Thursday, December 11, 2008

My world on paper

Working at Rogers Publishing, I'm privy to quite a few good-quality consumer magazines: Chatelaine (my book!), Flare, Lou Lou, Glow, Hello Canada, even Today's Parent, should I want to brush up on my child-rearing skills early. But it is Maclean's that really makes my heart go pitter-patter. I already subscribed before starting at Rogers ($3/month on your Rogers bill if you're a Rogers customer! Subscribe now, dammit!) and now I get to see it before it even hits newsstands! And a few weeks ago, I was with the Production Manager looking at "the wall" (where all the pages are posted so the edit team can see how it all looks) and Andrew Coyne walked thisclose (THISCLOSE!) to me!

And - AND - come February, my department will be moving to the same floor as my second-most favourite magazine. Joy! Bliss! Let the Steve Maich stalking begin! (Despite his right-ish leanings.)

Now if only Rogers could acquire The Hockey News my world would be complete.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holidays and humbugs

I really love the Christmas season but going to visit my family in Parry Sound is always a little bittersweet. As much as I love to see my mom and dad and brother, it's the extended family that I can really do without. The problem is that I don't relate to them any more (except in the genetic sense, of course).

I've got a university degree and a post-graduate college diploma. I have worked/do work for some of the biggest publishing companies in North America, on some of the biggest accounts in North America and Canada. I live independently in Toronto and pay my own way. I'm a self-taught knitter, a rather passionate hockey fan and make a mean chocolate chip cookie. I think I've done and am doing pretty good for myself.

My family...well, they're still in Parry Sound. They have significant others, children, houses/live at home, have dropped out of post-secondary or didn't go at all. I'm not faulting any of them for the decisions they have made, but our life paths are SO DIFFERENT. And the kicker? I'm single and that seems to be the only thing that they understand. So, despite what I've accomplished, I'm told that my Prince Charming will come and my family hopes I find a good man who will take care of me.

Right. Thanks for that. It's a bit of a silver lining that, this year, I'm only going to be up there for four days.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Damn politics

Okay, I totally get that the current political situation in Canada is a pretty big one and that the outcome is going to be pretty big. The boys are not just going to pack up their hockey sticks and head home from the rink.

What I don't understand is why no one seems capable of having a rational, calm, normal, point-counterpoint conversation with me about this. I'm a Liberal. I voted Liberal in the election. I was a little happy Dion lost by so much because he's not my first choice as party leader and this loss meant a new leader. While I'd rather not see Harper in power, I'm still not sure how I feel about this coalition. But this is all beside the point; anyone I know who is/was/might be Conservative seems to think that I'm either a socialist or because I was so stupid to vote for/support Dion that I can be easily swayed to the Conservative side now. And the second I bring up anything even remotely political I get yelled at or insulted for having a differing opinion.

Honestly. I'm all for different opinions. I welcome them! Let's discuss! I'll listen to you...but why the hell is it so hard for you to listen to me?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In a bad state

I saw a poster at my gym the other day, some kind of new member pitch poster, describing the "state-of-the-art" facilities my gym offers. It should be said that my gym is about as basic as they come. If my gym were to be a video game console, it would be a Super Nintendo. Far FAR removed from the Xbox 360s of the world.

Sure, the poster was there to entice visitors to join the gym, to make them aware of all the great things the place offers, even though the facilities are far from "state-of-the-art". Everything seems to be state-of-the-art these days. It's one of those words that is so overused the original meaning is all but lost.

For the record:

(noun) the latest and most sophisticated or advanced stage of a technology, art, or science.

This is not my gym. It makes me sad to see words like this being used so freely and so incorrectly when there is a thesaurus out there somewhere just waiting - nay, begging - to be picked up so a suitable synonym can be found. Think about it: if everything was state-of-the-art then nothing would be state-of-the-art because state-of-the-art is the most sophisticated and advanced stage of something. If everything is the most advanced, then nothing can be more advanced and the whole term is out the window.

So let's just keep it where it belongs (i.e. not my gym) and allow it to live just a little longer.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Today at work I had my first driven-to-drink day. I feel like I've been properly initiated at the new job now. My three-month review is coming up as well so it all just seems appropriate.

But despite the frustration and the drama and the head-shaking and the "Surprise! It's due now!" parts of the day I left the office laughing. And I will carry this over to tomorrow night when I can sit down for that drink or four and just giggle at the fallacy of it all.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Really, who thinks clowns are funny?

When I started this blog, I liked the idea of choosing a word to define the post and how I was feeling, but now I'm kind of moving on the gimmickyness of that. I'm sure I will still do it when the moment strikes but not every post. In fact, not being able to think of a "good" enough word has kept me from posting and I'd rather just post.

The Santa Claus Parade is today. Why are there so many clowns? WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY??? There is nothing festive or Christmasy or happy or joyous about clowns. In fact, they are easily the scariest, creepiest, most horrid things ever to be created. Honestly, who thinks that clowns are funny? Shudder. Stupid horrible awful things. I actually may not be able to get through the parade. Although even if they got rid of the clowns, Susan Hay and Leslie Roberts and their commentary are enough to make my ears bleed.

Sigh. Oh well. I won't let this ruin my Christmas spirit. I must get ready to put the Christmas tree up. JOY!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ho Ho Ho!

Christ-mas: (noun) the annual festival of the Christian church commemorating the birth of Jesus: celebrated on December 25 and now generally observed as a legal holiday and an occasion for exchanging gifts.

Christmas is coming. I don't care if it's not even past Halloween yet. Christmas is coming! In fact, through the wonders of Facebook statuses, I have learned that The Bay is even transforming their window into Christmas goodness already! JOY!

I love Christmas so much. I'm contemplating putting up my tree on Sunday. That's not too early, right? AND I've got about half of my Christmas shopping done, which is wonderful. Some of my Christmas gifts are hand-knitted wonders and right now, I'm almost halfway through a scarf for my mom. Scarves take sooooo loooooong. Seriously, I've been putting in three hours some nights and I feel like I'm getting nowhere. This is why I enjoy mittens. I can knock off a mitten in a day. But I've already done the mittens and now Mom is getting a matching scarf. Hat is next.

But it's all okay, hand cramps and all, because it's for Mom. And it's for CHRISTMAS.

I'll have to post some pictures of my knitted items but not until after the holidays, as some things are gifts and I don't want to give them away.

Monday, October 27, 2008

You must remember this

mem-o-ry: (noun) the mental capacity or faculty of retaining and reviving facts, events, impressions, etc., or of recalling or recognizing previous experiences.

It's strange how some random and irrelevant tidbits of the past can stick with a person, while major things can go completely unretained.

When I was in grade seven, my mom bought me a Stephen King book for Christmas. This started a four-year run of reading all things King but also spilled over into other horror writers, including Dean Koontz and Peter Straub. There was one book I read that I cannot remember the title of and I believe was written by Peter Straub but I can't be sure...but what I do remember is that one of the bad guys in whatever was going on had pores the size of the head of a matchstick.

Why do I remember this? No idea. Why can't I remember, say, my professor's explanation of The Wizard of Oz and how it represented the American economy at the time it was written? I really do wish I could remember that because it was cool.

I can also remember my phone number from when I was six. The last four digits were very close to the number for the doctors' offices main reception in my hometown, so people kept calling for their doctor. For that reason, I also remember the phone number for those offices.

But no matter how many times I bake chocolate chip cookies, I can't remember the recipe.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


printing press: (noun) a machine, as a cylinder press or rotary press, for printing on paper or the like from type, plates, etc.

I'm a little bit of a nerd when it comes to certain aspects of my job. I work in print production for Chatelaine magazine and I get maybe a bit too excited when I get to see the printing presses. They are web presses and they are HUGE so the plant is, of course, not local. Today I got to go to Owen Sound (bah) to tour the plant we will soon be printing with. And the plant is AWESOME.

Web presses use paper that comes on huge rolls (rather than in individual sheets) and the paper goes so fast through the press and the colours are printed and then the paper is folded and trimmed and bound and - voila! - you have a magazine. What I find so cool is the sheer scale of the operation.

