Distractions

Distractions

I haven’t been as regular with this blog lately. What have I been up to, you ask? Today, I got caught in a vortex of cake-decorating videos. You know the ones. Three minute, sped-up clips of anonymous hands handling colourful fondants, expertly piping frosting, spinning cake turntables and chirpy music.

It’s like magic. And they make it look easy. Plus it’s cake. And I like cake. I like cake very much.

Maybe a little too much, truth be told.

I wish I wrote as much as I used to. Le Hubs and I sometimes talk about growing up in the old days. We were a generation with one foot in the past and the other in the future, growing up with dial-up modems, pagers, not-so-smart phones and VHS. Man, the late nineties were fun. There was a purity in having to work harder to get the things that mattered, entertainment-wise. Like listening to DYGB-FM with a finger poised on the record button, hoping against hope the DJ would play something by the Backstreet Boys.

We used to create so much more back then. The hubs is an artist (my blog header graphic is thanks to him!) although like me, he hasn’t made his passion a day job, and he too feels the constant pull of consuming rather than creating. Because that’s what today’s reality is like. It’s become so much easier to consume than create, thanks to the onslaught of the internet and the convenience of having almost everything at our fingertips. And, like cake, that’s not really a good thing.

It is so easy to be distracted. I sometimes wake up telling myself to write more, that I need to put down something, anything, and then I pick up my phone to check the weather and all of a sudden an hour has rushed by and I know a lot more about the Toronto Raptors than I really needed to.

You know what I need? The cone of shame. It’s not really a cone of shame (thanks, Up), it’s just something to keep spayed pets from licking their healing bits. It would be nice to have something like that when it comes to technology, wouldn’t it? Something to help us focus, to remind us that too much time spent online is hazardous to our health. The thing is, I don’t think a cone of shame would be enough. Nothing short of an EMP-triggered shutdown would be enough.

giphy
via Giphy

If I want to be distracted, I will be. And the truth is, after a long day at work and a stressful commute, a lot of the time I actually want to be. I’m not proud of it, but most days I just want to lie on the couch and bask in the UV rays bouncing off of my TV screen.

The internet has been reverse-engineered into a time suck on purpose. It is to the advantage of the puppet masters that be to keep us all occupied, the way parents hope toys will keep their children from throwing tantrums. While that is not fine, it is what it is, and the only advantage we have is that we can still recognize the trap for what it is. I can choose to buckle down, zone everyone and everything out, and just write. Easier said than done, but baby steps. And I’m doing this post today, so yay for progress!

A Really Really Late and Frankly Kind of Shallow Post

A Really Really Late and Frankly Kind of Shallow Post

Last month, the management cut the power to our high-rise.

The reason lay in January of this year, when the residential building across from us experienced a complete breakdown of power and heating when a burst pipe flooded the building’s electrical room with water. They never really stated what caused the pipe to burst, but in particularly harsh winters, extreme cold can cause water in the pipes to freeze. The resulting ice expansion puts pressure on the pipes, which eventually crack, or burst, if the build-up becomes too much for it to contain.

A burst pipe is enough of a potential catastrophe when it happens in a single residence. It’s a harbinger of the end of the world when it happens to a 33-storey residential apartment building that houses about 1200 residents. They had to shut all essential services down while they investigated the extent of the damage to avoid possible electrical mishaps – or worse, a fire.

Imagine what that must have been like. No power, no heat, no light and no running water for three straight days in January, which is the absolute dead of winter.  That means no heat in sub-zero temps and no working elevators, which would necessesitate going up numerous flights of steps if you live on a higher floor. It’s particularly inconvenient for children, the elderly and the disabled.  It wasn’t pretty.  There were fire crews, ambulances, and police cars all surrounding the building to make sure no one emergencies could be dealt with as they worked to restore power to the building. It must’ve been a complete nightmare for the residents of that place.

With all that in the rearview mirror, the management of our building decided some preventative maintenance was in order to avoid the same thing happening to us. Which is how we came to be without power or water for 24 hours.

I suppose it’s nothing to me, a veteran of Noreco II’s regular brown-outs, to amuse myself for the day and find some way to be occupied. I’m easy. Something to read, something to eat, some water stockpiled. But power outages are rare to non-existent in this part of the world, especially with Niagara Falls providing hydro-electric power not too far away from us. Unlike me, Le Hubs doesn’t find escape in books, and his preferred pursuits involve the use of electricity – music, podcasts, and video games – and he was pacing around like a caged thing, utterly annoyed by his regular routine getting upended, which struck me as absurdly funny.

I spent a good while ribbing him about being completely unprepared for the apocalypse, my lack of empathy an unfortunate (?) side-effect of being Filipino. In the Philippines, our matters of life and death are considerably a lot more serious than the loss of power and access to TV or computers for 24 hours. He was justifiably angry with our building’s management for letting things slide so much they ended up having to deal with it by inconveniencing us all, but it was still funny to me. Only those of us who have ever been held hostage by Noreco II will ever have the fortitude.

