Tuesday, May 31, 2011

live it out

back to real life, back to the grind. and only 223 unread emails in my inbox when i got back to work! (seriously, i was expecting at least 300)

anyway, as i mentioned quickly in my last post, yes, i rejoined a gym. it was only two months until i cracked.

but seriously, the gym i rejoined - eclipse fitness - is one i really love. i was a member there for over a year, back when i was living and working in the area, and i came to enjoy my time there. it's a midsize gym, not too big but not too small, and it's kind of cozy, if you can describe a gym as that. it's never crazy busy - not like certain mega-gyms i can name - and the staff are all super nice. but really, it was the spin class that brought me back -- i went to the same twice-weekly spin class at eclipse for over a year, because the instructor was awesome and the music she played was great (honestly, it's like indie rock spin class) and the class itself was fun. sweaty and punishing, but fun.

and so now i'm back at it, despite the fact that eclipse is a half-hour walk from my apartment (with a couple extra minutes tacked on if coming from the office). so it's out of the way, yeah, but i kept reminding myself that it'd be additional exercise, and that's a good thing. i might regret it when it's hotter than the surface of the sun out there during the summer, but welp.

it's a bit weird for me though, because i'm still convinced gyms are a racket and a scam. but i need the physical activity, and i'm not motivated or resourceful enough to take it into my own hands (aside from the crazy amount of time i spend walking), and so it's back to the elliptical and bike machine with me.

change of pace #1: i'm spreading this far and wide, just for the badassness of it:

i liked the first book alright (the other two lost me, though) and i didn't quite make it through the original swedish movie (but noomi rapace was perfect as salander), but this actually looks like it'll be great. i guess you can't really go wrong with david fincher, but i'm an original-movie no-remake purist, so i was skeptical from the start. then i saw the above trailer, and holy shit, i'm sold.

change of pace #2: these sunnier days are definitely being enjoyed by my green friends on the balcony -- here are some shots of my babies:

the lineup! (or as much as i could fit into this awkwardly-angled shot, anyway -- there are two more pots cut off in the frame)

sweet chocolate pepper.  if you look really closely at the center of the shot, you might be able to see a tiny little budding pepper there.

green zebra tomato (cut out of the shot next to it are two beefsteak tomato plants).  apparently it puts out yellow tomatoes with green stripes.

micro greens!  (for some inexplicable reason, i have four pots of various lettuces.  lettuces are like the hamsters of the vegetable world: they grow quickly and multiply)

speaking of growing quickly and multiplying...zucchini.  that's six plants right there, and they show no signs of slowing down. i'm getting ready to have zucchini well into next year. (thankfully i make a mean honey zucchini bread, which my devoid-of-sweet-tooth boyfriend actually loves)

it's sunny and sweltering in toronto all this week, so i'm having to keep on my toes about watering them more frequently than expected. i know i'm acting like a giant nerd over my plants - literally, i find myself hovering, especially if i need to stop in at home on my lunch break - but i'm that friggin' excited over being able to finally grow my own vegetables and herbs. (full disclosure: i more or less failed completely at starting plants from seed, and so the herbs, tomatoes and pepper starter plants came from urban harvest via grassroots -- highly recommended)

so, with that said, see you next month. (as in, tomorrow. i know, i know, i'm not clever)

[ music | tones on tail, "christian says" ]

Sunday, May 29, 2011


and now, for the wrap report.

for one, yes, it's true: i took the bus to and from chicago, and survived. granted, every time i make that trip, i question why the fuck i put myself through it (12 straight hours - punctuated at the 6-hour mark by an invasive examination at the border by immigration officials - on a smelly bus with strangers) -- then i remember how pricey the flight is combined with my fear of flying, and i know it's the better way for me. though i recently had amtrak recommended to me, so hmmm....

