandwich, anyone?

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Stop It With The Exclamation Marks, Please

Who knew that bad punctuation can have rotten consequences?

If you’re bad with grammar and punctuation you’ll need to read this. I am good at both because I take a great interest in them. Doesn’t that make me super interesting? Although deficient use of grammar and punctuation annoys me, I do have a certain grace for those it afflicts. I have, after all, had some indiscretions of my own. Just recently, I noticed I put an apostrophe in a possessive “its” in one of my posts. I KNOW!

Grammar is more difficult to learn, in English and in other equally complicated languages. So, fine, if you’re bad at it, it’s just not your thing. (That “it’s” was not possessive – see the difference? You’re – not your – welcome.) But punctuation gaffes are inexcusable when you’re using the most popular marks.

The most ill-used punctuation has got to be THE EXCLAMATION MARK.

On several occasions, I have been looking at my news feed on Facebook and seen the mark grossly misplaced. IT DOES NOT NEED TO BE EMPLOYED AS OFTEN AS YOU THINK. On a few occasions, worrisome and downright sorrowful status lines elicited comments from friends that were rendered inappropriate solely as a result of the use of an exclamation mark.

“I’m so sorry to hear your son has serious swine flu! Hope he gets well soon!”

“My thoughts are with you in this awful experience!”

“Oh Jane! Take care of yourself during this difficult time!”

Exclamation marks should be mostly used to convey excitement or happiness, and sometimes anger. Rarely, and only with utmost caution, should it be coupled with a phrase expressing sadness. If you’re writing something in response to someone’s distressing or grievous situation, it’s best to avoid it entirely. The reason is that it comes off as insincere, as if you’re not understanding the seriousness of the circumstance.

I know most people have good intentions and just use the exclamation mark to convey emphasis of sentiment. But if you don’t see how the above examples border on glib and blasé, then I suggest you err on the side of caution and avoid using the exclamation mark altogether.

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Embarrassing Moments

I have done many an embarrassing thing. In my childhood, none quite so much as when I was in third grade and sitting on the floor of the multi-purpose room at school with my two buddies, Ryan and Brock. Ryan said something I found enormously funny and I snorted. The snorting wasn’t that bad, but the resulting explosion of snot, was. I clearly remember how the rope of loose, wet boogers SHOT out of my nose and how my hand reached out to grab it down at my waist. It was a few seconds before it broke off and formed a giant, gelatinous blob in the palm of my hand. At that point, I found myself in a bit of a conundrum: what to do with the snot? The sheer size of the blob made it rather unfeasible to wipe on an article of clothing. Snot does not absorb well. Plus, it’s not like I could make like it didn’t happen. The boys were roaring with laughter, and at one point Brock even said, “Cool! Do that again!”

And of course I’ve had oodles of humiliating experiences in the twenty-five years since then. Most are just the result of stupid human behaviour, but several have come as a result of stepping out of my comfort zone to try new things. For instance, many moons ago I auditioned to be the relief traffic girl at the TV station where I work. I wasn’t even on air but my voice was wavering like I had a gun to my face. I drank some water, soldiered on, did some more takes and waited for the producer’s decision. When I look back now, the ridiculous optimism I held at being offered the position was actually hilarious.

A couple of years later, I auditioned to be one of twelve contestants on a Canadian reality show. I was offered a spot on the show where the contestants (who were all writers) were to live in a book store for three days and each write a novel. The whole thing was televised and they had “challenges” every few hours for the writers to compete in. I SUCKED ASS in these challenges. I tried too hard to be smart, I was intimidated by the far more accomplished writers alongside me and I let myself believe I wasn’t good at what I do. I lost more challenges than not, and it got to be a joke that the blonde girl was going to come out on bottom yet again. Let’s all laugh at how terrible Laura is at coming up with catchy opening sentences, deciphering anagrams and recognizing famous authors! I ended up doing fairly well on my novel, but the humiliation of the actual TV show left me almost unable to watch it when it aired.

One of the most uncomfortable situations is to be embarrassed for somebody. I could tell some of my acquaintances were embarrassed for me after those debacles, and maybe even a wee bit happy about my failures. Several adopted a distinctly smug demeanor whilst ostensibly avoiding the topic. I would have rather they’d addressed the elephant in the room and said, “Good for you for at least trying out!” or “Look how you redeemed yourself with that great story!” or even “Your upper arms looked great on-screen!”.

It took me a few months, but I am glad I went through those experiences. Not because anything particularly outstanding came out of either of them, but because I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something different. How are we supposed to evolve and become more interesting, able , skilled and confident if we always do the same things?

I wonder if my smug comrades have ever challenged themselves and pushed the boundaries of what their limits are. I might make a fool of myself a thousand times over, but at the very least I’ll be a more refined human being. And, maybe, doing things that make me uncomfortable will even lead me to do great things and get everything I want out of life.

So who’s the fool?

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Only Guys Are Gamers

My husband is a gamer. Red Dead Redemption came out recently and he was all excited to start playing. Don’t ask me what Red Dead Redemption is, what it’s about or what its appeal is supposed to be. I would guess it’s about red people who come back to life to redeem themselves for all the bad stuff they did during their lives by doing good deeds for others. The more people you bless with kindness, the more points you get. Like, helping an old lady load groceries into her car is worth ten points, but running into a burning building to save an orphan with eczema gives you fifty. If you pick the small, delicate guy for your volleyball team in gym class it’s twenty-five, but if you ask the shy girl with an unfortunate penchant for pleated pants and raging acne to prom, that warrants eighty. So, Red Dead Redemption is probably right up my husband’s alley.

But I don’t get gaming. I think it’s pointless, like watching Deal Or No Deal. Nothing learned coupled with low entertainment value. I always tell my husband that Pac-Man, now there’s a game! Linear, immediate satisfaction, low involvement and little commitment required. Yeah, yeah, to each his own. For instance, my husband HATES The View. Like, more than I hate Resident Evil 1 through 7. And he’ll never share my affinity for chick lit or www.gofugyourself.com.

Fine, we all waste time in our own ways. I just think my time wastage is better.

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Worst Song Ever

I’m going to definitively name the Worst Song Ever. I don’t think there will be a single person who disagrees that this is not just a bad song, but a terrible one. You may think there are other songs that are worse, or at least equally bad. But you will not think it’s a good song. Bold, aren’t I? So sure am I of my assertion.

Ever heard of Sugar Jones? It’s made up of five girls who won spots to form a group on the Canadian reality show Popstars. Now, Canadians are sometimes known to do poor man’s versions of entertainment things American – but  this musical group takes the cake. I suppose they were all good singers on their own, but together they produced something that is ironically, and overwhelmingly, non-harmonious. Their first of only two releases was, by definition, the best they could muster after months of Canadians anticipating the result of gathering the most talented and engaging performers between Victoria and Halifax. And what did we get? Days Like That. No, Sugar J, I do not like my days like that.

In fact, when I hear it on the radio so many years after it failed to make any significance in the biz back in 2001, I want to grab the DJ by the collar and scream, “WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?” There is so much wonderful music out there that will fulfill your CanCon, why must we waste our time and expose our ears to horrendous songs like that?

It’s not just the song that’s bad, it’s the execution. The whole thing is a mess of seemingly random notes barely supporting weak vocals and strained melodies. Is it just me, or is the whole song slightly off-key?

I don’t understand how the producers could have thought that was their best finished product. And, like I said, it’s because they keep INSISTING on playing it on our stations that I must, in turn, INSIST upon its musical rankness. I have moved on with my life, but the DJs have to stop it. Days Like That should never have been at all. Just cut it out.

Any runners-up to the title?

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