Wednesday, February 25, 2015

media is the message

since i've more or less been cooped up inside rather than deal with the above, i've been seeking a shit ton of distractions to help me cope with cabin fever. (yes, i know i said in the last blog post that i love the cold, but like i also said, if the wind chill is at killin' levels then i'm not going outside) although the internet is fine for certain amounts of time, i'm well aware that an entire afternoon can disappear once you fall down the digital wormhole. i'm really making the effort to do things other than that, you know? even with my insanely short attention span, i like finding new and different things to hold my interest.

here are a few examples!

broad city

man, i don't think there's been a tv show i've loved quite like broad city. (you can watch full episodes here!) i do watch girls every week, and though i know the comparison is pretty tiresome and not entirely accurate, i personally enjoy realistic-ish tv shows portraying twentysomething women living in new york city. it's a niche interest, i guess. and while i watch girls to wince and cringe at their eternal life fuckups, i watch broad city to laugh and delight in the cleverness and to feel better about myself. for all the weird dream sequences and bizarre fantasies, i find abbi and ilana totally real and easy to relate to. also, hannibal burress is the best of the best. al dente dentist 4 life.

crimson peak

this movie isn't coming out until later this year (long after i'll have seen avengers: age of ultron at least five times), but i saw the trailer last week and man oh man is it right up my alley. super goth creepiness, supernatural weird stuff, big old mansions, victorian fashion, and tom hiddleston? yes please. count me in. add in the fact that it's directed by guillermo del toro (who rarely has a cinematic miss, in my opinion) and filmed in both my hometowns - toronto and kingston - and i'll be there to see it opening week. sure, sumptuous gothic thrillers aren't likely to be recognized by the academy any time soon, but fuck it. it has an audience, and its audience is me.

jupiter ascending

speaking of movies for a certain audience, here's a prime example. the boy and i went to see this on cheap-movie tuesday the other week, in possibly the smallest screening room known to man:

but even without a movie screen the size of god, i enjoyed it, and for all the reasons outlined in this link here. i even wrote about it when i reblogged the piece on my tumblr:
The more I think about this hot-garbage movie, the more I realize how much I actually did enjoy it, for all its big dumb insanity. It truly was the cinematic version of all the overblown, melodramatic sci-fi romance fanfiction I wrote as a teenager. We’re still out here, and we’re still an audience. Give it to us.
i mean, yeah, it's a phenomenally awful movie, but in all the right ways, if that makes any sense. it's just outrageous and weird and everything i never knew i wanted. seriously, read that daily dot piece and take note of the hilarious tumblr screencaps and comments. pretty much sums it all up.

nhl trade deadline

this is coming up on monday march 2nd, and it's always a mini-event for me. ever since i live-tweeted the trade deadline way back in 2009, it's been a fun ride to see the comings and goings of particular hockey players as teams gear up for playoff runs (or next year's rebuild, in many cases). for those of you unfamiliar with the day, it's basically wall-to-wall coverage across the sports channels and hockey twitter, with the big tv stations pretty much devoting day-long coverage to trade deadline dealings. and then sometimes absolutely nothing happens and the broadcasters and commentators have to try and fill dead air, or make a huge deal about a trade of minor players nobody's ever heard of. it's a good time. and this year, happily, i'll be spending the day in my pajamas with my equally hockey-obsessed boyfriend, eating pancakes and yelling about current trades and having ipad, laptop, and tv all on at the same time. give us the rumours!

the nightrunner series

to this day, lynn flewelling's ongoing fantasy series is the only one i've ever truly gotten into. (i've read all the song of ice and fire books, yes, but only so i could know what's going to happen on the game of thrones show) book #2, stalking darkness, was one of my favourite books as a teenager - the first time i read it, i stayed up until 2 a.m. to finish it - and since i just reread the tamir triad (which precedes the events of the series by a few centuries), i figured i ought to give a go through books #4 and #5 of the nightrunner series as well. and oh my god, i love the world of these books for so many reasons. it's a firmly matriarchal society! there are wizards and dragons and magic and adventure! there's a ton of queer and bisexual characters, including the heroes! the two main characters are the best pairing of fantasy archetypes (the badass rebel renegade and the innocent country boy he takes under his wing)! it may not be for everyone, but damn if it's not exactly my cup of tea. especially since i just found out that books #6 and #7 are available on kobo, so i know what i'm doing for the next few days.

