Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

oh frabjuous day! Calloo, callay!

I just got an email that may make my mood bulletproof. We'll see how it turns out, but *booya.*

Just before Ed and I departed for Windsor, my ipod (my beautiful, glorious little ipod, whom I named Zaphod) stopped working. Just refused to play one morning after a generous wall-charge. No little icon of death. Occaisionally, a little batter light would flicker. After a while, nada. Wasn't even recognized by my pc when I usb'ed it.

The Apple service agreement scared me at first -- if they think nothing wrong with your 'pod, they'll sned it back and charge you $100. That, and several other clauses involving mentrual blood and the eyes of Apple's enemies put me off some. But after a day with no working ipod, I cracked and sent it in. Life isn't the same without a customized soundtrack. That, and the creepies on the bus are less liable to strike up disturbing conversations with you when you have little white buds in your ears.

Last night, I checked my account and my ipod had finally arrived at the service center in Ontario somewhere. I was happy it got through the mail, and hoped it arrived before I had to climb back on a plane to spend more valuable vacation time in Windsor.

This morning, 12 hours after I got my last email, I recieve another: they're replacing my ipod in its entirety. And the replacement has already been sent. I should have it before the end of the week. The little dance I did in my chair was truly humiliating, had anyone but the cats seen it.

This may seem like a dull topic for a whole entry, but its oming up on 2 weeks now I've been podless, and I ahve felt the loss. It's amazing how far you can retreat into your own brain when all you can hear is music. I long for bus rides to be brief holes of peace and imaginitive independance again, rather that bumpy ordeals. I want to *want* to go to the gym again, so I can plug myself in and bike effortlessly, lost in my workout soundtrack.

I am such a consumer whore.
Natalie Zed updated @ 10:26 AM!! 1 comments

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I'm super, thanks for asking

I have a theory. about superheroes. I know. But, really, what did you expect?

I think everyone is actually a superhero. Not in the DarkWing Duck, planet-of-the-superheroes kind of way where eveyone on earth has to save the one normal guy. I think everyone is a superhero in some minor way, that their skills (mutation or alien or radiation or whatever) manifest in ordinary, helpful ways that don't seem spectacular but nonetheless set people apart from their fellow supers.

Here are my super powers:

1. I can make good pastry dough every time I try. Every cook book I look in, when is comes to making pastry, goes trhouigh pages of reassurances and careful, meticulous instructions, then then lists a bajillion remedies for how to correct minor disasters when your pastry, inevitably it seems, splits or disintegrates or otherwise fails. It seems to be this mysterious, esoteric baking thing somehwat akin to alchemy. I have neverm ever had a patry or crust fail. I've been able to do this since I was about eight -- when I first started cooking on my own a little. Sometimes, I don't even shill my crust, or use very cold water (cool, sure, but not ice) -- and it works.

2. I have a superhuman sense of smell. Quite possibly the most useless sense to have magnified, and makes me clean my little apartment obsessively, as the slightest whiff of something will drive me nuts if I don't sanitize it into oblivion. I can tell how people are feeling, what they've eaten recently, what their emotional state is, and likely what soap, laundry detergent, and fabric softener they use as soon as I'm within a few feet. Perfume and heavy air fresheners are the bane of my existence -- you may as well shove a flame thrower up my nose. Polluted air is an agony. But I may have saved lives -- I will actually clean out other people's refridgerators as soon as I detect something horribly, horribly wrong.

3. I am lucky. Tara affectionately tells me I have a golden horseshoe up my ass. I win on scratch lottery tickets and slot machines, the pull tab tickets at safeway and door prize draws. Cars miss by inches; big creepy men lurking in alleys change their mind; I am in the right place at the right time by listening to the right impusle or sheer coincidence. It has kept me alive, and made me relatively comfortable indifficult times. It makes me a little -- not cocky, but just sure everything will work out. Like moving out here penniless. I'd find money somewhere -- and I did. I don't worry very much. Things will turn out all right.