speaking of pricey and lack thereof, i stayed at the hostelling international chicago location for three of my four nights in town (did some couch-surfing for the first night, and though it was later offered to me for the entire trip, i declined because i like having the freedom to come and go as i please when i'm traveling). this was my second visit, having booked there back in 2006 for lollapalooza, and it was the same great experience (even better, actually, since they got rid of the rock-hard pillows from five years ago). the hostel's located directly downtown, which is great for seeing chicago on foot, and the area's actually been built up a lot in the last few years, which is an extra bonus.

the food in chicago was phenomenal. thanks to adam and mary, i ate at some fantastic places: oven grinder (for their "pizza pot pies"), publican (like marben's american cousin), honky tonk (chicago-style ribs and candied bacon). also, as i mentioned before, the dinner at the girl and the goat was out of this world -- a multi-course tapas menu where the food just kept coming. so much butter. so much meat fat. i think my stomach temporarily shut down. (really, this vacation got to the point where i was only eating one meal a day because they'd be so huge and caloric)

however, a notable highlight was this glorious sandwich i got at xoco one morning; i felt vaguely guilty for putting my primal diet on pause, but i wanted a vacation indulgence, and holy shit was this breakfast ever worth it. alongside that piece of heaven, i had my first churro, dipped into a cup of mexican hot chocolate that was one of the best i've ever had. (i'm assuming soma here in toronto has something similar, but i've never been)

one of the first things i did when i came back to toronto was get a gym membership. no, really. stupid vacation indulgences.

anyway, i also came back with an incredible amount of goth music; adam is an old goth with a massive collection of albums and mp3s (including a ton of rare sisters of mercy tracks!), which he loaded up a memory stick with for me. also, he passed on a 4-cd box set called a life less lived: the gothic collection. so now i have approximately a week's worth of goth rock to start going through. excellent.

a couple more random observations:

- i will never get over seeing liquor for sale alongside groceries in the supermarket. never. blows my mind every time.

- chicago drivers are much better and much, much more considerate than crazy fucking toronto drivers, who look like they're out to commit vehicular homicide every time they're behind the wheel. in contrast, chicago motorists actually slowed at yellow lights, waited for me to cross before turning right, and so on.

- i don't know why the hell i didn't buy a rolling suitcase earlier. hoisting a duffel bag around for so long? total ridiculousness. my lovely little rollie (this one from samsonite, marked down from $249 to $79) made the whole thing so much easier.

- with the exception of an absolute thunder-and-lightning downpour on my last day - and some weird hurricane-y winds on sunday - the weather network was proven wrong: it was lovely and sunny for the majority of my trip.

so: a good vacation? hell yes. a relaxing one? not really. i don't do "vacations" in the typical sense; i don't go to barbados and lie beside the pool all day. truthfully, i have a hard time making myself relax, and so i'd find a vacation like that impossible. i'm always looking for something to do, something to keep me occupied. and really, that's what i like -- it's how i operate. so while i may not be going back to work tomorrow "rested up" - i'm actually scared of opening my post-vacation inbox - that's alright with me. i got my solo travel in, and i'm happy.

right now, though, i'm tired. coffee plz.

[ music | arcade fire, "ready to start" ]

Friday, May 27, 2011

photo journey

firstly: home, safe and sound, despite a 12-hour bus trip yesterday that involved approximately 1 hour of sleep and an awkward/enraging period of time when my obese male seatmate kept trying to fondle my leg. i got home at around 2 p.m., so i was running on very little sleep or sustenance (unless you count the dutch chocolate vodka i kept drinking, which was one of three bottles of flavoured vodka i brought back with me) when i put this together, so i figured i'd do a little photo blog first, then a writeup about my five-day trip once i'm more coherent (probably tomorrow -- i just got through sleeping for twelve hours straight and i'm still woozy).


typical view in downtown chitown.  i love the architecture of that city more than words.

get closer to toronto and bring us your american dollars!

this was the "fancy pants" restaurant that betsy and i went to on saturday night, along with a bunch of (new) friends.  it's pretty famous for being run by a former finalist of top chef, and so apparently it takes months to get a table reservation.  and i gotta say -- worth it.  probably the richest meal i've ever eaten.  will write more about culinary deliciousness of chicago in an upcoming post.

