Sunday, August 30, 2009

La folie de doute.

That's what the French called it; the madness of doubt, the doubting disease. Though classified as an anxiety disorder, OCD is at it's core about doubt and uncertainty, at least in my experience and from what I've read. It's about wanting 100% guarantees; difficulties in accepting risk and having your mind constantly whisper insidiously 'what if?'.

It's like that feeling you might get a few miles after leaving your home when you think 'did I turn off the iron?' and you can't remember for sure and you can't shake the thought and you get freaked out by the possibilities it contains. OCD's like that but on steroids. At least when the OCD is flaring up, as it is for me currently.

I'm going to empty my head a bit...

I'm feeling very fucked up by it all; very anxious, very on edge, very frightened.

I'm hoping that just typing the following helps in some small way. You'll think this is fucking nuts... and that's ok cos I do too.

My irrational fears, my irrational thoughts, my 'what if?'s, my OCD revolves around the idea of contracting rabies. I fear that I will some how catch it... what if?, what if?, what if?...

I can accept doubt and risk and uncertainty in most areas of life, like anyone else can and does. In fact, I am often drawn to ideas, artworks, films that contain uncertainty and doubt and I have had moments in my life of being a risk taker. But, for whatever reason, I am hooked by this rabies fear. I am finding it very difficult to live with the uncertainty, the inability to get that 100% guarantee that I'm safe. And it's affecting my life in a very not so nice way.

Sometimes (a lot of times lately) I fucking hate my mind.

Aside: I have no idea about the photo. I plonked in 'la folie de doute' in Google and there he was... who can I resist a naked man, with a handlebar moustache, riding backwards on a dead cheetah while holding a sword?

Friday, August 28, 2009

I'm such a hawtie.

I just have to walk past a few trees to start a forest fire. Ha!

I was walking past a local park, (Beacon Hill Park) and saw some smoke puffing up beyond some shubbery. I thought it was likely just someone smoking a joint ('tis the west coast after all).

Getting closer however, it became more than just a bit of smoke. A cyclist noticed it too and we looked at each other... 'that's beyond a cigarette, isn't it?'

He called 911, me giving the location as he wasn't familiar with the city. And so we waited and watched the smoke getting thicker. Of course my crap photography skills couldn't really pick this up very well:

Within seconds I heard sirens as the fire hall was literally around the corner. We pointed to where the flames were to the on-coming fire trucks, sat back and watched (as you do).

They put out the fire... yippy! But a lot of the area got scorched pretty good. Question for Neil: what do you think will grow well here now?

An hour later, I'm walking home and hear more sirens... I look down the street and see this:

Another fire! I'm just that hawt! ;-)

A second floor flat... completely gutted but fortunately contained and no one was hurt. If you squint and use a lot of imagination you can see smoke going up the left side of the building.

I had to laugh when I was 'leaving the scene'... fire prevention division. Where the fuck have you been all day?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Skywatch Friday... hazy and lazy

To some, this sky may seem dull but for me, it's wonderful. We've had near constant blue skies for a couple of months now and as much as I like a nice sunny day, it gets rather samey-samey if that's all you get. It's great to see some clouds, some variety.

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours down at Ross Bay (in Victoria, BC), a favourite place of mine. Ross Bay is lined with a stoney beach, a wide sidewalk and a highly stimulating bumpy road. ;-) Ross Bay Cemetery is just beyond all the greenery.

I stuck to one end of Ross Bay, I sat my ass down on these rocks and chilled out.

I love sitting right here. It's a large rock in the middle of a channel and, even with my hearing loss, the sounds of the waves flowing in, out and around is hypnotic.

Just some different textures on this beach; driftwood, stones, kelp and a jellyfish that missed the tide going out.

All very relaxing...

To see more skies from around the globe, click the pic.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A sexy little film.

This is one of my most favourite films ever by one of my most favourite film makers ever, Jan Svankmajer with a little squiggle over the S.

It's sweet, sensual, comic, tragic and wonderfully unique. I find it quite sexy (sad ending though) but those with certain dietary choices might find it offensive. Enjoy:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More psycho therapy

"Somewhere up and out there, the dust of Marnie drifts through space after the spacecraft she was touring on exploded upon re-entry into the earth's atmosphere... she would have thought would be a most excellent way for her to pop her clogs.

She was fortunate to be vapourized to smithereens with her lover by side, just like in that Smiths' song, she liked, 'such a heavenly way to die'.