"talons" by bloc party

sweet christ, i've been loving this song so much lately. it's a bit old now, i know, and i'm slightly late in coming to the bloc party, er, party (i mean, they've broken up since), but there's just something about this tune that's stuck with me. great rhythm, fantastic vocal work, and a driving sense of urgency and desperation throughout it. fucking great stuff. have a listen.

marvel avengers alliance

i play this game (the ipad version, not the facebook app) way too much. it's actually getting kind of dumb at this point. but i swear, if they don't release a spec ops based around captain america 2 with the winter soldier as the bonus character (plus falcon as the character you can win through mission completions), then i...guess i will just sit here and keep grumbling to myself.

and that's all for now.

[ music | the hundred in the hands, "dressed in dresden" ]

Friday, February 20, 2015

small change

welcome to cold.

yeah, i know, i've proudly said it numerous times -- i love the cold. and i do! what i don't like, however, is when there's huge gusts of icy wind blasting the skin off my face. for example, if i wake up and check the weather and outside it's, say, -15 celsius but feels like -28c and the wind's only at 10-15 km/h (sorry for all the canadian metric stuff there, american readers), then i can totally head out and do stuff and probably even enjoy it. if it's -20 but feels like -32 and the wind is gusting at 30-40 km/h, then noooooo no no. either i find a way to walk sheltered against the wind or i don't go out at all.

i clearly have this down to a science.

since the last week has been especially brutal in terms of biting winds, i've mostly been locked inside drinking endless cups of tea from the cat mug sean bequeathed upon me, a relic from his time working at marks & spencer back in england:

this is the other side of it, photo from the boy's tumblr along with dead space 2 for whatever reason

(the boy has informed me recently that he's had the temptation to just show up at my apartment with a cat carrier housing a kitten, with the understanding that he will pay for its expenses - i've never felt like i can afford a cat - but if that ever happens, you will know it by the trail of 1,000,000 cat photos.)

still, despite the cuteness of my tea-drinking equipment, i've been getting a little stir crazy in here. my apartment, while cozy, tends to get a bit stuffy in the winter (which also adds to my love of the cold -- seriously, it's refreshing to me), so i do end up spending quite a bit of time at my boyfriend's, for the change of scenery and also because spending time with him is awesome and stuff. though that still provides the conundrum of having to eventually leave the warmth of his massive duvet and go out in the damn cold to get home (i don't have a metropass and i generally refuse to use the ttc, unless the cold is threatening to murder me). layers, lots of layers.

being stuck inside has, however, given me time to do a bit of housekeeping around this here blog. for example, i think i've managed to tweak the rss feed so that it's readable for subscribers. blogger has native rss built in, as far as i can tell, though i've always pushed to subscribe via feedburner -- not that i can really tell the difference. admission time: i have zero understanding of how rss feeds work. zip. none. but i do know that quite a few of you rely on them to let you know when i update, and that you read my blog posts via rss (really, how does that work? is it magic? does it kill all the formatting? is there anything else i need to do to make it look nice for you? please tell me so i can fix!), so hopefully that works out for you. don't hesitate to reach out and let me know if anything else looks wonky, though.

also, you may notice that along the top nav, i've added a link to top posts. now, i get that that may be a misnomer of sorts; they're not exactly my top-viewed blog posts (the blogger backend has view counts on each individual blog post, but you can't sort it by most to least or anything), but rather grouped-together things like series and favourite-listicles. turns out that over the years, i've done quite a few series, so on the top posts link you'll find all the under-the-radar music posts, the #reverb posts i've done, the indie coffee passport series i did back in 2011, the martini monday posts (RIP martini monday, though sometimes i feel like bringing it back to do one-offs), influencer event recaps, and other theme-specific posts (like the top books posts, favourite marvel movies, etc). i just figured it'd make it easier to find blog posts that are all meant to be grouped together. of course, it also highlights my writing from years ago, so it may just end up making me look like an idiot. who knows.

