Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Friday, October 28, 2005

it's time for...adventures in opposite land!

inspired by the brilliant and hilarious K-Juice over at Delicious Juice, this entry will be written in the form of a game entitle Awesome/Not Awesome. ready?

awesome: having some pie leftover from your husband's office potluck to take home and devour later with tea.

not awesome: being accosted by a creepy man wearing a beret and smelling of spoilt milk to grabs the bag your pie was in and starts screaming at you for stealing his...something. I think he was saying "ficus." After a minute you realize he thinks you are someone called Donna, whom you are not, being one Natalie Zed. Trying to tell him this gets him more riled up and more grabby, and your beautiful pie ends up on the sidewalk. Beret dude then sits on the sidewalk, his quarrel with Donna forgot, and begins eating your pie with his fingers right off the asphalt. You flee to the nearest C-Train, cursing the loss of your pie.

awesome: finding kickass new pants as the resale shop. So awesome, they're burgundy. oh yeah.

not awesome: actually breaking the awesome pants in the changing room trying them on. I mean, that seam must have been ready to go anyway, but whenever my ass destroys property, I take it kind of personally. Also, sheepishly returning the now-sploded pants to the girl behind the counter, imagining the ass-slander that will certainly be bandied about as soon as you and The Cheeks are safely out of the store.

awesome: finally getting to your cozy little apartment after a very busy day.

not awesome: realizing at the door that your keys are locked inside your cozy little apartment with the cats, who are crying for you to come inside. So you break in to your apartment (which always makes the husband nervous), praying the neighbors don't call the cops, and before you can seal off your window of choice, the cats escape. After a small chase about the neighbourhood, you get yourself and the cats inside and the window back in it's frame. The cats commence crying for the next hour to be let out again, because being chased around sure was fun.

awesome: deciding to be Tinkerbell for halloween (oh yeah).

not awesome: suddenly becoming self-conscious about revealing tinkerbell outfit due to Ass Of Destruction and subsequent plotting to wear plaid jammies to the Sexy Parties instead. Preferably jammies with feet. Maybe you can go as baby Michael.
Natalie Zed updated @ 6:32 p.m.!! 3 comments

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

post post-prairie

Everyone involved with the launch of Post-Prairie, the amazing new anthology edited by Robert Kroetsch and John Paul Fiorentino, should be darn proud of themselves. It's a smart-lookin' book that happily got an excellent reception, and should be lauded and purchased by all. I got a free press copy and still bought one, because I am just that cool. remember this, your holiness, when I show up to couch surf at your place the next time I'm in Montreal. I'll bake sugar-free pies to throw at the conservatives. =)

Went to Margaret Christakos' reading yesterday -- she's as lovely as ever, reminds me that lyric is doing something pretty amazing, something Karen Solie often body-slams me with as well. Her book, Sooner, was given to me in exchange for some timely lemon cake, and now sits proudly on the Signed Stuff shelf. That's where all my resources are truly tied up. If anyone wants to loot my place, the books and the standing mixer are where all the cash is tied up. Good luck sneaking out. =)

Ed and I saw Wallace and Gromit last night. I was no expecting the camera work to be so stunning, or for it (like Shrek) to ahve found that perfect balance between kids and adult humor, or to be quite moving at a point or two. Aardman animations always blows me away, but it seems no matter how high I set my bar, they still leave me in a bit of awe. Of course, I was in an excellent mood last night -- I made some crispy salmon with a new potato, spring onion and crab meat salad, and it turned out shockingly well. Gordon Ramsey, how do I love thee. Ed may have his football, but I have Hell's Kitchen. I want to learn to make his perfect scrambled eggs and have his snarky British babies.


Parergon's visit this weekend was lovely -- having not seen each other is over a year, and then havng the chance to spend time together twice in as many months has been really nice. One of the slightly sad things about having amazing, academic, brilliant friends is that they scatter. Pieces of my heart from highschool now reside in Winnipeg and Toronto, and my CW coterie from my undergrad have wandered as far as New Brunswick and Whitby and Korea.