What are your super powers?
Natalie Zed updated @ 1:30 PM!! 3 comments

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

life and times

...which I am seriously behind on.

so, ladies and gents, it's time for another summary! The Cheat, turn on those shnazzy bullet points. Oh Yeah. Pointy goodness.

-The reading with Stephen Cain was a great deal of fun and seemed to go over very well. The exhibit in TNG made the reading feel a thought it was taking place in The Fish Matrix. Fiddy came up to me afterwards, while everyone was milling about, and said "You read very well. Write something new." We ended up at the Drm&Monkey for a while, where Paul and Prof. X got into a fierce head-to-head battle to claim the highscore in Galaga. It warmed my heart.

- My presentation (on Stephen Cain's book, delivered while said Stephen Cain was sitting right next to me) went very well. I confirmed that my ability to crack wise is in no way encumbered by the fact the object of my dubious attentions is sitting in the chair next to me.

- I think I am getting close to being able to sleep with my eyes open.

- The colloquia was a lot of fun, an excuse to bake, and everyone read beautifully. I chose people I ahve not heard read often enough, and I think that was a good choice -- it seems I am not the only one that wanted Sharanpal, Nathan, Jay and Kathryn yo get some more air time. The chapbook I made was outwardly loverly, but the folks at The-Place-Of-Binding-and-Copying-That-Shall-Remain-Unnamed screwed up the final section. Gah. Time for a Limited Edition Reprint, I think. Maybe Ed will buy me a laser printer for Christmas.

- The trip to Windsor was a blast, but exhausting. Ed's mom looked better that I thought she would, seems on the mend, but is clearly still very tired and healing, and need to rest much more. His dad is great, gathered me into this huge bear hug and grins when I teaste Ed. My parents seem to be doing very well (though I really wish my dad would GO TO THE DOCTOR when he's been bothered by something FOR MONTHS but he WON'T because he is STUBBORN.), my brother looks great (and somewhere along the way became hysterically funny. Anyone else have this experience, where you've always had a younger sibling that you knew was pretty cool, but then you haven't seen them for a little while and you realise this kid is *hilarious* and are very glad you don't drive because you're laughing so hard you cna't see). Everyone exclaimed over my hair (I was told, variously, that I look younger, older, like a dutch girl, like a boy, and shorter). My mom is the best cook in the world. We saw Beauty and the Beast (the musical), which was *awesome* and very special because we're very close to most of the cast adn all the leads (you guys did an amazing job. you're beautiful). We got to drop by an after party and go for latenight Harvey's drivethrough and see the Goblet fo Fire (it's awesome). We saw Red and Jen Small and the Bacarros, and it was really winderful. The flights were uneventful and almost pleasant. We somehow needed an edxtra suitcase for stuff after being there only 3 days. I love dollarama. Ed has new jeans. Only 3 more weeks until we're back, and after this little jaunt, I am really missing everyone again and looking forward to seeing everyone as soon as we can.

-We made the downpayment on out Thailand trip. 8 more months to go. I am aglow.

-The magazine launch planning is going extremely well.

-I can't wait to collapse.

This concludes today's performance of Bullet Point Theatre.
Natalie Zed updated @ 10:56 AM!! 3 comments

Thursday, November 10, 2005

the girl with kaleidoscope eyes

I won a kaleidodcope award! Because Prof. X is awesome, he nominated me for one and the literary gods decided to smile on me once again. I feel like a great comforting, cash-laden hand just reached down to relieve all my anxiety about Christmas presents. Thanks a million, Prof. X. Being your humble office slave definitely has its advantages. I shall photocopy with extra diligence this week. =)

The new hair, I must say, is pretty damn nice. I again explained to the stylist that I wanted married grad student hair, and am pleased with the result. She used a straight razor to cut most of it, for a 'softer effect,' which I may have made a difference but mostly looked really cool while it was happening. My neck feels kind of naked, and it is just short enough that putting it up is a bit awkward. Being encouraged to wear my hair down is a good thing. I think I look a little like a '50s era housewife, but with a 'tude and a penchant for gadgetry.

