Tuesday, December 30, 2008

seen it once, seen it all

back in the t-dot. i don't think it missed me much.

the first of the lot from this end: chartattack staff top 10 lists. i'm somewhere in the middle there -- just look for the one with the generally awful taste in music. (yes, i liked the new motley crue album. and the new bauhaus. i submitted it right there in writing.) also, we've got top 20 overall. viva la portishead!

nme chimes in with the best 2008 critical picks of the uk. the usual suspects - many of which also appeared on the previous lists - but i wasn't expecting elbow to have the top spot...then again, i didn't even know elbow had a new album out this year. duh.

over at the cbc, they're looking for musical suggestions for a canadian playlist for president obama. it's sort of a silly fluff idea at best, and i'm sure anyone could name off at least half a dozen obvious choices for that list (okay, let's go: leonard cohen, neil young, joni mitchell, nickelback, tragically hip, gordon lightfoot), but eh. go canadian music, i guess.

there is a really neat post over at idolator about how layoffs are rampant in the music industry right now. i'm not sure whether to mourn or celebrate the downfall of the industry, given that i and many of my good friends are in it (partially or otherwise) and thus we'd all be affected. but would it be for better or worse in the long run? oh man, here comes 2009.

zooey deschanel and ben gibbard are engaged! quirky indie-hipster pop fan's wet dream! no, actually, that's a pretty cute coupling. all the best, you crazy kids.

mental note to self: let the right on in is screening at the bloor cinema at the end of the month. must not miss it this time. real vampires! fuck this twilight nonsense.

so yeah, everything's back in order, as per usual: working the 9 to 5, spin class twice a week with cardio an extra two days, running errands, cooking, grocery-shopping, getting ready for new year's eve with my ladies, and so on, and so forth. yet now i have a pretty pimped-out kitchen, thanks to santa claus. :P it sure looks like a more impressive haul once it's all unpacked and put into place, i tell you. (to put holiday gifts in perspective: my coworker related a story of one of his female friends back home -- "she got a slow cooker, and a nintendo wii. by the time i left, she'd made like three roasts, and i think she only touched the wii once.")

but there's still something missing in my home and my life. obviously.

counting the days / in the haze around you...

[ music | the sisters of mercy, "we are the same, susanne" (live) ]

Saturday, December 27, 2008

carry the torch for me

thanks for putting up with my sentimental goofiness in the last entry, by the way -- up until now, i'd never even made it past three months with a guy, so hitting the one-year mark is something of a milestone here. testament to the strength of our connection/chemistry, among other things. ;) i do love that boy. (we talked on the phone for the first time in two weeks last night - him calling from a payphone in munich at 2 a.m. - and it was adorable)

are you a concert sitter or stander? the war rages on. (as i get older, i gotta admit i'm more a fan of the sitting, especially if i'm in particularly high heels...though nothing, absolutely nothing, beats being right in front row -- my favourite place on earth!)

our bastion of canadian news and culture, maclean's, brings us words that ought to be in the dictionary, 2008 edition. quite clever, and most obviously the work of a feschuk. (i enjoy anything that takes pot shots at jennifer aniston, because man oh man does that woman ever need to get over it)

many of the music news sites may be quiet for the holidays, but nme.com has you covered with their 20 hottest men in music (as voted by readers). um...some debatable choices there, readership.

but hey, if you want to express your own democratic right, be sure to go over and vote in chartattack's 14th annual year-end poll! there's a conspicuous name missing from the "hottest canadian male" nominee list, but i guess that's okay, because if any other girls voted for him i'd hunt them down in the street. this is how i do.

shitty band merch, ahoy! here's hoping none of that was under your tree a few days ago.

so with the exception of new year's eve (which is looking to be its typical gong-show self this year, though hopefully i can pull the friends together for a hangover brunch on new year's day), the holiday season's wrapped up, and i'm at least sort of thankful for my dietary restraint this time around: didn't overstuff myself, didn't gorge on the pounds of chocolate i received in my stocking (i've resolved to leave almost all of it in the staff room at work for communal nibbling), didn't chunk up on carbs and second helpings. granted, my lack of physical activity was a serious negative, and i figure my muscles are going to pay for it in spin class this week...but hey, maintaining the weight = pretty good triumph. let's just see how badly i huff and puff my way through gym cardio once i'm back into the usual routines.

as of tomorrow, it's back to the t-dot, and back to work as of monday morn...keep 'er rolling.

[ music | probot, "shake your blood" ]

Friday, December 26, 2008

cross-country love song

so here's a story for your boxing day.

a little over a year and a half ago, a girl was more or less "dating" a boy. suffice to say, quotes are being used there because it wasn't exactly much of a relationship, and the girl was eventually unhappy enough to call it quits with this boy altogether.

yet back during this ill-fated excuse for a courtship, the girl was in sporadic communication with another boy, with a friendship between the two striking up completely based on online correspondences (myspace, to be exact) and passing greetings at a favourite bar. the girl smiled with each message and hug, detecting what was a likely flirtation, but the relative tameness of it all was rather comforting. plus, she had to secretly admit to herself that she enjoyed the attention from this one. much as experience had taught her not to trust them, this one seemed genuinely kind and even interested in her without her having to chase him first, and that definitely warranted attention.

problem? this boy was a good friend of the girl's now ex. and, given the typical protocol for dating an ex's friends, the girl was reticent to start anything with the friend boy, especially given that it was still soon after the final cutting-off of her previous relationship.

especially given that the girl had recently decided to move across the country with a one-way plane ticket and a backpack.

despite a few more passing hangouts at the bar and a few missed chances at actual planned meetups, the girl knew when it was time to move on. yet there was one eventful evening that occurred shortly before the girl moved, wherein the boy showed her an awesome time with a night full of alcohol, cigarettes, companionship and rock music. the girl saw the attraction far more clearly now than the internet and casual scene had ever afforded, but it was too late. within the week, she was on a plane, and then living on the west coast.

there was still communication, though, albeit still of sporadic nature. there were a few wayward e-mails, and a flurry of text messages while the boy went on tour with his rock band across the opposite coast, but the girl did her best to put it out of her mind. she was determined to settle on the west coast and make a new life for herself there, and that could not include impossible cross-country romances. the lines of communication slowed, and quietly slipped away.

the west didn't treat the girl very well, however. she found that, in its distance and loneliness and dark gray days, it wasn't the place for her. and after one particular debaucherous night spent carousing with a group of old friends from out east - mutual friends of the boy, in fact - the girl found herself huddled in a ball on her apartment floor, crying to herself over the corner she'd backed herself into, alone and friendless and trapped in this strange city. she needed to talk to someone.

with no rhyme or reason whatsoever, she chose to e-mail the boy.

she poured out all her misery and misgivings in a rambling message almost a page long, going on about her troubles and her heartaches at being so far from home, and how she didn't know to get out of this trap she'd put herself into. and then, although he certainly had no obligation to, the boy e-mailed her back, giving her comfort and reassurance and reminding her that there are two people in the world -- ones who say, and ones who do. she was one of the latter, he wrote. and to that he added:

"i like that about you."

the girl read that line. she stared at her computer screen. and then it hit her full on like a wet sack of bricks: this guy honest to god cared about her. and what's more, she cared about him.

it was like flipping on a light switch in the middle of a dark room.

there were already plans in place for the girl to return home for christmas. however, her family home was not in the same city as the boy, and she decided that she wanted to see the boy almost as much as she wanted to see that city again. and so she made a move that took her three days to gain the courage for: she e-mailed him and asked if she might stay at his place for a night while she visited the city. she knew full well what such a request implied; however, she sneakily phrased it in such a way that could be taken completely innocently. still, she was eager to see what way he would take it, and when he agreed to let her spend the night on his couch, she knew it wouldn't be long before she found out.

and so on boxing day, the girl showed up on the doorstep of the boy's apartment, bedraggled and tired from the three-hour bus ride but smiling hugely. he grinned back - the same expression that more or less stopped her damn heart whenever she watched it on mtv; this boy was an actual rock star, after all - and from then on it was a night of drinking, laughing and conversations that proved they connected as well in person as they did through computers. the chemistry was there, the girl knew for sure; now all it took was one of them to make the move.

and so the girl - not exactly known for her subtlety - drunkenly admitted to the boy in the early morning hours (after staying up all night talking and boozing and watching bad b-movies) that the main reason she'd wanted to come back to this city was to see him. for the first time, the boy took her hand, then paused and made an invitation. the girl took it without question.

