Monday, March 30, 2009

Roasted Baby Hippo

During my undergrad, we joked that the "Hip of Beef" served in the cafeteria was really "Hip of Beast" or Hip o' Beast." I have learned that this curious label is ubiquitous. Students far and wide use an identical nomenclature. Hilarious. But, enough of that.

Imagine being served a plate upon which stood a tiny roasted hippopotamus! It measured no longer than seven inches from tip to tail with, perhaps, a two inch inseam. As for height, well, I would guess six inches at most. Nothing else was on the plate, just a tiny hippo that was able to stand, despite having been roasted. No veggies, no potatoes, no rice: just a tiny semi-aquatic even-toed ungulate.

Now, I am not one to panic at the prospect of undercooked food, but my hippo looked a bit rare. The hippo served to C, beside me, looked similarly undercooked, but C did not seem to mind. She prodded it with knife and fork, looking for convenient points of cleavage, and I believe she found one, though the caudal.

Rewards offered for dream-interpretation.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Does he really think this is going to keep his ass safe? The bigger question might be why the dude decided to leave his artwork behind. Is he that proud of his creation? At least he flushed, unlike the dude who used the adjoining stall. That one was ripe. Sadly, this is the closest john to my office, one that I am forced to share with the unwashed public, and I use that term loosely, as the sinks here double as foot-washing fixtures. (I know, certain cultures place great value on regular foot washing, but it doesn't please me to see a man with one foot in the sink, soon to be followed by the other).

And then there's the spitting. The sinks are often coated in it. No one flushes the urinals and the toilets are often not flushed, so it usually stinks. There is always toilet paper on the floors. Many men seem to prefer peeing in the privacy of a stall, and I have yet to encounter a single man in this bathroom who has the courtesy to lift the seat. As a result, the seats are usually covered in piss.

Naturally, I normally travel to a different floor to use a bathroom. What I really want to do is post a Bathroom Etiquette sign. Even the staff bathroom on a different floor has sign above the urinal asked the men to flush after use. If you have to ask staff to do this, you have a problem. Public washrooms are disgusting, but you didn't need me to tell you that, did you?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Je suis très occupé

Super Happy Jen
a suggéré that it's about time pour une new post. "Time for a new post, Z" she says. OK, so how about this? Pendant Monday's class de français we all had to do a short présentation. No problemo, as Bart would say, or, pas de problème, as I now say.

Aside from not even recognizing some de the people who have been dans cette class pour weeks, I really had a chance to écouter to the wide range of French language skills. En
général, tout le monde did a good job, mais j'ai été étonné at some of the accents. Une femme en particulier, spoke like she had quelque chose lodged in her mouth. When she a dit "je peux" it sounded comme "je purr." Maybe elle est half chat.

Le chatty Cathy, who parle tout le temps en class, was not so happy to donner sa présentation. Je pense that elle est très shy, ou quelque chose. Je ne sais pas.

Later, we have l'examen orale et l'examen written.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

King Missile

I was reminded of King Missile last night when the concept of a detachable penis was raised, but I can't for the life of me remember why that topic came up. The embedding function has been disabled for this song, but you can still watch the video at Youtube, although I am not sure that this is the real video. Of course, this reminds me of:

Jesus was Way Cool

and, I am a Sensitive Artist

Whatever happened to King Missile?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reading Update

Darren Greer - Still Life with June: Two words describe this book: disappointing and unbelievable. The BIG BAD thing made me grimace, the characters' motivations are largely not believable, some plot threads are abandoned part way through, and the whole book has an air of falseness to it. Greer is not such a bad writer, but this novel just does not work. It's a mystery how it found a publisher. Even more of a mystery is how I managed to fight my way to the end.

Ken Kalfus - A Disorder Peculiar to the Country: This might be the first novel I have read that features 9/11. Kalfus places a married couple going through a protracted and painful divorce in the midst of destruction and national confusion. The result is unexpected, humorous, and deeply troubling. I found the story to be gripping and real. Clearly, Kalfus has confidence in his writing and has created a well-paced book with not a single wasted word.

Ian McEwan - On Chesil Beach is a perfectly-written novella. It's supposed to be a novel, but novella is a much better word. In fact, it's more like a long short story. Part of me wished McEwan would have added 50 pages, but then that would take away from the central story, an interesting newlywed encounter gone wrong.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Last week, the student sitting behind me in French class was wearing a pink shirt with a tie.

Since the time I finally finished University, after three degrees, I have taken a few night classes. Currently, I am nearing the conclusion of my third French class. I have taken 4 or 5 writing classes, and a bunch of photography classes, mostly so I could get access to darkrooms, before I went digital. Dylan went electric; I went digital, and one person even called me Judas.

Last night, the student (a different one) sitting in front of me was wearing a pink shirt. I believe that he is the source of the noxious gas. It makes me wonder if he saves it up for our class. Why, I want to ask, but I am not really sure if he is to blame.

As an aide, I look back on my early days at University and wonder where the energy came from. I procrastinated then, but not as much as I do now. I am unrepentant. But then, I could procrastinate and then stay up to 3:30 AM writing about early modern political theory. Don't ask me to do that now. I can stay up for nothing.