These presses are bigger than most Toronto condo units. They have flights (yes, plural) of stairs to get to the top of them. One roll of paper would fill my bathroom. There are vats of ink that I could drown in. The paper moves so fast through the presses that it doesn't look like it's moving. And then it makes a 90-degree turn without ripping or folding or smudging and then it goes into an enclosed area and comes out folded and ready to bind.

I love it. All of it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

For shame

shame: (noun) the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.

Since many people today seem to compensate for their lack of common sense with their overabundance of laziness, I think it should be completely and totally acceptable to shame people into doing what is most common-sensical.

For example:

When someone at my office gets on the elevator on the ground floor and takes it up one floor, it should be absolutely fine for me to make a comment about their laziness and inconsideration for taking up space in the elevator and for making an extra stop when the rest of us have to go many more floors. (It should be noted that there is a lovely double staircase in the lobby of my building that is a nicer and faster way to go from the ground to the second floor and that the stairwells are nice and wide and full of windows and not at all dodgy and very nice to walk up and down when going between, say, the 7th and 8th floors.) I don't think the comments should be directed at the person; I'd rather pontificate to the packed elevator, "Wow, can you believe how lazy some people are? No wonder obesity is such a problem."


When I can't get on the streetcar because the back-door-challenges imbeciles of the world decide the front doors are the only way they can possibly exit. I have seen some streetcar drivers make comments, but not nearly enough. I'd prefer it to be deemed proper to ask the offenders, "Why are you incapable of understanding that passengers can only get on through the front doors and, therefore, you should not be an ignorant prat and should exit through the back doors?" No swearing, no threats, just ask them why they're dumb.


When two (or more) people decide the best place to stop for a conversation is in the middle of a busy sidewalk or right in a doorway. I'm actually working my way up to making comments to these idiotic oafs; right now I just glare and push. But really, why not? Again, no swearing or threatening or yelling. Simply comment on the situation in an attempt to shame the offenders into thinking a little clearer next time: "What makes you think it's appropriate to hold your conversation in the way of dozens of others? Would you stop dead in the middle of the 401? I hope you don't drive because people will die."

Those are the three big ones I can think of right now. I try to be patient, I really do. And I take things into consideration, like children and strollers and such. But really, people are just dumb and I think it's high time they know it. And, by all means, if I'm discovered to be such an offender, then I deserve to be shamed too.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

X marks the spot

de-moc-ra-cy: (noun) government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

I'm glad we're voting next Tuesday. I've got complete election fatigue. It's mainly because of the U.S. election but that's been enough to even make me not care as much about the Canadian election. Really, if I have to see one more headline about Sarah Palin in a Canadian newspaper, I just might have to declare a moratorium on media until November. Even my beloved Maclean's has a cover tag line about her.

Now I totally love and adore Tina Fey's take on all of it but beyond that, I'm kinda done. I guess it scares me a little that people could actually consider voting for someone who can see Russia from her house and doesn't know what magazines she reads. And this is good for women? Sigh.

As for Canada, I'll call it right now: Conservative minority. Double sigh.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A letter to Jim

per-sist: (verb) to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, esp. in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc.

Dear Mr. Balsillie

There has been speculation in various media outlets that you just might be back in the picture for part-ownership of the Nashville Predators. This fills me with much joy. I would like nothing more than to see you become the owner of an NHL franchise. Wait, there is one thing I would like more: for you to bring your team to Hamilton.

I am a life-long hockey fan who unfortunately lives in Toronto. This means that any NHL game I might want to attend comes with exorbitant ticket prices (when tickets are even available) and an incredibly sub-standard product on the ice. In business terms, buying incredibly expensive tickets to see the Toronto Maple Leafs play an uninspired game and inevitably lose is a terrible return-on-investment.

I very much want to see the Tampa Bay Lightning play this year but I simply cannot afford to go to a game at the Air Canada Centre. If you were to bring your team to Hamilton, I’m sure the cost of transportation to and from the game, accommodations, tickets, food and beer would come in less than the price of just one ticket for the Maple Laughs.

As I mentioned before, I am a hockey fan. This is why I was thrilled to attend – and watch you play – at the Festival Cup during the Toronto International Film Festival. I want to be able to see other teams and players and I believe this should be accessible to hockey fans. MLSE has made sure this is not the case and they have even gone on record saying they don’t particularly care about winning the Stanley Cup.

Even if you are unable to buy into the Predators or are unable to bring them to Ontario once you do, I have faith that one day you will put another team in Southern Ontario and I will be able to not just boycott the Maple Leafs but also MLSE for keeping true fans such as myself so far away from the game.

I have a question for you, Mr. Balsillie. As a very successful business man, you are able to afford certain luxuries. Could you please explain to me why other men and women who are able to afford such luxuries choose to spend on the Maple Leafs? Why –WHY? – do these smart, successful, capable people want to spend their hard-earned money and precious spare time on something so shitty?

I look forward to the day I can purchase my official NHL Hamilton jersey.


A Hockey Fan

Monday, September 29, 2008


lit-e-ra-ti: (pl. noun, singular -ra-tus) persons of scholarly or literary attainments; intellectuals.

Word on the Street
was yesterday. I love Word on the Street. Seriously truly madly deeply love it. There's just something so exhilarating about seeing all those vendors grouped in Queen's Park but all there for the same reason: the love of printed matter. I was a little put off by Warner Bros. Nights in Rodanthe booth but no one was paying it much attention so that made me feel a bit better.

My coup of the day, though, was the purchase of Watchmen. I think I might have squealed with glee when I found it; my excitement led to a conversation with another book-lover and two other people overheard us and both promptly bought the book as well. Hurrah! I feel so proud to contribute to the book buying of others.

But Watchmen...Watchmen. I didn't know much about the book until I saw the movie trailer before The Dark Knight. Just from watching the trailer, I really didn't care if I ever knew the story because the movie looks so bloody brilliant. But then I learned more about the story and also learned that Watchmen is the only graphic novel on Time Magazine's Top 100 Novels list. (It was this fact that has inspired me to read the entire list. I start on Wednesday.)

I have also just finished rearranging my bookshelves and I'm currently gazing lovingly at my many beautiful many still unread. But they can wait until I'm done with Time's list. The Globe and Mail is also doing a series on the 50 Greatest Books and I'm thinking that might be the next list I tackle. Must represent the Canuck opinion, right?

Oh Word on the Street, why can't you be every Sunday?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

No more excuses

la-zy: (adjective) averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent.
la-zy: (adjective) (of a livestock brand) placed on its side instead of upright. **who knew?**

Egad. I have been thinking a lot about blogging but, of course, thinking is not doing. But I want to get back to it because there are things happening right now that I want to blog about: my new job, the publishing world, what not to wear to work, the Canadian election, the U.S. election, weight loss, feminism, pink ribbons, hockey, mental health, my two-week headache.

Oh, and I’ve decided to start my next “project” on October 1. I’ve decided to read all the books on Time Magazine’s 100 Best Novels of All Time list. And I’m going to blog about it here. I’ve already picked the first three books I’m going to tackle but that will be in the other blog, as will my reasons for reading all those books and for picking the Time list as my guiding light.

I was planning on starting all this at the beginning of September, but I’ve been busier than expected this month (and the two-week headache didn’t help things much). But now that it’s really, finally, officially fall I feel more inspired to start all those things I put off in the haze of summer. Fall is my absolute favourite time of year so I really feel ready to get some stuff done. Really, it will just be reading and knitting…but I can’t think of anything else I could want.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I like sentences. Full stop.

punc-tu-a-tion: (noun) the practice or system of using certain conventional marks or characters in writing or printing in order to separate elements and make the meaning clear, as in ending a sentence or separating clauses.

I was once told that it took 30 days to form a habit. My plan, then, was to post every day in September and hopefully form a (better) blogging habit. Alas, here it is the 9th of the month and I'm on my, what is it?, 2nd post. But really, what can you do?

