me thinks

thankfully i have not descended into that cliche pit of despair that apparently all unattached people are supposed to spiral into during this most Wonderful Time of the Year. sure, i've been loitering around the edge, peering down there every so often then shuffling a few steps back to more secure footing. but no plummeting has occured. for this, i am grateful.

i have numbed myself, i think, into an utter lack of inspiration. after a weekend of excessive eating at various events in various locations hosted by various friends, i suppose a prolonged food coma is to blame. i slept a lot, but also got the filing done, was disappointed by this film, spent a shitload of time on limewire, made a buncha new cd's, attended to work tasks sporadically. oh, and felt a whole lot of tepid about politics.

i've been cooking, reading, puttering, singing, daydreaming. i've been worrying.

i've been thinking about contradictions, in the world but especially within myself. where am i going and what does it all mean and all that shit. i am an anti-social socialist, a cynical idealist, an independent co-dependent. i am an intellectual pop singer, a lazy workaholic. i am plugged in but tuned out.

i've been thinking about human contact, human needs, and what it means to be human. i've been thinking about the kind of humankind we attract when floundering versus when thriving. what sort of humans we reach for, and when. who we cling to when we shouldn't. who we repel when we wish to entice.

i've been thinking about the peculiarity of massage. how completely strange it is that we strip down to nothing and splay on a table so the hands of a stranger may roam over and dig into our flesh. nudity is indeed the ultimate in vulnerability. i so easily disrobe to be probed by a stranger and yet to be seen au naturel by a lover is a ginormous challenge through which i have to coach myself like some sort of self-personal trainer. so anyhoo, i've been thinking about mental massage treatment instead of generic counselling: imagine exposing all those sensitive inside bits to someone who would relieve the darkness with soothing fingers in fluid circular motions and bore a pointy elbow down into the knottiest of trigger points. lordy i've really got to work some of those right the fuck out.

i've been thinking about the sheer corniness of year end reviews, the often futile taking of stock. i loathe new year's resolutions: recipes for disappointment, conjured up at a time when i most lack resolve.

so there is a new year upon me. an appropriate time for a new attitude, new beginning, new leafs and so on. i've been thinking about how to make new of all this old stuff, what to discard and what deserves more chances. i will forego the cheesy rituals and pursue my very own version of renewal.

but first, i will face a scene tonight that is hardly dissimilar to most other social encounters in my life: i shall usher in 2006 in a smoke-filled room filled with the pulsing beats of homemade cd's. i will likely be the only practicing hetero in the joint. at midnight, i will raise a cosmo-filled martini glass and toast the fact that i actually exited my house for an evening, and i will wish i was kissing someone who is somewhere else. and after drinking a few too many, i will long to nuzzle my head into my delicious down-filled pillow.

and tomorrow, i will start over. anew.


nog me up

despite my reputation for being a big fat fucking no-show to social invitations grand or wee, i still seem to get invited to shit.

thank you, world, for not giving up on this recluse. really.

so i'm gonna do my best to get out there over the next few days. and i shall get nogged up. repeatedly. i'm not certain that i'll find anyone to go tree tipping with me, but i sure will try.


hark the feminists

some of the "sisters" made their debut this morning as the "pay equity carollers". can't spot me in the picture - i was very busy at home with my coffee and ambivalence. apparently ctv newsnet and global showed up, so i hereby take back at least a few of my bahhumbugs.

holiday buzz

i feel sorta fucked up this week. maybe it's the life brand cough syrup. maybe it's the unruly to-do list. maybe it's because an exciting strike always gets me tingly, or because harper boxing about national unity is so numbing. maybe it's the sleeplessness from the coughingness. nights have been long and painful, so days are fuzzy. it's as if i'm slightly high. high is good.

i won't go into too much detail about it, but i had an unbelievably strong craving on monday to hear this song by toto. yes, toto. oh and also, she's gone by hall and oates. don't judge me. the satisfaction of said craving led to a masterful session of multitasking that went late into the night.

as for what could be considered a lapse in musical judgement/taste, there is one person i know who would find it cool instead of horrifying [even though you hardly ever read this, you know who you are, you know you wish you were sitting right here next to me right now, or better yet, on a saturday night because we're cool like dat, downloading cheezy a.m. radio hits circa then]. ok so no, we're not cool, he and i, but that's the way we roll.

