Archive for March, 2012

Victorian England Is Where It’s Best to Be

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Hello to all lame blog-posts seen below, gel-pens spurting ink all over meticulously-drawn scenery, and forlorn heroes and heroines of Victorian literature.

Solitary Confinement can grow tiresome. So, what better to do than pretend you’re living in Victorian London! More accurately, to pretend you’re an unusual heroine in England, circa mid nineteenth century. I trust, Blog-Reader, that you’ve read at least one old classic– Bronte, Dickens, Austen– and that you’re at least somewhat familiar with the doings, goings-on, tea-drinking, long monologues, horse-riding, carriage-hitching  good time that was Victorian England.

What I find most interesting about that old style of writing is how everyone talks. In 2012, ‘He isn’t good at soccer’ would be acceptable, but back then it would be ‘He lacks certain abilities in the kicking, running, and economics of the much-played English sport. Therefore, I pity him; as I excel greatly in all aspects of English football, I can barely comprehend at what level of inadequacy this lad is, who can scarcely kick a football in the right direction. I could invite him for tea; perhaps this will make him feel better.’ You see? I love how they write everything out like that. And everything that normally isn’t very interesting is so dramatic and romanticized with Victorian writers; if you see a man with nice green eyes or something, if you were a young English heroine, you’d have to exclaim ‘Oh! his eyes burned like green emeralds, alight with some heavenly glow; some inner flame; I could barely comprehend the sheer depth in those eyes which I beheld!’

Anyway, when your life is as boring as mine, sometimes you have to add a little bit of Victorian drama.

So what did I do today? No, I didn’t just read some books and watch some TV, and mess around on WordPress and sigh over how stupid my Hunger Games interlude post was– I, like a true Jane Eyre, determined there was ‘no possibility of taking a walk that day’, so I stayed inside, but, I brooded over the tryings of my past, reflected open love lost, hope gained, and fortunes reversed– I watched some crows flit past the heath-patch, sat on a window seat and thought about things, became a governess, conversed with the household staff– oh, it was marvelous– I always find at least some warmth and hope even in the bleakest of surroundings!

Gosh I wish I was actually a fictional heroine. Oh, well…

Yours truly, and cheerio!, Onceabasementdog. (Actually, nobody in Jane Eyre has ever actually said ‘cheerio.’ I think that’s probably an American invention. Farewell!)





Writing To You From A Book-World

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Psst. Hello to all tiny green inch-worms inching across backyard pools, unusually warm weather, classic rock songs, and aliens from galaxies far, far away…

I’ll explain the italics and the ‘psst’– just have patience. The reason I haven’t blogged for so long is so incredibly simple, you’ll be amazed you haven’t thought of it– I have, naturally, jumped between worlds, and found myself in a certain post-apocalyptic, divided-into-thirteen-districts-but-one-of-them’s-secret world– which is the decimated North America of the future, known as Panem.

So– the italics? They mean I’m talking into a tape-recorder, not writing on a computer screen like usual. The ‘psst’ was because I’m actually talking into a tape-recorder at the top of a tree. It’s a very big tree– good thing, too, because there’s murderous children and genetically modified scorpions down there– and I have to be very quiet. It’s actually a nice day, if a ‘day’ it can be called, since I’m actually in an a very large arena. Never mind that I’m in the book-world of the Hunger Games. So how is it possible? The specifics are mighty blurry. One minute, I’m Onceabasementdog, notorious hermit-girl, writer, blogger, and master of obscure blog posts. The next, I find myself in District 11, (you know– the one Rue was from– I recall there being trees and stuff in that one, and honestly, I never liked District 12 very much). More specifically, I find myself at a certain Reaping ceremony– and then, in the space of a moment, I am the unwilling tribute of a horrifying, bloody, disturbing game. And let’s be honest here– I’m not really very good at spearing innocent children, so instead of participating in the gore-fest down below, as I said, I’ve taken refuge up here in a tree.

It’s kind of different than my usual posts, you notice– I know. Sorry about that. I’ll get back to the regular things once I become the sole victor among twenty-four chosen tributes– or, the rules become changed and we ‘star-crossed lovers’ are crowned the victors instead, and then, later on, I become the figurehead of a rebellion that sweeps through the districts…

But anyway. I should add how I actually got this tape-recorder I’m recording my latest post in– for all you Hunger Games fanatics who realize you can’t bring anything into the Arena– well, actually, I picked it up at the Cornucopia. Yeah– there was a tape recorder at the Cornucopia. So?