I am going to start posting more, particularly about hockey, as it is about to start soon. JOY. But before I can do that, I must go read Doctor Sax by Jack Kerouac. It's for my book club. Book club is this Saturday. I'm only 50 pages into the 250-something-page book so I told myself I would read 50 pages a night, Monday through Friday, until I was done. I still have to do my 50 pages tonight and it's 10:45 pm. It's not that I don't want to read. I like reading. It's just that I really like reading books that have proper sentences and periods and commas and thoughts that start and finish within a few lines of each other. I like structure. I'm a structure girl. A complete, full-stop sentence is a beautiful thing. A properly-used comma can give me shivers. And a well-placed semi-colon...pure bliss.

But this run-on nonsense? Almost enough to turn me into a mathematician. See, it's all about structure.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Olympic #5: Green

re-ward: (noun) something given or received in return or recompense for service, merit, hardship, etc.

Yes, I know at the end of my last post I said this would be the "white" entry on the Olympics, but then I remembered that the last colour is green, not white, as white in the background of the flag. So I'm a bit of an idiot. I'm okay with that.

But back to green and - what else? - money. I'm not going to post about funding for amateur athletics, because I did touch on that in the "red" entry and because there's not much to say other than Canada needs to give more money. I'd rather talk about the financial compensation the individual athletes receive when they win a medal.

The Beijing Olympics marked the first Games where Canada gave money to its medaling athletes. Other countries are already doing this and Canada comes close to what some are offering, there are some countries that are giving a lot more. I think it's great that Canada is giving monetary rewards to the athletes that win medals and I hope, as a country, we're able to keep it up.

What makes me wonder - and worry - is whether pro athletes who compete in the Olympics also get moolah if they medal. For example, in Vancouver in 2010, let's just say, for instance, that Canada's men's hockey team had a chance to win a gold medal. Not that crazy. But that team will be made up entirely of NHL players. Top-notch NHL players. Multi-million-dollar-contract NHL players. Now, I don't think pro athletes should be in any amateur sporting event ever (but that's for another post) but I know Canada will send NHLers to Vancouver - as will every other hockey nation with NHL players to send. I'll be watching with interest to see what they do with their medal money. Of course, I cannot fathom that anything other than donations to charity will occur...right?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Olympics #4: Blue

judge: (noun) a person appointed to decide in any competition, contest, or matter at issue; authorized arbiter.

Yes, I know it's been a week since the Olympics ended and I still haven't finished my Olympics blogs, but it's been a busy week, what with a new job and all. But I still want to finish this, so here goes...

In Beijing, it was mentioned several times about the judges being the ones in the blue jackets at the judging events (hence the "blue" relevancy). With any judged competition, there will be unhappy competitors, questions, challenges and downright disregard for how the judges award their points and who is the eventual winner. With the last Olympics, it feels a bit like this started right away.

Canadian gymnast Kyle Shewfelt competed on the first day of the Games and, as the defending gold medalist, carried some heavy expectations. But he failed to advance to the finals and both he and his coach questioned the judges. Right out of the gates, the judging was questioned. And it kept going throughout the games and not just with the Canadians.

Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian threw his bronze medal on the mat because he wasn't happy with the way his match was judged. He was later stripped of his medal for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Ivett Gonda (Canadian) was favoured to win a medal in taekwondo, but lost her first match and lodged a protest over the judging.

U.S. boxer Demitrius Andrade blamed the judges for his loss, saying he was landing plenty of punches. And as a result of judging during the Games, the International Boxing Association is investigating manipulation of bouts.

In women's gymnastics, silver-medalist Nastia Liukin (U.S.) and her father/coach were confused when she won the silver, despite tying for first with Chinese gymnast He Kexin; the Liukins blamed an Australian judge for being biased against Nastia.

There was judging controversy in fencing, dressage in equestrian, and shooting.

Even Fidel Castro weighed in, blaming corrupt judges for Cuba's poor showing at the Games.

Of course, this is nothing new. As long as winners are decided by other people and not the clock or the final score, there will be problems. I was discussing this with a friend and her opinion was that any judged sport should not be allowed in the Olympics because it can be corrupted and biased and unfair. Like any controversy - be it about doping, the age of gymnasts, CGI fireworks or judging - it gets me down because I'd like to believe the athletes, who have worked so hard to get to where they are, can win and lose on their own merits. I'd also like to believe that David Copperfield is a real magician.

As long as there are judged sports in the Olympics, there will be problems with the judging. Investigate and change rules and have meetings and do whatever makes you happy. When it's up to one group of people to pass judgment on another group, there will always be unhappy endings.

Up next: White - um, still working on this one.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympics #3: Yellow (a.k.a. gold)

great-est: (noun) a person who has achieved importance or distinction in a field.

Michael Phelps is a pretty great athlete. So great, in fact, that during the Olympics various media were running stories on Phelps being the greatest Olympic athlete ever and there were several online polls asking who was the greatest Olympic athlete.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no greatest Olympic athlete ever.

I'm not trying to take away from anything Michael Phelps has accomplished because he has accomplished quite a bit and he's worked hard to get where he is and he's earned it all. And when he came to these Olympics, his goal was to win eight gold medals, topping the seven won by Mark Spitz back in 1972. It took 36 years for an athlete to top this feat. In that time, things changed, as they happen to over 36 years. Better training regimes, better diets, better fitness programs, even better swimsuits all contribute to creating an athlete good enough to top Spitz's performance. But it took 36 years. By saying Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympic athlete ever is to take away from what Mark Spitz accomplished. And, really, is Michael better than Nadia or Mary-Lou? Is he better than Carl Lewis or Donovan Bailey? Is he better than Ian Thorpe or Dara Torres? And there are so many more...

While I don't think he's the greatest Olympic athlete ever, I do think he is the greatest Olympic athlete of his generation. And he will continue to be a great athlete and he will compete again in London in 2012, but who knows when the next "greatest" thing will come along and suddenly nine gold medals at one Games becomes the new standard.

Michael Phelps did (and will do) great things. He's fun to watch. He made history. And he deserves his accolades. But there will be others who will also deserve accolades when they accomplish great things. Why do we need to take away from Michael Phelps (or Mark Spitz or Nadia Comeneci or Carl Lewis) by calling the next person "the greatest ever"?

Up next: blue - of judges, judging and being judged

Friday, August 22, 2008

Olympics #2: Red

pride: (noun) something that causes a person or persons to be proud.

For those of you who know me on Facebook, my opinions (read: status updates) of the Canadian Olympic team during the first week were rather blunt; mainly, I wasn't impressed. My biggest issue came in swimming, with numerous Canadian swimmers posting national records while consistently finishing sixth, seventh, eighth or even out of the finals. And my thoughts on this go two ways.

First, why are we sending athletes who really can't seem to compete internationally at this level? Second, why aren't our athletes good enough to compete and win internationally at this level?

I must say at this point that I am a firm believer in sponsoring amateur athletics and I always cheer for the red 'n' white at all international competitions. (Except when it's professional athletes competing in amateur competitions, but that's another post.) I want to see Canada do well. I want to see us win. I want to hear our anthem but I also want to see the silver and bronze medalists smiling and waving. (Of course, I'll still cheer on the fourth place finishes, but really, I want hardware dammit!)

So why is Canada sending athletes that don't seem to match up? The simple answer is because they qualify, during whichever trials/meets/tournaments/competitions for their sport count towards getting them to the Games. And I really can't argue with that. To say that Canada isn't good enough to go to the Olympics in certain sports is to say that only the top ten should go, rather than the top 50. And that would likely cut out many athletes and their respective countries and that would negate the spirit of international competition.

I guess the bigger issue (okay, I know the bigger issue) is why aren't we that good? Where is our Michael Phelps? Is it commitment? Is it talent? Is it coaching? Is it facilities? Or is it that wonderful F-word: funding? In honour of the 2010 Games in Vancouver, Canada has instituted the Own the Podium program, aimed at getting our Winter athletes on the podium. Why do we need to host the Games to care about doing well? The response to this question is the Road to Excellence program, which started in 2006, even though Own the Podium started in 2005.

While both initiatives aim to help develop our amateur athletes, it seems we really only care about 2010 in Vancouver. As the host nation, of course we should care, but as a country we should care every time we send athletes to compete and we should continue to care about and support and fund our athletes for every Games we plan on attending. We have the talent. We have the commitment. We have the coaching. We have more than hockey to be proud of.