All praises to the interweb, whose cold, spindly fingers toss a few words for me to people I love.
Natalie Zed updated @ 11:03 a.m.!! 5 comments

Monday, October 17, 2005

I declare war on the following things

-- unnecessary feminine hygeine products. I, for one, am fond of my vagina, and am finding myself increasingly incensed at the suggestion perpetuated by the media and various companies that said orifice is a hideous, festering maw. feminine deodorant spray (a/k/a under-leg deodorants)? come on. Just shower. suds your muff up what good, and there should be no problems. feminine wipes? lord almightly. do I really need antibacterial treatment applied to a part of my anatomy that has a very delicate ph balance and internal culture? I think not. And, my new favourite, just discovered today: dissolving, deodorant/cleansing sheets. You know those little green listerine sheets that you put on your tongue to freshen your breath? the kind that bore holes in your soft palate with their minty intensity? they make them for vaginas. I saw them with my own eyes at the Super Drug Mart. Personally, I think my vagina has fine breath, feels quite fresh enough on its own, and is not in need of any such product, minty-tingly as it may be. Really, folks, lets not make women any more terrified of their own body parts.

--ever-shrinking clothing sizes. Alright. I am going to be very honest. I am 5'2" and weigh somewhere between 125 and 128 lbs, depending on how much pie I have eaten recently. I consider myself attractively plump. I am somewhere around a size 7 -- I have some things that are a size 5, some things that are a size 9, but some variation is to be expected. I have a 28" waist. I think I am still a pretty small person. Nonetheless, I am find that when I go shopping, my sizes are some of the biggest sizes that are out on the racks. I can find 000 pants no problem, and the 1s and 3s are aplenty, but where are the pants for me? either in the back (where I was once told in a store that rhymes with Lacobs that's where they kept anything over a 6 because they were "borderline plus sizes"), or absent altogether. I am...unthrilled. Either we as a gender collectively need to eat more starches and things with gooey centers, or all you anorexia-inducing retail bastards are going to feel the wrath of me and my ample booty.

--fake milk products. Sour cream tastes like a soybean fart if it is less than 14%. Low- or Non-fat yogurt may as well be liquified styrofoam. Seriously. The last time I ate some, I could feel it give that unholy styro-squeak between my teeth. Cheese is one of the reasons I came to this planet, dairy clench be damned, and I refuse to see my beloved foodstuffs of milky-cheesy-creamy goodness degraded in suck a fashion. Everything is better with butter, and scones only become heavenly when made with double or heavy cream. Make things that taste better accessible.

--all commercials for the new burger king enormous omelette breakfast sandwich. especially the one, in describing how gigantic it is, ascribes the faux-adjectives "eggnormous; meatnormous; cheesenormous." That's...a lot of normous for breakfast. Also, I have yet to see a BK spell 'omelette' correctly on any of their billboards around town, which makes me want to stab things.

-- lying coffee bastards. There is a certain coffee shop rhyming with Becond Fup, that has advertised on their menu a product called vanilla bean hot chocolate. It is specifically stipulated that this product is flavoured with genuine vanilla bean from madagascar (which I have; it is *fantastic*). However, when my hot chocolate was being made, there was no delicate scrape of vanilla bean added, not a drop of extract. Instead, a generous squirt of vanilla flavoured syrup (which tastes like the morning-after vomit of an unde ripe vanilla bean) was splooged into the bottom of my cup, ruining what was left of my mood.

-- perfume bandits. Personally, I don't understand the whole scenting one's self into unnrecognizeability. I like milk and honey body wash and a spritz of somethign fruity as much as the next girl, but I'd also like to smell like a human being. What I do not understand are those who apply half a friggin bottle of whatever their stink of choice is and then get into cramped social situations, like, say, a crowded bus, and proceed to allow eye-watering fumes of migraine-inducing fug to billow off them. No one needs that much perfume or cologne. I promise you. Put the bottle down. Do not bathe in it. If you keep burning my nostril hair out of my head, I will assign you a smell buddy to check you before you leave the house. If you try and leave smelling like that, you will be tasered.

