Saturday, 31 January 2009

Think Thank Thunk

**Disclaimer: this is not directed at any of my readers, or the contents of their blogs, it's just a bloody rant because I'm fed up.**

This is an etymological rant.

Sadly, I am dead serious.

I've been trying to be nice about this, but I've got to get this out of my system. I love blogs. I also love silly, sweet, ridiculous fanfic. I feel like it is the literary equivalent to reality television. Like reality TV, there are some that are wonderfully written (yes, I am implying that 'reality' tv is scripted), and there are others that are ... well ... not.

I ALSO have respect for the English language. I apologize to everyone out there who knows what a misplaced modifier is. And to those who know how to conjugate verbs. However, there seem to be a shocking number of people who have never been taught the grammar rules Mrs. P drilled into my graduating class by the end of eleventh grade. (If Mr. F and Mr. P hadn't scared you into grammatical submission within the first two weeks of ninth grade...) I'll admit it: I went to a freak-brain-farm school. When I first joined facebook, I joined a group called "I went to a public school that might as well have been a private school... bitch."

This is why...

my alma mater... (older than my country, by 23 years)

Our school cheer was equal parts Greek and gibberish. Phi Chi Psi! Kappa Lambda Pi! Ai Protus Protus Ai, L-C-I! Hullaballoo! Hullaballoo, Hullaballoo-ballah... seriously, we yelled that at basketball games. People would have thought we were nuts or snobs or both except that's been our school cheer since the 1930s. And yes, the C-I stand for collegiate institute.

This may have resulted in my being a horrific snob. Sort of. I'd prove why we're not snobs, but the photo is of people who probably don't want me... actually screw it. It's on facebook anyways.

Poutine Derby 2001.
(a prize to whoever can guess which one of these guys is my ex...)

Poutine Derby consisted of a relay, consuming poutine and four 2 litre bottles of pop and spinning around a hockey stick. No joke. It was one of the biggest events of the fall. We may have had no class, but at least we knew how to write.

People who can’t write piss me off.

Not the ones who have no creativity; I can’t hold that against them. The ones who are creative but don’t give a rats ass about grammar, or spelling, or proper conjugation. Or if the word they are using actually exists. *gritting teeeeeeth*

I’m not saying I’m perfect (in fact, I KNOW my grammar is dodgy, so much so that I got my cousin to give me a “dialogue punctuation tutorial” because she’s an ace writer). All I’m saying is that I at least try not to use words that don’t exist. Unless they are nouns denoting non-existent things. Like something magic. Or paranormal. Or mythical. And even then I prefer using existing nouns.

I wish I'd written them down, because some of them are downright unforgivable. They make me cringe. The worst part is that I don't want to comment on people's posts if they include one of those cringe-inducing clauses because my opinion of the entire thing, no matter how interesting an idea or good a plot, is marred by the fact that the author doesn't have a proper grasp of the language.

It just boils my blood when people don’t even use spell check. Or grammar check. IT'S THERE, USE IT!!! Or when they use non-existent past tenses that I knew were wrong by age five. Like tooken. NOT A WORD. It's taken. Or took. I heard a girl my age use this word on the Skytrain tonight. I practically cried laughing. It’s like saying wronger.

I also hate when people don't proof-read their work. I'll be the first to admit that my eyes glaze over sometimes; I count on my readers to correct me on spelling mistakes (usually the mistakes are actual words simply in the wrong tense because I've changed the sentence around or something). The is no excuse for having glaring errors.

I also kind of hate when people when people write alot <-- NOT A WORD!!! it's two words. A and LOT. Do you not see the little red dotted line under the word alot? That means it is WRONG.

Or when people write it's to denote possession. It's is a bloody contraction: it should only be used when it can be replaced by the words it and is. I also hate when people do the opposite, or used them interchangeably, like they are one and the same. Grrrrrr.

Same deal with they're and their and there. They don't mean the same thing. At all.

Or using to when you mean too. The first is a preposition, the second is a synonym of 'as well' or denotes an excess of the word it precedes too much, too often, and too irritating.

What gets me is the sad irony of confusing the words write, right and rite. If you're a writer, please get it right. It makes my eyes bleed when people get it wrong. If you don't know the first thing about grammar, buy a copy of Strunk & White's 'The Elements of Style' - it's 95 pages long and 10$. It is a writer's bible. If you really want to get fancy, buy the 'Chicago Manual of Stlye.' Warning: it's about 80$ or so. Minimum.

Grammar help...

I get that the English language is annoying as all hell - it is one of the messiest languages grammatically because it has Greek, Romance and Germanic roots. But it does not excuse anyone from using the word thunk unless it is being used onomatopoeiacally (I am well aware that spell check does not recognize that word, but mostly I blame that on blogger's rather pathetic vocabulary). My point is that thunk is not a past tense of the word think.

You cannot conjugate the word think like the word drink.
Drink, drank, drunk. Yes.
Think, thank, thunk. NOOOOO!

Maybe I was just spoiled with a half-decent education, but it scares me when people in post-secondary institutions write with the same proficiency as I did when I was eight. In French. Which was my second language. Which has approximately 300 irregular verbs. Which I had to memorize before puberty.

I'm a massive snob, but my snobbery is derived from a desire to prevent an already bastardized language from being subjected to further humiliation at the hands of the international blogging community.

Steve Mason = a minor deity

I don't mean to offend anyone's religious sensibilities, but Mase is just out of this world...

Steve Mason played shutout #7 of his season tonight against my beloved (bedraggled) Ottawa Senators. ...did I mention he's leading the league in shutouts?...

My reaction?


I'm officially a traitor. I wish I could bring myself to care. But I can't. If the Sens can't get their act together... well, I'll look elsewhere for my kicks.

Let the Sens rant begin... I'm not a fair-weather fan. I will keep watching the Sens tank on TSN, but it won't make me any less pissed. Recently, James Duthie explained the Sens suckitude in four words: someone murdered their mojo. It's true: they've lost that ineffable it. Short of a miracle, they aren't getting it back this season. Mojo and moxie won't save this season (and if they do, it would only be due to some very serious lacing of said substances with very hard drugs... in the manner of LSD lollipops or the like).

It's not even really worth trying. I'm not saying they should write the season off completely... no wait, actually I am. They should cut their losses and make an honourable exit. And tank. Completely. With some flair (Spez, I'm lookin' at you kid). And then draft Tavares or Hedman or Janus. Either way, I'm not giving up on my Sens, I'm just exasperated.

Also, WE NEED A DECENT FUCKING GOALIE FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST!!!! Can we please make this a priority this June or did we trade away all our decent 2009 draft picks in our futile attempt to make a playoff run last year? If we have the chance, can we please get Jaroslav Janus? PLEASE??? We need a franchise goalie. We're about due up for one. A year or two in Bing and he'll be all set.