so aneeeeeways, i was multi-tasking galore up in here, going apeshit on limewire, working on ndp stuff, filing a stack of paperwork, and gobbling up what i could find on morales, whose victory in bolivia made me bawl like a baby. the socialists are taking over latin america, they say, and i say WOO fucking HOO!

i suspect i might have been wired after a tiring rehearsal on monday. the band put down a few roadmap recordings of some new tunes so that mike can work his magic on some horn charts. i was expecting to sound like shit on account of that marathon cough, but feedback on my vocals has been VERY positive. guess this pre-xmas buzz has rendered me productive AND sultry.


cough to death

what if i cough for the entire rest of my life?
what if i hack my way into record books and medical journals and ripley's museums and gatherings of scientifically inclined folks?
what if it becomes my cough and not a tenuous psycho/emotional state that causes me to completely retreat from society, to finally achieve the shut-in status i've long been courting?
what if over-the-counter remedies actually worked?
what if i cough my head right the fuck off its swollen neck?
what if my eternal cough renders me the ultimate of the undatables, such that my only chance at love would be to settle down with the only other freak in the side show, some guy who can't stop hiccupping or belching or yawning or some such shit.


beer not kids

i guess i missed any headlines about this while i was busy not checking rick mercer's blog, but i have now officially seen the "beer not kids" petition he created as a counter-attack to the "kids not beer" movement borne of the dreaded scott reid debacle [actual reportage here, satirical account here]. sweet jesus. some of the signatories even offer quips. sample: "Beer is the only thing that allows me to tolerate children, and that, dear Sirs, is child care."

tucker sucks

i only today learned that last week, media anomoly tucker carlson likened canada to a "retarded cousin" who's "nice, but you don't take him seriously."

ok, lots of media buzz about what is perceived to be a shameless electoral tactic - being tough about getting tough with america. wow, fascinating. and while we're busy being stunned that anyone down there even noticed we're up here, the white house is surely relieved to have tucker's brand of enlightened analysis working in its favour. after all, the so-called anti-american
politicking going on up here must be downright threatening (BEWARE of canada's pending insurgency?). our neighbours have no choice but to take such matters very very seriously. thank christ pundits like tucker are on the front lines of international relations in these dire times.


the smell of c

sometimes when i've been in his company, the smell of c lingers with me long into the hours that follow. this is a very good thing. oh sure, sometimes i bring home other smells collected over the minutes between us ... smoke, wine, commiseration ... but the predominant scent trailing me back into my cave is that delicious distinguishable one of c. golly, is it comforting.


saturday am

roll out of bed put kettle on turn laptop on brush teeth make bodum of coffee prepare bowl of blueberry yogurt with low-carb special k flakes sprinkled on top shuffle to office desk scan pan-quebec headlines read globe and mail online review to-do list read washington post online read new york times online review to-do list wander to window marvel at patterns of paw tracks around my backyard start re-drafting strategy for phase 2 of quebec ndp campaign eat one of these bastards fantasize about hiding in the back of a movie theatre at this flick at a matinee like when i snuck out to see this last weekend work some more on the strategy document contemplate playing hooky who would i call hold phone as if poised to dial someone feel sadness because there's no one i really want to call admire the vastness of this space between totally plugged in and dangerously disconnected keep writing keep writing


what gets missed

when my dad phoned a short time ago and asked, cheekily, what i'm up to, i squealed "watching layton kick ass!" for awhile, that's really what i thought. he surpassed my expectations in last night's debate, although really didn't go far enough in talking directly to the very quebec voters that we here are struggling to attract. tonight, thank god, jack did less of that pres-de-mon-coeur storytelling bullshit and more hammering of the liberals. he stayed focussed on top messages and showed some passion.

two gay civil servants whom i encountered on the balcony at the lookout a few weeks ago amusedly pointed out that i present with a different personality when i speak in french than i do in english. i told them i'd never noticed, and i hadn't. but i guess it's true of lots of people. and jack.

