Monday, August 30, 2010

the interesting life

click for my tumblr photoset of maximum deliciousness - guacamole smackdown at the drake hotel on monday night. alas, i did not stay to eat any (had somewhere else to be + could not eat the corn chips since they're not primal), but i will say with confidence that i love guacamole more than life.

ever since the photogasm at the cne (and i might even be going back later this week for night photos!), i've sort of been clinging to this newfound love of photography like it's a lifeline. here's another thing that's weird about me, and one that i have a hard time admitting: i don't have a lot of hobbies. or, well, interests that could be considered hobbies that i invest time and energy into. this has been bothering me off and on for the last six months or so.

having hobbies and interests, i think, is definitely part of being a well-rounded person. and as i lurch towards thirty years of age (arrrrrrrgh), i feel the need more and more to be as well-rounded as possible. interests, obviously, make you interesting. and i need to start maintaining a few of those, because i want to be interesting.

here's the thing: i'm not social. i never have been. sure, i'll go to parties and go out with my friends and that - and i definitely always enjoy myself - but otherwise, i like being alone. and if it's a group thing and my friends aren't involved, then all bets are off in terms of my actual attendance. i'm effectively terrible when it comes to motivating myself to attend classes and that sort of thing; i've actually signed up and then canceled two different "just for fun" night courses. there was a fitness class where i only attended two and a half of four paid sessions. and i've all but given up on attending any of the classes at my gym (despite the fact that they're free with my membership). i just can't get into it.

i don't know if it's the human element, exactly - it's not like i get all palm-sweaty when it comes to being stuck in a room full of strangers - or just my uber-short attention span (i literally clawed up the walls during my university days and their three-hour lecture courses), but i can't make myself stay. i always feel like i have something better to do, even if i really don't. so i'm not sure if that's a freaky brain thing of mine, or maybe it's just a question of finding something that i'm really super-interested in that'll keep me there.

i mean, my current hobbies are all very solo-centric -- writing, reading, taking photos. (before a photography course is suggested, it was a photography course that i canceled before even starting) i like to cook and bake, so those were always in the cards, but nothing i've ever acted upon for one reason or another -- couldn't find a course that interested me, didn't fit my schedule, whatever.

so yeah, sum total: i suck. i'm envious of other people my age who maintain cool interests and fun hobbies. they've found their passions in life, and they have no trouble at all indulging in them. those are the well-rounded people that i attain to be like -- if only i had the motivation, the know-how, or the place to start. as it is, i feel sort of lost.

in the meantime, i take photos.

back to my lunch break. all hail the hyper-air conditioned office!

[ music | charlatans, "love is ending" ]

Sunday, August 29, 2010

empire state of mind

decision time: i am going to try and do coverage of cmj when i'm in new york in october.

first off, to recap - i'm taking a week off this fall to go to this gorgeous city for four days:

[new york city image by tiffku, via fuckyeahstreetlights]

...before flying over to this city for three days:

[chicago image by melissalbeck, via fuckyeahstreetlights]

i was talking to my father on the phone about my trip last night, and he simply asked, "what are you planning on doing there?" (he was referring to nyc specifically) i shrugged and mentioned the cmj music festival as well as some tourist-y things (and also doing a lot of writing and photography), but then i realized -- shit, i could get bored real fast, especially if i'm alone for most of the time. this is how i am: constant stimulation all the time. i'm a child of the mtv/adhd generation; i have a hard time turning my brain off.

so to that end, i thought about it, and decided to try and hit up my editors for press accreditation so i could 1) attend the conference portion of cmj; 2) possibly set up interviews with some of the bands playing; and 3) go to festival showcases so i can sit at coffee shops the following day and bang out reviews. in my logic, this means i'll have something concrete to do on my vacation, which means i'll probably get more out of it than possibly sitting around bored at my hostel.

yes, i know this is counter-intuitive to the concept of "vacation". but i don't operate quite the same as everyone else. (also, i figure my three days in chicago can be the r&r portion of my trip)

[this is me on my last "real" vacation, montreal on labour day weekend 2008. my vacations are all about the blurry bathroom shots.]