anyway! just wanted to let you guys know about those little changes. i've never been 100% on board with the blogger interface; i'm well aware that there are more useful and user-friendly platforms out there, but goddammit, i've been on blogger since 2004(!) and the thought of transferring all my shit elsewhere just seems daunting. but maybe it could be a project for all my free time lately. i've always liked having internet projects to chew on. please do send me any useful tutorials or walkthroughs for customizing blogger, if you have them; wonking around in the backend feels dicey to me, but i enjoy it.

here, have a picture of the frozen sunset that i took from my living room earlier this week:

[ music | st. vincent, "birth in reverse" ]

Monday, February 16, 2015

your favourite weekend

appropriately for the last five hours of friday the 13th, i spent the evening in the hospital.

not me, though -- my boyfriend. he had been experiencing weird pains around his heart for the last couple weeks, and he was concerned enough about them on friday night that he ended up in emerg at toronto western. which is how i spent the unluckiest day of the year - plus the day leading into valentine's day - waiting nervously for the boy to get through a battery of tests. at least i managed to catch up on my reading (i read the entirety of orange is the new black! it's pretty different from the show) while avoiding weird looks from hospital security. for, yeah, five hours. kind of uncomfortable, but nothing compared to what my poor needle-phobic boy was dealing with.

fortunately, he didn't have a busted heart in time for valentine's day -- we're not actually sure what was wrong with him, but the tests all came up with nothing, and he came away with some interesting stories about emerg on a friday night in downtown toronto. gratefully, we stumbled through the cold and into a cab, collapsing into bed from spent adrenaline almost immediately. well, after sean ripped off all the electrode patches stuck onto his body, that is. ouch ouch.

waking up at his place sort of put a kink in my plans to surprise him with a cheese-plate spread - he was originally supposed to work til 5 on valentine's day, and i was gonna sneak in and set the whole thing up - but i made the best of it and did the damn thing anyway, even with him there:

this also meant that he wasn't able to get me flowers without me physically being there as he did so, but at least that meant i got to pick out my favourites:

surprises are overrated.

so yep, a class-act valentine's day indeed, even with the leafs losing later on that night. bah. pretty much counting down the days to tradecentre over here (which is, coincidentally, the day after our one-year anniversary).

but even before that, we had adventures!: last week we journeyed out to the east end to explore riverdale farm.

this was pretty exciting for me in a silly way, considering that i'd never actually been out there (but it had been listed under now's 51 free things to do in toronto in winter, and we both liked free things), and sean hadn't had any reason to visit cabbagetown, so off we went. i mean, come on -- there's a farm practically in downtown toronto. for someone like me who grew up on actual rural farms, this was my homeland.

it turned out to be pretty much the perfect winter day - cold but not windy, with big tv-movie snowflakes slowly falling - yet that wasn't exactly beneficial to seeing the most the farm had to offer. we did catch sight of a couple horses, uh, horsing around:

plus these fluffy-yet-lazy sheep:

otherwise, the place was deserted. we both kinda liked that, though; no noisy school groups crowding up the place. lots of snow-covered peace. definitely going to go back in the nicer weather to get a taste of nature in the city.

we named this "the ziggurat" and then had a discussion about how rpgs and mmorpgs expanded our vocabularies when we were young gamers. it's good to find someone who understands you.

so! that's what i've been up to lately, the picture-heavy not-overly-mushy version. i post a lot more visual shit over at my tumblr, because it's an optimal platform for that type of content, but in any case i do try to keep the amount of romantic gush on the downlow. not that it doesn't make for good reading, i suppose, but more that i like to keep a lot of things to myself rather than share them out with the masses. and who knows, maybe reading about how happy and in love someone is actually makes for boring reading after all. for me, though, it feels like it's been a long time coming, and i'm incredibly happy to just be where i am right now.

so gross.

