Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Walschots Invasion: Phase 1

This morning, Ed and I woke up at 4:45am (Horror!) to find my mom bustling about in the kitchen. We've woken up every morning to the same phenomenon -- well, the bustling was the same anyway, though sometimes it was in the garden rather than the kitchen -- and the painful earliness of the hour did nothing to dispell her energy. We brushed our teeth and bundled into the car to take her to the airport. Ad I write this at 4pm, my mom should just be arriving, finally, at home in Aherstburg, after a flight that inclides a layover in Winnipeg and a 2-hour drive from the airport to the small town where my parents live. I am awaiting her phonecall both to hear that the trip went well, and also just to hear her voice. It's been awfully quiet around here today.

Just over a week ago, we were at the airport for the first time, waiting at the arrivals gate along with a gaggle of teenagers (some highschool exchange students were coming home), waiting for my mom to wander through the gates. She is easy to spot: her stride is that on someone who is constantly, comfortably busy. She has a round face that is meant for smiling and long brown hair, streaked grey at the sides in a very cool retro way, that is always pulled back into a clip and embellished with a huge bow (my grandfather once observed that is looked like she brought her own pillow with her). She did a little hop of joy when she saw me and we ran forward to hug. She held the huge carryon bag she was clutching out to one side so as not to squish the whole large pizza and 100 homemade perogies she had brought with her. Non only did I have my mom, I was in carb nirvana.

Thus, our adventure began.

The next day, we drove Ed to work; then, my darling wonderful husband turned over the car to my mother and I. We attacked Ikea and Costco, the Superstore and various other meccas of consumer civilization to price out and buy things for my brother (who is moving to the city in..crap, on Saturday). Meatloaves and a custard pie and even some apple cake was cooked.
and that was the FIRST DAY.

Thursday was the Poetry Orgy at the Triangle Gallery hosted by Laurie Fuhr(more pictures of this in another entry), and that meant my mom got to see me perform for the very first time. She also got to see Mark Hopkins, Colin Martin, Yvonne Werkmann, ryan fitzpatrick, Ian Kinney and Kirt Ramdath. I think every single reader mentioned cocks. at least ryan apogogized for the presence of cocks is his reading, what with my mother in the room. I, of course, am little better, as I did perform some pieces about my uncontrollable passion for Dr. Doom and brilliant, disfigured masked men in general. My mom took it all in stride, and even went out with Ed, ryan, derek, Prof. X and I for a few drinks at the Bear&Kilt. Prof X bought her a couple glasses of port and a great time was had by all.

You might notice how cute I look up there, reading away. Thta is because my mom got me what is possibly the cutest outfit even designed by man. with shoes. excellent, burgundy shoes. SHOES LIKE GROWN-UPS WEAR.

Friday, Ed cashed in some of his lieu time and we took a day trip to Banff. We wandered around town, got my dad some licorice and found me some whatchamacallits, and after a lovely picnic lunch took a multi-hour walk in Johnston Canyon. It was a perfect, cool, stunningly beautiful day. We were accosted by chipmunks, followed by a raven, and were shown the most spectacula spray-and-light show by the falls themselves. I think nature was showing of because Margaret Walschots was in town.

The rest of my mom's visit was a bit less formal --Ed and I went out for Jane's birthday and to finally get a session in on our D&D campaign. Our mom had brought our SNES with her ( Mike has been keeping it) and the music alone was enough to transport me back to being nine and cheering my brother on while he mastered fatalities and found the Master Sword. We cooked together several times, something that made me feel more peaceful and at home (in my own home) than I ahve in a very long time. We did some shopping and watched the food network. We turned the negleted pot outside into a herb garden. It was so cofortable to ahve her around it almost didn't feel like having a houseguest.

It was also very humbling, in an odd way, to have my mom around. The woman has more energy than I can imagine, and I don't imagine most people would label me low energy to begin with. She did bunch of puttering around outseide, cleaning up the frint garden beautifully, before Ed and I were even awake in the morning. All my too-long pants are hemmed. A few mysterious stains on the carpet have vanished. She even washed the washing machine. She WASHED the INSIDE of the WASHING MACHINE. SHE WASHED A MACHINE THAT IS IN FACT DESIGNED FOR WASHING. I think her activity level made Ed nervous. It was a ride to even try and keep pace with her.

And she is so proud of me, of the way we've decorated the little apartment, about how neatly (ala-retentively) I arrange all my spices and dry goods in the cabinets, about all the chapbooks and issues of magazines I have to give her that has a few words I have written in them. She has always called me her midget daughter, the littlest girl. She said she was so proud of me for being so small and doing so much, even putting my own furniture together.

