I am going to be a crazy old bat who writes wacky complaint letters to everything like Grandpa Simpson.

Dear Clover Leaf: 

I was just looking at one of your tuna tins, and I can no longer find the "Dolphin Friendly" symbol on the label. Are you no longer Dolphin Friendly? Did I just eat dolphin with Miracle Whip on my sandwich? I certainly hope not. It's not that I love dolphins or anything; I just don't want to eat anything that was a swimsuit-shredding, prehensile-dicked rapist. Oh please please please please please tell me I didn't just eat evil rapey douchebag-of-the-sea on white bread...


Dear Dolphins: 

You guys are assholes. You may be the most intelligent animals on Earth, but you're still assholes. What the hell is the deal? Humping humans who only want to join you in the pool? Destroying the trust and swimsuits of people who merely wish to bask in your "gentle and soothing" aura? Gentle and soothing, my eye. Don't you dare come near me, you deceptively-cute aquatic perverts. Screw you and the seahorse you rode in on.


Dear Teletoon Retro: 

What exactly is your definition of "retro"? The For Better Or For Worse animated series is from post-2000. Here's a good rule of thumb: if kids who aren't in high school yet can remember it from when it was new, it's not "retro." 

Good job for airing Beetlejuice and My Pet Monster, though. How about some Rainbow Brite? Or Lady LovelyLocks? Oh, and have you considered airing Care Bears at a more civilised hour of the morning so that those of us who stay up past midnight on the East Coast to catch Fraggle Rock have a chance at being awake to watch it? That'd be frikkin' awesome.


Dear Brother: 

Quit bloody snoring. I've got enough trouble sleeping without having to listen to you apneating holes into the drywall. 


Dear Complexion: 

Stop sucking. You were great the entire time I was in puberty; why start looking like hell when I'm 25 and need to find someone to marry? Enough with the pimples already.


"I can smell your thoughts from here. Take a thought shower."

Here's what.

I honestly never intended for Whatever Vannie Wants to be a theatre blog, or a blog about theatre. As far as I'm concerned it's never been anything but my attempt at a humour blog (despite the fact that people who behave like real people can't be arsed to read about Marc Bolan or iambic pentameter). But they say "Write what you know", and theatre is really the only thing I do know. Well, other than being obsessed with things. And this entry contains plenty of both.

So it's Tuesday, and Tuesday is traditionally an awkward day for me, particularly if anything at all other than loafing happened over the preceding weekend; I'm still coming down from (and usually analysing to death) the events of the weekend past, but I'm already making plans for the weekend forthcoming. And since the weekend forthcoming, as far as I can tell at this point, won't involve much besides the gym and studying the Road User's Guide, the amount of time allotted for regretroaction is currently in surplus.

My "weekend", as it were (me being unemployed), actually began on Thursday afternoon with a very short shopping trip. Normally when I walk into a Penningtons I can stay for hours at a stretch just trying on various items that I think will help me recapture my lost youth. Well, the youth I never had. My youth is like Hedwig Robinson's vagina, it was never there to begin with. That's a terrible simile. Hedwig has her angry inch, I just have anger. Okay. I promise I'll stop now. You'll know in a bit why I have Hedwig on the brain. Anyway, as I was saying, usually my trips to Penningtons can take hours, but this time I knew exactly what I was after: a red or pink camisole, preferably cherry red. I wanted it to wear under my black wrap cardigan as part of my costume (well, outfit) for The Vagina Monologues. Since every time I go into that place looking for a T-shirt or sweater, I can only ever find camisoles, I was unbearably confident that I would find exactly what I wanted this time (only thing I've been confident about since I took my first steps). Long story short (more Hedwig imagery!), I found not only a cherry-red, rather sexy shirred camisole (bit snug, but I pinned my cardi closed) on the clearance rack, but also a version of the same in A) the correct size, and B) the most fantabulosa jewel purple. The things cost me five dollars each, and apparently my boobs couldn't wait to start wearing them.

The next item on my agenda was dress rehearsal for The Vagina Monologues, which went fine. The whole affair was mainly for tech purposes, so the only part of my monologue we did was the bit at the end where I was to get everybody to yell "CUNT!" for about two minutes straight. After dress rehearsal, I tried (not being overly familiar with the area adjacent to the Music building) to find a bus stop and somehow briefly wound up lost in the Education building before finally catching a bus at the UC, my intended destination being downtown to see the opening performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. After meeting my friend Betty and having way too many chips at Bridie Molloy's, we hit the Rock House, whereupon I began behaving abominably almost immediately. It was dark, art rock was playing pre-show, I had on wristers with chains on them and the place was full of people I knew. What did I do? Dance. And make a frantic beeline right up to the front despite there being nowhere near enough people in the house at that point to pose a threat to my coveted vantage point.