There was a brief period of time when I wore pink. I had a pink golf shirt (collar down, if you must know) and a pink dress shirt that I often wore with a tie and sometimes a jacket. I often felt that my rugged masculinity contrasted nicely with the soft pink - the whole combination making the ladies swoon.

Test number two was last night and I had a strong nostalgic feeling. I had no panic, mind you, just a feeling like I had never left high school. I cleared my desk of all books, but retained two pens. I watched our prof hand out the test. Then, when the word was given, I scribbled my name and proceeded. I am not convinced that a test-based curriculum is the best way to instruct adults in learning a second or third language.

Tim was probably the first man I knew who felt that he was manly enough to wear pink. After a week at the construction site, he could break free on weekends: pink shirt, tie bar, shiny shoes, too much after shave, and a bit of classic rock (which, in his definition, was Phil Collins and Queen). It may have been his gay-positive side leaking out, but I am sure he would deny it. Oh, and there was Bill, too. I think he wore pink to reaffirm his masculinity, but we all knew he would eventually come out. Not that's there's anything wrong with being gay.

I have no plans to bring back the pink. As I get older, my wardrobe gets darker and darker. I must be in mourning.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Four Years Later

So, like my watch strap broke four years ago. A few days ago, I finally got around to buying a new one. I told you that I am an unrepentant procrastinator, as you can tell by the frequency with which I have been updating this blog. I hope that improves.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Oh, yeah, I have a Blog

Why do all cell phone plans suck? That is the question of the day. They all suck. Big time. Why? Please tell me.

Monday, March 09, 2009


As if Entertainment Tonight isn't brain-numbing enough, we have Entertainment Tonight Canada. I can discern only a few differences.

1) The Canadian program occasionally throws in references to the odd Canadian celebrity. Other than that, it's a carbon copy.

2) The Canadian program is not obsessed with the so-called Octomon, which sounds to me like Spiderman's nemesis. Who really gives a sh*t about this insane woman?

3) The Canadian program has not struck some sort of clandestine deal with Satan...I mean the Osmond Family. How else can one reasonably explain the never-ending Donny and Marie appearances on the show? Is this 1976? Does anyone really care what Marie Osmond is doing?

But, both programs fail in rather spectacular fashion when it comes to any sort of critical analysis. Every movie, every show, every piece of insipid music is greeted with love and blind adoration. Why does Dancing with the C-list Celebrities get so much airtime? I have never heard of most of these people.

Oh, and there's one other thing that is irritating. The Canadian program's male host (Rick the Temp) has the voice 13 year old transsexual.

Friday, March 06, 2009

A Few Hours in the Life of ZF

6:40 - Woke up, well before I usually do, so that I could get to the passport office by 8:00.

7:00 - Reading email on my laptop during breakfast. Nature's Path has recalled a gluten-free granola-type bar because of salmonella. UPC and expiry dates match. Crap! I have already eaten 5 of the 6 bars :-( Can I sue them?

7:53 - Waited in line at the passport office, with form completed. Stupidly, I let my passport expire, and had to submit a new application. Next time, renewal. I have no confidence in the photo, but it will do for the next 5 years.

8:26 - Back outside, unlocked my bike. Bureaucracy has rarely been so efficient. What a great day: could be 16 degrees later.

9:30 - Checked my mail box to discover two cheques: $130 and $790. I wish they were really for me. Do I look like the Accounts Receivable Department?

9:33 - Checked Twitter. I am Twittering as an experiment. In library-land, Twitter is a big deal, so I decided to see what the fuss is all about. So far, I have mixed feelings. 140 characters might not be enough. Close-talker is now following me :-(

9:35 - Read email. So much garbage, and I don't necessarily mean spam.

9:46 - Remembered to start streaming Radio RFI en français.

9:48 - Absolutely delighted to learn that John Tory has gone down in flames, again. Three strikes and you're out. Stay down, John.

9:49 - Checked Facebook. Cleared my out-of-date status. I am friends with a photographer who lives in Gaza. His photo albums are very disturbing, powerful and profoundly depressing. A few photos depict unspeakable horror: a charred baby with no limbs; people lying in pools of blood. Most of us have never witnessed anything like this in person. How did he avoid getting shot in the process of taking these photos?

9:50 - Ordered a book requested by a faculty member.

10:00 - Updated photoblog and added a photo to Flickr. No death or grievous bodily harm in my photos.

10:15 - Made appointment with my doctor.

10:20 - Opened PowerPoint to revise my part of a joint presentation with a colleague on research methods. We did the first presentation last week. It goes again next week. His part is esoteric, bizarre, a tad self-indulgent. Mine is practical. We seem to be at odds.

10:28 - Feeling hungry already.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

Or, at least it feels that way. Maybe I keep forgetting to write stuff here. Today, I had meetings and stuff. Tomorrow, I am being treated to another all-day meeting. I am actually hoping that it is not all day, so I can get some stuff done later. Mostly, I want to go grocery shopping.

Here's a song I like:

Monday, March 02, 2009


I am busy today, so here are 50 words about Dollhouse:

Dollhouse generally sucks. I only wish I hadn't wasted three hours of my life watching the first three lame ass episodes. The worst thing is that I can't stand Eliza Dushku's voice. Man, it's so grating. Dollhouse will be canceled soon enough anyway, if Fox does what it usually does.