Tuesday, March 31, 2009

For You, The Fans - Part 4

Numero four of five requires that we take it down a notch....
So, let's get cosy. Come relax on the bear-skin rug with a glass of fine red wine, listen to the charming tinkle of Carmen Cavallaro flowing from the record player by the mahogany sideboard, and as the fire's glow illuminates the room, let me share some timeless advice:

Travelling and meeting foreign women
4) Traveling, and "Meeting Foreign Women" - (44 hits in 2 months)

Yes, this keyphrase was preserved in its original form, quotations and all - it's strange but true, apparently my blog has become the new lavalife. Go figure.

Well, as I do seem to have some experience traveling, and I meet women while traveling every now and then I feel I'm somewhat qualified to give some input here.

Firstly however, let me warn you that the situation can be and is usually woefully awkward, so much so that I have in fact 'awkwarded' a foreign woman to death many times. Yes, 'awkwarded' is a word - now - but as I'm supposed to be giving advice, we'll put my past mishaps aside and I'll attempt to give a 'walkthrough guide'.

The following guide assumes there is a man and woman. If you are a woman trying to meet foreign women, or a man trying to meet foreign men, well you're out of luck, go read another blog.

Step 1

Step 1: Assess the situation.Assess the situation.

Illustration 1 shows a man walking past a woman. The dotted line represents his path, and the duck is there because they're in a park.

Step 2

Step 2: Glance playfully her way.Without frightening the woman, glance playfully her way.

Now, according to The International Flirting Code, she'll probably choose one of the following responses: The Giggle, The Hair-Toss, or the Horror Run. (The Horror Run is usually kind of loud and the woman's limbs usually flail around haphazardly. If you get this response, you're probably frightening the woman as described above).

Step 3

Step 3: Wait for response.Wait for response.

If you get The Giggle or Hair-Toss, you have been invited to engage in conversation. As this is foreign soil, you may want to ask the woman if she speaks your native language. In this case, let's say Zulu.

Step 4

Now that you're good friends, invite her for a game of drunken Twister, or perhaps a night of karaoke with some friends you've made from your hostel. If she declines, repeat step 2 until she agrees, or until you get the Horror Run, in which case you'll simply have to go and search for another foreign woman.

Et finit! You've successfully met a foreign lass while traveling - aren't you clever!

I've seen the above method work many times, often in Hollywood blockbusters, so I know it works. In any case, I wish you the best of luck on your quest, dear gentlemen, and happy travels.

Part 5 coming soon!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

For You, The Fans - Part 3

Number 3 on the list of top 5 weird keywords and phrases may be the strangest yet. Goodness knows how this leads people to my blog, but indeed, searching for the term yields my blog as the first result.... Beware, for should ye travel 'round Scandinavia unguarded, you may indeed run astray, and meet the dreaded:
Britney Viking? That's just odd ... but honestly, if I saw a Britney Viking, I'd want to know how to fend her off.

3) Britney Viking - (124 hits in 2 months)

The first thing that hit me when I saw that 'britney viking' led people to my blog was laughter. The sheer amount of visits I receive from these words is in fact somehow funnier than the words themselves, but is testament to ... well just how many people would like to see Britney as a viking - I suppose.

Well, I can tell you one thing, I aim to deliver. It may not be exactly what you were expecting, but you probably won't forget it anytime soon either.

Reveal the Britney Viking, if you dare...

Part 4 coming soon.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

For You, The Fans - Part 2

This next item on the list of top 5 weird keywords and phrases is destined to be a classic. You see, just as Cleopatra with Antony, I have a special history with this item; we go way back. Pray that you will never be able to say the same, et je mai présente:
ouch, pneuma thorax, pneuma-thorax, pneumo thorax, pneumothorax

2) Pneumothorax - (211 hits in 2 months)

Ah! The fabled pneumothorax, what a wonderful name for something so horrible. To sum it up, let's take a look at the name: Pneuma (meaning 'of air') and Thorax ('abdomen'). Essentially, with grade-two logic applied, we have air in the abdomen.

God help this man!An oddity in the library of human afflictions, pneumothorax is a medical condition that strikes at random, affecting a specific clientele; namely males, aged between 16 and 28, who all fit the same physical profile: tall, thin, and with no prior history of any related condition. Now, you'd be right in thinking it's painful. Yes, it is painful. It's a collapsed lung, for cying out loud.

Pneumothorax - or the 'tear' it causes - often occurs at the apex (topmost point) of the lung - yes, either one, it can hit anyone in the aforementioned demographic, and tends to do so at random (a veritable mystery-grab-bag of fun).

Symptoms: First symptoms include a tightness in the chest, followed by difficulty breathing, and then a God-awful and extremely sharp pain under the shoulder-blade (feels somewhat like a small knife lodged under the bone). Actually, the pain is from the lung itself, but seeing as you've never experienced pain in a lung before, it feels like it's the shoulder-blade. Either way, ouch.

