Tuesday, January 31, 2006

You stay on YOUR side, you hear me?!


Unacceptable; outside agreed standards of decency.


Firstly, let's get get clear what word we are talking about here. It's pale, and certainly not pail, - the phrase has nothing to do with buckets. The everyday use of the word pale is as the adjective meaning whitish and light in colour (and used to that effect by Procol Harum and countless paint adverts). This pale is the noun meaning 'a stake or pointed piece of wood'. It is virtually obsolete now except in this phrase, but is still in use in the associated words paling (as in paling fence) and impale (as in Dracula movies).

The paling fence is significant as the term pale became to mean the area enclosed by such a fence and later just the figurative meaning of 'the area that is enclosed and safe'. So, to be 'beyond the pale' was to be outside the area accepted as 'home'.

Catherine the Great created a 'Pale of Settlement' in Russia in 1791. This was a western border region of the country in which Jews were allowed to live. The motivation behind this was to restrict trade between Jews and native Russians. Some Jews were allowed to live, as a concession, beyond the pale.

Pales were enforced in various other European countries for similar political reasons, notably in Ireland (the Pale of Dublin) and France (the Pale of Calais, which was formed as early as 1360).

The phrase itself comes later than that though. The first printed reference comes from 1657 in John Harington's lyric poem, The History of Polindor and Flostella.

In that work, the character Ortheris withdraws with his beloved to a country lodge for 'quiet, calm and ease', but later venture further - 'Both Dove-like roved forth beyond the pale to planted Myrtle-walk'. Such recklessness rarely meets with a good end in 17th century verse and before long they are attacked by armed men with 'many a dire killing thrust'. The message is clearly, 'if there is a pale, you should stay inside it', which conveys exactly the meaning of the phrase as it is used today.

-It's useless bits of trivia like this that give my life meaning and enjoyment!-

Monday, January 30, 2006

I have a problem.

I spent a few hours recently, reading an interesting book by Lynne Truss called "Eats Shoots and Leaves - A Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation."


I have, from time immemorial (or at least since I was about 8), misused and abused the long suffering comma, semi-colon AND the apostrophe.
(That, and I can't spell, but that's a blog for another day.)

I think I do the most damage to the apostrophe, but I don't mean too!
But if the truth must be told, it boils down to one simple fact.
I just. don't. get it.

I DO try, I really DO!
I like to think that this is evidenced by the fact that I read books about punctuation but it just doesn't sink in!

Make no mistake, though, I can contract words with the best of them.

I've got 'DON'T' 'WON'T' and 'SHOULDN'T' down pat.

Even the awkward 'SHOULDN'T'VE' I can do (not without some effort though, I don't mind telling you!)

It's the darn possesive/multi-tasking apostrophes that get me.

"The kittens' ran with the scissors." Is that right? (and what are kittens doing running amok with scissors, anyway!?)

Is it "Mrs. Jankowskis's husbands all do it." or "Mrs. Jankowskis' husbands all do it."? (There are several of them, apparently, doing something! Gracious!)

So, in light of all of this, I'm issuing an all inclusive apology here and now to those of you whom I may offend with my poor punctuation.

Oh, and a really big apology to the sadly used apostrophe for each and every time I forget about it, mangle it in some way and generally disrespect it.

I really am very sorry.

Here, try this game out...let me know how well you do!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Gleeful pleasures.

Well, I see that Roger over here has tagged me with "Guilty Pleasures."

The problem is, I HAVE no guilty pleasures...all of them are great fun, and I participate in them as often as possible!

1) I LOVE eating out at expensive restaurants. The bigger the price and the smaller the portion, with as many unpronounceable food items on it the better! I'm easy prey for the frou-frou chi-chi French restaurants...but I adore every pretentious minute.

2) Books. Big ones, small ones, old ones new ones...you get the picture. I'm a hard core addict. History books, books on travel, cooking, biographies, manuals, philosophy, quantum physics....I can easily spend an entire day reading one book after another, doing little more than getting up to pour a cup of tea, or butter some toast. Laundry? HA! Dishes? No way. I have books to read!

3) Wine. Red, preferably...but I'm learning to see the gleeful pleasures of whites; give me a little more time and I might even find something nice to say about zinfandels.

4) My bed...I love my bed. I love to lie as long as possible in my bed on the weekend mornings in the soft light setting the sage green walls of my bedroom to glowing.
There's nothing much I'd rather be doing than snuggling in the soft, cream coloured sheets, sprawling side to side across it and generally doing nothing but lounging. I am pleased to say that my little cat enjoys the same with as much delight!

5) Driving. I may have to categorized this as a guilty pleasure, as the prohibitive cost of fuel has certainly made me feel (sort of) bad when I zip about town for no reason except for the thrill of it.