warrior seagull.

another shot of downtown, taken on my second day as i was on my way to navy pier.  seriously, i could live in chicago no problem.

fountain at grant park.

more grant park.  as i tweeted at the time, i once stood on those very grounds for lollapalooza five years ago, and it felt like no time had passed at all.  so surreal.

not sure what the deal was with these trees (they were painted), but it made a neat shot.

navy pier!!  tourist-y cheesy boardwalk full of attractions and carnival-type fun.  (i first went to navy pier in december 2004; the weather was not quite as hospitable then.)

the ferris wheel at navy pier.  no, i did not go up on it.

the view from here pier.

on the architecture boat tour!  super fun and informative. (it even had a cash bar below deck.)

trump tower -- all 92 floors of it.

coming back around on the boat tour.  sears tower!

....and again: architecture nerd.  this is a common theme when i travel.

you're all familiar with my love of coffee and indie cafes, so it should be no surprise that intelligensia on randolph/michigan was one of my frequent stops.  this is an americano -- check out how thick it is!  also: was delicious.  (i got a half-pound of their honey badger espresso for dean.)

cloud gate - aka "the bean" - in millennium park on my last day in town.  i only really know this thing from source code, but whatever, was cool. definitely worth a tourist visit.

case in point.  (i'm the little red dot in the distance there)

and again.  (the fog gave photos a really cool look that morning.)

...and that's the lot of it. i guess i tend to take rather boring photos when i'm in a different city; i'm not much for party shots or whatever else. i like to look back and remember where i was, i suppose.

and now: coffee.

[ music | new order, "shellshock" ]

Sunday, May 22, 2011

the windy city

oh, chicago.

the first time i came to this city, it was september 2004, and i only knew it as the home of my very favourite band at the time, kill hannah. (i'd just gotten their logo tattooed a few weeks prior.) and so my venture to chicago was purely band-based -- they were playing a homecoming show that would be filmed for an upcoming dvd, and damn if i didn't want to be there for it. having traveled to detroit to see one of their gigs the previous month, band-tour companion amanda and i struck out for chicago (the first time for both of us) on the ol' 12-hour bus ride, which meant we basically were awake for over 50 hours. we left town on the late bus that night - thus managing to save money by not having to stay the night - but we still had the time of our lives.

poor sunburned amanda and i, waiting around outside after the concert to chat with the band. again, i repeat: over 50 hours without sleep. we were losing our minds.

the second time i visited chicago, it was for the same reason and only a few months later -- kill hannah's annual new heart for xmas show, held in december 2004. once again, amanda and i boarded that damnable bus - though amanda had to get off and head back home after she got really sick on the way - and headed for chitown in the cold and the snow. this time, though, i managed to stay the night by splitting a hotel room with other concert-going friends, and even got to do a bit of sightseeing the next day (even though i've never experienced cold weather like that in my life). although the trek home was one i'd never want to relive, again, chicago gave me an absolutely fantastic experience. here's an old blog-post recap of my adventures.

my third time to chicago was a solo trip two years later - although of course kill hannah were involved - this time for the famous lollapalooza weekend festival in august 2006. since i was two years older and two years wiser (and with a little bit more disposable income), i booked a few nights at a downtown youth hostel and made plans to stick around and do some city roaming alongside the music-festival madness. i wrote a recap for day one, day two and day three in my old blog, along with a chicago-centric post afterward. it was a good time for soul-searching, especially at that point in my life. (big reveal: all the ennui and mope i was referring to in that last post was about deciding to break it off altogether with a current on-and-off flame. it was harder than i'd expected.)

i call this my "'sup, skeletor?" photo.

