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Showing posts from October, 2009

Saturday Sing Along:

TV shows meet music videos. All the rage right now, and even The Office pulls it off... I really like Erin. And if Lady Ga-Ga sang this song, it would be #1 on the charts.

These songs caught my ear on my iPod. I don't know where any of them came from, but I like them.

The Veils - "The Letter"

Plants and Animals - "New Kind of Love (live)"

Greg Laswell - "The One I Love" (Don't bother watching the video. Just listen.)

Finally. Today is my mom's birthday. When we went to see Mamma Mia! together, and this song came on, I got a glimpse of how hard it is to let your children go.

I was telling someone recently that I've always felt that my mom holds on to me with open hands, which I appreciate. And don't worry, Mom. I'm not going anywhere. We can still have adventures and go places and share great moments. Happy Birthday!

Friday Vari-e-tay: Biz Markie-Who?

Dribbling teapot? Problem solved.

A study on polygamy in Siberia may uncover some helpful tips on boosting the economy....?

Girls. We're worth it.

How to avoid bad Powerpoint presentations. From the people who brought us Made to Stick, which I haven't read but will endorse anyway.

This song has been in my head off and on for weeks. Please excuse the awful "yo momma" jokes. Otherwise, you can't really ask for a better video. Girls with normal body types. Mozart-esque piano scenes.

My attempts to sing it to others have failed miserably...or sounded exactly like the original?

Just in case you didn't know, that was Biz Markie. Famous for such songs as - oh wait, just famous for that hit from 1989. Although he also does a beatboxing segment on Yo Gabba Gabba!, which is a kids' TV show that takes its name from a Ramones' song.

Huh. Not gonna lie, reading the wiki page is making me want to check it out.

Thoughtful Thursday: Observation, Interpretation, Application

On Thursday nights, I have a "Small Group Community" with my church. About fifteen of us get together to discuss Sunday's sermon, laugh, and pray together. I am glad it's a part of my life.

Tonight, I asked a question about the text (1 Samuel 5), and challenged people to stick specifically to observing. Often we jump ahead to interpreting and applying before we've given a thorough look at the facts we're examining.

As I was brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed, I thought about the week I just spent visiting Toronto and Montreal, exploring some potential options for change in my life. I spent most of my time observing, taking it all in and processing the data in front of me.

I've been trying to apply my thoughts and make a decision for awhile now. I want to know the next steps for my life, what kind of changes are coming down the chute and how I can prepare myself for them. Every new observation I have leads to six possible interpretations of its signi…

Wednesday's Word: St. George Station

I am riding the subway late in the morning. My earbuds are in and I am listening to Mute Math and Sufjan Stevens, thinking about the book I began while waiting for the train.

It is about the concept of story, and the lessons learned by a writer that not only affected how he viewed story-telling, but his very life. Our lives, after all, are no more than stories lived out in reality. We are both author and protagonist, creator and character.

I am mulling over what it means to have an over-arching narrative to my life story, and whether it is important that the things I do connect to one another. Is there a meaningful plot unfolding in my life? Is it possible or even desirable to draw the lines and form a picture from the uncertainty that I live in?

Changing trains at St. George Station, I start down the corridor toward the Yonge-University-Spadina line. My music is not loud in my ears – it never is – and as I approach the corner, I make out the metallic rhythms of a steel drum.

The thought…

Two'sday: Selfish vs Noble Me

Last night, I wrote down two lists that were in my head:

What Selfish Me Wants
to live somewhere warmto be a part of a like-minded communityto write, create & be well-receivedto be marriedto not support raise

What Noble Me Wants
to spend more time with Jesusto reach the unreachedto have courageto be content apart from recognitionto love without conditions

Friday Vari-e-tay: Reading

I have been reading lots of great articles this week.

On interdependence and the decreased mobility of the average American. And I thought we were becoming more transient.

On writing under Annie Dillard. Lots of good tips for writers. I will read this again when I am in writing mode.

On Greenwich Mean Time and standardizing time around the world. Time is a funny concept.

On leadership and problem solving in organizations...I think this one will be quite helpful for me in addressing some work issues I'm mulling over.

Saturdays Sing Along

My friend Nadine and I were talking about a concert she recently attended.n Dead Man's Bones is made up of two guys. Ryan Gosling and someone else. This is their big hit song - fitting for a week before Halloween.

"My Body's a Zombie for You"

They did a cover of Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang." From which I introduced Nadine to K'naan's "Bang Bang."

Because I'm still hung up on Donora - and because I love pianos.

"I Think I Like You"

Donora's song "Shout" has a two-note progression that is reminiscent of The Police's "Message in a Bottle" and as a result I have been singing it all week.

