Swan with a dog chaser

As I wrote, it's a tradition in our house to go out to see an inappropriate movie on Christmas. By "inappropriate," I mean something that's kind of the antithesis of the Christmas spirit or which in some way just doesn't fit Christmas. Years ago, we saw Boys Don't Cry, which was pretty darned depressing. I know, some people get depressed on Christmas, but you're not supposed to, so that qualifies as inappropriate. Another year, it was Robert Altman's Pret à Porter, which features a very funny Isaac Mizrahi (the only really good thing about the movie) and ends with a catwalk parade of bony naked fashion models. And last year, we went to see Precious, which was pretty relentlessly depressing, although also brilliant, and with at least a few signs of hope.

This year, we decided on Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, the story of a ballet dancer who wins the role of the Swan Queen in Swan Lake but descends into a spiral of madness in the process of finding her inner Black Swan. There was Oscar buzz about the film and about its star Natalie Portman even before it was released. Seemed like it would fit our requirements.

Here's what happened to me. I could see where the story was going. I knew there was some over-the-top cheese. If I were in a certain mood, it would be easy to make fun of (I think Holly did a brilliant job of that with the trailer). But that's not how I felt. I let the cheese melt away, and I allowed the film to take over. I became very emotionally wrapped up in it. I was crying by the end, not because it was sad, but because it was so intense, so passionate. It was similar to the way I felt after seeing The Piano years ago. When we left the theatre, I was disturbed, wrung-out, and rather disoriented.

I had an unusual rescuer—Japadog. We had seen the cart on our way into the theatre, and we thought, oh, too bad, it will probably be closed by the time we get out of the movie. But it was still going strong! Since it was Christmas, there wasn't the usual lineup to order, but there were still several people getting their Japanese-style hotdog fix. We had planned to make lasagna this evening, but it would have been awfully late by the time we got home. And really, you can't do much better than Japadog for Christmas dinner. One Terimayo (for Sweetie) and one Okonomi (for me) later, and I felt renewed and refreshed. I'm usually a semi-vegetarian, but today I had bacon for brunch, a Japanese pork hotdog for supper, and far too many Christmas cookies in between. Om nom nom nom! Back to the gym on Monday.

We discussed the film all the way home, but I no longer felt disoriented. Even though the film is pure melodrama, I thought it was engrossing. In the midst of the over-the-top nature of the story, I found some surprising subtlety, such as the way Nina's mother (Barbara Hershey) says, upon hearing from Nina that she would be the Swan Queen, "You've been with the company long enough" (the sense of the sentence changes depending on which word you stress). Or the way that Thomas, the company director, tells Nina, "I don't want any boundaries between us." It sounds like something he would say in the situation, but you know it's trouble. Some things were telegraphed, but there was still plenty to keep my brain working and my emotions at full tilt.

By the way, it seems we're not the only people who go for inappropriate movies on Christmas. The theatre was almost full. We were almost late, thanks to buses not coming, so we had to sit way in the front and to the left. But at least I didn't hear any talking or spot any mobile phones.

Before the movie, we saw a few trailers. One was for 127 Hours, the film based on the story of the guy out wilderness hiking whose arm got stuck under a boulder. I had thought that might have been an inappropriate choice, since the guy hacked his arm off in order to survive. And I thought I didn't want to see it anyway, since I get squeamish about cutting and hacking of human limbs. But it seems from the trailer that there might not be much about the arm thing and a lot that might be very engaging and uplifting. Makes sense, really, since you have to lead up to his self-rescue. So it would not have been inappropriate, by our standards, but maybe I will want to see it after all. James Franco is awfully tasty. ;-)

Like a kid

Sweetie had been telling me for weeks that she had got me something special for Christmas. She is terrible with secrets—both not knowing them and keeping them. So it took all her effort to keep my special gift a secret.

I had no idea what she might have come up with. This morning, I open this large, heavy box. Inside are a crash cymbal and high-hat cymbals. There is a drum kit waiting for me at Tom Lee Music! Squee! It was an amazing surprise. I wasn't expecting it at all. Oh, she knew I'd be getting a kit. But I didn't think she would get there first.

I was waiting until we had cleared out space in the basement. There used to be a practice space down there where I would play guitar and bass and record songs, but it has been taken over by boxes of teacher things. I'm thinking now that it was silly to wait on buying drums until we cleaned up. Now we must clean up! It's good to have strong incentive. And another week off work.

