some vacation!

When you're a rural telecommuter, being locked out is a lonely business.

Friday, September 30, 2005

jiggety jig

I froze my hard, increasingly skinny ass off doing my circles on the pavement yesterday. I'm beginning to have anxious fantasies about huddling around burning barrels if this goes on much longer.

Guessing when this will be over is a mug's game. Now that there's a news blackout on the negotiations going on in Hull, I've only got 2 factoids to go on:

1 - apparently Susan Marjetti and Rob Renaud announced this morning that they will only be on air until next Friday. That can only mean one of two things: people on the inside expect there will be a deal and ratification by then (a brazen assumption), or, another team of managers is poised for an on-air run (what a way to create false hope in the audience).

2 - the freakalicious Mysterion said at the end of his Simcoe Park show on Wednesday that we're gonna get a deal today. Come on, folks - we all saw what he can do. I may not want him at my house for supper, but the dude bends metal with with his mind. I have only one question: why isn't HE mediating for us?

Monday, September 26, 2005

home and away

Today I gear up again for another 3 days away from my home and family in order to walk the picket line in Toronto.

Herein lies the irony: my actual work for CBC requires about 2.5 days per week and one trip to studio every second week. The lock-out requires 3 days (and 2 nights) per week in Toronto - and that I spend money to be there, of course.

Last week, I calculated that it cost me roughly $85 to stay in the city for 3 days of lock-out duty: this over and above the uncounted generosity offered by friends who've invited me to sleep in their homes and share their meals and company while we're out on the pavement.

The $85 accounts for gas money (I car-pooled, thankfully), 5 TTC tokens, a couple cups of coffee, 4 meals at an average price of $8.50 each, 2 beers after the Massey Hall event and one drink bought for a colleague when I discovered it was his birthday on Thursday.

Sure, I know the old entrepreneurial adage "you've got to spend money to earn money", but surely this isn't what they had in mind. As much as I am enjoying the unbridled social time in the city, the money's barely worth the time away from my kids. If this goes on much longer I'll take a waitressing job closer to home.

Let's hope Bobby's getting his ass kicked around the Hill this morning and this will all be over soon.

The best damned epitaph I never wrote

This morning, I received a letter from Professor Phil Merikle in the Department of Psychology the University of Waterloo. He is leading the research on synaesthesia I mentioned in an earlier post. Here's some of what the letter said:

Dear Philly,

Thank you for completing both the SYNAESTHESIA SURVEY and the COLOR ASSESSMENT TEST on the Synaesthesia Research Centre website.

As you may have guessed while you were completing the test, we were interested in establishing how similar the colors that you selected in Part 1 for each letter and digit were to the colors you selected in Part 2. People who have grapheme-color synaesthesia select very similar colors for each letter and digit in the two parts of the test, whereas people who do not have synaesthesia tend to select very different colors.

Your results indicate that there was considerable consistency between the colors you
selected for the letters and digits in Part 1 and Part 2 of the test. Thus, the results indicate that you have grapheme-color synaesthesia.


But more interesting to me was the personal note attached, which said:

You have a very interesting type of synaesthesia. Only rarely do
synaesthetes experience colors as eliciting concepts (i.e., numbers).

You definitely have a very interesting mental life.


If there is any justice in the world, this will be my epitaph: SHE HAD A VERY INTERESTING MENTAL LIFE.

Amen.

Friday, September 23, 2005

kooky konspiracy kapers!

Those of us on the line hear a lot of talk about who is and who isn't winning the public relations war in this lockout. Consensus has it that the public sides with workers and the CMG, and that CBC management looks like an exclusive club for inept, bullying goons. The assumption is that the public actually understands the issues, perhaps because we're getting a lot of great support from print media.