also wrapped up in these silly quirks of mine is a real problem of the privileged: i will still have five days of vacation time that i need to use by the end of the year, or i'll lose them. and yet i can't find any time to take vacation. it's becoming more and more apparent that my mother has passed on her workaholic-ness to me; unless i'm productive, i feel sort of worthless. i have no idea how to turn off my work brain and just relax. that, combined with the fact that i have an ingrained notion that vacation = going somewhere exotic rather than sitting around my apartment all day, and i just have stupid issues about trying to find time to take vacation between now and december (three-day weekends?). bah.

anyway, enough of the fretting, more of the getting stoked for october! dear readership: have any of you been to new york city? what should i check out, see and/or do in my offtime when i'm not being roving music journalist? (i've only been there once before, though it was quite the story) tips for chicago-going are welcome as well, though this will be my fourth time, so it'll be hardly new for me. still! much to look forward to.

send me your recommendations! and if you live in nyc or chicago, maybe see you there?

[ music | the xx, "crystallized" ]

Saturday, August 28, 2010

the balance right

the yearly visit to the cne has come and gone, thus first order of business - teaser pics for the new photosets i just put up on my tumblr:

cat show & superdogs show

good times with coworker friends

things to see at the cne (i'm a poet lol)

now, either because i've been overdosing on their music lately - or because they were also a tumblr subject yesterday - i wanted to talk about my deep, all-encompassing love for one of my very favourite bands, depeche mode.

that they're one of my favourite bands ever should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me. i mean, come on - they're british. they're pretty. they play awesome goth-y new wave pop-rock. they're from the 80s but they still sound really damn good today. (okay, so i wrote that review a year continues to hold true!) but even more so, to me, they were a band whose music was there when i really needed it, and that's what stands out the most in my mind.

okay, so -- this entry. see the parts about what the sisters of mercy meant to me when i was scared, lonely and adjusting to life on the west coast in 2007? depeche mode was the other band i was immersing myself in at the time. they'd always been a fringe favourite in my music collection, but i think it was because i'd just done an interview with frontman dave gahan shortly before leaving for vancouver that their music had such on impact on me and my "new life". the interview was fantastic, and so they became more interesting in my eyes.

then came the music. then came the buying of the concert dvds (devotional, which i wasn't hot on, and touring the angel, which i watched religiously), even though i was dead broke in vancouver once i got there. then came the hunting down and purchasing of the unofficial band biography when i was in los angeles. so much love.

plus - and this is the funny thing - i actually didn't own any depeche mode albums. i still don't. granted, i haven't really owned any physical albums since i got my ipod (and then donated/sold all my cds when i moved to vancouver), but i don't even have a full depeche mode album in mp3 form. nope - just singles, one-offs, remixes, and cover versions done by other bands. regardless, depeche mode regularly tops my charts (weekly and overall), and that's without even mentioning that one of their songs is my favourite song ever.

but yeah, back to vancouver. so during this turbulent time of leavetakings and moving and trying to regain my footing, i basically clung to music, and the sisters of mercy and depeche mode ended up being my top two lifelines (i even mentioned it in this post -- "vancouver to me is synth-rock and foxy goths?"). in fact, i remember a solid two or three days in which jenna and/or i would continuously burst into choruses of "i just can't get enough, i just can't get enough!" (though this sort of got earworm-level irritating after a while) their music was my soundtrack for long walks in the rain and the sunshine, getting to know my new environment. their videos were my amusement when i had no internet access and nothing else to entertain me on the long cold nights crashing at jenna's in north vancouver. depeche mode stuck with me, and their music has forever since been integrated in my mind as "vancouver music". strange, that.

to finish off, if it wasn't obvious already, i would definitely recommend this band as the soundtrack for your life, your crises, your heartbreak, your joy, your darker moments, your happiness...anything. they make the kind of music that will be whatever you need, whenever you need it. and that, to me, is the mark of a truly timeless band.

