Friday, April 10, 2020

Normally a four-day weekend revs with a throaty rumble, blasting through the monotony of daily life in a cloud of spectral smoke, driving thoughts of workday grind into a frenzied scurry out of sight. This particular quartet of sunrises will see us taking a break from the relatively convenient task of working at home so we can… sit at home. This four-day weekend will emit barely a sneeze of surprise and wonder, but such is the downside of an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. We will have more time for celebration if nothing else (and yeah, not much else). Here’s how we tackled our last day before the weekend yawned open:

National Cherish An Antique Day

March 1 (remember March 1? When life was normal?) was National Old Stuff Day, and we dug out Jodie’s old doll (made with actual human eyelashes, so that’s gross) and my old copy of Sgt. Pepper on reel-to-reel. So why celebrate essentially the same thing just a few weeks later?

No, we’re taking a different tactic for this day. Yesterday we spent some time discussing what antiques we would like to own – stuff we cherish out in the world, but don’t possess ourselves. Like I said yesterday (or possibly the day before, I can’t tell anymore), this is our tune, we’ll choose the notes we play. We are presently in a state of object-divestment – we are aiming to rid ourselves of possessions rather than accumulate them. So this is all an act of pure theory.

Jodie’s dream vehicle is a 1956 Ford Thunderbird. They seem to be going for between $35k and $50k online so we are absolutely in the realm of theoretical discussion here. The original T-birds were 3-seater sportscars designed with luxury first, speed second. The ’56 slapped the spare tire on the back, giving enough room for two or three bodies in the trunk – ideal for sneaking folks into the drive-in. The Thunderbird was described by Ford as “a personal car of distinction.” Well, Jodie is a personal woman of distinction, so I guess this fits.

I don’t have a particular antique that I fancy. I would love the customized neon palm tree and rainbow that used to take up an entire wall of my childhood home. It would be fun to have an antique pinball machine – a friend of mine is restoring them for fun now, and I have to settle for pictures. If you have a particular antique that brightens up your life, give it a hug today! Or yesterday – but you can still do it today. We won’t tell.

National Name Yourself Day

We did an entire week of name-related celebrations at the beginning of March, including Fun Facts About Names Day, Discover What Your Name Means Day and Unique Names Day. We also went over the origins of our names – what’s left? Yesterday we were supposed to name ourselves.

I asked Jodie if there was a name she’d always wished she had. There wasn’t. I thought about that myself – having never liked the name Martin as a kid (and I’m still not fond of it), did I wish I was a Lloyd? A Julius? A D’brickashaw? Not really – Marty has served me fine ever since Michael J. Fox made the name cool in the summer of 1985.

Should we give ourselves porno names? Nope, Jodie wasn’t into that. I suggested a few for us: Lou B’dupp, Slappy Thunderthrust, Regina Kokksokkett… nope, not happening. We have been named, and these are the names we’re sticking with.

But it did prompt an interesting, albeit frustrating (for Jodie) conversation yesterday. That’s more celebrating than I was expecting from this one.

International ASMR Day

Autonomous sensory meridian response. That’s what this celebration was about. If you’re not familiar with ASMR, it’s essentially a tingling sensation that starts on your scalp and oozes down to your spine in a little wave of pleasure. Think drugs without the drugs. It’s a gentle euphoria that can be brought about purely by sound.

“Great!” says the beer-swilling, weed-smoking voice inside of you that has grown weary of booze and cannabis and is longing for a cleaner, more natural high to pass the time during quarantine. “But will it give me the munchies?” The answer is no. Probably – I didn’t look it up, but it’s not likely. This will cost a lot less than the more commonly thought-of libations however. All you need is a pair of headphones and someone whispering softly into the mic. I checked out a video of Gillian Anderson doing ASMR and it was neat. If you’ve ever wanted to hear Gillian Anderson whisper the word ‘braingasm’ into your ear, you should check out the video.