I probably won't get into Columbus the way I get into the Pens and Sens (ie. I probably won't bawl my face off when they lose in the first round), but they have some arse-kickingly awesome players and I've been meaning to find a Western conference team to support since the Sens and Pens play GM Place about as often as Haley's Comet graces the skies.

At least it will give me someone to root for in the playoffs. As of tonight Columbus is back up to #6 in the west... (not #5 like the Team 1200 guy said, because Edmonton's got that -do the math boys, do the math...)

Conclusion --> Mer = Traitor ... *shrugs* oh well...

**LATE EDIT** Apparently, I'm not the only one jumping on the Blue Jackets Bandwagon...

Friday, 30 January 2009

voted most likely to do something incredibly rash...

I wasn't.
But I probably should have been.

I hope that when I die, someone tries to summarize my life like a MasterCard commercial...

Flights, trains and roadtrips to every country on earth: 2,450,347.56$
Cameras, film and photo developing: 20,994.21$

Making the Matthew Good Band laugh hysterically after sneaking backstage at a show at age 15,
Negotiating my way into the US with a visa-less Mexican diplomat whose passport had
been stolen in UNDER AN HOUR,
Nearly drowning in the North Sea on my 21st birthday,
Meeting John Tavares *before* he got drafted,
Seeing Tom Petty from 10 feet away,
Watching sunrise over the Rockies along the Athabaska river,
And a million things that haven't happened yet,
And never regretting it for a second:

I'm flying to NYC on February 25th.
I'll probably be in Philly on March 5th/6th.
I think I'll be in DC from March 6th/7th to the 10th.

I'm telling myself this is a research mission. And it is. It's also an excuse to get out of Vancouver for a couple weeks so I don't lose my mind. And I want to go see Stefan Legein play. And I miss my family (yeah, I'm a sap).

I've never been to an NHL game, and I've always said my first would be a Sens game... but I may need to get tickets for the Pens-Caps game on March 8th: springing 100-200$ to see Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, Sykora, Karl Alzner, and MAYBE (*pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease*) Colby Armstrong may actually trump seeing the Sens. Sorry Heatley.

I know some of you live in the area. If you want to go to the game, let me know: I'd LOVE to make a day of it (since it's a matinee game). Seriously. It would be kind on insane, but kind of wicked to attend my first NHL game with people who love the game as much as I do.

Now, all I've got to do is go renew my passport :P Yeah, I just realized it expires in March. (Better to realize it now than when they won't let me through security in four weeks...)

warning: random alert

random blog that made me laugh out loud at 2:30 a.m. when both my responsible-9to5-MtoF-job-having roomies are sleeping. *cringe*

random memory derived from re-reading detroit-lauren's comments about playoff support: my friend Andy wearing his Ottawa Senators jersey last spring (a jersey from an era when it was still COOL to own a Hossa jersey), whilst cheering on the Detroit Red Wings in the Cup final, just to spite me for cheering for Pittsburgh. In retrospect, since the Hossa trade, it's even more messed up.

Incidentally, I wasn't kidding when I said I'll cheer for Detroit if the Bruins win the eastern conference title. But I still reserve the right to be pissed that Hossa choked big time in the post-season with the Sens, while seemingly being able to play for Pittsburgh like someone lit a fire under his rear (but I'm not bitter, honest).

random song I listened to about eight billion times today: Big Country by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

random book I've decided I need to read: Anna Karenina.

random idiotic thing my sister used to say that would having my crying laughing: 'Be alert, the world needs more lerts.' She even made a button. I wish I could find it.

random plotting... i need out of Vancouver. this happens about every 6 months (it's been five). the bad thing is that this afternoon, I let myself check there are 343$ round-trip tickets to New York. this is bad. very bad. it means I will probably be in a different time zone for the trade deadline. potentially even in pittsburgh. intentionally. to welcome Army back home. i may also go to more than one Syracuse Crunch game and wait, like a sad sorry little person I am, for the players to leave so that I can get Stefan Legein to sign my Canada jersey. and so I can thank him for coming to his senses and un-retiring from pro-hockey. I may even need to hug him. I will probably apologize. I will also probably spend far too much money and go to DC to the Smithsonian - I am not sure why, but I have developed a NEED to go. generally, I have discovered that it is smart for me to follow these urges: they usually result in bizarre stories that, a couple decades from now, my children won't believe because their mother couldn't possibly have been that cool. although, it is beyond me what kind of mess i could get myself into in a museum. no, wait, let's not go there... I'm sure there is plenty, and now I'm just asking to be caught in the middle of a Hope Diamond heist. the point being that I need out. again. so if I unexpectedly stop posting for two weeks, I'm not dead, I'm just in a different time zone with intermittent internet access. possibly even doing something productive. like research. or editing. but probably not. more likely, i'll be at a Caps-Pens game, or seeing Garnet Rogers or trying to find that restaurant I went to that one time in the East Village with Cathy where we had the most bittersweet meal of my entire life.

cathy is to mer as big heart is to little heart

random thought
: i really need to pick up new batteries for my electric toothbrush. i keep forgetting because I have a non-battery-operated toothbrush.

random photo
that makes me happy ... (it's gonna be a while before I get over how happy I am about this... my apologies. in advance. ish.)

random. i know. don't say I didn't warn you.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

le sigh...

another hockey post...

TSN's Top Ten Players to watch this Trade Deadline ?

Number One? The subject of last year's most shocking trade-deadline trade: the one and only Colby Armstrong.

Who didn't see this one coming a mile away? Pittsburgh can't find a winger who clicks with Sid the way Army did. Colby Armstrong may not be the best player in the world, but he's one of the best line-mates for Sid. So... BRING ARMY BACK TO THE BURGH ALREADY!!! (Got it Shero?)

**late edit** I think Army's profile photo on Wikipedia is somehow cosmically telling us something...

Number Two? Chris Neil. UFA come July 1st, needs a raise. Ottawa probably can't afford to keep him. Which sucks, but 1/3 of our cap space pays for one line... (not the greatest plan, it turns out). And we need at least another scoring line. So I'll take a whole young line for the price of Neil.

And the one no one is surprised by...

(TSN won't let me embed it)

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Dubya-Tee-Eff Mate?

I've been staring at this photo all day just thinking 'Dubya Tee Eff, Mate?'

We've got Brandon Sutter (CAN-12), James Van Riemsdyk (USA-12) and Stefan Legein (7). That I can process. And it lookes like Sutter's trying to get JVR off Legein's back. Also makes sense.

Where is stops making sense is when you try to figure out how it is that Sutter looks like he's just jumped down off a building onto JVR. Those feet and very much not on the ice.

I've been considering this from an artistic perspective, trying to appreciate how the shadows fill in the incomplete information we are given - except that Sutter doesn't seem to have a shadow, it just mushes into JVR's.

I've also been considering this from a physics perspective, wondering what kind of gravitational law Sutter's breaking.

No matter how you look at it though, cool picture.

