Posts Tagged ‘whatever’

OK. So where do I start?

In the middle of December Gus stopped eating. He simply refused his dinner one day. After giving him a few days to get over it in case it was just stomach upset (Doctor Google informing me that a loss of appetite in a dog isn’t a cause for alarm unless it lasts more than 2 days), I spent pretty much an entire week with him at the vet (first our own, then a specialist) as they ruled out one diagnosis after another and he got sicker and weaker. His gums were practically white, he had no energy, and he moved like he was a hundred years old. As I was getting him down the stairs onto the subway platform to go to the specialist, a guy waiting for the train said to his friend “Wow, look at that old dog! He’s got to be like 15!”

Gus is 5.

Anyway, as I said, the easy and inexpensive conditions got ruled out one by one.

Worms? No.
Had he eaten a foreign object? No.
Had he gotten into some kind of poison? No.

Eventually it got down to ulcers vs cancer. And it didn’t look good. An ultrasound showed a mass on his spleen which we were told was 80% likely to be cancer and even if it wasn’t would eventually burst and kill him anyway. He had a biopsy for the spleen mass and an endoscopy for the gut bleeding and…

…he didn’t have cancer.

The spleen mass wasn’t even a tumour, just a nodule of spleen tissue and not a danger to him, at least right now. What he does have is inflammatory bowel disease, which can be really serious, but not as bad as cancer. “Change his diet to something he’s never had before,” the vet said. “Bring him back next week and we’ll see if he needs medication.”

We changed his diet, and I think Gus must have had this for a couple of years, because he is not only fully recovered, he is back to the energy and activity level he had when he was about 2 1/2. He played with toys the other day. He has not shown interest in toys in YEARS. Yesterday he happily spent about 20 minutes in the back yard sniffing around in the snow. He is scent vocalizing on walks again. He is all sleek and bright-eyed and happy. I mean, he is still Gus, so he’s still an abnormally lazy dog, but he is so much better it is amazing.

So that was my Christmas! For about a week we thought Gus was going to die, then he got miraculously better. It took all the money we had saved and then some, but he is going to be OK.

Because we didn’t want to travel with a very sick dog, we hosted Christmas here instead of visiting our families. My mother insisted on bringing Christmas dinner already cooked, because you will pry cooking for the holidays out of her cold dead hands, and Cecil got so many presents I think we will have to buy another house to put them in. Ben’s parents came a few days later and Cecil got even more presents, including a little hockey jersey with “Lil C” on the back.

Anyway. It was lovely to have Christmas in my own home, though I could have done without having Gus visit death’s door to make it happen.

Merry Gusmas!

Merry Gusmas!

Right after Christmas Ben came down with a terrible cold, which I came down with a few days later (right after visiting Ben’s grandmother, thereby probably taking out half a wing of the the seniors’ home) and Cecil a day or two after that. So this is basically a plague house. I feel a lot better, though fairly zombie-like (zombesque?) after a few nights of terrible baby sleep.

But hey, it’s the new year, when people decide to better themselves in spite of knowing they will fail utterly in two or three months! So what am I going to do to make myself a better excuse for a human being?

I really only have two things:
1. Learn how to be more productive with my time while looking after Cecil
2. Get some kind of non-music part-time job.

The key to 1 is, I think, limiting my time on Twitter, the major time-suck in my life, and the key to 2 is probably divine intervention because I have no non-music resume or skills, but you know, you gotta give it a try. I just want to diversify where my income comes from and make a bit of extra money in a somewhat more low-stress way. I love teaching but I can’t handle more than about 15 hours/week. It is too energy-consuming. So if you are looking to hire someone to work for you for about 12-15 hours a week doing something relatively mindless for a decent cause, I am your lady.

I’m giving myself a lot of time on that one, because as I said I have no resume to speak of and the job market is in the shitter, so I’ll be really impressed with myself if I can make that happen by the summer.

And to round out my “What I did on my blogging vacation” essay, a really simple recipe!

Cinnamon syrup

I made some peppermint syrup for Christmas lattes (just simple syrup + flavour extract) and it was such a hit I made syrups with all the extracts I have, including anise (which turned out awesome, BTW – it tastes exactly like those candies you get after dinner at Italian restaurants). Here is my first attempt without using an extract.

1/3 C sugar and
1/3 C water.

Stir to dissolve. Add:

Around 2 tablespoons cinnamon bark

and bring to a boil on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 2 minutes. Don’t let it really boil or you’ll make some really disgusting candy. Remove from heat and let stand for at least an hour or, if you’re me, forget about it entirely for an afternoon while you do other stuff. Strain into a glass container – those little baby juice bottles are perfect. Just label it so you don’t accidentally give your baby a whack of cinnamon-flavoured sugar instead of apple juice. About 2 teaspoons sweetens your coffee and gives it a nice cinnamon flavour.
You will notice I didn’t resolve to blog more often or bring back the podcast or anything, though I do want to; I can’t promise that 2013 will see more than a handful of blog posts either. But hey, if you made it all the way through this, at least I gave you a little sweetness for your morning brew.


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This is why I don’t have a “Recent Comments” sidebar on here.