Ed very kindly kept the cats away from me this morning, so though I didn't wake up surrounded by purring feline love, I was able to sleep until 9am. It was glorious. It was almost nine hours. I feel like swaning around in a bathrobe to celebrate the luxury of it.

Instead, I work. For the time is nigh for me and my army of Undead Carrots to conquor the world!
Natalie Zed updated @ 11:51 AM!! 6 comments

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Creamy Cheesy Cheesy Cream

Best new website dicovery ever: The Springbank Cheese Company. I know what my folks are getting for christmas. Forget flowers, folks: cheese is the way to go.

In case you can't tell, my breakfast consisted of toast, a green apple, and some slivers of the best Lancashire I have ever had in my life. My morning improved dramatically at breakfast.

Which was good, because the first part of it was kind of suck. I shut my cats out of the bedroom at about 5am because they were jumping on my face. I pulled the door shut, heard it click. Minutes later, they were back in the room. Do my cats have hands, like that creepy online video? secret hands they only use to open the bedroo door? I better keep them well fed or they'll steal my tongue.

Whe I did get up around 7:30, I found that the cats had knocked over the flowers some time ago. The flower water saoked my little handwritten recipe book, pooled under my mixer, and saturated some mail I hadn't had a chance to open. I hope my credit card company didn't have anything pressing to say to me. The floweres had been out of water long enough that there was little hope for them, so I reluctantly threw them away. They were 8 days old, and would have made it to the end of the week at least (these had a fragile constitution, but I do flower voodoo. Plants live for me.) But a couple of hours and some chewing has decimated them. Goodbye, gerberas, I hardly knew ye.

Also, festering in the sink, is one of the most hideous piles of dishes ever. EV-AR. I would be passive-aggressive and leave them for the dish fairy to do, eventually, but the smell has driven me completely from the apartment into the office down the hall. I can't hide in here forever, but the prospect of tackling them is also making me queasy. Dishes and cramps to not a happy me make.

So...I am getting a haircut! Swizzle Sticks in Kensington, into which I have often looked longingly but never gone in, had an opening this morning...immediately filled by me. Muwahaha. I think I am going for the Young, Sexy Martha Stewart look again, perhaps with a slightly punky edge. Does that even vaguely work? eh. We'll see. If it really goes badly, I can always just dye it blue.
Natalie Zed updated @ 11:31 AM!! 3 comments

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Grilled fennel may be my new favourite cooked vegetable. The licorice flavour really mellows out under the broiler and it gets all tender and bitey and perfect. Ed wrinkled his nose after he tried a bite, though, so I think it'll have to be one of those rare selfish-meal things life seafood. Ed thinks cooked vegetables are an abomination. I am trying to convince him otherwise (they're sweeter! they carmelize!), but it seems that his veggie consumption will forever be limited to stir frys, carrot sticks, and those amazing caulifour that derek made for thanksgiving (you ahve no idea the housewife envy that surged through me when Ed annouced they were the best cooked veggies he'd ever eaten. Envy!)

Amy came over to watch Monday night football last night, which was terrific fun. It's always nice to have another voice to scream at the tv. I really, really want Indy to take the championship this year. Peyton is my boy. He deserves a ring. I mean, if Denver were to go all the way, though, I would hardly complain. So long as Plummer never, ever gorws his Sex Offender Moustache again. That thing gives me the jibblies.