Also, in my last post I was (ERRONEOUSLY) lamenting Stefan Legein's retirement from pro-hockey last August. Clare set me right (clearly I haven't been paying attention the AHL) though: Legein was assigned to the Syracuse Crunch earlier this month and made his debut with the team (well, this season's debut) on January 16th. My heart has been singing the most giddy little tune all day. I'm pretty sure I'll wake up still singing.

There is NO rational reason why this should make me as glad as it does. I don't know him personally, I have nothing to gain by his having a pro-hockey career, and I have no way of going to watch him play on a regular basis until he makes the jump to Ohio and comes to visit Vancouver.

At which point I WILL probably shell out the 350 bucks necessary to get a couple Canucks tickets. I'd like to take this opportunity to express my envy for any of you who live in places that have those sweet two-tickets-plus-beer-plus-casnio or whatever deals... I envy you. I envy that every one of your team's games isn't sold out by the beginning of the pre-season. I'm not joking about the sell-out factor or the cost: nosebleed tickets against teams no one here cares about STILL cost at least 90$ a pop. So I go to Giants games, which cost me 19.50 for the best tickets in the house.

Back to the point which is Stefan Legein is playing hockey again, and this makes me inordinately happy. Just cause. I may have to go visit family in upstate just to have an excuse to see him play a few times before it costs me a couple hundred bucks (ironically, the plane ticket to New York will probably cost the same about as three Canucks tickets...)

And for nor apparent reason, mostly just because I haven't seen it in forever...


Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Franchise Stevie

Actually, as cool as Steve Yzerman is, he isn't the Steve I'm referring to.

This is.

Although, someday I hope I get to post a photo of this kid raising the Cup above his head like Yzerman... well, I guess this cup kind of cool too, but I mean THE cup...

Okay, I love this kid.

This is Steve Mason, of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who might just be my favourite goalie in the National Hockey League (sorry Flower...).

Honestly. I'm SAD... I think I'm actually developing a crush on him. (Make whatever puck bunny comments you like, I really don't care because he's just so awesome that it makes ANY and ALL ridicule entirely bearable.) He's such a class act.

(Did I mention he's also a TOTAL cutie? Gratuitous eye candy... I know. Check out that tattoo, the writing along the bottom is his nickname, Mase, which is also on the chin of all of his masks.)

A few vital stats: born May 29th, 1988, 6'4", 212 lbs, shoots right. OHL Goalie of the Year in 2007. (That's the Ontario Hockey League for those of you not quite as obsessed with junior hockey as I am.) Currently the starting goalie for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Now, for a little bit of history...

Mason only started twelve games his first OHL season. That June, he went third round (69th OA) to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2006 Entry Draft. Then, the following season (2006-2007) he blew everyone away when he earned the starting spot with the London Knights and went on to set the OHL record for regular season wins (45) and the CHL record for assists by a goalie (8), playing 62 games with the Knights and finishing the season with a 3.20 GAA (not STELLAR, but he did have a 0.914 SV% - that's 2123 saves in 3733 minutes of play, folks). Next time I criticize a goalie I'm going to try to imagine stopping even 199 of the 2322 pucks that came flying at him that season...

Mason started the 2007-2008 season in Columbus but was a healthy scratch for a couple games before begin sent back to the OHL.

That fall, he was selected to play on the U20 National team where he made saves like these...

And helped Team Canada win gold.


In doing so, he earned himself both the Top Goaltender and Tournament MVP titles.

Winning gold = dogpile on the goalie who made clutch saves in overtime until Matty Halischuck scored the game winner...

Incidentally, it was this tournament that put him on my (and most of Canada's) radar. I remember watching the first couple games and just thinking 'Wow, where the heck did this kid come from?' (From Oakville, apparently...)

I wasn't alone in my "Where did this kid come from?"-ness. During the 2008 World Junior Hockey Championships (hereafter the WJC) Allen Panzeri wrote the following for the Ottawa Citizen:
"Only three years ago, when he was 16, Steve Mason was with the Grimsby Jr. C Peach Kings of the Niagara Junior C [my emphasis, I'll explain below] Hockey League in Ontario, treading water as a hockey player and not sure he was going anywhere.

The year before, he wasn't picked by the London Knights until the 11th round of the Ontario Hockey League draft (201st overall). So he didn't know he was even going to make it there, either.

This afternoon [January 2nd, 2008], Mason, 19, will lead Team Canada into the medal round of the world junior hockey championship, against Finland (2-2) in the first quarter-final game.

It doesn't get any more Canadian than that. Before you know it, he'll be in a Tim Hortons commercial. Now all he has to do is that other Canadian thing: win.

"I think about that all the time," Mason said of his days with Grimsby. "It kind of humbles you. You can't get too full of yourself.

"It's kind of funny. I was kind of a nobody back then, always the underdog. And I kind of used that underdog thing as a little motivation.

"Coming into (Team Canada) camp, I was probably the lowest kid drafted (by the Columbus Blue Jackets, 67th overall), so I don't think many people picked me to come out on top."

Two days after this article was published, on January 4th, 2008, only hours before the semi-final game against the United States, Mason was traded to the Kitchener Rangers, who wanted him for their Memorial Cup run. He's that good.

For a kid who'd been playing in the fourth tier junior league only three years earlier -because, in Canada, Junior C is below Major Junior (the CHL), Junior A (BCHL / OPJHL et c.), and Junior B- it's a heck of a step up. Then Mason was called up to Columbus (again) in February. He never played, but the fact that he'd been called up to the NHL twice was significant in and of itself. From Junior C to the NHL in only 3 years... now that is something.

The Kitchener Rangers went on to win the OHL title, and made it to the Memorial Cup final, but without Mason, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on April 18th (2008) after wrecking his knee in March and playing through it for the rest of the regular season and the first round of the OHL playoffs. Incidentally, the Rangers lost in the Memorial Cup final to the Spokane Chiefs, whose netminder, Dustin Tokarski, was Canada's starting goalie at this year's WJC.

Mason underwent further surgery for his knee in September 2008 and missed the first month of his first professional season with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch. Following his recovery, he played only three games with the Crunch before being called up to start for the Blue Jackets when their starting goalie, Pascal Leclaire injured his ankle.

On November 5th, 2008 he played (and started) his first NHL game against the Edmonton Oilers. Columbus won 5-4. (Mason got the game puck :P)

Within the week, he was on his way to becoming a local hero.

Seventeen days later, he played his first NHL shutout against the Atlanta Thrashers.

His record through November and December 2008? 12-7-1.

It earned him the NHL's Rookie of the Month title for November. And then again for December. It also earned him the following, on the Columbus website:

Thanks to Mason, the Columbus Blue Jackets actually have a serious a shot at the playoffs! If they make it this season, Mason will be in large part responsible for their FIRST PLAYOFF APPEARANCE EVER!!!