-- tanorexia. Listen. Fabutan may be a spectacular word, but nobody needs to be that brown. If the cancer doesn't scare you, doesn't the idea of preternatural wrinkles? Tanning is also what is done to hide to turn it into leather, you know. think on that. Even worse, though, are the bad faux-tans. Whether spray-on or slather-on, you end up looking like a carrot. Though I enjoy a good giggle at all the oompa-loompas sashaying about, this is really getting out of hand.

--spray on pantyhose. I hate pantyhose to begin with (I went barelegged at my wedding and once got into a huge fight with a boss over a dress code that made them mandatory), and while this would seem like an alternative...come on. We're spackling out legs. My legs have pores, which I don't think would appreciate being airbrushed. Let sanity win just this once.

That is all...for now. mwa ha.
Natalie Zed updated @ 8:15 p.m.!! 5 comments

Friday, October 14, 2005

In Prof. X's class this week, we discussed the construction of identity through positions and consumption patterns within a capitalist socio-economic context. In other words, how you are the brands you buy. This got me thinking about how our Evil Ant Overlords see me, how the schematic of me looks if it is defined via the money I spend, the stuff I buy all the time. Tjis naturally interesteced with the whole "you are what you eat" idiom, and made me take a close look at things I regularly buy and consume -- in the most literal sense. So here is Natalie Zed Product Placement #1: edible edition.

Tim Horton's Extra Large Steeped Tea and a blueberry muffin or cheese croissant. Provides caffeine and just enough carbs to keep me from getting the shakes when I inevitably forget to eat til late evening.

Noodle Express Special #2. Charred chicken, rice vermicelli, shredded cucumber and carrot, peanuts, fish sauce. It is simple, costs about $4, and gives my tummy joy.

Orange and banana smoothie -- from Jugo Juice or Booster Juice if I can, though Orange Julius will do in a pinch. Bananas go with everything -- especially peanut butter. Mmm. peanut butter.

Kraft Crunky peanut butter. It's not as oily as sugary as most, I find, and therefore more suited to being eaten directly out of the container with a spoon, a finger, or celery sticks.

Coke. So versatile. So caffeinated. So much sugar. For the most part, I've stopped calling it Coke. I just say I am picking up some mix.

Triscuits. I don't snack over much (aside from on The Sabbath. something about video games and D&D makes me want to put salty crunchy things compulsively in my mouth), but when I just need to crunch on something, nothing goes better with apples and cheese than triscuits. Together, they form the Holy Snack Triumvirate.

Yorkshire Gold irish breakfast tea. Yes, more tea. Steeped for more than 45 seconds, this stuff is strong enough to dissovle driveways stains, yet has almost no aftertaste, beign the good stuff. It even keeps me awake sometimes.

English muffins. The perfect vehicle for Craving Sandwiches of all descriptions, they also make scambled eggs edible so long as ketchup and a cheese slice can be procured.

Ichiban ramen noodles. At $.90 a pop, they're a bit upscale for ramen, but their plump noodliness is worth the extra few cents. Never make a student stir-fry without them.

Crispix. The cereal equivalent of triscuits.

Malibu Rum and Canadian Club. I prefer whiskey in the evening, whereas the coconut rum is more suited to Girly Emergency Afternoon drinks.

Michelina's alfredo lasagna with broccoli. The one and only frozen meal I will eat. I keep a few for those moments whe its either eat in five minutes or less, or I start gnawing on my own fingers.

Sour cream and onion pringles. I rarely buy them, because I will eat and entire tube. And I mean that.

Maple Leaf Lazy Maple bacon. whether its for blts or breakfast, I never make less than an entire pack at a time, and somehow there are never leftovers.

Minute Maid pulp free and extra calcium orange juice. Bought for their use as an essential smoothy ingredient, and also because OJ goes so darn well with vodka.

Liberty Mediterranean plain yogurt. The full fat stuff. So thick, so glorious, such an essential additive to so maky baked goods. Same goes for the 14% sour cream.

Sammareli olive oil. It's Good Olive Oil, not Very Good, but reasonable enough to use daily and not have to make e.v.o.o. a separate line on the budget.

Kraft dinner. Yes, I know. It's still damn good. Shut up.

Other than that, It's all fresh stuff, really. Chicken breasts, cheddar cheese, eggs, beef, fruits and veggies, spices -- things which fill the majority of my grocery kart, and are selected purely on the basis of freshness, attrativeness, on-sale-ness, or how well it will bake in a pie. Take heed, Marketing demons. There are huge gaps here you seem to have missed. Keep your betty crocker and duncan hines and peak freens. I'll bake my own.
Natalie Zed updated @ 12:40 p.m.!! 2 comments

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


is a very funny thing.

Last night, I was one of sic graduate students who got the opportunity to go to the WordFeast fudnraising gala at the Palliser. WordFest, a huge literary festival going on in Calgary and Banff this week, had set up this night so that corporate folks could fork over some ridiculous sum to sit at a table with a pair of the writers performing over the weekend, eat some crazy good dinner, and generally hobnob. One very, very kind investment broker decided to donate a whole table to the graduate students at the English department. It was magical.

When Assist, Weaver, K-Foil and I arrived at the Palliser (one of those hotels where the valets wear tophats), we strolled up to the information desk with a great deal of ablomb and confidence (I thought), and asked about the gala. We were eyeballed suspiciously, then suddenly the fellow's face cleared and he said: "Ah, you must be the stuidents to fill the donated table. Right up the elevator, penthouse."

Well, that dashed my notions of my air of sophistication. Ah well. Canoe Lady showed up shortly after we did. We got to meet our kind benefactor, the Arts Director from the Banff Centre, and I got to sip some gin and tonic.

Dinner was amazing. Assist thought the soup was spicy. The beef I had was tender beyond explanation, and the little baby desserts from the Perhaps five was a little much, but they were bite-sized. And contained vanilla bean.

Melanie Little and Susan Duby were the writers at our table, who were lovely and gregarious, and we all seemed to get on famously. Melanie is the markin-Flanagan Writer-in-Residence in out department this year, and it was great to chat with her for a good chunk of the night. I think she was an excellent choice for the positions and seems like a heck of a lot of fun.

Just as we were finsihing dessert, our benefactor returned; apparently he'd heard some of us at the tabel were poets, and so he had a poet at his table he wanted to introduce to us: Dionne Brand. Assist blurted out "Oh, my God!", giving the rest of the table a moment to recovere from our overjoyed stupefaction and introduce ourselves wth some modicum of restraint, then mock Assist for the favour later. She sat at our table for the rest of the dinner, then joined us at this unbelieveably swank resto-bar called Belvedere afterwards. She is wonderful, and talks about books so tenderly, and was immediately open and giving.

It was a lovely experience. There is no way I would have been able to afford it on my own; which is funny, because it wasn't really the place or the food that was truly valuable, but the conversation and the company. I think our sponsor knew that. I think that makes me even more grateful.
Natalie Zed updated @ 10:48 a.m.!! 5 comments

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

the joys of marriage

So I'm in bed with my darling husband last night -- not 'in bed' as is 'rambunctiously cuddling' but merely 'in bed' as 'whew, what a day; let's pretend to be inanimate for 8 hours or so' -- talking about D&D, I think, and how supremely unfair and hilarious it is that I, a halfling mage, seem to also be supplying the role of fighter(I roll 20s; he rolls 3s. Consistently.) when out of the blue, this conversation takes place:

Me: I think the red d20 just hates you.

