24 December 2007

While visions of Popsicles danced in their heads

On the fourth day of Christmas Vancouver gave to me:

One urine sample
Two x-rays
Three pills to swallow
And some vomit on the pharmacy

Yes, Christmas abroad has reached a new high – I puked on the side of a pharmacy shortly after being given a big nasty pill (muscles, homemade tattoos, switchblade) without being told that it needs to be taken on a full stomach. I guess Popsicles, Benadryl and fruit juice doesn’t constitute food.

Bruce is sick too now and, not one to miss out on the fun, my mother has also come down with a cold. It looks as though Christmas is cancelled for the Films clan, most of us drifting uncomfortably in our own private haze of infirmity.

If we can get better quickly, we may just have enough time to see Vancouver (or the inside of somewhere non-medical at least).

I’m not even sure who I feel worse for right now.

23 December 2007

Merry merry

I’m in a lovely, window-full apartment in the middle of Nowhere Canada, sick as a dog. In the next room, Bruce is trying to bring diplomacy to a Christmas tree situation steadily building in hysterics between my father (who wants to take the thing, fully decorated, out of its stand so that he can saw a bit off the base) and my mother (who clearly doesn’t).

Yesterday I ate a small bowl of cereal, a grilled cheese sandwich and a half a grape Popsicle. Today it was apple juice, a small cinnamon bun and a half an orange Popsicle.

Tomorrow we have family coming round for Christmas Eve dinner and festivities, including my niece’s new boyfriend and his parents/grandmother. Given that water is the only food that doesn’t make me feel like I’m dying, though, I can’t see it being a very successful night for me.

I still haven’t bought Bruce a gift because I haven’t been able to get out of bed. We think he may be getting sick too.

This following a long, annoying flight and horrible jetlag – well, you couldn’t make it up, really. Give me a break.

I'm reading American Psycho for the first time.

12 December 2007

Just Say No to Bad Touch Anthony

I’m currently working with someone I have to be very abrasive and uncommunicative with. Any friendliness on my part unleashes a torrent of emailed suggestions which, were I to seriously consider any of them, would take me all day to sort out. I think he's just bored.

In other news, my dietary habits are changing again, probably for the worst. Most types of meat make my stomach feel queasy, and lately I approach things like ham, chicken and fish with the same repulsion I imagine a Hasidic Jew would feel were someone to suggest he wear a helmet made of bacon. Or she, let’s not be sexist here.

I haven’t tried pork in a while, so I don’t know how far-reaching my new phobia (or heavy-handed my misguided analogy) might be.

On the other hand, I’ve been eating an alarming volume of chocolate, ice cream, biscuits and various soft and boiled sweets. I have no resistance to sugar it seems, and I’m beginning to wonder if this is the same path my father trod to reach type 1 diabetes. Depression begat alcoholism, alcoholism begat sugar, sugar begat regular visits to the optometrist and the abolishment of sugar altogether, etc.

Meanwhile, Canada grows ever closer (not due to the ‘crunch crunch crunch’ of plate tectonics, as narrated by my first year geography professor, but because we’re flying there in a week, yeah?). My mother asked us to send her a list of what we wanted from big to small, even though we insisted we didn’t want anything. Now she’s making me feel awkward about the list and I can’t think *why.

She’s also sent me an email I’m still trying to reply to. In it she says something about needing to locate the source of a Dadaist image she refers to in her book, Christ knows why, and some bit of lyrical poetry that smacks worryingly of her own invention (though I am a kind and good daughter and will let her continue searching for it in the real world if it makes her feel better).

Is it strange that I’m still looking forward to Christmas?

Or that I desperately want to learn how to speak like my colleague Lenore? When she’s having a personal conversation over the phone, she doesn’t just lower her voice to a whisper – it’s like she can decrease her own volume by turning a radio dial to nearly OFF. It’s incredible, really. That I’ve only ever seen her consume hot water and bowls of cereal suggests to me that she has full control over her faculties.

Most days I have full control over nothing. Sometimes it makes me feel a bit edgy, like anything could happen and that’s a bad thing. Other times, I’m glad there’s little self-continuity, because when I achieve something that requires me to be organised, I feel like I’ve just climbed a mountain.

And my mutability means I’m more susceptible to trends and such, which is important, because I’ve seen girls wearing oversized skinny jeans and I know they missed the point entirely.

