Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Swiss Chalet Adventure.

Last week, my friend Gerdie posted this photo on her Facebook profile with the caption "classy!"

...To which I commented, "Using a straw IS classy. I usually drink the leftover sauce directly out of the container."

Gerdie said "Pics or it doesn't happen."*

I said "buy me dinner and I'll give you the live show."

She said, "Only if cameras are involved."

And so we negotiated that Gerdie would feed me Swiss Chalet in exchange for being allowed to take photos and/or video of me drinking my leftover sauce.  Sweet deal.

We went for that dinner a couple of nights ago.  As we sat on a bench in the foyer and waited for a table, some little kid, maybe six or seven years old, openly gawked at me.  I gave him a questioning look and he grinned at me and said "I like your hair."  D'awwww.

A few minutes later, the kid's family sat on the bench, too, and the kid ended up next to me.  He kept side-hugging me and nuzzling his head into my shoulder until his mom noticed and surreptitiously made him stop.  Awwwww yeah.  My mohawk brings all the boys to the yard.  I would shear you, but I'd have to charge.

Anyhoo, dinner was prompt and reliably tasty, as usual (Swiss Chalet consistently finds the most attentive, awesome servers ever.  I don't know how they do it).

After we'd finished our entrĂ©es I craved something sweet, and dug through my knapsack in search of the chocolate bar I knew I had in there.  Except I couldn't find it and I saw from Gerdie's face that she'd stolen it off me at some point.

"Where's the chocolate?!" I demanded.

Gerdie said "I'll only give it to you if you ask in Klingon."

I am perfectly aware that "where do you keep the chocolate?" is indeed a phrase you can say in Klingon - many of my friends have told me this.  But I'd never memorized how to actually say it.  So I tried to bluff by making a series of random guttural noises.

Gerdie responded by giving me a quizzical look and lifting up her shirt.

I was all, "Wow.  I had no idea 'where do you keep the chocolate' sounded so similar in Klingon to 'TITS OR GTFO.'"  You learn something new every day.

After I finally got my paws on some of that chocolate, it was time for the main event: The Drinking of the Leftover Sauce.  At first, I went to drink it like I usually do.

In most photos of me, one or both of my hands is clenched into a fist.  This is a subconscious stress reaction to having my photo taken because I know said photo will make me look like a fourteen-year-old boy with bad skin.  I don't care that I'm doing something disgusting in the photo; that doesn't embarrass me at all.  I just wish I looked like Heidi Klum doing something disgusting.

Gerdie stopped me and insisted  I drink the sauce with a straw, instead.  And she took a video of it so y'all can see the sauce level drop - thus proving that I really am drinking it.  I have to say, though, I think Swiss Chalet has made their sauce spicier recently or kinda burned my throat and it was difficult to get through it without coughing.

Here, with no further ado, is the video Gerdie took.  Enjoy.

If anyone else wants to buy me something in exchange for a short video of me being a shameless glutton, make me an offer.  WILL EAT SPOONFULS OF MAYO FOR CASH.

No, no, I'm kidding.

Unless I actually do get a lot of lucrative offers.  Then we'll see.

*Which is patently ridiculous because she's seen me do this with Chalet sauce on numerous occasions.  She's also seen me eat Swiss Chalet butter on its own, scooping out the little plastic packets with my fingers.  And drink the tiny containers of cream that come with other people's coffee, if the coffee drinker isn't using them.  My relationship with condiments is...complex.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

This is why I can't have nice things. Like conversations.

Not too long ago, my laptop's brain went kerplooey and I called the company's tech support line to see what I should do next.  A nice young man from a call centre in South Carolina walked me through some steps to see if the laptop was having a hardware problem or a software problem or what.

To my admittedly ignorant and untrained ear, he sounded like Kenneth from 30 Rock, so that's who I imagined for the rest of the call, even though I knew that this man was not in fact Kenneth at all.