[ music | the war on drugs, "red eyes" ]

Friday, February 13, 2015


so lately i've been thinking about what valentine's day was like when i was a kid.

i grew up in the deepest stretch of rural ontario, so i definitely have vivid memories from this time of year. i can recall super-bright but cold sunshine, bitingly fierce wind chill and being bundled up in a squishy snowsuit (complete with the ubiquitous snow pants that were essentially polyester overalls) that i think was purple and neon green. at my tiny elementary school with its population of 150 kids or so across eight grades and two kindergartens, we would have spent one craft session leading up to valentine's day created big envelope-type pouches out of construction paper and decorating them with sloppy doodles and heart stickers. in that week, you would clandestinely sneak around - usually during recess - and drop off those shitty cartoon valentines in everyone's envelopes, making sure you gave the very best of the lot to the boy or girl you had a prepubescent crush on. (also, up til about grade 4, it was verboten that you gave a valentine to every kid in your class, regardless of how gross or creepy they were; you narrowed out the wheat from the chaff after you hit grade 6 or so. it was kind of like how you stopped feeling obligated to invite every kid in your class to your birthday party by the time you were like 11.)

valentine's day itself was a total writeoff. we'd spend the morning barely working, mostly hopped up on the idea of getting to open our valentines before lunch, then spending the hour getting physically hopped up on sugar (probably cheap candy like cinnamon hearts or those powdery conversation-heart things, but also someone's mom would usually make cupcakes from a box mix). then, then came the best part of the day: the school buses would show up after lunch to take us all to the indoor skating rink in nearby tamworth, and the entire school would get to have a skating party all afternoon. again, i can very clearly remember the freezing locker rooms, strapping cold hard plastic rental skates around my small feet, and how soaked my socks would be by the end of the afternoon. also, my mother would sometimes be there as a chaperone, and then she would take my older sister and i to get mcdonald's or something afterward. remember how fucking awesome going to mcdonald's was when you were a kid? yeah, man. those little mcdonaldland cookies were the shit.

but that's all i remember. well, that and the weird disney-kid romanticist's wish that one day, she'd have a boyfriend of her very own on valentine's day, and the hallmark holiday could be celebrated the way it was "supposed" to be.

i spent one valentine's day in my early twenties getting drunk with my girlfriends at a cheap bar and doing bad karaoke in chinatown. i spent a lot of valentine's days single and working so others could have the day off with their partners. i spent one valentine's day in the early stages of a long-distance relationship; i then spent the following four valentine's days trying to convince myself that i didn't care about valentine's day because my then-boyfriend very firmly did not. (i was lying to myself, obviously, while that disney-kid romanticist in me felt quietly and sadly betrayed.) i spent another couple valentine's days single, and was surprised that i felt something like 1) relief and 2) being so over it. though i did write this blog post about love back in 2013, and i still really like it a lot.

oh, and i'd be remiss if i didn't add that although i'm a fully-grown adult woman and i haven't lived with my parents in twelve years, my father still sends me a valentine's day card with some tiny chocolates and a little gift card to somewhere like lululemon or sephora or starbucks. he's a great dad.

but this year! this year i feel good. my boyfriend of almost one whole year (our anniversary is march 1st) is an equal romanticist who shares a lot of my opinions on the day; going out for dinner is for chumps, an exchange of flowers and cards is necessary, and it's totally preferable to just stay in and watch netflix and cuddle. we both kind of rolled our eyes when we were single on valentine's days in recent past, but now that we're together, we're more than happy to make a little day of it and just, you know, feel secure in someone else's love.

i would write more on this but we're both really super mushy and gross, so i'll spare you all. (he does have a dedicated tag on my tumblr, though, if you're interested)

even when i was single and bitter, though, i refused to be completely cynical about love, so i hope you have reason to be all loved up tomorrow. failing that, just look forward to discount chocolate day on sunday. everybody wins!

be good to each other, etc.

[ music | firehorse, "our hearts" ]

Sunday, February 8, 2015

turn it up

it's the grammys tonight! so i figured i might as well blog another batch of songs that probably haven't been on the radar as much as grammy nominees, why not.

every year i tell myself i'm going to watch the grammys - you're a music writer, it's pop culture knowledge, it's important to your industry, etc. - but then i...rarely do. honestly, unless i'm getting paid for it, i probably won't tune in. it's the same with me and all award shows, really - i find them a slog. (i usually watch a bit of the oscars, but it's always on a sunday when a new episode of the walking dead is on, so...) sometimes it's mostly because i'm not entirely familiar with the nominated material; as i've said before, i live in my own little bubble of music and pop culture, and rarely does it cross with what's considered cool and popular by the kids these days. i don't think i've heard an ariana grande song in my life, and that's fine with me. i'm an old.

