Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Vay. Cay. Shun.

Whew... Ten days of sleeping when I wanted, watching the shows I like ad nauseum, playing video games (I finally finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for PS2), reading whatever tickled my fancy, strongly debated getting a tattoo (I didn't get the Virgo symbol I wanted, but only because I can't afford it right now)... wow. I need to take vacation more often.

Going back to work tomorrow, and I've already looked through the 95 unread e-mails that were in my inbox (only 20 or so were really important), so I won't feel so overwhelmed when I get in.

Oh, and the dentist was pretty okay, no horreur nocessary; other than mild gingivitis (like 70% of North Americans), I'm fine.

Now, the real bridal madness begins... going dress shopping on Sunday. Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Still waiting for the horreur

So, I only saw the hygienist yesterday, and she was pretty nice about the state of my teeth (which as of right now still hurt a bit). She said it wasn't that bad considering how long I'd been to the dentist.

I can only hope that the dentist is as nice as the hygienist was (and nicer than my fiancé's dentist, who took 15 x-rays using the old-style slides which you have to painfully bite down on, and umpteen x-treme close-up photos of his teeth and pointed out all the horrible things wrong, many of which I find difficult to believe since he has better dental hygiene than I).

Vacation begins at 8PM tonight!!! Off until February 1!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

L'horreur du Dentiste

No matter how well you take care of your teeth (or think you take care of them), there's always these niggling, irrational fears about seeing the dentist.

You have other things you'll want to do that won't get done because you're lying down at 80° from vertical for several hours because your teeth are sooooo unclean and it'll cost you a fortune. (Not so irrational, especially if you haven't been to the dentist in, um, three years...)

That you'll leave with your gums all bloody and swollen, but your teeth will look and feel great. (Again, maybe not so irrational. This is probably what happens to most people.)

He'll yell at you for not flossing and warn you sternly about gingivitis. (Well, I've never had a dentist yell at me, but I know you'll agree that the soft-voiced lecture you get makes you feel far, far worse.)

Then again, maybe he'll chuckle good-naturedly when I tell him I'm a popcorn flosser (i.e. I only floss after I eat popcorn) and say he'll pass that on to his colleagues because hey, that's funny. Popcorn flosser.

Maybe if I tell him I once had earrings made from the teeth I had pulled when I was 11 he'll forget to tell me about bone loss in my teeth and ignore the fact that he can slide the pick entirely between two of my teeth.

But at the end of it, I'll have ridiculously smooth teeth and I'll be running my tongue along them for days, until I have to go in for the "new patient exam." At least my teeth will be clean.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Zoomania, watered down

Okay, I partially rescind my earlier statement about going to the zoo in the winter. Don't go if it's -12°C (10°F) with a windchill of -20°C (-4°F).

That said, got some fantastic pictures at the indoor pavilions...and movies!!! Our new camera takes movies!!!

Unfortunately, our home computer is running Windows 98, and the software to read the camera needs a minimum of Windows 98SE. So we must upload to the laptop, then transfer to diskette (!) and move to the computer so that I can upload the pictures to my Blog. Arg. I want a new computer.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Things I would love to say to a customer someday

If you have a complaint about something, don't spend a hour writing the complaint, sign it "A disappointed customer", and then not provide any contact information.

You're a good customer, but there's a limit to our generosity.

If you looked "all over our website" and didn't find what you were looking for, and we can find it in 30 seconds or less without clicking on hidden links or pressing Shift while reloading the page, then you didn't look hard enough.

Get a grip, it's only points.

[fill in this blank with every nasty little detail about the company your supervisors don't want people to know]

*yawn* Oh, I'm sorry, I fell asleep.

What do I need to say to get you to shut up?

We are not stealing points from you. We are giving you these points FOR FREE, so they are not "your" points to begin with.

You're only complaining because you know you're wrong and you're only waiting for me to tell you you're right.

It's all well and good if you've been a customer since the beginning of the program, but if you have only spent $143.58 in the past six years, it's really not worth it to compensate you for your problem. Really, it's not.

Shut your fucking mouth and open your fucking ears!

No, I don't want to listen to your whole life's history because yes, I already know by the tone of your voice what you're calling about, and no, I'm not going to anything about it.

Please no, not the media/lawyer/miscellaneous community association. We couldn't handle that. *pffft*

I'm sorry, I don't speak Idiot.

Maybe it's just the company brainwashing talking, but yes, I think this is fair.

So you've been a member of the program since the beginning and you never noticed that you DON'T get points on [item you purchase on a regular basis]?

Hippie. >click<

Survival of the fittest: if you can't adapt to change, then you will die.