So, here's to Tonya Verbeek, Carol Huynh, Simon Whitfield, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, Karine Sergerie, Ryan Cochrane, Melanie Kok, Tracy Cameron, Ian Brambell, John Beare, Mike Lewis, Liam Parsons, David Calder, Scott Frandsen, Kevin Light, Ben Rutledge, Andrew Byrnes, Jake Wetzel, Malcolm Howard, Dominic Seiterle, Adam Kreek, Kyle Hamilton, Brian Price, Karen Cockburn, Jason Burnett, Eric Lamaze, Mac Cone, Jill Henselwood, Ian Millar, Emilie Heymans, Alexandre Despatie and Thomas Hall for being do damned awesome and running up that medal count.


***An interesting note: at the time of this post, Canada has 17 medals and is in 17th place. However, we are behind Romania (who is tied for 14th place). Romania only has eight medals but four are gold. Canada has three gold medals. It saddens me a little that it's apparently gold or bust.***

Up next: Yellow (a.k.a. gold) - Michael Phelps

One more thing...

post-script: (noun) any addition or supplement, as one appended by a writer to a book to supply further information.

I just wanted to add a further comment to my previous post, about the Olympics and the idea of "fudging" the truth.

There has been a lot of controversy over the age of He Kexin, the Chinese gymnast who wowed everyone with her skill and won two gold medals, which has been going on pretty much since the start of the Games. Documentation confirming her age has been challenged and China as a country as pretty much been called a cheater in hiding her real age. I wanted to wait until the outcome of this before commenting, but regardless of what the official ruling is, I think this entire saga is a black mark against the IOC.

I am more than amazed at how lazy the IOC has been in firmly and strongly stating their position on this issue. Whether or not He Kexin is underage seems to be a moot point now; the bigger issue is why did the IOC let this carry on for so long?

The motto of the Olympics is Higher, Faster, Stronger. From the beginning, the IOC has tried (weakly) to say He is of age. To me, they should have taken the HIGHER road and addressed this issue when it first arose. Then the committee should have been FASTER in making their conclusions known. Finally, they should have been STRONGER in sticking with their conclusion. One can make as many arguments as one pleases, about cheating and denying the rightful winners the chance to hear their anthem and be all political and what-have-you.

As a huge fan of the Olympics, I want to stand by the decision (whatever it may be) of the IOC and not the allegations of some (computer expert) blogger. But right now I feel a great disappointment in the International Olympics Committee for not addressing this issue thoroughly and properly when it first arose. This is not just about the Americans being bumped from silver to gold. It is about a young athlete being called into question, an entire country being accused of cheating and an international athletics competition being demeaned and devalued.

When was China's Olympic team announced? Why weren't all ages confirmed then? Why has this been allowed to drag on? This makes no sense to me and should not have been allowed to happen.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympics #1: Black

O-lym-pic Games: (pl. noun) A group of modern international athletic contests held as separate winter and summer competitions every four years in a different city. In 1994 the winter games were moved ahead two years so that the winter and summer games would alternate every two years. Also called Olympics.

I love the Olympics. If I had it my way, there would be Olympic games every other month or so. But since that will never happen, I will have to settle for every two year (as I'm both a Summer Games and Winter Games junkie).

And of course, things have happened during the Games and of course, I've got a few thoughts on these things. So I've decided to devote a five blog mini-series (one blog entry per ring) to the 2008 Summer Olympics.

il-lu-sion: (noun) something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.

Usually the biggest black mark against any Olympic Games is the threat of steroids and other drug use. Now, it's really at the point where we're more surprised when fewer people are caught. But I have to say I was a little disappointed in the black marks that have arisen against the Opening Ceremonies.

The Opening Ceremonies were absolutely stunning, no question about that. The thing that got me was that some of the fireworks were pre-recorded and enhanced and the little girl who sang was actually lip-synching to the voice of another girl who wasn't pretty enough. I think the Games lose a bit of their integrity if we can't even get through the Opening Ceremonies without performance enhancement.

Up next: Red - my thoughts on Canada's team

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's big news I tell ya

awe-some: (adjective) Slang: very impressive.

Eeep. I've been rather tardy of late. My excuse is vacation. I was in good ol' Parry Sound last week and it was lovely. I had originally planned to blog while I was up there but days were spent at the beach and evenings were spent watching the Olympics and drinking wine with Mom. Much too fun to pass up for silly old blogging.

But I'm back now and I've got news. Big news. Awesome news. Super-dee-duper-tastic news.

I start my new job with Chatelaine on August 26.

It still really hasn't sunk in and I almost don't believe it, but it's true. Li'l ol' me at Chatelaine. How cool is that?!?!?!!??!?! Aah. Things are pretty good right about now.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The waiting is the hardest part

ex-pec-ta-tions: (noun) the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.

I have some. Big ones actually. For tomorrow. For better or for worse. And I'm nervous. And worried. And anxious. So I'm pretty much just being me. But tomorrow is where it's at. So we'll see what happens.

*deep breath*

Saturday, August 2, 2008

On age

age: (noun) a period of human life, measured by years from birth, usually marked by a certain stage or degree of mental or physical development and involving legal responsibility and capacity.

I was at Second Cup today and while buying my latte picked up a voucher/flyer/thingy to do an online survey and win things.

When I had completed the survey, I had to select my age and immediately went for the "18-24" choice. I had to actually stop and think about how old I am. I'm 28. Sigh.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Of money and happiness

pri-or-i-ty: (adjective) highest or higher in importance, rank, privilege, etc.

I've noticed something interesting lately. My mom and I talk about my job/work/career path regularly and she is constantly trying to get me to enter the public sector. (Aside: my mom works for the federal government.) She thinks I should gun for the government - provincial or federal - because the money is generally pretty good. So I've looked, just to see what's available and if there is anything that interests me. Thing is, pretty much all the government jobs I find I'm qualified for fall within the "administrative" category.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with working in an administrative capacity. This doesn't always mean you're stuck answering phones and ordering Post-It notes. Depending on the job and the part of government, an admin job could be interesting and fulfilling and enjoyable. And, being government, much better paying than private sector. Thing is, though, I've made choices in post-secondary schooling that would hopefully allow me to find a career in an industry I love, doing something I love, and (ideally) making a good paycheque. Based on my schooling, I have decided that publishing is where I want to be. I love books and magazines and reading and words and all the stuff that goes into getting those words onto those pages that we can read. And I want to work in this world.

Of course, I did happen to choose an industry that can pay rather lower than one would wish, but I've done okay thus far finding gainful (enough) employment. And I continue to look and I am trying - really I am! - to get to a place where I can start to really build my career. My mom, though, wants what any mother wants for her child: a job that pays oodles. I would love to make some of those government admin salaries I see on the job boards, but only if said salary is attached to a job I really want to be doing.

And there lies the difference between my mother and I, at least where our respective careers are concerned. My mom has done her time in the workforce, she has had her share of jobs around raising two children and she is now at a place where she wants security and a steady paycheque that will (hopefully) increase year after year. I, on the other hand, am really just starting out and I'm still looking for that place where I can build a career. Maybe I'll never find that company I can spend 30 years at (does anyone even do that any more?) but at least I have found an industry I want to spend the next 30+ years working in. Even if that means working for less than my mother would like.

The trouble comes when I try to explain to my mom why I don't want that admin job with the province. I've worked too many jobs that make me miserable to be willing to risk continued misery for more money. She just wants to see me do well. Sometimes, doing well can't be measured by how much you take home each month.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


vi-o-la-tion: (noun) a breach, infringement, or transgression, as of a law, rule, promise, etc.

Okay, so I'm sure everyone and their uncle has heard about this and I'm sure we all share the same feelings of horror and shock and disbelief.

And I know it's being considered completely random, as I'm sure it was. But I've been taking buses for many years - a bus being the most convenient and economic choice for going to Parry Sound - and I never really stopped to think that there is no security. No one checks luggage. No one scans luggage. No metal detectors. No assigned seats. It's a free-for-all, really. Buy your ticket, show up for any departure time that leads to your destination and off you go.