Well, over the past 3 days I've been talking with members of the general public about the lockout, explaining the issues as best I can with the information tools at my disposal. In return, I've heard some truly astonishing theories about why the CBC has locked out it's 5,500 CMG members lately. Among some of the highlights:

1 - the CBC is trying to recoup ad revenue lost during last year's hockey strike (this one's fairly common)
2 - management has orchestrated a publicity ploy in order to make everyone tune in in record numbers when the season finally starts
3 - management thinks that keeping us out and getting us angry will bring lots of new energy to out programming when we get back in
4 - the Americans (the CIA in particular) are trying to de-stabilise the CBC from the inside in order to control our media, Venezuela-style

These theories are not posited by knuckle-dragging idiots. They came from educated, articulate, and caring people who love the CBC. They simply cannot comprehend how things could have come to a 6-week lockout without resorting to wild conspiracy theory.

The simple truth seems too sad, too mundane, and too incomprehensible for them to grasp.

But even if the theories are odd-ball, the audience still gets what we do. This is excerpted from a note sent to my mother from an ex-pat American writer friend who was at the Massey Hall event on Wednesday night:

At the end, the stage filled one by one with all of CBC's personalities. It was truly awesome. They came out dressed casually in slacks and blue jeans, etc. to temendous applause. The audience was filled with ardent fans who LISTEN - who LOVE - who are loyal to the core. It was a community, a voice of and for Canadians coast to coast. This wasn't about celebrity, it was about expression ... and tremendously gifted committed people giving Canada its cultural expression. THAT's what I've always loved about Canada, that people in the arts don't need glitz to show themselves off. The "work" has got to do it.

Monday, September 19, 2005

hey, is this thing on?

Yes, I've been quiet. Both a head cold and a gastro-intestinal thing swept through the house over the past 4 days. I'm happy to report we're all better now.

I'll be on the line in T.O. Tuesday aft, late Wednesday aft and a good chunk of Thursday. FYI - I'm bringing colourful basketsful of cherry tomatoes from our laden vines - watch for them near the CMG trailers. (Please eat them. Please. I'm beginning to have tomato nightmares.)

If you need to reach me, use the gmail address - I'll try to check in regularly. I'll be at the Massey Hall event on Wednesday evening.

Toronto people, if you're not going to Massey Hall, remember that T.O.F.U. featuring Shayne Koyczan are at the Rivoli on Wednesday night. Thursday it's Seu Jorge (known for his "Knockout Ned" from City of God and the bossa-nova Bowie covers from Life Aquatic) at the Lula... act fast, tickets are going quickly.

Friday, September 16, 2005

off-topic but interesting (to me, anyway)

Since I was a child, I've been aware that I don't sense things in the same way most people do. I am mildly synaesthegic, which means one sensory input can trigger, in me, a perception from a completely different sensory organ.

For some people, music triggers colour. For others, numbers or letters trigger smell. For me, colours trigger numbers in decimal place (and vice-versa). For example, butterscotch yellow is 2.56. Always has been, always will be. Pale pink is a 6, and a 3 always screams "green! green! brilliant lime green!" at me. Some letters are coloured, others aren't - those appear grey or a murky dark brown.

Sometimes smells follow me around (in my head, rest assured). All summer, I've been smelling fruit salad, a sweet combination of honeydew melon and berries, in my "mind's nose" as it were. If someone chews "wildberry" gum nearby I go out of my mind, I'm so overwhelmed. It's like a migraine of the nose.

I've always thought of this as so normal that it barely warrants examination. I've learned to ignore it.

Yesterday, my friend Diane forwarded me information about a study on synaesthesia underway at the University of Waterloo. Diane is a life-long scholar of Eastern Orthodox iconography. Since many synaesthetes seem to be of Eastern European and Russian origin, she is compelled to believe that the riotous colours and crunchy polyphonic sounds of the Orthodox church are meant to evoke a synaesthetic response in it's adherents, or at least those whose synapses can cross-fire.

In other words, total sensory overload brings one closer to God. Psychedelia rules! It's the polar opposite of the meditative practise that I attempt - usually in vain - to shut down all that noise in my head.

And in case some of you are wondering, yes, some unrelated inputs (in my case, smell) can trigger sexual response.

If you know someone who may be a synaesthete, make sure they take the test!


NOTE: my sister contacted me, off-blog, with these remarks:

"3 screams green? What are you sniffing? (well, you did say you've
odours in your head...). Red, red, red! 5 is bright green. 9 is still deep blue speckled with white, like those tin mugs you can get for camping. Shiny speckled blue. It has a taste quality too, and a feel."


She reminded me that we'd get into friendly but heated arguments with our mother in the car about this. It's obviously in the blood (which is about a 4.5 if wet, a 9 if dry, no matter what my sister says).

today's essential reading

Breaking news about the Terry Fox 25th anniversary broadcast segment from St. John's can be found at John Gushue's site this morning.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

An Evening In Support of Public Broadcasting

HERE'S THE OFFICIAL RELEASE:

September 13, 2005

MEDIA ADVISORY

END the CBC Lockout!
An Evening In Support of Public Broadcasting

TORONTO - Prominent speakers and well-known entertainers will join forces on Wednesday, September 21 at 8 pm to show their support for public broadcasting, and to encourage an end to the CBC lockout. This public event will take place at Massey Hall in Toronto and admission is free.

Noted speakers will include: authors Alice Munro and June Callwood, the Right Honourable Joe Clark, Nobel Prize-winning scientist John Polanyi and well-known actor R.H. Thomson. Some of the entertainers performing are: Air Farce, members of Moxy Fruvous, Mark Eisenman Jazz Trio with Bonnie Brett, baritone Russell Braun and tenor Benjamin Butterfield, Slim and Donné with Ndidi Onukwulu, and more special guests.

On August 15, the CBC locked out 5,500 employees across the country during contract negotiations with the Canadian Media Guild. The two sides have since resumed talks, but to date there is no resolution.

IN THE EVENT OF AN END TO THE LOCKOUT BY SEPTEMBER 21, THIS EVENT WILL BE CANCELLED. Please check the website www.endcbclockout.ca or call 416-644-1519 for up-to-date information.

The event is being organized with the leadership of ACTRA and the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting and sponsored by a non-partisan coalition of arts, cultural, labour, advocacy organizations that believe in public broadcasting in Canada. Sponsors include: ACTRA Fraternal Benefit Society, American Federation of Musicians, Association of Canadian Publishers, Canadian Actors Equity Association, Canadian Auto Workers, Canadian Conference of the Arts, Canadian Labour Congress, Communications Energy and Paperworkers, Council of Canadians, International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, Ontario Federation of Labour, Toronto Musicians Association, Writers Guild of Canada, Writers’ Union of Canada and the United Steelworkers.


WHAT: End the CBC Lockout!: An Evening In Support of Public Broadcasting

WHEN: 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 21, 2005

WHERE: Massey Hall, Shuter Street (between Victoria and Yonge), Toronto

-30-
For more information:
Carol Taverner, Public Relations Officer, ACTRA
416-642-6751 or 1-877-913-2278, ext. 6751

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

you can have time or money

As you might have guessed from my previous posts, this week I'm not doing picket-line duty. My husband is away for the week on his long-anticipated annual canoe and camping trip, this year in Temagami. Living (as we do) over 2 hours from Toronto, I can hardly nip down to the city for a quick shift on the line while the kids are at school. My requests for remote duty lock-out tasks seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

So, I'm plunging myself once again into domestic duties: on the kitchen table right now stand 21x1L jars of roma tomatoes and applesauce, harvested from the garden and the roadside respectively. I might not have any income whatsoever coming in this week, but hot-damn, we'll have food in the basement come winter.

The irony of it all is that my youngest entered grade 1 last week. This month was to be the time - after 10 years of being a full-time at-home parent with a freelance contract for CBC - that I was actually going to embrace my life as a freelancer. I was going to try and make the switch away from the domestic realm. I was going to buy my domain name, get a cracking website together, make a pile of phone calls and see what kind of work I might scare up.

Sadly, it seems that 5,500 other people with my skills are doing exactly the same thing this month. So, until this is settled, I'm hanging out in the kitchen. Again.

