Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why aren't I Amish?

One of my favourite songs of all time is "Stereo" by The Watchmen, (who I believe are named after the graphic novel which is also very good and left me with the disturbed empty feeling after I read it that I take as a sign of its effectiveness). To this day I am bitter because I wanted to go to their last concert in Toronto before they retired and my parents finally gave me permission literally hours before the show began at which point it was, of course, sold out. I've heard that The Watchmen are great in concert and at the time Stereo was my favourite song. I swear I listened to that song almost every morning because it seemed to capture all my fears and insecurities and set them to music that I could angrily bounce around my room to, singing loudly along. It's been ten years since the song came out and I still think it's great and it's still line for line the voice silently screaming inside my head on bad days.

Lyrics to Stereo

My life is a stereo, how loud does it go?
What songs do I know?
What ever happened to my plans?
What ever happened to the life I thought I'd have?

My life is a stereo, kinda cheaply made though
How bad does it show?
Whatever did become of all my friends?
Whatever happened to the likes of all of them?

My life is a stereo, turn me on and let's go
Turn me up louder, I'll scream as loud and clear as I can scream
And if you like what you're hearing, please hang on to me

I like being here
And I'm all hooked up wrong
Hang on to me, I'm one of a million
One of a million, one of a million
Please hang on to me

My life is a stereo, out of phase but you know
60 cycles humming,
Whatever happened to my friends?
Whatever happened to the likes of all of them?

Oh, I like being here
And I'm all hooked up wrong
Hang on to me, I'm of a million
One of a million, one of a million
And my lights are like candles

I'm so afraid of new technology
I'm in the race and I don't, oh I don't want to be
Yeah I'm so afraid of what's to come for me
I'm in the race and I don't, I don't want to be

Life ends in stereo,
Pack me up and let's go
Put me anywhere,
Please don't think of leaving me behind
Whatever happens to you, I'll get on just fine

I'm one of a million, one of a million
One of a million, one of a million
One of a million, one of a million
One of a million, ooohhh
Ah, ladada

Tonight I was thinking of this song in very literal terms because my parents got a GPS system for the car, something I fought against long and hard. I am highly resistant to change of the technological variety. I still chop by hand or use a mortar and pestle rather than pull out the blender or food processor. I fought the good fight against CDs, then DVDs, MP3s, cell phones. I don't know why since I adapt fairly quickly once the offending tech is brought into the house despite my protests. Not that I've given up my mixed tapes.

My parents on the other hand love gadgets and it was only a matter of time before the GPS entered our lives. I should be happy really, considering my father's nonexistent sense of direction (something I inherited btw). I swear, I had a near phobia of giving directions to anyone based on my watching my parents on road trips which are pretty much the only times I ever see them fight. Not only does my father have no sense of direction, he can't even follow along well when my mother tells him where to go, ending up lost and cranky. Now, although my parents got the GPS over my protests it still fell to me to figure out how it worked. We have a very strict division of labour in my family which is why I have only done laundry thrice in my life (it's my sister's job) and why no one but me has read an instruction manual in the past 15 years. If it has words, it's my territory; "You like to read, see what this says...." Gah!

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I fixed my links! Only three for now since that's how the template is set up, so I just put my three favourite blogs. I don't really know the etiquette of this stuff. Does one need to obtain permission before linking to someone?


I finished "White Teeth" and I really enjoyed the second half of it. Then I wondered if I was supposed to enjoy it. I've been feeling guilty of late; I feel like I'm going soft, not using my mind. My days consist of cooking and cleaning (for the most part) and while I read quite a bit, it's purely for enjoyment. I don't really think about what I'm reading. I should pick up some nonfiction maybe. Or start reading a few journal articles, Nature is available online I think. Thinking about my reading habits, I thought I'd check the 100 best novels list put out by Time and see how many I'd read, (not that that list necessarily means quality), just out of curiosity. I was surprised at how few of them I'd read (only eighteen). I'd expected that number to be higher if only because I'd have been made to read some of them in school (I hadn't, not even one, maybe because my English teacher was obsessed with CanLit?). "White Teeth" was on the list, which I didn't know, so hey, my count is one higher than it would have been last week! Unsurprisingly, I've read most of the sci-fi on the list (though I haven't read "Slaughterhouse-Five" yet). I was surprised to find "Ubik" on the list. I'd read it during my Phillip K. Dick phase (brought on after watching Bladerunner). I expected that either LeGuin's "The Dispossessed" or "The Left Hand of Darkness" would make the cut but maybe I'm biased because she's easily one of my favourite authors.