Anyway, I’ll get back to the normal stuff next time. If I survive, of course. Root for me! I’m no Katniss, granted– I’m too sensitive to roast squirrels and I crack under pressure, so– well, I could be the heroine in a nice, easy-going, fluffy story about kind-hearted werewolves– or something.

Yours truly! (I sure hope those scorpions can’t climb trees!) Onceabasementdog.

Dreams About iPod Alarms

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Hello to all banjos in the Appalachian mountains, broken guitar strings, and badly insulated walls.

I don’t know how you usually wake up in the morning– but I usually wake up, roll over, go back to sleep, wake up, pull the blanket over my head, go back to sleep, always trying to dredge out as many minutes of happy, soothing sleep as I possibly can before it’s inevitably time to wake up for good. Well, this morning my iPod had other ideas.

I thought I’d turned it off the night before, but by some wicked fluke, I must’ve just slept it instead. So, during my dream of walking through a big, empty, sunny forest, I got interrupted by a curious little sound. I didn’t know what it was at first. I tried to ignore it. The forest scene was still really pleasant, and I’m pretty sure– I’m almost positive– that Will from the Infernal Devices (see: silly fantasy series) was waiting around the next tree. The dream basically sang a beautiful, promising chorus of dreamy fantasy heroes and warm summer afternoons, but there was still that little sound. Inevitably, it ruined my dream completely. I pulled my iPod out of my pocket, and I realized the alarm was going. By this time, Will was gone, disappeared from my subconscious completely, and I was trying to turn off the alarm, poking angrily at the snooze button on the screen. My math teacher appeared, and inquired if I could try and turn it off, since class was starting. I continued to jam my finger at the snooze button, but the alarm was still going, a little bright-sounding harp riff that couldn’t have possibly been more annoying. I went into the clock settings, and flicked the alarm to off, but it kept going– naturally. By this time I was at a loss. I tried to turn the iPod off, and it went off sure enough, but that darned alarm was still going. A boy from my math class suggested I throw it out the window. We tried, but the window wouldn’t open, which isn’t much of a surprise really.

Eventually, I woke up, and found that my iPod had been going off for twenty minutes. But the fun didn’t stop there. I groped out for it, where it sat on the box a couple feet away, but I couldn’t actually reach it. So, sick and coughing and helpless, I flung my arm at it a few more times, before I realized it was just plain too far away. I rolled back under the covers and pulled them over my head. I stuffed my hand in my ear. I wanted to cry.

Eventually, my dad came in, apologizing for coming in so early and saying he was going to take my sister out somewhere. I said brokenly, “Turn the iPod off!” It came out a cough of despair. But he didn’t know how, so I rolled over, made a mad lunge for the thing, and pressed the snooze button. With a passion.

So, this is how I woke up this morning. Not the best way to wake up, especially when you’re sick and you’ve been up much too late reading Percy Jackson. The good news is I’ve had a breakthrough: the idea of an app that helps you get up in the morning– gently. Slowly. Kindly. Not like the incessant harp-riff ear-torture that is my current wake-up device.

The idea is the app gently rouses you from your slumber: for instance, it slides the curtains open for you somehow, but slowly, so the light doesn’t come in all at once. And then it opens the window just a little bit to let in the cool morning air– and then, it puts the radio on– very quietly, of course– to a classical station. Then it suggests in the voice of a kindly grandmother that it’s time to wake up, but you can take your time, of course. To finish the process, it somehow puts the smell of pancakes into the air to give you the incentive to actually get up.

It’s just an idea, but– BY GOD, CALL APPLE. PLEASE.

Anyway. Now that I’m up and it’s eleven thirty, there’s no point in trying to fall back asleep. But tonight I am not going to leave my iPod on, and as an added precaution, I’m going to delete the alarm and keep it in my backpack. That should be enough.

Yours tiredly, sickily, and truly, Onceabasementdog.

Old Computer Games, Lonely Spring Break

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Hello to all empty bowls of chocolate-raspberry ice cream, dusty, kind of  sticky trading cards found under old piles of papers, and Rocky Balboa posters on basement walls.