And that's it. That's my list of some of the things I love to do. Completely guilt free!


Maybe there is one
little thing.

I sometimes go here .

But lets keep that to ourselves, shall we?

Friday, January 27, 2006


3 years ago, a man robbed a convenience store at gunpoint and made his get away.

The whole thing was caught on security camera and the police were on the scene very quickly, managing to get the man 'trapped', and unable to continue to run.

He, unfortunately, still had his gun.
He kept the police at bay for sometime, casually tossing his gun from hand to hand, occasionally brandishing it, and generally taunting the officers.

Of course, it ended poorly.
The man was shot to death.

The whole incident was caught on video, and was the focus of news channels for several days after the event.

The police were cleared of any wrong doing in the shooting and things continued along.

Recently, the mans' widow (and mother of his three children), was turned down for her dead husbands $500, 000 life insurance pay out.

You'll never, ever guess why the insurance company has opted to not pay the widow out.

Shall I tell you?

The insurance company won't pay the widow out, because - in their infinite wisdom - they've determined that the man WANTED the police to kill him.


I can't believe they feel qualified to decide what thoughts occurred in his head moments before his death! *


Now, if the company claimed no pay out due to the man engaging in risky/illegal behaviour perhaps I could see it.

But to suggest to his widow and children that their husband/father wanted to die is just beyond the pale.

She's taking the company to court, of course.

I expect the judge to agree with her, but you never can tell, can you.

*Now, it does seem obvious that the man did have an agenda of some kind.

It's entirely possible that he did want to die; after all, threatening serveral police men with a gun does seem to be a cry out for something.


It's entirely possible, too, that all he wanted was psychiatric help and thought that was the best way of going about it.

We'll NEVER know.
And that insurance company does NOT have a right to determine that.
The gall.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I may be a geek girl, but I could beat you off the line! *

I may (happily, I might add), be considered a 'girl geek', but I would object to being known as only that.

I define the 'geek girl' statement by the fact that I can repeat whole passages of 'Monty Python's Holy Grail'.
I have read the entire 'Hitchhikers Guide' several times, and I really, really enjoy reading about quantum physics - though truth be told I don't actually understand it.

I love books on the history of salt and other seasoning products, and the prisoner numbered '6' means something to me (but not enough to join an appreciation society).

Am I safe to say that most would agree, to some level, these things indicate a degree of geekdom?

On the other hand, I try to be a well rounded person.

I play a wicked game of pool, know how to ride a motorcycle, and was once arrested at gunpoint for driving a Ferrari WAAY to fast.

When my car acts up, I can usually figure out what's wrong even if I can't fix it.

A perfect evening might entail a glass of a good pinot noir sipped while listening an old jazz tune in a dark, cozy room; or it might just be an all girls night on the town - mothers, lock up your sons!

AC/DC (as long as it's played at a reasonable level when I'm trying to sleep), is a great band to play while rocketing about in my car; and heck, I even want to learn how to fly a helicopter.

So what's the point of this blog?

Not much, really.

I think I just wanted to say that the world needs to shake free of those uncomfortable little categories of definition.

Once you define yourself, or allow others define you, it becomes all that much more difficult to expand how and who you are.

Learning 'outside' your regular world view can only be a good thing.

So to that end I'm going to try rock climbing in a professional environment (in the warmth and comfort of an inside 'wall' climbing facility, of course), instead of bashing about on slippery slopes, miles from help like I usually do.
I'll let you know how it goes!

(Oh, and I might try driving at normal speeds, too, but I'm not promising anything.)

* Well, not in MY car of course...something nice. And fast. I like shiny red cars. Just in case you were wondering.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Can you guys PLEASE keep it down!?!

I was awoken abruptly the other night by the sound of AC/DC's 'Dirty Deeds' played at VERY FULL VOLUME.

I was extremely annoyed, to say the least.

Then I remembered the dream I just had; it involving a band competition...and the winner for loudest band?



I woke myself out of a sound slumber because I have no volume control in my dreams.

Don't ya'll just wish you were me?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

LOVE this movie.

One of my very favorite movies has always been Reversal of Fortune.

It follows the true to life story of the Von Bulow's case, and won Jeremy Irons an Academy Award for best actor.

So why do I love it so?

Perhaps it's because it's based on a true story.

Or maybe it's for the quality of acting that Jeremy Irons and Glenn Close bring; both are simply riveting.

But it might be for the luxurious homes featured that captivates me, those houses are amazing!

And really; there is just something about a good crime investigation/suspense/whodunit that has always appealed to me.
And this just happens to be one of the best.

So. Now I'm going away.

