Friday, February 19, 2010

History not always what we want: BC, the Olympics and my bowels

The good news is that my fever has broken, five days and counting! The somewhat bad news is that I have not been boxing and got to read the exciting notes from the teleconference on ‘bowel maintenance.’ The most unusual suggestion was a Carbon Dioxide enema, you literally put a CO2 canister at your anus, and um, blow. It is only recommended for those who have high level breaks as the bloating is significant, and like the saying: when the trumpet sounds, all come out!

OW! It hurts me to think about. The presenter seem confused that it was not marketed or sold to the SCI community but to the gay community, hence a difficulty getting a supplier. (eye roll)

As for me, I have increased my water intake to 2 liters a day, and that with a mild daily irritant and grape juice does the deed. It is hard enough to manage to find time and energy to eat meals but I don’t dare get dehydrated.

Great Jumping Goat of Ghenna! Is that what the blog has been reduced to: my bowel reports! I know I wanted to narrate my life and disease but if I find the whole ‘regimen with a gun at my head’ tiresome, how worse to listen to it! Here, join Zheleznovodsk, Russia’s Bronze monument to the enema, and the slogan, “Let’s beat constipation…”

So, turn up the juice…let’s talk um…..clean ceilings.

A friend visited over a weekend and helped us with the physical things I could not do, helped Linda with that and one was cleaning the bathroom, including bleaching the ceilings. Here they are in all the glory! Linda went around happy for several days in a time when things seemed very much out of control going, “Clean Ceilings.” Also, though hard work (mostly our Linda and our friend), we found that we have a living room again, one I can wheel in and out of. And in a promo offer we are watching the Olympics, at times, hooked up to basic cable. It will go when the Olympics do, as I can see that commercials have not changed for the better in the last 10 years. It actually makes the dog food commercial of the little chuck wagon going around on the floor seem quite clever (that usually showed up during Bonanza!). I promised Linda that we would watch… skating. No, no, not the speed or endurance skating I WANTED to watch but the figure skating. We saw the men’s routines and the narration was well, surreal. There is a guy who is obviously gay (OBVIOUSLY CAMP also like blowing kissing and giving little hand at shoulder finger waggle waves) in a country where it is LEGAL to marry so why not come out and be GAY. He is wearing a boa, fur, satin and sparkles and the Television commentators are talking like this is a boxing match and how he has come here to ‘stomp’ skater X and how ‘I hear he has been doing some ‘trash talking’ and today we will see if he has brought his game face.’ – what? This isn’t pro-wrestling! Don't mistake me, I WANT gay and out men and women - what is the point of having the all the rights and protections then having the 'hetero games'. He did quite well, blew kisses to his mom, cried and will probably win a medal. It is just annoying that we don’t hear about his partner or future plans but how he will ‘shove those skates in the face of his rival’. Wha?
Apparently this guy, who pinged my gaydar is not gay or has a 'beard' (is dating a female), he just likes to crossdress, like so many North American males (over 10% heterosexuals do it regularly!). Not gay, though he has feather gloves which he says 'match the music' - the music, 'the Firebird' is a typical ice skating piece for the female ice skaters, a first Olympic use for men in medal competition I think. Oh, a classic case of the dudes raiding our closet again. Plus he is the tallest ice skater in the Olympics, so you think that outfit or gloves are going to fit again when he has stretched them out? Oh wait, he bought this, so that is okay as they are going into some US Hall of Fame probably. Also probably next to a sign saying, "We are Americans: we get Gold.... and we are straight!"

I am not proud to be Canadian or from BC. Our commercials show a white only society, or one which lacks the true complexity which exists. We put up the Jason Hunt's Kwagiulth Killer Whale carving with the lighting, having found the right place for it, so that we can enjoy it frequently. That carving is part of BC history and culture, and so is the whole story of how our Christian Nuns and Priests destroyed the Potlatch, burned the carvings and masks. British Columbia history is also how the Grey Nuns built the hospital I was born in.

Despite the crackdown, Jason Hunt’s grandfather was a handful of men who had been taught, in secret, the carvings, as they were done originally, unique to that nation. He taught others at the Royal BC Museum Carving Shed. That the Haida, frequently portrayed in the B.C. commercials, due to famous art, did slave runs each year down the coast of this island is our history too. Jason’s Kwagiulth nation had a treaty: greet, lodge and feed and they don’t get taken as slaves. The Killer whale dance was the dance which welcomed the Haida canoes, the same dance Jason and his brother danced at Potlatches. The revolt of the Haida carvers in the 1930’s against the Christian influence to ‘normalize’ the carving by changing them to 'acceptable', tourist shapes by denying the argillite stone unless traditional carvings were made is BC history. So is Jason’s carving. The image must reflect only the Kwaguilth image and was inspected by his father, as his grandfather inspected his father’s carvings. The wood to make this carving came from Kwagiulth cedar and it represents his skill as a carver, and the continuation of the Kwagiulth art. We are only those who keep the art until the next generation.