wish i hadn't missed the opening statements tonight. it was 15 minutes til start time when i realized two important things: i was hungry. i had nothing to eat. so i rushed out to satisfy my craving for hummus and hint of lime tostidos. while doing so, i puzzled over how whenever my schedule becomes this fucked, especially during an election period, two major things in my life vanish freakishly fast: produce and hygiene. i'm not saying i'm proud of this. without fail, my normally healthy home-cooked diet deteriorates into overly carby items that can be dipped, toasted or nuked. and without fail, self-care drops to a dangerously low ranking on my priority list, dangerous on account of the sort of matting of hair that many cat owners know too well. i'm not like rank or anything, just ungroomed. my non-computer time winds up being divided quite evenly between coffee, cigarettes, and the occasional nap. i love it.

so only during a campaign is the question "OK, so we'll re-convene by phone tonight at 10.30 then?" unweird. there's a tele-meeting to debrief the debate and confirm our position on our relations with the federal party vis-a-vis high level campaign strategy/messaging - a position a couple of us will be taking to the head honcho of the ndp campaign on sunday. obviously jack dipping (finally) into our quebec message box once or twice last night was a plus. but holy moly, some shit needs a-fixin'.


anything for press

as i type, the sisters are brainstorming snappy altered lyrics to your favourite holiday carols - on the snappy theme of pay equity - which will apparently be sung with all sorts of political ferocity at some nebulus location (parliament hill) to some unseen targets. are we really this cavalier about our agenda? hell no, the plan will be executed with tongues firmly in cheek, we're creative and clever, thank you very much. enough to amuse a few reporters? maybe. to seize control of the electoral discourse? um, hardly.


a funny thing happened on saturday night that i can't get out of my head. we (i'm finally up on the personnel list) played an xmas party for these folks at the chateau laurier, ooh la la. it went well: energetic crowd (thanks largely to the spectacular open bar), the horn section was smoking, the sound system was great, we sounded good, the dance floor was consistently packed. lots of good energy. so anyways, about the funny thing: when i began to sing "fire", the dance floor cleared. almost instantly. and no one ever trickled back. one might think, ok, it's a medium tempo song, not easy to dance to ... but those temp agency drunkards found a way to shake booty to pretty much every rhythm that night, let me tell you. during that number, however, people just watched and listened. motionless. i felt appreciated and all, but it was a bit weird.

can't help but think of all the times it feels like i'm calling 'fire' to a bunch of attentive but paralyzed gawkers. so-called strategy sessions, work situations, or god help us those dreaded ndp meetings - it so often feels like the dance floor empties out and i'm left staring into an assembly of stillness. you hear me, dontcha you fuckers? we need a vision! we need a plan! there's a FIRE raging here people. let's do something cohesive and strategic for chrissakes!

speaking of which, it would seem that we may have to literally set ourselves ablaze in order to garner any media attention whatsoever for women's issues. shocker, i know. spent many a sleepless night in 2004 when working with these gals trying to come up with ways to get someone to say anything about something. late last week, i was asked to do some consulting with fafia on strategy for their electoral campaign, advising them on media and political tactics. one of them had been spooked when she innocently contacted a senior journalist at a major daily and was told rather sharply "we can't cover what we're not covering." i think this might be one of the best lines of my life, however confusing for a non-media type. anyways, we're going to see how far we can push the non-partisan envelope to somehow penetrate the discourse by way of a party leader. i'm suggesting we shouldn't care which one. i'm suggesting aggression. i'm suggesting we play the games of the big boys instead of downgrading women's issues yet again to the level of corny getups and cheap stunts. it just sickens me when feminists have to degrade ourselves, begging for any shred of attention for credible issues.


kiss of death

the bastards at hershey's felt it necessary to expand their arsenal of chocolate smack to include kisses filled with caramel of which i bought a bag when i stopped in here yesterday to buy drugs for my tenacious cold (serious post-nasal drip). anyways, the kisses were purchased with the intention of placing them welcomingly in a bowl on my desk to give away to colleagues but i broke down and opened the bag this morning to try "just one" and now i am totally fucked. that is all.


or not to contain

one of our so-called star candidates is a pretty prominent figure on the quebec left. and he has a big mouth. earlier this week, he stirred things up and got the party a bit nervous.