...but, as before, if you're an old like me and/or you just want to hear something maybe new and kinda different and sorta under the radar, here's a brief compilation of some of the good stuff i've been listening to these days that might not have gotten as wide an audience as, say, a grammy nominee. as before, past music-blog entries are here here and here, but! now i've gone ahead and created handy spotify playlist that contains all the music i've highlighted in the past three posts, as well as the "new" stuff coming atcha below. subscribe to it and validate me as an influencer, or something. i can be legit, i swear.

anyway here's music:

the orwells - "who needs you"

i'm generally a sucker for the music apple picks for its commercials - remember the caesars and "jerk it out"? - and this one from their newest, identified for me by shazam, is a good one. i've never heard of the orwells before, but spotify informs me that they've been at this since 2009, are from chicago (yay!), toured with the arctic monkeys (good fit) and have been on letterman so hey, fair fucks. this is a nice jangly bit of dance-y garage a la the hives, and i bet it translates really well to the stage. might be a little cookie-cutter for some, but i've found that sometimes you really do just need that big dumb rock band sound. (on that note, i've been listening to the von bondies' "cmon cmon" a lot and man it's still such a badass song)

nonono - "pumpin blood"

speaking of music from commercials, here's another one that's currently being used for a shampoo commercial, but i remember hearing it on the radio quite a bit and it always got my toes tapping. this cute swedish trio just put out their first album last year, but i'm glad that "pumpin blood" is the one getting the licensing because it's happy summer in a song. i guarantee you won't find a more cheerful reciting of "this is your heart / it's alive" than in this tune.

glass animals - "gooey"

floaty and weird, i really dig this electro-indie quartet from oxford. for "gooey" (which is a great title in and of itself, come on now), they mix tinkly synths and light, almost thom yorke-like vocals with a head-nodding drumbeat. when so much of the music is computerized, it really rests on the singer to carry the tune, and dave bayley does it with spades. good soundtrack for a chill morning at home or a low-key dinner party with cool people.

kiev - "found! the real found"

oh, and if you want a second thom yorke, here's your band. i honestly thought kiev was radiohead the first time i heard them -- they have more or less the same stripped-down sound (but maybe less on the electronica), rising choruses and a frontman with ethereally weird vocals. i can find virtually nothing about kiev online - except for the fact that they're from california and are "influenced by radiohead" which like, duh - but they've got a few albums out, the most recent being 2013, so they seem to still be around and worth checking out. also, i once heard this song being used in the background of the walking dead, so hell yeah, get that tv licensing money.

devotchka - "all the sand in the sea"

gonna throw it back to 2012 with this one because sometimes, as with the above, you really just need something epic and reaching and cool-sounding. love the keys here - i have a soft spot for keyboards, as those who know me well know - as well as the sweeping vocals and rising crescendo coming up to the choruses. devotchka's music is eclectic and pretty weird at times, but "all the sand in the sea" is a fairly accessible track if you're into a big dramatic sound. (i almost saw them play at cmw in 2010 but i think i ended up in brooklyn that night or something.)

miike snow - "animal"

another throwback, this time to 2009! i dunno, i've always stuck with this miike snow song because the beginning reminds me of the winter village music in final fantasy 7 (seriously, if i remembered the name of it, i would totally link it here because i swear i'm not crazy in that comparison). as it is, though, it's a nice little slice of cute indie pop that still holds up six years later.

lia ices - "thousand eyes"

seems like i can't get away from a music post without including at least one from the jajaguwar stable, and i have to give it up to lia ices -- this track is seriously fucking great. acoustic melding with electronica layered overtop by expertly haunting vocals that someone said sounds like tori amos, but i think lia's got a sound all her own. "thousand eyes" is from her newest, 2014's ices, and trust me, it's worth clicking play. relaxed but with a nifty guitar line.

and that's all for now. enjoy your awards pomp & circumstance tonight while i watch people getting eaten by zombies (i'm sure there's a clever comparison to be made there...), and have a clickthrough to the spotify playlist to listen to all of the above tracks as well as the music i've profiled in the past three music-blog posts. i hope you find something you like!