...put the next four months in fast-forward: e-mails. facebook messages. myspace messages. wall posts. profile comments. on the alert for constant text messages every single day. cellphone photos sent. late-night long-distance phone conversations for hours on end. friends' testaments: "you light up whenever you talk about him!" long walks and music. postcards written and sent once a week without fail. countless long-distance phone cards used up. "so, i'm yours." "...and i'm yours." parcels sent. decision. resolve. phone calls to action. e-mails to begin to sever ties. plans made. another flight back in march. early-morning taxi rides. reunions. cheering from the floor at rock gigs. heavy public makeout sessions. holding hands. coffee. sushi and hot sake. bright cold mornings. tears at the airport. return to the west. the boy on tour again. remembering a grin: "you may be the third wheel, but you got the girl." even later-night phone calls and text messages. drunk. sober. nicknames. risque photo shoots. the van arriving in bc. being grateful for every minute spent together. ferry rides. falling asleep together in a victoria farmhouse loft under piles of quilts. public debauchery. an extra-large bathtub. cajun food. leavetakings. further preparation. the final phases. saying goodbye to favourite streets and neighbourhoods and sights. farewell dinners with now-close friends. going to the vancouver airport one last time, at noon on may 1st.

a few hours later, i walked through the arrivals gate at pearson airport in toronto, and he stepped forward from the crowd wearing a sweater with a skull on it and a leather jacket and a shy smile, and i don't think either of us said anything before i dropped my bags and walked into his open arms and we kissed.

...i came back because i missed my home. but most of all, i came back because i missed that boy, and i wanted to give this relationship all of me and everything i could give. it's all or nothing, baby.

and one year after that boxing day when the whole thing began, this relationship, to me, was worth all that. is still worth all that, and everything more yet to come -- because i believe in this, in us, through all the ups and downs and steady paces that make it meaningful and exciting and worthwhile. one year in, this is quite honestly the best relationship i've had in my life, and i apologize for being a sap and a mushball and making my single friends feel bad but holy fuck does this guy mean the world to me. here's to the future? yes indeed.

(i don't know when or where you'll read this, baby, but i'm pretty sure you will, and i hope it'll let you know how much you mean to me. happy one-year anniversary, tiger! xoxox)

[ music | yeah yeah yeahs, "maps" ]

Thursday, December 25, 2008


hola! this is your traditional christmastime blog post.

and man, is it ever weird to go over those old entries from both this blog and the last. it's kind of cute and kind of embarrassing to see how immature and ADD-style my writing from even three years ago used to be; still, i feel like there's a sweet sort of innocence to it, even if that all pales in comparison to some of the old online diaries writings i saved from back in 2000 (which obviously no one will be allowed to read, thank god). and also, there's so much up and down there -- so much inconsistency and turbulence in my life at those times that may not be obvious from my writing, but i can remember it all pretty clearly. i've never been miserable at christmastime, of course, but i have been unsatisfied with my life -- and not just around the holidays.

yet what i really think about right now is seeing my old housemate from vancouver here a couple weeks ago, and he looked me dead in the eye and said honestly, "you seem a lot happier now." that's the kind of thing you can't mask from your friends. so, yes, i am definitely much happier now, on this christmas, than i have been in any of those past four blogged christmases. there's just a lot more in my adult life that seems complete now -- the long-term relationship, the financially lucrative career. (not to mention being back in ontario -- now there's a big plus.) it really feels like things are finally starting to come together in this chaotic jigsaw puzzle of my life, piece by piece.

speaking of things coming together, this was definitely the year of receiving grown-up gifts -- among the lot: a pulse blender, pyrex cooking dishes, utensils (spoon sets, spatulas, proper knife set), a hand mixer, stainless steels bowls, and so on. not a whole lot of "fun" gifts (unless you're the kind that gets excited in the houseware section at wal-mart), but eh, i buy goodies for myself anyway. :P at least now i can start functioning with a properly equipped kitchen. given the amount of cooking i'll be doing in the new year, i'll need it.

(as a present to myself - bought with the $50 my grandmother generously gave me - i just ordered a navy-blue hoodie of this. oh yes i did.)

okay, some quick news to make this post somewhat valid (and not totally self-centered):

it's not gonna be a very merry christmas for narnia fans, since disney isn't going to be backing voyage of the dawn treader. i have mixed feelings on this -- for one, the narnia series pretty much defined my childhood, but for two, the first movie almost made me walk out of the theatre in disgust. (the second one was a little better, though.) it seems like a valuable franchise though, which is more than can be said for the universal critical drubbing of the spirit...hee. (father's taking me to see the curious case of benjamin button on saturday though, so we'll see how that works out)

mat recaps new heart vi, which i would have given my nonexistant left nut to attend, if it had been at all possible to get through the shitty chicago weather right now. and ooooh, new tour photos! i still love that band so totally and absolutely, it's nuts. (almost as much as i love chicago itself, which i hope to be visiting early in the new year....stay tuned)

star wars: the musical. really? i mean, like....really?? (it definitely won't have anything on one man star wars, that's for sure.)

okay, i think that's all i can come up with for today. go look at some lolcats and have yerselves a lovely christmas day!

[ music | various christmas songs being piped in from the den ]

Sunday, December 21, 2008

resistance is low

given that the wind and snow are blowing all over again out there, i think i'm snowbound for the rest of the afternoon. s'okay though -- it's been a weekend of catching up on things and finishing up on others: getting my christmas shopping done, for one, as well as getting a not-much-needed haircut...but eh, i'm well aware of family holiday photo ops coming up next week. also: morning spin classes, hours of cardio, making sugar-and-spice nuts to fill a pretty jar with for my grandmother's christmas present, messing around more with my new phone, watching bad tv, packing up presents, taking care of myself, my apartment and my life in general. i also tried to laze about and sleep in this morning, but i was missing a particular body to do it with, so....:(

but my loss of company is your gain: sunday blogging time!

(by the way, i'm experiencing a bit of schadenfreude over the fact that vancouver right now is -10 celsius and covered in snow. last year was definitely easier)

example of a prime clickable headline: christmas evil. hey, i was intrigued. giant killer easter bunny? dude! horror movies suck.

aw no, off to rehab with steven adler. there's one mark against dr. drew's celebrity rehab reality scam. (which, thankfully, i have yet to bring myself to watch...at last, i'm finally opening myself up to my cable tv options, but it's mostly limited to csi marathons or whatever movies are on)

carl barat remarks on the end of dirty pretty things. omfg he quoted weber! swoon. (oh yeah, and r.i.p. dirty pretty things and all that -- gotta respect any band with song titles like "you fucking love it")

apparently jeff buckley would have loved the chart revival of "hallelujah". um, no disrespecting the dead or anything, but i think that song is credited to one mr. l. cohen. i've been in a cohen mood since the season and solitude have been inspiring me to read and re-read passages of stranger music -- a beloved book in vancouver and still a favourite here and now.

the a.v. club's worst band names of 2008. didn't have me laughing my ass off out loud like last year's, but still some classics on that list.

okay now, goddamn, i should have asked for this for christmas. sucker for do-it-all cooking gadgets, me.

alright, time to get back to cleaning my apartment. happiest of sundays! (btw, not sure if this will be taken as a promise or a threat, but now that i have a proper camera phone, there will likely be more photo snaps in my entries...mmmm, visuals!)