(Scroll down for the new comments.)

As much as I enjoy a good blog war (hell, it’s why I read scienceblogs.com), I don’t like encouraging this kind of moronicity. It started out fun. Now it’s just depressing.

I like my blog and my modest little corner of the internet. I have no interest, no interest at all in whatever the hell Josh Reichmann thinks makes a good blog (pizza reviews? Huh?). It’s funny, however, that what started with my extremely brief and mildly negative review of his performance has led to his own outburst of hyperbole and vitriol, directed at me and this humble little blog.

One of these things is not like the other, you know.

So I bow out. If Josh wants to consider himself to have won, he’s welcome to. I’m not engaging with this bullshit anymore.

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Though I should probably break this blog silence by writing about the move (rainy but OK), the house (awesome!) or the phone/internet situation (bloody frustrating), this is too awesome to ignore. It’s almost as good as the time I got plagiarized.

But first, a couple more helpful signs that may tell you if you’re a troll:

a) Commenting on old posts! This is usually a dead giveaway, unless you’re a complete internoob.
b) Defending someone who is not in need of defense on grounds which are not really relevant!
c) Making up baseless insults that turn out to be more embarrassing to you than accurate to their target!
d) Harping on one insignificant point in the OP and pretending that’s all there was to it!
e) Telling others to grow up while displaying a startling degree of immaturity!

I could go on. But anyway:

Some time ago I reviewed a Sunparlour Players show I went to. The opening act was Josh Reichmann, who I described as a sort of autistic Justin Timberlake – well, let me just quote the OP:

He stalks around the stage in circles singing incomprehensibly over his own CD, clutching at the hipster medallion hanging around his neck. I found it…baffling. This morning I’ve been listening to him on Myspace, and with the full band it’s actually really good. If I had based my opinion of him solely on what I saw last night, I would have thought the Theatre Centre was irresponsibly exploiting someone with a neurological disorder. Weird.

I went on to describe the interpretive dancer who accompanied him as really good, though she flubbed a ballet move. This, by the way, was posted on August 15.

Yesterday, Oct. 9 or whatever it was, our phone and internet service went down. When it came back up a few minutes ago, among the 29 messages in my inbox was a notice that I’d gotten a comment on that old post from August 15. This is what it was:

Hey, Just wanted to let you know that the interpertive dancer who joined me for this show just recently left the National Ballet of Canada as a core dancer for 14 years. Feel free to critique my current show format (as unpolished and manic as it is I would imagine you could deduce what was going on if you claim to contribute a voice to contemporary music/art observation) but be aware that she is a pro. That “hipster” medallian is a a peice of jewellery! so what!!? Grow up! Relax and embrace flair, personality and real characters, fuck hosser medeocrity and bland normalism. A necklace? who cares. You seem boring, uninformed and provincial in this assesment.

But i’m glad you like the “band” version. Thanks.*

Ooo, burn!

Anyway, the dancer’s career at the NBofC has nothing to do with whether or not she did a turned-in unsteady developpe. Ballet is HARD – Olympics hard – and professional dancers fuck up all the time.

I have to say, though, as someone who has received a couple of bad reviews in her time, that this does chap my ass a little bit. I mean, I was once said in print to have “the mannerisms of a slightly more human Jessica Rabbit”. NOW Magazine reviewed the Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra’s first album by saying it “sort of works”. A play I wrote with Alex Eddington that was in the Edmonton Fringe in 2005 got an awful review from their version of the Sun chain, who didn’t get its basic premise and thought it was tiresome and snobby. But did I write in and call the Sun reviewer boring, uninformed, and provincial?**


Now I’m not going to defend my right to comment on the performances I see, either by invoking my own work in contemporary music or claiming some kind of journalistic prerogative. I don’t need to. While it might be hurtful for people like Josh to imagine this, *everyone* has a right to an opinion about something that’s presented to the public, even if that something is something you worked on and sweated over and gave your life’s blood for, and *everyone* has a right to express that opinion however they choose. That includes insignificant opera/new music singers and their insignificant blogs.

Because I too present things I create, I generally try to be gentle in my reviews, to find something positive to say and make my criticisms constructive. Whether I succeeded on August 15 is up to the reader to decide. But let me be more specific here: Josh Reichmann obviously has a lot of talent. His performance on August 15 did not display that talent very well. I liked the music of his I’ve heard elsewhere. I did not like it on August 15. And I do not have to apologize for that opinion.

This isn’t a fucking game, Josh, or a high school popularity contest. It wasn’t about your necklace or the preference you assume I have for “hosser medeocrity and bland normalism”. It was about you getting on stage and doing something that Was. Not. Very. Good., and me writing about it.

So let me give you some advice, Josh, something I hope you’ll recognize: Grow up yourself and grow a thicker skin. I’m sure I’m not the first to dislike your performances – especially if they’re like the one you gave on August 15 – and I’m sure I won’t be the last. Not everyone is going to like you. Deal with it.

* You know, I tried to do what PZ Myers does with the idiotic emails he quotes on his blog and put this in Comic Sans font, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that in WordPress. Anyone out there know how?

**Even though he probably was.

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