Briefly: Your lung is like a balloon inside a balloon, lungs sit inside pleural (lung) cavities. Your breathing is controlled by both an unconscious process (ie, automatically by your brain), and pressure inside the lung cavity forcing the lung to re-inflate after each breath. When you get a tear or hole, air in the lung leaks, and is sucked into, the lung-cavity, causing a bubble in your chest. Should your lung deflate too much, it will start to put pressure on your heart. A great situation to be in, especially if you have a needle lying around and are just dying to reenact that scene from Pulp-Fiction.

Treatment: Ok, this one is tough to cope with - but bear with me. If you're one of the lucky ones, an hour or so of sitting somewhere and calmly controlling your breathing can get rid of the pain, and within a week or so of taking it easy the hole itself will heal up, leaving you a free man once more.

Notice I said 'lucky ones'. See, pneumothorax is a beast of a different breed, and it works on the 3-point system. If you get it once and recover, you'll generally be fine, (though space-travel, submarines and scuba-diving are unfortunately red 'X's on your to-do list now - the Swedish word 'förbjuden' springs to mind). Should you get a recurring hole, you're pretty screwed, in fact each time the condition returns, there's a 50% chance it will happen again. Once you've had it three times*, surgery is recommended to fix it up. Mazal tov.

Now, there are three types of surgery you can get to fix it, but none of them are particularly pleasant.

1) Staples. Yep, in go the surgeons, click click, and you're the proud recipient of some tiny titanium staples in your chest for life. Good thing they aren't magnetic, or you'd have a great time explaining yourself next time you go through LAX...

2) Talc. This is for less-severe cases. You still get to be a surgeon's plaything for a few hours though. This time they go in and sprinkle some substance akin to 'Johnson's Baby Powder' on the lung which is meant to reduce friction, making it difficult for the lung to catch on the lung-cavity wall causing worse tears. It's not permanent, but it's supposed to heal the wound before it gets serious, rather than closing the hole forcefully.

3) Heat it up, baby! Cauterization is number three. Yep, this is a pleasant one for sure. Surgeon's are GO, hot prong is GO. You unconscious, had better be GO too. Basically the idea here is to use that prong to sear the hole shut, therefore causing strong scar-tissue to form and securing your passage into land of the able-lunged once more. Sure it's a slightly antiquated and barbaric process, but hey, we all have to get our kicks somehow.

And there you have it, an encyclopaedic guide to the world that is pneumothoraxes**.

Part 3 coming soon.


* It happened to me 6 times before getting an op. I would have got it operated on sooner, but my Canadian Healthcare insurance didn't go through for almost 3 months, yay beaurocracy.

** (A more expansive page on the topic can be found here.) Information in this entry has been gathered by myself from being curious, talking to many doctors, and well, from y'know, having the condition myself. But, as with all things, make sure you talk to a doctor rather than taking advice from this blog, medical tech changes day to day, so do treatments and analyses, and a doctor I am not!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

For You, The Fans - Part 1

I noticed a while ago that an extraordinarily large amount of people visit my blog through Google using bizarre keywords and phrases. While the top keywords are usually predictable words like 'jimzip' though, there are some that just plain baffle me. Sure, I may have made passing references to these obscure things in entries past, but it creeps me out just how many people still find me using them, and while I could have just continued laughing, the realisation soon hit me: I hate trawling google and not finding what I'm after. So, I've decided that now I'm going to help these people out by giving some answers to those tough (but essential) questions.

For the next five entries I will present a list - sorted by popularity - of the top five phrases people seem to keep using to land on my blog, no matter how bizarre they may be...

We begin with the classic, the timeless, the ever-poignant:

1) Cirque Du Soleil Themed Party - (247 hits in 2 months)

Ok, so you wanna throw a party, and by the looks of things, you want a Cirque Du Soleil themed party. Goodness knows why that may be, you probably can't bend and twist anywhere near as much as Corteo, but nonetheless, the people have spoken. Here's how you can put on a bang-on shindig for anyone to enjoy, and still impress that partay connoisseur that insists on nitpicking.

Firstly you're gonna have to decorate. Big time. Lucky for you, your local 'Spotlight', 'DeSerres' or 'Michaels' has cheap material, lots of glitter, and friendly staff. Fire jugglers are also cool, but it's difficult to find a place to store them after the event...

First, go get some lengths of coloured fabric, you'll use these to either drape on the walls of your venue, or hang from the roof, bombay restaurant style (search for 'draped fabric ceiling' for some great examples). They 'up' the ambiance and add to that 'chic eclectic' style, if you do it right that is.

You'll also want to buy some harlequin-style masks and either have them on the walls, decoratively placed on tables between food, or for guests to wear, because there's no fun in clowning around if you can't hide your shame.

Decorating is a world unto itself, and you'll want to be creative here. Just remember that those little silver stars you buy in the containers are a hellish nightmare to clean up; you'll be finding them in the carpet for months afterward.

Music! Ah music. Probably the most effective way to add mood. Hit up iTunes and search for 'Cirque Du Soleil' (duh), then trawl through the vast expanse of musical delights. This is your playlist for the evening, so try to choose happy, upbeat tracks (unless you're going for that whole *dark circus* theme, which is another blog post altogether!). For a deeper experience, another great soundtrack to grab is 'Le Fabulous Destine de Amelie Poulin', yes the film soundtrack by Yann Tiersen. Make sure you give all these tracks a full listen before throwing them into the playlist by the way, you'd hate to have a 'my son's Megadeth track found its way onto my dinner-party playlist' moment - not fun.

