July 31, 2010

Hurdy Gurdy Gurdy Hoo

This is kind of how I feel today:

Interpret as you will.

(I think the Swedish chef has been on my mind recently after watching the trailer for Dinner for Schmucks, with Steve Carrell's character attempting to speak Swiss.)

July 30, 2010

Parachute: An Actual Album Review

I knew nothing about Parachute except for the songs I was listening to* off their album "Losing Sleep." But as I lay on the floor with all the lights out, that didn't particularly matter.

What did matter was the debate in my mind - Do they remind me more of Michael Buble or Maroon 5**? Can I even define a band as a cross-breed of those two?

I have decided that the answer is yes, I can. And I did. Just now.

lyrical ballads "She Is Love" and "Be Here" make me think of Buble for some reason. I can't pinpoint it exactly, but I think it has to do with the story and the heart that come through so strongly. I'd love to hear these songs performed in a little corner bar. Lights dim in a smoky interior, packed with people sitting around tiny tables, squished close to the stage.

On the other end, it only takes the first three notes of "She (For Liz)," "Back Again," or "Blame It On Me" to think you may be listening to a Maroon 5 album. But you aren't.

What you've got is a debut album by a band of Virginia boys that covers all the angles of love and heartbreak without sounding bitter or whiny (a major feat), and that manages to get stuck in my head almost daily. Their themes are timeless, the stories ones we can all relate to. And their sound - they're not as unusual or innovative as some of the other bands I love, but their clean-cut, simple and honest approach to making music totally works.

"She is Love" - you really can't get a love song more beautiful or universal than this one.

"All That I Am" - a little heartbreaking.

"She" - I bet every girl in NYC that knew these guys in high school hopes it's about her.

* I also knew that I'd learned of them through my friend Steph. So mad shout-outs to Steph for her continually great taste in pop music.
**when I Wikipedia-d them earlier today, I found out I'm not the first to notice the obvious Maroon 5 reference. I'd say it's a decidedly stronger link than the Buble-ballad undertones.

July 29, 2010

Empty Threats, Insults, Creeperville (round 5)

Nadine is getting meaner this week.

"Going to get laundry. I'll be back. Maybe."
me: "What, like you're going to get killed getting your laundry!?"
her: "Maybe I'll run away."
me: "Why? We've got a good thing going here!"
her: "Well, maybe sometime if I'm mad when I go get laundry..."
me: "Remind me never to fight with you on laundry day."

(on the topic of her boyfriend)
her: "Two years ago, I wrote a blog post on how unemployment is not a deal breaker... I'm glad I could follow through on that."

me: You'll really like Amelia.
her: I'm looking forward to stealing all your friends.
me: (tips head to the side, looks sideways at her)
her: Or sharing them?
me: Yeah, let's go with the option that means I'm not left lonely.

me: "I'm not sure if I want to shower today or not...I don't really need to be clean."
her: "You don't ever need to be clean. You don't have a boyfriend."
me: "Heyyyyyyyyyy. Take that back."

me: (sprawled on the couch, not moving) "Okay. I'm going to shower now."
her: "Okay. I'm watching you."
me: "Um..."
her: "I mean, watching you leave."

me: "That's unfair!"
her: "Unfair!? I had to choose between Remington Steele and Pushing Daisies!"

(Wheel of Fortune, this is the puzzle: _HE _ _ _ _ _ _S _ _ _ _ _ _ _)
her: "The heat is on!"
both: (hysterical laughter that "on" would be a seven-letter word)

THE _ L _ _ _ IS TI _ _ ING

"The something is ticking?"
me: "The clock?"
her: "That would be the word..."

her: "This bra is too tight. Or maybe I just need liposuction on my back."

her: "I dare you to walk down the aisle to that song. (pause) It's not Chris Brown.*"

("that song" being this song:)

*Nadine has disallowed Chris Brown from being played at her wedding.

July 28, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Is In My Head

Last week, I wrote, Scott Pilgrim lives in my world. I also said that I had low expectations and that the only thing realistic about the graphic novels was the setting.

I am changing my tune. The more I read, the more I like. And the more I read, the more I wish we could all deal with our relationship drama/baggage with some cartoon-style super-hero knock-out fights. It just seems so straight forward.

Last night, I was walking to Union Station, and a girl passed me on rollerblades. She had a messenger bag, and her hair was two-toned. I almost called out after her, "Ramona!?"

Scott Pilgrim is in my head.