I have the best baby in the entire world! ♥ ♥ ♥

We have been having a very traditional Christmas—gift opening, pancakes and bacon, and listening to our favourite Christmas music from the Barra MacNeils and the Morehouse College Glee Club. Later we will honour another tradition—going out to see a movie that's completely inappropriate for Christmas. This year, we'll be seeing Black Swan.

Hope your day is merry and bright!


Christmas for all

I was brought up Catholic, but Catholicism and Christianity and I parted ways a long time ago. Actually, theism and I parted ways a long time ago as well. I'm just not a faith person. Some people's brains work that way. Mine doesn't.

I'm always tempted to say that Christmas should be left to Christians. In origin, it was a celebration of the birth of their christos, their anointed one. It doesn't matter that the Church intentionally set the celebration to coincide with the midwinter feast of other cultures (notably the Roman Saturnalia). The meaning of Christmas itself is still the nativity, the birth of the Christian messiah.

Of course, Christianity has always been evangelical. From the very first, it was about telling others of their "good news." So it would only make sense for Christians to want to share their midwinter celebration with the world. Even if non-Christians celebrate it differently, Christians can say that it's all part of the same celebration.

Even beyond Christian evangelism, the narrative in the Gospel of Luke contains universal themes. Unlike the author of the Gospel of Matthew, the author of the Gospel of Luke wanted to reach out to "the nations." His messiah didn't come only for the Jews. He came for everyone. And to go along with that event, we have a night of peace, of song, and of universal brotherhood (and sisterhood, we hope). The first outsiders to see the baby are poor shepherds. It was the Pax Romana stood on its head.

So even though my midwinter celebration is not about Jesus, I will happily celebrate along with believers and nonbelievers alike. There will be light and music and food and generosity and love.

Happy Christmas to you! Here's my favourite non-sacred Christmas song:


Welcome to Moviephone!

So you have a day off. You go to this really nice stadium-seating theatre in the afternoon. You pay your seven bucks, because it's bargain Tuesday. You get a ticket to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. Then you spend the next two and a half hours whispering to your friend or periodically checking the phone you were supposed to have turned off for the duration.

WTF is wrong with these people?

I know this is nothing new. At least now, people usually don't take actual phone calls during a movie. But I ask you. How can someone go see a film, especially something like Deathly Hallows, and not get immersed in the experience? Does the movie not affect them? Do they stay detached from it? Are these people actually human?

There is an important death at one point in the film. I won't say who died, because some people only see the movies and haven't read the books, so they don't know the plot in advance. Anyway, Sweetie and I are sniffling away because it's, like, friggin sad. And before the scene is even over, the guy to my right is checking his phone—again.

The actions might be a generational thing, but what was once rude is still rude: talking, whispering loudly, and turning on a light (i.e., a mobile phone screen). I mean, if you don't like the movie, you don't have to stay. I'll let you slide past me. If you want to talk and do distracting shit during the movie, maybe you should wait for the DVD so you can watch it at home.

It seems like an addiction. If somehow they were prevented from talking, would they be able to stand it? If they had to leave their mobiles at the door, would they make it through the movie? Or would they be like cigarette smokers who can't go for too long without a fix?

It's fortunate that Deathly Hallows is a very engrossing movie. But I don't have the ability to focus that Sweetie does. Distractions are distracting to me. I still loved the film, but I would have loved it more if a few people around us were bound and/or gagged. A bit of light bondage, as it were. Just for two and a half hours, of course.


Songs, interrupted

I've been reading Kristin Hersh's memoir Rat Girl. In reading about her songwriting process (if that's what you could call it), I started thinking about how I used to write songs. I wasn't dealing with bipolar disorder, but songs did used to be the way I got things out of my system. The songs from the period when I did most of my writing were often angry, defiant, or full of longing, and sometimes all three. Steve Earle once wrote a song called "I Ain't Ever Satisfied," and that's how things were for me in those days. Bad for life, but good for song production.

These days, my writing impulse seems to have shifted to blogs. That's how I get stuff out. No meter and no rhyme! And there isn't nearly the urgency behind it that there used to be when I was writing songs, at least not usually. But I do love to write. I seem not to be able to refrain from writing in some way.

Recently, I actually finished a new song, the first I've written in many years. Well, it's almost finished. It probably needs a bridge, and I am terrible at bridges. I should probably collaborate with someone who is good at writing bridges. But even without the bridge, it's pretty much there.

