Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Copa América

Anyone foolish enough to run out of dish soap on the day Chile plays in the final of the Copa América deserves what they get. The shops are bananas.
            With extra banana.
            This is the first time in 99 years that Chile has made it to the finals, and the whole city has gone joyous fruit-salad levels of happy.

This afternoon I needed to go hop the metro for a run to the divine Tostaduria Talca.  The metro was utterly mad- trains slow, trains interrupted, trains jam packed past the gills with vuvuzelas spilling out the doors!
            The streets were even madder.  Hoots, horns, every other male in a tricolor hat or Red National Team Jersey.  team shirt. No tacos (traffic jams) however; that would interfere with getting home in time for kickoff.  It was the politest set of crazy streets I've ever seen!
            The wooden shelves of the tostaduria (a hole in the wall paradise, home to the best nuts, spices and dried fruit in the city, and purveyor of  dry-goods otherwise unknown and unobtainable in Chile) - were bare and echoing.  Not a single thing that could be even vaguely considered to fall into the category of a snack product was left.  The staff were weary and pushing shut the doors - I grabbed three packets of pecans (Pecans! Pecans in Chile!) that had been overlooked in a corner, and bolted.
            Coming back, the metro was even more ridiculous, but no chance of a taxi - the few yellow-topped cabs on the roads waved me off - they were heading out of the city and home as fast as polite traffic would carry them.

So I went back down into the metro and patiently waited for a train - and sat and dreaded my next stop, the supermarket  - for dish soap  - where I'd been reliably informed that the queues were worse than Dieciocho (18th of September - Chile's national day) or Christmas.
            In the crush of the train, there was a young man beat-boxing with a microphone.  The sound was bouncing off the walls, gonging off our eardrums, but he wasn't busking - just riding so high on anticipation that not singing was entirely out of the question.
            The supermarket was worse than I could have anticipated. Checkout queues half-way to the warehouse, and carts piled high with cuts of meat, crates of booze, and house-size packets of potato chips like the world was coming to an end and it was potato chips that would see us through the apocalypse and out the other side.  More potato chips than I could have believed possible.
            And I walked home through waving flags and car horns.
            And my whole block smells like BBQ and beer.
            Life is tremendous.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Six Shots, Three months, Sleep.

All of them, backdated to yesterday. Or there will be repercussions. Morning breath - lots of it. All the time.

via. catmoji

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Introducing Surf Sounds: Poems by Roger Higgins

Today is all about a party invitation – 

I am very proud to be introducing Surf Sounds, the newest volume of poetry by Australian poet Roger Higgins!

Tonight we’re celebrating the book’s south American launch.  Please join us the Café Musetti in Providencia for an evening of fine wine and finer words!

I admit my involvement right up front – I’ve planned tonight’s party, the advertisements and the invitations.  Jenno, the fabulous new owner of Musetti has selected some seriously nice wines to sip on his primary-colored sofas, and the evening is going to be as solidly pleasurable as Roger’s poetry. 

Come on by!

Date: Thursday 23 April 2015

Time: 20h30 – 23h00 

Venue: Cafe Musetti, Santa Magdalena 87, Local 1, Providencia, Santiago 

Roger Higgins is an Australian who has traveled widely and lived in (alphabetically) Canada, Chile, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, and the USA.  Roger is an engineer by vocation, and has utilized his pen rather more than his camera on many of his travels, bringing together his physical and emotional responses to the environments and situations which he has encountered.  First versions may be written on paper napkins or pieces of paper tablecloths, the backs of boarding passes or the notes screen of a mobile phone. Roger has been published in both magazines and journals. His irst collection Hieroglyphs, was published by Friendly Street Poets 2008. His most recent collection Surf Sounds, is published by Liquid Light Press 2014.

Roger Higgins' poetry is both day by day and exotic. The poet washes his socks and jocks when he showers. He prefers description, narrative and irony to self-dramatization; there’s a lot more to Surf Sounds than ocean, beach and desert.
~ Graham Rowlands, Poet

Surf Sounds can be purchased through amazon, Liquid light Press and Lulu.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Autumn Rains Bring Unexpected Gifts

Thunder!  Lightning!  Power Outages (small ones). RAIN!

We have had our first rain of the Autumn season and it was a good one - howling torments and running around like mad closing summer-open windows as the rain poured in.

The morning after, I sent this email to Mum:

This morning we discovered that our open windows had let in a piteous trail of refugees - all the summer spiders and pill bugs, coming in out of the rain. As for ants  - the ones that live in the bougainvillea outside the bathroom window got flooded out and headed straight in a body towards dryer pastures.
            Mr Tabubil met them before I did. There was much howling.

            "They're coming in EVERYWHERE!"  
            "What are? From where?!"
            "Ants!  Lots and lots of ants!  I don't KNOW!  EVERYWHERE!  Do something!"
            I squeezed a lemon to break their trail with citric acid and went in. I've found.... six ants so far.

            A very large part of me would love to see Mr Tabubil go work for a year in Papua New Guinea or Indonesia for a while, just for a sense of perspective.

Mum wrote back:

Yes, Mr Tabubil needs a good tropical experience with ants and cockroaches and spiders and geckos - and snakes of course. Did I tell you what happened to your father when he opened his suitcase on our return from PNG last week? In front of him and myself, a gigantic cockroach climbed out of his valise. It was awfully big and I had to go thumping after it with a shoe. 
            Oh my, this cockroach had hitchhiked its way across  border crossings to lend to strut its stuff in front of all the not quite as gigantic, Australian cockroaches. The bold effrontery of this specimen.  I am sure it had plans to improve on the gene pool of Australia's cockroaches. I did eventually lay waste to its plans with a final and more enraged assault. I suppose in a way, it's speed and cunning, pitted against - ???  --  I guess I could only offer 'size', gave it the huge advantage.  My size meant nothing against its deviousness.
            Have you noticed how hard it is to exterminate a determined insect!?   