Never before have I made plans to read an entire comic book (graphic novel) series. Never before have I made plans to see a movie that corresponds with a comic book series. Never before have I downloaded all the free trailers to a movie from iTunes.

I thought about this last night - What comic books did I read as a kid? What comic book movies have I seen? These are the lists I came up with.

comic books I read as a child:

comic books I've read as an adult:

movies I've seen that were based on comic books:

Yeah, that's it. Short list. Maybe I'm forgetting one or two, but I have never been very into superheroes/comic books. I don't dislike them, I just haven't been in to them. I hardly even watched Smallville, and that's saying something, because Tom Welling is not hard on the eyes, and I was a teenager when that show started...

Anyway, back to Scott Pilgrim (now that I'm done perusing Tom Welling's IMDB profile). I'm enjoying it. I'm looking forward to the rest of the books, and a midnight screening of the movie, and then I'll come back here and give it all a good critique.

If you want to be a hipster and not a wannabe, you really should jump on this bandwagon before the movie comes out (Aug. 13). So get reading!

July 24, 2010

Art on the Walls

There is art on the walls which means we are officially settled in. Nadine and I hung it ourselves.

See how good it looks:

Just kidding. This was part of our (Nadine's) brilliant DIY plan* to make sure things ended up looking right. We traced and measured, hung the "plan" on the wall, made sure it was nice and level, put in the nails, and voila. The real result:

I also made a collage for my room. And hung up two photos I had intended to give a friend in BC before I left. Oops.

*After we high-fived each other, Nadine suggested we should start a DIY blog.
Entry #1: Herb Gardens - We've No Clue What We're Doing
And now, Entry #2: Art Hanging - Math Matters.

July 22, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Lives in My World

I am a wannabe hipster. I've known this for weeks now, if not months. But it was confirmed today when I picked up Vol. 1 of the Scott Pilgrim comic book series. Or, as we sophisticated hipsters like to say, graphic novel series.

Despite my general dislike for anime characters with eyes the size of pies, the belief that comics are for kids (Persepolis is an exception), and the apathy of my generation (as personified in Scott Pilgrim's life), I got a little sucked in.

Here's the thing: Scott Pilgrim lives in my neighbourhood. He shops at the Goodwill store I bought dishes at. He walks past the Pizza Pizza I walk past. He visits my branch of the Toronto Public Library. He's in a believable space. My space.

So now I have high hopes* for this 23 year-old bass-playing, video-game-loving, unemployed comic book character. I hope that he goes for it, jumps the obstacles standing between his current reality and "true love," and that they live happily ever after...In Toronto.

Isn't that what we all want? A love story set in our very own backyard?

On August 13th, I will go see the movie starring Michael Cera:

*I have high hopes, but also low expectations. The only thing "realistic" about the story is the setting. Otherwise, it's about as inspiring as Archie & Betty were to the 1950's. Sometimes, I like pure drivel for entertainment, but I'm always loathe to admit it.

Life is Rarely Boring (round 4)

her: "Don't mess with Uncle Jesse!"
(of Full House fame)

her: "I think because you're single now, you totally have permission to flirt with Donald Miller."
me: "Well, thank you for granting that."

me: "I decided not to apply for the drug mule job. Maybe if I'm still looking at the end of the month..."
her: "It's better than stripping." 

her: "I wouldn't want to go on a date with my BOYFRIEND in the pitch black..."
(referring to this reality TV show. Worst idea ever? Possibly.)

me: "(elaborate boy-meets-girl story of impossibilities) ...and maybe then we'll fall madly in love. (pause) Just kidding."
her: "You don't have to say Just Kidding at the end of that. I support it.

her: "He's like Santa Claus - slightly gay, slightly fabulous...like a non-white Santa. In an orange robe."

("Hannibal is a human thrill ride." - Howie Mandel)

In case you've missed out on other fun moments, click here.

July 20, 2010

Reality Cheque

If I don't look, it can't hurt me, right?

Unfortunately, I need to buy groceries, so tomorrow I will take money out of my account, and there is this piece of paper that will spell out the truth for me. (A reality cheque, if you will). The big question I need to answer is, after I pay for August's rent, will I have enough money left to pay my credit card bill?

I have never actually wondered about this before. Or probably I have, but it was as a student, and I was more comfortable with being broke. Everyone was, and I hadn't known anything else. So it was not quite as humbling/humiliating.