My fridge is looking a little...barren. I did a cursory tour last night, and threw out a few things that lingered past their best before dates, and found myself looking at a lot of empty. I like grocery shopping -- wandering the aisles, I start planning future meals and getting all excited about what to do with my beautiful new produce -- but getting gorceries home is a pain in the ass. Being one of the Poor and Carless, grocery shopping means taking the bus with a zillion bags of groceries, trying to protect my fragile foodstuffs from rowdy teenagers, and feeling my arms pop out of my shoulders, stretching like cartoon limbs, while I try to drag eveything home. I need a cart. Or a little red kiddy wagon. That'd be fantastic. I'd paint flames on the side and call it the Grocery Express. Roll like the wind, grocery express!
Natalie Zed updated @ 2:06 PM!! 1 comments

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Things I Learned Saturday Night:

- when everything is stlightly fuzzy, it's a good buzz. When a few things come suddenly into terrifying focus, and the rest of the room begins to melt, its gone bad.
- there are some neat white wines coming out of France right now, and some of the basics on how to serlect a good scotch and armangac
- I can no longer put my foot behnd my head
- gin and tonic + jaggermeister + sambuca + jack daniels = bad.
- belgian endive stuffed with blue cheese and apple is delicious
- less so on the encore
-when you get sick, people are either extremely nice to you or transform into sadictic, foot grabbing bastards.
- I can still cook bacon and some killer scrambled eggs the morning after without getting ill.
- hiding your alcohol under pizza boxes ensures it doesn't get stolen when drunks start to scavenge

Questions I Still Have After Saturday Night:

- where did my socks go?
- why is my foot sticky?
- why was my right incisor chipped?
- why is there a temporary tatoo of a skull and crossbones of my left breast?
- Why were there little burn marks on my fingertips? and suspiciously burnt out sparklers strewn about?
- why is Ed wearing an eyepatch?
- Is that ketchup? I really hope its ketchup. oh dear.

Happy Birthdays to Paul and Chris Ewart. I celebrate to excess in your honour.

And an extra special happy birthday to my Dad. Go Dad!
Natalie Zed updated @ 11:55 PM!! 2 comments

Thursday, November 03, 2005

letters from the disgruntled editor

Dear Crazy-Like-A-Bull-Guy at Brentwood Station,

It's not that I don't sympathize. I have lost count of the number of times I've been on that damn pedestrian bridge with 500 lbs. of groceries in my arms and by damn bus pulls up early. Do you try to hurry? If it waits the time it is supposed to, you'll make it with time to spare; if you have a bus drivewr who hates you (as most are wont to do) then that bus'll be there just long enough for you to get within spitting distance of the rear fender before it lazily pulls away while you curse, wave your arms, and scream "Noooooooo!" at the heavens while shaking your fist most cheesily than Darth is Episode 3. I know it sucks. Especially when it is raining.

I understand that you gave in to the impulse to run and catch the bus at the station. I understand that running full throttle was a viable option, as 5 bags of groceries and a case of Coke, which you tucked under an arm like a football, was a mere pittance on your broad an generous frame and not the burden my groceries were to me. I even get the fact that sometimes, running, we lose track of how wide our elbows swing out, and how much momentum we have (case of coke tucked up in there with more protection that I've seen balls get at a superbopwl. I mention this again because said case under said elbow acted much like a battering ram in the next paragraph).

So you bumped into me. I get that. I happens. Well, not really bumped, more like slammed. Where our ideas diverge from each other in terms of what is an acceptable accident in in the fact that when your beefy arm hit my shoulder, sending me, my groceries, and my ipod flying in different directions, you didn't even bother to acknowledge the faux pas. You left casualties in your wake -- namely, smooshed bread, a chipped ipod case, and a bruise of my hip the size of Texas -- so some kind of apology would have been nice. A simple look over your shoulder with grimace and hollered "sorry!" would even have been nice; I have ceased to hope for the sort of gallantry that would have had you actually stop to help me up and offer an apology, because, hell, your bus was at the station and as we all know THAT BUS MAY NEVER COME AGAIN.

oh, wait. It comes every fifteen minutes. Dumbass.

hoping you choke on a loaf of unsquished bread,

Natalie Zed


Dear Subway sandwich stores, particularly the one in the student centre right next to the arcade,

What is God's name is that SMELL?!