The show itself was fan-bloody-tastic. Fantabulosa, even. Words fail me to describe Brad Hodder's performance as Hedwig, but suffice it to say that he had the whole joint in the palm of his hand at every second. The incomparable Janet Cull, as Yitzhak, could quite honestly kill a man with the power of her voice if she didn't do it with her eyes first. The band defied everything I thought I knew about the music of Hedwig and about rock 'n' roll. You had Matt Hender on bass as "new boy" Jacek, who stuffed our ears with thick bass steaks when not being twitted by Miss Hedwig about his impressive 'fro, which would make Josh Mostel green with envy; Chris Driedzic as drummer Schlatko, who could both keep and split time, his beats delightfully obscene and obscenely delightful; Vaughan Grimes as guitarist Krzyzhtof, all sunshades and thin tie, whose guitar might well have been set ablaze the entire time, so swift was his manipulation thereof; and George Robertson as Hedwig's "trusted musical director", Skszp, who tickled the ivories and everyone's fancy as he rocked out harder than anyone has rocked out on an electric piano since the invention of the Mellotron.

Ahem. Let me just pick those names up. [Picks up.] 

So that was Thursday: Hedwig and the band being amazing, me rocking out and being in awe. Friday's events began with a very productive acting lesson in the afternoon, followed by a jaunt to the mall for some Gummi Bears and a quick meal of chips to avert fainting, for that evening was to be the opening performance of The Vagina Monologues. That whole affair went swimmingly, all of us in our black and red and pink, in every conceivable kind of outfit: here a dancing dress with a little Jackie O. veiled hat, there trousers and a red top with a sweater, here a black shirt and trousers with red braces, there a corset and ruffled cherry-print underoos. I had come to the conclusion a couple weeks prior that we, as a cast, should celebrate our opening night and cast togetherness by attending the final performance of Hedwig, which was taking place at midnight on the same night. I thought it would be the perfect cast party, the best kind of entertainment right there in a familiar bar, and as George so elegantly phrased it, "What better to do after an evening of talking about snatch?" Nearly half of us, I believe, were confirmed to go, myself and Bertie included. We two went and grabbed a third friend, Toms, and arrived downtown well before the show was to begin. 

We went to the Celtic Hearth, but I found I was too excited to eat much; fearful of missing out on my coveted front-of-house vantage point and also that we might arrive too late to get a ticket for Bertie, I handed Bertie my ticket, paid the bill, and took off for the Rock House with the other twenty dollars. I turned out to have arrived in plenty of time, which caused me to be even more pumped and to behave even more abominably. I had one bag of Gummi Bears left which I had kept especially for the show, so when Bertie and Toms showed up shortly thereafter, we cracked into those and waited for my idol to take the stage. Turning up early had been a worthwhile effort on our part after all; the front-of-house was soon packed end to end with people in varying degrees of inebriation, it being past midnight already.

Once Yitzhak uttered those magic words -- "Ladies and gentlemen...whether you like it or not...HEDWIG!" -- it was evident from the crowd's reactions that many of them were fans as ardent as I. Unlike the previous night's show, where I had rocked out and danced some and been the fangirl, but not been so bold as to sing along nor interact much with my fellow fans, on this night I joined in what can only be described as a love-mosh pit. We sang along with Miss Hedwig. We sang back at her and we sang to each other. We danced and thoroughly rocked out and cheered every step of the way. I was sober, but simply allowed myself to completely let go. My shoes became impossible to stand in, so at one point when Hedwig had us all sit on the floor so she could tell a story, I surreptitiously removed my shoes and stuffed them under the stage in disregard of the fact that I was now standing barefoot on a bar floor. I just didn't give half a damn anymore! Two rather ossified fellows whom I didn't know from Adam but who upon later investigation turned out to be friends of friends took a drunken liking to me, particularly when I shared my packet of Gummi Bears with everyone nearby during "Sugar Daddy" (the taller one and I had a blast handing the candies to Hedwig as well) and when I caught the "Shroud of Hedwig" (the shorter and blonder of the two professed "I hate-slash-love you!"). The smaller fellow also seemed to be the worse for drink, and after approaching me closely enough to examine my chest tattoo, decided that he loved it and proceeded to motorboat me. Twice, actually. I got grabbed, and danced with, and nuzzled, and leaned on, and sung to, and freaked on, and who knows what all. As I said, it was a love-mosh pit. Which, if you're familiar with Hedwig, you're probably agreeing with me in thinking, what could be better?