finally, my fourth time in chicago - one year later, in 2007 - was under my most ideal of circumstances: touring with a rock band. not only did they have a gig lined up in chitown, but it was the guitarist's home base, and so we were able to spend an extra day or two in relative comfort (laundry!) and general relaxation. the drummer and i spent an afternoon wandering downtown chicago, taking in the sights and the sunshine - you don't get a lot of sun while sitting in a van all day, that's for sure - and i bought a box of hair dye that i would later use to turn my natural brunette hair a rather unnatural "blue-black". chicago was also the site of my grand rebellion against the part-time joe-job system: it was where i called my crappy job back home and let them know that i wasn't coming back for a while. yes, quitting without notice is a dick move, but it was exactly what i needed to do. i still don't regret it, especially given all the memory-making zaniness that followed (getting tattooed in kansas city, roaming the streets of albuquerque, staring up at the night sky in arizona, hanging out at the hard rock hotel in las vegas, etc).

taken upstairs at the cobra lounge in chicago. heartbreaker.

and now here i was, back again for the end of the world. (which, as most of us are aware now, didn't quite come to pass. roll on, 2012?)

there's a certain comfort level i feel in chicago; it's almost like coming to a second home for me. as much as i enjoyed new york city last fall, i couldn't see myself living there. chicago, though? yes. in a heartbeat. there's just something here that makes me want to make it my own. (maybe it's because it's so much like toronto.)

so after the usual less-than-comfortable 12-hour bus ride (the things i do because of my fear of flying...), i got into chicago very early yesterday morning, then proceeded to waste time wandering the muggy streets, camping out at three different starbucks, and generally finding ways to keep myself occupied as i waited for people to get out and about. (i read the entirety of tina fey's new book bossypants, and i can't recommend it enough)

general first-day-back observations:

- in the interest of making room for more american booze, i decided at the last minute to not bring my laptop after all. i loved my security blanket, but it was time to put my tablet to the test. and i'm both proud and relieved to say that it passed with flying colours - it's been able to do everything my laptop can, but it looks cooler as well as being lighter and more portable. win-win.

- the security process at the detroit border has been crazy beefed up. i haven't been questioned so long and so in-depth about the purpose of my stay in years. (i suspect they were searching my name on the interwebs in order to prove i was who my passport said i was.) also, they had a full-on baggage check - not the kind where they put it through a scanning machine, but the kind where an official opens your luggage and rifles through your underwear, presumably looking for drugs or bombs. it must get pretty dull at the border. (also, they threw out all my snacks, which peeved me since none of them were cheap)

- chicago, like many major american metropolises (metropolii?), is incredibly well laid-out. as with new york city and washington, downtown is on a grid system, which makes it super easy to get around. (google maps also helps.) still, it was somewhat humourous that i was asked for directions on my first morning in town not once but twice. and here i figured i'd looked so lost.

- things i always forget about the united states: their lack of taxes; the fact that they sell liquor in their pharmacies (and they think us having a chain called "shoppers drug mart" is weird); nobody seems to know what my canadian-bank debit card is, let alone accept it as a method of payment; bud light lime is one ounce larger here; it is possible to find a pub that plays indie rock, serves the aforementioned bud light lime, and shows the afternoon hockey game. (thank you, union park)

in the meantime, i met up/drank beers with internet former-coworker friend betsy last night, then had a glorious dinner with her and her friends at the renowned girl and the goat. apparently the head chef was a finalist on top chef at one point in time, making the resto so hyped that there was a 3-4 month waiting list for reservations. we were a lucky bunch, even if my stomach didn't quite know what to do with that much rich food. oh well, vacation.

alright! i'm gonna roll on with day two...hanging with adam, checking in to the hostel, and traipsing all over downtown is in order.

[ music | none ]

Thursday, May 19, 2011

bright lights big city

[image via destination 360]

final dispatch before i leave tomorrow evening for the magical land of chicago, illinois:

- just like new york city last october, i'm super not stoked to be on a bus for 12 hours. however, i smartened up and decided to switch my 1 a.m. departure ticket for a more reasonable 6:30 p.m. ticket tomorrow; although it'll get me into chicago at the hideous time of 6 in the morning on saturday, it will probably afford me more of a chance to get some sleep on the bus. sleeping mask and earplugs will be my friends.