It's a quiet song, not a band song. I wrote it for me on acoustic guitar, but that's not how most of my songs have been. I learned years ago that I write best in context—in other words, when I have a band to write for. The band would sound a certain way, and I would write for that sound. I would also write for how I wanted the band to sound, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. But it was great to hear a song move quickly from one guitar to a complete arrangement. And the band would change the song, of course. It was always an interactive process.

I have more songs in my head, but I need to play with others to make them happen. I really enjoyed the process of writing with my band at Ladies Rock Camp. I like writing lyrics myself, but I love to bang out guitar and bass and drum riffs to see what happens. Jamming, but not endless noodling. Jamming with a purpose. It has always been my dream to be part of creating a true musical collaboration.

We're hoping to make some of that happen before too long. I'm taking only one course next term, not two, so I hope I will have more time for things like playing music. I was jealous last weekend of people who've gotten together with their rock camp bands! But no sense being jealous. Better just to play!

I'm also starting drum lessons today, finally. I don't yet have a kit in the basement practice space. The basement practice space is full of stuff right now. But I am going ahead with lessons anyway. I do have my practice pad, and a lot of what I'll be learning at first will be how to keep a steady beat. Bring on the fundamentals! Maybe I'll finally learn an instrument the right way instead of faking it.

Although I have always liked faking it on guitar.


A wild hare

The band a friend of ours is in was heading to Portland (Oregon) to play a set to benefit the Rock'n' Roll Camp for Girls, along with a band in which two other friends play, one of whom was my drum teacher at Ladies Rock Camp. Says I to my sweetie, Let's go down. Sure it's a six-hour drive each way. And yes, we should have spent the weekend doing all that Christmasy stuff we haven't done yet. But the lure of a road trip won.

Highlights only, lest this entry get too long (and boring):

Lunch at Subway on the way down was one of the last somewhat healthful meals we ate all weekend. A Monte Cristo and a double patty melt at the Alibi were not the height of good nutrition (although I did have a salad with mine). The Sunday morning breakfast burrito at the Morning Star Cafe was awesome but also huge. It did include some token spinach and mushrooms, but mostly it was full of yummy egg, potato, and cheese. Lunch on both Sunday and Monday consisted of cupcakes, first from Saint Cupcake in Portland, then from Trophy Cupcakes and Party in Bellvue. And Sunday night dinner consisted of a couple of truly awesome slices (and a beer) from Mississippi Pizza, which was where the gig took place.

It poured rain on the drive down, especially when we got past Olympia. I didn't push it, and we stayed safe, although it took some effort. At one point, we were in the left lane on I-5. A pickup truck on the right started inching over toward me. I honked the horn because we were about to get clipped. I then slowed down a bit since the lads were obviously intent on cutting us off anyway. For that, as they sped away ahead of us, we got the finger. Boys, if you ended up in a ditch later, I hope you didn't take anyone else with you.

Karaoke at the Alibi on Saturday night gets very full very quickly. We weren't going to fit 15 or so people into that room. K totally rocked for finding space for us at the Ambassador. They charge a cover there, and the drinks are expensive, but the karaoke setup was quite good. I made my solo debut. I've always been a singer, but I used to avoid karaoke like the plague. Now I'm kind of into it. Who knew?

Seeing Lather, Rinse, Repeat and Four on the Floor play on Sunday night was a real treat. I got to watch my drum teacher do some actual playing! She's really smooth. Loved checking out her technique. And our friend S, who has been playing bass for only about four years, was wonderful—not just playing but singing a couple of songs as well. And I tell ya, I want more of that pizza!

Social interaction this weekend was great! On the way down in all that rain, we stopped to see a friend and give her a wedding gift. On Saturday night, we got to see several of the women we had met at Ladies Rock Camp a couple months ago. Camp kept us busy, and I didn't get to know people very well. Facebook and a couple of blogs have helped that, so this mini-reunion was really excellent. And we met some new people as well. On Sunday, Sweetie and I had a lovely day together. Then in the evening, we got to see a few of the women we'd seen on Saturday plus some who hadn't made it. So on one or the other night, we had members of Cupcake Coalition, Bad Ladyfinger, Slutty Black Dress, M-Bedded (only me, sadly), and all members of Change Channel. Awesome! And we finished the night over beers with members and friends of Four on the Floor and some rock camp ladies.

I heard that the rock camp donation jar hit around $300. Woot! That's close to the amount that allows one girl to go.

Despite a few stops, we made it across the border and to a tree farm in time to get our Yule tree (they close when it gets dark, which happens early these days). It's a beauty too—a locally grown Fraser fir, just the right height and width for our rather small living room. I'd heard that imported American trees were hurting local growers, but this place seemed to be doing well. It's expensive to get this kind of tree, but I'm glad to help a family business. For some reason, our stand isn't holding it straight, even though it's secured. We're going to have to figure that one out toot sweet.