I went for a bike ride today, since spring has finally managed to crawl out from the stupid nine-month-long Canadian winter. I journeyed to look at all the pretty houses between our neighborhood and the lake, under a grey March sky. Crows kept flying over me for some reason. I don’t know how to take that. In several movies I know of, crows are evil people in disguise, and I’ve heard they’re also bringers of death, omens of some sort. I also almost ran over a squirrel. I almost expected some guy in a dark cloak to appear and ask me if I would like to consider the dark side. It was a strange outing.

Anyway, it’s spring break– or at least, I assume it is, but since every day is a ‘break’ for me, it wouldn’t change anything anyway. All my immediate friends are away on various trips: the Star Wars aficionado is off to Chicago, that or he’s going to perform in Chicago, but I think the former’s more likely.  The karate master is away, and George Harrison is somewhere. I keep having to remind myself calling your friend once every minute is kind of strange, and I don’t want them to find ‘Three thousand and fifty two missed calls’ on their phone when they get back from wherever they are. So I just called him twice and let it go at that. And then tomorrow I’ll call him the rest of the three thousand and fifty times so it’ll be nice and spaced out and not seem so weird.

But anyway, without friends things are kind of boring. I’m usually bored, anyway, but being bored when I have a chance not to be bored is quite different. So, I’ve given myself over to the world of King’s Quest! What is King’s Quest, you ask? Why, it’s only the most incredible series of Sierra games ever made. Nobody born in the last ten years knows it exists, but I’m the exception, I guess. Anyway, that’s how the past day has been spent, happily roaming the countryside of Llewdor, or whatever it is– turning into birds, poisoning evil wizards, and escaping from inside a whale. You would be surprised if I told you how much fun there is in 16-color computer games that came out on floppy disks and Commodore 64s.

Before I sign out and get back to my wizard-poisoning, I should add that the title of this blog reminded me weirdly and rather disturbingly of a Harlequin romance novel my aunt got my mom a few years ago, ‘Willful Wife, Passionate Greek’. I don’t exactly remember what it was, but it was something like that. It’s not like I ever looked at it or anything.

Enjoy your spring break, blog-reader– remember to spread the word of Onceabasementdog any and every way you can– if you know a friend who has one of those airplanes that can make letters in the sky, ask him to do that–  a nice, big, easy-to-read WWW.ONCEABASEMENTDOG.WORDPRESS.COM, and then if you have time, make t-shirts and sell them, and give the money to charity– then, get together all your friends– all thirty four of them– and paint big red letters on your chests at the next football or baseball game you attend. If you happen to know Elton John or Aretha Franklin– or hey, both– ask them if they could write a song about my blog. Then, walk around your nearest big city with a megaphone. You get the idea.

Yours truly sincerely untruly, Onceabasementdog.

Irrational Fears: Great For Winning Marathons

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Hello to all bread-and-butterflies, bog monsters taking residence in bogs, melting snow and ragtag bands of people traveling through a medieval world questing for orbs.

Today I write to you on a sunny, blue, melty-and-springy March afternoon. I think it’s Sunday, but I’m not totally sure. I’m kind of out of the loop of generally society. Ah, that’s what I want to talk about. Society. People. Cramped restaurants where you have to sit next to living creatures. I’ll try to make light of this as absolutely as I can– okay. Let me try. It’s so much FUN to have these irrational fears! It’s not weird at all to skateboard to your friend’s house three blocks away when there’s still snow and lots of ice on the ground just so you can speed past any people and not have to exchange looks with them– and when you get to this friend’s house, your skateboard is wet and maybe somewhat ruined, but at least you didn’t have to walk on the sidewalks like those regular people.

And then, I had this thought.

