Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Someone once said, "Never go to bed angry." A far wittier person added "...stay up and plot revenge!" Well, here is my mild and fairly harmless blow against my family, with whom I am angry again. I really must apologize to my faithful readers, because as of late a great deal of my posts have been forms of tirades against my clan, and not everyone wants to read about that. Well, I will try to make this particular entry as witty and articulate as possible.
My family doesn't like having me around. They are the kind of people who prefer to do things together that require no talking. They go on the computer, and shut the door so they won't be bothered. They watch TV and hiss and spit when someone tries to engage them in conversation. They read as well as fiddle with their Palm Pilots and sigh dramatically whenever someone tries to interrupt them to have some blessed family time. Myself, I am usually the one who tries to start a conversation, mainly because I can't shut up to begin with. I'm usually cut off before I can properly begin with a blunt "I'm not interested", "don't wanna hear this", "consider your audience". Yes, well I do consider my audience, and right now my the audience in my house is a big meanie weenie.
For my sisters, today is the last day of freedom before high schools starts. For me, I still have one more week before the first day of classes. Anyway, because today is the last day of freedom, my family has apparently been planning a nice dinner at a restaurant for about a week. There was, in fact, only one flaw in their brilliant plan. They neglected to tell me in a manner I could understand. You see, when they make plans, they don't ask me. They tune out what I say because they are tired of sifting through my rivers of words to find the tiny gold nuggects of intellect within. They don't write things down either, where other people can see and thus know what's happening in this household. As well, they reserve all of the important planning to the dinner table conversation, a certain time I have been missing a great deal of late due to the fact that I am working at McDonald's. So, of course, they've planned this big end-of-the-summer dinner for today. Today I have my last shift at McDonalds -- from 6:00 to 9:00.
Of course, according to my family, this is all my fault. It's MY fault they continue to use the "osmosis" method of communication even though it has had several failures which all resulted in me remaining out of the loop. It's like it's my fault my farm didn't know the tornado was coming because my family's farm continued to use the faulty carrier pigeon to send messages instead of picking up a telephone. Of course, it's my fault because I talk so very, very much that my parents tune out everything I say and thus miss the important bits like "I have a shift on Tuesday" and so they don't think of asking. It's my fault, because even though I am wise enough to write things down, my family never reads them. Also, as you may not have heard, it's my fault because I spend so much time huddled up in my room with my novel, which is a bald-faced lie. I play the computer, I watch TV with my family and my sisters, but no one wants to communicate whenever I'm around, so I leave. Why should I waste my time hanging around people who make it perfectly obvious that my presence annoys them? If they want me to hang out more with the family, then it's only fair that they should make the effort to put up with me! Lastly, this whole messup is my fault because I miss supper so often with my shifts. Yes, I'm such a bad, bad, person, missing my family's precious dinner time because I'm slaving away to ease THEIR financial load for University. Thanks a bunch, you guys, it warms my heart to see such immense gratitude.
Of course, once the flaw was revealed and the inevitable fight was over, what did they change about it? Not a damn thing. So, I'm missing the one big end-of-the-summer dinner, because apparently, I'm not appreciated in this family. I'm not an important enough member of this family to risk changing an end-of-the-summer-dinner to an end-of-the-summer-lunch. I'm not important enough for my family to make an effort to include me in their celebrations. My sisters get to go out to Earl's with the family and talk and eat and have fun. Me? I get a fucking afterthought...."Mom'll... take you out to lunch...sometime"...yeah, sorry, but that doesn't help. That's not a family dinner if there's only one family member present to foot the bill. I'd rather eat a peanut butter sandwich by myself, thank you. My family is mad at me for not spending enough time with them, but they won't get off their lazy asses and change a few small things to include me in their lives? I can't join the family circle if you guys don't open you stupid arms and let me in!
