Category Archives: Humour

I Resolve Not To Make Resolutions. Or Do I?

It’s a New Year! Time for a new YOU! Rah-rah-rah! Buy this, do that, be this! Go, go, go! Team awesome, here we come! Resolutions for EVERYONE!

HURRAY!

Holy shit. Are you ready to punch someone yet? You could include it in your exercise accounting. “Punched out Bob. 15 calories.”

I’m not paying attention to any of it because I don’t have the time to be awesome this month. I have the time to be “pretty good.” Maybe “above average.” Awesome’s a bit of a reach for me. Ask me in June.

However, there’s a big year ahead of me. I’m working up to Awesome.

As of this morning, I’ve survived one week without butter or margarine. This has meant I’ve eaten less bread. And because I’ve had less bread, I’ve had less cheese. It’s this whole crazy domino effect thing. Have I lost weight? Who fucking knows?

I’ll tell you what I know — my pants didn’t fit last week. I mean, collectively.

This week, things are better. And they fit again.

Still, I know what I should feel like and look like, and right now I’m not it. But I also know I need to stay sane. I’m moving in a few weeks, I have to respect my back injury and proceed cautiously, and I’m packing as much as I can on a slow-and-steady basis. Gotta tell ya: I feel it in every single muscle and I know I’m already getting fitter. I’m not sure piling on the gym-bunny visits would be smart thinking right now. More walking, sure, less butter, better bending/lifting form, and I’m doing all that.

And that’s a great start. No butter, and a zillion squats and hefted boxes, that’s a good start.

The last time I started a “diet” with a month of no butter, I lost 18 pounds in the first 5 weeks, and went on to lose 65, because I added something new to my changes monthly and had a constantly-growing mentality about the new lifestyle.

I want to have a good start on Doing New Things For a Better Me now, and not wait until I’ve moved to be smarter.

There’s only two goals I have this year; if you break it all down to its simplest terms, there’s two. One is, Be Better. The second is, Be Honest.

There are a lot of areas in my life that need improvement. To “be better” gives me a wide berth of where to go, what to do. If I improve one thing, great. There’s something else that can get tweaked. As far as being honest goes, I’ve been unhappy in Vancouver for a couple of years now and wasn’t being honest with myself about it. My life got away from me as a result. That’s what happens when you lie to yourself daily — whether it’s about a job, home, or your life.

I want to be more aware of the moment, more open about truths, and live that way. It’s better for writing, it’s better for communication and relationships.

So, honesty and betterment, in all their forms, are the goals for my year.

Oh, come on. There’s more, right?

Now, there’re a lot of things I want to do with my life this year, and I’ll be writing those goals out for myself — from weight goals and health ambitions, to money aspirations, writing benchmarks, and more — but you don’t need to know what my plans are there.

I don’t believe in that. I think as much as we can get help and support from others by way of sharing our “goals,” we can get shat upon as well.

Self-belief isn’t some unalterable force in my life. My confidence is often akin to a leaf in the wind. It goes where it blows. I don’t need people’s doubts, questions, or concerns clouding my horizon. And I can’t be finding my strength in their support or my sense of self in some fan club who rallies around me.

One way or the other, it’s on me, right?

It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way it goes.

I commented on The Twitter last night that I think I’m finding my mojo, and that’s sort of what I was talking about. For a long time, I’ve been feeling sort of uncomfortable in my own skin. I didn’t feel like I had control over my life or my own actions. It was just… unright. I was unright. Maybe even wrong.

A week into 2012, and that feeling’s largely dissipating. Sometimes life just needs A Decision. Once you make the choice and go all-in, it’s amazing how much it can transform your mentality.

Of course, the fact that I’m taking my vitamins and eating better and getting a lot of physical work in the way of moving, well, THAT couldn’t be helping my mentality at ALL, right?

It’s that Domino Effect, I guess. Positive change is coming, so I’ve put other positive changes into play, and thus the Snowballing Of Awesome has begun.

Be better. It’s a start. Next month, I’ll have a new normal in my betterness, then I’ll have to be even betterer.

The best thing about having “Be Better” as the resolution is that it gives a bit of a softer focus on goals met/not. If you fall short, but you’ve still done more and been better than before, well, you met the “real” resolution. We need a kinder, gentler marker to measure against sometimes.

