Monday, May 30, 2005

In the Suburbs, Everyone Can Hear You Scream

Or so I imagined, when I let out the girliest shriek of surprise and delight at the end of the season finale of Alias, not unlike the ones you'd hear coming from the Zipper at the Saanich Fair. What can I say? The last two minutes of the show rocked. The rest of the year - well, it's been a little stinky, mainly because a) they showed certain episodes out of order, completely screwing up certain plotlines and character developments, and b) instead of phasing out the tired, unbelievable story of "Sidney dresses up and seduces bad guy (even though bad guy is rich enough to go to bed with dozens of hot women every night; but Sidney is a really special kind of hot that no guy can resist, ever, especially when she's in a wig and has a bad accent)", they actually managed to incorporate it into, like, every single episode, not just counting the credits which is basically some 11th grade AV geek's Video Essay entitled Jennifer Garner is Hott.

Which she is, I'm not disputing that, and it's nice to see a woman on TV who actually looks like she could kick ass in real life, unlike, say, Sarah Michelle Gellar ('cause even though Buffy rocks my world, SMG looks like she could get whupped by a particularly strong breeze); it's just that, really rich and powerful men? Probably not so much suffering a pussy-shortage, and having them drool all over Sid like they just got out a ten-year prison sentence in solitary confinement is just a little unbelievable, especially when it happens for the four-hundredth time. By this point, you'd think they'd have some sort of bad guy APB out on her, like, with her picture and a caption that says "Warning - Does not actually find your bald, scarred mug attractive. Is CIA. Don't let the cleavage fool you - she will kick your ass."

Anyway - all this to say that at the very last moment the show was actually kind of cool again, and I shrieked, but the patio door was open and I didn't the neighbors to be concerned to the point of 911, so I followed up the shriek with a shout of "I'm okay! Just watching TV! No problems here!", because it's important, after all, to keep the lines of communication open with your fellow suburbians.

After all, living in the suburbs isn't quite the same as living downtown. There's the sameness and conformity of row houses and endless strip malls with big-box stores, true, but there's also the ability to leave the garage door open in the morning, and have all your stuff there when you get home from work. As opposed to, say, sleeping with your bike in the room for the first five nights you own it, then, on the first night you lock it up outside overnight, finding out that some shiteating-asswipe smashed your porch to steal it. Not that I'm still bitter about something that happened two and a half years ago.

Or there's collection day, with rolling cans and the blue or black boxes (depend on pickup day!) all stacked down at the end of the driveways, which is a nice break from the recycle bins at my last apartment complex, where eventually I just had to stop going out to them because of the damage done to my blood pressure whenever I'd lift the lid marked "plastic, glass and metal" and find banana peels and bloody styrofoam meat packaging. What I don't get is that there was a huge dumpster right next to the recycle bins; an open one so you didn't even have to lift the lid, you could just chuck your crap straight in, and yet still certain people were possessed with the need to cram their dirty diapers in with my carefully sorted and cleaned recyclables because THEY ARE ALL FUCKHEADED ASS-MONKEYS.

And I think that's what I like about the 'burbs - how the exaggerated evil of the non-conforming neighbors effectively skewers our paranoia when the worst fears of an average Joe...oops, that's what I like about The 'Burbs.

What I like about the suburbs is the familiarity. There's a certain comfort in the sameness, a sort of natural tranquilizer that comes with knowing the routine. After almost 6 years and a dozen addresses, living in a house in the 'burbs is...well, it's like a vacation. From the sirens, the graffiti, the garbage - well, not that Ottawa's that bad, but you move out to the 'burbs and you remember what it's like to sleep through the night without being woken up by random loud drunk people.

Except when D and I throw a housewarming and bust out the karaoke - 'cause in the suburbs, everyone can also hear you sing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Insert Star Wars Pun Here

Like "Revenge of the Pith(y comment)" or some crap like that. Whatever, come up with your own. I'm not made out of sarcasm.

Well, not entirely.

