Staring Into The Abyss? Try Adding Milk…

Posted January 11, 2012 by salty wisdom
Categories: Uncategorized

This is the time of year that I drink tea. I’m doing it right now. I’m drinking tea. Not some sort of beatnik tea, mind you: normal, sane, English Breakfast tea. The kind of tea the mayor drinks. The kind of tea admirals and women who work in factories drink. This is a tea for the do-ers. This is a tea for a hands-on life. This isn’t a tea that is supposed to inspire you, or make you calm, or give you better skin, this is a tea that is supposed to go in your mouth and emerge victorious as piss sometime later–that’s what this tea does. This tea says ‘Thank you, that was lovely; we’ll have to do this again sometime,‘ as it makes its exit. No sentimental goodbyes, no emotional hangups. This is not a tea that gets attached. This is a tea that knows when to take a bow.

What makes me drink tea once a year? Probably the cold, unrelenting, dark and damp of a northern european Winter. Probably the loneliness that sets in as the warmth of Christmas pulls away to reveal the leftovers of turkey and unemployment; the absence of a relationship (which in March we will resume calling the abundance of freedom)  which–for now–feels like nothing less than a hazard to my health.
It’s not exactly that I’m lonely…


There is no food in the den and bear’s blubber will only go so far; but it’s so cold bear doesn’t want to leave the den. If bear had a companion bear then the den would be warmed by the warmth of two warm bears, and bears could take turns going out into the cold to bring food back to the den. Not to mention the fact that–in cases of extreme bad weather outside–bear could always kill and eat companion bear.


I wonder how many bears shack up each winter, just for the grub & blubber? Ah, but the bears will break your heart if they don’t eat you first!  Better stick with the tea.

I plan on drinking tea no later than mid-February, at which time I will make a renewed pledge to a monogamous relationship with coffee. But for now it’s cold and dark, and coffee has a headache. When it comes to my long, dark afternoon of the soul, I don’t know about you–but I take tea with my lumps.



Because 2012 Won’t Be Super, Unless You’re Superstitious

Posted January 10, 2012 by salty wisdom
Categories: Uncategorized

2012 is a year to be superstitious. 2012 is a year for fear.  2012 is the year superstition returns.
The return of superstition.
The Superstition Resumption. Will you be there?

Dumb is all around; let’s give it a little heart, shall we?

In 2012 I will revive superstition in my heart.

There are all sorts of fears and tics and mutterings that have lain dormant there, since catholicism and childhood left me on the cold stoop of adulthood, and I think it’s time to wake them all up and start praying to some Gods. I think it’s time to light the fire and drink the whisky and watch the lights flicker. It’s time to believe that something is going on. It’s time to devote one hemisphere of my brain to irrational things. To ration my rationality. To fantasise about the fantastical. To ponder the imponderable. To suck out the steaming marrow of bullshit and refuse the broth of verity.

I am over truth. Truth is ethical and ethical things are tiring. Truth is a drag on my smile; I’m sorry; I can’t smile, I have a truthache.

What can we do about this? How can we populate our lives with the inflatable dolls of our ancestors? Commune with the ancients while making them do stuff for us? Appeal to the angels as umpires on the dream diamond?

Find some meaning.
Meaning is all around if you find it there. Meaning is like a small-town whore with a bill to pay. Meaning practically finds you, if you’re willing to be found. Meaning is like a bottle of hooch in a Prohibition-era backwater: if you can’t get your hands on some, you ain’t trying hard enough. Try harder. It’s there.

Know that it was meant to happen this way.
If it wasn’t, you’re screwed–and who’s to know the difference? Everything happens as it’s meant to be (the vigilant among you will have noticed a BONUS meaning plug, there) and Robert Frost’s *other road* can host a plague of locusts for all I care: not my issue.

Pick a dead mentor.
Who’s been looking good lately? Thumb through a few biographies–mark their birthday on your calendar; make a few donations in their name. Recent deaths are hot, but don’t hesitate to go back in to the long-term dead.  Adopting the patronage of a known quantity (i.e. a dead person) is a great way to inspire you to great things, without ever having to fear you’ll disappoint your mentor! As far as you’re concerned, a dead man, is a satisfied man.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you,

xx, E


The Cold War Victorian: A Coming-of-Age Tale

Posted January 1, 2012 by salty wisdom
Categories: Uncategorized

Do you ever have the experience of hearing a word, and realising that you haven’t heard it since childhood? I sometimes wonder if in some ways I was more literate as a child than I am now. Every so often I’ll hear a word, and–like inhaling  some long forgotten yet familiar smell–be overcome with memories of how it felt to *know* that very adult word as a child, and the great portent it carried; as though I envisioned a majestic future of radiant adulthood that inevitably involved the frequent use of that word: meddling, outrage, hussy…truly there was a time when I saw great things for myself.