This is only funny to me because of this:

Offside --> After I saw that clip, I couldn't wait for Stefan Legein to make the jump to the NHL. Can you imagine the marketing opportunities a guy like him would provide? Mix Crosby's good looks (only Legein's WAY cuter), Max Talbot's charisma, and Colby Armstrong's sense of humour. He's an NHL triple threat.

(I adore Legein; I couldn't help myself from going as far as naming one my characters after him: any and all similarities between Stefan Legein and Stephane Leduc are completely and TOTALLY intentional.)

Steve Mason, Stefan Legein and Karl Alzner: three of my four favourite members of the 2008 U20 Team (Brad Marchand being the fourth) - it probably shouldn't surprise me that they have the good taste to be friends...

So, you can understand why my heart broke when Legein (who went 37th OA to Columbus in the 2007 draft) decided not to show up to the Blue Jackets' camp last year and, for all intents and purposes, quit playing pro hockey. I actually came close to tears because, after the 2008 WJC, I was actually prepared to start cheering for Columbus solely because of him and Mason.

At least I get to cheer for Mason. And, admittedly, I have a lot to cheer about...

Steve Mason's record since his NHL debut (as of January 27th, 2009): 17-11-2.

Mason currently has the best GAA in the league (2.05) and the 5th best Sv% (0.926). Six of his seventeen wins have been shutouts. And Columbus is only 2 points out of a playoff spot right now (49 points & #10 in the West)- it's worth noting that there is only a four point difference in the western conference between the #6 team (Edmonton) @ 51 points, and the #12 team (Colorado) @ 47. Unlike the east, it's actually going to be a race for playoff spots in the west.

**LATE EDIT: After the game tonight vs. Detroit, Columbus is now #5 - that's how close it is...

Since the Sens are CLEARLY not going to make playoffs (if they make it, I will... I don't know, dare me to do something ridiculous... and I'll do it if the Sens make playoffs), and since the Pens are probably going to choke in the first round as is post-Cup-appearance tradition, I'm considering bandwagonning it this post-season.

I live in Vancouver and the Canucks aren't completely sucking this year but, to be honest, I have trouble cheering for them.

I could cheer for the Habs, except that I've got this stupid addiction to cheering for the underdogs and Montreal so isn't an underdog team this year.

So I think I'm going to root for Columbus.

Mason is #1!

Because how can you not love this kid?

Left: Mason and one of his physical trainers.

Right: Mason and his mom. (That's your cue, say it with me: Awwwe!)

Hey now! You're an All-Star! (okay, a Young-Star)
Get your game on, go play!
... and all that glitters is gold, only shooting stars break the mold...

Because he's a goalie, Mason is a "dark horse" (SNORT) for the Calder Trophy this season. Um, right cause Stamkos and Doughty are leading the lea- BAHAHAHA, I can't even finish that sentence! (Don't get me wrong, Stamkos and Doughty are good, but not my pick for rookie of the year...)


Sorry Dany, you're going to have to score me a couple dozen more goals this season to keep top-place in my hockey heart... (Hit 40 goals or 80 points and we can talk babe.)

Monday, 26 January 2009

mer vs. the sci-fi/fantasy genres

This is a follow-up to 'the 2009 book list' post. It started as a comment, but then I realized there was just too much I wanted to say.

I never really got into sci-fi when I was a kid, or even fantasy. I've never ever read The Chronicles of Narnia or those Madelaine Engel books. I didn't read the Lord of the Rings trilogy until before the movies came out. I never read The Chrysalids even though every single other person I've ever met seems to have read it. My sister read all of them them, I read the Little House on the Prairie books and Aldous Huxley and Carl Sagan and preferred medical thrillers and the original (twisted) versions of fairytales and historical fiction (and straight history) - I had an almost unhealthy obsession with the second world war and the Holocaust when I was in grade school.

Warning, OFFSIDE: Incidentally, I threw a FIT when my mother wouldn't let me see Schindler's List when it first came out. Granted, I was 10. When I finally saw it, I was 16 or so, and I knew that, had I seen it at ten, I would have been fine. It may have even been easier because when the film was originally released, there hadn't been another genocide. Instead of seeing it in 1993 when "Never Again" still meant something, I watched the film in 1999, well aware of how soon after its release history would repeat itself; the irony was almost too much to bear. That was almost more painful than anything in the film itself.

This was only one example of something that bugs me: adults don't give kids enough credit. If a kid wants to learn about something heavy, let them. In an age appropriate way, of course, but don't pretend like death or war or terminal illness is beyond their understanding. At least TRY to explain it to them. And don't lie: they're young, not stupid. Same deal with books, if a kid is capable of reading a certain book, he or she is probably ready to handle the consequences of what it contains. (There are of course, exceptions to every rule. For example, NO ONE under the age of thirteen should be allowed to read 'Shake Hands with the Devil' - in fact, most people under seventeen shouldn't read it either.)

Back to my point though, most of what I read was historical or political or folklore or medical. I wanted to be an ER surgeon for about a decade, and I ended up in international relations, and now I want to be a writer and a paramedic (maybe) so oddly enough, it sort of fits.

I think part of it the reason I never got into sci-fi as a kid has to do with the fact that I REPEL technology. I don't know how I'd survive without Google (I suppose I'd live in the library like my mother did...) but I have a very difficult relationship with all things non-organic.

I cried when my old laptop died, not for sentimental reasons (although I did call it my baby), but because it meant I had to learn how to use a new one. I hate cell phones. I don't drive. I still have an old film SLR camera. I don't own a TV. I've never played a video game in my life (seriously, never). And the only arcade games I ever liked were the shooting ones. I didn't see the whole Star Wars trilogy (the GOOD ones, NOT the new ones... I'm not even going to start...) until I was ten or so. I didn't see the Terminator movies until I was seventeen (at which point the evil ex* flipped and forced me to watch them) and when I did see them I appreciated the paradox more than anything else. And I actually kind of loved when my friend's father used to call me his little luddite.

*not ACTUALLY evil, just a nickname... although he was enough of a jerk to have earned the distinction

I never read much fantasy either, but for a very different reason. As I child I wrote an infinite number of silly, pointless, plotless stories. Mostly they weren't even stories, I just created these little universes in my head. Scary-elaborate universes. I was never a very good story teller because I hadn't learned how to drive plot (conflict, conflict and a more conflict) because I'm a shockingly peace-loving person who (unlike about 90% of the world, apparently) was taught the difference between discussion, debate and personal disagreement in high school.

I love the first two, and avoid the third whenever possible, but I really get into debates and I play a fairly convincing devil's advocate so people tend to think I'm incredibly argumentative - which is true, but only in the sense that I enjoy academic arguments (ie. the kind with a thesis and evidence and a logical point worth defending). I'm not a fan of the kind of arguments where people yell senselessly at one another in some sick attempt to gain the emotional upper hand. But as a little kid, I didn't really get that conflict and fighting and things going wrong were kind of what drove stories, because I just wanted everything to be lovely and happy and peaceful.