Anyway, this post is actually only about a small part of Revenge of the Sith, and though it does quote verbatim (or as close to it as I can remember) from one of the characters, it doesn't contain any spoilers unless you don't know that Darth Vader is Luke's father. In which case, you do now. Also, it's not an in-depth analysis of this film, and the role that it and its predecessors, play in our cultural identity - you can get that here, in all its spoilerrificness.

Let me just say that I liked the film overall, but of all the random crapalicious and head-scratchingly bad dialogue that made me go "whuh?" in this or any other of the Star Wars films, this gem definitely made me go "whuh?" the loudest:

Padme: "This baby will change both our lives. The Queen probably not let me be a Senator after it's born. "

Laura and Dan: "Whuh?"

In the crowded theatre, so that the effect was 400 heads facing forward, two facing each other with raised hands going "whuh?". I don't know what the next line was, and neither does Dan, because both of us were so caught off guard by that line that we, well, turned to each other and went "whuh?" And seriously, if anyone out there has any idea what the hell that line's all about, then please please write me or something because I just don't get it. I mean, Naboo elects a Queen, but doesn't think mothers should work? WHUH?? Seriously, what is the point of this line? It doesn't advance the plot, it doesn't provide exposition, it's in every way unnecessary and it's totally creepy in a "Nice women don't want the vote" way.

And while we're on the topic of movies - y'all should seriously run out and buy the Team America: World Police DVD right now, if only to see how foliage on a puppet-sized set can be realistically provided by pot plants. This movie rocks this world and the next. Watch it, then head over to my place for debriefing and cocktails.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Bear in mind that I have a cold right now

The March For Life was on the Hill today, and let me say that I have not seen that many bored Catholic schoolchildren since this. Seriously, they should just start calling these events "Gatherings of Woefully Misguided Fundamentalists and Their Passionnately Indifferent Children".

Anyway, I was waiting up underneath the Peace Tower for a guest and had to endure the musical stylings of the anti-choice movement, which apparently consists of one song with a chorus that goes like so:

Life is the only choice
Life is the only choice
Life is the only choice
Yeah, life is the only choice.

Plus, dude who was singing liked to hit the word "Life" in this wannabe rockstar-shriek, like he's the David Lee Roth of The Culture of Life.

Hey - I should totally start a band called "The Culture of Life" and we will sing songs about sex. And possibly binge-drinking. And poking stupid people in the eye. Who wants in? Megan, if we write a song about all those things plus organic vegetables, maybe we could play here.

Went out last night for a piece of ass,
Found it at the bottom of my seventh glass,
He gave me a smile, gave me his number,
Said "don't you wanna nibble my organic cucumber?"
Some guy says "You two are making Jesus cry!"
Now he's crying too, 'cause I poked him in the eye.

Everybody now!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Canada is from Mars, Quebec is from Venus

One thing I learned in my totally serious scholarly degree is that conflict is normal in relationships. The odd disagreement here or there is actually a sign of healthy interaction. But when there's a little too much conflict, and not quite enough...well, non-conflict, what do you do? When do you cut that person off? When do you say, "Alright, it's been a blast, but we're clearly different and it's just not going to work it's not you it's me well it's both of us have a nice life"?

How about when they start talking about divorcing you for a third time?

I don't want to name names but it rhymes with "Trebek teparation tovement" and it needs to stop being such a pissy little drama queen.

I'm speaking, of course, of the much ado about the 54% of Quebecers who supposedly want sovereignty for their home province. 'Course, if you read farther down the article, it tells you that 56% of people in the same poll wanted Quebec to stay in Canada, as long as there was "renewed federalism" which, according to the last 30 seconds I spent on Google, would consist of a broad redistribution of powers to be negotiated between the federal government and the province.

Long and short story? Quebec's not happy with the relationship. It wants big changes, or it wants out. Simple enough, right?

How about a little history. Very little, because I haven't been around that long and I don't feel like researching beyond my own memory. I was in 9th grade during the last referendum and spent the evening glued to the TV with my friend Erica as we watched to see if Canada was about to be given the old heave ho. For weeks, if not months, leading up to it there was an outpouring of anglo and non-quebec-francophone love for our second largest province. Don't go! We love you! We'll change! We'll try to be interested in your interests! We'll respect your unique and special aspects! Don't leave us!