- my dear rockstar brother adam - he who once took me across america with a punk-rock band for almost three weeks of on-the-road mayhem - is letting me crash at his place tomorrow. so i'll still have three nights of hostel living, but it's going to be super fun to see him and his wife in the meantime. also, there will be hangouts, plus talks of dinner and seeing tommy stinson at double door late tomorrow night. hence, another one of the best parts of traveling: getting to see and spend time with old friends. i haven't seen adam since 2008 and that's far too long.

- also in the see-and-spend-time-with department, though replace "old" with "new": i get to meet and hang out with betsy! we've never actually met before, but given that we worked for the same pr firm for a time, we're at least acquainted through the power of the internet (and more or less convinced that the other isn't an axe murderer). so again, while solo travel is nice, it's even better when you've got friends in the place you're traveling to.

- things on the to-do list: go on an architecture boat tour, hop some hilariously lame tourist buses, possibly hit up some parts of chicago craft beer week (i'm not a huge beer fan but i like those sort of events), do plenty of reading/writing in cool coffee shops, check out museums if i'm really bored, be drunk a lot and often, visit navy pier, dodge the lighting and rain because the weather's apparently going to suck the entire time, and shop. see next bullet point. (also, additional suggestions for things to do are encouraged -- so long as it doesn't involve the sears tower or anything at high altitudes)

- my vacation shopping list is as follows: four different types of vodka, a chicago mug from starbucks, possibly something from the build-a-bear workshop at navy pier (don't judge, i wanted one really badly when i visited in 2003 but i didn't have the money), and a very long list of items from trader joe's. (i'm actually going to attempt to bring back kerrygold butter and tj's cheese this time.)

- at the last minute, i decided to bring my laptop after all. i wasn't planning to, since my tablet does basically everything my laptop does (while being much lighter and more portable), but my laptop is like my security blanket -- i need to have it with me. it's my baby, my lifeline to the wider world. and if it means carrying a few extra pounds on my back, then well, i'll suck it up (and leave it in my locker at the hostel as i tote my tablet around town in my purse).

- i really hope judgment day doesn't come down on saturday. sure, the people are loonies and everyone's laughing about it, but what if they're right?? i mean, if it's the beginning of the end of days, i kind of want to be in my own country, with my boyfriend and/or family. (i'm a fatalist, though, so that's generally my point of view. if i have a flight scheduled, i spend the week beforehand feeling doomed and convincing myself that those are my last days on earth.) regardless, post rapture looting has been bringing me much amusement this week.

...and that's about it, i think. this is going to be a short-ish trip, all things considering: i'm getting into chicago on saturday and i'll be back home in toronto on thursday. so, don't miss me too much -- i'm going to try and get a couple of posts out while i'm there, but i'll be back in town in a week anyway.

so long, and thanks for all the fish.

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

Monday, May 16, 2011

write on

hilarious weird fact: i used to write fiction.

my progress as a writer started pretty early; it was always my best topic in school, and i can remember actually writing more poetry as a kid than anything. the details are fuzzy in my memory, but i can even recall submitting a poem for an anthology to benefit animal shelters -- and it was accepted. i think i was maybe nine years old.

still, poetry as a medium fell through with me after i got frustrated with the rigid structures of it all (nobody introduced me to the works of e.e. cummings, obviously) and, being a creative kid in search of an outlet for the things in my head, i decided to swing 360 degrees away and try my hand at art. (my father was a writer, but my mother was an artist. true story.) however, no matter how i tried, i couldn't get those mental pictures to translate into real-life pictures. i failed pretty hopelessly as an artist - although my parents would probably argue otherwise, since they both have a bunch of my sketches and sculptures packed away - and spent a few of my preteen years feeling lost and frustrated without a creative outlet.