I hope your year is off to a similarly promising and exciting start. We could all use a little “up” in our lives, I suspect.

Happy New Year, and happy Monday, then.

What In The Hell Does THIS Button Do?

Geez. New technology around the home is such a love-hate thing. It’s so wonky adjusting to new things.

I remember the old days of the ’70s, when you’d walk into someone’s home, there was ONE TV, if any, and that TV had a few dials and knobs you could turn, and that’s that.

[click]

Picture.

[click]

Sound.

[crank-crank-crank]

You just flipped past three channels.

The “tint” dial you only used as your tube was about to die, to adjust the red/greeny-ness of it until you could take it to an actual repairman.

Not rocket science to watch anything. Click, crank, click. And you got exercise doing it, too. If you didn’t like the show, you had to actually walk eight feet to do something, AND walk BACK.

Now, you need a fucking degree to figure out which remote does what and your back gets sore from sitting so long while you’re doing it.

Don’t worry, kids. Granny Steff will figure it out.

I got the PVR thingiemajobber, it plugs into the fancy hi-def TV doohickety-theatre thingie, and then the theatre thingie plugs into the humongogianticus TV screen. Right. There you go. THAT’s simple.

That took a while to figure out, and I had to ask for advice on the interwebs, but five hours later I had sound.

Today, I’ve figured out how to play music. How exciting. I’m finally in 2012 after 18 years with the same stereo.

We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby

It’ll take me a month or so to make peace with how COMPLICATED it needs to be to listen to music and shit now, BUT I’ll be fine.

Because it looks pretty and sounds good, right? That’s how we think. We sit on the “how frustrating it is” to operate the digital world because once it gets going, it’s awesome(ish) [if graded on a curve].

But all new technology is an adjustment, and our feeble human minds don’t always adjust as quickly as we’d like. And what’s different from our expectations is often voted disappointing before we give it a big chance.

As much as I grumble about the learning curve with my fancy new shit, I think it’s amazing how far we’ve come since my childhood.

We were the first kids on the block with an Atari game system. My parents did up the guest room at the same time and picked out this wicked green carpet that felt like velvet. I remember the kids coming over to play the ONLY SYSTEM ON THE BLOCK and how we’d all park our asses on that velvetty carpet and the tweed sofa-sleeper and crowd around the Atari, playing Asteroids until the end of time.

Pew! Pew! Pow! Whizz! Pew! You’re dead. Crushed by space rock! SUCKER.

I love the tech I’ve picked up and can’t wait to master it all. I just figured out another thing with listening to music on my phone docked to my stereo. How exciting! Maybe I’m not pushing 80 after all.

I suspect I’ll be living with my new purchases for five years or more. Except the laptop. But the rest, probably a good long haul. I’m not married to the newness. I just want a stereo that works, a way to enjoy all my music in one place, and a TV that doesn’t take five minutes to warm up to a picture.

Pretty simple. It’ll be great for my new nesting life across the pond. Less of the restaurant scene, more of the hanging at home. I’d like to entertain more. Friends over for dinner, movie, chatting. I think everything I’ve got is conducive to that.

A Brave New Fiscal Entertainer’s World

Everyone’s making a fuss about the restaurant scene and griping about how expensive it’s become, and, OH, the horrors of cutting back, and the punishment it is to stay home with a movie.

When I grew up, going to a restaurant was a special occasion. We only did it once or twice a month as a family, if that. Having a movie night at home was exciting. We’d do that weekly. Popcorn! Mom’s brown sugar candy! Extra milk to drink! SKOOKUM.

Somewhere along the way, we as a society started feeling entitled to eating out and seeing movies and all that. For a while, it became kind of affordable. Then we got hooked, and then we fell for the lie that life was better with it all.

Not as many people cook as there used to be. You can get by without those basic skills now, since food’s omnipresent at stupid prices.

But once upon a time, you cooked for your friends, you watched a movie, you hung out with a bottle of cheap wine, laughed till 2 in the morning, and enjoyed the simple things with others.

There’s getting to be a return to this, but I see some people acting like it’s some kind of penalty for life choices or something. Restaurants are a status symbol now. The hipper it is, the pricier it is, the more cachet you pack for having been a part of that scene.