Or if I see a girl wearing a winter coat with interesting double-peaked sewn sleeves, I think I could work those sleeves and then probably I would try.

*Because she’s madder than a toy box full of crazy, maybe.

11 December 2007

Ri Ruv Rooo!

Oh my god. People pretending to be their own animals on social networking sites = lame. I recall one such member woofing out their message on someone else’s non-animal-related message board to the dismay of, well, probably just me. What is wrong with you people!

Huff, puff, rainbows and unicorns and…okay, where was I.

I’ve come up with some inspirational poster captions for anyone who wants to Photoshop them into an image and pin that above their workspace:





NOBODY HAS EVER SAID A BAD WORD ABOUT YOU AND THOSE WHO HAVE ARE SMALL, SAD PEOPLE. EVEN ME. NO, ESPECIALLY ME. (You could put this caption over your mother or Santa Claus or the nosy next door neighbour with smartly dressed kids and a better car, for instance)

It’s getting down to the wire at work, and with only six full days left, I should be more concerned than I am but know what? I am not. Because surely I have recourse to point to the part in my contract that says I’m an underpaid drone with no agency and say WHAT? SORRY, I COULDN'T HEAR YOU - I HAVE A BIT OF BULLSHIT LODGED IN MY EAR! when they tell me I’ve screwed up.

Though I am a little bit concerned, so. G’bye.

10 December 2007

That bubble guy

The more you open your eyes in certain situations, the more you realise what a shark tank you’ve landed yourself in. I think I’ve come up with a good philosophy about why we work:

If you’re not in it for the work (-enjoyable work)

If you’re not in it for the people (- good people)

If you’re not in it for the prestige, whatever that means for you (- prestige)

And you’re not even in it for the atmosphere (- atmosphere)

Then surely you must be in it for the money (+ £/$/€, etc.)

If you ever find yourself in this position, then you need to decide what your soul is actually worth. Because once you agree to do a job that offers nothing but a paycheque in return, you can kiss your soul goodbye. So you may as well be raking in the cash!

I’m not raking in the cash yet, though I’m up by 5K this year, provided I hit my targets (*gag*).

Moving along, quickly now

Some days I think that it would only take one person to crack one smile for no reason in order for everyone in the world who is capable of smiling to smile also. And then those people would help those who were incapable of a smile to do the same, and by the time you know it – world happiness! It’s different to world peace, but just barely.

Maybe that smile does exist, but it’s flattened by a heavy concrete building, and it would take the strength of a million people to lift that building off the smile before anyone could see it. And all that exertion would make it difficult for anyone to smile back, so - Fingers and toes! – everyone would give up and let go.

X Factor – an overview

Welcome to another week of X-Factor! You know the drill, and I wouldn’t even be here were it not for the fact that Ms. Minogue needs this small window of opportunity to apply her prosthetic nose and whoa, okay, here come the judges!

I hate you all

Louie, why don’t you introduce your act?

Oh why bother, we all know Rhydian is going to win! Fine, here’s Nikki. Remember Nikki? The lunch lady with zero charisma? Yeah? Well she doesn’t need a LION or a CLOWN to prove her worth! She is poor though, so please vote for her.



I hate you

I love me

I don’t give a donkey’s, I’m not even in the competition!

Did I mention she is poor and really, really wants to win?

Okay, moving along, it’s the Scottish kid from Scotland, the next Harry Connick Bubble Maker…Leon!


I hated the beginning, the middle and the end, though I really enjoyed that bit when your dancer bent over backwards and I could see down her top. You’re getting better and better, week on week.

I like your shoes! Aw, don’t cry poor boy. Remember, Harry Bubbles Jr. invited you to sing with him in that spot about Harry Bubbles Jr. We didn’t pay him to do that!

Nikki is starving, people, she hasn’t even had lunch today! Why can’t you just vote for her already?!

I like your shoes also AND I think you’re really great. And so does Michael Bubblehead, whoever that is.

Aw lad, don’t be upset. Remember when Michael Bubbleblower invited you to sing with him onstage? There’s a good boy, buck up now!

I didn’t do that well this week but I really like jazz and Michael Bubble-lake has been my hero since I was two days younger than I am now and Michael Bubble-lake invited me to sing on stage and Michael Bubble-lake promised I would sell a million records…


Well, that’s all the time we have for this week. Tune in for the finale when one of our dancers is sure to do a spin that shows her pants. Goodnight Great Britain!