I am not deeply worried this time around. I know that one way or another, my bills will be taken care of...a friend just told me about this thing called a "grace period" with credit card bills. Turns out I have longer than I thought to get that paid. And I will work again soon. It just might not be quite as easy as I'd hope.

(Too bad this pile o' cash is no longer on my bed.)

Women I Want To Be (There Are None)

Chatting with Alasdair this afternoon, and we came 'round to talking about the future, and all the exciting possibilities that exist (a common topic in my life right now, as all that exists is "possibility"). Our conversation went thusly:Alasdair:have you heard of kevin kelly he's the kind of guy i want to be.4th person to be on the internet...http://www.kk.org/ me: i have not heard of him before, but i DO know of several of the organizations he's been involved with.
and it sounds like he might love Jesus?
Alasdair: he certianly does
he was interviewed on TAL about it
not listened to it yet though
me: sweet.
i need to find some women i want to be like.
i don't know any.
i have been thinking a lot about what i want to be in my life for this next chunk of time...but not about anyone whose example i'm really impressed by.
i just googled "women i want to be" - not an impressive hit among the results.
Alasdair: haha everyone has flaws
me: no, not even that - i mean, i can't think of anyone who is doing well at the things that i'm excited about.
Alasdair: and what are you excited about?
me: lots of things. but mainly - travel/culture. literature/the arts. women's development. holistic living. Jesus.
i think that is the short list.

This is the screenshot of my Google search:

Well, thank you Google for that massive fail.

I tried a few variations on this phrase, looking for something that suggests women who are role models, doing things, going places... no luck. And this is without even adding in any of the specific areas I'm interested in.

(insert rant on all that is wrong with the world, its perception of women, and the internet as a source for relationship/sex advice)

So now I'm looking for role-models. Lady-crushes, if you will. Please suggest any you like, or share with me your own lady-crushes: who and why. (on my list, Anne Lamott is the only possibility so far.)

Disappointed by US Tax Laws (Because I Have a Dream)

I have a dream.

A few weeks ago, I sat on a park bench as storm clouds rolled in. I was reading a Pulitzer Prize winning collection of short stories. And it was making me angry. They were well written, don't get me wrong. But they were depressing. Hopeless, even. And that got me to thinking...again.

With all the reflecting and thinking and praying and major life transitions over the last several months, I've become more convinced of my love for the arts and the potential they have to be so much more than they often are.

I want to be a part of that.
Not just on the sidelines, cheering people on (although that is important), but right in there, creating art that speaks of life in all its glory: pain, mistakes, hurt, redemption, hope, beauty...

I have ideas about how to get there, but there are no guarantees. And although I am in a "risk-taking" stage of life, I have a feeling it would take an army of cheerleaders to get me moving much faster. Which is why I was so excited when I heard about Don Miller's "Living a Better Story" conference.

But US Tax Laws have let me down. As a Canadian, I'm not eligible to win a trip for two to Portland this September. No boost of courage or clarity for me. If I lived in Vancouver still & had work over the past four months, I'd pay to go. But that's not an option these days.

(cue tragic violin music)

If Don were a Canadian and this contest open to all of us north of the border, I think I'd stand a chance. I'd at least be eligible, because I live in Ontario, and I'm pretty sure that Quebec is the Rhode Island of Canada. (Why is it that a random province/state decides its people can't win contests? It seems unjust to me.)

In case you're an American and you haven't heard, you should enter the contest. It's not guaranteed to make your life better, but I bet it could.

Living a Better Story Blog Contest from Donald Miller on Vimeo.

And Portland girls, I was thinking it would have been fun to meet you! One more reason I'm a little sad.

July 17, 2010

Hope Doesn't Float: It Grows

I have been thinking a lot about hope this year.

My thoughts are decidedly Jesus-based, but I think that as humans, Christian or not, we're wired to look for hope. We need hope, and the fact that we don't do well without it says something to me. I'm not sure what, but I could get lost in all these thoughts. In fact, I have been...

Back in May, I was drawn to Romans 5:1-5, and ever since, I've been mulling it over. And over and over.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

These have been my thoughts/questions:
  1. what does it mean that hope does not put us to shame (in the NIV, hope does not disappoint)? All of us have had our hopes disappointed at one time or another.
  2. how is God's love in our hearts the reason/explanation for hope's shamelessness?
  3. apparently, my hope should be increasing the more that I suffer (and see suffering)... How does this work? My natural inclination is to become more cynical, not more hopeful.

