Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dear Diary: Stand By Me

The Junior High Lockers
There are moments in our lives that catapult us to another level, and when we look back on those moments, we see the significance they played in the path that we chose.

When I was 12 years old, one of the biggest moments in my life started at Parkdale... an inner city Elementary and Junior High School in Edmonton.

If I close my eyes, I can remember the first day. I had recently moved from a more upscale neighbourhood on the south side but had spent the majority of my childhood in the inner city and looked forward to my return with both anxiety and anticipation.

The Main Stairwell

I wondered if the first boy I had ever kissed when I was six years old would still be at Parkdale. He wasn't.
I wondered if anyone would remember me. They didn't.
But it was at Parkdale that I found the five friends who were instrumental in surviving junior high (and home life in general).

We celebrated birthdays and studied together. We shared dreams of going to university and travelling, we giggled about boys, and we kept each other protected from the lifestyles that any one of us could have easily slipped in to.

Parkdale wasn't just a school for me, it was a safe haven from the bullshit that was happening at home. At school, I had my friends. And at that moment in my life, it seemed like they were all that I needed.

It happens sometimes. Friends come in and out of our lives,
like bus boys in a restaurant - Gordie LaChance, Stand By Me

The Phoenix, Parkdale's logo

Our friendships were based on a lot of things, mainly our love of movies and I remember seeing Stand By Me in the summer of Grade 8, and feeling like I was watching us up on that screen. Of course, I was Gordie, for no other reason than he grew up to be a writer which I was planning on doing.

By the end of that movie, when he talks about the friends he had when he was 12, I knew it was a foreshadow to my own life.

I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone? Gordie LaChance, Stand By Me

The Girls (I took the picture)

We all went our separate ways in high school, and even though we tried to get together throughout the years, the last time we were all together was at that grad.

Walking through the halls of Parkdale reminded me of a moment in my life that I will never get back. The friendships I had there were the only things I had to cling to in an otherwise forgettable part of my life.

Yesterday, after 98 years of scholastic history, Parkdale's doors were closed forever.

Another building from my past is shut down but the moments I was at Parkdale led me to the path that I am on right now.

And for the record, I never did have any friends like the ones I had when I was 12.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A day for all the Big Daddys...

My new Twitter BFF Tanis Miller aka @Redneckmommy celebrates the week before Father's Day by calling it "Weiner Week."

Since she's much more clever than I am, I'm just gonna steal that for the focus of this blog and not try to come up with anything relating to dick, pecker, wang, johnson, shaft, schlong, package, woody, skin flute or joystick.

Nope, not gonna try.

Instead, I'm gonna steal my favourite lines from movies and songs about all things PENIS in order to pay tribute to my second favourite gender: MEN.

Lady gaga said: Let's have some fun, this beat is sick. I wanna take a ride on your disco stick

Chuck Berry said: My ding a ling, my ding a ling, I want you to play with my ding a ling.”

AC/DC yells: Oh I've got big balls. And they're such big balls. Dirty big balls
I've got the biggest... balls of them all!

Happy Father's Day to Big Daddy, the biggest dick of them all!!

Mickey Avalon taunted: My dick need no introduction. Your dick don't even function

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dear Diary: Vince Li is bad for my blood pressure

I don't usually go up against the Big Boys because, let's face it, I'm small potatoes in the media stew but today, I must, must, MUST voice another rant about Vince Li, the Canadian "Criminal justice' system and the jackasses who make poor decisions.

Paula Simons is a columnist for the Edmonton Journal and a woman whom I respect. I truly do. But her column today in defence of Vince Li's "rights" has me up at 7 am on a Saturday morning pre-coffee, mind you), ready to kick someones ass.

The minute I saw that the recommendation at Li's annual review was for "day passes" (wrongly reported by a, which has been conveniently removed...they aren't the only media outlets to get their facts wrong, CTV Winnipeg screwed up, too, by saying the ruling doesn't specifically say Li must be escorted by staff when clearly, it does) I flipped. I literally blogged within minutes of seeing that story and texted Carol deDelley, Tim McLean's mom, to see if she saw that story. She told me she had just left the review and that the recommendation was for 15 minute escorted walks around the grounds of the facility.

