Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Real Canadian Stupid Store

We're more than halfway through our brief, shining Canadian Summer and I haven't broken a sweat. At least, not a real sweat (hot flashes don't count). We've barely crept above room temperature and almost every day has been blessed (I use that term loosely) with rain.

The air is thick with humidity and everything is sticky, from doorknobs to the hardwood floors. The front door won't open unless I put a shoulder to it. This morning during a downpour I mopped up another mess in the basement and changed the water bucket in the fireplace. We have to get the eavestroughs and downspouts replaced, but Handsome But Not Handy Husband hasn't started calling around for estimates yet. I silently scream at every raindrop.

Later, the skies cleared long enough for a quick foray to the local super grocery store for emergency supplies: toilet paper, bread, Aleve, wine and Twizzlers. My daughter and I threw on our jackets (yes, it's that warm) and hopped into the car.

In the bread aisle, a lady inspected the Wonder Bread Plus Whole Wheat. I didn't want to get my shopping cart in her way, so I waited patiently. Instead of grabbing a loaf and moving along, she checked each expiry tab, throwing loaves back in disgust. She took one, moved as if she was about to leave, then backed up and started the process all over again with the white bread.

We decided to call her Angry Bread Lady. She stopped every time I wanted to stop, reading labels and throwing items into her cart, glaring at each item as if daring them to escape.

In the freezer aisle, another woman held an impossibly tiny infant in the crook of one arm while sorting through frozen waffles. The baby fretted while the woman shifted it awkwardly. If she'd forgotten her stroller, why didn't she use one of those handy carts with a bucket baby seat? The image of a baby hitting the hard floor flashed before my eyes, and I winced.

Of course we bought more than necessary. That's what happens when you cart along a kid who had skipped lunch. Yeah, she's twenty, but she's still my kid. She gasped in wonder at every ice cream carton and raspberry tart like a puppy distracted by a squirrel. I powered through, only allowing a chocolate bar and a bottle of Orange Crush. After all, it was my money, right?

The young lad at the checkout reminded me of the Target Lady on Saturday Night Live. He and a co-worker launched into a lively discussion about the merits of Taco Bites, and he inspected my DVD of Love Actually as if he'd never seen it before. I fully expected him to drop everything and dash to the Electronics department for a copy of his own.

I'm home now, waiting for my daughter to wander off to her room so I can watch Love Actually and eat a Twizzler or ten.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Video Killed The Radio Star

Everything is getting smaller except my waistline.

Hi-Fi sets became transistor radios, then Walkmen, and finally MP3 players no bigger than your thumb. Computers once took up an entire floor, and now you can check your email and work on your manuscript on a teensy weensie laptop.

Big, clunky mobile phones became sleek cell phones. A guy even
wrote a novel on a cell phone!

Heck, our laundry detergent is getting smaller! 65 loads per ounce!

It didn't take long for networking to follow suit. First, we passed out newsletters at meetings and left them in foyers. We attended meetings in person, and talked to our friends on the phone. Now we combine several internet social networks in order to get our messages out.

When I started writing, I joined Blogger and got a shiny little website. Later, I joined several Yahoo groups to pimp my books. Facebook soon followed and I reconnected with old family members and school chums.
Then all those book reader sites cropped up and I dutifully posted book covers and attempted to keep up with ravenous readers everywhere.

When Twitter came along, I rolled my eyes.

"I don't need another beak to feed."

"Only 140 characters to get your thoughts across? Pffff! What's up with that?"

"I'm wasting enough writing time already."

One Saturday night during a weak moment (and after a vat of wine), I gave in. I became a Twit.

Every half hour, I check to see what the latest hot celebrity is having for a snack. My faltering ego crawls up a notch when a bestselling author or a dream agent decides to follow me. Oh, the pressure!

Which brings me to the title of my post. Is Twitter killing blogs? I'd noticed a drop in visits here and wonder if it's just a summer lull. Or are buddies reading tweets instead?

I have to admit it's fun, but I gotta rope myself in. I need to finish one of my two works in progress. I struggle getting past 40K in a novel, but tweets seem to curtail the real messages. Does a 140 character statement really bring across a message?
Along with the fun of spying on movie stars and Martha Stewart, I suppose I could use Twitter to post links to this blog (whenever I get around to an update).

'Scuse me while I Tweet this Post. Gah.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Red, White (and Blue) Skies

Happy 4th, my American friends! They're still setting off firecrackers outside, probably to make up for the rain we suffered here on Canada Day evening.

The beginning of July usually triggers all summer activities -- picnics, barbecues, swimming and the smell of fresh-cut grass. This year, that doesn't seem to be the case, at least in this area. We're still wearing sweatshirts and dodging downpours. A wild beast ate our propane barbecue valve hose, so we haven't done any outdoor grilling yet. The cooler weather didn't stop the hummingbird-sized mosquitoes from attacking between the car and the front door.

Some gave up on the idea of cutting the grass. Literally.

This is my neighbour's yard. It looks like the job was abandoned mid-mow.
I wonder who's been shirking their duties for the last three weeks.

My daughter and I took advantage of a break in the weather to check out The Canada Day festivities on Main Street.

We saw a little red...

A little white...

And my daughter had a little of the blues.
She apparently didn't approve of all those cut-off blue jeans...

The line for the beer garden was astronomically long, but the line for the food was mercifully short. We grabbed a couple of charred burgs and walked past the beer garden, where a local band played 70s rock with more enthusiasm than skill. Two bare chested guys danced with abandon in front of the stage, somehow managing to balance their beers. I wanted to take a picture, but Beth wouldn't let me.

Happy rest of the weekend, folks! I hope you get to do summery things.