Friday, November 20, 2009

being normal in toronto

for the benefit of dr. rei who gets confused when i post things out of order - this is friday's post that i'm just getting around to making live today (saturday)

first - the dotytron has gone plum crazy making 80s mixes. on the road trip down to geneseo he unveiled version 1 of his series. in case you think he goes the "cool" route of 80s new wave - you'd be wrong! instead, he compiled the ultimate 80s cougar mix. it doesn't start off that way - initially you're lulled by toto (who, incidentally, we like a super band of studio heads - did you know that?), bowie, and queen. then it totally goes into cougar town with glass tiger, don henley, pat benatar, and heart. it's the best! the best singing along ever! i love singing along with the dotytron in the car because a) he's a guy who likes singing aloud, which is rare enough; and b) he'll automatically start doing the harmonies, which is fun cuz then you feel like you're REALLY singing. last night on our way to dodgeball we both tried hitting the high note in aha's "take on me" - just take a moment, sit back, close your eyes, and imagine that. lol!

knit night as per usual featured me being the only one knitting. but it was really fun! the conversation was great - at one point, two of the participants started reflecting back on the G7 protests in quebec city in april, 2001. they were talking about how weird it was to go out and get gas masks and how a friend of one of the girls was carrying twins but lost one of the twins because of the tear gas. call me a right d**k, but when i start hearing stories like that, my bulls**t, snopes detector starts beeping. when pressed by another of the dinner guests, who was suitably horrified (unlike i. apparently i'm JUST enough of a skeptical, critical jerk to question such things), the recounter of the event admitted, "well, she was really early along and she didn't get tests or know for sure, but she was pretty sure that the tear gas made her lose the baby." don't get me wrong: it is a horrible thing to have a miscarriage and i'm empathetic of anyone who has to experience that. but couldn't one argue that it is to a lesser extent also horrible to use a miscarriage as a form of counter-cultural capital? getting gassed in quebec is the equivalent (i'm not saying that i put the two on the same plane, but they occupy the same level of symbolic cachet for bleeding heart, liberal, middle-class university students) of participating in the paris riots, or like, not staying at a resort in cuba. if you didn't get gassed in quebec, how would you know you were a liberal arts student?

meanwhile, i vividly remember standing in the living room of my shared house in peterborough, as my two roommates stared transfixed at the coverage of the G7 protests on the television, convinced we were on the cusp of a new, communist world order. i was trying doggedly to pierce their idealistic bubble by expounding at length on how in this day and age of short attention spans the ritualized act of mass demonstration is a politically impotent form of civic engagement, etc etc (insert critique of situationism, adbusters, flash-mobbing, shout-out to performativity, blah blah blah). isn't that so me? at least i stay consistent. it's not like i WANT mass protest to be ineffectual - it would be great if, when people stormed the streets, the powers that be woke up and changed the error of their ways. BUT, there have to be a few crucial steps that preclude this: critical thinking, intelligence, nuance, the usual stuff i'm always bemoaning the lack of.

later we got into a conversation about film. OF COURSE people who were at the quebec riots would also LOVE wes anderson and lars von trier and michel gondry. OF COURSE! never mind that lars von trier is a misogynist who makes torture porn for the bourgeois or that wes anderson's films (save for "bottle rocket" and "rushmore") are celluloid exemplars of SMUG and TWEE. art direction does not a film make! never mind that michel gondry mistakes community and imagination for a patronizing naiveté bordering on brain damaged. no no, if you fancy yourself a cultural arbiter and you're of a certain age in an urban locale, you simply MUST worship blindly at the altar of crappy film, acritically.

anyway, i was obviously in fine form - there are few things i love more than the opportunity to express a dissenting opinion. haha! just kidding. it was just fun to talk film and debate and discuss.

last night i made us an EXTRA delicious dinner. salmon cakes! i took about a pound of wild salmon, skinned it, cut it into small cubes and tossed it with torn, crustless bread, an egg, a chopped shallot, some mayonnaise, tabasco and salt and pepper. then i took scoops of the mix and pan-fried them on either side in a little bit of oil. kind of like your classic chesapeake crab cake. as i told the dotytron, "fish cakes maryland style" to which he replied, "oh i know her, we used to jam together back in the day" lol! i served them with some prepared mayonnaise that i mixed with chopped dill and lemon juice. they were super tasty. i also made a salad that i cribbed from someone on facebook - butternut squash cubes roasted with sage, on top of mixed greens, with crumbled mild goat's cheese and a maple mustard vinaigrette. delish! but not quite enough food - when i came back from dodgeball i was famished and ate almost an entire box of samoas with a glass of milk.

today i had a lovely lunch with dr. rei where we talked about how stupid it is when living in toronto makes you crazy and all keeping up with the joneses. how our generation is so entitled and so conspicuous consumption-driven that we fail to remember to take our time, to wait, to do things slowly, to not expect everything to look ripped out of the pages of dwell or apartment therapy in a day. i'm totally guilty of it, probably moreso than dr. rei because i'm such a balls-out, hyper-workaholic perfectionist. it's nice to have grounded people like dr. rei bring you back down to earth. to remind you that people's houses (par example) are the product of 20 years worth of work - that you can do things incrementally, over time, and that that's okay and moreover, that that's NORMAL. we live our lives so much in the eyes of others (says the confessional blogger) that we forget what it's like to be NORMAL people with regular, lowkey values. that a 1000 square foot home is totally fine to raise kids in and that kids are raised the world over with greater injustices than having to share a room. toronto living can make you crazy that way. thank goodness i have dr. rei's hamilton-hardened clear-eyed vision to save me from myself.

tonight we're going to eat a quick chino loco's takeout meal and then meeting up with the gang for some "twilight: new moon" action aka STARE EYES.


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