After my initial rant, I thought, OK, maybe that's not so bad. Sunshine, he'll be escorted, it's only 15 minutes a day...

And then I thought about Tim and the amount of sunshine HE gets right now.

Yah. No.

This is directly from the Review Board's order:

THEREFORE, pursuant to Section 672.54(c) of the Criminal Code of Canada, the Review Board orders that Vince Weiguang Li is to be detained in custody in a hospital, subject to the following conditions:

1. That he reside on the locked forensic ward at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre, Selkirk, Manitoba;

2. That upon the recommendations of the treatment team, the person in charge of the hospital may grant staff supervised hospital grounds pass privileges, subject to the following provisions:

i) passes start at fifteen minutes and increase incrementally to a maximum of one hour, twice daily;

ii) the treatment team is of the opinion that his condition is stable and that it would be appropriate and safe for him to leave the locked ward;

iii) while he is away from the locked ward on any supervised hospital grounds passes, he is to be escorted at all times on a two-to-one basis by two staff members who are equipped with either a two-way radio or a cell phone;

iv) security staff at the hospital are informed when each grounds pass is to occur;

3. That if he is required to leave the hospital grounds for any reason, he is to be escorted at all times by a peace officer;

4. That he present himself before the Review Board as directed by the Chairperson thereof;

5. That he keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

Paula makes some valid points in her column, some compassionate points, even:

Imagine life if you could never go outside, never see the sky or touch the grass. Imagine if you had to spend every waking and sleeping moment locked inside a noisy psychiatric ward, breathing dank hospital smells, looking at bleak hospital walls. Such cruel and unusual punishment would drive a sane man mad.

But he's NOT SANE, PAULA!!! He's schizophrenic. He has been for a long time and contrary to what Paula writes, he WAS a diagnosed and treated Schizo who refused help and did not take his medications. (Don't get all up in my shit, here either about having no compassion for the crazy people, because I come from a family of schizos and clinically depressed people, so yah, I get it).

Li isn't a prisoner. He's a patient. And medically speaking, his doctors believe it would be good for his mental and physical health to take a 15-minute walk outside, under strict guard, twice a day. If we want to lessen the danger Li poses to the public, if we want him to get better, maybe their advice is worth heeding.

My question is this: Why the hell should ANYONE give a rat's ass about Li and his rights? Paula says that if we don't the our own rights are at stake.

Fuck. She makes a valid point.

But this is where the LAW NEEDS TO CHANGE.

The problem with Canada's judicial system stems RIGHT BACK to the bullshit law we call The Not Criminally Responsible Law" (NCR). It's the law hardly ANYONE in Canada knew about until this case made headlines around the world. It's the law that Tim's mom, Carol, is fighting to change.

Carol says the average release date for an NCR "patient?" "criminal??" "fuckstick" whatever, (my words, not Carol's FYI) is on average, 3-5 years.

He's been a patient at the Selkirk facility for two years.

"He'll be out. And at that point, you'd better be scared."

Paula's beef with this issue is that the province stepped in and said 'Oh hell NO!" (or something like that) to have Li walk around outside, until security measures are in place.

"There's nothing in the Criminal Code that would permit the attorney general to set aside an order of the board," says Winnipeg lawyer John Stefaniuk, chair of the Manitoba Criminal Code Review Board.

But Swan's press secretary, Joelle Saltel-Allard, says the minister acted within his authority because he didn't overrule anything.

"This is not overruling a decision," she says. "The decision will be implemented, but not until additional security measures have been put in place to ensure public safety."

Of course, we need to protect people from Li and protect him from himself. But fear and loathing shouldn't trump common sense, basic humanity or judicial independence. Politicians can't run roughshod over legal rulings they don't like because of a public backlash or single out a patient for arbitrary treatment because his act made the goriest headlines.

