Still on the Trail of the Cockroach
Still researching the cockroach article:
- Befriended a doctor’s receptionist over the phone who wants to join me on my roach forays at Chinese pharmacies.
- One Chinese pharmacist I visited also turns out to be a fortune-teller; he refused to divulge any secrets about my future but gave me his card to make an appointment for consultation.
- The guy who runs the SFU invertebrate library invited me over for a visit.
- A friend’s mom told me that she remembers roaches being barbecued curbside in Hong Kong during the Sixties.
- This same friend’s mom told me she had roach broth as a cure for her coughing – it tastes salty. (The other cure for sore throats is still-warm one-year-old male urine.)
I decided to take my research in a different direction and see if anyone out there eats roaches. My curiosity went too far. I really didn’t need to know that there is a cockroach porn video. You didn’t either.
Just as I think about hiatus, everyone else threatens to disappear entirely: Jen, Litblitz and MaikoPunk. Never mind that one of the greats, Baboon Ass, packed up and left town forever.
Meanwhile, Tina and Eeksy-Peeksy just returned after a few low-lying months.
It’s Blogger. That’s the web thingie that hosts our blogs, or whatever the correct techie terminology is. Blogger supplies us with the spamalicious blogspot address, the Hotmail of the blogging world, now turned away from leaving comments on at least one other blogging competitor.
Blogger has a transient sort of feel to it. That must be why no one stays here for long. Either they really get into blogging and redesign the template before they scoot over to an address free of blogspot or they just plain quit.
I thought about quitting before. After all, this is a complete waste of time. And this chair is really uncomfortable.*
I’ve been writing since I was eight or so, whether it’s been ‘zines, comic strips, newsletters, press releases, ripped-off Tolkien poetry, diaries, handwritten letters in the Victorian style, this blog or epic short stories that have gotten me booed off stage. I’m finally getting a bit of adulation (thank you!) but most nights I’m bingeing on Oreo cookies to Abba songs.
I’m sticking around because this is slightly more productive in a long line of literary procrastination that delves, at times, into diaries of unrequited crushes – eight notebooks once! – and snarky letters to the ex.
One solution I see fit is to follow Paul’s advice:
Cut down on the number of posts. Quality, not quantity. If you write 3 posts, consider publishing them over 2-3 weeks to give yourself some breathing room. Get your life back.
Paul is a good authority. Not only is he a blogspot squatter too, he gets double-digit comments to every post. He’s popular online. He knows what he’s talking about.
I was going to conclude with the plea About-to-quit bloggers, please reconsider? On second thought, I won’t. Who am I to know what your reasons are?
*Raspberry will recognize this chair from the lightbulb company. When I left, I didn’t steal just the pens like everyone else.
The Medea of Monotony
“I need to keep my strength up so I can live my pointless life among the rocks on this mountain!”
(From the Pika Headquarters)
“In reality a director always makes the same film, at least for a long period of his life, just as a poet always writes the same poem.”
Pier Paolo Pasolini
One Medea grew bored with the sacrifice-grow-sacrifice-grow routine.
It gets tedious after a while to always strangle young men with a log, chop them up into bits, and smear leaves with their blood.
Enough already! thought Medea.
Colchis was no fun. Yeah, they had a golden fleece, but so what? At night there was nowhere to go but to pray in the temple.
Medea was as blue as her wardrobe.
Then a chance at fun. She had to chop up her brother, Absyrtis, along the way – you know how it goes.
(Her brother’s demise was quite different from those other fertility rites. Medea’s mom freaked out.)
Medea experienced pangs of conscience. Jason, though, knew how to soothe that out.
That’s when Medea ditched her dark dress in favour of clean white lines.
It didn’t last long. Soon a new bride rode into town.
Medea could no longer gaze over the landscape of Jason’s body. He even accused her of only liking him for his body.
She went back to wearing darks. Things were more boring now than before. At least in Colchis everyone liked her. Corinth didn’t want her within its gates.
How could Medea know that she’d have more fun yet? There was Aegeus of Athens and maybe Achilles in the afterlife. How can anyone know what the future may bring? Medea, archaeologists now guess, was a shaman back home, not a sorceress as the Greeks made her out to be. No wonder she was all gloom and doom when Jason dumped her.
It’s old news now:
Recent pictures showed that William (20 [he's 23 now]) had an incipient bald patch at the back of his head, the Mail said, adding the young prince had beaten his uncle Edward in the race to be the youngest bald royal by around 12 months.