Reflecting on this, it occurs to me that many of these words are quite outmoded, and probably were when I learned them as well. Take ‘meddle’ for instance–as in, to meddle in other people’s affairs. No one not being paid ACTRA fees comes out with that anymore, yet I was probably walking around the schoolyard warning boys in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirts not to meddle in my affairs. For that matter, ‘affairs’ in that context sounds a bit starched up as well.
Where was I hearing these words? I lay the blame for the pretentious vocabulary of my childhood on my love of TV shows and films set in Victorian times (think Anne of Green Gables), and also on Murder, She Wrote.
Visiting my parents over the last few weeks, I’ve clocked a few Murder, She Wrote re-runs and have noticed some very affected language to go with those shoulder pads and neck brooches. Reflecting on my entertainment tastes as a child, and the fact that I was naturally inclined to be a bit of a loner, I can only conclude that I was socially doomed. Intelligent, approval-hungry children are like dancing bears to adults–call a boy a scoundrel, get a fish. On the other hand, I didn’t really like most of the kids around me at school for a reason–they were unimaginative, earth-bound lemmings who were suspicious of dreams and who smelled like Doritos. No wonder I liked Masterpiece Theater.

I suppose what I’m getting at, slowly, is that for a certain type of kid, a great amount of unlearning has to take place to facilitate decent socialization. You have to stop talking like Victorian dowagers, and start speaking a bit more like your peers. One of the fastest ways to make this happen is to meet other children like you.
I remember one girl I met in a private theater group that I belonged to for a while. At the age of 9, she was and had always been home-schooled, and spent great amounts of time extending her tiny frame over makeshift plywood settees, using the word ‘wicked’ frequently and preparing herself for impending ‘trysts’. When she wasn’t discussing wicked people and gearing herself up for another betrothal, she was bragging about her dad being a zoologist at the museum. I remember clenching my mental fists and thinking that it must be a poor zoologist who couldn’t even get a gig at the zoo. ‘Seal diagrams and dimly lit whale bones!’ I sniffed haughtily. Thanks to my Victorian programming, I could do haughty well. Still though, despite leaning on my Victorian emotions to guide me through such indignities, I could see that she was a bit lame. Within a couple of years, I had stopped bragging about my dad’s job, and started listening to his old records instead. And so a few Thesauruses worth of words went into hibernation while I learned to drink and swear properly, and have conversations with the Dorito cretins.
But every so often I hear a word that takes me back to 1989…‘beau’, ‘spinster’, ‘dagger’….and it feels providential as fuck.

I May Be Sticking My Foot In My Mouth, But Thank God It’s Not Your Foot In There

Posted December 30, 2011 by salty wisdom
Categories: Uncategorized

Al Gore does not have the monopoly on inconvenient truths.
I have one. And when it comes to *my* inconvenient truth, Al Gore is as guilty as anyone.

The fact of the matter is, other people’s feet are weird.

Throughout this holiday season, I’ve been privileged to attend a few dance recitals in my hometown. These have been in connection with a couple of different dance troupes, involving a couple dozen or so dancers, many of whom have been dancing barefoot. It has reminded me of something that I normally only need to process in summer, when sandals abound and the genetic dissimilarity is everywhere in evidence, and a thought of socks is but a pleasant emotion recalled in agitation–other people’s feet look different and weird.

It should go without saying, that while my feet are full of technical imperfections (after years of wearing heels on even the shortest run out for a newspaper, I’m far from foot model material) they are still–to me–the ur-feet.

There is no foot but mine, and yours are weird.

And I would hasten to add that I have no problem with other people having different faces, or chins, or elbows, or necks, or knees (sometimes those are a little weird), or asses or hips. That’s fine. You’re beautiful; celebrate it. Just….keep your shoes on.

Can you imagine being a podiatrist?? It would be other people’s feet all the time. A degree in Other’s People’s Feet. I think even if I were to go into general medicine I would spend uncommon amounts of time getting over the weird things other people’s feet do–they go in this way, they go out that way; some people have really wide toes; others have funny nails. I mean–in the spirit of full disclosure–my baby toes are barely developed. They’re like hunchbacks; just kind of folded over and dependant on the strength of the 4th toe. But that’s fine for me. It’s what I know.

Then there are the feet with wildly pronounced arches. These irritate me. I don’t understand it. They’re melodramatic; they labour the point.
What do you need all that arch for–do you shelter kittens under there??
They seem to me to be in bad taste.

I  have flat, practical feet. Nothing goes under them without my say-so.
I could not have danced in a ballet company (though really, my entire physique rebels against ballet–my body fairly flips the bird at Margot Fonteyn) and I suppose my feet say more of tree-climbing apes, than *Bolshoi Magic*. The point however is not at all that my feet are anything superior to those of another–I fully accept that in many ways they really are quite inferior, and I am generally careful to retain a professional handler to make them as tolerable as can be managed in the run-up to any kind of Mass Exposure.
Somehow it just always comes as a shock to see that other people have such other-looking feet. How did they get like that? What are the advantages? Could I love a man with feet like that?