So have fun at Earl's. I'll just be taking screaming children's orders at McDonald's, you know, to make money to help you guys pay for my education. Then I'll probably walk home in the rain and go to bed. Cause you know what? After I come home from work I like to go to bed. Why? Because I'm tired. Because I work. To make money I can't even spend on myself. For you. Thanks for repaying the debt.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Flip-flopping Emotions and First Booths

Agh! The guilt trip! And what a long, strange trip it is! Whether inflicted intentionally or unintentionally, it stings worse than salt on a wound, or better yet, another wound on top of a wound. I am perpetually going on these trips because of severals reasons, chief among them being the fact that I'm lazier than a doormat on Valium. I made plans today to mow the lawn, a long and ardous task that inspires nothing but dread in me whenever I think of it, and so I generally procrastinate to the fullest extent. I was really planning on doing it today, and I didn't see any other opportunity, but I was dreading it especially because I had an extra shift at McDonald's at 4:00. The last time I emerging from the task, I was dripping with sweat, slathered in sunscreen and bug repellent, and regardless of how much of the latter I sprayed on, I was also covered in insects. I figured that due to the wretched condition I am in after performing that chore, it would not be a good day to do it if I had an extra five-hour shift at the Clown House to look forward to. My new plan, of course, is to do it tomorrow, AFTER a six-hour shift at McDonalds, and then laze around the house like a limp noodle.
Sadly, though, I neglected to mention this change in plans to my mother, who got angry with me at first for flip-flopping around and procrastinating at a (relatively, mind you) simple job. Of course, afterwards, she reverted to her "You're an adult and should make your own decisions" attitude, but the damage had already been done, so I'm good and miserable now. Ah well. The sooner I mow the lawn, the sooner I can start dreading the day I will have to mow the lawn again.
In about ten minutes, I will have to start the extra shift at McDonald's that I mentioned above, that started this whole kerfuffle ( I love that word! ^_^) in the first place. Yesterday, I was supposed to be working from 5 to 10, but I was let out early, so the manager kindly made up for it by getting me to work today from 4 to 9. Three extra hours! Yaaay....please ignore my lack of enthusiasm. I need the money. It will, however, be worth it in every way if I am assigned First Booth today. First Booth is, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest, the cushiest job at McDonalds. You basically take the orders down for the Drive-Thru, but because you have to stick there as long as there are cars in the drive-thru, you don't have to help make the food or pack the bags. The customers at the Drive-Thru are almost all fully decided on what they want by the time they show up at the window, so there is no waffling about the orders. Also, when there are no cars, you can leave and talk to other people and do odd, simple tasks until a doorbell sound rings. That doorbell sound is activated by a motion sensor that marks down every car that goes through the drive-thru. It's always ringing, so they never give you long, hard jobs or make you do the lobby, because you have to be ready to go by the time you hear that noise. On the other hand, it also makes you paranoid, hearing doorbell noises when there really aren't any...but that's another story entirely. I really enjoy First Booth, because it combines all the best parts of the two jobs I've ever had: The amount of work I had as a cashier, but with the ability to communicate, free drinks, and the young coworkers I have as a McDonald's employee. Here's hoping!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Top Banana Nana...

Went for lunch my my maternal grandmother today. I didn't really know what to expect. My Nana is usually prim and proper, a stickler for manners. Sometimes she could be painfully blunt in critizing my posture or my taste for fantasy novels, but all in all she's a very pleasant old lady. Well, with my first year of University looming just around the bend, she wanted to go to lunch with me, so I accepted. I wasn't entirely sure what we would speak of, as I tended to believe that we didn't have too much in common.
Boy, was I wrong. My grandmother's cool! *cough* Well. We went to a nearby Italian restaurant and ordered roast veal sandwiches (sorry, vegans, I love eating babies, so get over it). I decided that since she seemed primarily interested in my upcoming adventures in University, I would talk about my upcoming orientation and what I was most looking forward to: The Club fair, where all the University clubs came out and hawked their wares and memberships and so on. My grandmother suggested I join the Newman club, which was run by chaplains and was held at St. Joe's. I do try to be a dedicated Catholic, but initially, the idea of spending my free time in a religious club didn't appeal to me.
Since I'm still writing this blog, it means that God has not decided to smite me where I stand. Anyway, I told Nana about the club I really wanted to join: BAKA ("idiot" in Japanese, haha) which stood for Banzai Anime Klub of Alberta. I proceeded to enlighten her about my parents' negative opinions of it. Oh yes, you're an adult, they said, so you can join any clubs you want, but we think this BAKA is a horrible idea and we're totally against it. My younger sister also believed that guys who like anime like only anime and thus get terrible grades, so it'd would be a horrible place to find a husband. Exactly, sister, because I live in the 1950's. Right. I wasn't sure why I was telling all of this, because I expected my Nana to agree with my parents.
Again, I was wrong. "Of course it's a good idea!" she protested stoutly. "Anime is an adult art form, even I know that!" Who knew? She completely supported it, without slamming it completely, like my father, or trying to dig down and find the psychological meaning of anime and coming up with completely backwards ideas, like my mother (and I shall quote her: "I know you like anime for the stories, and I'm sure there are a few other girls who do, but I'm pretty certain most people watch it for the porn.").
And the conversation only went up from there. We spoke of books and clubs and God, and books and clubs about God, and what I would do in University. I mostly wanted to follow my parents' advice, as they had experience in University (more recently, my mother, as a few years ago she went again to study textiles), but my Nana continued to interject to remind me that I should do what is best for me. Oh God, I'm so glad somebody other than me came out and said that! She then continued on to reveal hilarious things about my mother that I shall not repeat here, because Nana told me not to, and because I have found a completly new respect for her I shall comply.
All in all, it was a very pleasant lunch, and I learned a few pleasantly surprising things about my grandmother. Huzzah! Hooray for Nana!

Saturday, August 21, 2004

My Parents are Not Actually Emotional Sadists, but Caring and Thoughtful Parents Who Strive for My Wellbeing... But I hate them anyways.

Only kidding, of course. I know I haven't written in a while, but a lot of both good and bad things have happened in the Gap. I finally received my graduation present, a new laptop! The only reason I'm not using it right now is because my new computer only has wireless Internet and I can't use it at home. Otherwise though, it's fabulous for my writing, especially my novel. Plus, it's MINE, all mine, and thus I can fiddle around with the backgrounds and the colours as much as I want without anyone complaining.
So... what happened other than that in the past week... I finally went drinking socially with my parents. I usually despise the taste of alcohol, and I find it repulsive even when it's smothered in an otherwise pleasurable sustance, like chocolate. Well, my parents managed to convince me to go to the local bar with them, where I indulged in a Cosmopolitan. Not completely bad, but it would have been far more enjoyable without the nagging taint of vodka.
I sold the books I no longer wanted at a little second-hand bookshop called "The Wee Book Inn", as well as all of my manga. To my surprise, I raked in more than anyone else in my family, a cool 57$, which I promptly blew the same day on an anime DVD of "Fruits Basket", an entertaining, if rather fluffy, television series about a cursed family who transform into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac whenever they are embraced by a member of the opposite sex. Now that was a tough decision to make. For the longest time I was trapped by indecision between the DVD of "Fruits Basket" -- an anime I had never watched before, that came with six episodes, and was 44$ -- and the DVD of "Full Metal Panic" -- and anime I adored, that came with the three final episodes of the series, and was 29$.
In job news... I don't think working at McDonald's is particularily healthy for me, as working there under less-than-perfect conditions incites pure, painful, and completely senseless hate within me for all the pathetic, picky, slovenly people who attend our restaurant. It destroys me, but I am fortunate in the fact that I only need serve the Clown for two more weeks before I depart for University. Still, often I am only one long, elaborate, and bizarre special order away from having a complete mental breakdown and stabbing the idiots with a plastic knife (they're sharper than they look).
I must apologize, dear readers. I know I'm rambling on about nothing, mishmashing different events into my blog with no real organisation or order, but I guess that's a result of my reluctance to write, even when exciting things are happening. I will try to write more often. Today, I'm writing it because my mother suggested it... she's understandably annoyed by the title of "My parents are emotional sadists" being first from the top, so she's eager for me to create another entry to detract from my raging rant. Well, I love her, and she's usually right about most things, so I will do this for her.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

My Parents are Emotional Sadists... At least, today they are...

First and foremost: pardon my language, but I am not myself today...