the way i see it, the ndp has nothing to lose in quebec and everything to gain. that someone like lauzon would even put his name on a ballot is a freaking big deal. we struggle for attention. we struggle for credibility. we struggle to attract quality candidates. we struggle for any sort of press coverage, never mind the front fucking page.

so this week lauzon made some noise. and he didn't weigh in on some whacky fringe issue like marijuana or star wars or pesticides. he was talking about oil and gas, people. holy shit. and he took the most sacred of ndp positions: anti-privatization. and he talked about the need to re-assume public control of other important things. we should be rejoicing.

but uh-oh, a story maker like lauzon would undoubtedly be asked about his position on sovereignty. and what didn't make it into very much print was apparently thrown into rotation on at least cbc newsworld: lauzon supports the ufp position on separation.

yes, we are a federalist party. yes, we are promoting a vision of asymmetrical federalism. yes, it would be terrific if every single progressive soul in quebec could get behind this notion, and even cooler if those who run for the ndp could. but the reality is, opinions on separatism - of one persuasion or another - are part of the dna of most quebeckers. never mind that one issue, they actually spank a passion for politics right into your ass the second you emerge from the womb. it is a bona fide physiological and psychological reality. as for the matter of separatism .. talk about the fabric of a culture - sovereignty is the ultimate thread of quebec fabric, as well as the dominant colour. [case in point: never mind the new leader of the pq is openly gay and possibly a former cokehead, people are more concerned he's soft on separatism].

one of the things i threw into the (internal) message box for the quebec campaign is this: federalism is not the enemy, more Liberal rule is; federalism is not the problem, the Liberals are. but that doesn't mean we fear the inevitable grey spots within that position. wanna play in quebec? be damn well ready for the grey.

i think the party wishes for squeaky clean social-democratic federalists to be popping out legions of squeaky clean social-democratic federalist babies in order that we may have a squeaky clean population of federalist social-democrats from which to draw candidates.

i get the need for party cohesion on a provocative topic such as this, so i really do appreciate how a guy like lauzon might raise the hackles of party brass. but as a communications freak, i'm willing to be flexible on this point. i think it actually works in our favour that someone not 100% solid on the issue of separation is still willing to put his reputation on the line for us. it's a strong message to the sophisticated voters around here. at the very least, it makes them look. and anyways, i'm not convinced that public statements of this nature risk irrevocable damage. we've got some bright people on the case, we'll take it from here. we know how to roll.

we are a dedicated few trying like fuck to get this party out of the shadows of the quebec political landscape, so forgive me for wetting myself when we manage to actually turn heads. they say any press is good press, and in the case of the ndp in quebec, i tend to agree.

to contain

in the case of the national campaign coverage, i'm not so sure that any press is good press. the party should worry more about buzz than whatever little blips we manage to get about quebec candidates. what buzz is doing is downright shitty. i even agree with his analysis, but jesus, c'mon.

hey mr. hargrove: i actually AM full of progressive bones. and my bones ache every fucking day working to try and ensure the capitalist fucks don't squish everything. i, too, was stoked by the kind of gains we were making with the liberal minority situation (no one has talked about the amazing progress made on women's rights; the parliamentary committee on the status of women which we finally won last year may go down in history as the shortest lived standing house committee - thanks everyone). i, too, was pissed about the political posturing that led to this pre-mature election. i, too, remain relatively dissatisfied with my party and waver daily on my commitment to it. but for fucksake, since when did disagreeing with the ndp mean posing for photo-opps with martin? if you're really worried about people with progressive bones, you'd know we just can't afford this kind of public split. there isn't a cast big enough to heal the kind of fracture we'll suffer when political fuckery like yours winds up tanking us. go ahead and throw your arm around martin's shoulder. let's hope your attempt to "recreate the conditions that led to the policies of the last 17 months" doesn't backfire. let's hope your new love affair doesn't wind up costing the ndp serious numbers. none of us or our bones want to see the caucus returned to the glory days of the mid-90's when we had only 9 mp's and lacked party status. ideal conditions, indeed.



thanks audra for posting that goose-bumpy poem by anna humphrey - 14, as more than just a number - replete with photos of lepine's victims. beautiful. sad. perfect.


