Saturday, 28 February 2009

Day 1 - Everybody Loves You When You're Easy

Day 1 - Air Canada Flight 548. Approximately 37,000 feet above the 49th parallel. Trying to imagine a new reality for myself.

One where I am me, only better or more interesting, or something like that. I've had weird luck (as usual) - my flight out of Vancouver was delayed, but if it hadn't been delayed, I would have missed check-in. Then the plane was half-empty - not lucky so much as lovely. This is officially the cheapest, most comfortable trans-continental flight I've ever taken. I have a good feeling about this trip.

I've written down my dream - why not, right? Half of what I write is strangely predictive, so why not try to write my own happy ending? Well, my happy beginning; it's up to me to make sure it has a shot at happening and that when it does, I don't mess it up. A tall order, but I've experienced so many bad kinds of insanity in life; why not let myself believe in all the good kinds too?

Like perfect families and true Love (with a capital L) and big breaks.

I'm kind of pathetic (or insane) to want what I want, to think it will make me happy, but it's worth at least trying. If I never try, I'll never know, and I'm sick of wondering. I am tired of asking 'what if'?

This is a 'what if' I can reasonably expect an answer to. This is a 'what if' that I can control (to a certain extent). This is a 'what if' that isn't just a philosophical daydream pondering the fleeting nature of life; a line of questioning that inevitably leads me down a spiral into mild depression to a place where there is no answer anyway.

They are gone. Dead. No amount of wondering what might have been will ever change what is.

But I'm still here and my future is not a series of what-might-have-beens, but an infinite spectrum of what-could-still-be. So the question is this: am I brave enough to find out if have a shot at some part of my fantasy-future?

This trip may be the answer. Or it may be the whole of my undoing. Only time will tell.

What's your kryptonite, kid?

Dear Mr. Steven Mason,
Okay! Fess up buddy, what is it? Are you an alien or was it some strange bug that bit you or what? You're not normal. It's not fair to all those poor, human goalies out there that you keep blanking teams in your conference and have single-handedly become your team's post-season VIP ticket.

I mean I'm not complaining or anything, but you know you may want to tone down the super-heroics - that whole bout with 'mono' and those two losses vs. the Ducks and the Flames were a decent attempt at normalcy. So, I don't think anyone's too close to catching on, so feel free to make it #9 in Vancouver on Sunday; kick their asses and not just in order to close the gap they have on 5th in the West - I want to brag to all my Canucks-loving friends.

So far my post-season loyalties are looking pretty set since Ottawa is, oh, FOURTEEN points out of a spot (groan), the Pens are going to need their most recent burst of to last for the rest of the season in order to get and subsequently hang onto the #8 playoff spot in the east. So, go Columbus. You guys rock. And someone please send Filatov to see a new doctor so he can get over this stupid sinus infection and get called back up to Ohio for crying out loud.


MY Kryptonite, on the other hand is three letters - an airport code, in fact: JFK. It's trumped O'Hare and that horrible airport in Hamburg where I had to run through the airport with gun-toting German cops chasing me because I didn't have time to stop to explain to them in VERY broken German that I a) wasn't a terrorist and b) was going to miss my flight home to Canada if they didn't let me run full-out to a gate 40 gates away.

JFK has 7 bloody terminals. Last time I am ever flying in there. I'll take Laguardia any freaking day after that bloody mess of an international terminal. All I can say is thank goodness for Charleston's in Brooklyn or I may have lost my mind: nothing tops getting a free pizza when you buy a 3$ pint of beer.

Oh, and I love Kohl's. I wish we had them in Canada.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Day 0 - Stranded in Reality

When I travel I have a tendency of contemplating life, the universe, and everything (for example, why they don't have sarcasm on Betelgeuse - and if you get the joke, consider yourself my favourite). Sure enough, this trip is like any other. This is on a three-day delay.

- home -

Day 0 - My bedroom. Vancouver, Canada. Packing.

Every time it's the same deal: get a new note book, change the way I think - get on a plane, change the way I live. Only it never happens. I suppose it never will. Yet, here I am packing for yet another ill-advised adventure, trying to bring things that somehow define me (A hockey jersey. A pair of earrings. A book. A bathing suit.) even though no thing ever will.

I'm searching for something - possibly myself.

Perhaps it is a hopeless endeavour; perhaps I will never find whatever it is I am searching for. I used to think I was looking for someone, an actual person I could love. Then, I thought I was searching for love - not love in the form of another human being but in the sense of a Big Love, a purpose, a cause I could fight for. These days, I can't help wondering if maybe I'm looking for myself; for this person I lost years ago - the version of myself that could have been.

I keep looking in new notebooks and old photographs for some sign of myself, in big cities and small New England towns where that version of me might have gone. Maybe I'm looking in all the wrong places. Maybe I need to just go home. Home home. And not just to visit.

Yet, I stay put out west, thousands of kilometres from where I once existed. There's nothing keeping me in British Columbia, nothing but stuff. There's nothing keeping me anywhere anymore. Saying I have nothing to live for makes me sound suicidal [which I am resoundingly NOT]; it's simply that I don't feel connected to anything anymore. Like I'm adrift. Stranded in reality.

* * * * * * *

This time I want things to be different. This time I'm going to make it different. First of all, I will be fearless. Then, I am going to just go for it - for all the crazy things I used to get because I was ballsy enough to ask for them or insane enough to go out and claim them.