It never occurred to me to think about the lack of security or potential for danger. And to be honest, I kind of liked not thinking about it. I liked the idea of taking a safe, friendly, open means of transportation to my safe, friendly, open home town. Even if no one ever gets hurt ever again on any bus ever in Canada, I will forever feel just a bit nervous, a bit more on edge, every time I board a bus. And that makes me sad.

My heart goes out to the family of the victim. I can't even imagine what they must be going through. So horrible, so sad.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Between the past and the future

face-book: (noun) a publication for an organization, such as a school or business, which helps members identify each other; also, an online version of this, with profiles including a picture, name, birthdate, interests, etc. ***I love that there is a dictionary definition for this word***

While my infatuation with Facebook has started to wane, I do find there are things that still fascinate me with the site. Most recently, it has been the advent of profiles of my little cousins (i.e. children of my first cousins) and our subsequent "friendships". Two things have profoundly struck me from this.

1 - These are kids whose diapers I used to change. Kids that I played Thomas the Tank Engine with. Kids whose hands I held while they toddled along, figuring out how to walk. Kids who now post pictures of themselves in twisty gymnastics poses and graduate grade eight and get jobs and it makes me feel old. I'm not old, not by far, but this make me feel old.

2 - The next generation of children cannot spell. I would say it's atrocious if I didn't find it so damn frightening. Sure, they've got all the LOLs and OMGs and ROFLs down no problemo. But they don't know "your" from "you're" and they miss letters and spell names differently from picture to picture. C'mon! When you make a typo on Facebook, a little red squiggly line appears under it so you know it's wrong!

So I feel old, but I feel smart, but I also feel afraid, as this is the generation that will one day lead this fine country and be in charge of me in my geriatric days. I can see us all now rocking out in The OMG Home for Hipster Seniors - LOL!

Monday, July 28, 2008

A fork in the road?

cri-sis: (noun) a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, esp. for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.

I had a moment of crisis yesterday. Well, two moments if you count my inability to find the Dominion along College St., as I was convinced it was at College & Grace and only after wandering up and down Grace St. did I decide I should perhaps move a little further west and - much to my delight - discovered the Dominion at College and Crawford. I suck at geography. Always have. Always will. I don't think Mr. Jamieson ever did forgive me for carrying on with history.


Back to the crisis. As I didn't have my iPod with me on this shopping trip (by choice, as I do enjoy listening to the sounds of the city from time to time) I found myself becoming rather introspective and trying to figure out what it is I should do next. This thought stream sprang from the fact that it was Sunday and I was facing another work week at a job I'd rather never return to, which led to contemplating the various drastic things I could do to keep from returning to said job.

As I was saying...

I began to truly, honestly, seriously consider packing it all in and laying down roots somewhere else. Where? Well, Halifax popped into my head, if only because I know a few people out there. Kitchener also came up, as I have family there I could stay with while getting established. La belle province came and went as fast as one can say "parlez-vous Francais?" (non) and even - shudder - the possibility of returning to the Parry Sound-Muskoka political riding-area-place-thing. But of course (of course) none of this is because I want to pull up shop and plop down somewhere else and restart my life. It's because I think I've done a pretty damn good job of getting myself established in Toronto. I've got good livin', I pay my bills on time and pay down my loans and still have a bit left for some fun times, I'm well-educated and happy with my schooling (yes, despite my grumblings about York U., I don't regret it). No, the whole idea of moving came from the fact that I would rather uproot myself and cram all my belongings in the back of a Discount rental cube van than go back to my job.

Of course, once I was back home I thought things through a little more clearly and (of course) came to the logical conclusion that all I have to do is stick it out and keep looking and trying and striving to make it better. Because I've been here long enough now and I've come too far to just walk away because of one bad decision I made. And considering the abundance of bad decisions I have made and survived, I know I can get through this one too.

And remember when I said I had that feeling, like something was going to happen? Well, slowly but surely, that is coming true because things are they affect me has yet to become clear but it's happening. Giddy up.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I'm a regular Professor Trelawney

in-tu-i-tion: (noun) direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension.

I feel great today. Really, really great. Super great. Awesome great. Totally great.

Why? Not really sure.

But it's like some weight has been lifted. I feel buoyed. I feel energetic. I feel reinvigorated. I feel re-energized. Which is strange because there has been no physical, measurable change in my life to warrant this newfound joy. I say this is strange because there are certain situations in my life that are causing me a great deal of grief and irritation and general unpleasantness.

I also feel like something is going to happen. You know that feeling you get, that you can't really describe and isn't menstrual cramps or indigestion but this weird, flip-floppy stomach feeling that something - something - is going to happen? And it could be big or small, it could be directly beneficial or tacitly worthwhile, it could affect just you or you and everyone else - but it's something. And it's coming. And it has nothing to do with Cloverfield.

I feel almost vomitty in excitement and anticipation. I guess I'm mostly sure why I feel so good, but I don't know what it is that's going to happen.

Really, I'm not trying to be Jo-Jo's Psychic Alliance here or anything. Nor do I think it's just a high-pressure system bringing in a thunderstorm. All I know is I feel happy and optimistic and even a little giddy. And I feel that a li'l sumpin'-sumpin' is comin'.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

iWant Redux

want: (verb) to feel inclined; wish; like.
want: (noun) the state of being without something desired or needed; need.

"What do you want?"

Such a simple question. Only four little words, after all. Monosyllabic at that. So innocent, so unassuming.

Yet so fully loaded.

I used to think (and still do think, as a matter of fact) that what I want is actually pretty simple because I don't want a huge house or fancy cars or several yearly exotic vacations or lots of material things (notable exception: books, cause I'm a nerd). That's not to say that if I were to come into all these things at some point in my life I would turn them down. It's more so that I don't strive for these things. I don't feel the need to have all that stuff to feel fulfilled and content.

So what do I want? I want structure. I want fulfillment. I want challenges. I want new opportunities to learn from. I want good people. I want laughter. I want optimism. That's not a daunting list, is it? That's not asking too much, right? Maybe that's why we strive for the material things in life. It's so much easier to buy a new SUV than it is to figure out how to get and maintain a positive emotional state.

Thing is, a lot of what I want I can control. I can choose to be optimistic. I can choose to fill my life with people I like and care about and who make me laugh. I can choose to live my a set of rules or a structure that works for my particular needs. That's the easy part, the individucal personal stuff. It's the other stuff that just gets so effing hard. I know what I not only want but need professionally and I know that I need to make a change, but right now I think it would just be easier to go buy a Vespa and call it a day. I know what I want from the relationships in my life but if the other person doesn't want the same thing, do I really just walk away? I also understand that life really is about compromise and I'm getting better at not compromising myself for the sake of others but that doesn't make it any easier when it comes to deciding what's best.

From all of this, the one thing I have learned is something I not only want, but need: to relax, to let go, to channel my inner Pisces and just be a free spirit. So often I create obstacles that don't exist and then use them as a reason to not pursue things. I get this from my mother; I don't fault her but I know that I need to work on this.

And maybe that's what I need to do to really get at what I want.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Da na na na na na na na

ex-cite-ment: (noun) an excited state or condition.

I am going to see The Dark Knight tonight. At midnight. In IMAX. (On IMAX? At IMAX?)


That is all.

Friday, July 11, 2008


out-rage: (noun) a powerful feeling of resentment or anger aroused by something perceived as an injury, insult, or injustice.

So, kids, do we know what today is? On the count of three...1...2...3...the iPhone comes to Canada today!

Um, so ... yeah?

The iPhone is here. Nay, not just the iPhone but the 3G iPhone that has had Apple-holics salivating for weeks and Apple-phobes wondering WTF. No matter which side of the fence you stand on, chances are you've heard all the media hubbub about Rogers not giving fair data plan rates and requiring you to sign a 3-year contract to get the phone. There's even a petition about it to force Rogers to change their tune. And they did - kinda - when they offered a $30/month data plan rate if you sign up before the end of August. In my office, there has been no end of bitching about Rogers monopolistic, price-gouging ways and I've heard ample whining from many corners about how unfair it all is (hmph!) and other countries get better deals (foot stomp) and this sucks (arms crossed)!