And it worked - barely. A tenth of a percent of a vote meant the marriage was saved. But for how long?

Maybe not much longer, if the wet dreams of the Bloc and the PQ come true. With all this Gomery shite playing out like a soap opera in Quebec, the residents of that province are rushing, disillusioned, from the arms of their partner in federalism to the back door lover that is sovereignty. And with a referendum as early as three years away, it's time for Canada to decided - how much longer are we willing to put up with the drama?

I can't help but feel like Quebec is (warning - blatant stereotyping ahead) is the sexy foreign trophy wife - let's call her Fifi - who feels misunderstood and unnapreciated by her kind of dopey, workaholic husband - let's call him Fred - and neither of them really know what to do about it.

Fifi: Mais non, tu ne me comprends pas! Je suis unique!
Fred: Oui...tu es...really special. Uh, beaucoup de unique.
Fifi: Listen, we don't even speak the same language.
Fred: I know, sweetheart, but I'm trying! I even made FSL obligatory for everyone!
Fifi: Non, I don't want to listen to crappy non-Quebecois accents! I want to make my own decisions!
Fred: Sure, you get to decide how to spend your allowance.
Fifi: It's not big enough! You make much more than me - you should give me more! We should have equal funds.
Fred: Well, you could always make your own money.
Fifi: Non! I do not want anything to change in my lifestyle, only the amount of money you give me.
Fred: Look, we've been over this. If you want access to the chequing account, you've got to promise to keep it under budget. I'm not made of money, you know.
Fifi: Unacceptable! You should support me, no matter what. Give me a credit card, or I'm out of here!
Fred: Alright, fine. Fine! You want to leave me? Go! Get going. It's not so easy out there, you know. You know our neighbours, the ones you think are ignorant, classless boors? Well, now you're going to have to deal with them directly. Maybe you should have spent a little time being nicer to other people on the block, too, not rubbing your "uniqueness" in their noses all the time. You haven't exactly tried to fit in around here, you know.
Fifi: I'll be fine! I've planned it exactly. I will continue to live here and use this house and all its amenities, but you will takeover my part of the mortgage - it's not like I would have paid it off anyway. I will continue to use your name and your credit rating in order to further my independence. And you will not have any say in anything whatsoever.
George W.: Hey neighbour! You and the missus having a spat? There's plenty of room under my roof! Better yet, why don't I just invite myself right in?

Anyway...I suppose I'm being a little over-the-top (not to mention offensive) but I can't help but feel like Quebec wants to take the house, the car, the dog, the bank accounts, and still expect their ex to be civil. Yes, you're different. You're special. You know what? So is BC. So is PEI. You want a distinct culture? It doesn't get much more fucking distinct than the North! And they're only territories, not even full provinces, let alone on the road to governing themselves!

The bottom line is, we'd all love to live in a province with universal daycare and rock-bottom tuition, but we can't because somebody has to pay for Quebec's and they sure as hell don't want it to be them if the Bloc's incessant whining about "fiscal imbalance" is any indication. What really pisses me off is that there is so much I love about Quebec and Quebecers - their ability to be both baptised Catholics and tree-hugging socialist free-loving fashionable hippies; the fact that they retain a cultural identity in the face of the Wal-Martization of the free world; their love of good food, strong beer and heavy metal; the way les Quebecoises of a certain age dye their hair bright red and take to wearing leather; the fact that they give a damn about politics - but separatists wanting to fuck me up the ass and then have me say "thank you, sir, may I have another?" is not one of them.

Living in Ottawa has really made me appreciate Quebec and, on a larger scale, french culture. And quite honestly, other than the part where their whole purpose of being is to break up my country, I quite often agree with Bloc policies. So c'mon guys - we're doing our best! Give us another chance - you quit nagging for hand-outs, we start paying attention in FSL, and Canada lives long and prosper until the inevitable US invasion for our natural resources.