I’m not much of a runner. I don’t like running. I can skate for much longer than I can run, being a hockey player and all, but running is not something I’m very fond of. However– if I had to participate in a marathon, even a full 42k one, I am very sure I would blow all their doors off and win. I’d even beat the crazy Kenyans who always win two hours ahead of everyone else. Why? Well, my inability to run next to all those living people would propel me into a glorious flat-out sprint until I was past all of them and at the finish line. Then at the finish line I’d grab my medal, take my skateboard, and skate out of there as quickly as possible. But anyway– that’s good, isn’t it? I can make use of my irrational fears somehow. If I was at sea and the ship crashed and tipped right over, and I was trapped in a dark closet with a bunch of terrified peopleI wouldn’t probably last five minutes, so I’d be able to– harnessing all the powers of anxiety– find some way for us to escape, either by tipping the ship back upright, kicking a hole through a metal wall, etc. I could give you lots of other instances. Say the world was ending– great fiery cracks were opening up, ash choked the sky, and so on– and I was in charge of the last group of human survivors, post-apocalypse. I wouldn’t be able to live among them, and that would drive me to be able to venture out and find food and water while everyone cowered in our underground bunker. I’d be very helpful there. Also, my irrational fears would give me some serious lone-ranger cred in the Old West; I would live aside from the towns, and there’d be legends about that mysterious girl riding away into the distance. Legends I say.

I’m not proud of these irrational fears of people, but I just thought I may as well get it out there.

Sometimes, I think the world would be a much better place if it was only me and my cat, and Cudgel. But then I might point out to myself that without people, there isn’t a WordPress; without WordPress, there is no blog, and without blog, there is no Onceabasementdog. Herein lies the problem.

Yours terrr-uly, Onceabasementdog.

The Eternal Torture of A Cold Basement

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Hello to all retired movie critics, Belgian clocks that have never worked, pipe-cleaner fanatics, and taxi drivers marooned on desert islands.

I’ve been in Solitary Confinement for about two months now. (See earlier blog entries.) Not actual solitary confinement– how would that be possible? They wouldn’t give me a computer and it’d be hard to type in a straitjacket. Anyways, having nothing to do all day, from the long time it takes to drag myself out of bed to the long time it takes to fall asleep, trying to calm my stir-crazy nerves with thoughts of David Eddings books, for some reason, I have fallen into a kind of circle of torture that involves a cold basement, a heater, and a baseball game on my PS2. Let me explain. I’ll play for awhile on the baseball game, doing ‘career-mode’, which involves my seven foot tall pitcher I’ve named Gwendolyn Hersprig, and when I’m tired of resetting every time I let in a run, I’ll migrate to the basement to stare at word files and wait for the little orange ‘1’ to appear at the top of the screen, which means somebody has commented/followed/liked my blog. But my basement is usually very cold. It’s a delicate balance to remain not too hot and not too cold down there– wearing a sweater means I get way too hot with the heater blowing under my feet, but not wearing a sweater means the top half of me is cold while the bottom half is in severe danger of catching fire. By the time a few hours have slipped away and my eye has begun twitching from staring at the computer, and my socks have reached the temperature of a well-cooked turkey, (I rest my feet on the heater as I sit there), the circle of torture has been completed: I have tired of video games, my eyes have turned the unhealthy, glazed-red of a hungry vampire, and my feet have long passed toasty and moved into an oven-feeling. When the circle is completed, it’s time to lug the heater back up the stairs and play video games again.

On the outside, miraculously, the effects of the circle of torture don’t show. It’s all on the inside. I imagine twenty years from now I’ll have moments where my eyes glaze and I murmur to nothing about ‘Gwendolyn Hersprig and cooking socks and I’ve been staring too long at the computer oh my’.

No need to worry, though. I’m still reasonably sane. I’m actually sort of happy in my little circle– I get blogging done, I get some writing done, and my career pitcher in MLB 07 is on his way to getting twenty wins this season. However, a part of me wishes I still had that ‘outside world’ part of my life, where there are human beings and such. I’ve still got my friends and the Knights, at least, and my army of talking robots. Heh, I’m kidding.

Anyway, sigh. Where has all the light-heartedness gone? It’ll be back, eventually I suppose. For now, I hope you enjoy the moody half-mocking narratives of Onceabasementdog… which is me, of course. Imagine if my parents had actually named me that? Wow, I’d  have some words for them. Maybe I’d go by Once, or B-Dog, or something, if that was the case. Yo, it’s B-Dog. No, I don’t think I’d get away with that, not the white girl in the Big Bang Theory t-shirt… Once would be cool, though. I’ll let my talking robots know that I want to be called that from now on.

Yours sincerely insincerely, Onceabasementdog.