I am left today with an apartment that feels quieter, emptier, less bustling. I also have a love note on the door and a fridge full of yummy things and laundry folded even neater than I manage. Ontario suddenly seems even further away.

Natalie Zed updated @ 6:10 p.m.!! 3 comments

Monday, May 15, 2006

let's launch the SHIT out of it

Tired, store, and still vaguely pink, I am here Monday morning to declare the launch a mighty success. Between the fabulous entertainment, real actual food, and crantinis (masterfully shaken, not stirred, by Colin Martin and Jordan Nail), we put on one hell of a party. Donato Mancini flew in rom Vancouver to read from his book Ligatures (NeWest, 2005). The largest piece he read, the "Ligatures" section in the book of the same name, was extremely interesting to hear -- I'd read it multiple times before, and had decided it is definitely a piece served well by performace.
The Jagatha Christies, Sandy Lam and ryan fitzpatrick, entertained a screaming, rock-oxen-throwing crowd with a combination of original numbers and cover. Check them out on their website and buy their CD. Ed and I are thanked in the liner notes. Also, the songs on it are pretty good too. I do declare the Jagatha Christies need to perform IN PUBLIC more often. Special thanks to ryan, who rocked through a terrible injury sustained when his Attack Guitar Case mistook him for a turncoat bassist. We wish him a speedy recovery and a successful reconstructive surgery.

Neil Scott wowed the crowed, reading from his forthcoming novel (New Star, 2007), Wonderfull, which he describes frequently as an autobiogrpahy full of lies. His reading was marked by the particular, swollen quiet of people listening to a good story very carefully. When his reading ended, the audience applauded frantically, as though their adulation could convince his to read just a little longer, just as it has revived tinkerbell. Ed, who manned the merch table, reported later that he repeatedly disappointed people by having to tell them he didn't ahve a copy of Neil's book for sale and that they'd have to wait til it was actually printed. There's a book launch I wouldn't miss for the world.

After all the splendiferous entertainment, dj Ben Sargent got everyone who felt they could sacrifice the dignity up and dancing. Unless it is swing, my dancing makes me look like an epileptic ostrich. I hope you were all amused.

The party finally began to wind down around 1am. Thank you to everyone who bought issues and subscriptions and chapbooks and the CD. You're supporting some great artists and wonderful people who deserve the cash and the recognition. Special thanks to everyone who drank heavily -- there was remarkably little alcohol to pack up at the end of the night. My feeble lats and delts, and Jordan's chassis, thank you.

Thank you everyone for coming and making this launch worth months of planning and oodles of hard work by the collective, the board, and all the incredible volunteers. Sometimes your sheer awesomeness overwhelms me.


The afternoon before the launch, the infinitely generous Jeremy drove me to pick up Donato at the airport. Donato and I then spent a couple of hours wandering around the city, visiting galleries, poking around interesting little stores and studios. While I was working very hard to exude a force-field of Zen energy, my stomach felt like a brillo pad of pure stress. I wanted, so bad, for everything to turn out well (and it did).

Despite being in this very tense and scratchy place, when the subject of community came up, I couldn't help becoming animated. I couldb't help telling hom what a supportive, brilliant, vibrant community this was, and how lucky I felt to be a part of it.

The next day, just before he got back on the plane, Donato thanked me for the invitation -- and said I had been absolutely right. We have something very special here.

Thank you, literary/art community of Calgary. You're all, together and individually, a treasure. There is nowhere I would rather be than here.
Natalie Zed updated @ 12:20 p.m.!! 5 comments

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Natalie and the Spider take on E3

I stumbled into the bathroom yesterday morning, bleary-eyed, and took off my glasses in preparation for a shower. I love my orange bathroom; I love my double hot water tanks; I love hiding behind my Ikea shower curtain for a few blissful minutes of non-though in the early morning. I turned on the water, stepped in, and prodded with my toe what I thought was a lump of lint or fuzz one of the cats had brought into the tub. The lump of fuzz then scuttled.

I shrieked, leapt out of the tub, and stood, wet, in my living room, shaking. I called Ed at work, then hung up. What was he going to do, come home ten minutes into his day to get rid of the spider? I dried off, paced, bit my nails.

I peeped back in the bathroom. Still there. Every time it moved I would jump back and do a dance of disgust, like it was about to leap out at me. I tried making fun of myself. Still had the jibblies.

Finally, I poured water on it until it balled up and went down the drain. Then I ran water, full blast, for a good 20 minutes. It could be clinging inside the pipe. I then had the most unrelaxing shower of my life, standing as far away from the drain as I could and examining every fold in my bath puff for other spiders before I could use it.