She is survived by her houseplants Casey and Finnegan, an adopted Vancouver Island Marmot named Dylan and, of course, her friends.

She still had not returned Dr Zhivago to the library...."

This 'write your own eulogy' exercise sucks rat shit. I would not want a funeral. I would not a eulogy. I've only been to one funeral and I fucking hated it. I wouldn't inflict that sort of shit on people I loved.

Actually I guess this exercise doesn't suck. It clarified one of my life values: I don't want a funeral, I don't want a eulogy.

Next stupid exercise!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Still Life - film

I watched a very good film last night called Still Life. It's a Chinese film about two different people looking for their long-lost spouses in a time of mass social relocation. It takes place in a town on the Yangtze River called Fengjie which is going through the process of being submerged with the building of the Three Gorges Dam. It's a very slow, meditative film. I would love to see this on a big screen.

The plot is simple yet there are layers of subtext going on about relationships, the landscape, the dismantling of a town, etc that are interesting to think about. One of the layers, however, is most interesting and it kept me up in the middle of the night wondering. It involves a building suddenly taking off like a rocket. In a film that was otherwise very much right on the ground and real, this sort of grabs your attention. Well, mine. Anyways, I liked the filum.

Here's a trailer for the film:

In true Marniestyle, I've had the DVD rented out and it's about 5 days overdue, which will likely cost me 10 bucks or so, and as I was searching for the trailer for this post I stumbled across the whole bloody film on Youtube for free, lol. :-)

So grab a bowl of noodles and enjoy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm 96 years old

And I've been asked to look back and to answer three questions:

What do you wish you spent less time doing?

I wish I had spent less time:
- trying to make my family be the family that I needed
- taking my anxiety producing 'what ifs?' so seriously (OCD)
- avoiding things because of fear, anxiety and uncertainty (OCD)
- waiting for my hearing to get magically better
- maintaining relationships that were frustrating and draining
- hiding under my duvet
- thinking that I was ugly
- thinking that I was inherently unlovable
- and feeling like a mistake who should not have been born

What do you wish you spent more time doing?

I wish that I had spent more time:
- sticking with important stuff even when times got difficult
- traveling and exploring
- learning the skills to express my creativity
- seeking and being with people who understood and appreciated me
- accepting that pain, sadness and anxiety are unavoidable in life
- learning about art, art history and film making
- being more clear about who I am with myself and others
- doing something that mattered to me that was meaningful
- and making a positive difference to something or someone.

What do you wish you had started doing when you were 41 years old?

I wish that I had started:
- to figure out how to live fully despite OCD fears and anxiety
- using my strengths to help me with my weaknesses
- a fire under my ass! ;-)

Edited - I should have made it clearer that most the anxiety that I'm discussing above is OCD related.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shit bins, shit for brains and good shit!

A few weeks back, Neil over on Light and Dark posted lovely photos of a dog shit bin and offered a challenge:

...quite possibly one of the most tranquil and beautiful spots for a dog shit bin..... unless of course, you know better!

I don't have a dog and I don't walk in dog walking areas so it's taken me a while to actually spot a dog shit bin in my travels. But yesterday, one found me and ain't it pretty? :-/

Neil wins this challenge, hands down. :-)

I think there is a cultural difference here. In Scotland, and likely the rest of the UK, one supplies one's own shit baggie and tosses 'the deed' into the handy receptacle. In Victoria, the dog deposit removal system seems to be 'here have a shit baggie' and... well... the rest is all very mysterious to me...

Panning back a bit you can see a bit of Victoria's Inner Harbour back there and the lush grassy area in the foreground.

See the totem pole?

That's the partial remains of the Spirit of Lekwammen which was, for a time, the tallest totem pole in the world at 180 feet and 3 inches tall. It was carved by First Nations artists to commemorate the 1994 Commonwealth Games.

In true City of Victoria fashion, the erection (haha) of the pole was approved to meet the city's all important need for glossy, tourism promo fodder. However, after the games, the pole was deemed a safety hazard and chopped into bits. Some bits are the bits 'transplanted' here, other bits are on a First Nations reserve elsewhere.

I find this totem pole symbolic of Victoria's relationship with the First Nations communities: they use First Nations cultural traditions when it's financially beneficial to the tourist industry and then ignore, or worse, denigrate them when it's not.