[ music | third episode of csi in a row ]

Friday, December 19, 2008

dreaming of a white xmas

as promised in the last entry, a short composite photo essay of last awesome weekend! (office party photos taken by gabriel, but i co-opted most of them from kat's facebook because she managed to resize them properly, plus she chose the best ones anyway; horseshoe photos taken by penny)

bar italia gets us all started off right. i'm there on the far left, over the bartender's shoulder, probably going through my third (free!) glass of red wine by this point.

closer up and further in. i look vaguely displeased by my vino while jeff ignores me.

jeff is nonplussed by steve's cheerful diss. oh, graphic designers, you wacky lot.

lovely kat, her amusingly-posed husband matt, and their friend chris, who also doubled as jeff's date (and beard-alike).

content manager ian, his girlfriend caitlin (good name!), and content writer matt. they get extra props because they all went to school - and are good friends with - my two closest cousins.

me with coworkers rui and (a very happy) dave. we're a stylin' lot, we are.

another shot of the table buddies. i don't quite know what's going on with my awkward chunky posture there, but eh. (i'm more amazed at how long and not black my hair is)

at the horseshoe now, hamming it up with jenna like the drunkface that i am. good god, those teeth! (penny likes this one but i sort of gagged)

fierce ladies in action (me, jenna, melissa and penny). not bad for one of those close-up self-taken angled shots that usually end up looking frightening.

this one just sort of makes me laugh, because it's a prime example of the adoring gaze i fix on the stage whenever dean's playing (when i'm not getting all choked up with pride). slightly embarrassing yet endearing.

this is the boy in mad drumming action!!!!11 (check out that flailing hair -- it's actually longer than mine) he is teh awesome. and what a show...check out a fan review here, and one of my editors' take on the night here.

...et c'est tout. you can also check out c'mon concert shots here (start at third row middle), and get a good look at the guy behind the kit. rarrrrrrrrr. like so! (yes, i know i've tended to shy away from more than one mention of the boyfriend per blog entry, but that may or may not ramp up in the weeks that he's gone...he left me with an awesome christmas present though - a cute little red moleskine day planner with a sweet inscription from him on the inside cover - and i get all giggly and delighted over it, so yeah, 'tis the season for relationship mushiness. sorry!)

also, i'm now recalling how it felt to be doing the long-distance relationship thing from vancouver: whenever dean sends me a text message or two (apparently the europe shows so far have been awesome and merch is selling quickly), i reread it over and over for a few hours. yes, i cling to virtual text in his absence (and listen to his bands' music a lot more than i want to admit). le sigh.

moz news, mostly because i want to get sofi and kat all hyped up for their buffalo show in march. hee! (really, i get most of my giggles from reading the titles of the new album tracklist. you just can't go wrong with morrissey.)

i really just enjoy that headline. kudos to you, pitchfork (and props to all the canadians who made it on your best albums of 2008 list)

idolator interviews a freelance music journalist, and it is bang. fucking. on. i could relate to that completely, as i'm sure any and all of my fellow music journo friends reading this will. dead on portrait of what it's like to be one of us, and why so many of us (*raises hand*) have to eventually turn to full-time steady jobs instead in order to pay the bills. hey, it's a living.

rotflmao! my boyfriend's friend wrote and directed that movie, and the boy himself has a minor part in it, although there's a more central character (a drummer, obvs) who's actually based off of him. sadly, tour and band conflicts forced him to give up his chances at playing, well, himself...but hey, he's still a superstar to me. and suck is going to be awesome.

if i could be anywhere in the world right now, it would be chicago for the kill hannah weekend of madness. new heart for xmas VI! dj nights! full recreation of here are the young moderns! good god, it sounds like heaven, albeit a heaven filled with shrieking underage emo-goth girls. i do love my kh shows but i've just felt older and older since those days of 2004...

two more things to catch up on: i went temporarily nuts the other day and spontaneously decided i needed a new phone, so i bought this one (mostly because i liked the camera, mp3 player and qwerty keyboard, plus seriously, it's a damn cute girly phone); and i interviewed brody dalle yesterday downtown. hella intimidating at first to be interviewing a feminist punk-rock icon, but she was super-cool and a really great interview. thumbs up.

it's the last friday before christmas, and everybody's starting to clear out of the office for their holiday vacations, and i'm ready to leave now, but i have to wait until tuesday to go. oh, well...

[ music | peter murphy, "cuts you up" ]

Monday, December 15, 2008

as i believe in you

despite it being mid-december now, it is exactly what i'd refer to as a "vancouver day" out there: gray, dark, and rainy. (windy too, but that makes it not so much like vancouver because for some reason windy days were rare out there) pretty much excellent for my mood right now, which can be mostly explained by reading the entry below (in case you really need it spelled out for you: my boyfriend just left yesterday to tour europe, and he won't be back until early january), but oh well. gotta start low before you start feeling better.

still! a great weekend to build upon: office christmas party on friday night (involving many drinks, free food, and general uproarious good cheer), c'mon show later on friday night (involving many friends, cheering from the front row, and unfortunately cab-demanding maniacs), saturday brunch/coffee/general awesome times catching up with octo and christine, then groceries and cooking and finally getting some christmas shopping done on sunday. whew! i am pretty sure there will be pictures forthcoming of many of this weekend's events, minus me grocery-shopping and cooking buckwheat groats for the first time. at least, i hope minus those events. damn paparazzi.

it's funny, though: dear octo reminded me in passing the other day that i do still, in fact, have a working livejournal account (which, as is evident by its lone post which isn't even relevant anymore because i haven't blogged at mylovesubliminal in over a year, i only ever created to have access to lj-only friends' private entries), and now i'm almost sort of tempted to start posting there as well. not separate or new material, obviously - other than this blog, the only life updates i have time for these days come via twitter - so it'd just be a reposting of whatever goes up here, but still, it'd be substance to justify having access to my friends' private scribblings.

yet i still fight with myself over the main thing, which would be that i'd be spreading myself and my writings out further. many of you wouldn't assume that that's a bad thing; really, even my job entails working with online social media outlets to spread the net as wide as possible. that's the whole point: to make yourself known and your work omnipresent. but despite the fact that my professional career is all about doing that, my personal life just...isn't. i mean, okay, i'm sure a lot of this blog's entries come up on google, but you know what's funny? how isolated it is otherwise. i monitor my visitors through a very good stats tracker, and there's only ever one or two google-sent readers per day, if that. (usually they're looking for band info, or else googling my entire name, which is sort of creepy)

so yeah, it's pretty much always the same people every day or every other day. i can pretty much name most of these individuals, and the ones that i can't, i have a fairly good idea who they are based on their locations. for the most part, i'm okay with these people reading what i write, and i really have no ambition to gain more of an audience than just them. my blog's out there, it's public, it's not locked or blocked, yet it still feels somewhat private and secret. you can find it if you're looking, but if not, you wouldn't know it exists. (i don't link to it from facebook, myspace, twitter etc.) so, i just sort of feel like if i were to repost all this stuff in another blog, it would possibly widen the knowledge of my blogging existence to more, possibly unwelcome audiences. i like you guys. i want to stay here with just you guys, much as my work's influence has made me want to be even more of a media-controlling attention whore. it's a dilemma, what can i say.

anyway, if anyone (eljay friends?) has any feedback, lemme know. i still might be swayed one way or the other.

in the meantime, stuff that doesn't have anything to do with me:

lonely island prep their first release, which is good news for the fans of the instant classic "jizz in my pants" video (which i unashamedly sent to my stepdad, who i assume laughed his ass off). i normally hate comedy albums but that one might be worth a listen.

idolator talks 90's alt-rock memoirs, which was a good post to remind me to put dean wareham's black postcards: a rock & roll romance on my list of books to buy with any possible chapters gift cards that i might get for christmas (raised on reading in my family of scholars, it's absolute de rigueur to give gift cards for bookstores as presents).

new depeche mode album! soon! this news makes me so ridiculously happy, you have no idea. true, it's been kind of hit and miss with depeche mode since the mid-90s, but their live show never fails to impress. and mark my words, this time i will not miss it. nor will i miss any possible chance to sneak backstage. win!

thornley album news, with a rather cleverly snarky headline. i was actually a pretty big sucker for his first solo album, so this'll be an interesting one to check out. i feel like there's a dearth of new music in my life right now.

thanks to kat, i've been giggling uncontrollably at old homestar runner vids (ah, memories of university days), particularly trogdor, the burninator! i was almost weeping in laughter. good times.

getting four cavities filled tomorrow morning. fun times.

[ music | the cure, "pictures of you" ]

Saturday, December 13, 2008

dear future

times like these bring back a lot of things that i remember.

i remember a crowded bus terminal in new york city.

i remember a parking lot in downtown philadelphia.

i remember a foggy rooftop in toronto.

i remember a hotel lobby in las vegas.

followed by buses, cabs, planes, their interiors all blurred by the tears i mostly managed to blink back as i left, as we parted, as they let me go with what i now know was a barely hidden sense of relief. my time with them was over. i was out and they were thankful for it. out of sight, out of mind.