At the moment I am reading "The Mysteries of Udolpho". I have been trying to get through it for almost two months now, having decided to read it after watching Northanger Abbey, wanting to feel like an Austen heroine. I was expecting melodramatic horror but so far there has been a lot of scenery, a brief romance and poetry directed at scenery. It reads like a nature guide. I'm half through and there's still nothing more sinister than a step-father trying to marry the heroine off against her will. Well, I still have two weeks left before I need to return it to the library so I'm going to keep at it. I have faith that it will eventually win me over!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I swear, it looks better than Baby Bear's bed

I went out in the snow barefooted a little while ago. The back yard looked so soft and inviting, I just gave in to the impulse and went out as I was, PJs, coatless. What nearly held me back was that my hair was out. I don't do a damn thing with my hair down. [I had my hair cut back in December and it's now (at 2 inches below my shoulders) the shortest it's been since I was four years old (a bob), normal length being somewhere between my waist and knees, usually to my hips. Life is so much easier now but I'm used to the constraints of way too much hair. I watched Jodha -Akbar (not too good but Hrithik doesn't massively over-act for once) and afterwards my sister teased me about not so much as washing a plate without putting my hair up first when Aishwarya can have a sword fight with her almost knee length hair twirling about unbound.] Still, I went out and the snow felt so soft and comfy and I didn't even feel cold but now my feet are all tingly and I swear my throat feels sore (psychosomatic, I know). I'm glad I didn't give into the impulse which assailed me once I was inside again to go back out and just have a nice lie-down in the snow. I mostly resisted the urge because I didn't want to get my pyjamas all wet, the hems of my trousers already annoying cold and clammy against my legs.

I'm reading Zadie Smith's "White Teeth" at the moment, (all of Yaser's imaginary internet friends have mentioned it at some point and I was intrigued). I'm about halfway through and had 'that moment'. The a-ha moment. The one where you feel a sense of real connection with one of the characters or you nod your head sagely, having been in much the same place yourself. In case you've read the book, it's the scene where Millat and Irie first arrive at the Chalfen's home and Joyce Chalfen is tearfully examining her delphiniums for signs of thrip, "...a nasty pest that had already butchered her bocconia." It made me shake my head emphatically and say out loud, "God yes!", an exclamation of sympathy for someone who has also had to contend with the fucking nightmare that is thrips. [My experience? First there was thrips, stunting growth, causing a stress response in my poor plants. So we got mites to eat the thrips. The mites come in bran that you sprinkle in your pots. The thing is, the bran facilitates fungus growth so my plants were attacked by fungus. Then we got nematodes to deal with the fungus. God only knows what new infestation would have resulted from the nematodes had I stuck around to find out.] I was amused by my reaction and then disturbed. I wasn't disturbed by my colossal geekiness (which I've long since made my peace with) but that in reading a book about the immigrant experience (and brown Muslims in in the 'west' at that), I felt no real connection before the bit of gardening. I thought about thinking about it (ha!). I mean it must mean something. Something deep. Some socio-cultural thing. I can't help feeling that there are a lot of people who would read this and lift an eyebrow at me. A judgemental eyebrow. But that's okay! I love being judged! Anyway, maybe the disconnect is because a I'm first generation immigrant but have spent most of my life here? Meh.

I swear, my feet are are still tingling and it's been over two hours since I went outside. Maybe I should put on socks?

Oooh, in case anyone else is into PCR, this is odd and amusing. Enjoy!

Also, I put a link in (for White Teeth). Whoo-hoo!! Technological competence!