he wanted women

what many do not realize or remember is that lepine wanted specifically to kill women when he showed up at ecole polytechnique 16 years ago today with an automatic rifle. his story is dark. and he hated feminists.

and so we commemorate december 6th again with buttons and posters and vigils... somehow i find these gestures to just never be enough. i AM curious about this new website project to remember murdered women. oh, and here is the statement i wrote for the congress. but what a heaviness of heart i carry. so we do what we can, little things here and there to change minds and fix things. but the truth about violence against women speaks for itself, and we know the situation is way worse because stats can only be derived from reported incidents. hundreds of aboriginal women from across canada are still missing and continue to vanish. the reality of it all is enough to suffocate the little songs and ceremonies right out of me.

so lepine wandered the hallways that day yelling "i want women." well, he got 14.

a colleague and i have organized a wee candle-lighting thing down in reception in a few minutes. at first i thought i would sing "this memory" by the wyrd sisters. but i'm too shy, so i'm going to read a poem instead. we'll light candles and those 14 names will be read, hauntingly (i pretty much know them by heart now), and we'll likely sing the standard: bread and roses. guess that's all we can do. anyways, here are the lyrics i won't be singing. if they move you, you should hear the actual track. jesus.

this memory -- the wyrd sisters

early that morning, cup of coffee in her hand,
kissed her mother on the cheek, said I'm more busy than I planned.
i'll be coming home a bit late - could you keep the supper warm?
oh, it's just another busy day.

early that morning, getting ready by the door,
kissed her lover on the cheek, said I'll be coming back for more.
oh how i love you, we've got so much to live for baby
and i'll be coming home real soon.

and it could have been me, just as easily,
could have been my sister left there to bleed,
oh it could've been my father or my brother done the deed.
oh no, don't let me lose this memory.

later on that evening, i turned on my tv,
listened as they're talking about the news of a
shooting spree.
fourteen young women shot dead in montreal...
oh, it's a killing of us all.

and it could have been me, just as easily,
could have been my mother left there to bleed,
oh it could have been my father or my brother done the deed.
oh no, don't let us lose this memory.


hard news

each evening's election news never feels good, but for the past week, it has felt downright icky. i still haven't recovered from friday's big buzz about buzz. i wonder if the real reason everyone's up in arms about buzz's audacity is that he's actually right. sure, yet again he demonstrates what a media-whoring nose-thumbing bird-flipping sneaky bastard looks like. yes, he's shitty on optics and timing and process, but maybe he's fucking right. we have been suffering from a serious strategy deficit for awhile now. in fact, if we're really honest about it, a shocking lack of strategy is what led layton to play with fire in the first place.

if we were operating from a strategic place, we would have figured out how to ride the minority government situation into the horizon, working 24-7 to keep parliament open like a fucking legislative sweatshop in order to drive through as many items from our wish list as possible.

if we were operating from a strategic place, we would have had an airtight communications plan before forcing an election, one that would have catapulted us to pilot status for the news agenda.

but it's harper who has assumed the cockpit. he's been skillfully dictatating the electoral news agenda since the writ was dropped. while jack and paul were reciting bad break-up poetry to one another, the tory team was nailing down a very slick PR plan. i don't know how to feel that he's running the show: impressed or nauseous.

my whole attitude with this election is like one big huge dare.
they ask Who do you think is going to win?
the conservatives, but prove me wrong.
Do you think a winter election is a bad idea?
yes, but prove me wrong.
Do you think the ndp has a chance of making any headway this election?
no, but prove me wrong.

and i had every desire to be proven wrong after i was snotty to the mucky-mucks of the child care movement on friday, telling them with all kinds of certainty that there was No Fucking Way at this late stage to influence party platforms. they were all like, um yeah we do, they're all waiting for our input. and i was all like, yeah, um, whatEVER, that's not EVEN possible, and like even if it is, we'd have to get on the horns like right NOW. i was ssooooo hoping for emails today saying Good news, we've got meetings with the senior policy strategist of each party, each has agreed to reserve an entire section on child care, each asked for us to come in and spoon feed child care policy to writers who would insert it verbatim into the final draft.