Silver For the Goblin-Boys

Monday, March 5th, 2012

All is right in the world.

A Legion of Goblin Boys v.s A Group of Knights

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Hello to all quarters with red poppies stamped on them, laundry baskets from 1962, address book writers, and paper-mache sculptures.

Today a legion of bloodthirsty, inhumanly large, terrifying goblin boys will fight us, the noble Knights of centretown. We will meet in a vicious clash at a dumpy arena in the west end and a legendary battle will ensue, to be told down through the ages as the most horrible yet incredible war in the history of all fantasy novels and big-budget movies. This battle will be more exciting than when Russell Crowe beat the crap out of the gladiators, and blow Helms Deep right out of the water.

Erm, should I explain what’s actually going to happen? Okay. Don’t worry, no swords and axes and bloody blugeoning will be had– instead, the first place and second place teams in the lowly house league hockey association will play each other tonight, and I am honorably a part of the Knights. We’re actually called the Knights, believe it or not. The team we’re facing for the championship and the right to DRINK FROM THE PLASTIC CUP OF GLORY is a certain evil bunch of farm kids from the country, who are really goblin-boys in disguise. I, one of two girls on the favorable Knights, will play defense and guard our goalie from the wrath of the orcs that threaten our kingdom– (or something like that.) I will crush these goblin-creatures into the ice with my powerful knightly skills. Those poor boys won’t know what hit ’em, and the Cup (I’ve never seen it, but ah, tonight it shall be me who drinks the potion of glory from its depths), will be ours, in the hands of Good, the hands of the righteous Knights of Centretown.

Let me try to explain how important this spectacle will be. It’s as bad as letting the Empire triumph over the Rebels, and MUCH more important than the hordes of Sauroman destroying the elves and men and taking the Ring. If we are to lose tonight, it will be like Voldemort destroying Harry, that guy with the talking parrot in Aladdin taking over the city or whatever he was trying to do, and AT LEAST as bad as a major apocalypse or an alien invasion. We cannot lose. It will be the triumph of evil if we lose. We must win! Us noble knightly heroes will stick it to the goblin-team from the country.

If we do lose, expect hordes of goblins and fiery rain and Hell to open up in lava-spurting crevices all over the face of the planet. If that doesn’t happen, there’s a good chance we Knights have prevailed.

Yours nobly, truly, and honorably, A Knight of the We-Don’t-Have-A-Table-That’s-Too-Bad-Let’s-Get-One-Soon, Onceabasementdog.

When One Is Faced With Hardship, One… Giggles?

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Hello to all flamboyant truck drivers along the east coast, cut-out coupons from newspapers, dusty moccasins, and bloggers blogging under cement trucks.

I write to you on a windy, grey Saturday; the cat is meowing at the door, the sad painting is on the wall, etc., as the sayings go. I wonder if you’ve ever found yourself sitting somewhere, and, because of some funny little quirk of awareness, start to notice what’s around you. For instance, around me now is one dollar, a gel-pen with blue ink, plastic flowers in a vase, a cat sitting on an orange footstool, a decrepit hockey bag that looks like City of Mice and Other Unpleasant Things One Doesn’t Want to Find In One’s Hockey Bag, a little orange plastic contraption on the windowsill that probably makes a bird-sound if you put water in it, a Chinese calendar cut in half, a pair of 3D glasses from the theater, a disembodied cardboard hand, two cylindrical candle-holders with origami birds in them, and etc. That’s what I see right now. I think it’s interesting how we look over these things so often, but they’re always there– the world is full of little details, but we see only one detail at a time. Where are you right now, my friend Blog-Reader? Are you sitting on a mountaintop with a computer on your lap waiting to be rescued by a helicopter? If you are, that’s terrible, and you should leave me a comment saying which mountain it is and if I have to contact the Tibetan police.

Anyway. The point of this blog entry still needs to be discussed– excuse me for my tirade. I’ve been reading an awesomely funny series of short stories by a blogger called Michael, and he, as am I, is a big fan of Monty Python-esque humor, and that kind of thing, and I like the tirades he goes into in his stories. (It’s called The Catrina Chronicles.) Tirades are fun, because they’re supposed to be long and silly and not always sane. (See: Best Tirade Ever, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, concerning a duck, a piece of wood, and a witch. And a newt.)