The first step Not-Kenneth talked me through was to bypass the Screen of Death and gently coax the laptop to connect to the internet.  A status bar came up on the screen, showing how far along the connection process was.  It went ludicrously slowly.  Like I think it took around 20 minutes for the laptop and router to "find" each other.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting there with Not-Kenneth on the line, just...silently watching my laptop's status bar not move.  Feeling like a giant dork for not knowing how to make pleasant small talk to fill in the time.  I guess Not-Kenneth wasn't being chatty either, but still.

So at around the twelve minute mark of this mostly-silent phone call, I decide that I can totally turn it around.  I can be one of those casually chatty people!  Why the hell not?  I was gonna just adopt a whole new personality.  A fun, vivacious, effortlessly social personality.

And so, in a light, conversational tone, I said "Y'know, the frustrating thing about this is that the laptop and router are sitting literally inches away from each other.  I just wanna make 'em acknowledge each other, y'know?  Just, like, mash 'em together like a little kid making her dollies kiss."  And then I made a blarrrrgh sound, which I believe is Megalomaniacal Toddler-Speak for dance, puppets, dance.

The customer service rep gave a tiny, panicked chuckle and the call lapsed into a whole new vibe I like to call Silence: Now With 3,000% More Awkwardness!

So that went well.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

In which I get philomosophical. About corn.

A friend and I were at a street festival where a booth was selling corn on the cob.  And we saw someone buy an ear of this corn and then get directly into their car and drive off.  And it occurred to me that corn on the cob is really not a good snack to try to eat while you drive.  Maybe that's why you don't really see people taking corn on the cob with them on road trips.

Orrrrrr, maybe this is a chicken/egg thing.  Maybe corn on the cob would be a popular on-the-go food if cars had someplace to put it when you weren't holding it.  Y'know?  Like a cup holder, only smaller and maybe angled inward.

"What's this slot in your dashboard for, bro?"

"Oh, that?  That's my corn hole."

Of course, as with cup holders, this aperture would probably become a repository for all kinds of random junk.

"I almost forgot, here's that comic book you lent me."

"I'm driving.  Just roll it up and stick it in my corn hole."

"But there's already a couple of half-eaten Slim Jims in there."

And you know at some point someone would get pulled over for erratic driving and it would turn out that they were rummaging in their corn hole for a Tic Tac or something and not properly watching the road.

Hmmm.  It's probably best that we don't promote corn on the cob as a travel snack.

Friday, May 3, 2013

A new and awesome hobby.

Yesterday I was on a YouTube rampage and ended up watching videos of people hula hooping...which progressed to people doing these flowing, mesmerizing dances that incorporated hula hoops...which I then learned is an actual thing with a name: HOOP DANCING!

Obviously, it is imperative that I learn how to do this immediately.  So I started researching, and this whole new world sprang into focus for me.  Hoop diameters!  Tubing diameters!  PSI!  Glitter tape and grip tape!  You guys, did you know you can get hoops with LED lights in them?!?!?  OMFG.

You can also get hoops that light on fire, but I'm not even letting myself daydream about using one of those.  I'm a clumsy oaf and I do not want to add a hula hoop and fire to that equation.  One or the other, but not both.

Anyway, I decided that I would procure a hula hoop, watch a bunch of hoop dance tutorials on YouTube, and practice the basic moves in the park for a while to see if I have any potential at this or what.  If it turns out I'm not a total irredeemable spaz, I'll consider investing money in actual lessons.

So I researched hula hoops and it started looking like it was gonna cost me $50-$80 for one.   Which is a terrifying amount of money to spend on a hobby I might end up sucking at, especially since my employment situation is a little...nonstandard.*

But wait!  All is not lost!  Family Hoops in The Annex has hoops on sale for $25!!!

Owner Kavita Matthews creates and sells the hoops in her own home, which is probably why the exact address isn't on their website.  I contacted her to get that information and we set up a meeting for that afternoon.  OMG you guys she's fantastic!  She showed me the different sizes of hoops, explained the advantages of each, and let me try them so I could feel which kind worked best for me.

(Fine, I'll show you fire a hoop video.  But don't expect me to ever do this.  Srsly.)