You must be very lonely and have nothing better to do.


We're buying a new camera tonight to take even better pictures of zoo animals. Ask anyone, they'll know I'm a fan of simians. Mandrills, lemurs, gibbons, and especially orangutans and gorillas. I've taken hundreds of pictures at the Toronto Zoo and the Seneca Park Zoo have been fortunate enough to get some really amazing images. One of my favorites is one I took of a lion and lioness napping under a rock formation in the rain, through the window. See below.

I love the zoo. It's so incredibly peaceful, even when the animals are awake and making a ruckus. I must admit they are more civilized than some of the people I have to talk to on the phone. Even monkeys don't throw as much physical shit at me as these wackos do verbally.

I prefer going to the zoo in winter to mid-spring, because fewer people go because of the weather. It's also much quieter, and makes for a more natural experience: where all you hear is the scratchy crunch of dirt, ice and gravel under your feet (with the occasional shrieking child in the distance); all you smell is frost, the mild tang of the leftover grass and the unmistakeable (yet oddly comforting, in an old-barn-like way) scent of animal droppings; and all you feel is the whisper of the wind and the soft coolness of the snow on your cheeks.

It's always a good idea to bring your own food to the zoo because the restaurants are bloody expensive. However, it's never a good idea to bring any food for the animals. Please do not ever feed them, because they can become extremely ill and die. Here is a memorial plaque dedicated to Kartiko the orangutan.

Kartiko Posted by Picasa

Last spring I saw some Asian visitors throw potato chips into the Japanese Macaque exhibit, where the curious primates naturally scurried over to investigate and gobble up the salty treats. Only because my boyfriend restrained me did I not go over and yell at those people. If you do ever notice someone feeding the animals, please ask them not to, or better yet, tell a zoo staff member and they can address it with the visitor.

Love the animals, love yourself.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ten Things I Learned From A Bridal Show

1. Don't give your personal information to anyone.

2. Check your coat, because it's a pain in the ass to carry it around.

3. Bring a backpack: it's much easier to carry a tree's weight in pamphlets this way than struggling with three bulging plastic bags. Your biceps and fingers will thank you.

4. If you want to see the dresses for the fashion show, find a seat at least 45 minutes beforehand, otherwise you will be standing ten people deep from the back of the chairs, and won't be able to see anything.

5. If you didn't pay attention to 4, use some of the thick bridal magazines you got for free and stand on them to get a better view.

6. Wear comfy shoes (no heels); this will also help you stand on your bridal magazines.

7. Take every pamphlet offered to you, even if you don't think you'll be interested. It never hurts to look.

8. If you really don't want a pamphlet, keep the last one you got in your hand and stare at it as if completely engrossed when you walk by the booth you want to ignore.

9. Accept that you will probably wind up with more photography and entertainment pamphlets than anything else combined.

10. Cakes are bloody expensive! $499 for something the size of a baseball cap - without the brim, which apparently serves 50... "Ooh, look, my piece is the size of my finger. I'm so lucky!"

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Hurry Up and Wrap It Up, or What Must Happen In "Harry Potter and [the Seventh Book]"

Being an avid fan[atic] of the Harry Potter series, with the ability to quote characters at random and find what passage I'm looking for in any given book within 30 seconds, I often think about how Jo is going to end this marvelous saga. It's exciting and scary and sad all at the same time. This woman has been able to affect me through writing in a way I never thought possible. I mean, don't get me wrong: I love to read, I read every day, have been reading almost every day since I was 4; but if you had told me six years ago that I would be devastated by the death of a fictional character, I'm not sure I would have believed you.

The most emotional point of my 2005, bar none, is when I read that Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore died - at the wand-point of Severus Snape, no less! I just sat there sobbing for the remainder of the book - not really absorbing anything more until a re-read began the next day - cried for about an hour afterward, and was completely down for the rest of the day. (I plowed through the book in about 6 hours, not moving from the couch except to go to the bathroom, and yes, I brought the book with me.)

My boyfriend-now-fiancée just looked at me strangely when he walked in the door returning from the gym, and said, "Okay...what happened?"

In a quivery voice, I managed to say, "Dumbledore is dead," and continued sitting there, staring into nothing, tears pouring down my face.

I had also left my mother a tearful message on the family answering machine ("Hi, it's me. Don't read *gasp* the new Harry Potter book. It's so *choked sob* sad. It's horrible. I hate J.K. Rowling." >click<), which she responded to by calling me back and laughing at me for being such a wuss. (Later she stunned me further by saying no, she hadn't cried when she read that fateful chapter, The Astronomy Tower, and it was probably because she was more used to the idea of death than I was.)