Me, I’m excited. I’ll make new friends soon, live in a nice central place for entertaining, and hopefully I’ll get back to the way I used to be — a host for fun nights of food and chatter, which is how I lived my first three years in this apartment.

I feel fortunate I could make these purchases and capitalize on sick sales for decent quality. I’m looking forward to a return to the kind of lifestyle my parents raised me with — friends and family over, great food, tunes, and entertainment, wonderful hosting, and real engaging with others.

This is the first step in my throwing on the brakes and doing a 180 in life. What fun.

Now…

What does THIS button do?

[click]

I love lucy

Remembering Funny

I’m catching my breath after the two-part Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour episode with Tallulah Bankhead. I laughed and laughed and laughed.

It was the 100th anniversary of Lucille Ball’s birth this weekend, teaching me something I previously didn’t know — my mother died on Lucille Ball’s birthday. Kind of weird. Mom loved Lucy.

The top three shows for my mother — I Love Lucy, Columbo, and the Carol Burnett Show. All three were funny as hell, I thought. Peter Falk really had great comedic timing in a subtle way.

So, Saturday was the 12th anniversary of Mom’s death. People tell you that loss never really stops. Well, it doesn’t. The hurt kind of even hurts more now, sometimes, because I realize now how long forever really seems to be. It was a different kind of hurt this weekend, since I’ve been down with a cold and stuck watching re-runs half a century old on a hot August weekend.

I don’t remember if my mother was very funny. I don’t think she was. Just the average kind of funny. She sure knew what funny was, though. I grew up with I Love Lucy, Carol Burnett, the Apple Dumpling Gang, and classic slapstick kind of humour like that. Dad introduced us to Porky’s and Porky’s Revenge, so, you know, we got a little balance there. Both Dad and Mom were fans of MASH and Three’s Company, too.

All the other little kids at Catholic school were shocked we were watching that sin-filled Three’s Company. “They live together! There’s s-e-x!”

Still, I don’t think we were a particularly funny household. There weren’t miles and miles of laughs, ever. We weren’t unfunny, either. I think we laughed enough, that’s for sure.

I remember being distinctly unfunny, myself. I couldn’t tell a joke to save my life before the age of 10. I was funny just “being myself,” since I’ve always been an odd one.

My brother, he was a laugh riot sometimes. He’s still very funny but we have differing opinions on some of his methods, since I can find him really irritating… which is fitting, since he’s my big brother.

As a kid, though, I thought he was hysterical. If he wanted a laugh, he got it. He seldom blew the joke’s punchline.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make people laugh much until I got older, into my mid-to-late teens. As a kid, most of my jokes involved me flubbing the timing, blowing the punchline, and receiving a split-second blank stares then confused guffaws. Or, just a swat from my brother, since siblings are allowed to be jerks.

Being funny, that was important to me. It was a life goal. I couldn’t imagine living life without being FUNNY.

Then… I introduced my brother to Saturday Night Live. I was 11.

I remember it being fall of 1984, I’d just turned 11, and I was sleeping on the sofa, sick, while my parents entertained friends. I woke up after a few hours sleep, turned on the television, and am surprised now that I didn’t hear a choir of angels harmonizing as I discovered something that just blew my mind: Saturday Night Live.

As Billy Crystal would have said, it loohked mahvellous. Eddie Murphy was Buckwheat, wookin’ pa nub.

In the next couple years, I’d be getting into SNL and Second City TV and Johnny Carson. And, oh, The Blues Brothers. It was a crash course in Funny. by 14 I was getting my comedic cues from John Hughes movies, too.

Throughout it all Lucille Ball was a constant, so was Carol Burnett. I knew I’d never be slapstick kind of funny the redhead queens mastered, but I wanted to make people laugh.

These days, it’s still something I love to do. If I make a stranger laugh during the day, it’s great. If someone can’t breathe because my timing’s so good when telling a funny story and they’re laughin’ so hard, I’m on top of the world. I don’t look like I’m elated about it, I always have that sorta-surly Irish-girl look, but I’m secretly on top of the world when I get a good laugh.

Once upon a time, I had a nightmare. It was when I was 19, and I was becoming “in with the out crowd” and getting lots of friends, not a lot of whom I could call “close,” but who typically wanted to invite me to parties ‘cos I’d be interesting. So, the nightmare hit one day and I had it a couple times. It went like this:

I’m driving down a treacherous seaside highway in my hatchback, a bunch of friends in different cars behind me, as I lead the pack and our caravan weaves down the coast.