[ music | none, ironically ]

Friday, February 6, 2015

cabin fever reads

so, it's cold out. the weather is crappy and the wind chill makes your face feel like it's turning inside out. you might even be snowed in and can't leave your house! you don't want to go anywhere and there's nothing on tv and oh god the internet is a spinning black vortex of adhd distractions that ultimately feel empty and meaningless.

you, my friend, need a good book!

i am a re-reader of books. i know some people who just aren't into the idea of reading a book a second time; you already know what happens, right? but for me, if it's a truly great book, it's always worth picking up again. my bookshelf is crammed full of all kinds of fantasy, horror, and sci-fi lit, but also cookbooks and a lot of books about nutritional science. i read everything multiple times. (if not, i usually thin the herd by selling off books i didn't really enjoy to secondhand shops. and yes, i do buy mostly e-books these days, but my father still enjoys buying and sending me physical copies of books.)

although i've got more than a few constant re-reads, off the top of my head, here are five books i've read, and re-read, and will re-read multiple times, and have probably memorized sections of. they might not appeal to you, and if you're a reader too then i'm sure you've got your own list of re-reads, but they're just a couple examples of what books i head for when i need something to disappear into for a few hours (or days, whatever).

your voice in my head by emma forrest

this book, man. i don't know how many times i've read it. it's been my constant during any times of turmoil in my life. the memoir-ish story of a young woman struggling with mental illness and self-abuse who attempts suicide, only to be saved by a psychiatrist who quickly becomes her rock in the middle of a particularly stormy few years. but just as she needs him the most - in the wake of her breakup with an actor - she finds out that she has to rely on herself to get through without falling back on her old self-destructive tendencies. it's about how some of us navigate love and loss, and the things we look to hold on to when it seems like everything's disappearing. i think it's phenomenal. (ms. forrest also sent me a supportive and much-needed tweet once, and it meant so much to me at the time. it still does, really.)

the paris wife by paula mclain

my father got this for me for christmas once, and i remember it was during a time of tremendous emotional instability for me (due to a boy, obviously), so i ended up seeing a lot more of myself in this lovely work of semi-fiction than usual. it's the account of ernest hemingway in his early twenties and his first wife, hadley, and their adventures across europe and their homebase - paris - in the jazz age of the 1920's. i thought i didn't care much for books set in "olden days" until this one - maybe it's my love for hemingway that did it - but it's a fascinating, well-drawn out setting; also a fantastic portrayal of a woman struggling to understand how to be a wife to a genius, and often volatile, writer.

rules of civility by amor towles

remember what i said above about not liking books set in historical times? this one also goes against that dumb compulsion of mine (and hilariously, also bought for me by my father, who knows how much i like main female characters in the books i read). set in the late 1930's, this book paints an incredibly vivid portrayal of new york city in the years post-depression but still pre-world war II, to say nothing of its intensely awesome characters. the lead of the story, the indomitable katey kontent, wouldn't be out of place as a modern-day feminist heroine, and it's her story over one tumultuous year of star-crossed love, career ambitions, and social climbing. trust me, it's a lot better than i make it sound. the ending just floors me every time and reminds me that sometimes things don't have to end well to end beautifully.

the ocean at the end of the lane by neil gaiman

knowing my predilection for neil gaiman books, my father sent me a copy of this book on - of all days - the day toronto had that huge flood back in summer 2013. there really was nothing better than drying out and curling up in my apartment while the rain poured outside and reading this fairy tale about magic, monsters, and the things we forget as we grow up. (i won't say any more, to preserve the detailed surprises.) although relatively short, it's really just a beautiful book from beginning to end, and i've read it a number of times since. i've always found "enchanting" to be a gross disney-fied word, but it's wholly appropriate here. grown-up fairy tale, indeed.

american gods by neil gaiman

and one more for mr. gaiman - this was the first of his i ever read, bought as a bus read when i was going to boston i think (a 16-hour ride!), and my copy has since been dog-eared and beat up to hell. i can't even count how many times i've read it, and i almost guarantee you've heard of it before, or know someone who's raved about it. it's well-deserved praise, not in the least coming from me, who's been a nerd for the old gods of mythology since she was a kid. but yeah, that's all i can say, in a nutshell: old gods, and the new, and a battle for our world, and one mysterious hero who's caught in the middle. one of the best imaginings of ancient myth that i've read.

anyway! there you go, there's five of my constants. i've also done book posts in the past detailing my top reads in 2011, as well as my top romantic reads (appropriate given the season right now), so feel free to check those out if you need some more recommended material. or let me know what books you love! your choice. yay books! exclamation points!

i've had too much coffee today.