I mean, honestly, despite the puny grams of fat and Jerad and all that, you're still a fast food chain. I understand there should be some funk -- usually something greasy that is divinely enticing when you're really hungry and suddenly repulsive when you're not. But this -- I don't even know how to describe. It's like ass, after a brisk am jog, stuffed with rotting lettuce and bad fake cheese. But there's something else. Something more industrial. Melting plastic? Is it the barest hint of sulpher? Or the collectiver smell from the slimy, gelatinous preserving agen found on lunchmeat slices? I cannot say.

Whatever it may be, you need to fix it. Not only can I not enter a Subway, but I need to mouthbreathe whenever I am in the vicinity. Your meatball sandwiches are darn tasty, and I'd probably buy them regularly, if I could stand entering your building. Either change your name to Fukwiches, or invest is some deodorant for your stores. Scented candles, perhaps. Glade plugins. Hosing the place down with a swill of Dawn, Rite Guard and hot water through a water cannon. Something.

Thanks for making my olfactory nerves try to reach up and strangles my brain,

Nat Zed


Dear Hewlett-Packard

Make printers that work. I have had to change the name of my 1210 All-in-One from Thomases the Reticent to You Really Want to be Chucked Out Window, Don't You? It's less than 2 years old and I have never been mean to it. The hell.

fleeing to the competition,

Natty Zee

Dear Guy at Tim Horton's Wearing a Carebears Button and 8 Poppies,

I see that you hate your job. I worked, part and full time, in the service industries for years, as students are wont to spend their time in financial purgatory. I understand and, again, sympathize.

I am going to, however, send my drink back when I asked for a steeped tea and get coffee. I am also going to send it back a second time when you put cream in the tea instead if milk (though you put milk in the coffee...). My order is not complicated ot onerous, does not involve extra flavour shots or soy or the creation of foam or the addition of cinnamon sprinkles. I just want tea with a little milk and sugar.

Also, I can hear you mutter about me to your coworker -- I am three feet away from you. Said muttering makes me even less sympathetic when you infuse your voice with a whiny, verge-of-faux-tears catch when you insist the second drink wha exactly what I wanted because your supervisor wandered by between smoke breaks.

Finally, when I pay for a croissant, I expect to actually recieve said croissant, and threatening to go back through the electronic order log to prove me false is not going to deter me. And, perhaps it is completely evil of me, but when you sulkily get my croissant, humbled by the log you thought was on your side, I will ask, as sweetly as I am able and with my most saccharine smile, if you could warm it up for me.

using her powers for awesome more than for good,

Natalie Zed

ps. muaha.
Natalie Zed updated @ 10:19 AM!! 3 comments

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

tastes like...burning

I just finished my first doctoral sshrc application. I have absolutely no idea how I feel about it. I've been working on it anf fretting about it for weeks now, and to finally drop that neat stack of meticulously organzied and paperclipped pages into someone else's hands feels...wierd. I woke up this morning thinking I still had to work on it, just change that one -- oh. it's gone. Hmm. I suppose I'll try to make peanut brittle instead.

It's by dad's birthday. He loves peanut brittle. Loves. So I tried to make it. The first attempt was a complete disaster. I am still having flashbacks about the blackened sugar. This time, I think I took the sugar off to early, out of fear of burning it again, because it hasn't colled to completely solid...more a vaguely coagulated stickiness. I stuck it in the oven for as long as I dared to see if I could bake any more moisture out of it. If that doesn't work...hmm. Maybe I could send them as candied peanuts. They still smell lovely. Yeah. And, you know, promise to take him out to dinner as soon as we're all in the same province.

Once all Kitchen Emergencies are accounted for, today shall be my Day of Organization. My home office looks like the nest of a small mammal, if said mammal has a particular penchant for academic articles. I've been gathering things for professor X for a couple of weeks now, but havn't had a chance to coallate, organize, or otherwise prod the material into any order recognizeable to anyone but me. Hence, today, I staple, smooth, make notes, and formulate gorgeous bibliographies, caressing my MLA handbook like gollum caressed the ring. Mmmm. citation-y goodness.

hmm. black smoke. let me go check on that.


crap.
Natalie Zed updated @ 10:59 AM!! 1 comments