but finally, i came around to not translating mental pictures into real pictures, but into words. and that's where i realized my strength was -- i actually could be an artist after all, but using words as my medium.

how did this epiphany come around? weirdly enough, through fanfiction.

see, the problem with me being a fiction writer - and it may sound incredibly silly, especially given all i just wrote about being an imaginative kid - was that i didn't have the imagination to come up with whole new worlds and characters. for whatever reason, that inspiration just didn't hit me at all, which is why i didn't attempt writing fiction earlier. i inhaled young adult fiction by the truckload, but somewhere deep inside, i knew i wouldn't be able to pull characters and stories out of my head the way those authors did.

the solution: use someone else's characters and stories.

another hilarious weird fact that i almost never allude to these days is that my formative years, before the bands and the music and the rock stars took over everything, were completely made up of video games and japanese animation (anime) / comic books (manga). those were the imaginary worlds i lived in -- ones that were of someone else's creation, not my own. those fictional characters were my creative inspirations, my two-dimensional idols. i loved the characters of video games and cartoons like they were real friggin' people, and in a way, i don't really regret it -- immersing myself in fictionary worlds helped get me through a lot of bad shit when i was younger.

anyway, i spent a slightly drunken friday night going over all of my old fanfiction for one video game series in particular (i wrote for two exclusively -- i tried to branch out, but i tended to immerse myself so completely in characters that i basically didn't have room in my brain for that many). i won't provide a link to my old fic site here - and it'd be rather difficult to find since i wrote everything under a pseudonym which i haven't revealed in about ten years - but i'm sort of considering pulling out a few of them and posting them here. sure, they're based around video games that probably only a couple of you know (and even less care about), but reading them over, i was engrossed. i actually can't believe i ever wrote things that good.

yeah, i know that statement comes off as being pretty big-headed, but humour me -- i rarely brag about any of my abilities, mostly because i don't feel like i have anything to brag about, really. but these pieces of fanfiction - which could take me anywhere from a month to a week to one late night to complete, and they're all 8-10 years old now - read insanely well. they're scarily decent. and i feel like they might appeal as pieces of writing in general, aside from the whole video game background -- they're very solid as character introspection pieces. (i also totally forgot that it was commonplace for my fellow fic writers and i to write each other "request fics" as birthday and christmas gifts. what a crazy cool concept.)

still, i'm super hesitant for a couple of reasons -- people who aren't familiar with the games or characters will find them silly; people could use that text plus the power of google to unearth my old pseudonym, and thus my old online persona (which i'd rather keep buried thnx). but it's hard to keep something you're so proud of under wraps; plus, with video games back in my life now, i'm starting to wonder if maybe the creative inspiration will be brought back in. maybe they were the catalyst all along, and the spark i've been missing for all these years.

because i miss those worlds, sometimes. they may not have been real, but they were real to me when i needed them the most.

[ music | adele, "rolling in the deep" ]

Friday, May 13, 2011

wealth of distractions

just in time for the beautiful springtime and gorgeous weather, we have come into possession of multiple new electronic gadgets.

this actually happened after all. (and again, disclaimer -- xbox is a client of the public relations firm i work for)

although i was unable to procure an xbox 360 a couple of months ago, my boyfriend up and decided last week that he wanted to buy one (he got hooked on halo while playing tournament-style with his coworkers, and he's determined to get practice). and so yesterday, an xbox 360 showed up on our doorstep. currently on my shopping list: a second controller and marvel vs. capcom 3. (i still really want kinect but i'm going to have to get out the tape measure and make sure there's enough space in our tiny apartment.)

the other thing that's taking up all my time (and a good portion of money) is e-books. seriously, i'm going to start calling an intervention for myself. my credit card is in pain. ever since i realized that e-books mostly cost 50%+ less than their material selves, i've basically set out to find and purchase every book i've wanted to read in the last ten years. so far, my virtual bookshelf contains: water for elephants, my horizontal life, tattoo machine, sacred hearts, and spin: greatest hits. (looking over that list, it's odd to me that the majority are nonfiction/biography -- have i just never considered purchasing biographies as phyiscal books? maybe my brain doesn't register nonfiction as being actual "books".) also on the list, once i'm done with that lot: the hungry ghosts and the new dead: a zombie anthology. and i'm always taking recommendations, so feel free to let me know if you've read anything awesome lately. my credit card may not be happy, but my brain will be.