Yep, I do like to bitch. :-)

For a much more meaningful cultural expression of a totem pole, Carolyn has a wonderful blog entry about a totem pole raising up on Haida Gwaii, where it is believed totem poles originated. Now, that's some good shit!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My trip to Durdle Door

When I lived in England, I often got together with my good, long time, friend T. We met when we were 18 or so, worked together and were housemates for a couple of years. A very good friend.

She was also a Canadian living in England (actually she still is) and we use to love getting together for expat bitch-fests and also to play tourist.

One weekend we decided to go to Durdle Door. So we loaded up her little rust bucket and off we went. Here are some photos of our nice trip:

Yeah, I thought I heard something...


We decide to forget Durdle Door and went to Avebury instead. It was very, very relaxing, interesting and I loved it. Better pics.

Requisite blog 'drive-by' pic, with a film camera, 'member those?

I can not, for the life of me, remember this mound's name. Anyone? It's right beside Avebury. It's driving me nuts!

I loved Avebury but I'm hoping to actually see Durdle Door one day; cos ain't it cool?

Photo swiped from here.
(I wasn't looking for fetish wear and a crop.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Speaking of bad hair...

The 70s were a decade cruel to eyes in all sorts of ways.

But, confess. Who else watched Sonny and Cher, Donny and Marie or The Osmonds? I watched The Donny and Marie Show without fail. Did they show that in the UK? In other countries? Anyone own a purple polyester suit?

Check out the hip action at the 2 minute mark, if you can make it that far. ;-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Skywatch Friday... watches back.

To see more skies from around the globe, click the pic.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

This should be Steve Fonyo

A few weeks ago I was walking along the waterfront and suddenly became aware of something that I had missed on many prior occasions. This statue:

I had seen the statue many times before but always from behind. I had always assumed that it was Steve Fonyo but it's not. It's Terry Fox. People may know of Terry Fox. If not, this is about him (have a tissue ready):

Terry Fox was a top notch human being. I remember being very affected by him and, as a 12 year old kid, donating all my paper route money to his 'Marathon of Hope.' I remember when he had to stop running across Canada and his subsequent death the next summer; my JFK moment.

Years later Steve Fonyo, another man affected by cancer like Terry, decided to do a similar run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He completed the run in May of 1985 right near where the above statue is. This area is called 'Mile 0' and is the western most point of the 'Trans Canada Highway'. It's a popular start/end place for cross-Canada trips.

I skipped out of school to witness the event. Thinking back, if it had been Terry Fox I suspect schools would have been closed so that everyone could go and see Terry.

But poor Steve, he got flack left, right and centre for the whole duration of his run. He was deemed a copycat and that he was only doing this for his own personal gain, that he was riding on Terry Fox's coat-tails, that this was just a publicity stunt and various other playground taunts.

I remember standing there, in the drizzling May rain and feeling completely saddened by the lack of people out to cheer Steve Fonyo on his finishing his run and the lack of recognition and celebration of his achievement. I felt disgusted by my fellow citizens. I can only imagine how Steve must have felt.

Years later, I read that he had gotten into a lot of trouble with alcohol and drugs and had been arrested for drunk driving and assault and had various other problems. It didn't really surprise me. Here's someone who tried to make a positive impact on society, and received a smack in the face for his troubles.

To me the above statue is another example of that. I admire Terry Fox immensely but his likeness should not be at Mile 0, Steve Fonyo's should be. But then, this is a city built on milking tourists of the money. The suits at City Hall know that busload after busload of people are going to stop to have their photos taken in front of (the more famous) Terry Fox. They understand marketing. It's an insult to Steve Fonyo and it's an insult to historical accuracy.

On the plus side, Steve did get the beach where he dipped his artificial leg into Pacific Ocean named after him.

And it's a fine beach. It's actually 'my beach' - the beach where I go to think.

And I'm happy to share it with him.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

That's My World Tuesday... a little bit of Chinatown.

One thing that I love about being on the west coast of Canada is that it's very much part of the 'Pacific Rim' - where the East and the West mingle. Like most Western cities like that, Victoria has a Chinatown. This is The Gate of Harmonious Interest built over Fisgard Street.

The inscriptions mean, 'To work together with one heart' and 'To help each other achieve harmony.' Mingle, mingle. What's also cool is that there are time capsules buried near the base of each side and that the names of Chinese-Canadians who died during WW2 are listed as well.

It's one of the oldest Chinatowns in North America and was once one of the largest. It's quite small now but still full of character. I'll blog more about that later. Until then, here's a bit of a cheesie mini-doc about Victoria's Chinatown.