...it's no small wonder that i take the leavings the hardest. i'm too used to the parting signaling the end, and that they won't be coming back for me. the leaving means that it's over, the illusion's shattered, and i have to face reality: that they didn't care that much at all for me in the first place.

in this case, though, i'm able to be confident that it's very much not over -- because the affection isn't an illusion this time, for once and finally. because we have a future.

it's only three and a half weeks, after all. i think about the women whose lovers are fighting in afghanistan for months on end, and i think about the women whose lovers are far away working the oil fields in alberta, and i know that i still do have it easy. (didn't stop me from crying in his arms this morning, but hey, that was more or less expected. hormones dictate a good portion of my life at the moment.)

i'll miss him at christmas, on our one-year anniversary, and on new year's eve, but i have good friends and family to be with, and pictures like this to look at, and i'll be okay.

rock on, baby. i believe in you.

go take over europe!

[ music | depeche mode, "strangelove" (blind mix) ]

Friday, December 12, 2008

the whole shebang

little moment of happiness: walking to work the other morning, listening to the sisters of mercy's "dominion/mother russia", getting to the part with the spoken/growled words towards the end and remembering how i got to see that live in concert back in october, and it was at that point in the show that i'd started pounding my fists against the front barrier and screaming along. best ever.

we serve an old man in a dry season / a lighthouse keeper in the desert sun / dreamers of sleepers and white treason / we dream of rain and the history of the gun / there's a lighthouse in the middle of prussia / a white house in a red square / i'm living in films for the sake of russia / a kino runner for the ddr / and the fifty-two daughters of the revolution / turn the gold to chrome / a gift nothing to lose / stuck inside of memphis with the mobile home singin' mother russia mother russia mother russia rain down down down....

p.s. please don't sue me for reprinting your lyrics here, von. you may have kicked me out of your dressing room but i still think you're god.

btw, on the ever-present topic of music, it's getting to that time of year when i, as not-so-esteemed toronto music critic, am called upon for my picks of the year. while i would vote that sisters show as my best concert of the year (hell, my best concert of the last five years probably), that's not a category, so i have to make do with the typical top 10 albums and singles lists. my best music of 2008, as they will be printed in a variety of publications in the coming weeks, and reprinted for your scrutiny and amusement:

1: Kill Hannah/Hope For The Hopeless
2: Torche/Meanderthal
3: Innerpartysystem/Innerpartysystem
4: Bauhaus/Go Away White
5: The Faint/Fasciinatiion
6: Die Mannequin/Unicorn Steak
7: Portishead/Third
8: Hawksley Workman/Los Manlicious
9: Black Mountain/In the Future
10: Motley Crue/Saints of Los Angeles

1: Coldplay/"Violet Hill"
2: Innerpartysystem/"Don't Stop"
3: The Submarines/"You Me and the Bourgeoisie"
4: Airborne Toxic Event/"Sometime Around Midnight"
5: The Faint/"The Geeks Were Right"
6: Bauhaus/"Adrenaline"
7: MGMT/"Kids"
8: Motley Crue/"Saints of Los Angeles"
9: Flobots/"Handlebars"
10: The Cure/"The Only One"

there's more to it, of course, but those are the important two. i usually try to vary it up with the best singles - to me, it seems sort of lame when my top ten singles are all from my top ten albums - and thankfully there was a whack of good singles this year. gonna struggle with the rest of the categories though, as i do every year. therein is the dilemma of the music critic who only listens to stuff from the 80s and 90s.

speaking of music from the 90s, jeff martin's new band is coming to town. people mock the tea party something merciless and they mock me equally for loving them, but i can't help it. i just can't. they were my first favourite rock band and i couldn't shake my love of the tea if i tried (and oh believe me, i tried). not to mention every time i've interviewed jm - three times now - he's been the absolute king of sound bytes and, though i'm sure it's unintentional, it always made my writing job easier.

exclaim! talks to alex kapranos, further making me sad that i missed the franz ferdinand show last week and the chance to interview them myself. life, you can be a cruel mistress.

canadian music stores are struggling. that's because nobody cares about physical albums anymore, duh. (seriously, i don't think i've bought a real cd since i moved back from van...but that's mostly because i don't even own a cd player)

michael buble: minor hockey team co-owner! pretty much one of the coolest things i've read all morning, despite the fact that buble is apparently a huge douche. but hey, he wants to own the canucks one day, which is a fun aspiration. i'll just settle for taking a piece of the calgary flames empire once great-uncle harley kicks it. (just kidding, we're not actually related...at least, i don't think. my dad's always joked about it, but man, the physical resemblance between harley and my grandfather/father is creepy)

and now, aside from individual friend get-togethers, tonight is the last of the pre-holiday party blowouts: office christmas party (dinner and many, many free drinks) at 7:30, decorating the venue beforehand with kat around 6, cabbing it to the horseshoe by 10:30 in order to catch drunkula before c'mon hits the stage, copious drunken makeoutz with hot rockstar boyfriend, reunions and good times and the power of rawk. probably won't get in until after midnight; probably won't get to sleep until the early hours; up again in the morning to have lunch with octo and christine after bidding farewell to the boy, who leaves sunday to begin the winter europe tour. sadface here, but hey, it's his job. i can deal, obviously.

so after this weekend, it's sugar detox, alcohol and nicotine detox, better winter diet, haircut, waxing job, stocking up on good food, spin class and gym cardio four times a week, dentist appointments and doctor's appointments. focusing on the self. checkups and improvements. hang on, here we go.

[ music | placebo, "every you every me" ]

Monday, December 8, 2008

party time excellent

alright cassandra, enough of this doom and gloom, here's something brighter: selected snaps from last friday's uber-successful wine and cheese party!

the best shot i managed to take of our main spread. (later additions included grapes, mango, pineapple, peanut butter, more cheese, chocolate chip banana cake...and this is saying nothing for the flax chips, salsa, and extra crackers propped up on the nearby stove) we take care of our guests!

your lovely hostesses, post-spread setup and pre-first glass of wine. it all went downhill from there. (thank you, giant $15 bottle of cabernet merlot)

there's actually a long story behind this shot; it involves jenna and i drunk on jagermeister and running through downtown toronto with a pineapple, way back in 2006. that's all the details you need, really.

jenna begged me not to take any photos of her, citing unphotogenic-ness, but i think she looks fine here (particularly because that's only glass #1 of wine).

pajamas, our friend amanda's adorable goldendoodle doggy and also the party's most lively entertainment. for fun and mischief, just add puppy!

boyfriend dean on the right and good friend pat on the left. much good-hearted teasing over the fact that a) they are both rock drummers, b) they're wearing almost the exact same sweater, and c) they have nearly the same hair. unsurprisingly, they get along very well.

yt brought instant class to the party with his flask of whiskey and bottle of coke. the plastic cup just adds to it, methinks.

birthday-girl diane makes friends with pajamas; retroactively worries about how much boob i got in that shot. i reassured her as best i could (and it's actually not that bad! just enough to make us small-titted wonders jealous).

amanda keeps an eye on her pupper's antics. (that was the popular "drunk seat" at the table: close enough to the munchies, stable enough to keep you in one place without falling down)

pam and amanda (yep, another one) patiently put up with my requests for party snaps. hey, somebody had to do it...for facebook's sake, at least.

boy et moi. he made some amusing comment earlier about how he's totally red-faced and i'm vampire pale, which is pretty much true, and somehow sort of cute.

bffs pat and amanda ham it up. we later teased pat about how this is his stereotypical "facebook face" that he makes in literally every shot of him. the tradition continues!

okay, there's a leafs game on tv and i'm still recuperating from an intense hour-long spin class, so i think i'm done for the day. phew!

