Skint for Time

It is 11 pm on Thursday and I am watching Coronation Street with my partner, enjoying a rare moment of repose. In my opinion, relaxation is best accompanied by baking, and I deliver a plateful of amost-cooled lemon bars to the living room just as Lloyd is complaining that he cannot afford to redecorate his grotty cab office. ‘But Cheryl (pronounced Ch as in cheese, then ay-rul),’ he opines, ‘I am skinned!’ Continue reading

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Test is Best?

Do you want to know how to really piss me off? There are a number of ways to accomplish this worthy goal. For instance, you could e-mail me a petty complaint about yesterday’s midterm, sending it when I am surrounded by 90 hideously unmarked exam booklets, trembling with uncertainty while pondering that recurring question: Should I grade these exams, or jump off the High Level Bridge instead?  Continue reading

Getting My Body Back

As I step outside into the light, the sun’s rays trigger an intense physical memory. It is the summer of 2010, and I am on a warmly fragrant train headed toward Montpellier. Exhausted after touring the medieval fortress in Carcassonne, I slump into a rare empty seat, noticing that my partner, across the aisle and four rows ahead of me, has already fallen asleep. Smiling, I listen for the familiar sound of his snoring, but am distracted by the scent of wet dog mixed with unwashed scalp. A roughly dressed tattooed man and his placid canine have paused in the aisle beside me, evading the ticket-punching conductor. When the train unexpectedly comes to a complete stop, I turn to look out the window. Instead of a station, my eyes perceive a glowing expanse of French countryside filled with grape vines and poppies. To my amazement, two white horses suddenly cross the tracks a few feet from my car. I inhale sharply and hold my breath, as if my movements could startle them. Unperturbed by either the train or its contents, the wild, magnificent creatures toss their manes and slowly trot away. Over the intercom, a male voice hesitates as it apologetically explains that a delay has been ’caused by … horses.’ I now use this excuse whenever I am late for meetings. At the time, however, this unforgettable experience was imprinted on my body. Its sensory overload can be summoned by any number of smells and sounds. That is why, when I remembered les chevaux again last week, I knew that I was finally getting my body back. Continue reading

Personality Test

If you follow FFG on Twitter or Facebook then you already know that I passed the practical part of my personal training examination before heading to Toronto last week. My friend SuperWoman (SW) acted as a volunteer, playing the role of a relatively unfit client. The real SW is both muscular—–easily doing 30 tits-to-floor-from-the-toes push ups in a row—and amazing. In addition to working several jobs, she is a part-time student and full-time mom. Plus she is fit and hot to boot. All I can say is: Respect. Continue reading

Learning Curve

This movie is best enjoyed with   hallucinogenic popcorn.

I am sitting in a café, resting my weary lats and delts after having them pounded by my new trainer—what I mean is, from the workout she provided; I would have to pay extra for an actual beating—reading about vermin, one of my favourite topics. Here is a learning highlight: during the 1960s, entomologist Paul W. Riegert observed the mating habits of grasshoppers, noting that ‘virgin females laid several egg-pods even though these eggs had never been fertilized. In keeping with other insects about five per cent of these unfertilized eggs hatched, the embryos being formed by a process known as “pathenogenesis.” All of these hatchlings were female.’ Oh fuck yeah, an Amazonian race of lady grasshoppers! Send that script to Joan Collins right now! What a dystopian nightmare for the men’s movement though, confirming the irrelevance of male parts and man fluids. While those Robert Bly guys are in the woods shaving each other Continue reading