In the above vid, the woman mentions the Tam Kung Temple. Benjamin over at Victoria Daily Photo has a couple of fantastic photos of the Temple's interior. Interesting stuff.

The last time I was in Chinatown a more mundane thing caught my eye. These groovy new bike racks.

For more 'That's My World Tuesdays' - click the pic:

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Answering Neil's phonebox challenge.

Over on the blog, 'Light and Dark' Neil's Scenic Sunday post was called Scotland's Best Phonebox and in it he described and posted photos of a phonebox he found in a very beautiful setting. Lovely stuff.

However, at the bottom of his post he got cheeky (gasp!) and wrote, "So...... what do you think? Can anyone beat this? I throw down the gauntlet........."

Well, Mr Tasker, look at THIS!

Canada's Most Scenic Scottish Phonebox


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Skywatch Friday... with splashes.

Victoria BC, being a coastal city, has a harbour. It's a fantastic harbour; very lively. You can just sit on a bench and watch various kinds of pleasure boats, fishing boats, a huge ferry to the US, the 'clipper' to Seattle, kayakers, row boats, dragon boats, cruise ships, little water taxies, the Coast Guard, various boat building companies, whale watching boats and various seals and water fowl all somehow share the space. It's can look quite chaotic at times!

Add to the mix the harbour is also an airport, or more precisely it's an water aerodrome (sounds cool, eh?), with a few seaplane companies offering flights to various other harbours, mostly to Vancouver or to the smaller Gulf Islands, as well as sight-seeing tours. It's a very busy and very loud airport. I can hear the seaplanes from my flat. It's a great sound and I love it.

Here's a clip I found on Youtube (it's not mine) taken from a seaplane about to land in the harbour.

At about the 30 seconds mark the plane flies right over a section of town quite close to the ground and a weird angle. It freaks the crap out of unsuspecting tourists. :-) And here are a couple of photos from that perspective:

And some more photos as I get down right near the harbour:

In all my years living in this city, I've never taken a flight in a seaplane. I will be soon though. Maybe they'll let me fly the sucker... ahhhh, that would be cool... I can see it now....

Thank you for flying with Ms Toast Burner Air... please remain seated until we come to a complete stop...

For more skies visit Skywatch Friday!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Embracing my inner-hillbilly...

Something a bit more up beat, me thinks.

It's Sunday and I feel like confessing something... like my previous posts weren't enough. ;-)

OK. Here goes....

My name in Marnie and I like beat up, old pick-up trucks, like these:

I especially love this old blue Mercury, sitting in the shade. I have a print out of it on my wall. I have no idea why I like it so much but I do and often drive by where it lives just to see it. Silly, eh? :-)

Family photo.

This is my Grandma, my Mom's mom.

I look at this photo a lot and I wonder who she was. I never met her, she died before I was born.

I never met either of my Grandfathers; one died before I was born, the other left his wife and kids (my Dad's mom and his three brothers) never to be heard from again.

I met my Dad's mom and her much younger second husband (an original cougar she was) a few times. I've nice but few memories of them, they died when I was ten. And I lied, it wasn't her second husband. They never bothered with getting married; she preferred living in sin. ;-)

I have never met many of my uncles or aunts. I'm not even sure if they're still alive.

I do know one uncle; my Dad's little brother but I haven't seen him in 15 years.

I don't know any of my cousins, except one.

I have four nephews; I haven't seen my oldest nephew, who is the same age as me, since we were 14. We were like siblings and very close. The two middle ones I saw at my father's funeral (Nov 07); the youngest I haven't seen in seven years.

I haven't seen my niece in seven years either.

I have two great-nephews that I've never met.

My oldest brother died about ten years ago. I hadn't seen him since I was 15. And prior to that visit, since I was seven.

I haven't seen my other brother or my sisters since last xmas.

I saw my Mom last week. I try to keep in regular contact with her, especially since my Dad died. I do love her but...

I have no children and I think I'm ready to close the door on that one. I like kids, well some kids ;-) but I've never really desired having children of my own and looking at the above, it's no wonder really.

The photo of my Grandma is my notion of family; unknown, faded and two-dimensional.

Thank god for friends.

EDIT - Re-reading the above. I think the above might sound worse to people who have a stronger sense of family than I do. To me, the above is normal; it's what I'm use to. I certainly feel a void of sorts and sometimes that knocks me flat but it's also a 'I don't miss what I never had' sort of thing at the same time.