Friday, August 27, 2010

your best shot

first, go read this post, as imported from my tumblr.

now, this:

is what i'll be wearing on october 7th (first day of the leafs season). possibly september 21st (first day of preseason) as well. maybe with or without the short shorts. we'll see how the weather holds up.

anyway, i'd been wanting a leafs jersey for ages now, and i finally put aside enough money ( to get one of these, embroidered on the back with #7 roberts, for gary roberts, the leafs assistant captain who notably broke his neck but made a full recovery to play again. he's currently training steven stamkos to be his ninja-like protege. it's sort of incredible.

so, yes! the new nhl season is fast approaching, and to say that the boy and i are stoked would be an understatement. (yes, that's his colton orr jersey draped on the chair next to me in the first pic.) me being a girl, i also love the hockey season because it's prime bonding time with the boy. we rarely miss a televised game, and we rarely watch them separately, and many times we'll make dates of it. which means the leafs are my built-in matchmaker. or, they would be if, uh, we...were a match that needed to be made. or something.

(us at a leafs game last december)

also, it means that boyfriend gets to look like the one lucky hot-shot dude that's got a hockey-loving girlfriend who can talk trades and rosters and players like it's her native language. it makes other guys envious. heh.

in addition to all the mushy love-fest that the nhl brings, the hockey season generally adds a boost to my social media profile. there's nothing unique on the interwebs about a girl who loves hockey - there's an veritable army of us - but it's always a good way to gain a bunch of new followers on twitter. for some people, seeing a girl ramble on about that night's game (and i do live-tweet games on occasion) is still a novelty. which is pretty sad to say, but that's how it is.

and i'm already fearing for my sanity, should i choose to join a fantasy league this year. uh-oh.

as an aside, here's a bonus: look for many more personal pics to come. lots of photo ops coming up. (including but not limited to: the ex tomorrow with colleagues, my cousin's wedding in st. catharines next weekend, the boy's big 40th birthday later on in september, and a shit-ton of traveling - for work and play - throughout september and october. whew!)

darkness means i should probably sleep soon, right? okay.

[ music | peter murphy, "all night long" ]

bring it back

ah, so here we are again.

as you may or may not have noticed, i've migrated over all of my blogger-style posts from my tumblr to here, because after thinking about writing style isn't exactly suited to tumblr-ing. what can i say - i'm a writer. there's only so many cute photos and funny videos and random short-attention-span shit i can post before i really want to break out and do some serious writing about life, the universe and everything, and tumblr's better suited to quick hits of inane randomness. so: back to blogger-land it is!

regardless, i do still enjoy my fun little tumblr, and it might be worth a visit or two if you're bored. here's what awaits you!:

...yep, lots of eye candy and random postings. they just kind of go up when i feel like it. (also, i will admit that tumblr appeals to the early-adopter in me -- it's likely the next big thing, and i want to be on the bandwagon before it explodes off the rails)

so yeah, try as i might, i just can't quit you, blogger. (though i might abandon you for wordpress if your functionality starts to be a hinderance to my master plans) i'm going to work at making this a better place for me to live, and thus a better place for you to come read my ramblings. i've got an old web-designer colleague of mine working on a redesign, so the layout's easier on the eyes. hopefully blogger functionality will allow for some of the things i'm scheming up in order to maximize readability in this little place.

also, i'm going to bring over whatever tumblr sensibilities i can; that is, more pictures to break up the walls of text. i'm trying to make it burn as little as possible.

basically, it comes down to the fact that i have a history with blogger that goes back to 2004, and it's hard to break habits -- especially when the archive of your life over the past six years is in one specific place. also, i want to try and implement more of the tips & tricks i've learned from working in digital marketing/public relations/social media/seo over the last two years. there's a whole lot more i could be doing with my online social properties, and i wanna start leveraging, damn it.

translation: more readership!!!1 roar.

anyway, i'll give a better update on the weekend, once i have more time to scribble. later all.

[ music | killing joke, "the wait" ]

Thursday, August 26, 2010

point of return

blame my rash of nostalgia as of late, but i think i might come on back to this poor, lonely place.

what say you, readership?