Okay, so I have had six months to read, re-read, and re-re-read, etc., Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and have come up with the following Top Ten (and a half) Things that must, or that in all likelihood will (or that I simply hope will), happen in the grand finale, which rumor has it may be out July 7, 2007 - that's 7/7/07 for all you numerologists. For those of you less familiar, the following acronyms may be used:

PS - Philosopher's Stone (book 1)
CoS - Chamber of Secrets (book 2)
PoA - Prisoner of Azkaban (book 3)
GoF - Goblet of Fire (book 4)
OotP - Order of the Phoenix (book 5)
HBP - Half-Blood Prince (book 6)
HP7 - as-yet-unnamed book 7

1. Harry will return to Number 4, Privet Drive, one last time. In order to not upset her husband, Petunia will allow him entry in the dark of night, and perhaps even awkwardly hug him for the first (and probably the last) time ever. For all that she hates the wizarding world, he is still the last link to her sister, and he is still family.

2. Bill and Fleur's wedding should go off with only minor hitches. I dearly hope that Jo won't be so cruel as to have something horrendous occur during the nuptials. Happiness is imperative to appreciate the misery to come. Hermione or Ginny will catch the bouquet.

3. Harry will pass his Apparition test.

4. Harry may inherit Dumbledore's Pensieve to obtain more information; if so, he must learn to use it, for every time he has entered it someone else has let him out. Maybe the mysterious Aberforth?

5. The infamous locket of Salazar Slytherin will be recovered and subsequently destroyed. Rumors abound that "a heavy locket which none of them could open" (chapter 5 of OotP) is The Locket. Will Harry remember this object when he returns to Number 12, Grimmauld Place? Will he put two and two together and realize that R.A.B. is probably Regulus (Arcturus?) Black, who is the #1 suspect for having removed the original locket and left that horrifying note?

6. Harry will not go back to school for the year, but he may return once to get advice from Professor McGonagall. This may be difficult, as she doesn't know about the existence of the Horcruxes, so unless Harry takes her into his confidence her help may be limited.

7a. Snape...where to start. We must find out what he really did to earn Dumbledore's trust, because although he did tell Dumbledore lo, those many years ago, that he was the one to have told the Dark Lord about the prophecy and supposedly redeemed himself by telling Dumbledore after, my gut says there's something else, something that the Dark Lord knows not. Did Snape tell Dumbledore about the Unbreakable Vow he made with Narcissa Malfoy, and then kill him in order to maintain the illusion he was an active Death Eater? Or does he truly hate Dumbledore and killed him in order to further the Dark Lord's plans? This is the subject of heated debate with Potter-philes. Like Dumbledore, I want to believe the best of people, so I'm of the opinion that Snape did this as Dumbledore requested.

7b. On a related note, is Dumbledore really dead? (See
www.dumbledoreisnotdead.com for 'proof' of this claim.) I personally think so, much to my regret, but that doesn't mean he's not able to assist in other ways. Think outside the coffin, people!

8. The tale of Dumbledore and Marvolo's ring...Dumbledore said it was a thrilling tale, and dammit, Jo had better tell it in the next book. Perhaps through Dumbledore's portait in the Headmaster's office? It is likely only a relevant part of the story so that Harry can get an idea of what is entailed in removing a curse from an object.

9. Wormtail (a.k.a. Peter Pettigrew, the wizard of whom Sirius Black was accused of killing - a death which was later discovered to have been faked) must repay his debt to Harry. Harry saved his life in PoA, and as such this as created a magical bond between them which cannot be broken. Wormtail will likely die as a result of repaying this debt.

10. Last, and certainly not least, obviously, Lord Voldemort and/or Harry must die. There are some who do not wish me to tell you this. It is possible that they will be horrified that I have done so – either because they will not believe that Lord Voldemort could possibly survive, or because they think I should not tell you so, young as you are. It is my belief, however, that the truth is generally preferable to lies, and that any attempt to pretend that Harry may not die as a result of Voldemort's awesome powers, or some sort of blunder of his own, is an insult to your intelligence.

Again, this is a heated topic of debate: Voldemort can't win, because you can't end the series like that. Obviously Harry's can't die, because if not that will just suck and Ginny will never be truly happy, and Ron and Hermione won't be too pleased either. And if they both die, then it's a tragic and honorable sacrifice, but then Harry's still dead and that still sucks, because although it's a 3rd person narrative it's always told from Harry's point of view and how will the rest of the story be told?

Anything further that I may have missed, please let me know.