I wonder if the powers that be are REALLY concerned about public safety or Vince Li? Most people are outraged with the NCR verdict that Li received and haven't forgotten what he did to Tim. Li was never placed in General Population because they were concerned for his safety. So to have him "escorted" by two PEACE OFFICERS (aka not a real cops) whilst he enjoys fresh air and sunshine, seems to me like they are protecting HIM from anyone who may want to protest, or even exact some sort of vigilante justice.

This case pissed a LOT of people off.

The details are gory, disgusting and sound like something out of a horror movie. But don't tell me that Li had no intentions of killing someone. He boarded that Greyhound with a HUNTING KNIFE then, when it was convenient, told people God made him do it.

Yah, sounds crazy to me.

Bottom line is, Li is still hallucinating. He's still crazy. He should be locked in a facility that has the appropriate security and treatment measures in place.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

30 Lashes for MOM

I've recently discovered my inner girly-girl and have been indulging in some rather unusual (for me, anyway) beauty treatments.

Allow me to explain: I'm not high-maintenance. Yes, I dye my hair (I'm just blonde at heart), yes I like makeup and yes, I get fake nails every once in a while. However, I'm not that MOM who has to put on a full face of makeup and wear heels to Wal-Mart (not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not me).

But lately I've been more comfortable in sweats and T-shirts (probably a direct result of my depression and indifference to my appearance) so I have had to make an effort to reclaim my fabulous old self; to look as good on the outside as I feel on the inside.

Since my eyes are my best facial feature, I decided to bring as much attention to them as possible and what a better way to do it than lash extentions! Because, let's face it, I couldn't apply false lashes if someone held my wine bottle for ransom.

In Edmonton, the choices are far and few between for good lash services so I had to look high and low until I came across Bizou Lash Studio. Always one to research online, I checked out the website only to find it was "in progress." *Note to any and all business owners: Have your damn website up and working so that potential clients can research your products prior to booking a service.

However, I did find their Facebook fan page and found a enough information for me to book a session.

I have sparse, short blonde lashes and I know that it makes it extremely difficult to adhere extentions to. In fact, I had them done at a "salon" in Spruce Grove and they fell out less than three days later. $70 and no lashes later, I was not a happy girl.

But the professionalism at Bizou blew me away. They start with a consultation, asking colour, length and style of lashes that you want/need.

The process takes about an hour and once the lashes are applied, they send you home with a sheet of instructions on care for your new FABULASHes!!

I loved these lashes. For $90, you get a full set of lashes that lasts about three weeks. I lost a few over the course of three weeks but nothing that made me think I looked (eye)bald.

Fills at Bizou are about $40-60 and well worth it.

The downside: You can not walk in off the street if you're wandering along Whyte Ave. and decide you want lashes. This is currently a "by-appointment-only" studio.

Parking on Whyte Ave is ridiculous so be prepared to pay and walk unless you luck out and find a meter outside the Studio but even then it's only 2 hour parking.

A few weeks after my fabulous experience at Bizou (when I missed my fill appointment) I found a place in the west end that offers Lash Extentions for $55!

What a BARGAIN! Because I've seen places that charge upwards of $150 for a set!

My first thought on lash extentions is "WHY are they more expensive than a full set of nails?" They take about the same amount of time to apply and they last for about the same amount of time.

The tech at Bizou said she thinks it's due to the cost of the products.

So when I found this sweet little deal at Lovella salon, I booked myself an appointment. There was no consultation, no cheat sheet for care and no fancy schmancy schitck. But there is a a Facebook page complete with information about the salon and the other services they offer.

The tech was efficient, I was able to bring my 4-year-old daughter who watched Treehouse and coloured while I got my lashes applied, and found quite the little gem of a salon in the westend.

My lashes are not as full as they were at Bizou but they still look nice. I would equate this experience to the same you would get at a walk-in nail clinic except the atmosphere is much nicer and more appealing. The salon is open 7 days a week, there's ample free parking and walk-ins are welcome.

I will update you as to how well/long they last in about three weeks.