Here I am, writing to you, faithful readers, if indeed you exist, from my parents' computer room, between bouts of frantic, noisy sobbing. I am utterly miserable, and my plan is to make all the readers of this entry completely aware of it. The reason? Well, you'd think on Sunday, the 8th of August 2004, I would be at the Folk Music Festival, gorging on delicious fried food and and engaging in conversation with my beloved family. Well, I'm not, and I don't love my family. I hate them, I think they're sadistic bitches, at least for today. I'm stuck at home, heartbroken, because I can't make up my fucking mind and my parents are unwilling to make it up for me.
I had been granted the freedom to go or not to go today, seeing as I usually do not enjoy the Folk Festival to the extent that the rest of my family does. Today was the last day of the festival. I had been to the Craft tent, and received my annual Folk Fest gift (a Shinto pendant), seen all the acts that I thought were worth seeing (only one: Great Big Sea, and they got boring after 20 minutes), and today was overcast with menacing clouds. I really had nothing to look forward to, and my parents had made it perfectly clear that they severely disapproved of my bringing my giant 600-page fantasy novel to read on the hill. If I couldn't read, what could I do?
So, to answer my sisters' annoying questions, I answered a hearty "No!" to whether I would accompany them. Of course, that was not my real answer. I'd been going to Folk Fest for eight years, and I'd always brought a novel with me, I really couldn't understand why my parents would pick this year in particular to try to wean me off my addiction. Of COURSE I'd be going. Sure, there was nothing to look forward to, indeed, the day ahead looked positively bleak, but I wasn't going to skip out and risk missing something special. I am a hermit by nature, and I was eager to break out of that shell before leaving for University. Of course, my father had to ruin my moment by asking me himself whether or not I'll be attending, instead of asking my sisters and acting surprising when I reveal I will be going. So of course, I say "no" to him as well. My mother immediately starts to praise my decision, "Of course you shouldn't go! I'm proud of your choice! Don't go, if you aren't going to enjoy yourself!" Where does she get off, being happy I won't be with her? So, naturally, to spite her I change my mind and declare I will be going. I'm not packed at all (I discovered, after the final and irrevocable decision had been made, that I'd left my only source of warmth, my sweatshirt, at home anyways) so I have to scramble to gather my things underneath the exhasperated looks of my family. My mother and sisters insist I shouldn't go if I'll be unhappy (and I believe their suspicions were aroused by the fact that I was going about doing everything with a dreary scowl on my face), but I replied, with passive-aggressive charm, "Whatever! I'll just go!"
I get into the van with my mother and youngest sister, while my younger sister and my father take the car. We've started to drive, and suddenly my mother starts telling how it's best to do things that you like, how you shouldn't try to be something you're not, how staying home all day reading books and watching anime and playing videogames must be much better than being miserable on a cold, wet hill for the sake of one's family. We're already well on our way to the Park N' Ride, so why the hell is she telling me this? Ah yes, to make me regretful and miserable.
"We're already well on our way to the Folk Fest," I whine indignantly, "So why are you giving me MORE reasons about how staying home would have been better?" To my horror, instead of admitting that she was getting off on making her eldest child wallow in depression, she turns the car around and starts heading for home, despite the squeals of rage from my spoiled youngest sister. Then, on the way home, my mother begins to lecture about how I should come out of my shell, and do something different for a change, live life to the fullest, open my mind to new experiences...I start to cry at this stage, due to the hopelessness of the situation, and my mother lets fly a whopping fib by saying that "The last thing I want is to make you unhappy." Fuck you, mom! By now it's too late to INSIST on what I really wanted to do in the first place (which was, in case you hadn't guessed, to spend some quality time with my fucking beloved family for a fucking blessed change), because that would result in wasting even more time. After seeing that I was good and wretched, my mother drops me off at home and leaves for the Folk Fest, cheerful at having accomplished a whole year's worth of torturing her eldest born in the space of an hour.