B.C. history is complex, and does not show up in a 30 second commercial of white people smiling going, “Hey, Super…Natural….BC!” We are a Province of draft dodgers from Vietnam (and entire island up the main island a bit), of a dying forest industry, of strange leaders (one Premier decided to spend millions giving everyone a bible and lived in a theme park), and ancient beauty. Where else can you travel on a 50 year old ferry and see pods of killer whales, seals, sea lions, or grey whales? I live where I can see an bald eagle fly over me (and do!), and cougars still wander into town (tranq and sent up island!).

My town has the oldest China Town in BC and yet it, along with almost everything was and still is fighting against being wiped out by developers. The workers who tore down the heritage house across the street are now doing drilling and working on digging up the street so I don’t get a lot of sleep. My city has the highest rate of child abuse in the country. We could change it….but we don’t. The Anglican church in the ‘lower town’ opened a homeless shelter in the basement until a lawsuit by the store owners made them close it. the Anglican Cathedral church in the ‘upper town’ has a manse, a school, and refuses to feed the homeless, lest they hang around. It does however have opera society shows for $20 a ticket. We were the route for three gold rushes, we told US Blacks during the civil war to come to this city, then ended up putting them off on the north point of Salt Spring island, until almost all left or died. We were the end port of the Sea/rail journey from the UK for hundreds of thousands of immigrants taking the ships to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. We were the end of the line for tens of thousands of orphans, including my own grandfather. That is a fraction of BC. The histories of this new and old land are still mixing, and will for some generations to come.

History isn’t always what we want it to be, the fact that store owners and lumber mills made far more than miners ever did in the California or Yukon Gold Rushes isn’t the dream, but it is the reality. Indeed, we have the California gold rush to thank for Instant Coffee. James Folger came to San Francisco to the Gold rush and didn’t dig, he made...instant coffee. Folgers’ Coffee, sold in a brick, was something that could be carried easily over rough terrain and sold for high value when eggs were going for $10 at the mining camps. Folgers also sold tea, it is just the Coffee did better.
They say that North Americans made the worst coffee in the world, constant brew with egg whites thrown in to keep the particles on the bottom of the kettle of your camp or farm coffee. I remember, as a child, friends of my grandfather throwing in the egg shells (mostly because I had an odd habit of eating the egg shells too – and they would tell me to ‘leave some for the coffee’) in the ever going coffee pot. Instant Coffee – is history. I wouldn’t mind seeing a commercial of some guy with a tooth missing holding some camp coffee, throwing in egg shells and pouring this black, brackish liquid and going, “Super…..BC!” – because it is the British Columbia I know.

Today, down in James Bay, there are three coffee houses (two 'independent'), and the beans are fine roasted and from places even I haven’t heard of (Did you know that Juan Valdez and his donkey were actually CREATED by the coffee board so the US would have the slightest idea WHERE coffee came from – Brazil, and who grew it). Brazil figured if Americans knew where the coffee came from they would buy more – it worked. For years, a nosy Swedish woman, Ms. Olsen, advised wives on how to make their husbands happy, “Mountain Grown” – the longest running single ad campaign in history).

Apparently the commercial is 40 years olds, yet that’s the way men and women are SUPPOSED to behave, so says the Olympics (except male ice skaters). Take it from Mrs. Olsen!


wendryn said...

Hey, the fever is down! Woohoo!

Clean ceilings are very good things.

Thank you for the history - I only knew bits and pieces.

Here's hoping the fever stays down!

Lene Andersen said...

A monument to the enema?? And they say the Russians have no sense of humour...

I played the commercial and Mrs. Olsen's voice rang a huge bell - guess she was still the voice of Folgers when I came here in the 80s?

History is written by the victors - forget who said that, but yeah. And then they sterilize it.

Victor Kellar said...

I've been watching the Olympics as well, or at least trying to, you get maybe a minute of competition shoe horned in between 10 minutes of blithe uniformed commentary, 20 minutes of saccarine overly dramatic "athlete profiles" and about nine hours of commercials

And yes commercials suck. And yes, over the past 20 years I've been involved in the industry, on and off. Don't hate me

Your comments about the skaters are spot on. We celebrate our acceptance of sexual preference but not enough to include them in the Olympic "ideal", that being "let's use this as an opportunity to make money" and geez, we wouldn't want to scare off Ford with some pretty gay guys would we

Raccoon said...

Carbon Dioxide enema?

Uhm, no?

I had never heard of this. I'll have to ask around down here.

I just had to take an extra look at your shower. Make sure that it wasn't a noose.

You don't have any pictures on the wall of your living room. For shame! Of course, I only have a couple up, myself.