[ music | queens of the stone age, "sick sick sick" ]

karma chameleon

can i let you in on a secret? i'm sort of scared of 2009.

i guess, to be more specific, i'm scared of what 2009 will bring. i feel like i'm going to be going into the new year with a lot of trepidation. see, here's the thing: i really, truly do feel like life's taking it easy on me right now. biding its time, giving me a free ride. karma kinda looked at the shit i voluntarily put myself through from october 2007 through april 2008, and it said okay, you had your time of self-inflicted suffering, so we'll ease up on you for a bit. let you have the comfy life with all the things you always wanted.

suffice to say, i don't think i need to tell a single other person how life never keeps you on the easy road for long.

so yeah, for the last few weeks i've had the impeding feeling of "okay, things are going good right now, so when does the bad stuff start?" that's kind of how i go through life -- things can never get too good, or else life knocks you down a few notches. maybe that's a karmic belief system of sorts (and i do believe in karma). but yeah, it's very much an uneasy feeling of don't get too comfortable -- the worst is yet to come. and then when it does hit you, it's way out of left field, because you're so comfy and secure in your current lifestyle. just makes it that much worse when it happens.

"oh, you don't know these things for sure," my friends and family say -- but the thing is, i sorta do. i don't know, i've always had good intuition when it comes to these things. i want to pull out the mystic bullshit and blame it on my mother, who scoffs a lot when i ask about her apparent psychic abilities, but i know i've heard bits and pieces over the years about my mom and her mom and grandmother before her having creepily good intuition when it comes to future events.

and yes, i know there is very much an opposite point of view that does the whole "life is what you make of it" thing and that if you think it'll be, it'll be etc., so they'll be the ones telling me that if i'm convinced my life will be turbulent and nerve-wracking in 2009, it'll definitely turn out that way. but that's not what i mean -- i know for sure that many things in my life are going to change. there's no more logical course of action. this is how things are gonna go, and i can't change it, which causes me a certain amount of undue anxiety.

i like stability, i guess. i like having set routines as the backbone of my day-to-day life, and while that doesn't mean i'm permanently inflexible, it does mean that i like having a good part of my life centered and unchanging. was never a fan of the big life changes; goes along with the whole control-freak aspect of my personality. i get kind of wiggy if i don't have control over the important things in my life.

and therein is why i'm anxious about 2009: because i know things are going to change that i don't have control over.

and, given that it's me, my first and only thought turns to what precious things i might lose in 2009.

uh, happy monday! (though there is a significant bright spot today: my home internet connection is back after two weeks of being on the fritz. huzzah! oh yeah, and this past weekend was pretty much totally made of awesome, so that's also a spot of warm fuzzies)

[ music | the tea party, "the messenger" ]

Friday, December 5, 2008

sundry on a friday

friday = good day. particularly when it's payday, affording me the means with which to buy a nice bottle of cabernet sauvignon for our wine & cheese party tonight (but not too nice, as the party guests consist mostly of students, musicians, and young working professionals, so none of us are throwing cash around), which kicks off a weekend of holiday good-tiding with the boy's family tomorrow, and then sunday? day of rest. though i do have the urge to be retarded and go ice skating.

oh yeah, and baking week was a roundabout success. i use the word "roundabout" because although some recipes did not go off entirely as planned, the results are still delicious overall. here's hoping.

now! things for your lunchhour and mine:

nickelback shuns print media -- good news for print media everywhere. whatever, they're gonna sell a gazillion albums to hosers and redneck rockers everywhere, so they're pretty much in good standing. bah, stupid nickelback. i'm not even in a band and i resent their fame in general.

speaking of sales/popularity contests, here are your 2009 grammy award nominations. always nice to see no bands nominated with members i've played tonsil hockey with. (that actually happened last year. yeah, i know.) though i do kind of love how so many metal bands of yesteryear - metallica, judas priest, motley crue - have nominations. it's like the 80's all over again, just with credibility.

gallows frontman goes batshit on stage. i don't think it was a far trip. but hey, very punk rock!

idolator brings us a recap of last.fm's top albums and tracks of 2008. i really sort of like this because the concept of last.fm is dear to me - i was a member back when it was audioscrobbler - and because i like being a music elitist and all that. well, as much as i can be with my generally-understood shitty musical taste. woo!

almost hard to believe: the globe and mail reports on the lolcat phenomenon...and how it helps deal with the economy? that's one way of looking at it, i guess.

oh yeah, and i offer my sincere apologies here for spending more time with my resurrected twitter account. life's just going too fast right now for me to offer much more than 140-letter updates on my life, for those who actually care to read about it. i mean, there are job opportunities being offered and sadly turned down (i could've interviewed franz ferdinand in person yesterday and undoubtedly gotten paid handsomely for the article...but the op was mid-afternoon, and i work the 9-5), and there are new work responsibilities and tasks being undertaken. there are things i want (new books, mostly, though my father just surprised me with a package in the mail containing carl wilson's let's talk about love and sophie kinsella's remember me? -- my dad loves to send me books), and there are things i need (home internet access, a haircut, groceries, spare time). there are bills to pay and presents to purchase (not to mention organize, divide and send across the country), but on the grander scale, christmas is coming, old friends are appearing, my boyfriend's leaving for a three-week european tour, and i'm going home soon.

my life is perpetually made up of arrivals and leavetakings, it seems.

[ music | die mannequin, "do it or die" ]

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

and also

i know i've had it pretty easy up until now. i've been spoiled, if you will, compared to some of the others and what they have to go through on a regular basis.

but i guess soon i'll find out what it's really all about, and if i'm strong enough to handle it.

and right now, personally, i couldn't even tell you.

(but i hope so.)

[ music | depeche mode, "never let me down again" ]

almost predictable

is it wednesday yet? no? sigh. (but happy december anyway)

to start things off with the bad news first, idolator reports on the news that pretty much no one wanted to hear: creed reunion is a go. really? seriously? god help us all. (literally)

frank black producing the new art brut album. say whaaaaat? (though i am sort of glad that the brut are putting out new stuff; i just remembered how much i liked "good weekend")

another reason for me to invent a teleport machine. sure, it's just guest dj spots, but the potential for rock n' roll debauchery and fun would be pretty damn high. plus: familiar faces! (and i'm not saying exactly who.)

hawksley workman review from last friday at massey. a most appropriate venue for mr. workman's balladeering -- and i swear i still have "jealous of your cigarette" in my head today. well, it could be much, much worse. (this would be much, much worse. it got passed around the office last week and one of my coworkers laughed so hard he literally ended up rolling on the floor)

btw, want this, this, and this. thx.

i don't know how many (if any) of you keep up with my twitterfeed, but it's all martha stewart up in here for the next two weeks. to whit: last night i made peppermint bark (melted white chocolate and crushed peppermints over a layer of melted dark chocolate; freeze that shit up overnight and break it into pieces), then tomorrow it's chocolate peanut toffee (basically peanut brittle/buttercrunch with a layer of melted dark chocolate and chopped peanuts on top -- this'll be the first time i've made candy though, and i'm sort of terrified) and sugared spiced nuts roasted in the oven with cinnamon and sugar and cayenne pepper. thursday - mostly because i figure i'll be bored, plus i have the ingredients and the space in my goodie gift boxes - i'm making oatmeal molasses cookies, and getting things together for jenna's and my wine & cheese party on friday. friday night is said party. saturday is the boy's family holiday party, the end destination for my gift boxes. sunday is christmas shopping, hopefully to be finished in that single day.

next week? cookie party extravaganza at kat's on wednesday; have to find time before then to make a couple supermarket trips for ingredients (we're each making double batches of three different types of cookies for office gifts, so...twelve batches? omfg). friday is the office christmas party and i'm helping decorate the venue after work. whew! good times.

though as i said on twitter, the only thing that'll get me through the next couple weeks will be willpower (which i've never been too good at exerting when it comes to baked goods and sweets) and spin classes (which i am good at, because i'm ridiculously disciplined when it comes to exercising). oh man, bring it on.

i'm tied for first place in the office hockey pool, our government is going down in flames, and all is well.