One of my music-savvy friends has told me that Mumford and Sons are going to be the next big thing. Not wanting to be left off the bandwagon, I of course, started listening to them. Then I decided to include them in this blog, so that if/when they are big,

"Little Lion Man" (contains some profanity)

I forget how …

Wednesday's Word: WCW

When I was in Saskatoon last month, I came across an illustrated children's biography of WIlliam Carlos Williams. This reminded me of how much I love his poetry, and I downloaded a small anthology.

Here are my favourites so far.


Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.

Memory of April

You say love is this, love is that:
Poplar tassels, willow tendrils
the wind and the rain comb,
tinkle and drip, tinkle and drip --
branches drifting apart. Hagh!
Love has not even visited this country.


Subtle clever brain, wiser than I am,
by what devious means do you contrive
to remain idle? Teach me, O master.
The Gentle Man

I feel the caress of my own fingers
on my own neck as I place my collar
and think pityingly
of the kind women I have known.

and the ever classic:

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much dep…

Two'sday: The Shower

1. The showerhead in my house is located roughly at the base of my neck. I have to tilt my head sideways or crouch to wash my hair. This problem would be solved if I owned this shower head from Vado:

(img from Gizmodo)

2. No matter the situation, I hate the first burst of the shower. I always flinch. It's never the right temperature. In that moment, as I wait for the water to startle me, I don't want to get wet. I don't like to shower.

Mondays Mean More: Family

There are few things in my life that mean more to me than my family.

I was reminded of this by the level of disappointment I felt at the 5 hour delay in arriving in Ontario yesterday. It wasn't just about a change in plans, or wondering what to do for 3 hours in an airport. I had specifically planned to fly out early so that I could enjoy an evening of family. Having that taken away was harder than I thought, especially since I had seen so much of my family this summer.

But the little bit of time I had with them was better than none at all. I love a lot of things about my family.

I love that Grampie tells the same four stories every time I see him, but they still make me cry. At 90 years old, he walks for an hour every day, recently had heart surgery, and is in the middle of cataract removal (one down, one to go). And he cries when he talks about missing his wife of 62 years.

I love that my nephew can say "pterodactyl." Every time I talk to the family I hear more stories abo…

Sunday is Fun-day

Today there were three fun things on my list.

a) Seeing my family.
b) uploading pictures from yesterday's wedding.
c) Great WestJet service.

Well, it is 10am. I am supposed to be in Calgary. I am not. There was chaos this morning at YVR. (Hooray for free wireless!)

Nonetheless, I have high hopes for hanging with my family (apparently Dad is sick? sleep all afternoon, Dad!). And I have more time for the photos.

And I'm sure that once I get on the flight, the service will be great. It may have been chaos in the check-in line, but these counter folks have been spending the last hour trying to get my flights sorted out.

I applaud that.

Saturdays Sing Along

Today's Soundtrack.

a) Mutemath. I lost them, and now they are found. My second-ever concert here in Vancouver.

"Obsolete" - from their first show here, which I wasn't at.

b) Joshua Radin's "Today." Today I am being assistant photographer at a wedding. This song makes me think of weddings (Apparently Ellen thinks the same).

c) Jurassic 5. If you're into rap or hip-hop, or if you've ever walked the "Thin Line" of being just friends with someone.

d) Plain White T's. Because "Delilah" isn't their only catchy song.

"Hate (I Really Don't Like You)"

e) Gene Kelly. Cause I'll be "Singing in the Rain" myself this afternoon...

Friday Vari-e-tay: Martha, Jewerly, Gingitivis & More

1. Pretty jewelry on

2. I paid my bills today. Early. Because this dialogue from He's Just Not That Into You makes sense.

Alex: Guys invented the "spark" so that they could not call, and treat you kind of bad, and keep you guessing, and they convince you that that anxiety and that fear that they're throwing at you is actually, just a "spark". And you guys all buy it. You eat it up. And you love it. You love it because you feed off that drama. You all love that drama.

Gigi: I don't.

Oh really? So you never wait until the last minute on a deadline or phone bill because secretly you kind of love the drama of not knowing whether or not you're going to make it?


And let me guess. When you were stalking Conor the other night, were you obsessing about him calling, constantly pacing back and forth and staring at your phone for days even though the date was just kind of mediocre?

Ha. Okay, yeah?

Because you all thrive on…

Thoughtful Thursday: Cycles of Failure

A friend of mine has a blog entitled ____ Is Always Thinking. I am confident I could appropriate the same title for myself. The trick today is not what to write about but which to write about: topic a, b, or c.

I chose b).

Do you ever find yourself in a cycle of failed attempts? Whatever it is you're trying to accomplish, or whatever belief it is you're trying to change, you go around and around but don't make much progress.