My nose is dripping and my head hurts and I can't breath and that's the MOST thinking that I'm capable of for today.

Thank you and that's all.


Monday, January 16, 2006

What I wouldn't do.

This last weekend was one of the finest weekends I have spent in a very long time.

My dearest girlfriends, from the time of insecure pre-teenage hood till now (some 20 years later), came to visit me in my wee apartment.

I had the honour of cooking...but make no mistake, I run a fierce kitchen!

"Nish'! Watch those toasts! Don't let them burn!!!"

"You, over there! 'Pol, chop that garlic...'Vanne, tote that bale!"

Yes, I'm a friend of the strictest kitchen requirements, and it made for a delightful, 'hands-on-everyone-in-the-kitchen-helping' kind of extraordinary meal.

And I adored every single minute!

We ate, and talked and played and complimented each others wonderfulness.

We do this several times a year, the four of us.

Instead of buying each other Christmas and birthday presents, we share our time.
In this day and age of families and jobs and mortgages, time is the most precious and valuable commodity any one of us have.

Oh, it was truly wonderful, and I can't WAIT till next time!

Except for the pre-clean.

I hate cleaning.

Oh, I'll clean.

It'll probably kill me.

But I'll clean.

(man, I must really love you guys!)


Friday, January 13, 2006

Tee HEE!

You are Alice herself! Sometimes you have
trouble balancing the real world and all your
problems, so you just visit your Wonderland
instead where everything is the way you wish it
was. Take some time to find yourself there.

Which Alice in Wonderland Character Are You?

I loved this book as a child, and fancy that...me as Alice. Seems appropriate, somehow!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Does anyone out there need to know what I do at work all day?

Well, let me tell you!
I e-mail my friends!

And I blog like a woman gone mad.
And then there's the 'researching' of new restaurants I want to eat at....

Here. Here's a fine example of the kind of elevated conversation that goes on here on a daily basis.

ME: I've just spent over $600 dollars on my car in less than a week.

W: Cars are expensive pieces of property...
Expensive to buy, maintain, insure, drive, ... Did I miss anything?

ME: No, I think you covered everything there!

W: Our problem is that we live in a city where it is either very difficult or impossible to be with out a car….

ME: Yeah...but you know, if all my friends and family lived in my area (say, at least all in Vancouver) then I wouldn't REALLY need a vehicle.
I lived for one whole year without a car while I was in Courtenay, and it wasn't so bad.

W: Still ... getting from your place to work cannot be all that easy - unless you can bum a ride from someone...

ME: Oh, yeah, for sure.
But along with that little day dream was me having a job close to my gorgeous house overlooking English bay.
Of course.

W: I actually had a job in Yaletown and lived downtown for a while... It was pretty nice - walked to work & to/from the bar.
I only used my car for weekend get aways and for grocery shopping...

ME: That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

W: But then my job changed... And moved out to Richmond... And I do like owning a car...

ME: Well, I like the FREEDOM a car provides me.
Heck, if I REALLY felt like it, I could drive to New York from here.

W: Dat be true...

ME: Or Memphis.

W: I suppose.

ME: OR, a small town in South Dakota.
I'm just sayin', is all.

W: Or Spuzzum?

ME: Yeah, Spuzzum.
But no. Not Spuzzum.

W: ;-(

ME: Don't be sad.

W: Spuzzum? :-0

ME: Um. No.

W: I guess I will just have to go by myself - but don't expect a t-shirt with "My friend went to Spuzzum and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt"

ME: It should read "My friend went to lousy Spuzzum. And I didn't."

W: ic

ME: You laughed, I could HEAR you all the way over here!

W: Maybe I did ... Maybe I didn't...


W: ic

ME: I need a new blog...can I use this one (I'll change your name to protect your 'so-called innocence' if you like...)

W: And how would this discussion be of any interest to anyone but us?? And even then I think it is touch and go...

ME: You'll see.
I'll spice it up.
Now. Yea or nay?
I can call you Douglas. No one will ever know it was you.

W: I am not a Douglas...

ME: Raymondo? (you'll have to rrrrrroll the 'r')

W: Haha ... Ok now that is funny!!! But No... Not Raymondo...

and on and on and on and on

and on

and on...........

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Vehicular trauma.

This is the back end of my car.

Okay. It's not exactly my car.
(My car has never BEEN so clean!)

But it's close enough.
It's the same color.
And it needs a kick in it's rear end.

I've just recently put out $200 to fix the muffler.
And then there was the $300 dollars for the alternator for the third time!

And now, I have to pay MORE money for a 'slave' cylinder. I think.

My clutch petal is lying listlessly on the floor of my car, and that's bad.