Ah, the Portland connection is strong, both to the city and to people we know. We'd like to win the lottery so we can have a pied-à-terre in Portland. Arrange this plz. kthxbai.


Speech, knees, and critical thinking

"One person's heroic anarchism is another's self-indulgent immaturity. Just sayin'."

That was me "just sayin'" on Facebook. I got unfriended by someone when I wrote that, although the statement was general, it was inspired by the Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks on perceived enemies of WikiLeaks.

I'm disturbed by what seems to be a lack of critical thinking on the issue of WikiLeaks and the DDOS attacks. There seems to be a lot of automatic, uncritical support for both of these operations, and it comes from my side of the political spectrum.

As usual, the spin starts in media releases—and never mind the irony of self-proclaimed defenders of "the truth" engaging in spin. WikiLeaks is described as "whistleblowers." It doesn't matter what they release. This is an example of devaluing the currency. A whistleblower exposes wrongdoing, often at great personal risk. Some of what WikiLeaks is doing seems to fall into that category, notably documents on operations in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. But as a whole, should what WikiLeaks is doing be described as whistleblowing? The release of diplomatic cables, basically gossip? What about the release of a document that changed the result of an election in Kenya and led to the massacre of more than a thousand people? Should those be called whistleblowing?

But it seems we have no choices other than to support WikiLeaks completely or oppose them completely. That is not critical thinking. That is a knee-jerk reaction. I don't understand how anyone can support a political position uncritically. That's just toeing a party or ideological line. That's what leads loyal followers to overlook atrocities.

What about the DDOS attacks on Visa, Mastercard, and a few other targets? Do those really have anything to do with defending free speech? Or are the hackers simply having the kind of fun they would be having anyway in service of nothing but their own strange idea of pleasure?

One thing that gets lost in such anarchistic operations is democracy. Julian Assange decides what gets exposed. I don't. Neither do you. A group of hackers decides whether you can reach an e-commerce site. I don't. Neither do you. People declare themselves champions, but no one voted for them. No one can hold them accountable.

Free speech is not at one end of a continuum between "I can say anything I want" and "I can't say anything." It lies somewhere in between. Freedom without responsibility, without thinking, without some grasp of the meaning and usefulness of confidentiality, is dangerous. Yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre is technically free speech, but does anyone find it acceptable? What if someone told me something in confidence, and I decide that it should be splashed all over the Twitterverse? Am I exercising free speech, or just being a bitch?

As a trained counsellor, I understand what confidentiality is for. Without it, people cannot speak freely. When I was seeing clients, they had to know that they could say what was truly on their minds without being afraid that I would break that confidence.

Confidentiality, like free speech, has limits. Counsellors work under a "duty to report" in cases where a client talks of harm to self or others, especially children. Clients are told that up front. I would say that in some of the leak situations, there was some kind of "duty to report." Some of that stuff should have been exposed, and I'm glad it was.

The trouble is, WikiLeaks uses no judgment. Everything goes out, no matter how trivial, regardless of the potential for harm. Absolute free speech becomes a god, and anyone who brings up even the idea of a limit on it is accused of espousing censorship.

I am in favour of free speech. I truly am. But can't I do that while also understanding that discretion might sometimes be a good idea? Can't I do that while understanding that confidentiality is useful and indeed sometimes vital in international relations? Can't I do that while thinking that children bombarding commercial websites are not, in fact, the champions of freedom? Can't I use my brain to decide exactly what I support?


Geek power

We're bumming at the thought of no America's Next Top Model tonight. Some cycles grab us more strongly than others, and this last one really had us hooked.

By now, everyone must know that Ann won the whole enchilada, much to the chagrin of Chelsey, who said to the camera that she felt cheated. I can actually understand why she would feel that way. She brought a lot to the table, not just her experience and her knowledge of the fashion business but also solid work week after week. Her look was never my favourite, but they chose to keep her until the very end. They heaped praise on her at panel. Given the editing, you might have thought that Chelsey had more points than Ann.

It was not to be. In some ways, I think the fix was in, and Chelsey sensed that. They simply wanted Ann. But it wasn't a fix in the way of cheating. It's more what Roberto Cavalli said when the panel were deliberating: Chelsey would be good for America, but Ann better for Europe. And this cycle was about Europe.

