Sunday, October 28, 2007

X is for X-Rated

I know you're entirely intrigued by the title of this entry, so let's get straight to it.

I've been sitting on something for a little while now, not entirely sure that I wanted to broach the subject or deal with the topic at all, but have decided that it's better to throw it all out there and choose to have a good laugh at it rather than give more power to things out of our control than they deserve, so here goes.

About a month ago, a friend of mine e-mailed me with a bit of a curious inquiry. It seems that someone looking suspiciously like me had turned up on a site of candid photos. Candid photos taken in a locker room. Candid photos taken of individuals who were unclothed whilst in a locker room.

Of course, I laughed it off and replied that, no, I was not on any such site.

Then I was sent the URL for the site and told to check for myself. Being a bit amused by the prospects of being an international celebrity, I went ahead and looked.

There, about three-quarters of the way down the page, was the individual in question, a short series of photos in a shower room.

Indeed, that individual did look rather suspicisouly like me. That individual shared certain scars from certain operations which seemed rather suspiciously like mine. That's when I started to look at the surroundings as well, and realized that the area in which this individual was taking his innocent yet secretly observed shower was strikingly similar to a gym which I once attended shortly after having surgeries on my hands. A gym not far from where I live.

I was struck by a multitude of emotions. #1: What the heck was someone doing spreading pictures of ... um ... someone so similar to me on the internet? #2: WHY would the general be interested in pictures of ... um ... someone so similar to me in the buff? #3: How oblivious does one need to be to have photos taken without being aware of it? I mean, these were no blurry camera-phone shots, the discolouration of scar tissue was quite clear in a couple of them!

Needless to say, whatever the raging emotions, I was disctinctly annoyed and, after taking a few days to gear up some nerve to discuss such an unpleasant topic, went to speak with the gym's management. Basically, I was told that there's a policy against photography in any part of the gym (duh), but that it was virtually impossible to enforce short of installing surveillance cameras, which would somewhat defeat the purpose of eliminating photography. (An unpleasant but fairly logical truth.) They said that in the few years since the photos must have been taken, circulation of gym staff through all areas of the gym has been increased in order to reduce the opportunity for breaches of privacy. (I guess that having staff roam in and out of the rooms where people are wandering about naked is better than having pervs wandering in and out taking permanent records of it.) Suffice it to say that the end result is "well, them's the breaks".

In truth, how many people do I know who are going to stumble upon pictures of someone who ... um ... resembles me in such a state? Not many. I'll survive, I'm sure.

Of course, none of that was true. I didn't really have anything to write for the topic letter X, so I thought I'd give you something interesting to read. Let's be honest, though, some of you have been rather intrigued by the whole prospect of my being involved in something so off-the-wall. I might have even been somehow raised in your esteem if I had been photographed nude at the gym! Of course, if you enjoyed that, I've got a GREAT story to tell you about some birds...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

W is for Weekend Update

Well, at long last, I was able to sleep in ridiculously late today. Ahhhh! Things as of late have been a trifle busy, but things are going well and looking up for a bit more down time. Woohoo!

Work's keeping me busy (both jobs) and rehearsals are going well. Thankfully, if I'm going to be working all day and rehearsing all night, I might as well be doing it with people who are enjoyable, and I'm certainly in that position.

This past week I also took a quick trip with a small crew of folk to see Batboy: The Musical in Buffalo. It was surprisingly enjoyable! Very fun, with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. One could tell that the theatre where it was showing was well aware that it was a bit of a departure for them from their usual fare, but those of the audience who stayed to the end -- and that was certainly most of them -- seemed to enjoy it greatly.

This morning, I was lounging about in a bathrobe (I told you, I slept in ridiculously late for the first time in a month) when I had the pleasant and unexpected surprise of a quick visit from Linda and Tim from Ottawa. Who knew they'd be in my living room this weekend? Woohoo!

Given how hectic things have been, I know that things have piled up a bit with which I must now deal, but things are looking good. Laundry's been done, paperwork is slowly getting completed, and I'm still enjoying life... Hey, I can't complain.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

V is for Vomit

In deciding what I could possibly write about for the letter V -- violins? the victrola? vehemence? -- I thought of something which could very well have been part of my seven random things list. Vomit.

Fear not, this won't be a post full of gory details about the act of puking. I won't talk about the sweat that breaks out on your brow as you lurch fitfully down the hall towards the bathroom, each step rocking you with another clench of your esophagus as you seek to suppress your aching need to expel the contents of your stomach. I won't get into the moment when you realize that the act is not going to be denied any longer, when you throw your face into the gaping maw of the toilet bowl, hearing the rasps of your throat and the gurgling of bile echo all around your ears, amplified by the acoustics of porcelain and water. I won't even begin to discuss the way you finish off, hacking like a hairballed cat, expectorating, expectorating, and expectorating again, trying in vain to rid your mouth of the foul, sour residue of your experience.

I won't discuss any of that, because I don't vomit.

That's right.




It's been over twenty years since my last barfimonious experience, and I anticipate going considerably longer yet. I sometimes feel nauseous, I sometimes feel ill, but I do not vomit.