Finally, food. If you're working on a budget, you don't want catering, but if you have the cash, catering at parties is an awesome way to make the night memorable (and have decent grub going around). Guests love it, and again it adds to the whole experience (if possible, you could also ask the catering company if the waiters/waitresses can wear some of those masks you bought. Oh my!).

If catering isn't an option, don't stress, you have everything you need at your local supermarket. Bowls of berries for the health-inclined (the non-juicy kind if possible, nobody likes blackberry stains on their acrobatic garb), colourful sweets, fruit punch (alcoholic or not) and chips with dips are always good party snacks. It's up to you to set the mood, and lay out eats accordingly.

That's all I can say for now. All in all, as long as you put a little time into the planning, your party will go off without a hitch. It's all about entertaining the guests, so get creative, send out those invites, and try to stop that drunken girl from passing out in your potplant.

Enjoy your Cirque Du Soleil Party!

Part 2 coming soon.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Smog, Clarity, & The Return To Rain


"Good evening folks, welcome aboard United Airlines flight 2291 from Los Angeles to Vancouver. We'll be getting underway in just a moment which puts us right on time for departure at 8:15pm. Flight time tonight is two-hours and fifteen minutes."

By this time my head was hammering.

Good God - how could two Tylenol not have worked? I mean, there was enough acitomenophen in those pills to tranquilize a bull elephant, yet the headache remained. It was an unceremonious end to an incredibly enjoyable week, and indeed I kept thinking it might have been Shiva's way of letting me know how jealous she was of the fact that I got to go to Disneyland and she didn't.

This little unpleasantness notwithstanding, I stayed awake for a short while as I tried to jot down memorable phrases picked up during the course of the week, none of which will be funny to anyone but Timothy or myself.

Either way, the trip itself went thus:

We began in Vancouver on Sunday where Tim rented a U-Haul, and after picking up the artwork from The L Word prop warehouses we were off to the highway. (The artwork being the reason for the trip FYI).

The first three days were filled with beautiful scenery, so many different weather patterns that even Melbourne was put to shame, and quaint (oft bizarre) towns and counties where people were either too friendly, or too quaint or bizarre to talk to you.

We passed through Washington, Oregon, and finally into California, where Arnold's voice echoed around every treacherous and rocky bend, luring us towards the smog surrounding the big city of Los Angeles. We spent a night and (almost) a day in San Francisco, one of the most beautiful cities I've seen, and finally arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning.

Our mission completed, artwork safely delivered, Tim & I went sightseeing, Rodeo Drive, Sunset Boulevard et al. We were incredibly lucky with the weather too - the moment we entered Cali we were blessed with blue skies and sunshine - and Thursday we hit the fabled Disneyland for a day and night at the resort. For some reason I enjoyed the place even more now than I did when I was younger, it really is quite an incredible production. From entry to exit, those guys have the whole experience down pat.

Friday night finally rolled around, and after a day walking around Santa Monica we were ready to fly home. Thus, a successful journey. No heads bitten off, no dramas or tragedies, just good old fashioned fun. It's raining in Vancouver now, but the break will keep me warm for a while yet.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Open Road

What would you say if, out of the blue, a mate called you up and requested your join him for a road-trip to LA?

If you were me, you'd do the Mary Tyler Moore leap, then ask for the time off. Sure freezing in mid-air was a little awkward in the middle of the office, but luckily I have the background music down pat, so nobody noticed.

Why the sudden border-hop?

Well it turns out that a friend of mine worked on a TV show that was shot in Vancouver, and when said production ended recently, one of the cast members called him & asked if he could return some of her belongings. Simple enough, oui? Well, sure. But: 1) The cast member lives in LA. b) Couriers from Vancouver to LA are pricey. 4) The Saichen Glacier is still being fought over by India and Pakistan.

Luckily, both 1 and b can be solved simply. We hire a van and drive the goods down to her ourselves, (4 is still fuzzy, I'm talking to India & Pakistan on Monday about settling the dispute over a game of spoons). Meanwhile, she's agreed to foot the costs associated with getting it down there, all that's left for Tim and I to do is find a flight back on Friday, which we did, and figure out what we're doing in the City of Angels for three days (hellooooo Disneyland!). Pretty slick deal.

But there you have it. Tomorrow morning Tim and I jump into a U-Haul, and head down the West Coast, cargo in tow, iPods loaded, off into a world of star-spangled adventure for a week.

With any luck, I'll be able to document the journey on this here blogamajig. So stay tuned!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Jimzip Productions!

Yes! Indeed, March 1st each year is the birthday of Jimzip Productions.

It's been 9 years since I (awkwardly) started up what was originally called 'Blue_Cube Studios', and I'm happy to say I'm still enjoying every minute of it.

Of course, this is also the time I like to bring out little teasers. :)

Click to Play
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