(We both wondered what Cavalli would have said if Kayla had been there instead of Chelsey. Did they eliminate Kayla to make the final choice clearer?)

Ann was far from perfect. By some standards, she was not the strongest candidate. She did win best photo for, what, six weeks in a row? Five anyway. But so many other things were a disaster, epitomized by the roller skating commercial. Her lack of confidence in herself threatened to send her home much earlier, but she rallied enough to keep herself in the running.

She came through in the head-to-head with Chelsey, but it was no knockout. Chelsey held her own very well, and again, in some ways, was probably better. Certainly Chelsey's walk is better, although I was really proud of Ann for having clearly done so much work on hers. The two of them chewed the scenery a little but not too much in the Cover Girl commercial. And it kept looking like Chelsey had the better still photo shoot.

It really came down to the look. Chelsey is too normal, too American girl next door. Ann is appropriately weird. So tall. So thin. So gawky. A face that's not classically beautiful but that photographs wonderfully and, most important, interestingly.

It might also have had something to do with emotion. Chelsey was always in control, and that was true for her photographs as well. She always delivered good product, but it was never exciting product. She never appeared vulnerable. Even though sometimes I despaired over Ann's constant negativity, she was also well in touch with her emotions—probably too much sometimes. But I think that helped in the end. It made her photos more interesting. She drew you in.

That was a key for me. We were rooting for Ann all along. I sometimes cry at the moment of the final selection. I certainly did this time. Ann's victory was a victory for geeks and freaks, for kids who were picked on in school. As Nigel Barker said to her, she's not normal. And that's why she's top model.


Therapy that works

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I hadn't realized until Thursday night just how stressed I've been lately. It's mostly because of school, I think. It's not that these courses are so difficult, but there's a lot of reading involved and several assignments, not to mention actual tests. Most project assignments involve at least one other person, and I find that stressful. I love working with other people, but I feel like I have to make extra sure to do my part and not let the other person(s) down. I don't want them getting a poor mark because of me.

So by Thursday night, one final exam was behind me, and the shared editing assignment was filed. I had a bit of a breakdown during my little Wiccan unwinding ritual. Fortunately, my metaphorical goddess understands.

I still have one more final exam to go (tomorrow), but I'm feeling much less stressed. One of the reasons is probably the absolutely wonderful retail therapy I got yesterday.

It was a meetup of The Fashionistas, one of my Meetup groups. Shopping on Main Street! In Vancouver, several blocks of Main Street (which really isn't), an area called "Mid-Main," are chock full of boutiques of locally designed clothes and jewellery, as well as enough coffee shops to caffeinate the entire city. My new thing is to buy fewer clothes of better quality, and when possible designed and made in Canada, using sustainable materials, and all that cool green stuff. The shops on Main Street are all about that.

I arrived at The Main, a kind of hip Greek restaurant, at 11:30, right on time. J, the group leader who knows the area well, was there already, and E, whom neither J nor I had met yet, arrived shortly after. There were supposed to be five of us and as many as eight possible, but apparently things didn't work out for some people. It was just as well to have a very small group for shopping anyway.

We had a nice lunch, then crossed the street and headed north. I can't even remember how many stores we popped into. J was looking for a dress for holiday parties. I was too, but also just shopping in general. My winter wardrobe is a bit thin. Some of the shops aren't actually local. You can quickly tell when a place is selling imported goods, by the price if nothing else. It does cost more to buy locally made goods, but you get what you pay for. I was actually wearing a skirt I got in Nelson, B.C., from a designer and manufacturer called Lilikoi, because I was looking for tops to match with it. I got snaps for that skirt in several places.

I think it was Lushuz where J bought some soft, warm leggings. I found things I liked, but not in my size. The first boutique where I struck pay dirt is called Devil May Wear, a great shop with room to move around in and a cool loom in the window. I found a magenta skirt with a bias-cut hem that I fell in love with. My companions agreed that it looked really good. There was also a grey version that might have been more versatile, but this one just looked better. We chatted for quite a while with the shop owner about local design, sustainable materials, and how Vancouverites just don't appreciate nice clothes.

I had to stop in at Twigg & Hottie, which shows up all the time in the style column of The Georgia Straight. T&H sell clothes from several local designers, including Devil May Wear. What I found there were a plain, black long-sleeved top that went perfectly with my hard-to-match Lilikoi skirt, and a poncho made of repurposed wool and cashmere sweaters. They had several of those scattered through the store, and the one I fell in love with was, what else, a kind of pink-purple. I have always wanted a poncho, and this was perfect. The poncho, top, and my skirt all fit together as if they were made for each other.