Since I'd eaten before the show, there was no opportunity for me to inadvertently eat myself sick while contemplating my terrible behaviour the way I did the last time I went downtown. After Toms and Bertie had both packed off home, I hung out for a bit gulling down ice water at the bar and hoping to perhaps chat briefly with Brad and George (I being previously acquainted with those two). Since by the time I got home, it was nearly 4:00, and since I had to rest up for Saturday's Monologues performance, there was no time for regretroaction after I got home either.

The second and final Monologues performance went as swimmingly as Friday's, if not more so; we were graced with a larger and more responsive audience, which in turn made us feel free to be larger and more responsive. The mutual bonhomie and support among the cast contributed to this as well; although we'd only had three rehearsals, the group of us became rather close with astonishing rapidity. I'd been in the show twice before, and I'd marked how The Vagina Monologues tended to foster that kind of rapport between the members of its cast and crew. There was no cattiness, no harsh words that I knew of. We told each other of our reasons for being attached to the show and played word games with the word "vagina." Thanks to the content of the show itself, we all knew who had had orgasms and who had known someone who had been subject to assault. Naturally, there were some tears shed on Saturday night. Though mindful of my meticulously-applied eye makeup, I nevertheless felt compelled to reveal to the group why I felt the Monologues was most fitting for me to be involved in as my first gig after my seven-month hiatus; although, not wanting to spoil the charming work of my hands, I refused to let myself cry before the show.

We had our cast gathering at the Guv'nor, it being close to MUN and known for its quality food. There we continued our jokes about genitals (Penis Hat!) and discussions of heavier topics. During the meal, it came time for the clocks to "spring forward", so I arrived home closer to 2:00 a.m. by the new time. I spent most of Sunday sleeping, not having had enough sleep on Friday night. What time wasn't spent sleeping was spent tidying my room, which after a weekend of neglect was in a bloody state. It wasn't until Monday that I had any time at all to contemplate my "doings" of the weekend.

I've thought about it. I've done my quiet contemplation. And here is my Regretroaction Inventory, in as elegant of terms as I can possibly phrase it: 

[Throws "the horns" and falls over.]

6 Things I Am As Old As

Yesterday I celebrated my twenty-fifth, or silver birthday. Since I didn't really have anything interesting to write for the entire month of February except "My friend Byron is 26 again!" and "I want to kiss David Bowie!", I decided to kick off March by indulging my taste for trivia (shut up) and honing my research skills (well, Google skills) by making a list of some interesting (or not) things that are the same age as I am.

1. Laptops.

The first official "laptop" computer, the IBM PC Convertible, was released in 1986. I don't know whose lap it could possibly be meant for, except perhaps André the Giant's.

2. Nicotine patches.

Patented in 1990, this smoking cessation aid was invented by Frank T. Etscorn in 1986. Thanks to Mr. Etscorn and his invention's failure to address the oral fixation of most smokers, we now have a generation of compulsive pen-suckers. Which is why I always carry my own pens.


Eric Thomas developed the first electronic mailing list software application in 1986. Thanks for making it easier for clueless co-workers and semi-literate relatives to spam my inbox with urban legends and junior-high-calibre dirty jokes, douche.

4.  Disposable cameras.

Ever the innovators in photographic devices, Fujifilm released the first disposable camera in 1986.  Somehow I doubt the Japanese developers responsible for this machinery foresaw their invention's being used to capture the unforgettable moment when some asshole teabags the punch bowl at weddings.

5. Pixar.

Later to delight us with such masterpieces as Toy Story and Monsters, Inc., Pixar Animation Studios first opened its doors on 3 February 1986.

6. Tim Horton's "Roll Up the Rim to Win" promotion.

Every spring since 1986, millions of caffeinated Canucks have flocked to their local Timmy Ho's in a frenzy -- not only for their caffeine fix, but also for the adrenaline rush one gets from gulping the last dregs of tepid double-double and digging their thumbnails into the waxy paper to grasp at the endless sweet possibilities beneath. The disappointment of a "Please Play Again" or the subtle "fuck you" of a free 90-cent donut rivals death in many ways.