[ music | xtc, "senses working overtime" ]

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

bank it

i was not a thrifty child.

my parents can both attest to the fact that i'd spend my meager allowance within a few days of receiving it. i got my first part-time job when i was sixteen, yet i was still constantly broke. i applied for my first credit card the following year, and i don't think it's been at a zero balance since. and student debt? uh, let's not talk about that. (at this point, i think i owe the bank my firstborn child and part of my soul.)

but somewhere, at some point in the last couple of years, something changed. (did i grow up? uh...maybe.)

i guess the catalyst was finally getting a real "adult" job in summer 2008 - you know, the kind where they actually pay you significantly more than minimum wage. you have a salary - the kind where you can talk about how many k's you make per year, not how much you get paid per hour. and so, with all this wealth of the likes i'd never seen before - and my debts (both credit and student) weighing on me, as well as the burden of adult responsibilities (rent, groceries, utilities, etc) - i realized/decided that i better nut up and finally start paying this shit off.

and so i put together a budget - again, one of those things i was incapable of even thinking about as a teenager - focused around paying off significant amounts of my credit card and student debt, and got serious. because i've become reliant on the security of better-safe-than-sorry backup plans in my old age, i also forced myself to open a savings account, and then sock away a portion of my bi-monthly paycheques. this foresight would later save my ass, as my employer throughout 2008 and 2009 abruptly filed for bankruptcy the week before christmas '09.

yes, this actually happened. it was pretty epic.

anyway, the whole reason this is on my mind is because i received a nice letter from the government yesterday, informing me that my application for the money i was owed (backlogged vacation pay + termination pay) due to the bankruptcy of my former employer was approved. after more than half a year of filing, fighting and frequent emails & phone calls to various levels of government and law firm, i'll be getting a cheque within the next few weeks.

and i will then use that money to eliminate my personal credit card debt once and for all.

fuck. yes.

combine this with the fact that i'll also be finally getting my income tax return soon (along with my backlogged government tax rebates) and the fact that our new apartment for october will save us some pretty hefty cash in terms of utility bills...for the first time in years, i feel secure in my finances, my soon-to-be burgeoning savings, and my long-term monetary goals.

sorry, my big-spending young self - this is a much more gratifying feeling.

the poet

leonard cohen - stranger music: selected poems and songs

there was a time in january 2008 when i was living in vancouver, and i was miserable and poor and overworked and isolated, yet the minute i spotted this book at the chapters on robson street, i knew i had to have it. i pored over the poems and song lyrics in this book for weeks and months afterward, letting the words assuage my loneliness, clinging to every meaningful line of monsieur cohen's work during the gray winter of the west coast. i won't go so far as to say it saved my life, but it definitely saved a good part of my sanity at the time.

here's the poem that meant the most to me at that time, and it still does, for as long as i can see myself echoed in it:


I met a woman long ago
Her hair the black that black can go
Are you a teacher of the heart?
Soft, she answered No

I met a girl across the sea
Her hair the gold that gold can be
Are you a teacher of the heart?
Yes, but not for thee

I met a man who lost his mind
In some lost place I had to find
Follow me, the wise man said
But he walked behind

I walked into a hospital
Where none was sick and none was well
When at night the nurses left
I could not walk at all

Morning came
And then came noon
Dinner time a scalpel blade
Lay beside my spoon

Some girls wander by mistake
Into the mess that scalpels make
Are you the teachers of the heart?
We teach old hearts to break

One morning I woke up alone
The hospital and the nurses gone
Have I carved enough, my Lord?
Child, you are a bone

I ate and ate and ate
I did not miss a plate
How much do these suppers cost?
We'll take it out in hate

I spent my hatred every place
On every work, on every face
Someone gave me wishes
And I wished for an embrace

Several girls embraced me, then
I was embraced by men
Is my passion perfect?
No, do it once again

I was handsome, I was young
I knew the words of every song
Did my singing please you?
No, the words you sang were wrong

Who is it whom I address?
Who takes down what I confess?
Are you the teachers of my heart?
We teach old hearts to rest

Teachers, are my lessons done?
I cannot do another one
They laughed and laughed and laughed and said
Well child, are your lessons done?
Are your lessons done?

