Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Sunday, April 29, 2007

back in the saddle

I just got back in to Cowtown after spending 5 days in Vancouver visiting Neil. I had an awesome time. It rained every single second I was in the city until it was time to leave. Then just as the cab pulled up to take us to the airport, the sun emerged. Suddenly the city was all golden and green and twinkly and Neil was very put out. Rain or no rain, it was good to see flowers again.

I may have mentioned in the first paragraph that I had an awesome time. It deserves mentioning. We took long walks and visited Neil's inukshuk. Everything was in bloom and the trees were dripping pink petals. Everything was pink.

We watched Grindhouse and The Namesake and The Lost Room and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Oh, and Underworld 2: Evolutions. I drank.

We went out for breakfast almost every day and Neil always got eggs benedict. We eventually had a little map of the restaurants near his place ranked in order of the quality of their eggs benny. We went out for Thai and Lebanese and Sushi. We sang karaoke with HatGirl and Folky and Fuckstick (who gets his own entry), where Neil did his Louis Armstrong and I did Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and we critiques the increasingly bizarre karaoke videos. We went to Ganville Island market and I didn't want to leave.

The last night I was there I made dinner: fresh pasta with bay scallops and broccolini in a really simple garlic and olive oil sauce. Just as we were sitting down to eat, the sun was setting. The clouds had finally broken and everything was orange and pink as the last of the light dribbled over the mountains.

On the place ride home Neil and I sat behind a little girl who couldn't have been two. Neil made faces at her and she tried to grab his fingers between the seats. She thought I was completely ridiculous and reached out to touch my hair and take off my glasses. The fact that I was alive amused her. Then I got off the plane an walked through the automatic doors and Ed laughed when he saw me. I think the fact that I am alive amuses him too.

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Natalie Zed updated @ 11:13 a.m.!! 0 comments

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I'd like to introduce the newest member of the family

This is such a surprise.

A little while ago, Ed and I had talked about adding to our family, but we ultimately decided against it at the time. Our reasons were mostly financial. While it was certainly an investment in the future, we couldn't really justify the expense right then. We decided to wait til we were a little more financially stable. I knew it was the right decision, but I'd be lying if I said part of my wasn't disappointed.

Then I got the news about the book, and it looks like I'll be defending before the first day of summer. Things started to fall into place in our lives. Ed consulted with some dear friends, and decided that it was the perfect time to surprise me and take the plunge.

The newest member of our family weighs 7 lbs., and is a substantial 10" across. Its colouring looks just like its sisters'.

Introducing: Henrietta

She's a Le Creuset grill pan, and she's all ours. She's already done her first chicken breasts and some souvlaki pork. She's so smart, just like her daddy.

Look how shiny and sturdy she is! She's sure going to be a heartbreaker.

Here she's already managed to get all messy playing with the chicken. Such a little dickens. It's nothing a hot soapy bath won't fix.

I'm such a spastic new parent, but I'm just so enamoured with her. Martha the Food Processor and Ulrike the Mixer have taken to her well, but I think the frying pans are a bit jealous. They don't have the same enamel as she does. I expect a little sibling rivalry, and I'll have to make sure they don't feel too neglected. but right now I think the most important thing is for Henrietta and I to bond, laying the groundwork for a beautiful lifelong relationship.


Natalie Zed updated @ 10:05 a.m.!! 6 comments

Monday, April 16, 2007

It was only a matter of time until I got grumpy again

Dear Fashion Industry,

I think we should see other people.

I know you might take this poorly, but we haven't seen eye to eye in a long time. How long has it been since we really spent any time together? Shared a common interest? I think that time apart will really help us both gain perspective on the situation, and, really, I just don't think you're good for me.

First of all, you never think about my needs. I mean, half-pants? Pants that end right at the knee? Pants that end at the knee, CLING to the knee, then PUFF OUT like a PANTALOON?! I am a short girl and I weigh more than 80 pounds. Clearly you're just thinking about yourself and never considering that I might want to look something other than stumpy and fat.