Then life bitch-slapped me with 2001 (I see 2001 almost as an entity unto itself, and no, the reasons why 2001 was, hands down, the worst year of my life have NOTHING to do with the notorious events in September, by then my life was so irreparably altered that it seemed only fitting that the international political climate should change as well. Now, I separate life into pre-2001 and post-2001).

After that I kind of started getting better at the whole 'things going wrong' part of storytelling. That's why there are very few literary prodigies: because to write well, really well, you have to know what you are talking about and most kids are so sheltered that they can't write conflict accurately. I was the same. I know it. I still think there are only a narrow spectrum of things I can write about half-decently, and that's after a good seven years of processing things.

But when I was a kid, even though I may not have been any good as a writer, I was still far too creative for my own good and that meant that when I started reading fantasy books, I lost interest pretty quickly because my own imagination took over and I got lost in it instead of in the story. So I never read a ton of fantasy either.

Ever since I decided to take writing more seriously, I've been on this children's and YA fiction kick: I know I really want to read the Narnia books, but beyond that, I have no clue where to start (other than maybe reading The Chrysalids). So, I'm taking suggestions as to what sci-fi and fantasy books (for children or adults) I ought to read. I'm going to hit up the public library later this week, so if you have suggestions, let me know before Friday.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

The 2009 Book List

On November 8th, 2004, I quit theatre school.

It was the second-best decision I ever made. (The best being the one I made shortly thereafter when I decided to move to British Columbia.) Why on earth is this significant? It's significant because that fall, I forced myself to keep track of what I read until I went back to school. I was actually shocked to discover how MUCH I read in those ten months - I think it was upwards of 80 books. Granted, an embarrassing percentage was what my mother long ago dubbed 'modern crap fiction' (and the publishing industry apparently calls 'formulaic') but I also read a frightening amount of non-fiction, most of it politics, history and economics.

For a very long list of reasons, this year I find myself, once again, a university drop-out. So I'm going to track what I read again, to make sure that my brain doesn't atrophy between now and whenever I decide to suck it up and complete the almost-illogically low number of credits necessary for me to get a degree (nb. I say A degree because getting the degree I actually WANT is significantly more involved than just completing a few upper division classes in whatever-the-heck-I-feel-like).

My system is simple: I divvy books up into basic fiction vs. non-fiction categories, where non-fiction counts for about five times as much brain-atrophy-prevention as fiction... unless it's fiction that's won the Booker, a GG, an ALA award, the Giller, a Pulitzer or the Nobel prize for literature.

1. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
2. New Moon - Stephenie Meyer
3. Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer
4. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer (I could argue that these were read partly as a means of researching a specific publishing market. Mostly it was Christmas and I wanted something fluffy to read and people kept comparing one of my characters to Edward Cullen...)
5. Go Ask Alice - Anonymous (Jan 25) *this book says it's non-fiction - everyone else says it's fiction
6. The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova (Feb 14)
7. Watchmen - Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons (March 2) -don't give me grief about this being a graphic novel. read it first, then come tell me it's not more literarily sound than half the modern crap fiction on the market...
8. Chief Honor - Sigmund Brouwer (March 25th) Utter trash. Why write a book about hockey and then have less hockey in it than an NHL commercial? If this is what I'm up against... well, it bodes well for my shot at a book deal...
9. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis (March 26th) Classic. Despite what I believed at the time, I probably would have liked this when I was seven.
10. The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman (March 29th) Loved this. About time I read it since Nancy told me I'd like it about, oh, EIGHT YEARS AGO.
11. Call Me Mimi - Francis Chalifour (March 30th) Surprisingly good. And short. Like a good TV movie, not the trashy Tori-Spelling-in-1996-kind, the sort-of-flaky-but-actually-kind-of-poignant kind.
12. The Chrysalids - John Wyndham (April 16th) Incredible. Simply incredible.
13. Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (April 28th) Best book I've ever had as assigned reading. Thank you John Harriss.
14. Something Blue - Emily Giffin (April 29th) Someone compared my writing style to hers; I'm a little flattered, although I definitely don't think I'm *quite* as girly as she is.
16. War Brother - Sharon E. McKay (August 3rd) Historical/political fiction about the LRA in Uganda, but fiction.

as of yet, nothing... precisely why I'm engaging in this exercise...
(March 2nd - still nothing. I am a lazy arse.)
(March 26th - this is getting ridiculous... trying to determine whether or not reading Ken Dryden's The Game counts as non-fiction...)
(April 16th - this is just SAD.)
15. The Game - Ken Dryden (May 25th)

See my "books I'm halfway through" list for a general gist of what I'm trying to motivate myself to read. I'm actually halfway through ALL of them. It's pathetic really, that my attention span isn't long enough to last... oh wait, Pity the Nation is 689 pages long, THAT'S WHY I haven't finished it!

Goals for 2009
1. Finish at least 25 non-fiction books THAT I ALREADY OWN.

2. Read at least a dozen 'literary' novels. I'm not so good with finding these, so I'm open to suggestions. That said, if anyone suggests I read Yet Another book wherein any of the main characters goes all Oedipal on someone's ass, I will scream. (I don't care if it's won the GG, the Booker AND the Nobel prize!) Just so you know.

3. To not buy any new books.* (BAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!) This sounds a little messed up seeing as my whole objective is to read voraciously, except that I moved to BC with 25 books (I left the other couple thousand in storage in Ontario - trust me, it took me four days to decide which 25 to bring, it was like picking 25 children to save in a war... okay, not that bad, but it was tough!) and my shelves now contain 201 books (not including textbooks, reference books, dictionaries, academic journals and custom courseware), 102 of which I have not read yet, at least not in their entirety.

*those in this colour are those that have been bought therefor breaking this...

Some girls buy shoes. My weakness is books. I probably won't last the month. Seriously.

LATE EDIT (Feb 13th): I did actually survive January, but, in all fairness that was after having bought myself eight books over the Christmas break (and receiving another four as gifts).

EVEN Later Edit (Feb 14th): No wait, I didn't. I definitely bought myself a 4$ copy of The Game by Ken Dryden two days after I originally wrote this post. Books are my personal brand of heroin.

.. yeah yeah... (March 26th):
# of books in Van: 209
# of books unread in Van: 108

The Vancouver Public Library has its annual book sale (April 16th):
# of books in Van: 213
# of books unread in Van: 112

Saturday, 24 January 2009

five minutes to midnight

This is an experiment...

Which may, thanks to Lauren, actually work... woohoo!

chock-full of crazy

Do you ever feel like your mind is just running away with you? Or that you heart is spinning off into a blissfully ludicrous place that your rational mind can't quite grasp?

I tried to explain this once -when I was fifteen- to myself mostly, because I needed to express it somehow. It came out as a mess of spiralled colour, with lines bursting out of it. Kind of like fireworks. On acid. Not that I actually know what an acid trip's like; I'm either too boring or too entertained by my own brain that I've never felt the need to try it. Honestly though, the way I see the world? Most of the time, it doesn't leave much need for artificial enhancement.