© 1967 L. Cohen

Friday, August 20, 2010

when the minutes drag

picked up a copy of this album off of ebay for $5 the other week:

the story behind this:

in late spring/early summer 2006, i was fresh out of university and started working at a ubiquitous, worldwide coffee-shop chain that you probably visited at some point today. (still - it shall go nameless, for posterity.) it may sound bizarre and nerdy, but i'd always wanted to be a barista. same reason why i've always wanted to be a bartender -- i have a weird fascination with drink mixology. anyway.

so there i was, the newbie barista in summer 2006, and to this day i don't know if i've ever had so much fun at a job before. there was a very low turnover rate with our store's staff, simply because we were a family. we were a team. we laughed, we bitched, we had a fucking blast. again, to this day i don't know if i've had another job that i've actually woke up looking forward to going to.

that summer, the album above was on heavy rotation in our store, since it was a new release by the company. well, technically the version we played was a slightly different one than the shelf copy, and i can't remember the entirety of that one's track listing (though i do remember xtc's "generals and majors" and some smiths song that may or may not have been "this charming man"), but still - for me, at twenty-two and still deeply in love with music and magic, there was nothing better than coming in to work and mixing up drinks with your friends while the cure and kate bush played in the background.

(there was a more playful yet slightly darker tone to all this, though, as throughout that summer and fall i engaged in some rather dangerous power-seduction games with a supervisor. i'll easily admit that i'm heavily addicted to power games when it comes to gender dynamics, and unfortunately, when i was younger, there was very little i enjoyed more than using sexual temptation and flirtation to gain the upper hand on a man - particularly a taken man - who had a position over authority of me. i've thankfully grown out of that phase, but i still feel like the karma's coming to get me sometimes.)

anyway. so i got the album last week and realized i hated 98% of it. but the nostalgia factor is still there, baby.

and so are the ghosts.


do me a favour, would you?

find this movie.

rent it, buy it, whatever. just see it.

it's written/directed by/starring an old friend/bandmate of the boy's, and unlike most canadian flicks - and actually, unlike a lot of current vampire flicks as well - it's awesome fun. good acting, clever premise, shitloads of rock-star cameos (including alice cooper, iggy pop, henry rollins and more), and the music is great. horror-comedy-musical, how can you lose? answer: you can't.

i, of course, love it for my two personal stakes (ha ha) in it:

1. the character of the band's drummer is based off of my boyfriend
2. my boyfriend is actually in the movie briefly, playing (what else?) a rival metal band's drummer

larf larf.

anyway, see it, love it, grab yerself a copy. here's some links to whet your appetite (ha ha again, i'm a barrel of fun tonight):

Suck succeeds at music, comedy (Toronto Star)
Canuck vampire film deserved better (Toronto Sun)

moving on

this is your occasional life update.

- colonoscopy was done on wednesday, after a tuesday spent ingesting nothing but broth, water and olive & coconut oils (i drank one glass of coconut water and nearly spat it out) followed by a round of oral purgatives that kept me up all night and well into the next morning. really not an experience i'd wish on anybody, and far worse than the procedure itself. as for the exam, i was so exhausted from no food and almost no rest that it barely took any iv drugs for me to fall asleep right there on the gurney. so i didn't get to see the camera going through my insides :( (i did get a couple of photos, though - they look like a movie poster for hostel part 3 or something. uh, warning, that link is kind of gross.)

oh yeah, and they didn't find anything amiss, which is undoubtedly the best part. (though the gastroenterologist even shook his head and said, "if i were your doctor, i wouldn't have even recommended a colonoscopy, because you're far too young for colon cancer")

reiterating: i do not do very well at clinics or in places like hospitals, due to my sister spending a lot of time in hospitals as a child and me being dragged along with my parents. hence me going sheet-white and nearly bursting into tears as i entered the exam room. i am hardly a grown woman.

- it looks very likely the boy and i have found a new apartment for october 1st. boy was fortunate enough to have a friend who needs to sublet his sweet loft to the end of his lease (and then take it over presumably), and it looks perfect for us: funky, good location/close to where we are now, high ceilings, plenty of storage, skylights, clawfoot tub, and an entire rooftop deck (which i already plan to take over with my gardening). it's not a done deal yet, though, and i have yet to even see the place in person, but i like what i see in the photos and the boy speaks highly of it. thus: possibility.