err, no. harper climbs atop today's news. situated in a picturesque daycare holding an aryan baby, he promises cash for parents, sounding perfectly reasonable and benevolent. now we're all scrambling to issue responses, ever the dutiful reactionaries.

i really was hoping to have come out of friday's coalition meeting with a clear action plan for national and local activists to proactively set the tone for the child care debate. i think the reason i'm so pissed on this one is that yet again, i spent another meeting being deferent instead of confident in the face of people who i assume to be more knowledgeable than me on a subject. fuck i hate that.

bad press

let it never be said that we "younger" women at last week's nac meeting did not warn that a smarter approach to communications would need to be an imperative part of whatever incarnation comes next for the canadian women's movement. and we were not just standing there with hands on hips and all uppity about it. hell no. we said our skills and selves are available to ramp up the message and the manner in which it gets broadcast. at least one (defensive) vocal woman made it clear that other women here also know how to do communications, so we'll thank you to step off, we are pithy and wired and damn well don't need you to tell us what to sell, or how.

those indignant women conjured up one embarrassing press release after the meeting, let me tell you. it is so ungood that i shan't share it here. well ok, maybe one or two choice samplings. media have never been hit with such newsworthy nuggets as "we raise our diverse voices in one resounding chorus" or "women's equality will not be swept under the rug of rhetoric this time". oh sweet jesus. i suggested that if this was an effective press release, i am a candidate on the next antm. no really, i am.


i heart ben

this evening while watching this bizarre flick about a man who in his 24th day of knowing about his hiv positivity kidnaps the alleged transmitter and holds him hostage until it can be confirmed that he too carries the virus, i was surprised to realize i still love scott speedman. and apparently i am not alone. i really dig his blend of looks and voice, which he delivers through an endless portrayal of boys precariously teetering between hurt brooding puppy and may-snap-at-any-moment guy. finding that character type sexy may explain similar pangs of silly celeb crush inspired by the likes of billy crudup and andy garcia.

obviously i am having a very No Politics day. and so what.


loss of hair, or dignity

omigod this is heeelarious! recall that local ndp candidate for my riding with whom i have had, shall we say, a relatively unpleasant relationship and who some people refer to as le petit napoleon and who spent a year scheming to make sure i wouldn't be on the executive in order for there to be no strong articulate competent woman around to remind him of certain inadequacies? his url currently points to this site. best part? it actually applies!

what about the children?

just came back from a day-long meeting to talk "election strategy" with the inner circle of the child care movement. ay-carumba. highlight of the day was the delictable lunch spread catered by scone witch, particularly the smoked turkey with stilton. mmm mmm good. lowlights were several:
  • no gripping analysis on how to approach the parties during this election
  • no thinking beyond the elitist ottawacentric approach to influencing party platforms (in fact, it was alarming to me that anyone thinks we still could, as if the platforms are still in early draft stages? hellooo!! sweet jesus am i ever tired of some of the VIPness that so many movement types feel about themselves, as if having a couple of ottawa players on speed dial makes you a player too)
  • no strategy for activating the grassroots of this tightly-networked movement
by the afternoon, i was stunned into silence by suggestions that we should shy away from what i considered to be non-negotiable movement vocabulary like "universal" and "not-for-profit" child care. being that my presence was only as a labour movement lackey, and a temporary one at that, i bit my tongue through lots of it. but it has never been more clear to me that i am doing the right thing by exploring other means by which i might do my part to change the world.

so obviously i need to call this amazing woman who will hopefully tell me that i misheard EVERYTHING today.
but it'll have to be after the tele-meeting of the quebec ndp election planning committee. tonight, we shall decide which campaigns get funding for campaign managers, and how much. another reason to love my life.

on a completely unrelated note, is there a more aggressive reminder of how badly one needs a pedicure than winter itself? i say this as someone who believes quite deeply in the freedom of feet. not only do i extend the appropriate period of foot nudity to as long as possible (usually until after at least the first snowfall), i require my feet to be unconstrained as much as possible, ie: sticking out of the bed covers. socks, as a seasonal requirement, are like a gauge for me as to the dreaded state of my toe nails and cracked heels, all squished and friction-y inside suffocating footwear. socks tell me when to pumice and whatnot. like today.