Wednesday 16 April 2014

The Houston Solution

I've found it!

The very simple solution to Houston hair = Houston hood.

Now I can go about having a great time.


Tuesday 15 April 2014

Amendment to I Hate Houston

People are very kind here.

And truth is, my opinion on this place is not to be trusted.  I can hardly see past my huge hair in order to make any educated commentary.  (See previous 'Everything IS Bigger Here') post with regards to my Houston hair.  My curls have held a grudge against this city and as such we (my curls and I) are clearly biased.  As such, please disregard the previous post.

Much appreciated.

I hate Houston

The good thing about bad places is that it gives me time to work on my blog.

And, to be fair, I’m sure Houston is not ALL bad.  I just happen to be staying in the parking lot of a mall.  And it’s not even a good mall.  (Are there good malls?)

After EVERYTHING-IS-AUSTIN (post to be written imminently) and Ft-very-Worth-my-while, Houston is a major disappointment.  I’ve been informed that although I only have two armpits, Texas has three:  El Paso, Brownsville, and the largest, where yours truly finds herself right now.

In Ft Worth I met my new BFF.  Unfortunately, he never leaves his porch, so I’m unlikely ever to see him again.  In Austin, well, everything was awesome and now….well…I guess I had to come down somewhere, right?

Don’t misunderstand me.  I know that Houston is filled with fabulous people.  I just haven’t met them yet.  And wonderfully inspiring places.  I just haven’t been there.

I tried to go for a bike ride upon arrival.  The hotel passed me a rusted out clunker and the chain fell off within the first 100 metres.  Fortunately, I’m a former bike mechanic (though I never was a very good one), so I managed to limp the bike back to the hotel.  People looked at me very strangely as though to say, ‘Ahem, ma’am, people don’t do that here.’  Oh wait, nobody has yet called me ‘Ma’am’ in that drawling, adorable way.  That’s most likely the real reason that has kept me from having a good time in Houston.
I really should give the place a chance. 
Alright Houston, you've got twenty hours.

Friday 11 April 2014

Come Mess with Texas! or Everything IS Bigger Here

I love Texas.
I didn't think I would.
But the term 'friendly Texan' is true to the letter.
And everything really is bigger here: 

The Hospitality
My Hair,
& ahem...

My new Texas home at The Rosen House Inn, no biggie
Allow me to explain -
I have been blown away by the way I've been welcomed.
The Texans are rolling out the red carpet in a very big way.
And I'm joyfully dancing on it in my cowgirl boots.

I love it here!  'Mom' gives me a hug with breakfast every morning.
There was a friendly wave from each person I passed on their porch during my run this morning.
Then a delicious breakfast and warm hug from my 'Mama' hostess at the Rosen House B&B here in Fort Worth.  Not to mention that I already have a new local best friend.  His name is Elio, or Horatio, or Eliodoro, depending when you met him.  He writes a poetry blog called Fat Boy Speaks Fresh.  It's an ironic title given that he's almost as waifish as all the other artists I've ever met.  He wears all black, excepting his Star Wars t-shirt leftover from Grade 3.  And he has a hip haircut.  He's showing me all the coolest things in Fort Worth.  And there are many.  I want to wear a head camera when I'm with him to capture everything he says.  He's that funny.  I'm reminded of Aryeh, a man I met in an igloo in Colorado.  I wanted to record him as well.  In fact, I did.

Aryeh explains his near amptutation after an injury sustained on an extreme ski film in Alaska

Elio, on whether someone actually likes you, or they're just being 'Texas friendly'

The hospitality here extends to perfect strangers - my server when I arrived was named Honey - and she was one. I sat outdoors at Mijos on the very cool Magnolia Street.  She simply delivered to my table everything she thought I'd like to eat and drink.  Salmon fish tacos and Thai basil sake. Amazing.  This Canadian girl is loving it here! The bank clerk actually seemed devastated that she couldn't think of a nearby drug store to help with my hair problem.

Which brings me to my hair problem.  Texas is a bad hair state for me.  My red curls act as a barometer.  They increase in volume with humidity.  Here, they've gone wild - and like all things Texan, big.  My face is barely visible through the fuzz of frizz.  A euphemism would be to call it a halo.  I'm calling it a....nightmare?  It was awful when I first visited Houston at age 17.  I think it may actually have soured my experience.

I had to bring in the heavy hair artillery in anticipation of a return to Houston, bad hair city extraordinaire.
*a warning to curly-haired readers:  Houston is the worst hair city I've encountered to date.
Specialists in the emergency room of the extreme-curl-makeover salon I visited in crisis today concurred.  They gave me this product.  It went against every green grain in my body to buy the aerosol can filled with questionable chemicals, but hey, a girl's gotta look good on stage.  I'm not sure that it's helping.