Suddenly, my car careens and I shoot through the embankment, off the road, over the cliff, plunging hundreds of feet to the rocky coast below — my car exploding into a fiery inferno, and me most certainly as dead as can be.

Smash-cut to the top of the cliff where a dozen or more “friends” all stand peering down in not-so-much-abject-horror as “dude, what a bummer” kind of faces.

One friend goes, “Wow. That really sucks.”

Another goes, “Yeah. She was funny.”

It was one of those moments of clarity when I realized I should be careful what I’m wishing for, because “being funny” is a pretty short list of what one should offer. I tried to be more, and began to collect friends who wanted me to be more than just funny, who didn’t see me as interesting filler for the guest list, who saw me as insightful or as having something more to say in life than just the next gag.

So, this weekend, I’d sort of spent time remembering my comedic roots and sometimes thinking of Mom too. No, she wasn’t “funny,” but she was well-rounded and certainly enjoyed laughing. I think she and my dad must have laughed a lot in the early days, to spawn such amusing kids.

I’m glad I was raised with a mix of genres around me — comedy, film, music, theatre, and big fun parties thrown at home. I’m glad I had parents who entertained a lot, because once in a blue moon I did manage to say something amusing, and having a whole room of adults laughing was a gift. Look at me, I’m a funny kid. Don’t you wish your kid was this funny?

In the middle of all these remembrances is a big gaping hole. My mother died at a time I was really seeing her as human — flawed and all — and when I was beginning to teach HER a lot about living life. I wish there could have been more of a full-circle event between us, but that’s cancer for you. It doesn’t tend to take rainchecks. I’m glad she found me funny and enjoyed that about me when she got sick. I’m glad we found the same things funny then, too.

I may be motherless now, but I’ve got some 30+ episodes of I Love Lucy on my PVR, and somehow it’s like I’m back in my childhood. Pretty awash in memories these days.

I’ll worry about Being Funny tomorrow.

The Obligatory Posting (Which in No Way Should Suggest Suckage, Y’know; Wine Was Involved)

It’s late on a Friday night and far into a “high-value” wine.

I was told I can’t call it “cheap,” by some industry guy. Unbeknownst to him, there’s an onslaught of the public whose heart races and mouth salivates when they hear the three magical words:

Good Cheap Wine.

But, no, the dude with the multimillion-dollar winery certainly can’t have his wine called “cheap,” even if it is sold for under $10 a bottle in a dirty motherfucker of an economy that makes $10 wine seem sexier than fish-net stockings on a 6’3″ vixen of a model.

I do digress, and my high-value wine bids I move the hell on. So, without ado.

I got nothing.

I had a title: The Obligatory Posting.

Seemed enough to work with. Type that in, see what comes up.

Number one rule for blogging, for me, when it comes to “personal blogging,” is: RIGHT NOW. What’s happening right now? What do you feel? What’s foremost on your mind? Put that down, see where it goes. The eggs you just ate for breakfast? Right on! Hell, WRITE on.

That’s personal blogging. You’ve got 1,000 words, give or take, so start wherever the hell you are and go where it takes you. Writing Blogs, 101.

And what I had was, a title, and a far-too-empty bottle of wine. Shoulda bought a boxed bag bladder of the stuff. Invest in the future, that’s my motto.

I’ve worked too much this week, that’s why I need more vino. My lord, you’d think I liked working for a living. It gets in the way of slacking, y’know.

Yet, still, in vino veritas. A dangerous time to blog, my friends.

***

But, seriously, there’s a lot I want to do with my writing in the next while. The perennial artistic struggle confronts me, though — when it rains, it pours, and when it pours, the crops tend to wither.

I’m making the money I need in the present, but it won’t come for a bit. That’s critical to me here and now, so I’m working as much as opportunity allows. Easy when it’s a lousy summer.

But I have little projects I plan to tackle through the fall — mini e-books.

I figure, if you like me — if you really like me, you’ll agree that I should enjoy life and all its refinements, and you might be willing to invest in monthly special e-books. Say $2 or $2.50 a download. Stuff I actually work at creating — fiction, really no-holds-barred opinion work, and stuff that I assume people who’ve followed my content here, on Twitter, and on Google+ (check me out, I do a lot of PUBLIC Google+ posts) might think 10,000 words of mine are worth the meagre price of a cup of coffee.