[ music | hawksley workman, "striptease" ]

Thursday, November 27, 2008

there's more besides joyrides

hey. so, remember how i somewhat infamously quit my starbucks job last year in order to stay on tour? in the following weeks, i recall commenting with a nervous laugh that karma was eventually going to bite me in the ass for that - dropping on them without any notice - and i thought i'd been through it by now; despite my cafe-managing skills from vancouver, i've been deemed "unemployable" by the almighty `bucks, after all.

but nope, it seems like karma had yet to lay the smack down, as it totally did the other day: my mother called to inform me that, since i didn't receive my t4 tax form from starbucks last year, it hadn't been included in my 2008 income tax. as such, i owe the government $750.

to be fair, this was partly my fault -- i didn't exactly think to inform my former estranged employers that i would no longer be living in ontario at the end of last year, and so presumably they mailed my t4 to my old toronto address. but still, the bloody karmic payoff of that almost makes me laugh. of course they got in the final kick at me for turning my back on them. of course. (and it sort of works out anyway, as my mother offered to pay off the $750 for me and i can pay her back over the next few months, therefore my christmas is not cancelled and i also learned a valuable lesson. i e-mailed the vancouver cafe twice the other day to inform them of my toronto mailing address when it comes time for this year's taxes)

though really, i ought to know better than to pick up the phone when my mother calls -- bad news, inevitably.

and also, fuck you starbucks, fuck your greedy fucking corporation and i'm never buying anything at any of your sad excuses for "cafes" ever again. really, i am ever so sorry i chose to go on tour with a rock band rather than come back to toronto and make stupid overly complicated coffee-based beverages for your stupid condescending customers for $10 an hour. such a wrong decision on my part! how i should have reconsidered!

whatever, it was worth the $750. bite me.

...ahhhh, that feels better.

idolator (can i move to nyc and write for you guys? please?) brings us the abject horror that is hard rock goth punk barbie. not even a joke. also not even a joke: i would totally probably wear that outfit. but i probably wouldn't call it "hard rock goth punk" -- just goth-punk would work, thx.

guns n' roses stands up for dr. pepper fans everywhere! that one came out of left field, although any sort of legal action from axl's lawyers isn't the most unexpected event in the world. the older those rock legends get, the more sue-happy they end up.

speaking of old rock legends, i mother earth open to reunion! i'm probably one of the only people excited to read that news! oh, canada.

here we go already with the year-end lists: stereogum has both uncut and mojo, plus you can pick up exclaim!'s at locations across this fine city. i'm already over the concept of year-end top lists, mostly because i don't like anything. (but foo fighters judging top chef? that, i like)

now, amanda and i went to see one of the last few independent screenings of repo! the genetic opera last night (we both enjoyed it; then again, we both are very much that movie's target audience), and it made me remember how much i enjoy sarah brightman. this is mostly due to the fact that my father adores andrew lloyd webber musicals, and i was subjected to a variety of show tunes as a child, many of which featured ms. brightman's stunning soprano. that didn't make it so much of a torture. go opera!

busy weekend and next week coming up, entertaining-prep-wise: gotta get boxes of crackers and a fruit plate and possibly stuff for a cheese ball for the wine & cheese party on friday; midweek, i'm planning on doing a round of holiday-goody crafting: this plus this (which i'm sort of terrified of making since crafting toffee is apparently a ridiculously sensitive procedure) to tin up as gifts. it's gonna be all martha stewart around here over the next while.

also: no home internet, still. it's been down since sunday afternoon. you can imagine my displeasure, not to mention my frustration at not being able to do anything about it. such is the fruitless dilemma of those who steal faulty wireless signals everywhere.

[ music | kill hannah, "kennedy" ]

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


just when i thought i'd escaped the curse of november, it rolls around to hit me in the final week.

oh sure, there's plenty of good stuff going on: short-term and long-term plans with friends, preparations for holiday-season sociables, work still going a-ok, everything of that sort is fine. but my health is slipping, my fitness is suffering, and my mentality? well...it's taking a beating, i guess is the best way of putting it. i don't tend to worry about my sanity too often, but there are times when i wonder if maybe i should have gone to therapy, or on drugs, or done (and/or do) something to make things better.

part of it is the season, literally -- like i mentioned, i always used to get hit with the sads in november. never any other months, just november. it hasn't been as bad in the last year or two as it was when i was in university, but yeah, i can recall that last year's november was by far my worst vancouver month. lots of low points. and part of it is still a combination of things that all seem to be coming up at the wrong time.

but! i'm gonna push through it. i'm actually a sucker for the holiday season, believe it or not, and christmas coming up usually has me feeling better about gloomy november. christmas means time off work, a chance to see my family and relax at home. plus there's already a few social get-togethers in the works over the next couple of weeks, so i'm kept busy making plans, gathering recipes and ingredients and sectioning out my time to be best spent on matters of high priority. those things are helping.

right now, though, i just need to kick my own ass into gear, smarten up about how much crap i've been eating and how little effort i've been putting into my cardio (though i'm doing hour-long spin classes twice a week now, which will undoubtedly help, even if it kills me), and just smarten up in general. i try not to worry about what others think of me and the decisions i make with my life, but truthfully, my friends do have an influence on me, and i wouldn't want to look bad in their eyes. i'm trying to make things better, i really am.

(also, notable: do not, under any circumstances, read this book if you're female, hormonal, and easily prone to angst-ridden mood swings. i basically cried all of sunday afternoon while reading it, mostly because i read it once before in vancouver and i know how it plays out)

anyway, let's have some better news:

it's been all over the internets by now, but here it is again with emphasis: chuck klosterman reviews chinese democracy. seriously, who else could've done that review? the answer: no one. (and you can count me among the masses who are surprised that the new gnr is actually good)

gerard way and lyn-z are gonna be parents! that's pretty cool news, really -- i like those crazy kids. and surely they'll find a way to top "bronx mowgli". not that the world needs any more incredibly ridiculous celebrity baby names, but still...yeah, way to use your kid for press attention. bah.

it was a dark day for manic street preachers fans, as richie edwards has been presumed dead by parents. total bummer, but you kinda had to see it coming. maybe dude will be like this guy, who faked his own suicide to evade taxes and then went on to live in british columbia, or something. nice try, pal.

twilight sequel on the way. the horror, the horror! (but really, with four books in the series, who didn't see it coming? also, i have to shamefully admit here that a coworker and i actually want to go see that movie, if only to take note of how much it fails. sort of like how i want to see the car-crash of fail that will be the dragonball movie. what can i say, i'm masochistic to the end.)

also admittedly, i still read the vancouver sun and the georgia straight online. where else am i going to read about the "losing luongo" panic and get my dose of van city life? i think a part of me is still out there on the west coast, surprising to say.

my internet at home is broken, i think, which has been doing nothing for my crushing feeling of isolation lately. damn it.

[ music | towers of london, "go sister go" ]

Monday, November 17, 2008

lost in the drift again

me, flipping through magazine: "according to glamour, the number-one thing you want from me for christmas is me wearing only a garter belt and a big bow."
boyfriend: *blinks* "but...you'd wear only a garter belt and a big bow for me any day of the year."

this is true.

let's see what's new and amazing lately:

the santa claus parade was yesterday, and every year i make a vow to go see it, and every year i pretty much don't. (see, it was a tradition in my childhood country household, having me grow up to believe that "toronto" was a magical land that you only saw on tv)

surely a far superior way to celebrate the season: stephen colbert christmas album! i'd rather not think about christmas at all this early, but if mass marketing is to force me to, then i'll go with the colbert.

coming out of left field is the news that the lostprophets drummer is joining the touring nine inch nails band. guess that'll give ian more time to come up with more t-shirt designs.

after the crazy-devastating kill hannah bus fire a few weeks ago, the matblog is once more a go. how i've missed mat's acerbically awesome prose keeping me entertained at work. a must-read, people.

go here, vote ian blurton. that beard is legendary, as any good torontonian knows. (plug for c'mon at the horseshoe december 12th -- i'll be late because our office christmas party is that night, but i will be there, and i will be very drunk on free office-party booze)

please let us have a cup-winning team. please let us have a cup-winning team. i am actually entirely surprised by the mostly-decent action of the leafs this season, no matter how much my loyalties are compromised by the canucks (my "old-home" team) and the penguins (my favourite team since i was a kid).

coworker kat's best-ever idea for next month: get together and have a baking party. i've never done one of those before - never really had any other girlfriends who were as enthusiastic in the kitchen as i am - and given that we a) both love to bake and b) need to make goodies for the office christmas party, why not? i'm thinking of making neiman marcus chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal butterscotch cookies (stick to frozen foods, mccain), and the classic best-ever chocolate chip cookie recipe, which can be found on boxes of golden crisco. i can personally vouch for their awesomeness, having baked them myself frequently since childhood.