I tried to explain this again a few months ago, after my doctors put me on ADD medication -they think I probably should have been on it since I could speak- personally I'm kind of glad I wasn't as a kid, but I'm glad to be on it now. A lot of people, especially other creative people, have given me grief for going on meds, mostly because they somehow, paradoxically, think that it stifles creativity to be able to think straight. Um... yeah... right. Actually, what it's done (for me, at least) is enabled me to focus enough to finish my first novel (which isn't to say it's any good, but it's DONE, which for me is a really, REALLY big deal).

Irregardless of what I've accomplished since going on these meds, I came back from my first trip back to my hometown in two and half years questioning my decision to take medication that really DOES alter my brain. I had to wonder if I was making the right choice.

A day after I got home (Vancouver is Home, Ottawa is my just my hometown) I left again, this time to Jasper, Alberta to see people who have known me most of my life (which, given what I've lived through means more to me than most 25 year-olds). We went camping. We went hiking. We saw bears. I saw the sunrise over the Rockies. Twice. It was HEAVEN. I didn't want to come home.

I thought about a ton of stuff that weekend. We talked about a ton of stuff that weekend. Not what-have-you-been-up-to and oh-what's-your'master-thesis-again? stuff. No, we talked about real stuff like values and why we want to live in the country and why our kids won't be allowed to watch a lot of TV and why is it that guys get so offended when you can't physically fall asleep because they're heat-generating freaks and it makes you a bit queasy to be so warm all the time?

Half way up the first half of the Opal Hills circut, between discussing his honours project and why I still want four kids, despite logically knowing it'll wreak havoc on my body and enter me into motherly servitude for two and a half decades, at somepoint in there I tried to explain my drugs to E. I'm pretty sure I wasn't able to figure out a decent analogy until later, because I remember his car behind him, either in a parking lot someplace eating as we ate jujubes or back at the campground as we made dinner.

The way I explained it to him was that the drugs made sense of that previously LSD-esque explosion of universe-understandingness and helped me figure out how to look at each part of it, to categorize it, to qualify it, if not quantify it, and to sort out what's actually in there. It was like looking at that massive explosiony-web of colour and light and energy and finally realizing that I'd only ever seen it in two dimensions, and that now that I could see it in three dimensions, I could finally sort out the layers, see them as individual components of a much more complicated whole. I could finally look at one 'colour' as it were and to figure out what it was, and why, and how it fit into the whole shebang.

sometimes simple can be so beautiful...

I still feel that inexplicable happiness, but knowing that I can understand it if I want to makes it that much more wonderful. Maybe it's just an ingrained characteristic that I will only ever be more amused by something once I understand how it works, or why it works, or what laws of physics make it work.

And I kind of wonder if that's why I try so hard to understand people, who, when you get down to it, only ever get more amusing the more I understand them. And more beautiful, kind of like fireworks and exploding stars...

if only we all looked like stars when we died...

Thursday, 22 January 2009


i will run the streets and hostile lands
i will touch the rain with all I have
i will breathe the air, just scream it loud
my feet will never touch the ground
because the days they feel like ancient clocks
like when kids grow up and learn to walk
because your life is full of pure desire
a place so gloriously wired

the lights and sounds
oh God this is such a mess
and it's like our world
but we're the last ones left
and the hair it stands
on the back of our necks
and i swear it shows
Heaven must be just like this

do you see the hills beneath the clouds?
the Stars as trails to lead you out
can you sense the pain? it's everywhere
and if you try, you'll never care
and the love you had
when you were young
is right outside for all to come
because your life is full of pure Desire
a place so gloriously wired

the lights and sounds
oh God this is such a mess
and it's like our world
but we're the last ones left
and the hair it stands
on the back of our necks
and i swear it shows
Heaven must be just like this

if you see the light break through the clouds
and Fire up at distant towns
well the world will be begin, exactly how it ends
when you call for Love, when you are lost
for evermore or whatever it costs
and the world will begin, exactly how it ends

please stay, don't go
i’ve got you now,
are you curious?

here i am

everything's magic

(would someone please tell me how to embed videos on my blog? i feel technologically illiterate)


because I can

late edit: Happy Birthday Dany! (one day late)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

*So Distantly, Insanely, Ludicrously Far Off the Record...*

This was the second W2TBL post that convinced me to start Life is Peachy. Things were getting so far off base on that blog. In a really awesome way, but in a very this-has-nothing-to-do-with-the-stated-purpose-of-this-blog sort of way. In any case. I've included the comments. If you are the author of a comment and you would like me to delete one or all of your comments for *any* reason, drop me a line.

I am pre-empting this post by saying that it has absolutely nothing to do with hockey. It has some semblance of a hint of a shred to do with the story, and that's a lot of qualifiers for a reason, mostly I'm posting this because I can...

(Ali & lauren, this is also, in HUGE part, for you...)

These by no means do the real thing ANY justice... but click on them to see something marginally closer.

Westminster Abbey, May 2007.
Hands down, one of the most beautiful things I have Ever seen.
Taken completely illegally (in my defence I didn't know until after I took this...)

The Tabernacle entrance to the Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María, August 2007.

how can you not pray?
(sorry it's so grainy, no flash allowed)

And now for something completely different...

My brother and I booted it down to New York one week in March a few years ago to see this exhibit at the Met that consisted of all of Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks and drawings (we're kind of geeks like that). The night before we arrived, Bush went gave his 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein. Wicked timing eh?

The entire weekend was surreal. The city still had the whole red-yellow-red alert thing going on and it was red the whole time we were there. We stayed with a couple of his greek-society folks on the upper east side and ended up walking everywhere because the subways stations would still close randomly because of bomb threats and even when they were open, they were full of SWAT guys with semi-automatics.

The night Bush started bombing Iraq, there was a massive protest in Manhattan. If it had been Canada I'd have gone in a heartbeat, but most of my friends were tear gassed in Quebec City in 2001 and I wasn't willing to risk never being allowed back into the US ever again if I was arrested, so we skipped it and went to see Phantom of the Opera instead. We're both quite politically aware so it was this strange thing that hung over the evening, like 'how are we being so nonchalant about a WAR that is starting TONIGHT?' but in a strange way we both knew that nothing we could do would make much of a difference.

Then, the trippiest part of the night.

The Barnum & Bailey Circus was in town, only the trucks for the big animals don't fit through the tunnel from Jersey or something, so as we're walking up Fifth Ave from 42nd all the way up to the 90s, suddenly there's this fanfare and a couple dozen ELEPHANTS walking up the middle of Fifth Ave. I felt like I was hallucinating. Think about it. In New York. Machine Guns Everywhere. Political Protests. Iraq getting bombed on CNN. Red Alerts. And then elephants turn onto the street??? I thought I'd fallen through the looking glass.