I think I have a phobia. I don't have time for a phobia. I just really, really wish spider would stop MOVING in that WAY. It is DISTURBING.


Anyway. The launch is going well. Stressful, so much to do, but everything is well. Really well. It is going to be an awesome party, excellent performances, good snacks and drink and company. BE THERE THIS FRIDAY, MAY 12th. Art Gallery of Calgary. 6pm. Jagatha Christies, Donato Mancini, Neil Scott, DJ. Hells Yes.

In other news, Sony's showing at E3 is abysmal -- their system is overpriced and the technology seems thrown together, and they have not a single game for the PS3 I am even vaguely interested in (though, like Katamari Damacy, I COVET Loco Roco for the PSP). They are going to get creamed in this console war. Nintendo, by contrast, looks even better than I had hoped. Dorky name or not, I am getting a Wii at the earliest possible opportunity. Miyamoto playing tennis? Awesome. Able to steer and swing a sword and shoot a gun? Amazing. Hand it over. I want to play.

The Xbox continues to do its thing -- very pretty, lots of peripherals, Xbox Live doing well -- it's just not exactly my thing. I don't really need pretty. I want FUN. I am not into FPSs, But I want to play that new WarioWare: Smooth Moves game so bad my organs of goofiness ache with longing. Guys is armour shooting energy weapons at robots and monsters again pretty backgrounds I have seen and done before and also the summary of EVERY NEW GAME FOR THE XBOX. Seriously. Sony disappointed me. MS has left me satisfied but unmoved. Nintendo as made me squee in shameless, fangirl glee.

Ed and I have also preordered 2 DSLites and The New Super Mario Brothers. Last night, we had tea while watching live E3 coverage on TechTV, and longed together for our Lites, and for Will Wright's game spore, and the ability to pictochat with each other -- oh the penises we will send back and forth. And it was at that moment I realized, again, that we are perfect for each other.
Natalie Zed updated @ 11:00 a.m.!! 2 comments

Monday, May 08, 2006


It's cherry blossom season and suddenly I can breathe again. Minus one lung colony of spiders adn I feel light enough to pop.

I have come up with a fabulous new weightloss plan: Pertussis! Mucous makes you forget pasta and bacon. None of my pants fit.

The jasmine I though had died last year burst into an incredible yellow spray this weekend. Every heavy bumblebee in Alberta came to visit. I wish we had butterflies here, more that the frail white cabbage butterflies and moths my cats pat to death. I wish we had swallowtails, like in Ontario. And a.rawlings, like in Ontario.

I never want to miss anything again.

Chris Ewart is off on the last leg of his book tour for Miss Lamp. We have so much fun whenever he and Sandy are in our living room. Wine and Mario Kart.

The amount of money I am going to be throwing at Nintendo in the next calendar year is alarming. Ed and I have offically pre-ordered. We considerd...importing. I feel like I've moved up a level, to greenbelt geek. Oh, to be at E3. My soft nerd places yearn for it.

My tulips close daintily at night. This morning they loll open shamelessly. It's finally sunny again.
Natalie Zed updated @ 10:34 a.m.!! 1 comments

Monday, May 01, 2006

she's bitching again, she must be fine.

This is the first morning I feel geuinely, truely better. I can move without a warning tension in my chest, and breathing is only a little uncomfortable instead of unbearable. I have never taken any medication so diligently as the beautiful yellow and blue caplets that are clearing my lungs. I ahve never been so thankful for the inhabitants of my chest cavity, never so appreciative of the job they do. I wish I could give my lungs a raise. They're a real asset.

I drank half of a bottle of red wine last night which watching Joel Schumacher's The Phantom of the Opera. It didn't make it any better. I hate that movie, because I wanted to love it so very badly and it would not let me. Visually, the film is stunning. The art direction is spot on. Miranda Richardson and Minnie Driver both rock the house, the little they're given with which to rock. But watching the leads is like watching cardboard cutouts wander around the stage. Gerard Butler, do something with your body. Emmy Rosum, you are a beautiful girl and yes you can hit the notes, but your entire performance is based on that one horrible face that Sarah Brightman makes and you look no less catatonic and bovine than she did so MAYBE YOU SHOULD CONSIDER BASING YOUR PERFORMANCE ON SOMETHING OTHER THAN AN EXPRESSION THAT HAS BEEN MOCKED UNMERCIFULLY FOR TWO DECADES.

and I am not even going to talk about Raoul's pants because he clearly stole them from David Bowie and I DON'T NEED TO SEE THAT.

Anyway. My eyelids hurt this morning from the amount of red wine I had to drink to watch that movie again. I hope my eyelashes don't fall out. I don't have many to spare.
Natalie Zed updated @ 10:42 a.m.!! 0 comments