....and if that last passage (or my tweets as of late) wasn't any indication, i've somehow gotten really, really hooked on culinary pursuits. i don't know if it's the inherent girl in me (especially because i enjoy baking most of all, although unless i'm making goodies for other people - see above - i mostly avoid it since the last thing i want is batches of fresh cookies in my kitchen) or caregiving side (i also greatly enjoy having the boy over for dinner and hockey, which is a deal i'm pretty sure he enjoys) or what, but i'm really into the making of my own meals these days. hell, i even got an early christmas present from my mom delivered on saturday: a kitchenaid 10-piece cookware set. (don't be horrified by the price, it was on sale for like $100 or something) and dude, i was over the moon about it. i'm now compiling a list of household appliances that i want to equip my kitchen with: blender, mixer, more pots and pans and utensils. it's pretty sickening.

either way, my apartment is finally shaping up in the homey, comfortable way i'd wanted it to: space heater, houseplants, lots of books, cable tv, internet, mostly-equipped kitchen, lots of warmth and coziness. it's good to have a home.

[ music | depeche mode, "in your room" (the jeep rock mix) ]

Friday, November 7, 2008

no easy answer

in the spirit of jenna and i semi-seriously deciding that we're going to go visit vancouver next may/june - and also, just from looking at this photo at the top of the page, an old familiar sight for me (omfg it's cambiiiiie) - here is more of what i remember of life in vancouver last year:

browsing through the market stalls at lonsdale quay. favourite coffee shops: bean around the world, jj bean, waves coffee (but only for their 24-hour schedule and their free wireless), having coffee on the sunny patio of bean town in february. the repeated walks down dunbar towards west 37th - what you could more or less consider "my neighbourhood" in lower kits - to run post-work or weekend errands, ear buds plugged in the entire time. pretty much exclusively my west-coast soundtrack: anything by the sisters of mercy or depeche mode for october through january, then after that, anything the boy's played on. hanging with jenna on commercial drive, the two of us still and separately trying to figure out if either of us made the right decision by leaving toronto. being able to see the mountains not far off in the distance. whole foods and choices market burgeoning my love for health food and naturopathy. taking the translink bus - 22 macdonald - to work early in the morning, rumbling over the bridge to the downtown core, all tall buildings and modern architecture propped up on a sea of blue water and backed by snow-capped mountains. fresh air. new streets to wander and new neighbourhoods to explore. no familiar faces, which was both a good and bad thing. late "girls' nights" with melissa spent ransacking blockbuster for movies and mowing down on mexican food. (really, it wasn't so lonely and sad once i had a good friend/partner in crime, but we didn't start seriously hanging out until january or so) nights out on the town with my few but valued vancouver friends, often ended by drunkenly stumbling home and hoping i don't fall asleep/pass out on the bus (a few times) or get lost due to the bus routes being made even more confusing by the haze of alcohol and drugs (more than a few times). main street, davie, granville, broadway, west 4th. granville island on saturday mornings, sitting on the pier and writing postcards, postcards once every week mailed on thursdays so he would get them early the next week. (he keeps them in a little stand on his computer desk, and it's both sweet and embarrassing for me to read my words now) being more aware than anything of the way people would stare at me curiously, as if being able to sense by the fabric of my very being that i wasn't from there.

it was the ephemeral, the indescribable, the deeply all-pervading sense of loneliness to the brief gray days and long rainy nights, yet always tempered with something else that rose up within me at the same time. resolve, maybe, or perseverance, or just simple hard-assed grit. i'm gonna do this thing. watch me. i can survive here alone, cut off from everyone else. it'll be better for me. it's what i need to do.

the fact of the matter is, for the first time, i honestly felt inside what it was like to do a bit of growing up. i forced myself out of my box. i hurled myself into the universe. i told myself to go there by myself and stay there until i learned something about myself, who i am and where i come from and just what it is i need to survive. and be happy doing so.

and so, i think i did accomplish my goal. as far as i'm concerned, i didn't cop out and run when the going got tough, when the feeling of being cut off started to become crushing and the days became so long and i fell for a boy from a distance. i stayed until i had made enough self-realizations and had enough reasons to return. sure, i know a multitude of things could have happened to change the course of everything - and i could pretty much name them for you, but the maybes and what-ifs aren't what i want to dwell on right now - but i really do believe everything happened the way it did for a reason. it all worked out along the right path, and i regret none of it.

i know i've outlined it before, but again: when i decided to leave toronto, i'd been working part-time retail joe jobs for years, had no relationship, had no social life, lived in a crummy basement on the far east side of town, struggled to pay my bills, and dreamed of a way out. that was when i said okay, fuck it, nothing is going to change here unless i change it myself. so, i left.

a year later, after i went away and came back, i have a full-time professional job, a fantastic relationship that's going on almost a year now, fun nights out with my friends, a gorgeous little apartment right downtown, weekends spent sleeping in and rediscovering my city, easy access to my family, and a lot of other things that i had to take away from myself in order to realize how much i'd miss them. i never do things the easy way, after all.

really, it's these days - the days when exactly one year ago, i was living my first week in my own apartment, adjusting to my new job and trying to quell the rising panic inside me - that i can remember the strongest feeling i had in february, when i made the decision, and again in the final weeks of april, as i was preparing to leave vancouver:

you've done your time, little girl. you've proved it to yourself here. now, go on home and start your life.

so that's what i did.

[ music | the conscience pilate, "this angel" ]

Thursday, November 6, 2008

shapeless in the dark

octo really did sum it up best. (i think i was like three when the berlin wall fell, but the rest of it i can understand) we canadians may have been unable to vote - and we have a crappy conservative government no less - but as america's closest neighbour, i think we all understand the significance that this holds for humankind in general. and no, i don't think that's being too overblown or dramatic. america, fuck yeah!

(and trust me, i really did have to hide my secret love for america for a long time, lest my fellow canadian friends look at me funny and say in puzzled tones, "really?? you love the u.s.??" but you know what, yeah i do, and now more than ever i really feel like it'd be a good place to live. someday!)

chart talks to peter from the dandy warhols. of course, the conversation invariably turns to dig! - one of my favourite movies of all time, pretty much, as well as the best documentary i've ever seen - and the usual grousing ensues. par for the course.

new metric album? whuh? actually, it sounds sort of good. much as i've maligned metric in the past - mostly due to talk of emily's diva-like behaviour - i have to admit that i enjoy many of their singles, so this sounds like it might be worth a listen. (the new shiny toy guns, though, i can't even bring myself to pick up. the new single gives me ear cancer, and that's enough.)

speaking of ear cancer, tokio hotel's drummer really getting into being a rock star. ("ear cancer" was originally coined by an old german coworker of mine in vancouver who absolutely despised tokio hotel.) hee hee, "famous of the internet". all too true. (i also like linking to idolator mostly because later on somebody from the site comes through and checks out the link. hi guys!)

exclaim! informs us of the interesting news that robert johnson's soul has been sold on ebay. man, have we learned nothing from horror movies and novels? you just don't mess with that shit.

btw, if you're so inclined, you can view my first-ever debut as a music video vixen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZluDYPzCjg (though, errr, "video vixen" is relative -- i appear briefly leaning against a wall, tapping my foot while watching thom and some other dude play a chinese dice game)

while we're tubing it, i was just listening to this on my lilith2pod and demand that everyone watch the video: moist - "resurrection". nice little slice of late-90's canadian alternative rock right there, and just the thing to make me continually proud of my two moist tattoos. i will never regret! (for slightly freakier fare, check out their video - from the same era - for "tangerine". almost ten years later, a production assistant on that video would become my current boyfriend. and yes, you know my brain basically exploded when i found that out.)

also, jenna and i have pretty much seriously decided that we're going to go to vancouver for a week-long visit next may (by which she'll be done exams and i'll qualify for job vacation time). it's going to rule all.

anyway, back to being broke and tired and pissed off that i most likely won't be able to watch the leafs game from the comfort of my own home tonight because rogers cocked up my cable installation, as i knew they would. balls to that.

[ music | the cure, "the hanging garden" ]

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

yes they can!

...as i briefly said on twitter, i don't think i have to be so ashamed to profess my love for america anymore.

and thank god for that, this and everything.

