The Sink Blog

Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bad Dentist

Today I dumped my dentist. I was planning on never calling him back, but when his office phoned me at work and invited me in for a cleaning today (phoned me at work and invited me in for a cleaning today? what dentist’s office does THAT?), I actually had to dump him. My reason for dumping him is this: I had the first cavity of my life three months ago, and he decided to fill it without using anesthesia. When (with shaking voice) I asked him if I could please have something to numb the area, he acted all put out and implied that I was a lightweight. This was after his loony hygienist spent an hour with her hands in my mouth, telling me that there are too few women in New Zealand, which causes the male population to “go gay,” and explaining how much she hates English people because of “what they did to Diana.”

And before you assume I’m being hyperbolic for the sake of comedy, let me assure you I’m actually leaving stuff out for the sake of brevity. Bad dentist.

Man, I vowed this blog would not turn into a record of my banal daily activities, but would instead be a scintillating report of my Artistic Experiences. Apparently I don’t have artistic experiences, I just watch TV and get messed around by bad dentists like everyone else. Only I’m pretty sure my dentist is worse. My ex-dentist, that is.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Well, Banff was fun. It sucked all the blog spirit out of me, temporarily (I was worried this would become a gushing diary). But Banff is long over, sadly. I got a lot of work done — I’d say I got as much done in that month as I’d normally accomplish in a year. Plus, I went swimming all the time and met people I really liked. I would recommend The Banff Experience to anyone. It’s a good way to spend a month.

Now I’m back working on behalf of the magazines of Alberta, which is fun if a little sleepy during the summer months. I find I’ve been reading Western Standard cover-to-cover and thoroughly enjoying it simply because it makes me think. I’ll read a story, then immediately start forming elaborate counter-arguments in my head, doing research to support them, etc.; so as a reading experience it’s far more engaging and stimulating for me than reading the local like-minded weekly and feeling righteous and apathetic. There’s also something about the way many hardcore right-wingers write that just tickles me - the straight-faced use of words like “claptrap” and “boondoggle,” not to mention the refrain, “for shame!” By comparison, hardcore left-wing writing seems dour and gloomy. This is, of course, a generalization. Some Western Standard content is straightforward, politically-neutral journalism; some leftie writers have vibrant, colourful voices. Okay?

Anyway, in other magazine news, I subscribed to The Believer and received my first issue — pretty!

Also, family news: I have one new nephew (born in June), and his name is Liam and he’s lovely. Plus, Dan and I adopted a tiny girl kitten last week, so now we have a cat called Michael and a cat called Popo. Fans of Kobayashi Makoto will rejoice.

Monday, April 24, 2006

My Significant Opinions on Film

I got a sunburn yesterday after taking a long walk in the blazing Calgary light. It has stupid comedy missing bits where my hair was and where my bag rested, and it smarts. I have to wear high-necked shirts to avoid social disgrace.

Last Friday I went to the Calgary Underground Film Fest and watched movies at Broken City. I saw two unpleasant (but interesting) shorts and the unpleasant (but interesting) feature-length drama, Buy it Now, about a girl auctioning her virginity on e-bay. The film is presented in two parts (by writer/director Antonio Campos, for those who wish to know); the first is documentary style and the second is far more director-ridden. Because of some intelligent narrative decisions and some remarkable acting, the first half is completely harrowing. I thought the squirmy experience was deflated by having to watch it all over again in a more artistic and explicit style (however, I ran into a friend who had the opposite opinion, so there you go). Surely one well executed docu-drama with such polarizing (and not a little disturbing) subject matter would suffice. Or perhaps postmodernism and Roshomon-style narratives and cleverness in general are lost on me.

After the show I watched Red-Milers get Checkstopped on 8th St.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Useful Activities

Sorry for not updating my blog, avid readers. I know you’re all whimpering in corners and tweaking out your hairs one by one. Well, here’s a new entry.

What’s changed since last time? My tall houseguest has moved back to his own house. Dan has gone to England, which means I’m all alone except for the cat, and he just gives me reproachful looks all the time. Even when I feed him turkey hearts. From my own hand. My neighbour’s six year old sometimes thumps on the window until I come out and talk to him about Dragonball and Inspector Gadget 2 (there’s an Inspector Gadget 1?), but does that qualify as enrichment?

Look, I posted some links on this blog. They’re not exactly alphabetical—they’re not in any order at all (Jason Christie is not, for example, “low status,” although to be fair Dan does rank pretty high…but don’t start looking for patterns). I recommend the Calgary Blowout one, if only to read Ryan Fitzpatrick’s quite interesting filling Station editorial.

My spare time lately has been consumed by freelancing (to pay for my Banff Centre adventure, for which I don’t yet know if I’ll receive full funding), and the new best show ever, Veronica Mars. It’s so good it makes me wish I had cable so I could watch it like a regular person, rather than pilfering dvds off friends and trolling the increasingly dodgy pirate bay site. All this freelancing and downloading has prevented me from spending any attention whatsoever on the aforementioned Banff Centre adventure, which is fast approaching. Time to buy new hiking boots! And develop some sort of focus as a writer! I have been sending out manuscripts and stories at an accelerated rate lately in honour of the upcoming adventure, but it’s hard to get excited about that—still, it’s a good idea for me to set up some kind of rejection schedule for myself. Like sowing lettuce seeds every couple of weeks so as to ensure a steady harvest period (look! I made a simile! I should write a book!) I hate going to the post office with big envelopes marked “to: Fiction Editor.” The postal workers give me sly looks when I’m fumbling with my SASEs. If you know what I mean.

