Sunday, May 27, 2007

Your Ovaries Are Senescing!!!

This week I've had Irish Election Fever. It's similar to the Boogie Woogie Flu in that it sounds entertaining but is ultimately embarrassing. Irish Election fever required listening to 'Morning Ireland', RTE Radio One's current Affairs program. This has brought into high relief the dire quality of CBC radio's morning programs. Little National news, barely any International news and a lot of self-satisfied waffle.

A couple of weeks ago this situation reached its nadir with a week long 'investigative series' on the IVF industry. For a whole week my impressionable, just-waking brain was subjected to a program that was the aural equivalent of a perfect stranger coming up to in the street, grabbing you by the shoulders and shouting 'Your ovaries are senescing! Your ovaries are senescing'. It was that subtle. By Friday I was practically brainwashed into thinking "Hmm, maybe I should try and have a child. Oh no, it's too late." I felt very angry about the whole program, which did nothing except point out the obvious: women have decreased fertility after they are 30, IVF is not a magic bullet. Er, yes, I knew that thank you.

I was even more irritated by how the 'investigative' aspect was utterly neglected. One morning the reporter purred "The first thing women see when they come to the office of Dr B is a wall of baby pictures and thank you notes from the grateful women he has helped to become mothers". I was SHOCKED to hear this, having already listened to many tales of woe from couples who had spent many tens of thousands of dollars on cycle after cycle of unsuccessful IVF, getting into debt, selling their home, sometimes even divorcing from the stress of it all. My first thought would have been to ask the doctor was this ethical, to prime the hopes of women who have only a slim chance of success? But no, the reporter blithely moved on to another zombie-voiced woman saying "freedom in my 20s...didn't think of'm 36...doom...dooooom". The whole thing was a textbook case of lazy, derivative journalism. When my pirate ship with eight sails and fifty cannons comes into view I am so going to enforce journalistic standards (also, the penalty for littering will be crucifiction, you have been warned).

Friday, May 25, 2007

New Game

I call it Blogger Scrabble (Scroggle?), although really it's Call My Bluff. I've been playing it for a while now. Every time I've left a comment on Blogger I've amused myself by thinking up definitions for the jaw-breaking passwords of vowels and consonants. So I've decided to share the results in my comments. Lucky you.

Monday, May 21, 2007


I have made a marvellous and serendipitous discovery. If you get a bar of Green and Black's Mayan Gold chocolate and leave it in your dashboard for months while it freezes, thaws, melts, solidifies, melts, and soldifies again you will get a chocolate bar that resembles Aero, but much, much nicer.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


This caught my eye the other day, as I was checking out some other stuff on Amazon (for Queenie's Kitty in fact). I'm mentally wiped out after a year of teaching so a teen trilogy sounded just the ticket.

And Scott Westerfield's Uglies series is not bad. It's not a shivers-up-your-arms classic, but it has enough solid interest to make it worth recommending to someone with young teens who might need a little self-image persepctive in their lives.

Briefly, the series (Uglies, Pretties, and Specials) follows the coming of age of Tally Youngblood, a girl who lives in a future environment where our civilization (the Rusties) imploded centuries ago from our dependance on petroleum. Humanity now lives in environmentally harmonious communities with a sophisticated bioscience industry. Most adults live and work in small suburbs. Children leave their parents to be educated up to the age of sixteen in Dorms. In their late teens early twenties they live in the City, eventually meet a partner, and settle down to the suburbs to produce the next generation, all in a sustainable, green kind of way.

The twist in the tale is all about appearance and conformity. At the age of sixteen, every citizen undergoes major cosmetic surgery. The idea is that if everybody is equally good-looking the desire and envy that subconsciously drive human relationships is eradicated. Disagreements, prejudice, discrimination, favouritism - all are done away with. Pre-Operative children are called Uglies and encouraged to disparage themselves, secure in the knowledge that on their sixteenth birthday they will become Pretty. In Pretty City they party all night and sleep all day. Not surprisingly, you can't wait to grow up.

Tally is scheduled to follow the same path as her parents and her peers, until a problem brings her to the attention of the barely-rumoured to exist Special Circumstances. Told by the Specials that she will not be allowed to turn Pretty until she finds and betrays a community of City runaways who refuse to have the operation, she is exiled into the Wild. There she discovers - surprise, surprise - that the transformation from Ugly to Pretty is a not entirely beneficial tradeoff between security and freedom.

To my jaded old eyes many of the bells and whistles features that other teens have raved about - bungee jackets, hoverboards - are the least interesting elements (but work as handy deus ex machina). Far more engaging is Tally's not always successful struggle against her conditioning and her determination to find her own way.

"I ain't no whoremonger"

"so come and see me whenever you want. I ain't coming on to you, I just feel we have a connection."

As opening lines go it takes some beating.

He's a good ol' dude, and clearly has lost many years to rock & roll. Saturday night he tells me about his experiences with astral projection and the signficance of numbers.

"Did ya ever wake up in the middle of the night and it was 4.44? Did ya? I have, several times and it makes you wonder, it really does. Or the other day, it was the fifth hour of the fifth day of the fifth month. Something special there."

People want to make meaning of their lives, it's both sad and wonderful to see them reaching out for such small building blocks.

He's writing his memoires, or rather rambing them. He needs someone to write them down for him. I regretfully tell him that I'm fully booked this summer, but my husband might have some time free. He is disgusted to hear I have a husband. "Now you've broken my heart, ain't no fool like an old fool."

amen to that, brother.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Emotional Rescue

Can't get that song out of my head.

I took the last four days off from work 'cos I was feeling very close to burnout. A combination of end of term blues, exam marking that went on forever, and meeting after meeting as people try to get items cleared before everybody disappears for the summer. Woke up Friday morning and realised everything I had scheduled for the weekend would just have to go and do something carnal to itself (now that I am among so many fresh faced kids I have to watch the SWEARING, which is a shame becuase I do love a bit of imaginative and filthy cursing). This feeling carried over to today, so no school for me.

Instead, I gardened. All weekend I was going to garden centers and clearing up bag after bag of dead winter plant. And feeling so much better. I cannot recommend gardening highly enough as a stress beater.

So now I write this on my porch (see above for lovely view) while drinking a Ricard. All I need now is some quality chat.