I learned only today.
Instead of the “restorative ointments, nettle soup, liquid manure and a diet of potatoes” recommended to his grandfather, I recommend my latest crush’s chest hairs. He’s got plenty and I am sure he wouldn’t miss a few. I know that might stop me from staring in puzzlement – do I feel horror? do I accept it as natural? – at his open collars.
If I were living in Taiwan or Romania, I would be writing a version of Bangkok Street Dogs.
A friend adopted her Socrates off a Taiwanese street and even imported him to Canada. When strangers wonder what this huge bone-thin breed of a white dog is, she tells them he’s an Ethiopian terrier.
My parents adopt Romanian street dogs. They usually have from three to six dogs at any one time. Sometimes they find new homes for the excess dogs.
Cora was one of those dogs. She came in a bundle, with her two brothers, Eddie and shy little CÄƒprioarÄƒ.
I vowed to adopt Eddie and bring him to Canada. A car ran him over. I turned my attentions to CÄƒprioarÄƒ and enticed him out of his shyness. Then a car ran him over.
Cora should have been next but she had a troubling habit of hanging out in the bar bathroom. She liked the garbage cans there. One day she came out with a used menstrual pad taped to her head.
A barmaid eventually offered to adopt Cora. Cora now lives happily with a dalmatian and a yappy shih-tzu. Cora also kills her owner’s pet cats. She literally tears apart any cat foolish enough to exist in her vicinity.
Some of you may remember my sweet pup, LÄƒuricÄƒ. A car hit him last September 17.
Now our other sweet pup, the scruffy-looking Flocea – or Pubic Hair in English – is sick. The medicine isn’t happening. The illness has attacked his brain.
My father learned how to wield a syringe and how to administer vaccines to his dogs. He goes out of his way, for a Romanian, to help his dogs.
He is not a sentimentalist however. He warned me that soon Flocea will be put to sleep.
I am a little consternated. If Flocea must die, what death is better?
On the Trail of the Cockroach
For an article, I needed to interview a Chinese pharmacist about cockroach medicine.
At the first pharmacy the lady behind the counter said she didn’t speak English. Judging by her clothes – the half-uniform that passes in Mainland China for anything outside of casual Friday – I could probably have switched to Mandarin and harass her with my cockroach questions. She looked terrified of me so I had pity on her.
In the second shop, I snatched away a business card. I’ll phone them later and quiz from where they can’t see me.
At the third shop, Mr. Pho Bich Nga and I tried a different approach. We began waving around the Chinese medicine Viagra-knock-offs with their ancient Chinese porn packaging.
That got their attention.
“Can I help you?” said one of the pharmacists.
“Yes, I am a freelance writer and I am researching the medicinal uses of cockroaches in fighting constipation. Can you answer some of my questions?”
His face blanched and he told me he doesn’t speak much English. He handed me over to a coworker, one not wearing a white lab coat.
The new guy protested that the pharmacist knew more than he did. I looked over my shoulder to see the pharmacist run out the back door.
“Besides, I don’t speak much English,” said the new guy.
“That’s ok. I can speak some Mandarin.”
Cornered, he answered that yes, cockroaches can cure constipation but they are far too expensive to be worthwhile.
He opened a low drawer and pulled out a square tin box without a lid. It was filled to the middle with roaches. He explained the difference between these roaches, wingless, southern ones, that cure fractures, and the roaches that cure constipation.
He took out another box from the same drawer that held the roaches. He plonked this box on the counter.
Then he stuck his hands in to let the scorpions trickle through his fingers. A scorpion and a scorpion fragment catapulted onto my notepad.
He picked up the whole scorpion but left the fragment on my notepad.
“Are you sure you don’t want to know about scorpions?” he asked. “They’re even better for constipation.”
Snapped Like a Twig
The ex is acting all Tom Cruise on me. Lucky for me, Spirit Fingers points out why I would rather not be the Ex’s Katie Holmes:
Joy turned to tragedy in the early hours of the morning when Tom Cruise accidentally snapped his Katie Holme’s neck while in the throes of passion. The pair of lovebirds had just announced their engagement at a packed press conference when Tom manfully grabbed Katie’s hair. He then pulled her head into a clinch to prepare for a macho show of affection. However the brute force of his loving left arm against Katie’s throat was too much pressure for her neck vertebrae to bear.