Sometimes, this astounds me. It is one thing to unintentionally or obliviously make the same mistake. But I wonder why it is that recognizing our futile efforts is not enough to guarantee change. We can recognize our need for change. We can desire change. We can attempt change.

But that doesn't equal change.

I wonder what it is that repeated failure accomplishes. Is it merely to humble us? Is it to point out the fact that will and effort are not enough - that we as humans are limited and imperfect? Are there things we learn through ongoing lack of succe…

Daily Blogging

I've been trying to blog every day. Sometimes it's hard, but I think that if I came up with a theme/focus for each day of the week, I could do it. Coming up with a tentative plan for blogging has been as difficult as actually doing it:

Sunday is Funday - amusing tidbits.Mondays Mean More - I'm not sure what this would include, but I like the way it rolls of my tongue.Two'sday - two. of something. anything, really.Wednesday's Word - literature, grammar, the written word. Thoughtful Thursday - something thoughtful and honest. not that I usually lie on here.Friday Vari-e-tay - a smorgasbord of links, videos, and the like.Saturdays Sing Along - on music that is in my head, and probably on my iPod.

October 13th (Obviously)

Three years ago, to the day, I moved to Vancouver. I like Vancouver (that is why I'm still here).

Thirty-some years ago, to the day, my friend Laura was born. I like Laura (that is why we are friends). Here are some of the reasons why.

1. She makes delicious food. All the time.
2. She has a lovely smile.
3. She likes books.
4. She likes talking about books.
5. She is a great host.
6. She makes friends easily.
7. She welcomed me when I was new.
8. She is competitive.
9. She thinks about things that I think about.
10. She cares about peoples' lives.
11. She tells it like it is.
12. She is a good listener.
13. She prays for me when I ask her to.
14. She encourages me to be creative.
15. She laughs with, but not at, me.
16. She is generous.
17. She is a good driver.
18. She knits.
19. She, like Gladys, loves Jesus but drinks a little...

And with that, I wish you a Happy Birthday, Laura!!!

Sundays are Fun-days

A list of good things from today:

A beautiful sunrise. I may not like being up that early (or rather, that sunrise is so late), but at least it was a lovely sight.Holding a baby as he falls asleep. Nothing is more soothing. Seeing people I like at church. Getting a ride home - much faster than the bus.Laughter and lunch in the kitchen with a roommate. Rest.My cousin arrives!First ever visit to Wreck Beach. It really is lovely. And we almost made it without any nudity.Delicious dinner, cooked by another great roommate.Remembering how much I love when family and friend are one and the same.
Four hours of mind-numbing but entertaining television.Catching a grammar mistake imprinted forever in someone's house courtesy of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. A "long-lost" roommate makes a surprise visit upstairs. He comes with bags of bread, boy advice, and new music for my iPod.Anticipating tomorrow. Nothing to do but cook, clean, and look forward to a dinner for 16! Guaranteed to …

Soraya M.

While in Saskatoon, my friend Charlotte and I went to see a movie. It was called The Stoning of Soraya M., and it was devastating. In the credits, it mentions that it is based on a book of the same title, which is a true story recounted to a journalist by Soraya's Aunt Zahra.

Today, I picked up the book from the library. It is a small book, easy to read. But hard to digest. The title gives away that it is not a happy ending. But you should read it anyway, because the status of women in many countries, including but not limited to Muslim societies, is sorely in need of betterment.

I was unsettled by the movie for a couple of days. Reading the book, I am unsettled again.

So what can I do? is the general gist of my thoughts.

Aren't I?

Notice anything strange here: I'm allowed to write this sentence, aren't I?

It occurred to me recently that the phrase "aren't I" is peculiar. Either it is an exception to normal grammatical rules, or it is a commonly accepted mistake.

(5 minutes later)

The internet tells me that "amn't I" is still used colloquially in Scotland and Ireland (one more reason I love the Isles). A suggested etymology is that the difficulty of pronouncing the "m-n" combination develops the contraction into "an't I" which in a British non "r" pronouncing dialect, sounds remarkably the same as "aren't." Which is what it became over time.

In other etymological news, I had been puzzling over the phrase, "the world is your oyster," for some time. I knew what it meant - that the world is at your fingertips, everything is available to you, etc - but not why.

So I looked it up a couple of weeks ago. It's a quote from Shak…

Brought To You By...

Today was a TV-heavy day. I watched part of Ellen while working & then prepping dinner. I watched Bones (love it). And I watched Glee (still torn).

And let me tell you, folks. When I was little, we sure didn't have this many commercials. It seems to me that the commercials get nearly as much air time as the show itself.