As for the Olympics... I have (intentionally) not paid any attention to them. Until your blog. Johnny Weir, in your first photo, has been adamant about not saying if he is gay or straight. He wants people to focus on the skating. And, glancing at some comments on various articles, the commenters seem to be agreeing with him. For the most part.

Speaking of cross-dressing... did you hear of the American politician arguing that the "gifts" he was given weren't given to him as a politician, but to his cross-dressing "alter ego?"

History is written by the winners, and long after. And sometimes, but only sometimes, historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists get consulted.

deadrose said...

I haven't watched the Olympics at all this time - we don't get enough tv signal and don't want to spend the money for cable.

It's a shame to miss those figure skaters, though! The camp value looks fantastic! He should choreograph a piece to some Azis tune - Azis is my favourite Bulgarian chalga singer, a gay Rom with a powerful high range and some fine drag chops. Check this out:

Ow. Tonight's a bad joint night. Weather must be changing again or something. It's going to take a little more fortitude to tackle the dishes tonight, my thumb is particularly sore and washing dishes generally requires opposable thumbs and grip strength.

Hope yours is going better!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Lene: The Folgers commercials ran until 1989, so I am sure if you had a TV you saw them, there are colour ones, but I like this early retro ones. There is one where the one thing a guy asks for on his ANNIVERSARY, "Honey, please don't make me your coffee!" - ouch!

The monument cost $42,000 - yeah, um, yeah - don't know how that got past the board.

Wendryn: The fever was back for about 3-4 hours, I slept 4 hours and fever free again. Yah!

Our washroom, due to the poor ventilation, had mildew on the ceiling so that was bleached - white is better than black spots on ceilings.

I was surprised a new book had come out on the Black experience on Salt Spring, I will see if I can get that at the Library.

Victor: Yes, I didn't know that EVERY single super G or other event has such a long wait between competitors for commercials - ug.

I know you worked on commercials but some are really good, it is just oddly they don't last - we used to go see the annual collection of the 'best of commercials' - some annual competition worldwide, to see French, Brazilian, Japanese and US amoung other nation commercials. One great commercial showed kids in the streets of Brazil with no shoes playing soccer/football - while in the UK, a guy is using his money for new brogues, in Brazil a child is saving up shoes. They show the kid running back to the street game while the UK guy kicks a can in his new brogues - then they show the world cup and Brazil scoring 3-1 against the UK. It did a whole sociological structure analysis in 30 seconds, it was great. Did you do the chuck wagon commercial?

Cheryl said that Weir, shown first, not only sewed his own costume but afterward wore a garland of intertwined roses while waiting for the score - and his outfit for the final was black and HOT pink. And US commentators probably still had him 'attacking' the opposition. I just wish once during these commentaries where they go, "Oh, what must be running through his mind..." one of the others actually breaks rank and goes, "Wow, look at the way the sequins really accent his colouring....", or "This is for you mom!" (hey, that could be any sport!)

Elizabeth McClung said...

Raccoon: Yeah, it was listed as an option along with magic bullet and all the other ones (though I hear the manufacturer of magic bullet had some was on a forum, dunno). It just sounded way too, well, too.

We put up a new shower curtain, that's a good joke though, to put a noose up by the coiled shower head to scare the workers!

I watch figure skating for the drama, and for me, the outfits, the odd movements, the totally over the top stuff is sometimes part of that. I used to like a french Canadian skater the judges HATED because he did things like, take huge risks, and do full length slides down the rink before popping up on his skates and stuff. But he was judged poorly for 'interpretation' because it was 'the way it is to be done' - well, it entertained me.

I am interested that a politician has an 'out' cross dressed alter ego which shows up at his office. The CIA and FBI used to have written that there was no problem with an agent cross dressing, as long as they told when they joined so they could not be blackmailed. I looked it up after Twin Peaks as I thought the Cross dressed FBI agent was genius as who would expect the cross dresser who is exploring the town to be FBI? That, grunge, some tats, a biker look and agents would fit in more and get less attention than the Crown Vics and the suits.

Deadrose: Yes, I think because it is sort of across the street I get the free viewing. And it is good for camp value plus there are sports I never knew existed like skulling - where you go head first down a track on a small disc - the winner was a Canadian and drank on TV from a pitcher of beer - um, I wonder why Europe views us as provincial? haha.

Good luck with the dishes, there may be a gripper for using your palm and forefinger, I know there was at a camping store for grabbing stuff off the stove and it didn't require the thumb - half the time I get my stuff from outback and backpack places as they are cheaper than medical supply and sometimes better endurance.

Thanks for the comments.

Kita said...

Beth - I am sorry that I have not been commenting on your blog as much as I feel I should have - illness has reared its ugly head and I have had probems typing properly, let alone thinkning in a straight line. I am, however, still reading, still hanging on with you. You fight so wonderully - you write so well.. I am in awe of you.
I an so glad your fever has broken and I had to laugh when I saw the picture of the statue of the Russian enema - my b/f was 'wtf is that!?' - lol.