Mind-boggling questions that I don't have answers to.

But I'm clinging to the truth of hope. Hope that does not disappoint. I am deeply convinced that redemption is always a possibility - no, that redemption can be a certainty. I don't understand how, and I know that it rarely looks like what I think it will look like. But if hope is empty and redemption isn't a reality, then what are we doing?

For me, at the end of the day, I think my hope is in these two statements:
  1. Jesus is at work.
  2. Someday I will see how this made me look more like Him and how it benefited others.
(Translating those into the concrete reality of day-to-day life is something altogether more challenging than typing them on this page.)

I don't often say this, but I really would like to hear your thoughts from out there in cyberland. What's your take on hope? How does it function in your life? What's it based on, if Jesus isn't your thing?

July 15, 2010

Out of Context Quotes (round 3)

Nadine continues to entertain.

her: I once developed a crush on a boy because I saw him ironing. And then I saw him take out the trash.

her: I'll never be one of those girls with an hourglass figure and a 24" waist. 24!?! That's like the size of my head! If I'm lucky...

her: I don't ever want to be a child star.
me: Um. I think you're good to go.

As a general rule, I like heterosexual men. Clay Aiken was an exception. And Neil Patrick Harris.

Is it weird that I found a rehab centre I want to go to?

me: Maybe your doctor's right. Maybe you should just start having sex.
her: Maybe I will...maybe I will.
me: Don't do it! Don't doooooooooooo it.
her: Don't worry, I won't! (pause) I don't have blinds.*

her: Polygamy is on my mind!

*our blinds, purchased over a week ago, are lying on the floor, awaiting the mechanical expertise of a man or woman better than we. If you are that person, we will repay your helpfulness somehow.

July 12, 2010

Life Lessons from My Girlfriend's Boyfriend

I paid no attention to the description of Mike Birbiglia's show when I bought tickets to see him this past weekend. He could have been scheduling shows about airport pavement and I would have paid to listen...By the time I went, I had learned that the show, called My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, tells the story of his courtship with his wife, Jenny.

I wasn't expecting my faith in love and marriage to be bolstered by a comedic monologue. Especially after Mike tells the audience that he and his friend Andy successfully stopped or postponed 5 marriages after college. But in this series of flashbacks, rabbit trails, and major moments in his relationship with Jenny, there is

hilarity (seeing people makeout is "like watching a dog eat spaghetti"),
drama (of his seven reasons for being anti-marriage, he is most passionate that people should not fake religious beliefs simply to have a ceremony in a building),
empathy & sympathy (red flag #3 in a relationship...she doesn't want you to tell anyone you're dating), and

I didn't anticipate that four days later, I would still be thinking about this show on a meaningful level. Yes, I'm still chuckling at his description of The Scrambler, a poor choice at the fair when you want to impress a girl. And I'm shaking my head at the completely incompetent police report filed after he was T-boned by a drunk driver.

But on top of all that, I'm thinking about what love looks like. I keep hearing the very last thing he says, as he ends up choosing to marry Jenny.

I can't bring myself to spoil the ending of a fantastic show by attempting to explain the story or sharing the last statement. And maybe it's more touching to a couple of mid-twenties girls than most other people. But he is on to something - he's on to something with his motivation for marriage, and he's on to something with his brand of comedy with a touch of honesty.

This audio clip is taken from This American Life on NPR, and is where the title for his show originates.

On a Budget

Being unemployed means I can't just drop $10 here and another $10 there on all the new music that I want. But I am building up a list of albums to buy someday soon. They include:

Shout Out Louds

Sleigh Bells
(are you happy, Alasdair?)

Ginger Ninja
(discovered yesterday via Jackie)

Hot Chip
(LOVE the chorus - "I want to be your one life stand...")

Greg Laswell

If I had an income, the other thing I'd like to buy is a good lens for my SLR. Then I could take more effortless photos like this, because the camera does all the work. I just push a button.

July 9, 2010

The Prude

Job-hunting on craigslist and kijiji is both frustrating and fascinating.

I didn't apply for the PA job that hinted at "extra expectations" in keeping with its "more than generous compensation package" and concluded, "If you're the right person for this job, you'll know how to respond." Sketchville.

But today, I seriously considered applying for this job. It looks like an obvious adaptation of Big Brother. Let's take the most opposed people we can think of and throw them into a room together!! I am not at all the person they'd expect to apply, and that is what would be amazing.