Until yesterday, I thought I did a pretty good job of not broadcasting financial anxiety about the lock-out to my kids. Yesterday they asked for take-out pizza, and I suggested we go to the store for frozen dough and some mozzerella cheese and that we make home-made tomato sauce instead. Fine. Then Nate spotted a new issue of the Spiderman comic and asked if he could get it. "Sure", I said "but we're going to have to watch our spending on treats right now while the money is tight". For the next several minutes, he kept saying "I'm sorry". He was actually apologizing to me for wanting such a frivolity as a comic book. It seems that he and his older sister, Cleo, have been talking about our situation and have even offered to empty their piggy banks to help the family budget if needs be.

I assure them, over and over, that we'll be just fine, it's only a month without pay, but they're not quite convinced. They're anxious.

This lock-out is hurting my kids. If I wasn't angry before, I sure as hell am now.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

lock-out bake-off

OK, Workerbee, I've risen to the challenge. You dropped the gauntlet (or was that an oven-mitt?) and I've picked it up.

This is not easy, given that I'm a very intuitive cook and rarely use recipes. Thankfully, friends liked these enough that they asked me to write this one down.

These cookies never fail. They are studded with intense bursts of candied ginger, the applesauce keeps them chewy and the sugar on the outside makes a nice little crunch. The batch makes about 40 cookies - easier for sharing with your buddies on the line than 12 muffins.

THREE-GINGER APPLESAUCE COOKIES

Blend together:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil

When smooth, add:

1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour above into a well in the middle of these sifted ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Stir in:

3/4 cup chopped crystalized ginger


The dough will be stiff. Chill for a few hours.

Scoop the dough, one teaspoon at a time, and roll each scoop into a ball shape between your hands (you may want to flour your hands - keep the dough cool while working if possible). Toss the ball around in a little bowl of sugar to coat. Place on a lightly greased pan, flatten slightly with a fork, or even better, the bottom of a plastic spool of thread (it'll look like a flower). Bake for about 15 minutes in a 350F oven.

Cool on racks...serve with the beverage of your choice (I'm partial to a dram of Ardbeg and some tea, myself).

black magic woman

I might as well continue with the only vaguely content-related references to pop songs from the 70's...

Here's an observation I forgot to note last week: I actually wore the nail polish off my toes doing the picket stroll. The polish rubbed clear away in the middle, making my toenails look like little buff-and-bronze picture frames, or TV screens, if you prefer.

The lock-out tee-shirt I made last week (to avoid having to wear a sandwich-board) will, upon retirement, find new life as part of an art exhibit. I was wearing it when a professor on sabbatical from OCAD asked if I might donate it to her upcoming show about art and activism. I'm happy to oblige - I certainly hope I'll never have to wear it again... and hope to be rid of it soon.

In other news, I had an odd weekend. Some highlights: on Friday afternoon, a crow landed on my head, and on Saturday, I was electrocuted by my stove when I lifted a pot lid. I think it must be payback time for that fantasy I had about tripping Richard Stursberg in the lunch line.

Monday, September 12, 2005

what's goin' on?

As promised, here's some information about events of interest to world music enthusiasts. At this point I'm just going to cover Toronto-area events,but if this lock-out stretches on, I'll try my best to tap into dates across the country. here goes:

On September 21st, there will be a free event at Massey Hall in support of public broadcasting. The evening will be produced by locked-out CBC workers and a coalition of about 30 groups (cultural, labour etc.) and led by ACTRA and Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. See the event poster.

EVENTS OF NOTE: SMALL WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL

For the 4th consecutive year, the Small World Music Festival brings a devilishly good line-up of world artists to stages across Toronto. here are the bare-bones listings. For further information visit Small World Music. I have starred some of my favourites, although I'm sure all performances will be excellent.

Thurs Sept 22
*** SEU JORGE *** [Brasil]
Part of "LUSO NOW" Festival Highlight
Lula Lounge 1585 Dundas W. @ 9pm, Tickets are $20 Advance/$25 At the Door
Visit the official SEU JORGE website (this is a gorgeous site)

Fri Sept 23
MIDIval PunditZ [India]
Part Of "SPOTLIGHT ON SOUTH ASIA" Classic Foundations to Global Fusions
Gypsy Co-op, 815 Queen St. W. @ 10pm, Tickets are $15 At the Door
Visit six degrees records

Sat Sept 24
A MOVING SOUND [Taiwan]
Jivamukti Yoga Studio, 5 Shuter St. @ 8pm, Tickets $15 Advance/$20 Door
Visit A MOVING SOUND

Sat Sept 24
LURA [Cape Verde]
Part of "LUSO NOW" Festival Highlight
Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas W. @ 8pm, Tickets are $15 Advance/$20 Door
Note Early Start, Guaranteed Seating with Dinner Reservations Only
For Reservations Please Call Lula Lounge 416.588.0307

Sun Sept 25
*** TRIO JOUBRAN *** [Palestine]
Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas W. @ 8pm, Tickets are $20 Advance/$25 At the Door

Tues Sept 27
MARIZA [Portugal]
Part of "LUSO NOW" Festival Highlight
Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St. @ 8pm, Tickets $39.50-59.50, Contact Massey
Hall Box Office at 416.872.4255/on-line sales: Massey Hall or ACAPO; Presented in Association with Massey Hall and Alianca dos Clubes e Associacoes Portuguesas do Ontario

Wed Sept 28
ASH DARGAN [Australia]
Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. West @ 9pm, Tickets are $15 Advance/$20 Door

Thurs Sept 29
*** HOVEN DROVEN *** [Sweden]
Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas W. @ 9pm, Tickets are $15 Advance $20 At the Door

Fri Sept 30
PAN-TiKi BATERIA [Canada]
Gypsy Co-Op 815 Queen St. W. 10:00pm, $10 at the door

Fri Sept 30 & Sat Oct 1
autorickshaw [Canada]
Part Of "SPOTLIGHT ON SOUTH ASIA" SMALL WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL 2005
Special Guests: Master Drummer Trichy Sankaran, Guitarist Kevin Breit
Al Green Theatre, 750 Spadina Ave. Miles Nadal JCC, @ 8:00 pm
Tickets $15 Advance/$20 Door
Visit autorickshaw

Sat Oct 1
NAWALl [Comoros Islands]
Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. W @ 8pm Tickets are $15 Advance/$20 Door
Note Early Start, Guaranteed Seating with Dinner Reservations Only
For Reservations Call Lula Lounge 416.588.0307

Sun Oct 2
*** SIDI GOMA *** [GUJARAT/INDIA]
SMALL WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL 2005
Part Of "SPOTLIGHT ON SOUTH ASIA" Classic Foundations to Global Fusions
Al Green Theatre, 750 Spadina Ave. @ 8pm, Tickets are $25 Advance /$30 Door


OTHER NOTABLE WORLD-ROOTS (AND OTHER) MUSIC EVENTS AROUND TORONTO:

Thursday September 22: From South Africa, the musical theatre hit UMOJA: The Spirit of Togetherness opens at the Elgin Theatre (189 Yonge Street)

sept 20: NICKEL CREEK @ Revival, 783 College St

sept 21: TONS OF FUN UNIVERSITY (TOFU, featuring award-winning slam-dub-poet Shayne Koyczan) @ The Rivoli

sept 23: TONS OF FUN UNIVERSITY @ The Gladstone

oct 2: BADI ASSAD @ Lula Lounge

oct 18-21: THE SUN RA ARKESTRA @ Lula Lounge (the great one may have moved on to Saturn, but the band lives on)

oct 27: DULCE PONTES @ Roy Thomson Hall

nov 2-6: HABANA SAX @ Lula Lounge

nov 22/23: WARSAW VILLAGE BAND @ Lula Lounge

More to come. PLEASE feel free to write me about any interesting events in your neighbourhood.

Friday, September 09, 2005

love rollercoaster

my hips hurt.

I managed to get some time on the picket line at the TBC this week - 7 hours on Wednesday and 9 on Thursday, to be precise. If the calculations are to be believed, I walked roughly the equivalent of a marathon each day. this may be nothing new to those of you who are now into week 4 of the holding pattern, but it is still a novelty to me.

By the end of this, we lock-outs will be fit and fab enough to produce our own "Buns of Steel" workout video: twenty circles to the left, one or two faster ones back to the right to unwind... Perhaps Pat Sensin (one of 8 who showed up attired for costume day, and rather under-attired, at that) will lead the pack.

Maybe the momentum is starting to die down, but I must say I was a bit disappointed by the lack of "circus" atmosphere on the line when I showed up for my first shift. where was the food I'd heard about? where was the music? and what about those rousing rhetorical speeches?

Wednesday was a day for rumour and speculation at the TBC. Theories spread around the line like brush-fires. At noon, consensus was that we were out for another 3 to 6 weeks, but that we shouldn't be surprised by 2 months or more. Sometime mid-afternoon, the rumour began to spread that the people inside pushing 12-hour shifts were beginning to feel exhausted and resentful: not quite the mutiny stage yet, but ready to push those in the nosebleed offices to knuckle down and get this done within two weeks. It was like an Elvis sighting. People were giddy. perhaps walking in circles for 4 weeks makes one a bit sun-addled and punch-drunk. Maybe we just want to believe: the truth is out there and all that. But I'm waiting for the facts - gimme names and dates.

Thursday started dark and early with a rousing thunderstorm. I have discovered that picketers are fair-weather friends: only about 40 hearty souls showed up until about 11:00ish, when the skies were once again clear. Already sore from a little too much wine the evening before and a night spent trying to iron out my aches on a hard-ish futon, I pushed into the day with resolve. By noon, my endorphins were kicking in as the sidewalks thrummed with people (albeit fewer than Wednesday). There was a "groovy" vibe: it was palpable. I'm beginning to understand why the pilgrims to Santiago and Mecca do their respective walks.

I went to find a bite to eat and found myself in a lineup of about two dozen plebes like myself and one rather well-suited man, about 8 inches away. As he turned, I saw that it was Richard Stursberg. Such a conflict of urges: I'll admit my first, and most childish one (OK, maybe my only urge) was to nudge the back of his knee and make him drop his lunch. Mature, I know. But I resisted: somehow I figured it might not be my best career move.

Here's what I can tell you - he looked well-rested. He did not look like a man who was burdened by guilt that the "product" - our on-air services - have gone to hell in a handbasket and that 5,300 people are stranded on the pavement. I can not possibly speculate why he exudes that confidence. He certainly looked Telfon-coated to me.

But back to the picket line... what a pleasure to be able to connect with all those co-workers who I usually meet with a glance of the eyes and a mumbled "hi" as we pass in the halls. I knew we were a vividly interesting and diversely talented group of people, I just didn't know how rich the vein really was. Unburdened as we are of the need to talk about work, the whole world opens itself for speculation. I've discovered interesting things about my fellow workers: who the closet rock-gods are, who grows ambitious urban gardens, who has spent too much time in front of the TV over the last month, and whose sex life had improved dramatically with all this extra time to enjoy, as it were.

And how can I forget? I've heard great programming ideas, too. If only 1 in 10 make to air when we're back, our schedule will be all the richer for it.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

where'd that 25% go?

Bafflegab.

I am the only one who finds the number-slinging by CBC management disingenuous and self-serving?

I see the recent mail-out from CBC says that only 5% of current employees are on contract, INCLUDING (my emphasis) fixed-term freelance employees, of which I'm one. If memory serves, the actual ratio of workers on contract to CBC without permanent employment status is closer to 30%.

Which is it?

Oh, I get it now. It's 30% when you count those who work from one contract to the next with paid benefits but no job security, but it's only 5% when you count just those freelance employees without benefits of any kind.

Freelancers are on contract but not all contract employees are freelance: a convenient loophole for PR purposes.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

the mountain man of lockout '05

my computer is an anachronism. You know, back in the day, a G3 was considered pretty hot. now it's likely to show up on the Antiques Roadshow. I can't run the browser platforms I need to be able to properly maintain this blog, ergo the lack of finesse. Combine that with a blazing dail-up speed of about 28800 and blogging is about as much fun as watching paint dry - without the benefit of intoxicating fumes.

it also means - realistically - that I can't read all the other blogs out there. if each one takes a couple of minutes to load... well, you do the math. I'd have to stay up all night. It took 34 minutes to download DJ Flex's mash-up (hot damn, it was worth it). and yes, I've asked: Bell Canada says they have no intention of making high-speed lines available where I live (1km from town) for about 20 years.

