I was excited for exactly one day; now I’m imagining that the editor regretted accepting the story months ago, that reader response to this piece is at a historic low, etc.
Torquere Press has reverted the rights to my story, but hasn’t paid anyone yet. Thankfully B-cat’s family will be feeding me for Christmas, because I’ve misplaced my credit card and, either way, I’ll be broke ’til the reimbursement comes for the car accident.
Speaking of which… The second poem I wrote about B-cat’s nephew Spencer, who passed away this year, apparently got into the Yamadera Basho Museum 2016 haiku contest collection. I had forgotten about the contest completely because, you know, car accident.
It forms a matching pair with my “Spencer” haiku, which won an award. This poem didn’t win anything, but being published by a museum commemorating Basho — arguably the greatest of haiku poets — is kind of cool.
Isn’t a downer the perfect way to end 2016? Happy Holidays!
S (the best dancer at one of the schools I go to… or went to, before the car accident) took me to Ballet BC & Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s last Nutcracker (on tour) of the season.
There’s lots to like about the production:
RWB is a little different each year. This year’s Nutcracker takes place in 1910s Canada and includes hockey, people falling on icy sidewalks, and polar bears. So Canadian;
Soft colours and fine painted details make lovely, realistic costumes and storybook backdrops;
Makeup & costumes look good on the non-white dancers, too, and the “multicultural” bits are more balletic and less racist than most! (Incidentally, the Arabian costumes should’ve been First Nations);
No more bear baiting or obvious favouritism among the kids. A bear comes into the house for food. So, so Canadian.
S feels the 1930s opening is pointless if the Kingdom of Sweets is just business as usual;
Smallest mice look like clones of Disney’s Goofy (same face and colour and all) while the Mouse King looks like a dog-headed man;
Chinese/tea dancer still has double buns, arms forming permanent Ls, and hands fused in gesturing “1”s. At this point she may as well be using those fingers to push up the corners of her eyes, she’s such a stereotype;
All the angels are blonde!… you want me to say. Actually, the wigs are so metallic gold I don’t give a damn.
No one was spectacularly good or bad, which perhaps makes for better holiday viewing than placing awesome virtuoso dancers alongside people who fall out of jumps. The choreography was too safe, though, wasn’t it?
On a side note, we sat dead centre in the lower balcony (as mentioned before, S has high standards for everything ballet). The view would’ve been perfect if the mother and child in front and two women another row down didn’t lean forward the entire time. Behind them, to S’s left, a man with a wedge-shaped head started playing with his little phone in the middle of Act I. After I asked him to turn it off, he squirmed and rustled wrappers for over an hour. S says she was afraid he was going to attack me, but he merely threw a fit from a safe distance at the end before running away.
B-cat and I started 2016 doing what we didn’t do last New Year’s: heading out to sea. For some reason, the surrounding park closes at 5, so I probably shouldn’t discuss trespassing… We did have a scenic walk alongside a sewage pipe, or at least it would’ve been scenic if it weren’t too dark to even see our breaths in the freezing air. Didn’t make it to the pier by midnight, either, but the picnic by the water was lovely. We even counted down on an analog clock this time!
And the sewage smell was somewhat filtered out by our layers of scarves and mucous, too, thanks to the Christmas cold from B-cat’s little nephew and the flu from the waiter coughing on everything at Edo-Ya Sushi in Delta.
Other than that, I’ve only dragged myself outdoors a few times, like for the previously mentionedBallet BC/Ballet Alberta Nutcracker. (I promise I didn’t cough on anything.) The tickets B-cats gave me for my birthday were for the best seats I’ve ever had at the ballet. I was right in front of the centre stage marker, close enough to see the lace detail on costumes, and just far enough to admire the dancer formations as a whole.
S, who met up with us there last-minute, thought the production was lacklustre. I think the stage looked bare with hardly more than two dancers on at a time, and part of the choreography made no sense (Drosselmeyer rode off in the Snow Queen’s sleigh, leaving her to walk alone to her palace, where they met up to drive back for Clara??), but the costumes were tasteful, the dancers had solid technique, and no one made mistakes as in Goh Ballet’s last production.
B-cat’s family made this the best holiday season I’ve had, and this ballet evening out with B-cat still managed to be the best day of the season.
Now if I can get my beloved 10-year-old laptop repaired, I could be equally optimistic about the upcoming year!
My brother gave me this laptop after two years of use (and numerous drops, I might add), and I’ve been typing at high speeds, playing MMORPGs, Photoshopping ads for work, watching movies, and simply Internetting for long hours over the past eight years. This was the last of the Taiwanese-made Asus laptops. I suspect manufacturers who say laptops break down after two or three years are making excuses for their Chinese-made wares, but either way…
Seeing as Royal City Youth Ballet‘s ticket price has overtaken that of the professional companies, B-cat and I are only attending two productions of Nutcracker this year: Royal Ballet‘s live broadcast last weekend and Ballet BC’s production next week. (This year’s guest dancers are from Alberta Ballet.)
We saw the first with S, who feels Royal Ballet’s costumes are “too drab” with the exception of the screaming pink harem pants she hates. I like the costumes precisely because they look like real clothing (again excluding those pants), but hey, she has much higher standards than I do about everything ballet.
Enough nitpicking: Royal Ballet’s backdrops are lavish in intricate details but muted in colour, with warm gold tones reminiscent of old books. And you can’t go wrong with Tchaikovsky. For next year, though, maybe they should leave out the grotesque Fu Manchu makeup and moustaches for the roles of Chinese tea.
The three of us also attended the last ballet class of the year at Scotiabank Dance Centre. There was even a pianist/melodica player who played us holiday songs and a photographer to capture our holiday weight.
I attended the Vancouver Police Department holiday reception and the local Winter International Lolita Day tea a few days ago. Nothing artsy, just nice outings after two weeks of cake and fiction.
B-cat and I have birthdays just a day apart. Although we’re not the type to throw ourselves birthday parties, there were still several dinners to go to and candles to blow out. I personally received three full birthday cake — two black forest and one red velvet, if you like minutiae — and the sugar and my advanced age combined to remind me of how little fiction I’ve written since high school…
…So that kept me busy until I took B-cat to, as he puts it, the big policemen’s ball (look up “Simpsons garbage man can song”). Held at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club with its beautifully decorated entrance — especially past the lawn — the event is the first I’ve attended since the foundation started sending me invitations.
B-cat was held up teaching undergrads, so he was 1.5 hours late to the two-hour event. Instead of going in alone, I sat in the club lobby and wondered why all the serving staff were Asian. I also watched the police officers presenting that night interact with the public and police dogs.
The police dog in the shot is wearing a vest with a mounted camera, equipment courtesy of some grant or the other. With him are his handler, a higher-up, and two members of the emergency response team (the Canadian equivalent of SWAT) with their gear. They later went in to speak of these and things they hoped to raise funds for, like shallow-water rafts.
It was only then that I remembered VPD was in charge only of Vancouver proper. I rushed home with a guilty conscience to look up the Burnaby RCMP, the people I bug about noisy neighbours and lost passports… but they don’t appear to be soliciting donations.
As for the ILD afternoon tea… the tea shop was dimly lit and overpriced, and the Chinese owner kept taking pictures of us without asking. Still, we had good company.
On a vain note: Unlike most Asian women, my face is long and droopy rather than wide or round, so ordinary hairstyles that hide the sides of the face are amazingly unflattering on me. But I hardly ever wear anything gothic, and B-cat never dresses like a man from centuries past, so let me leave this here: