Tuesday, December 1, 2009

happy december 1st.

*this post was inspired by miss Julie M.

It used to mean the first chunk of advent candy, the Santa-Claus-Countdown's commencement, sheets of fresh snow and the onset of panic at the mall. It'd be the day the decorations were deemed necessary, the kitchen reeked of sugary cinnamon buns, and the final bad preschool-crafted ornament was hung on our otherwise perfect tree.

Then, puberty struck.


Brothers, boyfriends, buddies who more resemble little boys all began the journey to grow some semblance of a facial forest for that long, hard month of Novemeber. Facial hair competitions no longer just reserved for playoff beards, testosterone-toting men took it to extremes (no names will be mentioned). Some, for an unselfish cause, but more, 'cause they could look like southern-state pedophiles and art-house whack jobs without man-to-man judgment. Nay, it's a chance for a man to give another a "dude, you look goooood" without getting a cut-eye in return. A pat on the back that says, "man, you are a man. I can see your testosterone growing out of your upper lip. Let's go life some weights, but only to get huge and ripped upper bodies while we still have stringy chicken legs." That was Movember 2009.


And now, on the first of the last month us of the (mostly) less hairy kind have a whole new reason to rejoice. Nothing to do with holiday happiness, only scruff-less gents and bare-chinned chums. A return to dating dashing young men and not bearded bums. In December, Santa Claus reserves his spot as the only man allowed to have a shrubbery shrouding his fine features.


And if he's not the only one, you might find me, running down the street with scissors.

There are, however—and let me stress—a select few Movemeber members who did it with good fashion, and for them, I offer up a humble tribute. But allow me to make my case clear—if your moustache doesn't reach these levels of majesty, save it 'till next year or face eleven months of severe ostracization by womankind.

(via http://www.alanpowdrill.com/)


Thursday, November 26, 2009

I'll have two double flu shots, on the rocks, please.

Thought swine-flu fighting suits were too much?

Now, even a screwdriver's dose of Vitamin C's not enough to wash down the guilt of not drinking one of these "proactive" concoctions:

Superpower, anti-H1N1 cocktails!

Perhaps my smartserve certificate can suffice as a PhD. Bartenders, usually the purpotrators, the aggravators of caused illness - now the medicine men and women.

Take one, two, or twenty, and call me in the morning. Or better yet, call me when you're about to pop the first potable placebo, because my social life could use a good fixxer-upper.

twi-hardly

Just in case you needed any further confirmation that Twilight's a waste of your time at dusk, dawn, whatever...

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WZZM) - A teenager watching the vampire movie "The Twlight Saga: New Moon" at a Norton Shores theater was bitten on the neck by another movie-goer. Erin Westrate says the 30 or 40-year-old man sitting in front of her at the 5:00pm showing of New Moon on Friday. She says he was acting creepy from the movies' opening scene.
"Every so often if I said something or my friend said something he would
lean back and make a sexual comment that was very unnecessary and not needed,"
says Erin. Once the movie was over she tried to leave the theater but the line
to leave was slow. Erin then says he grabbed her by the back of the hair and
pulled her down and bit her on the neck. The bite did not break the girl's skin.
http://www.wzzm13.com/news/news_story.aspx?storyid=116041&catid=14


Maybe my thoughts are a tad sadistic, but after relentless media and general conversation saturation, sometimes, obssessives - you get just as much reality as you deserve.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

TERROR IN AMERICA!!! (and a few thoughts of my own..)



Well, I've finally solved the mystery.

Wondering why I was never blogging, nor really had anything to put once I'd forced myself to stare at the blank text box, I've cracked this elusive case.Twitter and Facebook are eating all my stories.The birth and growth of social media is the undoing, the death of Blogger, at least, it has been for me.If I were better at this, I'd save the goodies, the things I'd debate over, excusively for the blog. Unfortunately I'm owned by impatience, and the tendency to devote my attention to all things immediate and convenient.

But here, I sit at my desk and stare at this lonely, neglected blog. With eight hours a day at a desk, and embarassing ratios of work:play, I can no longer pull the "but I just don't have time!"

Thus, I present you:

FEAR.
PARANOIA.
CONSPIRACY!

I just pitched this story to our Cross-Platform Contributor here at Connect with Mark Kelley, but I'm going to be all selfish and post it here first:

http://911.wikileaks.org/



"From 3AM on Wednesday November 25, 2009, until 3AM the following day (US east coast time), WikiLeaks is releasing over half a million US national text pager
intercepts. The intercepts cover a 24 hour period surrounding the September 11,
2001 attacks in New York and Washington."

This is great. It's insight into unabashed human reaction and interaction in face
of disaster. Phone companies can, hopefully, glean some valuable data to work
with when it comes to heavy wireless traffic. Maybe, just maybe, we can dig for
some evidence on the biggest question of all - whodunit?

But that's just what's wrong. When I say whodunit?, do you think terrible, beard-swathed
terrorists with turbans, or, more daunting: the white collar company recording -
and potentially releasing - every text message, email, and call you receive?

Monday, November 2, 2009

how to (almost) die: dummies edition

On a rainy, rushed-hour-night, ride, ride, race your bike quickly through red lights. No light on your bike, no laws paid regard. Cagers careen out from their starting block, heads down. Brakes and bell, broken. Bones, somehow, not.

Bike stays on the balcony, until brake pads and brain are fixed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

something's whacky with the weather, and it's not El Nino



Some say playing the weatherman/woman (meteorologist, whatever) can help get you a seat in the newsroom. But for some, it's more likely to get you onstage... most likely in a circus.

showtime

For the last three years (and then some), this is what I've been fighting for.

Let me lay this down like mastercard:

Two gruelling hours each day honing my skills, perfecting every detail of every movement, not just my own, but also in synchronization with theirs - exponentially more difficult. Another chunk of hours devoted daily to manipulate my body, building the strength and endurance to the best of its ability. Countless days spent fighting with myself, with others, trying to diagnose what went wrong, did anything go right? No work, no money, no time. Weekends spent away, New Years spent sleeping, nights out, drinks denied and countless carbs consumed. Tears and blood, sacrfice and sweat, and every word of that is true.
Saturday, I woke up, far too early, and in a cold sweat. Within the hour I was practicing yogi breathing to calm mild hyperventilation, sweat beads dribbling down my back (not that I was hot). My hands trembled with the feeling only anxiety brings.

It shouldn't have been any different from the other hundreds of times I'd woken up these days, but it was. The day dragged and drew out till six p.m., I was doing anyting to take my mind off the thing.

And then it hapenned. It all just hapenned. Two hours and twenty minutes later, I was in shock. That didn't happen.. us? It couldn't. But it did. I ran, bolted out to meet the others, jumping and hugging and screaming and laughing like a fervent lottery winner. Except this, this was priceless. In hysterics, uncontrollable, delusional. This was it.

This was it. Or was it just the beginning?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tweedle-drums and Tweed-l-dy

How can you doubt he's the hippest president to roam planet Earth?


No matter how it's said over the years, the meaning's the same:
If a tree falls in the woods, and no one hears it, does it really make a sound?
If your weekend (or whatever) didn't appear on Facebook, did it really happen?
Tonight, I went to see one of the world's greatest bands play at Toronto's greatest venue. This statement is unarguable.

I went alone, finding a cheap deal on floor seats way past the sell-out date. Alone doesn't scare me - I'm a rare, semi-reclusive Gemini who enjoys being surrounded by people as much as I do being surrounded by emptiness - not that tonight was empty, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and his band of brothers filled every inch of the room with something that sounded better than any record of theirs, a full spectrum of sound that was full of breaking intensity and steady serenity at the same time.

After nearly two hours of bliss, I left alone, the way I came, wanting to gush about the show's greatness and why it was so. Times like these, I think, I wish I could learn to like nicotine, to stand around and make talk with other social smokers. But a smoker I will never be, and as I walked away from Massey in my hazey daze, I tried to find another way to start a chat with another fan, to recollect the show - it's what I like to do to better engrave the show in my mind, to make it a more permanent memory in my scatterbrain. But no, why loiter, why intrude on a group chat, I thought. I came home to spill my last two hours in speedspeak to my roommate, only to find her fast asleep. Not knowing what to do, I poured myself one last drink and went on the patio - being across the street from the Hall has its benefits - and played voyeur to those leaving. I tried to eavesdrop from ten floors up, imaginary including myself in their post-concert convos. Here, now, I'm youtubing everything Wilco to assure myself, they were indeed as grand as I'd percieved. And I'm blogging, waiting for the first eager commenter to tell me yes, they enjoyed the show too and also thought the lead guitarist was strung out, Tweedy's honesty was adorable, the ticket was more than worth it. But I'm still not sure.

Yes, I fell in love again with Wilco. What I still can't figure out, though, is why I need someone to tell me that I should.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

zzzzzzzz.....

I've peaked at twenty-one.

In the olden days, or rather, four mere years ago, I would spend three or four days on end playing volleyball games all day long, surviving on little sleep and staving off sickness with a healthy, balanced diet of mini eggs and fruit leather. Today, it's eleven-thirty, I've eaten my mix of complex and simple carbs, proper protein and fats ratios. I've exercised for four months leading up to this day. Today, I've played two games, and I'm tired, weary, and whiny, and I've bailed out on night-time hangouts for a second night in the row. Sad as it is, I don't have enough left in me to give this blog entry some dignity by drawing it out, instead, I'm choosing to drift off, securing the double digits of sleep I need for sustenance.

I hope it's not downhill from here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

final destination

(this piece was originally published on Torontoist.)

20090607fantasy.jpg

"When you see eight large columns and three heads of Zeus, you will know you have arrived in the correct spot."

Not an excerpt from your typical Saturday night show stub. And unless you've recently taken some wedding photos, not a place where you'd typically head from downtown (because we folks at Torontoist ah-hem, never leave the city's core). But this Saturday evening, the downtown kids "who know" willingly made their way east to the borough for some artsy-fartsy fun.

It was Stillepost that tipped us off about Bite Your Tongue, a mini music festival featuring Final Fantasy and friends. Presented by the Toronto Arts Council and Theatre Centre, the show included six artists in four hours for ten dollars, a bargain by any means. But with a bargain always comes a catch, one we picked up on when we picked up the ticket. To find out the hidden location, concertgoers were told they must return to the location of ticket pickup, given nothing more than assurance that the secret spot's "majesty" would more than justify the trek. We were instantly enticed—mystery, adventure, and music, oh boy!

Come Saturday evening, we exchanged our tickets for a program of artist bios and some basic directions. A long, lonely subway ride to Kennedy and a bus through residential areas made us wonder if we'd missed our stop, but a friendly bus driver informed us we were drawing near to a lesser-known city landmark. Off the bus and now walking through the parking lot, we passed by Guild Inn itself. (Later, the locals—who got in free, unaware of the event—would tell us the inn was previously an artists' colony. Owned at the time by a couple who spent a good part of the mid-twentieth century collecting pieces of art and pieces of demolished buildings, it stands today as a publicly owned property and historical site filled with gardens and fragments of the city's history—like this piece from the not-so-permanent Canada Permanent Trust Company.) Across the field and atop the Scarborough Bluffs, we were greeted with a birds-eye view of water as far as the eye can see, and sky and clouds delightfully unobscured by the CN Tower. And yeah, we'll admit: at the beginning, the scenery was far better than the sound.

Like many avid concert-goers, we expected the music to start late, and missed more of the show than we saw. Gowns, fronted by a grungy female with an immaculate blonde bowl-shaped haircut, played a heavily distorted guitar and keyboard set contrasted with whispery, wallowy vocals. The crowd didn't seem to care, however, until Owen Pallett strolled onstage, violin and MacBook in tow. Smooth, soft falsetto with sudden punches of sound and a modern take on the violin made Pallett's sound the model for baroque pop. He riffed through his newer repertoire, scoffing when the audience requested 2005's "The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead." And during the set, it was a pleasant surprise to see the perfectly disciplined performer stop abruptly mid-song to flick a spider from his ear, showing us that Owen Pallett is, in fact, human (at least to all but Polaris Prize judges). His set, unfortunately cut short by the park's 11 p.m. noise restrictions and longer-than-planned opening acts, was intimate and interactive, short and sweet. The later police presence remained a friendly reminder that while events like this are cool once in a while, they can't always cater to the crowd who wants an encore and another round. So while the ride was, for some, longer than the event itself, it was certainly more about the art of getting there, of urban discovery and experiment. And now that we've been, we'd say it's worth going back.

Monday, August 31, 2009

INSOMNIAAA

leaving the bar early, cold sober, coming home "to sleep" but really just to watch PBS 'till 5 a.m. (or later).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Here I go again (on my own...)


Sigh.

Looking at the date for the first time in what seems like months (and which is probably close to the truth), I know it's time. School was out for summer, and now it's nearly back in session, and with an intimidating Masthead class and a far more daunting internship approaching, this can only mean one thing: It's time I re-learn how to write.

In the last two months, the longest (and most clever) passage I've written lies in a Facebook message, and nothing more. I chose to take a leave from Torontoist with travel plans in mind, and then with them botched I took the break as a vacation from writing, being far away from the goings-on of the city I was to be in the know about, and knowing I'd have plenty of the writing to do come fall. And what started as Torontoist hiatus turned into a full-fledged internet hate-on, something appropriate for a summer outside and away from the screen, but also one that left my blog blank. Many a time I've been in this same position, hit with personal guilt when I open 'my diary' to see the last entry two weeks, four months, one year ago. And it's not like I'm letting any readers down (right?). But now, it's not just personal, it's... professional. Well, semi-professional, at least.

Practice makes perfect, and though this blog isn't written for broadcast, it's a turn in the right direction. Turn-in/in-tern heading in the right direction. Right.....


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Immeubles

Sometimes, staying in one city too long feels like house arrest. The bigger the city, it seems, the longer you last. But when you're surrounded by everything the same, the same now as it was so many years ago, the expiry date draws nigh. It's like itching powder sifted down my shirt, upping the dose every day, making me move, or at least want to. The irony is, the ones who pour the powder are the same who are pulling back, saying no, no, no.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Back to the Future's

*Note: This is a piece (my last, at least for awhile) I originally published on Torontoist.com.


Yup, it's that time again. With sun umbrellas spread wide open, customers in shorts and shades, and pitchers of the finest local brews waiting to be poured, Toronto's patio season is back in full swing―at least for most bars. But unfortunately for a few, and a few very near and dear to our hearts (and livers), some outdoor havens are left stuck in limbo.

It's been far too long since we've heard about the official rulings for Future Bakery and the Labyrinth (nothing since some speculation from when the heat lamps were still on in January and February). We didn't really know what to expect until we saw those glorious doors open, bringing on all we'd hoped for―visions of Oreo cheesecake and Creemore Springs dancing in our heads―that was, until 11 p.m., when the doors closed prematurely, and the patio shut down to our utter dismay. And worse yet, the doors next door failed to open altogether. Skimming the web, we found no recent word from local news outlets, nothing beyond vicious commentary on the blogosphere. It took a few phone calls to find out just what is happening to our beloved Bloor West bakery and its newer neighbour.
Both Future's and The Labyrinth were bought out by Sumit Kapur early last year. And in Toronto, when a bar takes on new ownership, the owner must reapply for two new permits―one from the AGCO and a City of Toronto patio permit for use of a public sidewalk, one that cannot be obtained without the agreement of the community surrounding the patio. Since the sidewalk, as a rule, belongs to the city and its citizens, it is the latter license that came under contention when the transfer of ownership gave neighbours a chance to state their case about the state of the two patios.

Kapur has thus far had two meetings with the Harbord Village Residents' Association (representative of the area of Spadina to Bathurst between College and Bloor and not a part of the Annex as the common reference would entail), the first on January 26, co-chaired by Councillor Adam Vaughan and the residents' association Chair Gus Sinclair, and the second on April 3 with Vaughan and his constituency assistant Dale Duncan. Duncan told us that the first meeting set out to discuss concerns and the second to solidify details―which patios will be open and at what times. Although both patios, under new ownership, inherited a 2 a.m. closing time, some residents with the HVRA requested an earlier closing for The Labyrinth at the second meeting. They complained not of overserved liquor, but of lack of control―no one on the patio to control a few belligerent smokers making early mornings miserable for locals. They say the intention was never to close The Lab's patio altogether, but rather, to start off with a more reasonable time for the more rambunctious patio of the two, with the premise of a later closing time in the future should it prove permissible.

Kapur, however, wanted full-fledged operating hours―when we talked to Vaughan, he told us that Kapur "wouldn't take yes for an answer" when offered a compromise. Kapur rejected the notion to give the patio an early bedtime altogether, refusing to bargain with the residents and agitating an already fragile relationship. It was at this meeting that Vaughan gave what the HRVA refers to as the "garbage-dump analogy," asking Kapur if he then should be allowed put a garbage transfer station in a lot on Brunswick Street that works at all hours of the night and is both smelly and noisy, to which Kapur nodded his head. Strike two. After being denied their request, the residents decided to withdraw their initial offer, leaving Kapur and the patios with the hours under which it currently operates―Future's till 11 p.m. and The Lab, zilch, nada, zip.

Next came a slew of letters. Letters of anger, of annotation, and of apology. The HRVA and Vaughan both received a round of memos, some simply unhappy and some furious, both anonymously and from residents, but all blaming them for the patio's closure. Vaughan sent a letter to the editor at NOW, sending well-wishes for the "return of the Annex landmark." The blogosphere dumped a large share of the blame solely on Vaughan, a man who has served as an advocate for Future's patio―fully in its support―and also a mediator between the owner and the neighbours. And finally, in a letter to Vaughan (potentially spurred by the HRVA in order to encourage cooperation with residents) posted in the comments of a more recent and somewhat unrelated NOW article, Kapur apologized to Vaughan for misinterpreting "his assistance as a hindrance," something for which he was "completely embarrassed":

Perhaps it was the worry over keeping my business a going concern in more uncertain times; worry over keeping my employees happy and with a place to work; worry for my livelihood.....all of these things occupy my attention on a daily basis. Where I went off the rails was in thinking that my business concerns trumped the concerns of the neighbourhood in which I operate, let me tell you: I have finally received the message.
Kapur ended the letter with what he told us was a request to "sort out the patio situation" before the summer's end, noting that he will have to prove himself first with a respectable patio crowd under the current hours at Future's. And in the future, it looks like that is what may be in store. To officially change the hours, the Toronto and East York Community Council must approve the motion at City Hall during their next meeting on June 23. And from the sounds of it, most are in favour of extending patio hours at friendly neighbourhood stand-by Future's (most likely to 1 a.m. for Friday and Saturday nights). Both Vaughan and the HRVA told us they plan to go ahead and extend Future's patio's hours.

The Labyrinth, however, may first have to navigate a messy maze, with its closer proximity to houses and slightly blemished reputation. Vaughan says he thinks that "if [The Lab] can show it is a legitimate and proper business, the community will be open-minded" when it comes to open doors. This current interim period, however, is a chance for Kapur to build a good track record, a temporary "leash" for operation until The Lab proves a good neighbour―and once it does so, Vaughan welcomes The Lab to reapply for its prized patio position. But until then, Vaughan says, "the burden is on [Kapur]."

So that's how the story goes. Prepare for longer hours in the later summer at Future's and keep your fingers crossed for its patio next door, at least for now. But if we may ourselves put in a good word for Kapur and for both businesses in question―so long as the douchebaggery of The Brunswick House is allowed to be in operation, we say both Future's and The Lab are certainly fair game.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Talkin' shit about a pretty sunset

Everybody loves sunsets.

This is, in fact, true. Never will you find a nay-sayer―between sunsets on beaches, sunsets over snow, and sunsets even from a cramped car, they're a universally-percieved sight of natural beauty. Sunsets are for first kisses, capping off a long, fulfilling day, or kicking off a night of things that can only really happen in the dark. If you ask a person if they would like to go watch the sun set from some comfortable location, they will almost always oblige. Bunnies, rainbows, sunsets, and love.

But what goes up must come down, which means the day is dawning on another realm, all of it a part of the beautiful balance that is nature. See, sunsets are nice. But it's predecessor, in my opinion, really holds the power.

Sunrises are saved for the more grandoise. I've seen a lot of sunsets, and they've all been nice and lovey-dovey and pretty, and I can't take away from that. But every sunrise I've watched (and I'm certain I can recall them all) has been symbolic of something ending, something beginning, something special. I don't mean just waiting at the bus stop on a goddamn early school day, no, that's just the opposite, it's the norm, it's godawful. But when you really sit and watch the sun rear its perfectly-spherical, luminous head, it sinks in.

Perhaps its this time of year, and being home that's giving me a bad case of nostalgia. I vividly remember the night of my grad―three years ago next week. I'll refuse to gloss over and say that a perfect night was had by all, because that was far from the fact. I divided my night jigging to Cyndi Lauper, and later, singing love songs to a toilet bowl at the Agricom. We couldn't decided on the after-grad destination, and spent the latter part of the eve peeing in Boston Pizza's, and miscommunicating with a limo driver. When we finally returned home, we rolled down the tinted windows and stepped out with bloody, blistered feet and bam!, there was the sun, saying hello, last night is over, you are done. I remember looking around at my friends and playing some reality-t.v. like game show―who, in one year, five years, will make the cut of the Real World, which friends will really "keep in touch" like they say they will (for the record, from that car ride, three). I remember watching the sun rise from an untouched acerage, and thinking of beginnings, and endings, and not much else. A Night to Remember, but that was just the grad's theme. A whole different world to wake up to, that's what it really meant to me on that late-late-night, that too-early-morning.

Then, another time. 

Last year in the gorgeous Gorge in Washington State, with two of my best friends from home, and one new friend, watched the sun rise as we packed up our campsite after a long, aptly-titled Memorial Day weekend. A weekend ending with goodbyes to places, to our campsite and our tent that we didn't once sleep in, to all the music played on a stage framed by nothing but blown-wide-open skies. We'd soon head in the car home together, and then I would solitarily head away by myself to my new home, my first summer away. I wondered what it would be like to spend it without the friends I'd had forever.

Last night, well, by now, two nights ago, I drove an old friend with a past home after a long night out. We reminisced, and as that familiar luminous body rose, I remembered the last time we'd driven this road. The last time, it was when two people became something more than friends. We'd climbed a bridge and conquered it, singing from the top to no one who'd hear that it was ours, that we were a "we." The other night seemed the same. We drove around familiar circles, and when dawn struck we were left to wonder if that was all really in the past, or if the past was playing into the present―into the now, into the new. It all seemed too recent, too real. As the car door shut and I was left alone in what was by now near to broad daylight, I drove home in dead silence, music not too crowd my wandering mind. 

What has happenned, what is to come... real sunrises mean beginnings, endings, but nothing in between. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

unnecessary news: news that's totally unessential, but perfect for those awkward parties and first dates


DegrasRiRi?

Oh Canada, get ready, because you just might make the spotlight on Perez for the next fifteen minutes.

Apparently Chris Brown's ex-pillow-cushion has been canoodling with a Canadian who plays someone with a visible physical impairment. Via People via Eye, may I present to you: Rihanna and Jimmy Brooks Aubrey Graham.

"The two of them were stealing kisses here and there the whole night," says the source. 
The singer's group danced until midnight, when the new pair left together. "They were very cute. Both of them were in really good spirits..."
This marks the first time Canadians and the Carribean have been associated since Cool Runnings. Next week: Chris Brown releases old photos of Rihanna making fun of people in wheelchairs.

Let's All Hate Coldplay (but please, please don't)

Just like that pussy kid who always turned the other cheek, Gwyneth Paltrow's bleary-eyed activist husband renags: "SUE ME MORE!!!". Via Twitter via Pitchfork via Coldplay's website via NME (next project: link trees?):

"Some people are suing us at the moment, and although it was initially a bit depressing, now it's become really inspiring. You think, 'Right, if everyone's trying to take away our best song, then we'd better write 25 better ones.' And so just at the point where I was thinking about getting fat and becoming complacent, I've been finding more inspiration. Now we've got more to prove than ever before."
So that's it. Coldplay sorta rips off someone's stuff, which is legit (all music takes its "inspiration" from something else, it's just a matter of making sure it's an expansive idea instead of some obvious carbon copy). Someone else gets pissed because Coldplay will always be more succesful at ripping off their shit (and probably because their girlfriend gets all sappy about that bloke Chris Martin) than they ever were at making it in the first place. That someone sues Coldplay. Chris Martin and those other three guys miraculously don't have the ability to get angry, instead, they turn it into some wonderfully charming observation about the colours of stars. Coldplay makes eight billion dollars. Your girlfriend leaves you for a singer-songwriter who plays open mic nights and probably has a shitty construction job but is full of emotion and other effeminate qualities. "Someone" out there is now broke, single, and worst of all, p3wned by Chris Martin.

The Globe and Mail Online Gets a Makeover

They make a video. Nobody cares, except for whiny commenters who express their complaints, because everybody knows that change is bad.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Good morning, good morning!


Unemployed? No more health benefits?
Ease up. Pfizer wants to help you.

They won't give you a job, nor pay off a year's rent, but they're willing to help out with another bare necessity―with free one-year subscriptions to, among others, everyone's favorite peppy little pill―Viagra.