As soon as the door is shut I promptly burst into tears. It's quite fortunate that you cannot hear me, for my sobbing is rarely a peaceful and quiet affair. Heaving, wheezing, wailing, and screaming usually accompany such rages, until the whole neighbourhood begins to wonder why my family has purchased such a large number of stray cats, and why in God's blessed name aren't they feeding them? Then, the phone rings. Now, I should warn you that my mother is far more subtle and clever in causing me suffering, snipping and slicing away at my soul with the grace of a neurosurgeon. My father, on the other hand, is far more blunt, cleaving carelessly away at my spirit like a gleeful butcher on holiday. So, when I picked up the telephone (and trained my voice so that it sounded sad, but not too sad, so that whoever it was one the other line would feel sorry for me instead of disgusted), it was to hear my father roar, "Well, I hope you know you've ruined the whole day for everyone!" after which I promptly hung up on him. His voracious hunger for emotional pain not yet sated, he called again, to make sure I listened for a full five minutes while he raged about how all of his and my mother's plans for Folk Fest were screwed up because she chose to turn around, and then it was his turn to hang up.
After that little show, I picked up the telephone and dialed my mother's cellphone number, and in a breathless, sobbing voice, told her (through my youngest sister, because my mother isn't stupid enough to talk on a cellphone while she's driving) how sorry I was that I caused her to be late for the show she wanted to see, all the while informing them on my father's little tirade. You see, I didn't call out of any real sympathy for my mother's situation, but to tattle on mean ol' Daddy to make sure that he was properly punished.
--Oh dear. My mother just called, letting me know that she could come home and do something special with me, if I wanted to. After letting out this little rant onto my blog, I'm in quite high spirits again, so having my mother give up her fun is the last thing I would want her to do. I insist she stay at the Folk Fest, because that is what she really enjoys doing, and she relents.
Okay, my mother's an emotional sadist....but for only one hour every year.

Friday, August 06, 2004

To Quote Megatokyo's Dom, I'm "So full of Hate!"

I love my parents. I really do. They're great. You know how in novels and movies and television shows how the parents are cold, or kooky, or mentally unbalanced, or abusive, or absent. My parents were never like that. My mom is a "Domestic Goddess", the kind of mother-goddess-genius figure who can whip up a sumptuous casserole after spending the day researching our family tree back to the 3rd century AD (oh, I'm sorry, C.E.) and teaching herself Biblical Hebrew. If I ever caught a flu at school, she'd be there to pick me up, drive me home, tuck me in on the family room couch, and stir the bubbles out of a pitcher of gingerale so it wouldn't hurt my sensitive elementary-school tummy. In parent-child arguments, she's usually the Good Cop.
My father is often the Bad Cop, but when we're not biting each other's heads off, he's quite the cool guy. He is one of the rare men who is possessed of two different personalities without being crazy. On the one hand, is the fitness-obsessed, workaholic, war-fan disciplinarian. He's about a foot and half taller than me, but weighs only about ten pounds more. He bikes ten miles a day, every day, no exceptions, regardless of holidays or weather conditions, he's a six-foot-two beanpole with a buzzcut. He eats like a horse, but gripes about how he hopes all the food he consumes won't make him gain a measly pound, which always pisses off the less-healthy members of our family. He subscribes to Civil War Monthly magazine, a concept I find to be mind boggling (the Civil War happened a hundred years ago, how much more can they write about it?) and has to keep his beloved collection of war films on a separate shelf from our other movies because he has so many of them, so many films that only he is interested in watching. He love affair with legal violence is one of the things that has led to many differences in opinion between him and me. I love Japanese animation (anime) because it's colourful and expressive. My father hates anime because the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour and strangled a hooker in Rising Sun. He believes anime to be simple-minded and immature, even though he's never really watched it, because he's been raised on the inaccurate assumption that animated stories = made for children. We fight about it. A lot. My mother also disapproves of my anime hobby, but at least she doesn't go out of her way to belittle it.