That said, his reaction to the lack of power was my reaction to the lack of water. I suppose I should’ve expected that the water would be shut off as well – to test heating? – but I am used to constant access to running water. In the unlikely event we would have no water in the pipes, my childhood home has a manual pitcher pump out back and yes, I’ve had mornings when I used to go out back, pump enough water to fill a pail, and lug the whole thing back inside the house just to shower before school.

I had two buckets of water set aside for washing and the water was ice cold, enough to chill the blood. In the Philippines, our water is sometimes warmed by pipes exposed to the sun, and even when it isn’t, the temperature of our regular running water is not hard to adjust to. In Canada, cold water is cold. Bone-chillingly, horribly, uncomfortably cold. I couldn’t  really appreciate the convenience of having both hot and cold water running until all I had to wash with was cold water. This was just before spring came on and the weather had a high of 5C; having a normal shower was out of the question.

I have come to realize that should the apocalypse come, I am capable of living without power for a while. I can live with walking up seventeen flights of stairs even if it really truly sucks and I had a moment where I truly considered living in the tenth stairwell. I can deal with being unplugged. No, should the apocalypse come, true suffering for me would be the inability to take a decent shower, as shallow as that sounds. (And, I suppose, access to the warmth whenever winter comes.) Even us hardened veterans of Noreco II are helpless when it comes to the ice cold waters of the Great White North.

Internet Sausage Links

I’m always fascinated by words and phrases, their origins, and how they come to be used. Take for example “Longbottoming,” colloquial slang for the unexpected transition from dweeby to sexy. I’ve since learned that this is also known as a “glow up.”

While “Longbottoming” is obvious (it’s inspired by the actor who played Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter movieverse, who started out as the fat loser kid with an overbite and ended up looking mighty foine), the closest I can come to why “glow up” is used the way it is, is because it’s a variation on the phrase “to grow up,” only in this case it’s used to mean growing up pretty. Yay, I guess, but ultimately boring. There’s not much of a backstory there, although why I’m going on about a phrase that’s been dominating the interwebs again since Robin Arryn made such a splash on GoT’s finale at four in the morning, I have no clue.

Oh wait, yes, I do. Seth Rogen is on the cover of GQ, which really goes to prove that the first step towards ultimate attractiveness is to lose weight, which is easier said than done, God knows I say it to myself a lot, but this isn’t about me. So here you go, Seth Rogen being his new dapper, healthier self in silk shirts and expensive ashtrays – GQ

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Most Filipinos come with an ingrained instinct for behaving properly in public. This is known as delicadeza, a word which generally means to do what is appropriate at all times. Like the German “schadenfreude,” delicadeza is not so much an action as it is a  feeling. It’s the intrinsic drive to behave the right way and do the right thing in public, because we cannot bring dishonour to our houses by seeming uneducated, ill-mannered and rude. Maybe it’s the three hundred plus years of being treated like illiterate, uncivilized second-class citizens in our own country by colonizers that fuels this particular drive. Whatever the subconscious triggers behind delicadeza, it’s what makes Filipinos the perfect hosts and house guests. You will never hear us act up, or leave dirty dishes in the sink, or be rude to our hosts. Not to their faces, anyway. We will always try to behave as if our very mothers are watching us with eagle eyes. 

Which is why one of the worst things that a guest can do to Filipinos is to disrespect our hospitality by being rude. Cleaning up after yourself is a basic tenet of delicadeza, and Canada has shown none when it comes to having the Philippines play host to its garbage for nigh on five years.

No country should ever be the unwilling dumping ground for another country’s waste, and my adopted homeland definitely has a lot to answer for when it comes to how it’s treated my actual homeland. Yes, the Philippines has the right to demand Canada clean up after itself, and do it soon. Canada should’ve recalled the garbage postehaste, not spend five years twiddling its thumbs, and it’s dismissive ideas like the ones this Canadian writer comes up with that really make me furious, not to mention the discernibly flippant attitude with which it was written. Instead of focusing on Canada’s inability to clean up after itself, he can’t resist taking jabs at the Philippine administration’s posturing, as if the dumpster fire that is Ontario’s current leadership is anything to be proud of. Filipinos have a great sense of humour, but we know when a joke is as rancid as five-year old garbage currently waiting to be repatriated. Alternative idea: how about we ship all those garbage containers back to Canada and deposit them on this guy’s front yard? – Toronto Sun

PS: There’s nothing “partly” about Canada being to blame for this literal garbage dump of a situation  – CBC

PPS: Now Malaysia is in on it too – Earther

 

 

This is Really is It, Pancit

This is Really is It, Pancit

Now that Game of Thrones has finally ended, I truly imagined I’d find myself rocking back and forth in a corner, clutching a battered copy of Entertainment Weekly’s GoT special edition with Peter Dinklage on it.  I came out of it pretty good, everything considered.