Ed: I think one of your boobs is bigger than the other.

Me: What?

Ed: Just a little bit.

Me: Most women have one boob a little biger than the other. Is it noticeable?

Ed: Not really; not visibly, anyway, but they feel a bit different.

Me: That's...great.

Ed: (trying to check) Yeah, I think the left one is a bit bigger.

Me: You're so romantic.

Ed. Heh. Your left boob is the runt boob.


Ed: You know. Smallest of the littler, never allowed to play with the bigger, more popular boobs --

Me: ...I have a runt boob.

Ed: Yes.

Me: ...

Ed: It's a cute runt boob!

Me: Shut up, Ed.

I wish I were making this up. I really, really wish that I wasn't just repeating verbatim a conversation I actually had with my husband shortly after midnight on a Tuesday night. I really, really do. Instead, I have been informed I have a Runt Boob. Matrimonial bliss.

Is it possible to be hung over three days after drinking? Sunday night, things got a little silly. I didn't really notice I was getting a wee bit tipsy while I was sitting down, having perfectly lucid (if giggly) conversations and flicking bits of stale nacho at unsuspecting Eds. When we all got up to leave, however, something disturbing happened: apparently, the neurons in charge on running my legs decidedd to take the evening off the leave those motor functions in the hands of a nervous intern who managed to spill coffee on the manual. In other words, I was falling all over myself. Stupid feet and legs. Stupid gravity. I should have been warned the new trainee was someone from the limbic system's idiot nephew. None of my dentrites tell me anything.

Anyway, I woke up Monday feeling fine; Tuesday, overworked but okay; Wednesday...I feel like ass. I feel, specifically, like hungover ass. Three days later. Apparently my digestion has also been left in the hands of FNGs. I think I need to have a work with my H.R. department.

Or stop drinking.


Come, Runt Boob. Let's make ourselves and Afternoon Cocktail to chase the Advil.
Natalie Zed updated @ 4:02 p.m.!! 2 comments

Monday, October 03, 2005

you know what I see outside my window?


I think you can fill in the rest of the rant here yourselves.

As the great d.b. pointed out last night, blogs are meant to be updated now and again. It's been a little crazy around here, but I find myself with a handful of minutes to myself, so it's time again for your regularly scheduled program.

I got to see Susan Holbrook read last week. She was one of my profs back in Windsor, a great source of support, and one of the all-around sweetest people on the face of the earth. She has a baby now, a beautiful little girl with her eyes, and she and Laurie look absolutely radiant in their new mommyhood. Susan read from Good Egg, Bad Seed; she has a rare sense of humour that helps her sweetly, politely steal every show she has ever been a part of. It was great to see her, and made me miss the English department at Windsor a bit. It's a tiny, intimate program filled with spetacular people and, despite the fact that I was SO DONE being an undergraduate by the time I finally finished, I was very happy there.

dANDelion seems to be relatively on scedule, to my great delight. The first major editorial meeting, as well as a scheduling and budgeting meeting with the board, were both rather successful. It's a job capable of eating up huge chunks of my time if I let it, so I thinkI just have to be judicious about exactly how much of my life I am willing to feed the magazine's gaping maw. It's evil, and unexpectedly fun.

Yesterday was a great football day. I missed breakfast and a possible trip to the Farmer's Market to cook Tara, Ed and I breakfast at home and watch a couple of excellent games. Denver neatly routed Jacksonville, and despite the fact that my fantasy teams' performances have been anemic at best, my mental football space is a happy space right now. Afterwards, there was drinking at the KP with friends. Not the most productive day that ever there was, but a very good one.

Now I have to finish preparing for a presentation tomorrow, and bake a bit more, and do an insane amount of grocery shopping with Ed. Sometimes, I think that if I wasn't this busy, I'd be unhappy and probably very fat.
Natalie Zed updated @ 1:23 p.m.!! 2 comments