The next day we wandered down to the Brooklyn Bridge and to a few other places and we saw this:

Avenue of the Americas, March 2003.

What bothers me is the middle tile. (If you can't read it click to enlarge it) I stood in front of it for a solid ten minutes, trying to figure out if I wanted to scream, cry, or break it. This devastated me more than I can accurately express in any language.

There's a line about about philosopher and poets and political scientists in Chapter 20; this is the evidence. (You'll understand when you read the chapter.)


Ali said...

Thanks for posting this -- the photos are incredible... and I'm sure being there in person is even more so... :)

KD said...

I need to dig up my pictures from Notre Dame. They don't do the place justice, by my God, they are so beautiful.

Lauren said...

This makes me want to make my parents ship me my photo albums from my trip to Europe :)

lauren said...

This really just fueled my desire to travel EVERYWHERE. =]

As for what you experienced in New York... I have no explanation or justification. War fever hit the US that year- I think most people have seen the error of their ways since then. While a lot of things about the US drive me nuts, I think what applies to our citizens applies to people everywhere- some people are incredible, some people are horrible, but most people are just people.

mer said...

lauren - Europe wasn't any better. I was in the UK in 2004 (a flew about month after the Madrid bombings...) and it was the same deal.

New York requires neither explanation nor justification, not from you in any case.

I don't blame people for being scared, they were told to be afraid, very afraid and they'd just been woken from a four decade-long dream wherein they were invincible.

I think I was more aware of how ridiculously irrational that fear was because I was an outsider, because I wasn't subjected to exclusively to Fox5 and CNN's fabricated paranoia for a few years straight.

Also, I've been following politics since I was six; I'm a hardened cynic when it comes to government.

The political culture in Canada is also just different; we don't really do the fear-mongering thing here, politicians know they can't get away with it so they don't really bother.

They're actually just sneaky bastards who try to quietly pass legislation under our noses until some clever journalist gets wind of it and makes idiots of them and they go running to the Governor General to suspend parliament so they don't get bitch-slapped with a no-confidence vote within 8 weeks of re-election... have I mentioned that my country's currently the laughingstock of the democratic West? Yeah, cause we are...

And go. Travel. EVERYWHERE. Then post photos. :)

lauren said...

@mer- it's okay, most people here in the US are totally oblivious to Canadian politics. They probably couldn't even tell you who Stephen Harper is. So I wouldn't be too worried about it.

If you ever get really bored, I have about eight facebook photo albums of pictures from Ukraine. :-)

Saturday, 17 January 2009

*le sigh*

This was the first of two posts that convinced me to start Life is Peachy. I've included the comments because they were part of that reason. If you are an author of a comment and would like me to delete one or all of your comments, please let me know.

one of my friends from high school posted some photos on facebook and even though I probably shouldn't... you can't tell who anyone is anyways...

le sigh...

la nostalgie...


Lauren said...

That is adorable. I wish I had a picture like that from my own childhood :)

mer said...

hey lauren, can i ask your opinion on something ? (it's quick)

Lauren said...

sure thing! you can shoot me an email if you want or ask me on here - whichever works best for you!

mer said...

i just sent it as a facebook message :)

Ali said...


I wish I had a pond that froze solid enough to skate on -- frustrating weather...

Such a great picture -- and I'm sure it's an even greater memory!

mer said...

sadly, not one of mine, just reminded me of all the ones i have no photographic evidence of...

Susan said...

I can't comprehend weather cold enough that a pond would freeze solid enough you could skate on it. See what happens when you grow up in Texas? Beautiful pic, tho. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing :)

JerseyLove said...

Ahh, that's so cool! --part of the reason why I wish I was Canadian. ...I can't believe I've admitted to that.

KD said...

That picture really makes me wish I were Canadian. Just to be born into hockey and have the opportunity to play shinny all winter long....priceless.

Stephanie B. said...

Mer, I was doing a quick email and Penguins blog check just before I headed out earlier today and I checked your blog just in case you had posted something (I wasn't expecting more of the story, just anything in general) and when I saw this post I laughed out loud a little bit because I was heading out to play hockey on my friends' pond!! I'm dead serious!! And, yes, there was Tim Horton's hot chocolate and timbits involved!!
And it was VERY lovely, it's been VERY cold here lately so the pond was just beautiful for skating!
And to top if all off, I was playing with an SC87 stick!!!
*sigh* And then we went into the house and watch The Mighty Ducks movie. hehehe! A very Canadian day I would say!!

mer said...

stephanie b. - I am literally ACHING with jealousy right now. I'm breaking in a brand new pair of Tacks right now so I only last a few minutes before needing to go loosen them up... and wanting to CRY.

(I only realized after the first, excruciatingly painful skate in them that I've never had to break skates in before because I always used my brother's old skates or bought them second hand.)

I need to move north or east... I'm not sure I can stand much more of this winter=rain business... anyone have a cute, single cousin in the prairies I can marry?

Stephanie B. said...

Come on, Mer, in all fairness, you live by the ocean!! That makes ME ache with jealousy!! (I'm pretty sure I've said before that I live in Eastern Ontario).
I went to Maine this summer and fell in LOVE with the culture out there!! I know your Western culture is probably substantially different, but still, I love the ocean! (btw- my FEET were aching with COLDNESS by the time we were finished today)!!
I would love to visit Vancouver, I hear it's beautiful. I have an Uncle out there, but he's 45 and never been married - kind of a playboy, so not really someone I could stay with!! hahaha!
Will you still be living there for the Olympics?!?! Now THAT makes us all jealous!!
Any plans in the future to move back to a colder climate?

Ali said...

@stephanie b. --

Oh my word... aching with jealousy doesn't begin to express how I feel -- I brought my ice skates to college (in the Southern US) and have yet to find a place to use them (it makes me sad everyday to see them sitting in the corner) -- I think there is one ice rink around here, let alone ponds that are frozen... and to top it off you watched Mighty Ducks??? Wow... aching doesn't do my feelings justice...

Think -- today it was about 35-37 degrees Fahrenheit (sorry -- I'm not great at conversions...) and kind of rain/snowing... everyone is complaining about it being freezing outside and the bad weather -- honestly, we called to order pizza and they wouldn't deliver because of the dangerous "snow." I love the people here, but the winter weather, or lack there of, is killing me... Someday I'm going to move to Canada where the winter is just that, winter.

Mer -- You've got to be staying in Vancouver for the Olympics... I can't even imagine how awesome that would be!! :)

mer said...

hehe, Ali, I'm staying for the Olympics. You've got to be nuts to think I'd move BEFORE a few hundred of the world's best hockey players descend on the place I (currently) call home for two weeks. I do, however, reserve the right to become a TOTAL stalker in my quest to get ALL of Team Canada to sign my jersey (and to get Heatley to sign my Sens jersey, I mean it's got his name on it and all...)