For me, I've got two minds about this. First: it's a phone. If you want one, you can get one. If you don't like the prices, get something else.

Second: I wonder how different society might be if we expressed this kind outrage and indignation about, say, child poverty or homelessness or gun violence or all the jobs being cut in Ontario right now. Imagine what might be accomplished if people decided that things needed to change, that we need more affordable housing or some real anti-gun legislation or that the economy of the province really needs to be looked at. When GM closed plants in Oshawa, there were blockades by workers and that got some media attention...but then a judge ordered them to go home and that was it. But iPhone is everywhere.

Now, I'm not trying to say Rogers is right in what they're doing with iPhone rates and contracts or trying to take an overly-political stance on various issues. Really, all I'm trying to say is that if we can get so worked up over a piece of electronics that will be upgrades within the year (if not six months) anyways, why can't we get more worked up about major issues that affect people every day? Is it because an individual doesnt want to have to personally sign a 3-year phone contract (the nerve!) but said individual has never been shot and can pay rent each month, so those issues aren't as relevant? Or are we too jaded with politicians and NGOs and not-for-profit groups that we don't think things can change? Or do we not know enough? Or do we just not care enough?

I can also freely admit that maybe I don't do enough to change the "bigger things" going on in society right now, but I also don't really care about data rates in Zimbabwe. I'm sure Zimbabweans don't particularly care either. But if customer outrage made Rogers change their rates (and this is the company that bought SkyDome, once considered an albatross [and maybe still considered so...]) so it's possible to make the big guys listen to the little guys. If people can get that angry over a phone, what else can we get angry about?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A better balance

bal-ance: (noun) a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.

I made a somewhat disheartening discovery this morning: I seem to be losing by transit-balance ability.

I never really thought this would happen. I just figured riding transit was like riding a bike and that you never really forgot how to juggle coffee, a book, a gym bag and an iPod while standing perfectly upright on a constantly lurching streetcar. But my abilities are slipping, due to the fact I almost took out some woman standing beside me when the streetcar jerked forward and I was neither holding the vertical bar (that's for rookies anyways) nor bracing myself with my feet (my standard).

Transit-balancing is an art, though, and something I have been working on all my years in Toronto. Now that I am at a job that doesn't require transit travel, I'm just not using those skills I've worked so hard to hone and it's showing. The paradox, of course, is that I relish being able to walk to most (if not all) destinations, personal and professional, as I tend to dislike transit in general and the TTC specifically. But there will always be those occasions when I must board the streetcar or subway or *shudder* bus and I'd rather not wipe out once aboard.

So now when I am forced to ride "the better way", I will channel the memories of smugly walking to the back of the streetcar and wedging myself among the throngs of passengers clinging desperately to any available handhold, knowing that I have the superhuman ability (work with me here) to plant my feet securely and withstand all jerking and lurching while calmly reading my book and drinking my coffee while deftly selecting whichever song I please on my iPod and staring pitifully, from behind my sunglasses, at those poor riders who have yet to fully develop their transit-balancing skills.

Yes, I was once there and I will be there again. I will not only get these skills back, but develop them to new levels and make all other transit riders envious of my abilities.

Or something like that.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Pity party for one

frus-tra-tion: (noun) a feeling of dissatisfaction, often accompanied by anxiety or depression, resulting from unfulfilled needs or unresolved problems.

I am presently going through another of my self-pity-yet-optimistic phases. Blah. I can't help but get caught up in all these people I know getting engaged or married, buying houses or condos, getting new jobs - and I can't help but wonder where I went wrong.

Of course I never did go wrong, not by any sense of the term, but I can't help feeling that way. It's a dangerous game to play, the "What-If?" game and I find myself playing it more and more. But no matter how many times I ask myself "What if...?" I know the answer and the answer is not what would work for me. Which is why I made the decisions I made when I made them. And I am not that hard off in life at all.

Sheesh - but all this discontent and questioning and wondering and "what-if?"-ing comes from disliking my current job. Isn't that how it always seems to work? One area of your life goes awry and, slowly but surely, everything else goes downhill? No? It's just me? Well, then...

Thing is, I'm okay to keep renting for awhile longer; I've got plans to start saving and I've just got to put those plans into action. Maybe I'm a little wistful for a wedding, but I'm sure it will come in good time and to someone who I should be marrying. As for work...I know I've just got to keep looking and being positive and all that Oprah-like thinking.

Doesn't make it any easier though.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Yay Canada! Boo work!

dread: (verb) to be reluctant to do, meet, or experience.

So today is a doubly great day as it is both Canada Day - Happy 141st Birthday Canada! - and the first day of free agency in the NHL. Oh how I love them both!

And while all that is fine and good, with Canada Day falling on a Tuesday, that means a middlish-of-the-week holiday. I do so very much love not being at work but unfortunately I have "Sunday night syndrome" in which I am in utter dread of returning to work. I. Don't. Want. To.

It's bad enough to go through it every Sunday night. Adding another day to the mix just sucks.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

All about numbers

quan-ti-fy: (verb - used with object) to give quantity to (something regarded as having only quality).

Why are we so afraid of numbers?

Age. Weight. Income. Debt. Savings. We really don't talk about them.

When I say "we", I don't mean society on a larger global scale. After all, we know lots of numbers at that level: deaths in Afghanistan, murders in Toronto, flood victims in Myanmar, fetuses in Angelina Jolie. The "we" I mean is more the personal, friend-level "we". And we don't talk about numbers.

However, I have had many political debates with my Conservative friends; I've discussed religion on a personal level with many people; I've discussed my sex life over a few pints. Name anything that might seem personal and chances are, we've talked about it: family history, personal insecurities, inappropriate crushes, gossip about friends.

But do you know how much money your friends make? How about their weight? Or how much they contribute to their RRSP?

Is this a woman thing? Something that springs from our desire to not reveal our weight and has spilled over to the other numbers in our lives? Do guys talk frankly about salary and personal debt?

Or is it because it's easier to judge someone based on those numbers? Your job title could be "project manager", but that is so very ambiguous. Or you have a boyfriend, so therefore you must be having sex, like, eleven thousand times a week - or at least more than your single friends. You voted in the last election, therefore you take an active role in politics.

Maybe, maybe not.

But if I know how much you have in the bank and how much you owe on your credit card and how much you make in a year and how much you weigh and how old you are, I have something tangible, something quantified, to judge you on. And I probably will judge you, for better or for worse (for both you and me).

Perhaps that's why we're so afraid. Because one can pass a more accurate judgment on someone based on their financial and personal numbers and we don't want to make ourselves that vulnerable to anyone else.

Regardless of the rationale, I'm not about to break with tradition. My number stay just that - mine.

(For a notable exception to my thinking, check this out.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep

a-larm: (noun) an automatic device that serves to call attention, to rouse from sleep, or to warn of fire, smoke, an intruder, etc.

Car alarms are among the stupidest thing ever. EVER. I honestly don't get it sometimes. I could hear one going off when I got home and it proceeded to squawk for about two minutes before anything was done about it. In two minutes, even a crappy car thief would have your Civic hot-wired and away.

In the fall, while walking down Queen St., a car alarm went off and the stupid driver was frantically flipping through the owner's manual trying to figure out how to turn it off. She finally figured it out...only to have the alarm start up again. My favourite part though was when she went back to the manual, apparently forgetting how to turn off her car alarm in the seven seconds that had elapsed since she had previously turned it off. Sigh.

My other favourite thing about car alarms was when I was in residence at York and, on pub nights, all these cars would be parked outside my residence (and, as it were, my window), while the owners partied it up at the nearby pub. Of course, car alarms would start going off but the owners certainly couldn't hear them, since they were dancing the pub night away. But I could hear them loud and clear (yes, there were pub nights I stayed in). Made me wish the cars would be stolen, just to show them.

I just don't get it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

At the end of the day...

cli-che: (noun) a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse, as sadder but wiser, or strong as an ox.

I hate cliches.
I mean, really really REALLY hate them. Not enough to completely stop using them, mind you, but when I do use them I try to be as tongue-in-cheek about it as possible, even if I'm the only one who realizes my tongue-in-cheekness.

