Tag Archives: John Marquez

The big black blob of blah

It’s been a tough week. Not tough in the sense of hard or difficult. It’s been tough in the sense of BLAH.

I have a big black blob of blah that builds up inside of me from time to time. And, no, I haven’t been smoking wacky tobacco or popping illegal drugs. It’s “big” because it’s constantly growing, feeding on the disappointments and negativity in my life. It’s “black” because that’s what my mood becomes when it shows up. I call it a “blob” because it works pretty much like that creeping amoeba-like alien that Steve McQueen had to deal with in the movie – it covers everything and cuts off all that is good and light, growing bigger and bigger as it consumes more and more. And “blah” is pretty much self-explanatory – that’s how I feel inside when it’s around.

The big blob of blah has been around for a long time, pretty much since my teenage years. I’ve always envisioned it looking like a really evil black Barbapapa. One day I’ll feel fine – laughing and joking – the next it’s “clickety-click, Barba-trick” and the blah descends.

My big black blob of blah isn't smiling like this hairy Barbapapa.

My big black blob of blah isn’t smiling like this hairy Barbapapa.

I try to work through the big blob of blah, forcing myself forward, always forward. Get dressed, go to work, do work, socialize with co-workers, go home, interact with the Goobers and the Genius, try to write. But the blob is made of sticky stuff. Peel it from one surface, and it’s soon stuck to another, like an annoying burr of negativity. And lately it’s been getting worse.

Back when I was young and gung-ho to change the world, I composed a mental list of experiences and accomplishments I hoped to achieve in my lifetime. The list was lengthy and – shall we say – overly optimistic. Here’s just a sampling of the feats I was going to do:

  • Win an Academy Award – At first it was going to be in an acting category, then I moved on to directing. Now I’d settle for original work or adapted screenplay. Who am I kidding? I’d settle for best gaffer, focus puller or coffee-getter.
Never going to win one of these babies. Just as well, I don't dust.

Never going to win one of these babies. Just as well, I don’t dust.

  • Write a “great” novel – Of course, along with that “great” novel would come fame and fortune, a Governor General’s Award, possibly the Orange, Giller or Man Booker prize, and the opportunity to adapt it to film, thus leading to the Academy Award.
  • Earn a university degree – When I toddled off to university many, many years ago, I was an immature idiot. I partied like it was 1999 (actually it was 1989) and blew all kinds of opportunities, mainly the chance to earn a degree. It’s something I’ve regretted very much. I have tried various times to get that ever elusive degree but life always becomes too busy and formal education falls by the wayside. So, alas, I only have an honours diploma.
The iconic image of the University of Toronto where I lasted exactly two years in pre-med. I just wasn't blood thirsty enough.

The iconic image of the University of Toronto where I lasted exactly two years in pre-med. I just wasn’t blood thirsty enough.

  • Travel around the world – I have been to some amazing and beautiful places in my life, such as Israel, Egypt, Mexico and England. But currently I seem to be stuck in a rut of work trips to Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin. These are lovely places with great people but when you say Des Moines, exotic and exciting doesn’t come to mind.
  • Win the Triple Crown with a filly – I love horses and I love thoroughbred horse racing. I’ve always dreamed of owning a horse farm stabled with some of the fastest horses in the world. Of course, their bloodlines would all trace back to the great Man o’War, the original Big Red. Breeding and training a three-year-old horse capable of winning the Triple Crown is a great achievement and hasn’t been done in about 40 years. And it has never been accomplished by a filly.
The great Man O' War romping down the home stretch in the 1920 Belmont Stakes.

The great Man O’ War romping down the home stretch in the 1920 Belmont Stakes.

  • Meet and be friends with some of my favourite authors and celebrities – Yeah, right! Welcome to Fantasy Island! This has been a steadily shifting list that once included David Hasselhoff (from his Knight Rider days) and Mr. November from the 1986 or 1987 Chippendale’s calendar (I can’t remember which year). Now I’d want to have a dinner party with The Bloggess (Jenny Lawson), Matthew Gray Gubler, Margaret Atwood, Dan Aykroyd, Donna Tartt, Bill Murray, John & Martin Marquez, Jo Nesbo, and a steady stream of famous dead people (Alfred Hitchcock, Sylvia Plath, James Mason, Jane Austen, John Belushi, Charlotte Bronte, etc.). And then I’d probably want Taylor Swift to write and sing a song about it (I’m joking).
An image of John and Martin Marquez from the play Boeing Boeing. I guess the stewardesses could come to the dinner party too.

An image of John and Martin Marquez from the play Boeing Boeing. I guess the stewardesses could come to the dinner party too.

  • Win an Olympic gold medal in the Three-Day Event – I can still remember the day my high school boyfriend informed his mother this is what I wanted to do when I “grew up.” The stunned minute of silence paired with rapid eye blinking should have been my first hint this was maybe a bit much. Now, I’d be happy if I could fit into my riding breeches and heave my fat ass up on a horse.
  • Win the Nobel Prize for Literature – In order to win this baby, you have to have actually written a book; well, several books. And they would have to be REALLY FUCKING GOOD. About the only criteria I currently meet for obtaining this great honour is the fact I have a pulse.
Never going to win one of these either. My luck, my girl Goober would steal it to put with her track & field medals.