To shift gears just a little, my dear friend Keltie once sent me a short academic essay which analysed and compared the manners in which humans and cats vomit. It was one of the funniest things I've ever read, and I'm sure that those who were walking by my dorm room on that afternoon as I sat inside and laughed aloud more enthusiastically as can be called "cool" were wondering, but it was pure gold. Somewhere in the catacombs of my life, I have that essay packed away somewhere. I'll probably be 98 and in a home and some dear loved ones will come to visit and, through a haze of scant recognition, I'll hear them say, "Jerome, we found this in a box of stuff we're selling on eBay. We thought you'd like to read it." They'll hand me two typewritten pages, stapled together, and I'll read it quietly to myself and, through my own drool, I'll start to laugh my raspy old guy laugh, then it'll grow and grow until my frail frame aches and quakes uncontrollably in my metal-frame bed. Somewhere a little beeping alarm will start to sound, and my room will be set upon by young, patient nursemaids who will try to settle me down, strapping my arms and legs to the frame for my own safety, but it'll be too late and, as tears of joy, memory, and laughter stream from my eyes, I'll bellow my last laugh with more strength than I will have mustered in years, my chest will arch up towards the ceiling, and I'll expire before their eyes, a toothless grin upon my face and Keltie's writing clenched in my hard, cold fist.

Thanks a lot, Keltie. You're going to be the end of me.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

U is for Under Duress

Yes, under external pressure, not matter how couched it may be, I will now complete the Seven Random Things meme. (I won't even get into the discussion of whether these things really should be called memes or not...) In any case, here are seven things you may or may not know about me:

1. I greatly prefer that different foods on my plate do not touch. In an ideal world, the plates are sufficiently large that a little "no man's land" exists between each food on the plate. I also do NOT put different things on my fork. I did not inherit my parent's penchant for putting a little beef on the fork, spearing a bit of potato with it, and then popping some peas on top of it all before taking a bite. No. No. No.

2. I've worked many, many jobs. People are often amused/surprised by the picture of me working in a lumbermill, operating a ferris wheel, or being a product demonstrator in a grocery store. Although I was quite good at all of the above, I didn't much care for any of them. I have a rather extensive list of jobs, but I won't bore you with them all.

3. It took me years to eat a Nanaimo bar. Years. All around me, people were eating them and singing their praises, but I couldn't bring myself to try one. That middle layer -- the yellow one -- disturbed me. Finally I ate one. I liked it. Surprise.

4. I have a problem with bad puppeteering. Maybe it comes from being brought up with the Muppets, whose puppeteers are so good that they convince you you're seeing a wide range of facial expressions even from the puppets whose faces don't really change much. I once was flipping channels and came across Tots TV, a show from the UK featuring three puppet characters. Well, I found it so unsettling, I could not watch it. Two days later, it bugged me that they'd creeped me out so much, so I tried to force myself to watch an episode, simply to address how much I hated the puppet characters. I couldn't do it. The puppets were hideous and performed with that awful, "I'm an adult doing a cutesy baby voice" voice that made me want to puke. I never watched it again. Hideous.

5. I think Edward Gorey was both hilarious and brilliant. If I make someone I know read one of his books and he or she says, "I don't get it," I feel bad that I've made them read it.

6. I didn't like Forrest Gump. I didn't hate it or anything, but after I saw it, I didn't particularly have any inclination to ever watch it again. Perhaps it was a case of too much hype before I saw it, so I was let down after the build-up. You should see the looks I sometimes get from people when I tell them I didn't much care for it.

7. After I moved away from Kingston as a kid, my friends Keltie and John used to send me cassettes instead of letters once in a while. (I was a little bit jealous that two of my best friends had become best friends with one another while I was miles and miles away.) Sometimes they made them separately ("Do you like hotdogs?") and sometimes they made them as a pair (which generally involved about 80 minutes of them fighting back and forth and about ten minutes of opening and closing ("We're almost out of time! Bye, Jerome!"). They were insanely fun to get and listen to, lying on my living room floor in front of the stereo, usually with headphones on. In return, I would reply in a similar fashion, sometimes with the assistance of my friend, Heather, though much less fighting was generally involved ("Okay, Heather? Okay, Heather? Okay, Heather?" "Okay, Jerome!"). We were, all four of us, little weirdoes, but what enjoyable weirdoes we were! Somewhere, among years of memories and boxes, I still have those cassettes and a bundle of letters from Kingston. One day I'll hold a little gathering at my house, inviting two particular friends who will alternate between mortification and amusement, and we'll laugh until the sun comes up.

Seven random things. Done.

Monday, October 08, 2007

T is for Translations

Many who know me know of my fascination with poorly translated products from abroad. I have a bit of a minor collection of such things which amuse me. (I had originally planned on scanning several of my favourites for you all to see, but quite frankly, I haven't the time and patience to dig through boxes in the basement to find them.)

Among my favourites are a little toy car with the words "Welcome & Praise" on its hood, a little red book, "Funny Love" whose cover explains "Pucca is a sweet daughter of owner of the Chinese restaurant... She is mania to a Chinese stylish noodle" and, my all-time favourite, an address book with the cryptic saying, "Even winoe among the fotiage panea my hert."

But here is something everyone should read, and buy, at the dollar store when it's available.

(Click the picture to see the whole thing.)

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Yes, you can see that this dish cloth is so effective and valuable that ten thousand use it. Or should it be that it has ten thousand uses? Hmmm... In any case, Family are essential. Indeed it are!

But where things get really funny is when you read the back!

(Click the picture to see the entire thing.)

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I don't know what they were even trying to say at times during that! Heehee! All I know is that they make using this dish cloth sound like quite the adventure!

(I think I should record a CD and its title will be "Easily Do Not Drop the Floss".)