06 December 2007

I guess everybody has their own thing/ That they yell into a well

Why does everything feel like such a big secret? As if anyone would care.

Maybe that’s the fear. Or maybe they would, and that’s scary too.

I forget that I’m still trying to rebuild confidence – in myself and in others. I need to believe that I can do this, whatever this might be. And I need to rely on others, because you can’t do it alone, whatever it is.

I had my performance review at work, and it went really well. The discrepancy between how I thought I was doing and the actual truth was overwhelming, and still is.

And last night I dreamt that I was trying on an unlikely combination of tops and deciding that I probably looked okay, even though I’ve never worn such outlandish clothing. Even though I couldn’t see that I looked okay. I had to trust what I knew about myself, and about clothing.

I’m trying to do all the right things - the things I know I should be doing, versus the things that feel right in the moment but leave a bad taste. Those activities belong to someone else now, and I have to walk the line of this new way.

In nearly two months, I’ve had exactly one glass of wine, which I drank with dinner. I don’t do things in moderation so I guess I’m immoderately sober now. I never say what occurs to me either, hardly ever. Half that stuff doesn’t matter anyway. And you have to pick your moments, for the rest.

What is this? I’m not writing a treatise. I don’t know how others go about their lives, even though I try to imagine it sometimes. This isn’t for you out there somewhere. This is for me in here. Right here.

05 December 2007

No matter how far wrong you've gone/ you can always turn around

I don’t remember how to do things anymore, basic things, like take stock of how I’m feeling. Because how I’m feeling ties into what I’m doing, and the nature of that doing is dynamic.

Walking behind a child today, I remembered how intimidating the streets seemed to me at that age. Then you learn that nobody owns the streets, that no one person owns an initiative. We don’t even own our own bodies – hundreds of people tear us to shreds every day; swiping a lock of hair here, a swatch of colour there, the fingertip of your glove as you pass them in the rain.

Most days I ask myself if I’m alright, but not until after the fact. Hindsight is the only reliable measurement because nobody is really in the moment anymore. The moment is a limbo we’re constantly escaping; the moment is always greener on the other side.

Change can wrest all agency and that is a scary bad thing sometimes. Even praise becomes unsettling if it comes to us unexpectedly.

Someone who likes you isn’t necessarily your friend and your friends don’t always think much of you. Could this be true?

So long as the universe is painted onto the inside of our eyelids, I can’t discredit belief.

02 December 2007

Just like Brian Wilson

Yesterday they shut off the traffic mains to Oxford Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus in order to give free reign to the recent swell of super-charged shoppers on foot. And then out floated the colossal, inflated displays and slow, ethereal air dancers; the silken, chilly-sleeved jesters ambling spider-like on their stilts, galaxies of modern decorations winking on and dimming to pockets of music, live and in stereo, while the blue-faced sky passed out into night.

It was a bit like Mardi Gras, except with more clothes, better manners and fewer beads (so nothing like Mardi Gras, then). Being in London over the holiday season is a little bit like being a child again, because everything is designed to excite your imagination and take your breath away. And then empty your bank account. But wow, what a way to be bamboozled!

We’re doing most of our shopping at Spittalsfield Market, though, and this afternoon I managed to find gifts for the entire Films clan with nary a tear shed or a vacant stare at an incense burner (I always revert to my fifteen-year-old brain in moments of extreme desperation, when meditation balls, alligator-shaped mitts and handmade imports begin to seem like perfectly reasonable gift solutions). I think it helps to know that a gift is neither a help nor a hindrance to familial harmony in my case, and that Bruce is very good at helping me to reach a decision.

Sometimes I need to be gently dislodged from the stall pushing eco-friendly household detergent, or even blocked entirely from an overpriced condiments set nestled cheaply in its wooden gift crate. I don’t care if it’s a pair of day-glo stirrup pants stuffed inside an empty cereal box – I will probably stop to consider it if it’s sitting out on one of the many identical plywood tables you find curtained off in an open-air market. And it is the thought that counts, yeah? I will think long and hard about these wares, if I'm allowed.

But that’s an entire weekend gone, and I honestly don’t know how we’re almost back to Monday again. The only thing that keeps me going is the vague anticipation of landing on terra domus, where we will be greeted with open arms by a merry band of wrinkled servants my parents and a bed I plan to stay in unless there is food, drink or something to unwrap.

Can I get a fo shizzle! No? Alrighty.