Reasons I thought I'd apply:
  • It would be fascinating to be behind the scenes on a reality TV show.
  • I think the other people would intrigue me. Why do you do this?
  • Who doesn't want to be on TV while they're young and still have their looks?
  • I might actually have some good conversations with my co-stars. Maybe I'd make a friend or two.
  • I would bring drama, as the ex-clergy good-girl. Yes, I would be the prude. But I'm okay with that.
(Nadine's response to the posting: "So, essentially you'd be the entertaining prude...I don't mind the word prude when it's really sketchy people using it to describe me - You mean, I'm not like you? Okay.")

But a deeper look made it obvious that the show is a little too party-centric for me (I know, just when you thought it was impossible). If it hadn't had an overt emphasis on clubs/parties/the sexual orientation of its participants, I would have (somewhat) seriously considered it. It would be naive of me to think that I could waltz on in and not be forced into situations I don't want to be in. As a good-girl ex-clergy, I do have standards...

So I'm wrapping up another week of job-hunting without any interviews lined up. But perhaps I'll widen my net to include other reality TV options... If you see anything promising, send it my way!

Couch Conversations (round 2)

I have a feeling these are going to be regularly occurring posts. I also feel the need to include a brief disclaimer: all of these are being quoted out of context and are not to be taken seriously.

her: I don't want him to think I'm using him for his muscles or big van.
me: Meh, don't worry about it! He's just using you for your lips anyway.

me: I don't ever want you to be afraid of me, okay?
her: Just don't walk into my room holding a knife.

me: Well, I think that's enough breaking hearts for one day. And it's not even noon.
her: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. You should join them.

me: You're hilarious.
her: The nice thing about having a roommate is that I get to share these thoughts. When I lived alone, what was I going to do? Write a list of "funny thoughts I had today?"

her: I've never had a broken heart, but I have had it drop-kicked across a field, where it landed in a mudpit.
me: laughter.

July 8, 2010

Lovely Day

Started this morning with a call from my beautiful friend Laura in Vancouver. She makes me miss BC, although I am incredibly joyful to be here in Toronto.

After we hung up, this song popped into my head.

I borrowed this album from my friend Meredith in 2004 and never returned it.
That's right, Kirk Franklin. I still listen to your classic gospel hits.

But the first version of this song that I ever learned was by Out of Eden, the Christian response to Destiny's Child. I had this album on cassette, and would rewind over and over to hear this song. I think gospel music is the main reason that I wish I were black. (am I allowed to admit that?)

Solidifying the greatness of today, I had this conversation as I handled towels to our overnight guest...

"What is this?"
"A washcloth?"
"What's a washcloth? Like, what do you do with it?"
"You use it to wash your body?"
"Wow! White people! I feel so cultured!"

Can't wait for Vanessa and Jesskah to come over. Today is going to be FANTASTIC. I have decreed it.

July 6, 2010

July 5, 2010

A Picture, A Song, A Link

I discovered thxthxthx back in May. At the start of June, this entry caught my eye. I've been saving it for an appropriate time. Like today. My weeks of weepiness have waned (I'm sooooooooo good at alliteration), and I could replace Leah's name with my own.

This morning I was praying, telling Jesus that I want my life to start moving forward - it feels as if I have been waiting for the last several months. Waiting for work to be done. Waiting to move. Waiting for a place to live. Waiting for a new job. These things have been happening - slowly. And it has been good for me. But now I feel ready to dive into things, to have commitments and relationships and places that I see God working. The song that popped into my head as I wrote all this is a classic Christian rock piece from a decade ago.

One of the funniest moments of Canada Day with Nadine's family. As blogged by Nadine. Apparently vomit is a major deterrent to violent crimes...

July 2, 2010

Oh, and Happy Canada Day

Yesterday I went to a farm to celebrate Canada Day (although I think we celebrated people's birthdays more than the country's). I went with a friend and left with 25. By the end of the evening, they were laughing at my laugh (the one my family calls "the guinea pig laugh") and teasing me and hugging me and telling me to come again.

This is how much fun I had:

Wait a second... that's what you're thinking.

I was too busy playing soccer to get photos of all the fun we were having, but despite the bruises on my knee and shin, a torn toenail, a splinter, and a probably broken toe, it was a blast. Check.

This marks summer #2 that I have broken a toe playing some sort of sport/game in bare feet. You think I might learn. Maybe next summer will be different.