Also, you really don't know anything about me. Your colour choice for this spring is clear evidence of the fact that we just don't connect. Pale, anemic yellow? I look like I have comsumption in that colour, and it's EVERYWHERE. You clearly haven' considered my feelings at all, and I am tired of trying to have faith. Next season will be better, I think, and it's only getting worse.

Finally -- and I don't even want to bring it up, but I feel I must -- the footwear fiasco. I know we've agreed to disagree on this matter for a long time, but I can't just let it go anymore. HEELS AND JEANS!? I've suffered enough jeans trying to avoid wearing heels with formal wear, but now you've mated them with casual wear? That's low. Also, the slouchy-boot-with-heel, it -- You know, I can't even talk about it any more.

We need some time apart. It's for the best. You need someone younger and thinner and more impressionable than me, and I need to wear burgundy hiking boots. Maybe one day we can be friends, but for now, let's make it a clean break.

take care,



Natalie Zed updated @ 11:00 a.m.!! 1 comments

50 things

I got this from Genevieve Gorski. What the hell.

1. Height?
5'2". I am the shortest person in my family.

2. Have you ever smoked heroin?
No -- I've had much more luck with painkillers.

3. Do you own a gun?
Just the squirt bottle named Mr. Squirty, that we keep around to discipline the cats. I want a marshmallow launcher, though.

5. Do you get nervous before "meeting the parents"?
Not at all. I've had really good luck with all my partners' parents. Especially Ed's mom and dad. Ed's mom wears festive headgear with me.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
I don't believe I have actually purchased a single uncooked hot dog ever, like in a packet. However, in the contexts of elementary school hot dog days, camping trips with weenie roasts, and Tubby Dog, they're fine.

7. What's your favorite Christmas song?
We Three Kings, The Pogue's Fairytale of New York, and Green Christmas by BNL.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Tea. Glorious, glorious tea.

9. Can you do push ups?
3 on a good day.

11. What's your favorite piece of jewelry?
I don't really wear jewelry. I love my wedding and engagement rings -- they're very plain and wearable. I haven't taken off the earrings Ed got me for our first anniversary since last summer. I also have a pearl necklace that I got when I was a baby and my parents added to as I grew, which is very special to me.

12. Do you like painkillers?
Yes and no. I don't like taking any kind of medication unless I absolutely have to, so taking a single Tylenol because I have a bit of a headache really doesn't happen. However, when things are bad they are very very bad, and on those occasions I adore painkillers. I have a particular fondness for opiates, even though too much over a few days makes me violently ill.

14. Do you have A.D.D.?
Nope -- I am one of the rare few who has an attention span.

16. Middle Name?
Zina. My grandmother's full name is Zinaida, and Zina was her pet name.

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
1. Grapefruit
2. Penelope.
3. Lloydminster

18. Name the last 3 things you bought in the last day:
If food doesn't count, then I'll have to go back a few days (Ed and I really don't buy things). I bought a copy of Lisa Robertson's The Men, Erin Moure's O Cadairo, and some lightbulbs. If food counts, then I bought rosemary sourdough bread, maple pepper ham, and a half kilo of cheddar cheese.

19. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink:
water, tea, and white wine.

20. Dream car?
I don't drive. I really like vintage jags, though, and anything in the BMW M series (M3s and M5s specifically). Though really, as a passenger, whatever.

21. Favorite Concert?
GBS always puts on a great show. I had an awesome time with Ed when we went to Da Vinci's Notebook perform in a tiny club. The last time Tool came through Calgary was pretty great too.

22. Current worry?
The Thesis, The Book, and whatever is wrong with my throat.

23. Current hate?
The fashion industry.

24. Favorite place to be?
Topanga Canyon, California; Toronto, Ontario; having breakfast with friends.

25. Least favorite place to be?
The hospital.

26. Where would you like to go?
I am really looking forward to going to Vancouver, and Seattle for Pax. The next major trip in my life, I think, is going to be going with Ed to France just before I go back to school.