What do you think about that? It’s the price of a coffee. Making a living without working for the man, could you imagine how much throwing off those shackles of suppression would free my tongue? Hoo!

***

There’s a lot of talk of publishing and shit lately. Borders has gone belly-up. If the big bookstores came along and ate all the small bookstores, then the online stores ate them, who’s left selling real books?

I like real books.

But I like artistic control better.

Publishing is changing.

So, y’know, I had this thought earlier, that we’re becoming the artistic “Age of the Individual.”

Sure, I can go with a publishing house. Or maybe I can self-publish via e-book on a regular basis. A genuine Steff magazine, of sorts. And then it’s all me. No censorship, no hassle, just write, publish, sell. If you’re willing to support such a thing.

Imagine — artists, writers, etc, who just do what they feel and create off-the-cuff, and YOU can support it?

So, we’ll see. When I’m not working 50-hour weeks to pay off the spring that sucked my soul through a straw, I’ll get on that like Oprah on a ham, baby.

I hope many artists realise like I do that this is probably the best time to be alive as an artist. We have more exposure than ever, if we can figure out how to harness it. Get exploring, and be yourself.

***

The weather would-be-gods predict sunshine this weekend, which I’ll believe when I see. Vancouver is experiencing one of its blah-est (read: soul-sucking) summers of my lifetime. Only Mt. St. Helen’s Summer was weirder, and that’s 30 years ago.

I’m a seasonally-affected & disordered person, meaning I need full-on sun like a tropical plant does, or my soul withers and dies.

Given the shittastic season, though, I’m more like a yearly-affected & disordered person. God help us all, but I have a blog to run, I can’t be having this “rainy season that wouldn’t die” shit. We need me happy and creative, people. We really do.

Maybe THIS is the weekend. I guess if I started praying for it now, “someone” would get suspicious. SIGH.

***

And, with that, your requisite snapshot on my life, and a short-term wine hiatus is done.

If you’re really desperate for a G+ invite, you’ll figure out what to do, and in some charitable moment, I might see fit to help you.

Meanwhile, I’m out of here.

RANT: “Whine, Whine. #FML! Fuck My Life!”

ED. NOTE: This posting is meant for people who say “FML” and mean it. Like they say, people love the internet because they get to whine on it, and that’s fine. Go ahead, grumble. Just be interesting about it! And don’t be some snivelling fuckwit hyperbolizing and going “FML” because you woke up 30 minutes before your alarm, all right? I don’t care about grumbling, but I _hate_ the saying “FML”. Which is why we’re at this dance. Shall we?

Oh. And this may contain swearwords. Be careful of your fragile little vocabulary thresholds now.

fuck_you-1Trendy these days is the acronym “FML”, short for “Fuck My Life.”

No, fuck your attitude if you’re saying that crap.

Forgetting your lunch is not “FML.” Having to deal with a friend you find annoying because you’re too pussy to deal with it, that’s not “FML”.

That’s “fuck, I’m dumb” or “fuck, I’m a pussy.” You’re to blame either way. That ain’t “FML”.

I’ve been pissed off about seeing “FML” all the time for quite a while now. I see it from spoiled rich kids who have a bad day, or people with ordinary lives who have victim complexes about every little thing that happens. I see it from people with more good luck in a week than I’ve seen in a year sometimes, too. I see it from people who blurt it without really thinking about what it means a lot. People are whining on Twitter about forgetting their lunch and tagging the comment with FML. Seriously?

And this week, THIS WEEK, I’m done.

Shut the fuck up. Continue reading

Giving Myself a Headshake

I’m having one of those days.

I’m having a dislike-myself day. Or is it discontent with myself? ‘Cos I like myself way much and feel it’s worth taking action to end some of the feelings I’ve got today.

The content of my internal dialogue today is staying internal, I’m afraid. No nitty-gritty deets for you people.

But this sort of happens every time I approach a new era of change in my life. When I start it, it’s shaky and it’s more failure than it is success. I fall down. A lot. I fuck up. Constantly. And every time I fuck it up, I follow that up with beating myself up. Continue reading