Last time it did that, it was the lazy 'slave' cylinder causing the problem.

Damn thing.

I hope that's what it is.

I'm not looking forward to the cost if I have to have the clutch replaced, that can be $500 or more!

Beasty ol' car.

That slave cylinder just cost me my sweet sweet bottle of Chanel Chance.



Speaking of my car, as I was driving this morning to work, I was forced to turn on my windshield wipers.
There was something tucked in them!

Unfortunately, I was rocketing along the highway and wasn't able to stop to investigate.

I wonder what it was.

Ah well, if it was important enough, I'm sure they'll leave another note? Or smoke signals perhaps?

Use the phone, it's there for a reason!

Friday, January 06, 2006

You're not fooling anyone!


Let's GO Nancy Drew!!!

Lets find out where it goes. Bring Frank and Joe, too!! This looks like a doozy of a secret!
Holy Smokes, maybe we'll find some real live PIRATE TREASURE!

When we write the book, we can call it, "The Secret Entrance"!!


Extremely deprived children may fall for this.

But I doubt it.

So, sorry Cal.
I'm blowing your secret.

"pssst...buddy...dat secret entrance over der...yeah, dat one...it's only Cal's computer shop..."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Don't let your guard down for a SECOND!

Oh, yeah. She looks cute.
All soft and roly-poly, sleepy little kitty cat.

But be very, very careful.

She can shed with pinpoint accuracy.

In fact, I think she shedded (sp?) directly into my left eye.

If I didn't know any better *OUCH!* I'd say there's most of that cute, small cat lodged smartly in my eye!

I've run to the mirror to investigate my eyeball, but I think the invisible fur strand has managed to wind it's way around my optical nerve by now.

DAMN! This is deeply annoying!!!

(Rotten little beasty...don't you worry; there'll be a REALLY long hair tucked cunningly into your smelly dinner sometime soon. I WILL have my revenge.)

Monday, January 02, 2006


I spent Christmas on Vancouver Island (Courtenay, to be exact), at the beautiful apartment of my dear mom.

10 years ago, I lived in that same apartment building with my sister, in the quiet, relatively unpopulated part of Courtenay, on the bend of the Courtenay River.

My sister and I resided on the top floor, and had a view of the mountains; my mom lives on the same floor now, right across the hall from my old place.
She has a long and beautiful view of the local park right across the river, and both the 5th Street bridge - which is closest to her - and further down the river, the 17th Street Bridge.

(Hey, it's Courtenay, we don't need original names for bridges...name it after the darn street and be done with it!)

In the bend, swans collect, and seals.
Many different kinds of ducks also adore the calm backwater there, as well.
(Truth be told, though, the Courtenay River can never be considered a rough river at the worst of times, occasionally it floods the park, but it's a pretty gentle river.)

And along with the regal swan and sleek seal?

Eagles, eagles, EAGLES!

They've built an aerie right near my mom's place as well, and as the river has a healthy salmon population, they have a tendency to gather at certain points...including, right by mom's house....

So, look REAL close.

Yes, that's taken from mom's balcony.
Across the way in the background, the local park, and OH! What is that?

Could it be?!?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Hello, 2006, lets be friends, shall we?

I thought long and hard about writing a post today, as I'm not a resolution making kind of gal, and I really wasn't sure what I wanted to express.

After more consideration...I still don't really know!

Let's see....

2005...some of the positive experiences I had seemed sort of dulled by the negative. For instance, while I gained a sweet little cat, and lost the one I loved the most; and several people I never really expected to see again (but missed terribly), returned to my life, but as shattered shadows of themselves.

I guess that's life though, isn't it.

You get with one hand, sometimes, while the other hand has to give.

All in all though, I still feel cheerful and 'okay' the way things are.
I'm learning exactly how strong I really am, and how fiercely independent I have become. It surprises me sometimes, that I am that way, but I think it's okay.

My gambit to become a kinder, gentler Tai still needs some work, but I think I'm improving on that, too.
(Why, just the other day, some one cut me off, and I didn't even honk!)

I've learned that I can't 'fix' everything and everyone, and that sometimes, you just have to stand back and hope for the best.

I've even started a 'savings' plan, and an RRSP thing-a-ma-jig, which is a tremendously huge step for me...I've always been more of a grasshopper than an ant.

As for this year?

I think this year will be about learning and culture.
Yoga, perhaps? Italian lessons? Cooking? History? Writing? Acting classes? Whatever strikes my fancy.
I've already signed up for a monthly discussion series at the library about the writings and works of Carl Jung.

And that's that, I guess.

And here's a cheers to all of you...may your 2006 come out just the way you want it to!

(oh, and I'll work on providing more interesting posts than this one has proven to be!)