27. Do you own slippers?
Several pairs. I live in Calgary in a basement. Slippers are not optional.

28. What shirt are you wearing?
A tank top that I got in a multi-pack from Costco. It has a built in bra and I want a hundred more. I am lusting after the 'Ceci n'est pas un pipe' shirt from Threadless.

29. Do you burn or tan?
My skin does nothing. It stays the White of the Dead.

30. Favorite color(s).
Cool colours and earth tones. Things that don't make me look dead.

31. Would you be a pirate?

33. What songs do you sing in the shower?
something from the musical theatre genre (The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked) or punk rock.

34. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child?
Aliens that would dissolve my skin.

35. What's in your pockets right now?
I don't have any.

36. Last thing that made you laugh?
The Science of Sleep has a great moment where Stephane plays a guitar riff and then yells "Fascinating!" I wish I could play that sound whenever I share a fact.

37.Last thing that made you cry?
Missing my mother.

38. Worst injury you've ever had?
Hoo boy. Let's see. There's been severe burns, dislocations, cracked ribs, a broken needle in my foot, cut up hands, broken glass, a staple gun incident -- but getting my wisdom teeth out, having the anaesthetic wear off an hour before I could take any more pain medication (in the car, too), reacting to the opiates and being sick, which tore out stitches -- I think that was the worst.

40. How many tv's do you have in your house?
One. It is for football, Farscape, and movies. and The Food Network. And surgery.

41. Who is your loudest friend?
There's really not one -- the volume tends to multiply as more people gather.

42. Who is your most silent friend?
I am not really sure I have one.

43. Does someone have a crush on you?
Um, no.

44. Do you wish on shooting stars?
No. I am liable to look them up and see which celestial body it was, though.

45. What is your favorite book.
I refuse to answer this question. See my profile. =)

46. What is your favorite candy?
I don't really eat candy. I like good chocolate.

47. What song do/did you want played at your wedding?
The Ode to Joy from Beethoven's 9th was played. It was great.

48. What song do you want played at your funeral?
The Night That Paddy Murphy Died.

49. What were you doing 12 AM last night?
I was in bed. I know. But I actually slept a whole night. Indulgence!

50. If you were stranded on a island what would you want?
a teleporter.


Natalie Zed updated @ 10:59 a.m.!! 0 comments

Thursday, April 12, 2007

one week

It's been one hell of a week. I have been a little tipsy for most of it. There are orange tulips next to my desk and well-wishes stuck to my fridge with magnets. I actually ordered a pizza for the first time in months because cooking? wasn't going to happen. Soon, I am going to stop buzzing and smiling randomly. I am going to stop talking about it now, I swear.

* * *

The SNRG conducted research on a Japanese movie called The Great Yokai War last night. Best. Film. Ever. Newborn calves with human faces that foretell of doom then bleed out its eyes? An ambulatory wall? Squirrel creatures that bleed tang and take shelter in cleavage? Villain defeated by a legume and a pop song? This movie has it all. I have given nothing away. I think it might be the best bargain-bin $8 Jeremy ever spent.

Tonight is the April Flywheel; it's also the U of C's Gala Reading for all the creative writing students, and the Frontenac House launch. This was actually the best Thursday this month to do it. The line up is darn good (Josh Smith, Jill Hartman, Laurie Fuhr and Caleb Zimmerman), so maybe the attendance will surprise me. Either way, it is going to be a good'un. Come out if you can.

After a hiatus of almost a week, today I go back to selling cheese. My last day or work was Good Friday. I think it's been the most unproductive 6 days ever in the history of mankind. And yet.

I spent some time on campus in the last few days. Just cleaned out my mailbox, got some forms, had a short meeting. I met some friends and had a pint. I saw some fellow students I hadn't seen in months. My stomach didn't feel like I'd swallowed ball bearings. I remember why I went into academia in the first place, and I'm just starting, just the littlest bit, to miss it. By 2008, I think I just might want this. I'm starting to feel that I'll be ready.