That said: I do manage to make some sense of it–I don’t let it stop me from living my life.
But I suppose, in the way that some people are just like big, open wounds–shocked and dismayed every time they hear of violence and hatred springing up in the world–I’ll just never quite wrap my head around all the strange feet out there, lying dormant in their socks; their toes doing God-knows-what…

More Like, Don’tbonnet

Posted December 28, 2011 by salty wisdom
Categories: Uncategorized

Installmenté Trois in our petit serie……

The Saint John Wine Timeszs: Because There’s No Timeszs Like The Pressie

Posted December 26, 2011 by salty wisdom
Categories: Uncategorized

So–the AMAZING thing is–good ‘ol Contributing Factor and I have decided to share our secret love of talking about stuff that we may or may not know anything about with you, the person who is out there, and not in our heads.

Inspired by all the people on the internet discussing things that they don’t understand, this Christmas we’ve decided to create a series of videos called the Saint John Wine Timeszs. Each roughly 10-minute video will feature us drinking, and talking about what we’re drinking, or about what we’re not drinking.

Since founding the Saint John Wine Timeszs with old C-F, the one question I’ve faced more than others has been simply this: why?

To that I respond simply: it’s up to You, to find out.

And now, here for you in undescribed video, Youtube presents, The Saint John Wine Timeszs

And now, also here for you in undescribed video, Youtube presents, The Saint John Wine Timeszs: The Also

Once More, And With Feeling

Posted December 22, 2011 by salty wisdom
Categories: Uncategorized

I haven’t been writing here much lately, why just look at the dates! Long intervals between what I have written and when I’ve come back like this, to try to get things going again. Crank up the old motorblog–check for rust!

It all began with 2010. 2010 was just one of those years that kicked the stuffing out of me. Or if not the stuffing, then some of it. A portion of stuffing. I recall once serving at a church dinner in Nova Scotia with my cousins, and in the kitchen the ladies of the parish had a stainless steel container full of hot, hockey puck-shaped portions of stuffing. Stuffing discs. It was, naturally, a strawberry festival.

Anyway, so 2010 kicked a stuffing disc or two out of me, and then 2011–while many many times more pleasant–has continued to present a variety of spiritual paper cuts on the index finger of my soul.

All of this has put me into a place of great internal upheaval and thinking, and reconsidering, and emotional renovations of all sorts. Help me choose the backsplash of my heart.

A lot of the time, this process has left me mute. Or at other times, I have had a lot that I wanted to say, but felt it would be imprudent to do so. And other times still, I’ve had a lot to say on topics that I felt unable to write about in any kind of engaging way for those outside of my head. As the primary audience of this blog remains, at this point, outside of my head, I refrained from writing on these topics.

And that last circumstance brings me to another point that has had me holding my tongue–suspending my finger. The self-aggrandizing and over-sharing that is the bread & butter of blogs and social networking sites.

As I have tried to work out my feelings about this, I suppose I have in the interim been less inclined to share. I have, for instance, mostly stopped posting images of things I’ve cooked or baked online as—while it can be sort of fun in a show-and-tell way (ahem, especially when you live alone and there’s no one there to pat you on the head for making 17 jars of green tomato chutney with YOUR OWN Goddamn balcony-grown tomatoes—NOT THAT I DID THAT, OR ANYTHING, I just like, heard about someone who did) yes, while it can be sort of fun—there’s a glut of people out there posting photos of every Goddamn piece of toast they burn, and thinking that we give two shits. And I find it stupid, and weird, and so I suppose then that I should not be so hypocritical as to assume that when I burn the toast, it’s news.

I’m also in the process of reconsidering my life in Germany, and applying to grad school, and trying to get my foot in the door of at least 3 different possible career paths as I search like a baby elephant for a reservoir on a desert plain for some kind of reliable income (ahem, btw, if you know of anything you think I can do—msg me ltr ;D  ). This has taken up a lot of emotional and mental energy and dominated my thoughts, when I wasn’t doing the jobs that I do do, or considering what to bake and not take photos of next, or trying to make sense of my lost stuffing discs.

Despite all of this, I’ve still found the time to attract and ultimately repel emotionally disturbed people and for that I suppose, I continue to be grateful. As I lie in bed at night, I can look up at the stars, and know that I am still a beacon in the dark for those human container ships of uranium, flying the flag of an obscure African nation, but ultimately distancing themselves from me for glowing in the dark.

And I’ve taken up knitting, which I will also not be photographing. Excepting the one photo of the first thing I ever knit that’s on Facebook. But in the photo I’m wearing it so it’s as if it’s in disguise. It’s a shawl. It’s a shawl dressed up like an Elizabeth. Very clever Mr. Shawl, indeed–how very knotty of you…