Yes, I surely have.  Mr Tabubil has as well

Mum and I can't really talk, of course.  My deep-freeze Canadian Mr Tabubil might be climbing the furniture but he holds cards of his own.  When the giggling starts, all he has to do is mention Mum's Canadian Bear bells.  And bear stick.  And bear flare.  And the car she picked out because it looked square and solid enough that a hungry bear wouldn't be able to roll it on the first go...

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone!  Best wishes to all on this totally non-sectarian day of chocolate, finger-paint and bunny ears!

This year, I celebrated by dying chicken eggs with a friend and her two small children.  Bunny ears in place, the kids parked themselves at the kitchen ledge mixing bowls of food-color and vinegar.  Danette and I had a slightly more haute-couture technique in mind. 
            It is very elegant and simple - you take a stack of thrifted silk ties with nice bright patterns, and you cut the fabric into squares, and you wrap and tie the silk tightly around the eggs, and you boil the eggs in water with vinegar for quite a long time, and when the eggs are cooled, you unwrap them and you find that the patterns on the silk have transferred artistically to the eggshells.  It's very simple and very elegant and very lovely.
            Danette and I leaned on the kitchen ledge and snipped and wrapped and tied, while a small child dunked boiled eggs in yellow food coloring and solemnly explained that we did this to honor the Easter Rabbit, who once a year pooped out chocolate eggs for all the good little children everywhere. 
            My eyes crossed.  "Are you sure that's not the Easter Chicken?  I thought the Easter Chicken laid the eggs, and the Easter Bunny gives them away in baskets." 
            "Nope."  The small child fished the egg out of the yellow and held it half-way in and half-way out of the red food coloring, making a sort of ombre effect. "The Rabbit poops, and we get them under our pillows."
            Who am I to argue? The Easter Bunny and the Easter Chicken haven't graced my house with the Big Hop in years - I'm old enough that I'm expected to go find my own eggs.

The kid's eggs turned out fantastic.  Kid #1  did a whole Jackson Pollock thing with dribbles and stripes drawn on with a wax candle, and Kid #2 wanted pure colors -

            "Not even a stripe?  Or your name in wax?" 
            "No thank you." He said politely.  "I like mine just plain.  They're perfect."  
            And they were. Really.

Ours, on the other hand…
            Our haute-couture eggs didn't come out quite exactly like the ones in the internet tutorial.  We had wrapped the silk as tightly as possible, but somehow the patterns on the silk didn't adhere to very much of the eggshell, and where it did stick we mostly got lumpy streaks and smears, and one of the ties turned out to contain a very unstable dye that gave everything a base shade of purple. 
            Some test-dyes might have been advisable, in retrospect. I might have done quite a lot of preliminary research, because after-the-fact, the deeper I looked into things, the less simple the silk-dyed-egg technique apparently was - there is quite a lot of crosss-chatter on crafting sites trouble-shooting the elegantly simple instructions and suggesting where to get lots of fresh silk ties in a very big hurry. 
            And most of the eggs burst during boiling, and they hadn't been very nice eggs in the first place, so the blotchy swirls smelled unpleasantly sulpherous and not at all like anything an Easter Rabbit would want underneath her in her Easter nest. 
            They were not, in short, our best efforts.

Mr Tabubil was very severe when he came home. "Not a failure.  Don't use that word.  Did you have fun?"
            "Well - "

            "You all enjoyed yourselves, didn't you?" 
            "I guess - " 
            "Then it wasn't a failure, was it?" 
            "I suppose not." 
            "Right." And then he spoiled it all by giggling. "It's exactly like one of those Pinterest Fails. The instructions look so simple and clear and go step by step so that absolutely anyone can do it - they just don't tell you that doing it correctly needs five years of art school or an apprenticeship with the Culinary Institute of America. The result at home is… less polished.  But you had fun, right? That's what counts."
            The swirls on our eggs were lovely, when you really looked at them, and didn't compare them to the perfect internet version. I went away and ate some chocolate rabbit poop. Non-sulpherously.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Effect of the Occlusion of the Carotid Artery on the Human Female (Age 34)

Public Service Announcement #1: 
It is possible, when working out the kinks in a badly strained neck, for a physiotherapist to press just a little too hard on the patient's carotid artery.
The patient might have to be picked up off the floor.

Public Service Announcement #2:
When a recently unconscious patient is leaning half-passed out against a light post while her husband steps sideways to hail a cab because she can't walk on her own just yet, and you have watched said husband as he propped her up against that light post and walked 6 meters up the street to the taxi rank, then this is with absolute certainty not the moment to cross that street with the specific purpose of pressing your face up to within 12 narrow inches of her face, making aggressive eye contact and leering and doing a solid heavy-breathing up-and-down of her limp and helpless person.

Public Service Announcement #3: 
It would be best to count your blessings that she doesn't have the energy to slug you right in the middle of that leer of yours. Because the next time you pull a stunt like that, somebody's gonna.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Blind Spot of Spatial Absurdity (sort of like this title, really)

Sigh... apparently the one place in our flat that I don't check when I'm looking for my purse is the coat-and-purse rack right next to the front door. It's like a gosh-darned blind spot. Ablack hole. This is the third time in a week I've turned the whole flat upside down and the purse is just... hanging there... watching me.
            Can't it know? Put out little blinky lights or discreet whistling noises? Hum "you're being an idiot again" in beeping morse code or three part harmony? I'd be grateful and actually wash off the marks from when I left the lid off my gel-pen and scribbled down its side -
            See? Mutual accommodations and benefits! Pretty please?