It's funny, but it's also feasible. Ya dee ya da, recession, reschmession―sex always sells. You can't stop people from having sex when they can't afford theatre at night (in fact, they'll probably spend more on birth control out of fear of bringing a little bundle of financial burden into the world). Sex shops are selling out―not selling out like arena artists begrudged by those who read Pitchfork, the other kind―and getting their best business from all those who're getting some. (In March, I did a story for broadcast on Queen West's Condom Shack's resexssion successes―they said this years been their best by far. This means we, as a society, are either getting sluttier, or cheaper. Or both.). But it all kinda makes sense. It's cheap, easy entertainment. Well, just not easy for all... hence the help of Viagra―friskiness that's fun and frugal!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

mmm.... stiegl.

Mama Kass finally settled down and got herself a job.

Well, and by "settled down," I mean I now get to drink Jager out of the asses of pinatas, serve six-litre pints of Honey Brown in vases still stamped with Home Sense tags, and sell beers and bratwursts I'll never be able to pronounce. And, uh, get paid too.

Meet my new home, weeknights, weekends, days―whatever. 'Cause if it all goes as planned, well, by the end―I won't really know the difference.




(If you're in town this weekend, drop by. It's disco pirate party time. It's a bar, duh. But friends get a 25% discount.
...and yes, there will be hot tubs.)

SUM 301: Supplementary readings list



in my summer, every day is a (lazy) sunday.

Eggs benny on a thursday at noon, books without deadlines, decaffienated tea because I only realy have to be half-awake anyways. I sit on soft surfaces, only beds, couches, pillows, and carpets. It's all soft, no reads harder than hard news.

My routine is thus, I sleep, I eat, I run, I read, I do yoga, in whatever order I please. I work, but really that's just hanging out with a drink my hand in a wunder-ful place. 

See, the pace is slower here, and the only place I really need to go is upstairs. Outside's still too cold today, but when it warms I can simply take my routine outside and let the sun work its ways on my skin, my hair, my insides, too.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Shit-dis-stuburbing


... well, my mom thinks it is at least. For good times "out west,", but really just east of Edmonton..

  • Learn an instrument. Preferably one that is stupidly loud and could not possibly be allowed in a condo, particularly one that's good for rage management. Drums will do.
  • Develop a good score-keeping system for Jeopardy. My baby bro, newly accepted into college, with an IQ that makes him a certified genius and more books under his belt a year than I in my lifetime, has come close at beating me at my game ofmastery. But hasn't prevailed yet. Alex would be proud.
  • Go Walmart-ing. Slightly cooler than go-karting, this activity is when you raid various local Walmarts and new, improved Walmart Supercenters (!) in search of one specific item. Yes, I'm sure it has ruined all local businesses; yes, it is definitely a cult. But they have in-store McDonald's! The way I look at it? Makes me think of that commercial for some credit card witht the two ladies pushing shopping carts: 
"So, how much did you save back there?" 
"2 bucks" 
*Stifles a laugh*
"And how much did you save?"
Tonight's mission? Season eight of ER. (Fun fact: I have never watched an episode of ER).

  • And when all else fails: Ice cream will do.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

prayers for the prairies.


Welcome back to the wild wild west.

...well, minus the wild part. So far Sherwood Park has been, as usual, quaint, pleasant―words sometimes considered synonyms for drab, and dull, but that's a matter of perspective. The pace of the place is, to say the least, a small adjustment from the days of jaywalking the city, but once it sinks in, it doesn't hurt so hard.

Sometimes life out here's like a scene from Full House―with seven people in one house (NOT including a dog named after brand-name amonia), I'm prone to assume the role of Stephanie, the poor middle child who's life is sooo unfair. And as for sleeping in, well, that's not an option when your sister tap dances above your bedroom at 8 a.m. But being woken up my a human sound instead of a machine (I'm talking about YOU, cranes at St. Michael's!) is sorta comforting, as is warm, streaming sunlight that won't be blocked out by a neigbouring condo at 11:01 a.m. (makes afternoon tans tough). 

The suburb's the suburb, it's not worth glossing over. I could spend my months here honing in on what they don't have―which is plenty―but while I'm around, I mine as well take on what they do have to offer. Parks-a-plenty, free and fresh gourmet, old friends, family, and, of course, a room of my own.

Me and the local geriatrics ward Some of the fam who I love very much!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

And I thought I had problems.

You're walking down the street to work. En route, you spy a picture of *insert the man/woman of your dreams here* and think to yourself "dammmmn!" And then, out of nowhere, you let out a moan, begin to convulse violently, and when you, er.., come to, you finally realize you've been hit with a tremor of pleasure, provoked by a photo. It's like a wet dream, save for the sleeping part.

Sounds pretty exciting, right? Apparently, it's a bit of a moaner groaner when it happens 200 TIMES A DAY.

The world's fascination with freaks will never end―and of course, neither will mine. For a good ol'-fashioned study break, take a trip to the virtual circus with these weirdos. If I could have any one of the listed superpowers, I'd have to choose #3. Why? Blame Canada.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cadbury means contentness.

I almost forgot about Easter this year.
Thankfully a last-minute Sunday dinner saved me from celebrating bunnies and springtime and whatever else for which we share turkey and candied sweet potatoes.
But there's always one sure-fire way to know it's spring (not talking about the showers, nor the flowers).