As for Vancouver - Everyone, COME VISIT!!! Seriously! It's the most awesome city and there is so much to do no matter what the season. I LOVE playing tour guide because it gives me an excuse to do all the fun stuff here! (hell, stephanie, you could even stay with me if you wanted, I love visitors!)

Vancouver is not, however, my hometown. I was born in Ottawa and lived there for 20 years; it's hard to get the expectation of frozen ponds, frost-bitten toes, and 80-degree(CELCIUS)-temperature-
spread out of my system.

I may even head back east on March 1st, 2010 -stay for the party then get out- ... then again I may also move to Denmark on a whim and never come back, you never know ;)

Clare said...

I will never forget the one day, I was about 11 and I was visiting a friend in Canada, north of Toronto and we were driving somewhere and I saw this group of people playing pond hockey and from then on I wanted to try it. (My fear of falling in and the fact that I don't live near any ponds is what has stopped me.)

If there is one regret I have in life, it is that I didn't skate more. I knew I couldn't play hockey but I wish that I had been out on ice more and played just pick-up hockey with my friends. I remember from ages 5-10 every Saturday during the winter my father would call me at home and ask me if I wanted to go skating and I would say no, (I had perfectly good reasons to say no and if he called right now I would still probably say no for those very same reasons.) He always wanted me to play hockey even though he knew why I couldn't. I played a game of pick-up hockey with my friends this September and had so much fun.

Ali said...

@Mer -- Oh, by all means, please do become a stalker of Team Canada in 2010. :) And definately get them all to sign your jersey. I'm already saying that I'm willing to move to Chicago if they get the bid for the 2012 Olympics -- even though they are the Summer Olympics... :)

I found out that the ice rink around here has an open skate today and I'm trying to get someone to take me -- this is frustrating... ugh.

Susan said...

What are timbits? I feel deprived, since I've never even see a Tim Horton's :)

mer said...

@ali - I believe London has the 2012 games and the 2014 ones are in Sochi, RUSSIA!!! - fun fact? Sochi is the southern most city (geographically) ever to win a bid for the winter games! it's also on the Black Sea.

@susan - email me your address and I'll express post you some :P

Ali said...

@mer -- I can't believe I wrote 2012... that's actually really embarrassing me to the point I want to erase that comment...

I know that London has 2012, and Sochi has 2014... Chicago is bidding for 2016...

Wow -- I guess that's what happens when you get up late and are trying to write a comment while listening to your friends talk about their exciting nights... haha... I feel like such an idiot.


mer said...

@ ali - hehe, i figured that's what you meant. A friend of mine who did his PhD in chicago mentioned that he's kind of hoping Chicago gets the bid.

It would be cool if they did but I don't think they will since the games have been in North America in 1996, 2002, 2010 and in Europe in 1992, 1994, 2004, 2006, 2012 and 2014.

I think it's time the games went to a non-G8 country... (because seriously, the only countries outside NA and Europe who've held games in the last 20 years are Japan, Australia and China). Personally, I think it would be freaking cool if the 2016 games were in Rio de Janeiro... because who knows how to throw a bigger party than Rio? Can you imagine what the opening ceremonies would be like?!? No offence to Chicago, but NO ONE in North America can party like Brazil!!!

Susan said...

Somehow, I don't think Timbits would travel well :)
I'll trade you some Timbits for some Indian fry bread (although I'd bet you can find fry bread up there, too).

Stephanie B. said...

Moving from Ottawa to Vancouver (for school right?) was a very brave move on your behalf!! I'm pretty sure I knew you lived in Ottawa, and went to French Immersion, right?!? I only remember because I did too! I love Ottawa! I have an Aunt that lives in Carlton Place, so I get to visit the big city from time to time. It really is beautiful!

Susan - timbits are like donut holes, but they are not the holes of donuts. They just look like they could be. They come in pretty much any flavour you can get a donut in at Tim Horton's. They are always a big deal for kids!!
And us Canadians find it hard to believe that people go the whole year without seeing snow!

And KD, I love being Canadian (among other things) because of what you talk about. I don't think people who live south actually realize what a HUGE deal hockey is here! Even if someone doesn't watch hockey, they still know something about it, or their boyfriend or dad plays recreational hockey! We really are born with hockey. Every restaurant every Saturday night is showing Hockey Night in Canada!!
It's also a great way to help pass the long, cold winter.

mer said...

stephanie b. - not an act of bravery, an act of desperation: I was living in Toronto. Read into that what you will.

Stephanie B. said...

You either love Toronto or hate Toronto.
Plus, the Leafs would be your home team! Ouch!!
I live in the Niagara Region and definitely feel like it's a black hole and really need to get out of here!! Plus, recently I pretty much lost my best friend to a un-employed, car-less, much younger boy. And the whole situation has created much more teenage drama than I'm willing to deal with. I thought we left high school behind when we graduated, but obviously not.
I'm sorry, it helps me to talk about it!! :)

Ali said...

@stephanie b. -- What you said earlier about Canada and hockey is so awesome. If I absolutely get torn away from my television during a Pens game I ask places to turn it on -- some will, so won't (and that's in PA, I shouldn't even start rambling about hockey in KY)...

When I was in Toronto last summer I wore my Pens shirt on the day we were visiting the Hall of Fame -- having people come up to me on the street and be able to talk about hockey with me... awesome...

It's hard to love something and be in a place that barely appreciates it...

mer said...

No worries :) - try living in university dorms at 22... to top it off, I never tolerated that drama in high school (funny how the kids with REAL problems are never the drama queens)

If you want out, get out. The whole of south-western ontario kind of scares me now, it's very grey, very bleak. The first thing coherent thing I thought about Vancouver as a city when I first arrived to this rain-forest was "Hmm, there are a lot more conifers here than in Ontario..." No joke. That's how much I need the green. I'd never been west of Winnipeg before I got on the plane to move here; I've never doubted that it's the best decision I EVER made.

mer said...

plus, when it's sunny like it's been this week, it's heaven on earth - minus pond hockey. but that would be cosmically unfair to everyone else in existence so I guess we have to give up something ;)

KD said...

@ Stephanie B.
I'm throughly jealous that you were playing shinny! Ahhhh!
I never knew how to skate, so I decided to take lessons. I'm loving it! I'm breaking in my first pair of skates tomorrow night. I have no idea how to play hockey, but I would love to learn.

@ Mer
I just may have to come visit you! I've wanted to visit Vancouver for a very long time, and now that the Olympics are going to be there, my desire has quadrupled.

Susan said...

@ Stephanie B--Timbits=donut holes? Yummy! Maybe, someday, I'll get to go north and actually see a Tim Horton's :)

Susan said...

Oh, yeah, we consider ourselves lucky if we go an entire year without snow; no one here can drive in it. We get more ice and sleet than actual snow, though. We had a really bad ice storm Dec 07 and most people in Tulsa and surrounding were without power for 7-10 days. Yuck!

mer said...

@ susan - I live in VANCOUVER. No one here can drive in snow either. Seriously. And they don't have an excuse.