Shocked onlookers said that Tom was unable to hear the lethal snap of his fiancee’s bones over his maniacal laughter as he described what a magnificent, extraodinary and unbelievable woman Katie was. Even as her body went limp, he continued to whisper into his lover’s ear “are you OK?” and “darling, smile for the cameras”.
More evidence here.
Here I am. Irrevocably in my thirties. There’s no turning back now. I’m stuck here for a good nine years.
It’s not quite like prison because, unlike prison, where you get out early for good behaviour, after these nine years I graduate to more hard time. My mother tells me it’s all flatulence from there on. I’d better enjoy my thirties.
It’s hard to enjoy this time, though, when my biological clock ticking. It’s like the Doomsday Clock and it’s always 1953 for me. At midnight, the fairy godmother’s spell will break. I will suddenly transform into the bearded lady and mammograms will begin pancaking my breasts.
My relatives want to save me before the spell breaks. Already they have dangled me and the offer of a Canadian passport before an obese construction worker with a penchant for blondes, a foul-mouthed gas salesman, a swarthy “professor” twice my age, a coal miner, and a “bodyguard” (Romanian for “security guard with a neck the width of a treetrunk”).
I’m not entirely sure if I am in such a rush. I would hate to marry someone in a hurry to beat the clock and then meet Mr. Right at the table next to ours at the honeymoon hotel.
MaikoPunk tried to help by offering me different scenarios of happiness. Unlike my relatives’ attempts, I do appreciate that MaikoPunk cared enough to lay out the blueprint of my eventual happiness. There was one right fit.*
I know exactly what I am looking for and I certainly have not met him yet. I’m pretty sure he is thousands of kilometres away from here. I am also certain that he’s neither Canadian nor Romanian. He better damn well speak English.
Oh, and future Mr. Maktaaq, it would also really help me to recognize you if you at least look like Johnny Depp.
Karen of Rurality put it into perspective: “I used to go around moping that even the mule-faced woman (from a documentary about circus “freak shows”) was married.”
Here we go. The mule-faced woman. She must have had some charms. Now that we know sex with Angelina Jolie** isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Karen goes further: “I had 5 cats at one time too!”
That’s pretty deadly. Five cats. It’s like asking for eternal loneliness.
Yet Karen made it through this debilitating condition: “…it all worked out in the end.”
In Garden State, that Natalie Portman character had a hamster farm. And she ended up with someone at the end of the movie.
Maybe a hamster wall unit of tangled plastic tubes with another half dozen hamsters is what I need.
*Your gift is very, very much appreciated. It’s a good thing someone once told me I look like Kate Winslet, so now I can easily fantasize myself into the deleted Paris Hilton-inspired scenes from Finding Neverland. Heck, I am going to erase Keira Knightley and really have some fun marooned on that rum island.
**Billy Bob is just jealous. If you follow that link, you can vote for sex with Angelina or sex with Billy Bob’s couch.
Birthday Week is just about over. I had last year’s statistics floating around.
Congratulatory Messages from Teddy Bears
2005: 14 (I brought a roomful of strangers two boxes of doughnuts in an effort to up the numbers)
Number of Phonecalls Involving Songs
Number of Times I Had to Shut My Eyes
2005: Most of the time, due to my first-ever migraine (tomorrow is our one-month anniversary – my doctor wants me to go for a CT scan or whatever it’s called)
Song Stuck in My Head as a Result
2004: Mr. Roboto
Plus I fell down the stairs, I have to find a new job, my ex is getting married & is acting like Tom Cruise, I haven’t heard from my best friend in three months, all my photos turn out like those in Ring (Japanese version), and I have no family. I hate life so much.
CrenguÅ£Äƒ Update II
CrenguÅ£Äƒ finally screamed.
I tripped over her hamster ball; the ball spun around in a tight circle.
Her screams were terrifying. I thought I’d killed her. Of course, she peed her pants. The hamster ball oozed with hamster urine. I apologized to her while she had free run of the lamp table.
A pearl drop of hamster musk poked out of her butt.
CrenguÅ£Äƒ also has a new habit. Whenever she has not had enough of a walkie in the hamster ball, she attacks her water dispenser. The only problem is that now the floor of her cage is soaked.
Since she turned her house into a latrine, I keep having to wash it (usually an overnight soak) and the lack of a house means that she must make her nest directly on the floor.
Now that the floor is wet, she keeps relocating her nest around the cage.
In conclusion, all this detail lavished on my hamster means I am a certified spinster. The only solution is that my collection of pharmaceuticals is vast, I have vodka and plastic bags are everywhere. Get it over and done with already!