I've never hula hooped before, by the way - I tried once when I was a kid, but the hoop kept falling down so I gave up after a few tries.  I have to say, a weighted hoop with grip tape on it does seem to make a difference!  But also?  Kavita took the time to give me some pointers.  We ended up spending a good half hour in her side-yard while she coached me and showed me cool stuff, and by the end of it I could keep a hoop spinning around my waist for minutes at a time.  I even learned that if the hoop starts to creep downward, I can kind of duck down and nudge it back up with my butt.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to do any super-fancy moves, but the amount of improvement I saw in that half hour certainly makes me want to keep practicing and see where it goes!

The hoop I picked out is striped with glittery and metallic tapes in shades of pink/red/fuchsia.  The colours jumped out at me right away and, interestingly, that hoop was the one that worked best for me out of the several that I tried.  This gorgeous sparkly pinky-purply hoop just felt like mine right away.  I walked home with it slung over my shoulder, feeling like a total badass.

In future, I may take videos of any hooping progress I make and inflict them upon you without pity or remorse post them here.

Kavita, thank you so much for your incredible customer service!  Everyone else, go "like" Family Hoops on Facebook now!

*I bring in some money with my art, but mostly earn my income modelling for art classes...and the art schools are all closing down for summer vacation.  Yikes.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

So intense I had to share.

This is a video of performance artist Marina Abramovic doing a piece where random people can come up to her and spend one minute sitting in silence with her.

Midway through the video, unbeknownst to her, her ex-lover Ulay shows up.  Ulay and Abramovic shared an intense relationship back in the 70s, doing performance art out of the van where they lived together.  When they realized the relationship was over they did one last performance piece: they walked the Great Wall of China starting at opposite ends, meeting in the middle for one last embrace - after which they parted ways, supposedly never to meet again.  Until now.

I admit it - the second the two of them made eye contact I totally lost my shit.  I didn't even realize it was possible to burst into tears that immediately, like a switch being flipped.

But dude.  You can see the two of them finally getting proper closure on their relationship.  You can see them let go of thirty-odd years of stored-up nostalgia - happiness and sadness and anger and regret - and forgive each other.  All without saying a word.

Aww goddammit I'm crying again.  Crying, and wondering whether The Boy and I can have a similar moment of catharsis at some point.  I don't think we're there yet.  But maybe someday.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Conversational Snippet #21: The Naked Truth.

I have just shown up to model for a life drawing class that has more than one instructor milling around.  Instructor #1 tells me to start doing thirty-second poses, so I do.  Once I've begun, Instructor #2 suddenly looks up from the drawings he's critiquing and notices I'm there.  Note that this particular school is pretty informal, unlike some where there's a No Talking to the Model Unless Absolutely Necessary rule.

Instructor #2:  Oh hi, Meredith!  I didn't mean to ignore you.  For some reason I totally didn't see you there until you started posing.

Me [voice somewhat muffled because I'm in a hunched-over pose with my chin on my chest]: My theory is that I'm so freakishly pale that the moment I disrobed, the blinding beams of light reflecting off my skin caught your attention.

Instructor #2: Yes!  That's clearly what it is.  Thank you for coming up with an explanation that doesn't just make me sound rude and oblivious.

Me [still hunched over, still muffled]: SCIENCE!!!!

Random student: *Guffaws*

My life is awesome.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Have you ordered your Glitter Bacon yet?

For those of you who don't know, I make and sell Christmas ornaments that look like glittery bacon slices.  These make a wonderful Christmas gift or a wildly inappropriate Hanukkah gift.

Each slice is lovingly shaped out of cloth and plaster and painted by hand (the whole process takes about ten steps!), and the superfine gold holographic glitter is sealed right into the varnish so that shizz isn't going anywhere.  The finished bacon comes nestled in an adorable turquoise gift box along with hooks for hanging and a little info card.

You can buy Glitter Bacon Ornaments in my Artfire store (or if you live in Toronto, hit up my booth at the Arts Market and save yourself the shipping costs!).

Hammy holidays, everyone! ;)