Harumph.

So, my one-woman picket continues out here in the boonies. I'm beginning to feel like one of those Japanese soldiers lost in the mountains in Indonesia.

no plain brown envelopes have come from the CBC for me, and so far I haven't been assigned a CMG "duty captain" for long-distance lockout duty, although I have asked twice. I also noticed that mine was not one of the last names amended to the list of bloggers on the CBC intranet before it was pulled down. Should I assume it's because everyone knows who "Philly - Toronto freelance host," is, or that no-one does? (I've always assumed that working as a radio host for CBC virtually assures my anonymity in the outside world, anyway!)

thank the gods that a few of you have written, or I'd begin to think that outside my domestic sphere, I don't actually exist. Suddenly, I'm a character in an existential horror flick!

but hey, they're making some headway at the table. that's my kind of start to a long weekend.

have a great one, eh?

Friday, September 02, 2005

musings on trivialities

OK. the promised "hard" content will come to the blog soon... but this is still supposed to be my vacation time, so I'm waiting until next week to knuckle down.

with this unexpected gift of time stretching out ahead of me, my aim is to do all those little things I've been putting off for weeks, months, or in some cases, years. As long as I don't have to spend a dime on them, of course.

since Tuesday I've canned 19 jars (12L) of applesauce, made new covers for the kids' floor cushions, cleaned the fish-tank, dyed some old bath towels with real indigo (which smells remarkably like cat-pee) and had 2 band rehearsals for a gig we've got coming up Sunday night. I did mountains of laundry. I cut the lawn. I read all of Harry Potter #1 and a good chunk of #2 to 6-year-old Nate. I thought about canning the peaches, plums and pears - thankfully, they are still under-ripe (basil and tomatoes are calling from the garden, however). I planned my kitchen reno - again. I've enjoyed (free) film festival screenings at the local drive-in and in the famous Symphony Barn up the road. I've played a lot with Lola, the new kitten.

I've also spent an indecent amount of time in my bathrobe.

You know, this could be the perfect life if someone paid me to do it...

OK, settle down, I do want to get back to work soon... really.

No, REALLY!

check, please!

Ugh.

I have two invoices that have gone missing somewhere in the CBC. One is for expenses accrued when I did some out-of-town business travel. The other is for shows I wrote for the upcoming season, recorded before the lockout.

Normally - even under these abnormal circumstances - this shouldn't be a problem. I have an organized and competent colleague on the inside who is trying to help me. I could send copies to her. But we all know things are rarely that simple.

Problem #1 is that the expense invoice was sent to another city, to another CMG member. I'll have to track her down at home to follow the paper trail.

Problem #2 has to do with my invoice for the shows. Usually I could fax in another copy, but there's one small glitch. My contract begins in August. I had read it, signed it and returned it the last week of July. Then I recorded 2 shows before I had a paper copy of the contract back in my hands. I'm quite sure it's waiting for me in my mailbox. The problem? I don't know the exact dollar figure I should be invoicing. I had brought a blank invoice into studio that week and filled in the amounts by hand...the first and only time I have ever done this. (No, I didn't take a photocopy... I'm so used to my usual system it never crossed my mind.) All I have is the ballpark figure I jotted down later at home. And I can't get in to the B'cast Centre to get my contract.

I've learned my lesson about keeping impeccable records. Let's hope my colleague can find a copy of the contract today without having to sort through my mail. [NOTE: she did. yippee!]

In other news, I'm hearing amazing stories from the inside. I have another colleague who has been retained as an essential worker during the lockout. While his co-workers are on the line, he's in to do a "lite" version of his job and make sure the systems he normally oversees don't fail. (He also waters other people's plants.) He says that there are members of other unions who are adding to their own workloads to ensure that they don't have to use the same systems that their CMG colleagues would normally use to get a job done. They've invented new ways of working - on the fly - out of respect for their co-workers.

Surely this display of the ingenuity and adaptability of humans bodes well for the negotiations.

One can only hope.