Does everybody know about It’s excellent.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Martin Fulton Overkill

I did everything on Saturday. I snowboarded (oh, sorry, I rode) in the mountains, I went out for dinner and was introduced to a friend's super cool new spousoid, and I went to a gig at The Castle. I haven't been to a gig for ages - no wonder I've been feeling aged and bourgeois. Dean Martin of The Summerlad & the Ex-Boyfriends and Lock Fulton of general widespread fame and notoriety have joined forces to form the Martin Fulton Overkill. I recommend seeking them out. Fun! Metal! Guitar-drum duo!

Why is 1st Street so seedy these days? I mean, it's always been decrepit, but at least it used to be fun. Why, I remember when an 18 year old girl with a belly full of Dr. Pepper drop shots (shut up) could stagger up and down that block without fear of snagging her shoes on a corpse. On the other hand, reminiscing about the mid-'90s is doing nothing to assuage my feelings of agedness and bourgeoisness. Neither does the fact that I'm currently "pricing out" life insurance policies.

Lock of Martin Fulton Overkill is staying with me and Dan at the moment. He's alarmingly tall. Dan's tall, yet Lock towers over him. He's about twice as tall as I am. Living with two giants is making me self conscious about the top of my head.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Paying for Holes

Bad news at work—our funding is being cut, cut, cut. I’d feel better about it (well, not better) if the cutting was related to a failure on our part, but as usual it’s simply a case of random government budget violence, too many hands in too many pots, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and various other metaphor jumbles that add up to this: oh poo. The funding reps targeted AMPA’s reading series as the first thing we could get rid of. This just about broke my heart considering the effort I’ve spent on that reading series lately. I can understand why they want to kill it—it doesn’t offer enough benefit to enough AMPA members—but the problem is that now it never will. I liked having my own reading series to play with, even if thoughts of stinky cheese and ffwd listings did occasionally wake me up at unholy hours of the night.

In more cheerful news, I saw derek beaulieu’s launch of fractal economies on the 15th, and it was really something. derek gave performance responsibilities to four other writers, all of whom really stepped up. Jason Christie and Jordan Scott both did readings of poems they’d written for derek, Jill H. literally framed derek’s “framing the narrative” poem, and Natalie Walschots gave everyone the wiggins by displaying her “ai” body art, an inkless tattoo (read: weeping mass of pinholes) on her back. What interested me the most was the trouble she had getting tattoo artists to participate. I guess having holes punched in your skin and injected with chemical colourants is perfectly acceptable, whereas just having holes punched in your skin is totally pervy. Natalie insisted it didn’t hurt, and I kind of believe her. She’s probably the proud owner of a crusty back scab by now. I hope she takes photos and posts them on her blog—scabs are interesting. So are burn blisters, which I used to get all the time when I worked in the food-cooking industry and was forever setting my wrists alight. Provided you don’t rip them off accidently, burn blisters provide this magic, pain-free bandaid for ruined skin, and then they just disappear when the skin underneath is repaired (by “disappear” I mean “end up in your soup”). Wow, human bodies. Anyway, returning to poetic body art—I think I like it.

I’m thinking of clipping pages from derek’s book and framing them. Apologies to Talonbooks and their print provider, who probably went to considerable effort to get the pages to stay IN derek’s book.

It was a terrific event. I even went out afterwards, which is something I haven’t been doing much lately. Blame the short days and freezing rain—I’m rarely in the mood to bike home in the middle of the night, especially not when I’m tipsy (as much as I enjoy scabs, I’m not nuts about scars). I should go out more often.

What a community this is—I can never get over how much everyone actually likes everyone else.

In my last post, the reference to Michael Green naked, holding a bucket of water had to do with his hilarious absurd One Yellow Rabbit Cabaret character, The Whaler. I wasn’t just being—I dunno—questionably imaginative.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Wacky Face

I went to the CBC Poetry Face Off last week, which is something I've never done before. It was good fun, although on the whole I prefer page poetry to spoken word - a side effect of being an antisocial nerdling, I guess. I saw some people who I haven't seen for ages, like Namedrop Namedrop. The performances were varied, which was nice. Michael Green won, congratulations to him - only disappointed that he didn't perform his piece naked, holding a bucket of water. I have to admit, I was firmly in the David Bateman camp (get it, camp?) because he's so entertaining and witty, and his writing is good, good stuff.

I had a conversation with the loud, crass (but with a heart of gold) mortgage broker who works down the hall from me. He told me poetry can't really be understood until it's heard aloud. I think he was bluffing, plus, I disagree, but he had a point. And he gave me a chocolate easter egg.

I'm trying to get out to events I don't normally attend. I have a theory that it will make me a better-rounded person, but it probably won't.