Some people can get that tingly feeling from certain types of music, listening to light tapping, or even watching someone perform a mundane task. Once you get the hang of it, you can just sit quietly and bring yourself to a ‘braingasm’ on your own, with no outside stimulus. The people who can experience this best are those who would score high on the neurotic scale in a personality test, and usually more often the introverted folks among us. You know, the ones who are shrugging off this quarantine like it’s no big deal.

If you’ve never tried out ASMR, you absolutely should. There are no side effects, and it can be quite relaxing. If it turns out not to be your thing, that’s okay – alcohol and cannabis stores are considered to be essential services right now, so there’s always that option.

National Unicorn Day

The unicorn. A horse with a horn in the front. Sounds magical? I don’t know – have you seen a platypus? That’s a creature that looked as though God was blasting through the tequila (or possibly a lengthy ASMR session) when He invented it. The unicorn is pretty tame in appearance, at least by comparison.

The Greeks spoke of unicorns, not because they factored into their extensive mythology structure, but because they were certain the creatures were real. They were described in records of natural history as living in India, which at the time was the pinnacle of foreign and exotic to the Greeks. Might still be – I haven’t asked a Greek person.

The unicorn was picked up in Christian stories as a beast that can only be tamed by a virgin. <insert cheesy 80s movie joke here> The beast was also tied to the plight of young lovers, so it showed up a lot in the spiritual artwork of the medieval period. As far as mythical beasts go, the unicorn has a lot more staying power than, say, a minotaur or a hydra. It is associated with calm, with love and with innocence. It’s attractive and never frightening. So yesterday we paid tribute to the noble horned steed and its remarkable dent in the historical record. Not bad for a pretend creature.

After a super-quiet Thursday, we venture into Good Friday with another relatively light schedule. Gin & Tonic Day was yesterday, but we’ll celebrate that a couple days late, when we head out for supplies. For today:

  • National Cinnamon Crescent Day. Great, more desserts!
  • Encourage A Young Writer Day. We both know a few of these, so we’ll send out some kind words.
  • National Siblings Day. This one is all on Jodie – she will reach out and say hi to her siblings. I have none, so I’ll just weep quietly and eat all the cinnamon crescents.
  • National Hug Your Dog Day. Okay, I’ll do this instead.
  • Good Friday. We don’t celebrate this in any religious capacity, but we are grateful for the day off.
  • Beatles Good-Bye Day. Again, not a celebration for us, but a day of note: 50 years ago today the Beatles announced their break-up. That one hurts.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Those cosmic vibrations are still ricocheting off the clouds, even with the populace crammed beneath plaster and shingle. The magic is still out there at the base of the straw of humanity, waiting for us to collectively suck it deep into our beings so that it can take the wheel and steer us right. Keep your sanity in check and your spirits as lofty as you can oomph them – the party may have wound down, but it’s never stopping. How could it with all this fun to be had?

National All Is Ours Day

Of all the pinko, commie, socialist celebrations of the year, this may be the pinko-est. Which is why we should celebrate it boldly – it commands us to take stock of nature and all the glory within our little pale blue dot and to hold it close. All that crazy nature out there, just waiting for people to step back into it and find wayward Pokemon or pass out drunkenly beneath its branches? It belongs to all of us, and this is the day to remind ourselves of that.

Or is it? Another source tells me this is the day to appreciate all the stuff we have. I mean – I guess it could be that. We have lots of stuff that we are grateful to own… but that would be All This Is Ours Day. “All is Ours” suggests a greater ‘all’ belonging to everyone.

Another interpretation is that we should use this day to share what we have with others. That would be All Mine Is Yours Day, wouldn’t it? It’s looking like no one really knows anything about this day, and we can do with it as we please. Since remarking that my TV is nice and I’m glad to own it sounds kind of tame, and since lending our shit to other people doesn’t fit in with social distancing and proper virus etiquette, we’ll go with definition #1.

Nature is putting on its best for much of the northern hemisphere right now, as spring crawls ragged from amongst the shrapnel of winter. We can get out there and appreciate it, as long as we steer clear of other humans. Yesterday evening Jodie and I took the dogs for a spin around the block and we paused to appreciate some of the more lovely slices of nature in our neighbourhood. Well – most of them will eventually be lovely, once the flowers and leaves step up. Edmonton is historically behind the rest of the world when it comes to springtime. The photo above is from last fall, before the world got ugly, cold and scary.