On the other hand, is the beer-guzzling, joke-spurting, movie-quoting, science-fiction-reading, baseball-loving goof that I get along best with. We're a lot alike in many ways, which is partially why we fight so much. My father's passion for military films is fully as bright and as long-burning as my passion for Full Metal Panic and Escaflowne. When he's not in "Full Metal Jacket" mode, he behaves like a 21-year-old student let out of University for the summer. No one is his presence can so much as mention Buckaroo Banzai or Starship Troopers or Men In Black without being immediately buried underneath a mountain of his favourite lines, repeated over and over. "Laugh while you can, Monkeyboy!" "I always get the shakes before I drop! Everybody drops, everybody fights!" and "Your--proposal-- is-- acceptable!" (followed by an upward grasping motion of his hand, meant to imitate the scene where the alien cockroach kills Vincent D'Onofrio). Finally a shared interest: movies. We've had several of our best moments together watching films, like the week where Mom took my sisters off to BC, and Dad and I shared a pizza while watching Phantom of the Paradise which he first saw when he was my age. Or when we watched Enemy At the Gates, and even though I was watching it to see Jude Law, and he was watching it to see history re-enacted, I still let him distract me from Jude Law's flawless visage with his endless supply of historic military knowledge. The family can't even watch Gladiator without Dad pointing out that the Romans weren't supposed to be using cavalry until two centuries later, due to the fact that the stirrup hadn't been invented yet. You have no idea how many people he annoyed when he watched it in the theatre! ^_^
I do love him, very much. I love both my parents. But now (after many distractions) I must get to the point of today's blog entry. I love my parents. My parents love folk music. I, on the other hand, despise that kind of music. This year is the 25th anniversary of Edmonton's Folk Music Festival, and my parents have been going for 15 years to this event. I have been going with them for about 8 years, and out of those eight years, I have only found two bands that were worth getting the CDs, and they were both joke bands: Moxy Freuvus and The Arrogant Worms. I go for the company (all of our family friends go) and the food (deep-fried -- everything!). This year, however, I had recently discovered a perilously time-consuming addiction to a certain internet forum (that I will discuss in another entry), and thus was not looking forward to going to the 'Fest. My bad mood soaked into everything, as I discovered I had lost my only verifiable photo ID (my learner's permit) at the Animethon. So I had to brave the scathing ridicule of my father for nigh on three hours, as well as fork over 20$ for a new permit. This also meant that I couldn't enter the beer tent unattended by a parent, even though I was now legal drinking age. Gah! Needless to say, when we finally arrived at the festival grounds, I was thoroughly unhappy. My stomach was twisted with paranoia (what if I got sick from the food and couldn't leave? What if I had to actually use a porta-potty?) and the grounds (a series of steep hills with the stages at the bottom and the audience on the slope) carried the familiar scent of a stray dog after a heavy downpour. After the massive storms and flooding that had wracked our city a few weeks prior, the mosquitos were plentiful, and hungry, and the Churros stand that provided those heavenly deep-fried sugared delights was no longer present!
In the beer tent, I was forced to ignore my mother's friend's cigarette-smoke, a scent I had grown used to over 16 years when my mother smoked, but was now completely intolerable after my mother had successfully quit. However, once I finally made my way up the steep main hill (no mean feat, even for healthy, athletic people, and my parents had put the tarp down in their usual spot: right at the top) and settled down into my new, ridiculously comfortable lawnchair, and opened my Entertainment Weekly, things began to look up. The wailing, irritating performance music drifted, as it usually did, into the background as I socialised with my sisters and my parents' friends' children. It was really quite a pleasant experience at the end, although we didn't stay for the entire night. My mother's best friend, NJ (I will not reveal her entire name, but she's not the one who smokes, thank God), was going through her first Folk Fest experience, but, even for a Folkie virgin, she was enjoying it immensly. That is, until NJ's daughter phoned to warn her that a storm warning had been declared on the television, and that a severe storm, with thunder, hail, and funnel clouds a-plenty, was headed for our city and would touch down in about an hour. Needless to say, we beat a hasty retreat after that, and raced home surrounded by flashing bursts of lightning, with the first drops of rain falling only after we had reached our house in relative safety.
By the way, this really has nothing to do with my blog, but I thought I would mention it. We brought two vehicles, a car and a van, to the Folk Fest Park and ride. My father left with my younger sister (who could drive) for the car, and my mother was prepared to take my youngest sister and me home in the van. That is, until she remembered how much she had had to drink at the beer tent. She didn't even hesitate. She left the van and immediately switched places with our father, who was completely sober. You see, you can prevent drunk driving accidents, you idiots. Use your heads.