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Natalie Zed updated @ 9:51 a.m.!! 0 comments

Thursday, April 05, 2007

2007 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry

Here's the real, actual press release. I am so happy I am vibrating.

* * *

Snare Books is thrilled to announce that Natalie Zina
Walschots is the winner of the 1st annual Robert
Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Her manuscript,
Thumbscrews, will be published in the fall of 2007 by
Snare Books.

Thumbscrews is a poetic engagement with the aesthetics
of sadomasochism and consensual pain. It employs the
techniques of mannerist poetry to constrain language
as ropes, cuffs, or shackles that might be used to
constrain the body. Each poem can be taken as a
miniature sadomasochistic encounter where language is
tied up, beaten, and twisted into submission. This
book abuses language; language begs for it.

Thumbscrews engages with the sexual subculture of BDSM
in content as well as in form. It explores the erotic
’scene’ and the prevalence of role-playing in the
kinky bedroom, examines various settings as
‘pervertable’ locations, and chronicles a series
of embarassing trips to the emergency room. Poems are
shaped from the hobbled language of email, visual
representations of pain, and odes to various implements. Thumbscrews is a dirty-minded, sticky-fingered book.

About Snare:
Snare Books is an Montreal-based literary publisher dedicated to innovative writing.


Natalie Zed updated @ 11:11 a.m.!! 2 comments

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

When Geeks Collide

Ed and I have a triumvirate of special occasions in the summer: My birthday, his birthday, and our anniversary all take place within roughly a month of each other between mid-July and mid-August. This alignment of our personal holidays means we often do one big thing, like take a trip or make a major purchase, rather than getting small individual presents for each discreet event.

This year, we've some up with a doozy.

At the end of August, Ed and I are going to PAX. That stands for Penny Arcade Expo for the cooler amoungst you, and with the scaling-down of E3 it is the biggest geek conference in North America. It's a three-day orgy of geekitude that includes video games out the wazoo, table-top and role-playing games, music, LAN paries, Omegathon -- nearly everything that makes me squee for joy. We've registered for the event, booked a hotel, and bought the plane tickets to Seattle.

I am so excited.

Ed and I are quite different from each other, but our unbridled nerdery is something I am very glad that we share. Our geekdom binds us together. We get each other's obscure references, we understand when one of us is stressed out because a penultimate dungeon is being a bitch, and we know that there is no such thing as too much hardware.

Looking back, we should have known we were meant for each other right off the bat. Soon after we started dating, we spent several weekends sitting in front of Ed's computer where I watched him play through Grim Fandango. Around the same time, Ed's former roommate Graham spent and entire evening reading us a Star Trek role playing he'd written and played through while we cackled with glee. We started reading George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire together. Ed's bedroom, where I lived with him in the Curry House, was a tangle of wire from his pc and my laptop, littered with books, and humming with all the electronics pulling power.

The longer we've been together, the more our geekery has thrived. When I was moving to Calgary, before I was even physically here I arranged to have a DSL connection set up so the very day I got here I had highspeed. As soon as Ed arrived, we bought a gamecube. With the money we got from our wedding, we bought a car...and a computer. Some of our biggest fights have been over a board game called Settlers of Catan -- to the point where the only really hard boundary in our relationship is that we do not play together. We started attending the SNRG together (I've been a member since 2004 -- Ed came along shortly in early 05). We've been in three D&D campaigns together with two different GMs. We've wrestled with a mutual WoW addiction and finally quit together. We own his-and-hers computers, and a pair of DSes, though we manage to share the Wii.

Now, for our anniversary, we shall attend the new Mecca of Geekdom. I shall don my Eternal Life t-shirt and Nintendo flip flops, grab my DS and Dr. Doom figurine, and spend PAX with my husband. I honestly can't think of a better way for us to celebrate our love than watching -- or playing in! -- Omegathon.

All of my base are belong to Ed.

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Natalie Zed updated @ 5:26 p.m.!! 1 comments