All is ours. All is everyone’s. Go out there and love it. Just be safe.

Trading Cards For Grownups Day

I have no interest in collecting trading cards, Jodie even less so. When I was a kid I briefly went through a hockey card phase, before realizing I don’t care at all about hockey or hockey cards or garbage-tasting gum. In high school I bought a few packs of Operation: Desert Storm cards (I got General Schwarzkopf!) but I never completed the collection. Because that would have been a weird waste of money that I could have spent on CDs and weed.

Yesterday I found a few examples of strange trading cards. These are all 100% real:

  • Blair Witch Project cards: there were 72 in total, and each was creepy.
  • ALF cards: lots of pics of everyone’s 18th favourite alien, along with witty phrases like “Brother, can you spare a cat?” and “It’s tough being a living legend!”
  • SNL cards: fans of Saturday Night Live might want cardboard cards depicting Rob Schneider as the photocopier guy or Jane Curtin tearing upon her shirt on Weekend Update, but this is still weird. Also, this was in 1992 so it’s all older stuff.
  • New Kids On The Block cards: There were five of these guys, and dozens of cards. Each had little facts about the boys on the back, like their favourite colour and possibly their favourite brand of fertilizer.
  • Back To The Future II cards: want some collector’s items for a sequel that left many of its fans confused over the implications of timelines? Better than a deck of cards from Biff’s casino.
  • Howard The Duck: I bet the gum was better than the movie.
  • Dinosaurs Attack: A bunch of cards featuring dinosaurs murdering people in different locales.
  • Serial Killer cards: anyone looking to trade for a Berkowitz because you have an extra Dahmer laying around?
  • Celebrity Tombstone cards: just pics of headstones. For the morbid collector.

Dog Fighting Awareness Day / Dog Farting Awareness Day

Yes, really.

Yesterday was the day to bring attention to the horrific act of dogfighting that still takes place all over the world. Any human who would take part in this activity – as a trainer, as an observer, as a gambler, whatever – is a despicable soul who deserves to be in the ring themselves, getting ripped apart by savage teeth. That said, please don’t share photos of scarred or mutilated dogs on social media. You aren’t helping. Chances are everyone who follows your feed is already disgusted by this act, or else you know a bunch of sociopaths and they won’t care about the shock value.

I applaud anyone who has the ability to shut these things down and does so. Even when the current president made it a felony to abuse animals, I applauded him. Yes, even him. Dogfighting is not a victimless crime. Apart from the canine victims, all of humanity is the victim as this act debases us collectively. It’s shitty without exception.

But this is also (apparently) a day to pay attention to the foul stench that some dogs… okay, probably all dogs emit from their posterior. We have bulldogs so we are very familiar with this phenomenon. Trixie’s blasts are often audible and occasionally startle her. Rosa prefers to keep them silent but oh-so-deadly. Her gas can peel the paint off a plane passing overhead. Liberty we’re not sure about yet – her ass hasn’t made a significant impression on our noses yet.

There are foods you can feed your dogs to reduce their flatulence, but we don’t really care about that. Bulldogs have legendarily sensitive digestion systems, so we stick with seafood kibble and raw, and while those are really healthy for our pups (and they love their food), they also create notably rotten stenches. Their health is more important than our nasal well-being though, so we deal with it.

If you also have a tremendously flatulent pup, embrace it. Better to have a dog with a stink than no dog at all.

Draw A Picture of a Bird Day

It was Draw a Picture of a Bird Day. Abbey drew the above picture of a bird. Ain’t it great?

Today we probably won’t be instructed to draw any pictures, but who knows? I still find out about some of these on the actual day. Here’s what we know we’ve got:

  • National Cherish An Antique Day. What is our most prized antique? We’ll find out today.
  • National Chinese Almond Cookie Day. Another thing we can’t run to the market to pick up.
  • National Name Yourself Day. Another day about names, so that will be fun. Maybe we’ll come up with porno names or something.