Sunday, August 27, 2006

Lost at the CNE

Update: Some folks have had trouble viewing the video, which is good because it prompted me to try out YouTube. So now the WHOLE WORLD can be a witness!

Myself and "Super-Lucky Happy Team Daily Muffy Toronto" (Craig and Jason) spent yesterday at the Canadian National Exhibition. I had a simple goal: to dress up like a showgirl and walk through the entire huge fairground -- especially the petting zoo -- while Craig took pictures for the next "Daily Muffy" feature.

The whole story will be up there soon, but let me just say that it was an INCREDIBLE time. Not because of the exhibition itself, which has become a bit bland and corporate over the years, but because everybody thought we were part of the event. Even the STAFF assumed we were performers. And the children...well, let me just say that I WAS the exhibition for everybody under ten.

Yeah, I felt like a real exhibitionist. A crowd formed whenever we stopped moving. Pre-fabricated cows presented their udders for milking. Women demanded pictures. And the llama kissed me.

Many of the more surreal moments ocurred on the carousel. Like I said you'll just have to wait for the feature to commence. But here's a video to tide you over:

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Low-Key Devils On Heels!

Fans of the old "She-Devils On Heels" radio show, rejoice! It's coming back.

Mark has returned as co-host of the new half-hour show, which contains the same "quantity, not quality" standards of the original. Not wanting to rehash old ideas it's called "Devil Bunny Booze Hutch" now. No foolin'. It sounded slightly better than "Devil Bunny! Kill! Kill!" or "Burn, She-Devil, Burn!"

And as an added bonus we've got Ms. Divine as a recurring guest, with other guest ideas in the works as well. Wanna be a guest? It'll be easy!

When can you hear it? Well, this announcement is a bit premature. Our pilot episode got a sort of qualified thumbs-up from the CKMS Program Coordinator, but then -- not kidding -- somebody took a pee in the Studio A trash can and she got justifiably side-tracked. I'll get more info from her when she's less enraged.

So it all hinges on what the qualifiers are and what sort of slot opens up in the CKMS schedule. But even so I'm putting down my foot and deciding that I'm COMMITTED to the booze hutch...if it proves to be unworkable for campus radio, we'll put the shows online! Not sure yet. But we'll do it, you rascals...we'll do it!

Sunday, August 20, 2006


As usual I'm behind the times. I try to see movies after "the buzz" has subsided, maybe because I'm trying to be cool or unorthodox. But this usually means that, by the time I've seen the movie, I already know about the shocking "penis silhouette" scene and there are no more worthwhile surprises.

No penis silhouettes in "Adaptation" (surprise!) but certainly lots of self-aware, postmodern noodling, which I was prepared for by everybody who ever explained the concept to me (and there have been many). I don't know if those people went into the movie expecting a straightforward narrative, but I didn't and maybe that was a bad thing.

Hey, problem number two: I watched it episodically, over several days. It might flow a little better if you see it in one sitting.

But rather than add to all the dross and analysis that's already been done (and no doubt is done every four months in every film course), let me just say that Nicholas Cage is sweet. I can't NOT like Nicholas Cage. It all goes back to seeing him in "Birdy" when I was twelve. He was so desperate and thoughtful and kind, yet still a big lunkhead. He was the sort of best friend I wished I had...the kind of friend who'd talk me out of the withdrawn, comatose state I expected to be in at any moment.

So any time Nicholas Cage is in a movie, I automatically sympathise with him. Seeing him play TWO characters in "Adaptation" gave me a particularly warm and happy feeling. The rest of the film could have just been a bunch of soul-searching orchid hunting with a surprise ending and I still wold have liked it.

It's been a benefit for another reason too: it inspired me to revisit Spike Jonez's "Praise You" video, which I have a compulsive urge to watch over and over again:

The Holy Grails

Ever since I started doing the "Daily Muffy" feature on my website I've had several "holy grail" locations that I've craved to violate:
  • New Hamburg, my sentimental hometown.
  • Waterloo Oxford, my sentimental highschool.
  • The Canadian National Exhibition, a yearly event that used to be fun but isn't really fun anymore.
  • Fishing in a canoe someplace.
  • The Metro Toronto Zoo, which is so huge and pretty.
  • A country & western bar with a bucking bronco machine.
  • The moon, pick a crater.
I've managed to do the first -- thanks to the benevolence of Vanilla, plant-granter -- and I'm thrilled to say that I'll be doing the Canadian National Exhibition next weekend -- thanks to the benevolence of Morgan and Craig. But the others are difficult for a lot of reasons.

The problem with the Daily Muffy feature is trying to find new places to do them, not to mention finding a person to take the pictures and a space shuttle to get me out of orbit. It's also difficult to find places that I won't get kicked out of or beaten up in.

Ronnie O'Vera, My New Roommate

This weekend Vanilla bought me a new roommate, and my only hope is that I don't kill her. She's already fallen off a window ledge. Her name is Ronnie O'Vera.

I've actually never had a plant before. I've always lived in cramped, messy places with no airflow or direct sunlight. My current appartment gets about three hours of intense sun a day so I hope Ronnie's okay with that.

If she thrives then I'll be very happy and will think that I'm more responsible than I thought I was. If she dies then I can only conclude that I'd make a really rotten parent. She only requires the basic things that I should be able to do every day: water her (how much and when I don't know yet), stick some minerals in her soil, make sure she doesn't fall again.

It's not like I need to change diapers. But Ronnie is unmistakably alive (so far) and the only living things I like to kill are centipedes and earwigs, and spiders if they spin their webs near the toilet.

Any advice about the care of Aloe Vera is much appreciated!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Doom & Gloom From Anna Kavan

In an effort to depress myself, I'm reading another one of Anna Kavan's early books: "Change the Name" from 1941, written before she really DID change her name from "Helen Ferguson" to "Anna Kavan." (Anna's sad childhood, depression, heroin addiction, and coping methods are fascinating reading...get her biography if you can).

What amazes me is that, as incredible a writer as she was even in her pre-surrealism period, she got away with writing essentially the same novel over and over again. It doesn't take a discerning reader to notice this.

Here's how the plots go: selfish parents bring up a promising daughter in a stilted, loveless environment. Daughter marries a man who works in India. Daughter moves to India, hates living there, and becomes hard and selfish when she gives birth to a child that she doesn't want. Child grows up in a stilted, loveless environment and becomes just as selfish as everybody else in her family. Tragedy ensues. Everybody would cry, except none of them know how to show any emotion whatsoever. When they DO cry, it's just so another character can be callous and horrible in response.

The fact that Anna Kavan is, over and over again, writing about her life makes the repetition just's interesting to see her rework and rewrite her tragic life. Anybody who feels distant from other human beings can find a deadly solace by reading any of her novels...Anna articulates all the things you'd say if you weren't afraid of sounding horrible. But my GOD it's depressing. Here's the protagonist when she first sees her newborn child:
Celia distantly observed the inchoate features, the quivering, stick-like arms. This was the thing that had torn itself out of her body, that had weighed her down for so many tedious months. She groped feebly in her heart and in her mind for some sort of response. There was none. She felt absolutely nothing about it.
I wonder: was Anna Kavan's own, real-life son happy to read, over and over again in Kavan's books, about moms who disliked and resented their children?

All this makes me think about writers who perhaps get TOO personal, and hurt the people in their environment. Or bloggers who write about close friends as though their friends didn't read their blogs. Dangerous? Shouldn't we keep our journals locked away?