That said, I have come to a sad realization: the more things change, the more they stay the same. This is related to a certain aspect of my life into which I will not delve any further at this time but which is apparently incredibly cliched. It is also sickly ironic that in the encyclopaedic excerpt for "cliche", there is a reference to the printing industry. I rest my case.

Note I: any time I hear someone utter the horrific phrase "At the end of the day", I become so enraged and want to inflict such great bodily harm on that person, I think my pupils might actually dilate as I begin to grow and turn green.

Note II: could someone tell me how to make the accent appear over the "e" in "cliche"? I don't know how to do it and it's rather irksome.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

It's all in my head

sub-lim-i-nal: (adjective) existing or operating below the threshold of consciousness; being or employing stimuli insufficiently intense to produce a discrete sensation but often being or designed to be intense enough to influence the mental processes or the behavior of the individual.

I'm sure, by now, that everyone knows about The Secret. I have toyed with the idea of buying the book and almost did yesterday, but put it back mainly because I've got some other things I should be spending my money on. That's not to say I won't get it at a later date, though. (And the funny thing about this is that I can be very pessimistic towards self-help books.)

But whether or not I actually buy the book, the idea behind it is a pretty simple one and one that I can implement on my own - thinking positively. It's easy to get down on yourself when things are kinda crappy and, with me, it's pretty easy for one simple thing to affect all areas of my life and really drag me down. And since there is one area that I'm not only not happy with but at present unable to easily change, I've been pretty miserable lately and I'd rather not be that way. So book or no book, I've just got to make the effort to think positively. Whether or not this will actually make things happen for me, I don't know, but at least if I think happy I will be happy. Or happier at least. And that's better than where I am now.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

NHL - National "Hokey" League

fal-la-cy: (noun) a deceptive, misleading, or false notion, belief, etc.

How to Increase Media Awareness of NHL Hockey in the United States - A Simple Five-Step Plan

1. When an uber-rich Canadian such a Jim Balsillie offers to buy a flagging team (i.e. the Nashville Predators) DO NOT sell to him. Instead, sell to William "Boots" Del Biaggio for significantly less money.
2. Watch while Mr. Del Biaggio is sued for forging loan documents and lying about assets in order to secure the funds necessary to buy the aforementioned NHL team.
3. Watch while Mr. Del Biaggio declares personal bankruptcy.
4. Ensure Mr. Balsillie is once again refused ownership in aforementioned NHL team when Mr. Del Biaggio attempts to sell his shares to that uber-rich Canadian.
5. Watch while the FBI subpoenas government records of Mr. Del Biaggio's to further their investigation.

Way to bring NHL into the US media. Gary Bettman, you deserve a round of applause. Clap. Clap. Clap.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What's in a blog?

blog: (noun) a weblog; an online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page.

Sometimes random-seeming thoughts strike me at random-seeming times. Like today: as I was leaving the gym, I suddenly started thinking about blogging and bloggers and blog readers and the voyeuristic nature of it all and why people start blogs in the first place and why people read those blogs (particularly the ones I find rather mundane but seem to have a huge following). Since I am a blogger and blog-reader, thinking this may not be that random but my usual post-gym ponderings tend to lean towards the "I'm hungry" way of thinking.

All these thoughts of course led to the obvious first question: why do I blog? The simple answer: I like to write and keeping a blog makes me feel like I should be more diligent about my writing. I also find it kind of fun. And there's a part of me that wonders if there's someone reading this who I don't know, who is in some far corner of the world and is actually enjoying my ramblings. I think that is really why I blog; this far-fetched idea that somewhere out there I have one rabid fan who just can't get enough of me.

The next logical question would, of course, be: do I read blogs? And I do. Mainly blogs of friends, but there are a couple others I read. (I keep meaning to post a list on my main blog page, but haven't yet. Bad blogger!)

I guess the reasons for blogging are simple enough: to share opinions, to be accountable, to keep friends up-to-date, to be provocative (particularly if one is a passive person in general), to kick-start a writing career, to channel their inner Carrie Bradshaw, to carry on journal-writing tendencies in another medium. And many, many more I'm sure.

So maybe this whole pontificating on blogs isn't as big a thing as I initially thought. Perhaps blogging is so overdone now that it's irrelevant. Perhaps we're just a society of voyeurs. Perhaps I'm overthinking a very simple thing. I tend to do that.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


un-hap-py: (adjective) sad; miserable; wretched. Unfortunate; unlucky.

I haven't really felt much like blogging lately and I'm forcing myself to write this post. The main reason: I've been rather miserable lately and I don't want that to spill over into here.

My first attempt at blogging was via MySpace - an account/page/whatever that I haven't visited in over a year and don't even know if it still exists - and there were quite a few posts there that were me bitching about this, that and the other thing. I think in my grumblings I was trying to be funny in that sarcastic-yet-witty way and I don't really know how well I succeeded but that is beside the point. The main thing was that I was complaining, whining, bitching, grumbling, etc., about far too much and I didn't want this blog to start being like that.

I will admit there have been a few posts where I have been grumbly but I try to keep those to a minimum. And if I'm writing about something I have a negative opinion about that is not just regarding my personal life, well, that's different.

What I'm having lots of trouble spitting out is that I don't want to bitch here. I've been doing it far too much to the people around me and to my mom, my roommate and my boytoy, I apologize. They have been on the receiving end of my misery and it's not fair to them. But it's almost inevitable because when we talk, stuff in my life comes up and when that stuff is making me unhappy, I end up discussing that misery and complaining their ears off.

Simple thing is this: there is one main aspect of my life that is not pleasing to me and, while I am endeavoring to change it, it's taking a bit of time and I have no real choice but to suck it up and deal with it until I can change it. And I'm trying - I REALLY AM - to be happier, to not let this get me down, to be positive and optimistic, to think happy thoughts, to picture myself being in a better position...but those who know me well know this is not my standard frame of mind. Alas.

I know I will get happier again. I know I made a mistake and I'm trying to fix it. I know what I need to do and I'm trying to do that. In all of this, I am also trying not to complain here.

Did I succeed? I think I just might have.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Simple Simon met a pie man

sim-ple: (noun) easy to understand, deal with, use, etc.

Today I was thinking about an old skit I saw on Polka Dot Door. It involved the two hosts and all four of the stuffed animals. In it, they were getting sandwiches from a sandwich vendor and there were a variety of sandwiches, but all had a peanut butter base. Just peanut butter was called Simple Simon. Other varieties had better names, such as peanut butter with tomatoes being called the Red Baron. (It was a kid's show which therefore requires a fair amount of imagination and acceptance that one would desire a peanut-butter-and-tomato sandwich.)

I can't remember any other varieties, but that's not important. What happened in the skit is each animal would pick a "fancy" sandwich but, in the end, opt for the Simple Simon. This made me think of a couple things.

One - you would never see any children's show use peanut butter as a focus point for anything, except if Dora the Explorer were to find it in a spider hole with Osama bin Laden and Jimmy Hoffa.

Two - I always go with the Simple Simon choice. Well, maybe not always, but it seems that when options are presented, when decisions need to be made, when there's a chance to branch out and actually do something a bit new or scary or even uncomfortable, I stick with the Simple Simon option. In fact, I think most people do this. I think we like to think of ourselves as a generation of risk-takers, of movers and shakers, of doers and getters. And we may well be that but I also think we will try to achieve all this via the Simple Simon route.

I have dreamed of selling everything I own and packing up and moving to PEI and getting a job at some bed-and-breakfast and living a calm, quiet, simple, soothing life by the ocean. I've fantasized about this more than once. But I haven't done it and I won't do it. Because it's a little too Red Baron.

And I know very few people who have actually done things that were a bit out of the ordinary or a little scary or even a bit uncertain. Is it because we don't want to? Or is it because we really can't be bothered, because we get by (and maybe even get ahead a bit) by doing it Simple Simon. Now being Red Baron-ish doesn't mean moving to some far corner of the world. It could mean leaving a job you're not happy with to do something you love but that isn't as lucrative or secure. It could mean taking a risk with the person you're dating because you just have to know what might happen. It could mean buying that condo even if you're not sure you can afford it in six months.