Sure, the world was a happier place on the outside today. But that's all superficial anyways. True happiness on the inside can be achieved anytime, for a limited time, with the little things in life.
... Just as long as those "little things" are mini eggs.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Summer, bloody summer

My summer was all laid out.

Four months in Asia. Fly into Singapore, head North 'till I'd eaten every piece of Pad Thai and Pho on the continent. Hike, skydive, thrill-seek, adventure. Of course, ambition, when planned in pairs, sometimes falls through. I counted up my losses, accepted defeat, and made a compromise.

I set myself out, instead, to head home to lounge with mom and pop, eat Chef Frere's exquisite food, educate my little sister on getting past puberty (now that I think I'm finally over it myself), and, of course, keep a little extra coin in my pocket. I was unreasonably enthusiastic to visit the prosaic prairies, to relax, and sleep in my high school hideout. And then, come July, to rent a flat in Prague, and stroll along the promenade for a month or two. Sleeping in, and drinking Czechvar until I slept again. And I wasn't ever planning to go it alone.

But now, it seems, I am―right here.

Since Sunday, I've hastefully been arranging interviews―of the summer job sort, people pointing the mic at me instead of the school year's opposite―in hopes of earning checks to cover my coffee for next school year, instead of a plane ticket to anywhere the hell outta here. I've stopped trying to sell off my room to some stranger. My little sister will stay stuck to fend for herself at the dangerous age of thirteen. No one will be left to scarf Mike's leftovers at ungodly hours. For me, it's more concrete, more city, more same ol', just with the addition of some occasional sunshine. Those had better be some damn happy rays or I'll be carrying S.A.D. with me all through this sorry summer.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

mamakasss

is wishing all of her blogs were just 140 characters, so she could blog more.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Drug wars: Last glance at Mary Jane

After a debacle like this, I was a little worried that the world's most lenient legislature was leading other nations in the wrong direction.

But just as the first signs of greens are showing outside, they're showing up in the news too. And when The Economist says it, you know it's true. And what better way to aid this thing called the recession? We (well I, by proxy) have a black president, we have gay marriage, and yet we still can't smoke da reefer without Harper upturning his pudgy nose. But the eternal question remains―can we do it in our lifetime? Roll a j from the rocking chair? Bring the bong to the retirement home bedside table? Smoke dope with the grandkids?

Yes we can.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Inliers.


*Disclaimer: This post is not meant to be a racist tirade, but simply a cultural observation I've recently made which has allowed me to come to terms with some failures of the past. Don't hate.

I remember piano concerts as a kid. I remember throwing rampant tantrums in the car every time before I was to play in that concert I so loathed. It wasn't that I hated playing piano. It wasn't that I had stage fright, or even remotely disliked being the center of attention. All I ever hated was not being the best.

Every spring and every fall, I'd cram-practice for a week, playing the piano for an hour a day rather than an hour a week in preparation for Ms. Dorothy Weiss's seasonal recital. Two hours before show time, my little sister and I would dress in our Sunday best, hoping to impress all the well-to-do parents with our class, if not our classical piano. I'd bring the sheet music in the car, trying to commit each grace note to graphic memory, to nail each bar deeply in my brain.

And then we'd walk into the concert hall, late of course.

Scene: rows of piano students younger than I, all seated politely, with legs crossed at the ankle. Pretty skirts and perfectly-polished shoes, glasses, and of course, smug smiles. Beautiful little Asian girls and boys who were perfect, and perfectly better than I at anything I could do on that grand instrument. No matter their age or difficulty, they'd walk properly onstage, play their little hearts out without missing a trill, or an accent, or a crescendo. Perfect posture, perfect and proper. At the end, they'd turn and face the audience, bowing with a prideful, yet unconceited grin.

Then I, a foot taller and five shoe sizes bigger than most, would stumble onstage in a daze, sit down, and think of all ways could go wrong. And many of them, I did―my lithe fingers tangled, my crescendos started loud and ended soft, and many of my last notes were resemblent of that Arthur episode where he fails on the last note of Fur Elise (don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about). I'd bow, embarassed, thinking how I should, instead, be bowing down to all the future Yannis and Yokos in the room. I was green-eyed and confused about why the Asians were just so damn perfect, and wondered what in the miso soup was making them so much better than I.

Well, I spent yesterday at the U of T Robarts library. Unfortunately, I also spent most of the night. Throughout the day, everyone of every race seemed to be there, navigating the stacks in a less confused fashion than myself. But when I finally got on that elevator at 9:55 p.m., I stepped into a box that may have fit better on a different continent... and that's when it all made sense.

Just like The Outliers said, success doesn't happen by chance. It happens with a specific set of circumstances, a certain environment, a combination of drive and work ethic. And that's exactly what I was surrounded by in that elevator last night―people who'd been raised to understand the long hours proper study requires, and those dilligent enough to stick it out, because it's engrained in their culture. No wonder everyone thinks of the west as fat, lazy Americans―by comparison, we are.

So maybe it's time I took a lesson from overseas experts and came to expect that good marks only come from long, hard hours. And that magical pianist's touch comes from days and days of hours and hours of gruelling practice. After all, the rigorous work always means a better reward.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

explosions in my brain

All you need when course readings are rough (and when you don't have time to maintain a real blog).