then i lay awake yesterday morning and thought, weirdly, about all the metric tons of books i read as a kid and can no longer recall -- not the plot, not the author, nothing. and i inhaled books when i was a kid, so there's basically a book graveyard in my brain of all the things i've read and lost. that makes me a little sad in a way i can't explain.

anyway, it hasn't all been sequestering myself indoors with new electronic toys -- as i've mentioned before, i have a thing for plants and flowers and botany in general (growing up in the wilderness of the boonies will do that to you), and so when i heard that the cherry blossoms were finally out at high park last weekend, i had to go for a hike to indulge in some お花見仕様 (along with many, many others):

full slideshow can be seen over at my tumblr. also, bonus picture of a magnolia tree in full bloom:

it's funny, though -- i was remarking to my mother that anyone who's lived in vancouver for a stretch of time knows that cherry blossoms, while beautiful, are completely unremarkable there because they're everywhere. they're a gorgeous bit of scenery but you basically get used to seeing them all over the place after the first few days. but here in ontario, they're not nearly as common, and so it's a huge event when the trees bloom (especially for any transplanted japanese people, because cherry-blossom viewing parties are typical in japan).

...and this is the part of the blog post where i waxed rhapsodical about nature spots in toronto and how i want to enjoy them more this summer, but because blogger crashed overnight, that entire saved section was deleted. fucking thanks a lot, blogger. fuck you.

anyway, with that: happy friday!

[ music | killing joke, "the wait" ]

Thursday, May 5, 2011

crash years

May Prompt: If you participated in Reverb 10 during December of last year, are any of the things you wanted to manifest in 2011 revealing themselves?

i did most definitely participate in reverb 10 last december, and though it'd take me a while to go through all 31 posts, most of them seemed to run along the same theme and same questions: what do you want to do differently in 2011? and though i don't quite believe in things just "manifesting" themselves without some assistance or work, i guess it's good to check in with reverb-land to see how things are going.

as mentioned before, something i'm definitely happy with is the fact that i've started branching out and doing more things to keep myself occupied. i'm in the last stretch of an eight-week japanese class, i'm doing some urban gardening, i've been getting out and doing some volunteering in the community, and i've gotten my budgeting and finances under control (which wasn't a huge goal for 2011 but i'm glad i managed to hit it anyway). also, my health is pretty stellar, which wasn't a 2011-specific goal - more like a lifetime one - but is still comforting to realize anyway.

most of all, though, i've finally taken steps to plan for plenty of travel this year -- i've got chicago fully booked from the 21st to the 25th this month, i just booked a trip to kingston to see my family on the canada day long weekend in july, and i'm looking ahead to possibly doing vancouver on the long weekend in august. even with my terror of flying, i know i can't ever not go back to vancouver, and so i have to nut up and get over the whole airplane thing eventually. if i did it so many times before, i can sure as hell do it again.

my only second thoughts are due to the fact that i've been to all three places before; i'm not traveling to any new or different locations. and when i think about it, i realize that i haven't gone to anywhere "new" since 2008. compare that to a number of my friends and acquaintances who are always exploring new parts of the world, and i feel a little humbled.

but! to tie back to the reverb 11 prompt, i suppose you could say that some of the hoped-for things from 2010 that have manifested themselves are 1) more willingness to try new things; 2) more dedication to stick to new hobbies; 3) more self-discipline in sticking to social plans; and 4) more self-ambition to go places and do things out of my little bubble of a comfort zone. as i told myself throughout december 2010, that's how i grow as a person, after all.

[ music | killing joke, "eighties" ]