I don't need that many snack and bathroom breaks.

From now on, I'm not feeling any qualms about watching my TV online. On my terms, my time. With far fewer commercials for products I will never buy or use.* If I have to wait a day or two, so be it.

Take that, TV.

*my current most-hated commercial is for some sort of weight-loss program whose tagline is, "It's not you, it's your metabolism!"

Tuesday Night is By Donation

I have been thinking a lot about art lately. Ever since I read My Name is Asher Lev. I've been mulling over the role of the artist in society, the responsibilities of the artist (if such a thing exists), and the motivation(s) for creating art.

I went to the Vancouver Art Gallery today. I was thorough. I looked at every piece there - except for one film and half of another film piece. I even walked past the off-site exhibit on my way there and got a good look at the larger-than-life photographs.

There were a lot of photographs.

A series of photographs by Scott McFarland are mainly composites of multiple landscape photos, taken over the course of a day or a year and edited with small discrepancies - shadows pointing in different directions or a tree blooming out of season. Several could be paired together as the same scene save minute changes - the season of a particular tree, or the cloud formations in the sky.

Another exhibit showcased visual media that combined still photography and …

Still Laughing

Last night, a quote from a friend:

"I'll be volunteering my pants off at the high school - no wait, that's inappropriate. I'll be volunteering my heart out at the high school next month."

Too Much Happiness

To anyone who's in need of a little literature, I'd like to recommend Alice Munro's most recent collection of short stories, entitled Too Much Happiness. I enjoyed every single one, although my favourite moment was when a character had to make a trip to a well-known landmark in my hometown.

It made me a little giddy to realize that one of the literary greats of our time is setting her fiction in my neck of the woods. It reminded me that Canadian content can sell. And be critically acclaimed.

Strangers At the Door

In honour of Terra, whose birthday is today, I have promised to publish this list. Happy Birthday, Terra.

You Should Pretend to Not Be Home If the Following People Come to Your Door:
men with large weaponsdoor-to-door sales peoplevolunteers raising money for hospitalsJWsyour landlord
girls with freezer burnt cupcakestrick-or-treaters

Friday Vari-e-tay

A friend introduced me to Florence + The Machine today. I am totally hooked on this song. (I can't decide if I love or hate the contemporary dance in the video.) I also like "Dog Days Are Over" (another weird video) . She is Feist-like. Catchy, lyric, rhythmic. Quirky like Zooey Deschanel. Slightly violent/dark. The song below describes an abusive relationship - its lyrics seem to contrast fairly starkly with the upbeat sound.

Another friend showed me this video from the English Al Jazeera channel. It is a look at the US military and increasing evangelical trends within its ranks. Raises some interesting questions regarding the use/abuse of state roles and religious beliefs.

And last but not least, a mini-essay "On Morality and Narrative" from Don Miller. Fascinating thoughts on the need for morality in creating a good story, and whether we might not be able to learn a great deal about universal morality from narrative.

ps. The rabbit and I are no longer friends. …

What (Not) to Eat

Tonight, my roommate Lynsey made shepherd's pie, and it was delicious. Much better than her marmalade curry with goat from last week.

In her defense, she followed a recipe from that had good reviews...and substituted the goat for chicken. The goat was originally a mistake by another roommate, who had attempted to purchase lamb. Mistake number two was attempting to use said goat.

Neither marmalade curry nor goat are very tasty. Put them together...and it's only good for the garbage, I'm afraid.

Her shepherd's pie, however, are nearly as good as her enchiladas. Which are only topped by Dan's enchiladas.

His enchiladas are delicious, as are his stuffed mushrooms (if you go for that sort of thing), but don't let him put green food colouring in them, even if it is Christmas and he wants to be "festive." The result is confusing. It looks like icing, but it isn't!

(I feel compelled to end this post by saying that both Dan and Lynsey are ridicul…

Caledonia is Calling

You probably don't know who Dougie (pronounced Doogie, as in "Howser, MD) Maclean is, unless you have an inexplicable love for Scotland, an unfashionable affinity for folk music, or a deep appreciation for the music from The Last of the Mohicans.

His big, universal song is called Caledonia. I think we all have a "Caledonia," even if it is not the actual Caledonia. Fill in the blank of this chorus, and you'll have your answer.

Oh, but let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
___________ you're calling me
And now I'm going home
If I should become a stranger
You know that it would make me more than sad
___________ been everything
I've ever had

I also enjoyed this song:

He's quite the fun story teller, and I was surprised by how gently insistent he was that we sing along. It worked, though. We were a chorus of slightly off-key back-up artists.

I kept thinking of people I should have invited while sitting in the balcony pew (the concer…