(Click-the-pic)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Digging for yukon gold.

If you think your kitchen cupboards are a cool, dry, and most importanly, safe place to toss your tubers... think again.

Small growths I can understand, but when my spuds are swimming in a cesspool of toxic sludge, it's time to do away with my dinner-turned-science experiment in the only civil method possible―hurling them off the balcony.

Bon appetit, neighbours!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

If you like BJs,

then you should read this.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh-bama (the obligatory inaugural post)

Today was a good day―and that doesn't just mean I got to eat free samosas.

I walked into class today with plans to drivel at the feet of my Critical Issues prof, begging him to end class early on account of a historical event which all journalists should be required to witness. To my delight, the prof had the same plan.

So I and a herd of journalists-to-be headed over to the Student Centre where we were greeted with pins, refreshements and big, big screens. The president-elect's face was plastered around the room, always portrayed staring into the sky as if god was personally dictating his each and every action. There was the clich├ęd thick air of excitement in the room―but that may have been because volunteers were laying out trays and trays of wings and deep-fried plantains on a nearby table. 

When Obama first walked onto the widescreen, the students paid their collective respects through whooping and cheering, myself included. Aretha Franklin came in and sang her song, but no one really heard anything due to her deafeningly loud headwear. No, seriously, did she pick that off the top of the last year's Macy's Christmas Tree? That girl's got balls.

Wardrobe cuts aside, while Obama's (somewhat shaky) inauguration made me happy and hopeful, full of glee and giddyness, it sparked another distinct emotion.  

Obama's inauguration and subsequent speech today turned me emerald with envy. Why? Because Canucks like me have to live vicariously through our big brother, the U.S. (Although I'm half-American, I can't only consider myself "one of them" when they do something good*. I've lived in Canada since I was born and can't justify calling myself anything else―yet.) And if any of you are the youngest child, or simply have the over-achieving older sib with a barrage of accomplishments you can never live up to, you know that it plain and simple sucks. We have a leader whose economic policy disagrees with that of every other forward-thinking nation in the world, who prorogues parliament (which I see as a hold on anything democratic), and possesses a head-tilt-and-smile routine that only a child molester in-the-making could have (politically incorrect, yes, but who ever said I couldn't be?). The one time in recent memory where Canadian politics got interesting, the good guys ruined it with a cell-phone quality piece of youtube crap which had more people focused on the leader's library and less-than-desirable accent. I'm not saying I want George W. to pack his parka and move north to stir up some shit and maple syrup in Ottawa, but can't we have some change to believe in too? We're far happier to cheer for an American man that we are any Canadian leader―'cause well, our head honchos just don't change much at all. No one's making a killing selling iconic Harper pins and t-shirts.

In the same year that whites, blacks, potentially-terrorist Muslims and everything in between chanted, "Yes, we can," under Obama's charismatic leadership, more Canadians shuttered their doors and stayed inside than taking a few steps out to vote in some national election. We ended up with a minority Conservative government. Ho-hum. 

Do people even care enough about Canadian government to make a noteworthy response if that kind of a powerful leader were to step up to the podium? 

If I were a politician, I'd do something about it, seriously.

But since I'm a bored, aspiring Canadian journalist, maybe it's high time I make like a bird and migrate south, 'cause in Candian politics, well―maybe we can't. 

*That is, unless Jeopardy closes admission to Canadians. If so, I will toss my Canadian passport and wave hello to the stripes and stars in a second.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

First-past-the-post.

Their music has always been manna for critics, and milk and honey for weird indie kids (the kind who actually like the wacked-out experimental sounds they're supposed to listen to). And to the average listener, it sounds like sugar-happy toddlers unleashed on a keyboard loaded with trippy samples, animal sounds, and wobbly vocal mods. 

Last year I winced and pulled my hood over my ears at their music sound "experimentation" onstage at Rogers picnic.

But this time around, everyone's getting merry about their new collection. Two weeks in and its already the best album of the year―and don't be surprised if it holds its ground for another eleven and a half months.

This time around the post, the crazed combines with the conventional to create a masterpiece accessible enough for the open-minded radio listener, clear and sunny enough for the well-weathered ear, and still innovative enough to make dryest critics drip with excitement.

As for the album, I grant you three guesses. (Clue: the hint's in the puns. You know me, you know my lust for the lowliest form of literary musing.)

1, 2,... 3.


I've always liked Animal Collective (their studio work at the least), but sometimes their sounds are too, er, animalistic for me to corral. I'd file them away in the "experimental" section of my iTunes and hope one day my music tastes matured enough to appreciate the layers and the levels. 

Now, I don't have to. Finally, the collective has reached the perfect balancing point, the place where experiment and audible melody work harmoniously together, where inventions come from actual intentions, and where their "music" (which I might have just named "noise" pre-M.P.P.) is truly good music. And that is why this album is, and probably still will be, to the critics and the common folk, the best album of 2008. Shit. 2009.*

*That is, unless any of the following bands reunite and/or release an album on or before December 31, 2009: TV on the Radio, Radiohead, Wilco, or the Beach Boys**.
**Seriously.

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