I went to Houston visit my much older, much cooler, on-a-full-ride-tennis-scholarship-at-Rice-University-cousin while I was still in high school.  I really wanted to fit in and seem cool.  This is very hard to do when your hair's so big that you can barely make it through the door.  Somehow, in spite of this, I managed to enjoy the state enough to return for this year's Radical Reels tour of Texas.  The big hair is a problem, but I'm learning to live with it.  The generous engaged audiences and perhaps the most friendly people on earth are offsetting the aforementioned issue.  But truth be told, I've most likely stayed in Calgary for over a decade not because of my friends, family or the excellent bike paths, but because my hair generally looks fabulous there.  I'm that vain.

But back to Texas.
It's fabulous.  Despite my left-leaning, environmental bent, I've recently developed a thing for trucks.
There are many of them here. Trucks.  And Texans.  Neither of which are things that my progressive, tree-hugging and way-left-of-liberal self expected to love.  I do.  I love them. 
It just goes to show you.  Stay open.
And come to Texas.

Oh, and as for EVERYTHING being bigger in Texas, well...

my Southern breakfast was HUGE this morning.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

LOL or Is Anyone Actually Reading This?

I'm writing this today for my friend who is recovering in hospital.
I learned yesterday that he regularly reads my blog.
I'm still in shock.
Here's why:

A) Because the word 'regular' is not in my vocabulary (outside of the bathroom), nor is that word reflective of the inconsistency of my blog entries

and B) WHAT??!  Someone out there is actually READING this??  This changes EVERYTHING!  I mean, here I've been spilling out stream-of-consciousness silliness and although, yes, this is a public medium, it didn't really occur to me that anyone out there might read what I have to say.  How terrifying (and thrilling??).  Someone out there is paying attention.  We do that so rarely nowadays.  So much stuff is competing for our time.  In any case, now I actually have to write.  I owe it to my one faithful follower.
So Paul, this one's for you.

There are two titles to today's post.  Because I cover two topics.  And because, let's be honest, my favourite part of writing is coming up with catchy and creative titles.  No deep insights required, no time commitment or follow-through, simply a quick stroke of genius and a snappy headline.  Perfect.  My pace exactly.  If I ever write a book...scratch that.  WHEN I write my book this year (you read it here first!) it will go by multiple names.  I already have five of them.  Kind of like the way my friend Zhiish has seven names for each of her dogs.  And three for each of her beautiful daughters.  None of which, incidentally, are listed on their birth certificates.
Zhiish's pal Kenzie, DaKin, D.K., 'The Big White Horse', etc. featured here celebrating Hallowe'en in her fave bee costume

So - on to the other topic of today's post: LOL!
If there's one thing I love (add it to a list of a million other things) it's laughing out loud.
Ideally in public.
Inappropriately and out of control.
In the confined space of a plane next to a total stranger just about beats all.
I can't tell you how much I appreciate the authors of books who are able to elicit this from me.
The most recent is Susan Juby. I'm in the Denver airport.  I spent my flight from Calgary in bursts of jubilant laughter, interrupted only by bathroom breaks and my friendly Texan seatmate. 
It happened approximately once every two pages.
I mean, this woman is good.
Listen to this.  In describing an 11-year old girl who arrives at the farm, she writes,

'Her little face was all blank and unimpressed, like a Baptist minister running into the local whore at the bank.' 

Ah, to write like that.  I do plan to assimilate her brilliant use of similes.  And I'll admit, I opened this book with some hesitation - I mean, it takes a really special someone to make me laugh like this.  I can count on one hand the winners:

1. Flavia DeLuce - 11-year old chemist and comic.  Brilliant.

2. Terry Fallis - Who knew that Canadian political humour could crack me up??  It did.

and the very best: 3. The Rosie Project, wherein our hero engages in a wife-hunting mission, completely with a 169 point questionnaire...

My current favourite!

And now to close.
If you're reading this, let me know.
I want to know who you are and if what I write will affect my future job prospects.
I actually viewed this whole blogging thing as a form of journal writing until this week.
I just read the following line in the Woefield Poultry Collective.  The young punk who's just moved to the farm whines about the lack of internet access at the farm.  He hates having to update his multiple blogs in public places.  He says,

'I hated trying to update in public.  Blogging should be a private activity, not that different from taking a crap'.

I burst out in uncontrollable laughter.  I can totally relate.

So, dear reader, in order to differentiate this activity from taking a crap, I urge you to keep on reading.  And let me know that you're out there!

(And by the way, if you really are out there, please comment back to recommend some hilarious, laugh-out-loud books.  At the rate I'm racing through the Woefield Poultry Collective, I'm going to need something new by tomorrow.  Either that, or you're going to be pounded by a barrage of blog posts in my post-book boredom.  It's really up to you.)