[ music | tv on the radio, "dlz" ]

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

anywhere but here

one thing i have been missing, lately, is travel.

not even to escape this, i swear.

i know that sounds weird coming from me, who has a pretty iron-clad love for "home" and a well-known hatred for flying. seriously, every time it's coming up on a trip for me, i have the tendency to want to flake out and cancel everything because home is so much more comfortable and well-known and safe. problem is, if you don't get out and see the world, you don't get the necessary perspective that comes when you're taken out of your comfort zone. at least that's what i think, anyway.

i feel like there's a way you can lose yourself in a different city; it goes along with the anonymity that comes with the realization that you're just one person in this crowd of a city that isn't yours. i vaguely touched on that towards the end of this blog post from a chicago trip in 2012, about how when you're in a new place, sometimes you tend to wonder how easy it'd be to disappear there. (not in a creepy way, though. just silly escapism.) at least i do, anyway. i think it ties in to the fact that my greatest fear is feeling like i'm trapped somewhere, in something or in some situation. getting out and travelling reassures me that i'm not trapped here, and maybe my itchy feet lately are a warning sign that i'm beginning to feel the first inklings of being caught in a situation that, deep down in my psyche, i don't want to be. sometimes that takes me a while to figure out.

the other thing with me is that i rarely want to go to new places - i want to go to places i've already been and enjoyed. that's about as far out of my comfort zone as i'll go, especially if the trip's going to be costing me $$$. and so these days i've been missing my old job for that (pr required me to travel sometimes, and though i didn't like the airplanes, i did like the grown-up adventure of it), but we'll see what happens, i guess. if i can be lucky enough to get back to that.

but anyway, i digress - these days it seems like all the places i've been missing are the ones i've been to many times, and it keeps hitting me as i stay stuck inside watching the snow blowing and the grey skies out there. i don't even think a quick weekend trip or day trip out of town would fix it - or maybe it would make me feel better for a little while, but not long. and it's not even like i need to be constantly travelling; i'm definitely, absolutely not one of those people. i can go a week max and then i need my home. but maybe what i really miss is the feeling of being pushed out of my comfort zone - true enough, i'm home quite a lot these days - and doing something different with my daily routine, in some place different.

i watch a lot of border security (much of which takes place in vancouver) and i recall my old life on the west coast and some nights when i can't sleep, i mentally walk through the vancouver neighbourhoods and streets that i used to know like the back of my hand. i'd never be able to move back there, and i don't think any of my friends still live there, but lately i've been missing it enough that i wish that i had enough disposable income to pay for a flight out there. i just want to confirm that it's still there as i remember it, even a bit of it.

i read rules of civility and look over my friends' pics from the new york city snowstorm on instagram and all of a sudden i really, really miss roaming around downtown nyc, staying up late at the bars and listening to bands at cmj. i miss the dream that i had in my early twenties, when my grand plan was to finish university and then take my portfolio of music journalism down to new york to pitch for a magazine job. it never happened, but maybe in some other universe, it did. who knows.

this time two years ago, i was in washington dc for two weeks on business, and i even miss that right now. sure, it was bizarre staying in a hotel for so long, but it ended up being a really cool experience that i'm glad i did. i miss eating chili at hard times in arlington, and i miss drinking in chinatown with my coworkers, and i even miss the ymca i worked out at twice a day, morning and night. i miss the neat feeling of displacement that i got every day i was in washington, because it made me feel alive and conscious, like i was set apart from everyone else. and i miss my friends there.

i stare at these photos of chicago for far too long and i read the devil in the white city and i've been missing binny's and i miss my chicago brother adam and i've watched divergent on tv three times not because i particularly like it, but because it takes place in futuristic chicago. the way i miss the windy city feels like a sickness sometimes, right down to my bones. i can't really write or talk about it much because it makes me really pretty morose and sad.

and i wonder if it's a part of the human condition to want to be, as this blog post title says, anywhere but here.

[ music | devotchka, "all the sand in the sea" ]