Never going to win one of these either. My luck, my girl Goober would steal it to put with her track & field medals.

So, as you can see, having a firm grasp on reality and setting realistic goals are not my strong points. Thus leading to the big black blob of blah. I’m getting older and older and older and with each passing year, accomplishing even one of these dreams is becoming harder and harder to attain. And that bums me out. BIG TIME. I had all these great ideas and optimistic goals (well, overly optimistic) and I haven’t been able to come close to even one of them. And the big black blob of blah likes to remind me of this – often. As a result, I take lots of blob-busters, rest on couches in tastefully lit rooms and talk to nice, understanding people, and wonder when the big black blob of blah will finally consume me.

Breaking out of my shell

I want to make this blog a success because, to be honest, I don’t have a lot of successful things in my life; well, at least none that I can see. To work toward this goal, I have decided to take part in WordPress’ Zero to Hero exercise, which promises to help you develop a better blog in 30 days.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

According to the first assignment, I am supposed to introduce myself, which just goes to show I’ve already fucked up this blog thing and made my first post about my Doc Martin/PC Joseph Penhale meme habit. Shit!

To help remedy this error, I’ve decided my second post will be my formal introduction to the blogging world.

Greetings, venerable ones. I am Manure Gurl, a 40-something writer, editor, photographer, wife and mother who lives in the far rural reaches of southern Ontario, Canada; not quite in two-headed calf country but pretty damn close. To get all the stereotypical mumbo-jumbo crap out of the way, no, I do not live in an igloo, although there are some winter nights when my house is probably as cold as one. I drive a mini van, not a dog sled. I haven’t skied in more than 25 years, I cannot ice skate, and none of my children are involved in hockey (sacrilege!). Instead, they are aficionados of the beautiful game, football/soccer, which is played during the summer on a grass-covered field in warm/hot/stifling weather, rain or shine, or in a converted roller rink in the winter (weird but true).

I know you’re wondering, why Manure Gurl? There are several reasons. When I was younger, my best friend used to joke that my eyes were brown because I was full of shit, which wasn’t too far off the mark (my eyes have changed colour since then and are greenish hazel now). I’m a smart ass, a joker, a teller of tales and love hearing and telling stories, the funnier and more off-beat, the better. Also, my first Twitter handle was ManureGurl (I had to go with the creative spelling because someone had already taken ManureGirl, I shit you not) and I still maintain the account. Of course, the main reason is the name has some relation to my day job, what I do when I’m not writing blogs. I write about excrement – shit, manure, crap, dung, muck, guano, poultry litter, droppings, organic fertilizer. I admit, it’s not what I dreamt of doing when I graduated from J-school (I wanted to be a war correspondent) but it helps pay the bills. As the old adage states: It’s a shitty job but someone has to do it.

I’m hoping to use this blog as a vehicle for displaying my true passion, which is writing fiction and poetry. I’m also a big fan of theatre and opera so there may be the odd review thrown in for good measure and, of course, stories and vignettes from my life, both past and present. My world can become pretty fucked up from time to time and that’s always worth a big laugh. It’s better than crying.

I’m a pretty passionate person and can become somewhat obsessive about subjects and hobbies. I’ve been known to research a topic to death, the more obscure and difficult, the bigger the challenge. My current obsessions include collecting Canadian, U.S. and UK first edition books; reading, particularly the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die; British TV shows Doc Martin and Sherlock; raspberry lemonade; U.S. TV shows Criminal Minds, Mad Men, Homeland, The Killing and The Walking Dead; and losing weight.

I’d probably pee my pants in glee if my blog, or even my Twitter feed, were followed by The Bloggess (Jenny Lawson), British actor John Marquez (@MrJohnmarquez), Matthew Gray Gubler (@GUBLERNATION) or really anybody with a pulse. I know that probably won’t happen, after all these people actually have lives. But it’s nice to dream. And, in the immortal words of that awesome Canadian band, Hedley: I can do anything!

Thanks for the Meme-ories

I LOVE making memes, defined as an idea, style or action which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person via the Internet. An Internet meme can take any form, including an image or picture. It may just be a word or phrase. They spread via social networks (such as Facebook), blogs, email or other Internet sources.

A perfect example would be Grumpy Cat.

GrumpyCatDashing

Or the popular Jean-Luc Picard meme.

WDSRMeme

Unfortunately, my memes don’t spread, most likely because I’m a lame ass or they involve obscure subject matter, such as Doc Martin, which may be watched by more than seven million people across the UK and more in North America, but not by people who are into memes.

You know what? I really don’t care. They make me smile and, if the people who actually watched Doc Martin ever saw them, they just might smile as well.

These are a few of my favourites, which feature the comic genius of PC Joseph Penhale, as portrayed by British thespian John Marquez.

5qoxn 5r3fy 5qqek 5qroa 5qrpx 5qo1s 5rcqg 5rcrv 5rcxl 5rq2i

I also have a certain fondness for The Walking Dead.

5oanl

And of course Dr. Spencer Reid – aka Matthew Gray Gubler – from Criminal Minds.

Spencer Meme

5mes6

If you’re interested in making your own memes, I highly recommend the meme generator Imgflip, which even has some of the more popular meme templates, such as “One does not merely …”, “I don’t always …”, “Brace yourselves”, and, of course, Grumpy Cat. Have fun and make some of your own meme-ories.