I do know people who have chosen the Red Baron route and I am not ashamed to say I am both proud and jealous of them. One day, I just might try it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Not overly palatable

pal-let: (noun) a bed or mattress of straw.
pal-ette: (noun) a thin and usually oval or oblong board or tablet with a thumb hole at one end, used by painters for holding and mixing colors.
pal-ate: (noun) the sense of taste: a dinner to delight the palate.

Yes, homonyms can be tricky, but when you're naming your business, don't you think you should check out ALL definitions? Case in point: Please Your Pallet Catering.

Proofread much?

Bonus points to those who spot the abundance of spelling mistakes.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

And another thing

view-point: (noun) an attitude of mind, or the circumstances of an individual that conduce to such an attitude

This guy may have been a U of T student (and not York) and his actions may have happened 40 years ago, but I really feel like following his lead with my degree.


hyp-o-crite: (noun) a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

This pisses me off. I mean, really pisses me off. "York U to ban funding for anti-abortion groups" - what the hell is that? I went to York for three years and even dated a (rather crazy and slightly unstable) poli-sci student so I was very aware of the political nature of York, of the ideas behind freedom of speech and the rights of students to not just publicize their views but protest them and shove them down the throats of anyone within shouting distance. And even when I felt it was over-the-top, even when I really didn't agree, even when I felt it had gone too far and there was no point to be made, it was still their right. The ability to be able to speak your mind and share your opinions and not be afraid of being shut down is a great thing and freedom of speech is an absolute necessity. Even when you don't agree.

So they go and shut down anti-abortion groups?! Holy bloody hypocrites!!! Honestly. Honestly. I will go on record right now and say I am pro-life (and don't dare call me anti-choice because, to me, the antithesis of that is anti-life; would you like me to call you anti-life?) but I completely respect it when people have a differing viewpoint and are pro-choice. But for York, a school that puts on airs of being so open and free and accepting, will go so far as to do this?!?! I am honestly ashamed to be an alumna now. This is just terrible. Because I will bet you any money that the pro-abortion groups will still be funded. So much for freedom of speech. So much for freedom of expression. So much for anyone who dares to have a viewpoint that is not so radical, so out-there, so protest-until-we're-arrested.

Religious or otherwise, pro-life and pro-choice groups have the right to exist. Just because not everyone will agree with you doesn't mean you can't share your ideas. I mean, what would happen if we didn't share ideas or think differently? What would happen if we weren't able to freely express ourselves? What would happen if one viewpoint was forced upon us by the institutions (ahem, York) that profess to be places of openness and diversity?

I know exactly where we'd be: 2 + 2 = 5.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Luc Bourdon: 1987 - 2008

im-mor-tal-i-ty: (noun) immortal condition or quality; unending life; enduring fame.

Luc Bourdon died today. This makes me sad. Not because he's a hockey player or because he would have done great things for the Canucks, but because he was only 21 and that is just far too young. It's just not supposed to happen.

Of course, this is not to take away from the many other deaths we hear about every day, young and not-as-young dying, all over the world. Whether the earthquake in China or the monsoon in Burma or the multiple murder in Calgary or the steady tally coming from the Middle East, they all suck. And they are all sad.

But what struck me most about Luc Bourdon's death is that it felt like he shouldn't have died because he's in the NHL and, well, he's a sports-lebrity and they just don't die. Heath Ledger's death was shocking much for the same reason. Also too young, but more so because he's famous and he's in The Dark Knight and he's just not supposed to die. From John Lennon and Kurt Cobain to River Phoenix and Brad Renfroe to John Ritter and John Belushi to Dale Earnhardt and Lou Gehrig - they just shouldn't have died. Or maybe not that they shouldn't have died; more like they're not supposed to. They're famous. Therefore they are immune to death.

This may seem rather superficial to some, but imagine how shocked you would be to read in the news tomorrow that Brad Pitt was killed in a car accident. Or that Halle Berry died in a plane crash. Or that Julia Roberts accidentally fatally mixed sleeping pills and a hot toddy. How shocked were you when you first heard about Owen Wilson's suicide attempt?

I realize that most of the examples I'm giving are Hollywood celebrities that we all know of and not quite the same league as an up-and-coming Canadian hockey player. But the fact that the headline read "Luc Bourdon killed" and not "Man, 21, killed" indicates that we know him well enough to put his name in the headline. And it still feels like those people just shouldn't die.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

And behind door #3....

tri-um-vi-rate: (noun) any group or set of three.

I really don't care if bad luck comes in threes, because bad things only happen to good people. And since I've had two good things happen to me today, I figure the third good thing must not be far behind. Because good things happen to bad people. I'm so wicked. Grr.

Good thing #1: I FINALLY found a doctor. Now I won't die. At least not for a bit yet.

Good thing #2: I won tickets to see Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker, Ruby Coast, The Mission District and Rebel Emergency, Friday night at the Sound Academy. It's about bloody time I won something through The Edge. I like winning things.

Good thing #3: (yet to happen but I've got my sights set on what it should be. I shall share when it comes to fruition. I like that word - fruition.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos can sure be mean

fate: (noun) something that unavoidably befalls a person; fortune; lot.

I believe that things happen for a reason. For better or for worse. In good times and in bad times. For lesson learned or ... not learned. Deserved/undeserved, warranted/unwarranted, good person/bad person, I really truly believe everything happens for a reason.

But now that something's happened and I've learned my lesson from it and I'm totally ready to leave it behind, how do I go about getting it to unhappen?

(For those who are curious: Clothos, Lachesis and Atropos are here.)

Monday, May 26, 2008


for-ward: (verb, used with an object) to send forward; transmit, esp. to a new address

If SPAM is unwanted email...

...then KLIK is the uncontrollable impulse to forward said spam to my inbox.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

All that legal mumbo-jumbo

law: (noun) the principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people, whether in the form of legislation or of custom and policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision.

Today, on the home page for The Toronto Star, there is a survey question, asking if polygamy laws in Canada should be enforced.

Um, yes...isn't that obvious?

I mean, laws are meant to be broken, if you want to be cliche, but, if you want to be realistic, aren't laws also meant to be enforced?

I wonder if the next survey will ask if murder laws should be enforced.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

We now return to our regularly scheduled summer

cliff-hang-er: (noun) A suspenseful situation occurring at the end of a chapter, scene, or episode.

My TV shows are done.

This does come as a bit of a relief, as I now have no excuse not to read and knit and write and do all those bazillion of things I keep say I'm going to do...after I watch CSI or CSI:NY or Criminal Minds or House or Dexter or Law and Order: SVU or Shark. But they are all done now, their respective seasons wrapped up for another summer (or, in the case of Shark, forever, which is something I will never forgive CBS for doing).

I must say, though, all my shows went out with style. WARNING: what will follow could be considered "spoilers" by some and "uninteresting, superficial drivel" by others. Proceed at your own risk.

On CSI, Warrick was shot and presumably left for dead, as Gary Dourdan will not be returning next season. On CSI:NY, Mac was being driven away by some psycho who faked out the cops by pretending some bad guys had his family. Someone blew up at the end of Criminal Minds!!! A significant character died on House, throwing everyone else into turmoil. Detective Lake went to jail and Tutuola put in for a transfer on Law & Order:SVU. Dexter wrapped up nicely, as I knew it would, having read the book. And Shark ended with class.

The roundabout point I am trying to make here is that all the returning shows ended with some pretty good cliffhangers. I find that all too often, many shows take the safe route and no one dies (at least no one important) and no one is really in THAT much trouble and even when bad things happen, the ending is fairly predictable. Which is why I'm rather pleased that those shows I do enjoy are going to keep me wondering all summer. (Yes, I am that much of a nerd that I will dwell on who might've died on Criminal Minds. Stop judging me.) While I am able to understand that they are just television shows and I've gotten much better at not planning my life around them, I like that I'm kinda pumped about them and that stuff is happening to make it interesting. And nothing keeps 'em coming back for more like a good old-fashioned, will-he-or-won't-he, whodunnt? cliffhanger.

P.S. I still have hockey, but that's only for a little bit longer and only a couple nights a week, so it's okay.