- i want a kitty. (laura and i are going to the cat show at the cne next weekend and i am stoked)

- going through that quarterly phase in my life where i feel like a shitty friend who doesn't make enough of an effort to see her friends. working on making this better.

- as mentioned before, my october solo vacation plans have more or less expanded to include chicago. basically considering staying in nyc for four days, then flying over to chicago for three. this is your brain on a quarterlife wanderlust crisis.

- i miss hockey. is it september yet?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

white wedding

yesterday i got to see my mom get married for the second time. (i obviously wasn't there for the first go-around, but it's because of marriage #1 that i'm here in the first place, so good.)

good fun. good party. boyfriend commented that he had a great time because "it's breaking all the rules" and that's exactly the way my mom wanted it -- no planned procession, no organized seating plans, no professional photog, no huge fancy dinner, no uber-formal dress code. just a fun, laid-back good time with family and friends -- the way a wedding should be, really.

didn't take many pics - for some reason, the flash has completely crapped out on my almost-new camera; i blame the dick who spilled beer on it at nxne in june - but this'll probably be all you get since it's not like i'm facebook friends with anyone who'll have more:

nice aesthetics (reflected in the mirror behind: my cousins lindsay and mitchell, and myself)

stepdad shot that flower photo (in front of it is the wedding invite)

i'll take a cupcake tree over a wedding cake any day

my boyfriend. and his bright purple tie.

me, looking only mildly awkward.

peeps, left to right: stepbro's best friend hugh, stepbro's girlfriend rachel, stepbro, stepdad (for legits this time!).

the first dance. it was some big & rich song. i never said i got any of my musical tastes from my mother.

us at the end of the night. blame our greasiness on copious amounts of bacon-wrapped scallops.

and then i ditched my stiletto heels and we ran off to a nearby pub to get wasted, the end.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

distraction distraction

life updates:

- my mother's getting married next saturday (to her partner of about 17 years now...seriously, for simplicity's sake, i've already been calling him my stepdad since i was a teenager). this equals many good things: a four-day weekend, a trip home to see the fam, a big party, free booze, getting to see my boyfriend in a tie. there needs to be more of this fun in my life.

(my dress, even though it kind of looks like a curtain in this position, and the accompanying shoes i got on sale for $40. i might break my ankles, but at least i'll go down in style.)

- getting a (tmi if you can't handle it) colonoscopy done on wednesday the 18th. yes, the procedure where they stick a camera on a tube up where the sun don't shine. i'm a little freaked, but not so much as i would be were it genuine surgery (i have issues with the idea of being put to sleep and then cut open). just an invasive procedure to determine once and for all if my near-constant gastrointestinal distress is medical or dietary.

- pondering getting back on the road with a band in the fall. i have plenty of vacation time to use up, so why the hell not. (though i can already tell you that coming home afterwards will be the. worst. part. there's no depression like post-tour depression.)

- ...but if this doesn't happen, i'm going ahead with my original plan of booking transportation/accommodation for new york city in october. must get out. must travel. cmj!!

- been slipping a little bit here and there on the primal diet - or else maybe taking the 80/20 split a little too liberally - but i'm more or less back on the ball and holding steady at just under 126 pounds. post-colonoscopy, we'll see whether or not i'll be more or less medically required to be on this diet (it's dairy-free and grain-free, and if nothing shows up in my exam results i'm willing to bet 100% my distress is due to both gluten and lactose sensitivities). also, i'm making bison chili tonight and it shall be delicious.

- new tenants have moved in on the floor above us. they have a two-year-old. remember when this happened? remember how this demonstrated that there is absolutely no insulation between our bedroom ceiling and their living room's hardwood floor? take a guess how much i hate life right now. (i mean, sure, they're a normal young family and not hard-partying drug-dealer hipsters, but still...the noise) thus, we gave our two months' notice and will be moving on outta here on october 1st, hopefully to better places.

- current playlist: a whole lot of goth. (ie. love and rockets, peter murphy, killing joke, gene loves jezebel, the cure, the sisters of mercy as always) it's almost that time of year.

that's all. carry on with your sunday.