I’d meant to recap each episode as it came but, like a resolution made every new year, that died early. The show’s gotten a bit of flak this particular season, but it’s had great moments too. I imagine it’s rather hard to live up to a level of expectation that is ridiculously high, especially when you’re really working with fan fiction and not actual source material, so to all the entitled, ridiculously overacting fans who demand a rewrite, sit down and wait for the rest of the books, no one owes you anything.

In lieu of no recaps, here are a few spit-takes from the final episode, “The Iron Throne.” It goes without saying that some spoilers may apply, so do not read on if you haven’t seen it yet.

Or do, if you don’t care about spoilers. C’est la vie!

 

Continue reading “This is Really is It, Pancit”

Fin

Fin

May has been a month for goodbyes. The final chapters of stories I – along with a good chunk of the rest of the world – followed over the past decades (The Avengers, The Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones) have finally been unveiled. I know it’s ridiculous to feel sad about bidding farewell to characters who don’t really exist in real life, but they were real to me, and it was nice to have that sense of community, of belonging because other people felt the same way I did.

It feels a bit empty too, wondering what the next big show would be. In the past, we’ve seen great shows come to an end – and attempt second lives by way of disastrous movies – but there was always something. Something else. Some other TV show that was different, but just as good if not better. The last time I remember feeling even the slightest bit bereft was when Breaking Bad ended. But Game of Thrones was there to catch me, and what a long rebound relationship that turned out to be.

I suppose it was a bit like being a serial monogamist. Always having one boyfriend waiting in the wings once the current one plays out with barely any change in rhythm, but this one… well, this one feels different. I felt the same way about Avengers: Endgame. It was immensely satisfying to see it all play out, but I walked out that theatre with the feeling that I was personally ready to move on. The MCU and Marvel Studios is obviously going to keep on keeping on,  and I’m quite sure they will always have an audience for the stories they have yet to tell, but my part in their tale might just be more of a recurring guest star than an episode regular.

I can’t say the same about HBO, a powerhouse which frankly dominates the landscape of TV with good reason, but I do wonder if I will ever be as invested in a TV show as I was with Game of Thrones again. Perhaps I might. I enjoy good TV, and there’s a lot of good shows out there. But I don’t see myself going full on stan the way I did with Game of Thrones.

There’s a lot of corny platitudes that could be used here, and I suppose anything really would be cheesy and completely tacky to say, but there’s still truth to be found in the cheesiest of sayings.

“How lucky [we] are to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
– A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

 

Internet Sausage Links

Internet Sausage Links

Have you ever been to a Costco on a weekend? The whole world and their mother is there and finding parking gets pretty intense. I remember witnessing some guy scream “It’s not always about you!” at a wildly gesticulating, non-English speaking couple who were mad at him for taking what they thought was their spot (note: it wasn’t). I get it, we all just want to go in and stock up on toilet paper, but that was nothing compared to this woman who went all Danny Trejo in Machete Kills over a parking spot. A parking spot. In Costco. Can we all just agree to be nice to each other at Costco from here on out, on the off chance some of us are packing heat in the trunk?  – CBC

Then again, maybe that woman just lacked sleep. We all get crabby when we’re short on sleep, and the temptation to wave sharp objects around gets even stronger the less sleep we have. I know I don’t have the best of tempers when I’m tired, and this is an interesting read on how to fall asleep in less than two minutes – Inc

I’m adding the term “illusory superiority” to my phrasebook now – The Guardian

Also, I seem to have married an anomaly. Le Hubs is one of those people who haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame and doesn’t care if he ever does, one way or another. I think it’s got something to do with his disdain for all things Disney, especially now that it owns all the major franchises and Pixar. Disney is clearly the Buy n Large of the entertainment world, but I was raised on a diet of Disney movies and sing-alongs so I can’t hate it. Not that much anyway. That said, I think Endgame was kind of it for me. Iron Man was what, 2008? I don’t see myself still hankering after all these superheroes ten years from now when I hit that  menopausal rough patch. Not that I’m going to be their target audience, anyway – Rolling Stone

Speaking of target audience, I’m still one of those crazy ride-or-die Thronies just seeing the whole show out to the end. I know, I wanted to do a recap after watching each episode but that didn’t work out, so I’ll just share Ramin Djawadi’s fantastic score for Episode Three. It’s like the Sept of Baelor meets Westworld, and it’s crazy good – YouTube

 

From Here To Infinity

From Here To Infinity
There are no Avengers: Endgame spoilers in this post. Fine. Maybe a teensy one, and it’s at the end, so don’t read the postscript!

 

Continue reading “From Here To Infinity”