[ music | innerpartysystem, "heart of fire" ]

Monday, November 3, 2008

hocus pocus

looking back on the story in my last entry, it's been funny how many of my friends were seemingly horrified or pissed off on my behalf for having gotten kicked out of the dressing room by one of my rock gods. but no, dudes, really, that was probably one of the coolest things that could have happened to me. what an awesome story to tell! and i still love and worship the man (even if he hates me), so it's all good. (really, i think it would have kind of spoiled everything if i'd had a nice friendly chat with him. experiencing the surliness firsthand means that the mystique is intact! plus i was too afraid to even look at him for fear i'd burst into emotional tears, which i almost did because i'm functionally retarded like that)

anyway, yeah, other stuff going on. halloween weekend. much partying, much drinking of vodka. getting a nasty rash from my costume. seeing many friends. cooking. (i made bucatini alla lipari for the boy and i on saturday night and it was excellent) turning the clock back an hour. wandering through the hockey hall of fame followed by watching televised hockey. much happy makeouts (and, you know, et cetera) with hot awesome boyfriend. good times. good weekend. ahhhh.

what else went on in the world outside caitlin's happy little bubble, you ask? well....

there's some badass shit going down in leslieville. that's my old neighbourhood and former work area twice over (2003-04 and 2006-07), so it's kind of hilarious to read about that stuff going down. hilarious and bad, that is. (especially considering that if you go further east from leslieville, you hit the beaches, which is pretty much toronto's own wasp-land)

in time for halloween, our very own super-rad keith carman does a roundup of the most notorious metal album covers. warning: not safe for work, or for pretty much anybody with a weak stomach. oh, metalz.

also in the halloween spirit this past weekend was babyshambles. aw, costumed pete! i wonder if his drug problems have gotten better, or if he's just been eclipsed by the trainwreck explosion that is winehouse.

behold: canadian hipster indie rock tour `08. i would love to be a fly on the wall on that tour...

calgary: new home of canadian rock? i'm rather confused by this. "nashville of the north" i get, but i don't much think of rock n' roll when i think of anywhere in alberta.

i'm getting sort of addicted to blip.fm, by the way. at least it's introducing me to good music.

alright, to work with me. i don't like mondays, but i'll survive.

p.s. i ordered cable tv to be installed on wednesday, a decision i might likely regret since it means i'm dealing with rogers, they of the famously awful customer service. (one coworker of mine theorized that since rogers has the monopoly on cable tv services in toronto, they feel they can treat their customers however the fuck they please, and that sounds about right)

[ music | art brut, "good weekend" ]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

make it shine

the sisters of mercy. the phoenix. two goth fangirls out of their minds with excitement. this was my tuesday night.

i reminisced on twitter yesterday that if this were the old days - and by that, i mean if this were the sordid days when i had crappy part-time retail jobs that i could easily skip a day on - i would have spent tuesday calling in all my connections, stalking downtown hotels and hanging around the venue as early as humanly possible. as it was, though, i had to work a full day, so i spent tuesday morning and afternoon trying not to bounce off my cubicle in sheer excitement. (rabid phone calls and texts to fellow sistergoer jenna and lurking on the heartland forums did not help. nor did listening to an exclusively sisters-filled playlist on my ipod all day.)

but hey, i figured, why not. it had been a sadly long time since i'd gotten so excited over seeing a band live, and i'm always glad to know i'm still capable of it. i feel like i'd lose a big part of myself if i couldn't feel that excitement anymore.

anyway! the work day eventually/finally ended and i booked it home at top speed, yanked on my pvc military outfit (fetish wear ought to be de rigueur at sisters shows -- i know von would approve), and hopped the next bus eastward to get to the club. ended up waiting in the freezing cold for only about an hour, which wasn't too bad except for the fact that my toes were stiff and numb inside my stiletto-heeled boots by the time jenna and i got inside. from there on, it was merch-booth invading (i picked up a girly t-shirt with the sisters logo on the front and partial lyrics from "burn" on the back, and a set of four buttons -- my favourite reads "militant sex machine" and it's now on my coat lapel), trying to get the feeling back in our appendages, and staking our solid claim in the front row for the show. we wouldn't have settled for anything less.

but still, here's the thing: i know i came late to the sisters party. jenna's been a fan since she was a teenager ("i didn't come late to the party," she said, "i just didn't leave on time!"), and i know probably 90% of that room were fans long before i ever was. hell, there were people there my parents' age -- and my parents are in their sixties. (well, my dad, at least -- my mom's still pushing it) but i kind of hope my fervent love for their music would balance out any pathetic newbie-ism and spare me from elitists' scorn; after all, this was this music i was overdosing on just as i was getting ready to leave toronto (for what i thought was forever), and then my soundtrack for long lonely days spent wandering aimlessly in gray, rainy vancouver. this was music that meant something deep to me. the fact that i was going to get to see it performed live in front of me? well, that's the reason most people even go to concerts, isn't it?

and man oh man, was this one ever worth it. fog machines, lights, and so many of my sentimental favourites.

i know some oldskool fans who aren't pleased at the new-rock reworkings of the old songs, but i totally and completely dug them. it was so fucking cool to hear a drumbeat and sort of recognize a melody line, and then all of a sudden you realized it was "train" (which came third in the set, amalgamated with "detonation boulevard" at the end, and it sounded lightyears better than it did in 1983) or "marian" (absolutely fucking incredible as a redo, with german lyrics section intact!) and then the full familiarity would come back. and then you'd end up shrieking and dancing and singing your heart out. (at least, if you were jenna or i or a good many number of the surprisingly packed room)

the band? excellent. ben and chris may be at least twenty years younger than the original ilk - not to mention the almighty von eldritch himself - but they took those old classics and rocked the shit out of them. even the new songs - "summer," "will i dream?", and omfg "we are the same, susanne" omfg omfg i nearly cried - were top quality. and speaking of top quality, von both looked and sounded great up there. couldn't get my eyes off the man the entire time, and i think i must have been staring up at him like he was god or something. it was during "alice" that he did that little hand gesture he makes in the "lucretia my reflection" video (they played a brief version of that song as one of the three encores), and i turned to jenna and utterly lost my shit. so ridiculously excellent.

oh, and there was an afterward. come on, it's me. of course there was.

in brief: because - as i remarked to my boyfriend later - "i don't exactly dress to fade into the background", my outfit of this (exact same jacket and skirt, though i had to wear black tights or risk frostbitten ladybits) got plenty of attention from many of my fellow concertgoers. that in itself was very nice (one guy even came over to say, "you are the best thing i have ever seen at any sisters concert i've been to!"), and it did help me score a set list when one of the roadies ignored all the bros reaching for it to hand it to me instead, but it was all even nicer when i experienced the time-honoured tradition of crew approaching with the magic words: "hey, you wanna meet the band?" uh, yes. yes please.

so, went upstairs. met the band. stream-of-consciousness idiot babble for far too long. andrew commented on the fact that i was shaking, and i totally was, and i think i turned bright red and apologized and told them for the hundredth time how awesome they were tonight. yet it was probably good that i made a gaffe when i did -- i let slip that i was a music journalist, to which andrew smiled politely, thanked me and led me out of the room, shutting the door.

he really hates music journalists, by the way.

but hey, like i said, probably good i made the gaffe when i did -- i had a friend waiting, i was sort of making an idiot of myself with my giddy fangirl chatter (i estimate i was maybe a minute or two away from bursting into tears), and i was also a bit uncomfortable being the only girl (scantily clad girl, even) backstage with three male rock stars. you ever feel like a piece of meat in a shark tank? yeah, like that. i know that scenario and i know how it can go - plus i very well know what i looked like - and i don't have an interest for that anymore. so, i bowed my head and made my hasty exit. (didn't stop me from shrieking in excitement all up and down the sidewalk outside, though. come on, getting dismissed by andrew eldritch?? holy crap, career high)

so, went home, proudly pasted up my set list (which i'm still kicking myself for having not gotten autographed, but my brain was an overloaded mess in that dressing room) with ticket stub and backstage pass over my bed, and fell asleep with a huge goofy grin on my face. another one of my most-favourite legendary bands seen live and in person, both in performance and face to face.


[ music | the sisters of mercy, "summer" (live) ]