E had to go, and I claimed I was cut off from buying any more, but we weren't done yet. J and I crossed the street and started back down the other side. We stopped in at Two of Hearts. I found a top for a good price, and that was all I intended to buy. But then I saw this black, long-sleeved, criss-cross-neckline dress. I thought, well, I can try it on anyway. As soon as I saw it in the mirror, I knew my buying wasn't quite done. I stepped out of the change room, and J totally agreed. Somehow, it just fit perfectly and looked right. And depending on accessories, it could go either more or less formal.

The top went back.

OK, I really was done at that point. J and I had some lovely conversation over mochas at Salt Spring Coffee Company and then parted ways. No, I can't afford that kind of thing every day, but it really hit the spot on Saturday—not just the spending, but the company and the whole process. Love love love.


In the studio, 1969 [REVIVED]

Frackin MTV! I should have left my broken blog entry up for a bit longer. Apparently, whatever copyright problems there were got resolved by posting different images on the "videos." Grrrr. I'm not going to reconstitute my scintillating prose and pithy observations. That ship done sailed. I'll just post the link to the blog that featured this for anyone who wants to check it out.


Paging Dr. Godot

So I'm finishing up work, IMing with a friend (multitasking, right?) when all of a sudden I am staring at a blank screen. Lights out. House quiet. We hardly ever lose power here, but hardly ever is not never.

I can't wrap up work. I can't work on my school assignment. I go downstairs, light a few votive candles, and play my guitar. The candles aren't for atmosphere, although they do pretty well in that department. It's kind of grey and gloomy, and since it's almost 3 o'clock, the house is getting dark. I'm trying to learn some lyrics, including those to a song I just wrote, so I need to read. (The song needs a bridge. Anyone got a bridge?)

I see a firetruck pull up in front of the apartment building across the street. I'm not sure how widespread the outage is. I think maybe some nefarious activity in the building having to do with cultivation or chemistry has caused the problem. But the firetruck leaves in a few minutes, and still no power.

Then I realize I need to go out to do some errands. I don't know if power is on over where the stores are, but I figure I'll get outside anyway. Rubber boots and all, because it's raining. Leave it to Vancouver to make rubber boots chic. Mine have a pretty pattern on them.

When I get to the park, I see that the traffic light to my right is out. But I can see lights on the other side of the park. So it seems the outage is very local, probably a blown transformer or something like that. I walk across the park and up the street and start doing errands: buying rolls to go with lentil stew tonight, checking on a prescription, getting some money out of the ATM.

I'm about to go into the supermarket to pick up a few things when I notice that there is no one in chairs at the clinic next door. I've been meaning to get my flu shot. Before last year, I had never gotten one, but two years ago I contracted H1N1, before there was really any talk about it. I felt like complete poo for three weeks. Last year I got my first flu shot ever, and I was well all winter. So I'm back for more.

I tell the woman at reception that I'm there for a flu shot. She tells me I shouldn't have to wait long because there's only one person ahead of me. There seems to be only one doctor on duty, and they have no nurse. So I sit down, and sure enough, it's only a few minutes until I get escorted to a room.

Where I wait. And wait. I don't have a book. I hadn't planned on doing this at all. I wait some more. I can hear the doctor with someone in a room next door. I stick my head out the door. I notice one door has a "do this one next" sign on it. I am sorely tempted to move it to my door. I'm not supposed to have my mobile phone on, but I fire it up and call Sweetie. She's busy and only partly sympathetic to my whining.

It's getting close to an hour. Srsly. I usually get Zen about waiting, but I really need to do that school work, not to mention make supper, assuming the power is back on. The doctor finally pops in. She's very nice, an older South Asian woman. She says, "Oh, you're just here for a flu shot! If I'd known that, I would have come here first." Great. Nice scheduling, front desk! The doctor is done with me in literally one minute. I wait an hour for a one-minute flu shot. But once you start, once you've wasted enough time for it to feel like it's been too long, you don't want to bail.

I should not have done this on a day when I didn't have time to spare. I should not have allowed myself to be lured by the sight of an empty waiting room. Shit happens. Murphy was an optimist.

I'm finally out the door. I get my groceries. I pick up my prescriptions. I head home as quickly as possible. The power is on again. It was out for about an hour. The hour I'll never get back. Oh well.

At least I don't seem to be having much of a reaction to the flu shot. I just need more sleep. Yes, I did get that school work done.