Anyway, what’s that about hardship and giggles? Well, let me educate you! I’ve been through minor hardships in my life, as I guess everyone mostly has, and I’ve noticed people have different ways of dealing with difficult situations. Some might take it calmly and be level-headed and quick to act, but heh, that’s not me. Some might fall into fits of rage, emotion, or distress; but me, I giggle.

In grade seven or eight, (can’t remember, middle school kind of melded together into one long, annoying, I’m Once Again The Weird One blur), there was a parade that went past our school. It was in honor of a police officer who’d been killed. I was just as serious and solemn-faced as everyone else, until I had to stand in silence by the side of the road watching ranks of officers stamp past in utter quiet seriousness.


But I couldn’t! Oh, dear lord, it was painful. I had to stuff my mitten in my mouth and drive thoughts of road-flattened animals and human rights violations into my head so I wouldn’t burst out in a mad fit of giggling.

I got past it. Thank God. The police forces of most of the province didn’t see one crazy girl giggling as their procession went past.


Why is that I giggle in bad situations? I don’t know, but it’s weird. Sometimes, when I’m past my utter breaking point, like say I’ve been through a really rough day or had an explosive argument with one of the family members, I’ll lie down with my face stuffed into my pillow and giggle with distress.

My mom has it worse than me, however. When I told her of my strange little giggling quirk, she told me the story of her dog. Her dog had been put down when she was a kid, and when she was told she started to giggle. She couldn’t stop giggling. Said the others: ‘He’s dead. Why are you giggling?’ To that, she continued to giggle.

Once, I broke my little toe on a footstool, and sunk to the floor gasping– but I had also just called my friend, the four-foot-tall karate master, and so I had to suck down the pain and talk to him while my toe throbbed and I tried not to scream at him. My mom, nearby, started to laugh. Thanks, mom, that’s real nice. By the time the conversation was over, I was almost crying, but she started to giggle, and so did I. I was doing some sort of twisted giggle-cry while my toe flamed with pain.

I’m sure there’s other instances, but maybe those are enough to get the picture. Anyway, I wish I could handle things like that in a normal way, but apparently I can’t. Apparently nothing’s as it should be with me. I am, after all, insane.

I would end this blog on that lighthearted, optimistic note, but I’m sorry, I can’t; there needs to be a Monty Python-esque scene at the end. Prepare yourselves for the obscure! While you read, find a shrubbery!

‘I’m afraid I am going to have to commit suicide.’

‘But what about tea-time?’

‘I won’t be there, I will be committing suicide. If I commit suicide I’ll have to miss out on tea.’

‘All right– but– after you’re done with that, can you come for tea?’

‘No. I will have committed suicide, and I will be dead.’

‘Yes, yes, but tea? After you commit suicide–,’

‘After I commit suicide I cannot join you for tea, that’s just the way it is.’

‘But I’ve gotten peppermint tea.’

‘I won’t be interested in peppermint tea. I’ll be dead.’

‘Yes, but– after you’re done being dead– you can’t come for tea?’

‘No, I can’t.’

‘Are you sure? If it only takes fifteen or so minutes–,’

‘No, it will take longer than that. It will take forever.’

‘Forever is how long? If you take about ten minutes with it, I can wait for you to start–,’

‘No, I’ll be dead.’

‘But after you’re done–,’

‘No, I’ll be dead.’

‘But the dog likes you–,’

‘No, I’ll be dead.’

‘I’ll call your auntie, she likes you too–,’

‘And I’ll be dead.’

‘We can buy a cake, and drink peppermint tea, and I’ll call your uncle, he likes you a bit too–,’

‘I’ll be dead.’

‘But you like tea, and I’ll even wait for you to be done–,’

‘I won’t be done. I’ll be dead.’

‘I’ll pick up some groceries–,’

‘You don’t have to. I’ll be dead.’

‘And there’s a shirt I need tailored–,’

‘There’s no need. I will be dead.’

‘But I can at least give you an hour or so, there’s nothing to do on Sunday–,’

‘No, there isn’t; I’ll be dead.’


Yours non-truly, and it’s only a flesh wound, and ‘Find the tallest tree in the forest, and cut it down– with this herring!’ ~ Onceabasementdog