I love you, dear sister. I am by your side always.

Love, Kita.

Dawn Allenbach said...

HOORAY for five days without fever!

The most unusual suggestion was a Carbon Dioxide enema, you literally put a CO2 canister at your anus, and um, blow.

Um, how about NOOOOOOOO! I'll stick with my stool softener, thanks. *shivers*

cheryl g said...

I am very glad the fever has broken. I have hope that if your system isn’t contending with a fever you may be able to get some reserves built up again.

Ummm, CO2 enemas… that seems like something to be avoided at all costs. I do find a Russian monument to the enema to be highly amusing. In med school I had a professor who I think would have worshipped the monument. He believed all ills could be prevented with regular bowel movements and a brisk walk.

Clean sparkly bathrooms are very nice and I am glad Linda had help getting things cleaned. I know I appreciate it when a friend helps me.

It has been fun watching the Olympics and I wish athletes didn’t feel that being open about their sexuality would at the least take the focus away from their athleticism and at the most be the death knell to their career.

Thank you for the additional insight into the history of your city and province. History is too often sanitized and prettied up.

Mrs. Olson – now there’s a blast from the past. My mom still won’t buy any other brand of coffee.

SharonMV said...

Dear Beth,
I think your fever has come to live with me. I've been having one for a couple of months, but the last week, I've been having a higher fever, much worse than my usual Lupus one of 100 or less. Due no doubt to my latest sinus/respiratory infection.

I watched the skating too. Johnny weir is one of my favorites. I'm glad he gave a good performance & i loved it when he put on his crown of red roses & held that huge bouquet. Last night D & i watched the skiing and it was indeed tedious & nearly intermnible. I kept asking - why don't don't they tell us how many have yet to do their runs? Just so I could have hope that it would be over at some point. But we stuck it out. I always turn it down or change the channel when the sappy profiles or other set pieces come on.

Thanks Beth, for all the info on BC & it's history.

Do you know about the TV show Man vs. Wild. Bear Grylls (yes that is his name) gets dropped off (sometimes literally from a plane or helicopter) in wilderness areas , & demonstrates his survival skills & ability to find his way back to civilization. In one recent episode he escaped from a deserted island in a makeshift raft. He'd recovered some water from a small pool on a guano infested rock (yes there is a point to this story) and explined that while it was too dirty to drink, one could hydrate with it via an enema. And he proceeded to give himself one! He had a plastic water bottle & some plastic tubing he'd found on the beach (he says trash washes up everywhere, but that tubing seems awfully convinient), so he hung the water bottle from the mast & had his enema. Being a Brit, as he shoved the tube in he said, All I con do is thing of Englaandd!



JaneB said...

Delighted to hear about the fever's absence and the clean ceilings. Hope ypou get to appreciate them during your long bathroom confinements.

Isn't history fascinating? it's always more complicated, more messy, more... human the more you look into it.

I am TV-less but think I am missing very little not being able to see the Olympics (apart from the skiing/shooting competition, which I can see the POINT of)... plus, of course, I am getting lots of descriptions and pictures from bloggers like you. I have never seen why hetero men shouldn't be alowed colour and flamboyance (well, my "favourite historical period" if I had to pick on would be rennaissance/tudor when men out-dandified and out-exaggerated the women in clothes anyway - cod-pieces anyone??). ESPECIALLY if reciprocal rights are extended to women who like earth colours and concealing, comfortable draperies... anti-flamboyance gets criticised too!

Hope fever stays gone and you both stay centred - and that whale is glorious.

VK said...

"I am not proud to be Canadian or from BC. Our commercials show a white only society, or one which lacks the true complexity which exists."

Here's one that might cheer you up a bit -

(Where cheer you up, I mean it makes my stiff upper lip wobble and my eyes well up)

Rebel Child of Light said...

Yes! I have to agree, the whale carving is beautiful!

Just to let you know Beth, that this is a link to my new blog, please feel free to visit if you wish!

lots of love


FridaWrites said...

I have pretty bad bowel issues thanks to the Sjogren's portion of my illness and can say there is nothing minor about such issues. How much grape juice?

Your apartment looks really nice--it always feels so much better to have our space cleaned up, even though we can't do a lot to help. Your friend was really generous with her time and energy--send her over here?

I have been watching the Olympics--have loved the skating, in awe of the snowboarding and skiing. I don't understand why the announcer in the US kept saying that Weir said something controversial--I didn't understand what they were referring to, and somehow we the audience were expected to know. It seemed like shorthand that the announcer (not Scott Hamilton, the other one) did not approve.

I love to try specialty coffees, but Folger's is a constant for us and tastes good--not too bitter or too sweet.