There's no point in waiting for life to happen.

I know what I want. I just need to be honest with myself.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

blowing this popsicle stand

The best view in Vancouver: the international departures lounge at YVR.

I'm off.

I'll be returning to reality (unfortunately) on March 11th. I'll probably post on the trade deadline, whether or not Army gets traded. And whenever else I have something interesting to share.

Over and out.


guilty pleasures 101


i can't help loving this woman's music. i KNOW it's not critically aclaimable. i also don't give a hoot. mostly, listening to it inspires me to do high kicks and dance around like and idiot in my living room.

rock on kelly.

LATE EDIT: Heatley, good on you for goal #30; only 10 more to go until you're my unequivocal favourite again. Keep 'em coming!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

In Praise of Niceness

I never really thought of myself as a 'nice girl.' I mean, at first glance, I'm not your typical 'nice' girl, ie. I'm not really preppy, or religious, or polite (well, I try to be that last one, with varying results).

At various points throughout my life I have been a jock, a raver, a bit of a goth, a bit of a hippy, a dorky-posh academic, a flighty theatre geek, and a large dose of I-know-not-what-but-all-my-clothes-were-home-made or vintage. As time has worn on, I've combined what I like from all those areas into a fashionable mess of a closet and, on any given day, I vary between vintage Jackie O suits and a hockey jersey and carpenter pants. I'm just as comfortable in either, although if I had to chose one for all eternity Dany Heatley would oust Jackie O as ruler of my fashion sense.

I'm not religious or anything. I have beliefs, but most of them can be summarized by Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the first Star Wars movie. I believe in charity and kindness and tolerance and diversity.

I have no real issue with pre-marital sex (so long as it is between consenting parties and breaks no laws - well, except any law against gays, because those are f*cking intolerant, superior bullshit created by close-minded, discriminating jerks who are trying to maintain some kind of legal superiority). I'm pro-choice (doesn't mean I think *I* could have an abortion, but I respect the fact that sometimes it *is* the best option). I put little to no stock in the concept of virginity - I don't know why, I just can't take it seriously.

off-side --> Yeah, okay, you've never had sex. So what? I've never jumped out of a plane. Most things are a bit scary the first time. And most things that are that scary should probably be done with someone you trust (like a really good skydiving instructor), but I don't get why it's still so important. Originally, the whole concept was promoted by patriarchal rulers so that they could ensure that their wife's offspring was theirs. (Yet another sign that matriarchal lineages are more logical... you KNOW who you mother is, you can't really avoid that.) When society beings putting any stock in male virginity, then we can talk...

I've never bought into the whole idea that girls should act a certain way to retain their 'image' - people should do what makes them happy and what they are comfortable with. That may mean being intelligent, or sweet, or silly, or serious, or romantic, or practical. People should just be themselves: if that means you don't have sex until your wedding night, so be it; if it means you're gay, so be it; and if it means you feel comfortable dating lots of guys (and/or sleeping with them), all I can really say is, "Sure, go for it. Just be safe and honest."

Thing is, none of those things make a person (or, specifically a girl) nice or not. I've known a lot of really snotty, awful prudes (who frankly could do with a little action, enough to loosen them up at least) and I've known some incredibly sweet girls who really had no interest in serious relationships, but still wanted to have some fun. I've also met some very moral atheists and some very close-minded religious folks. And, I've also known all the opposite.

Thing is, 'nice' doesn't dress a certain way. 'Nice' isn't a look or a religion or a track record; 'nice' is a mentality and the actions derived from that mentality put into action. Some of it buys into the stereotypical 'nice' mold, but most of it is based on honesty and a dash of diplomacy.

I suppose the most significant reason I never really thought of myself as a 'nice girl' was because all my friends in high school were 'the nice girls.' Out of our group, I was kind of the snarky, opinionated bitch. Sure, everyone laughed and I wasn't really mean to anyone, but I wasn't as nice as the Emilys, who remain some of the sweetest people on the planet even 10 years after I awarded them that title in my head. I was the brash, loud-mouthed tomboy-jock who never listened to her parents, went out to raves, threw a couple massive house parties (we're talking 150+ people in a small 3-bedroom house), dated half the boys who ran for co-prez for her senior year and moved out of home two months into that senior year.

Doesn't sound too nice, does it?

Okay, in all fairness, I've never had even a single drag of a cigarette. I've never done drugs at a rave. Not even once. Not even a joint. When you love the music as much as I do, you really don't need artificial enhancement to make you feel like you're spinning in the midst of a dream. I drink, but even then I have to watch it since my meds have screwed up my once-brag-worthy tolerance.

And I didn't listen to my parents because my mum was too ill to boss me around and my dad was never home to tell me to do anything one way or the other.

And my dad suggested I have those parties, one because it was my sixteenth birthday and the other because there was nowhere else to have our theatre festival's cast party and he was going to be out of town anyways.

And those 4 guys who ran for Co-Prez? I dated them over 4 years, none of them for longer than a couple of weeks. (It's purely coincidence that I happened to date the really outgoing, involved, type of guys who wanted dictatorial power over how much fun -the more, the better- we had in our senior year.)

And, I didn't have much of a choice about moving out of home: it was that or my emotional well being, and it was an easy decision.

Yet, I got to university and I was told point-blank, on more than one occasion, that I was a bit of a sanctimonious, self-righteous bitch. This, because I had a FIT when a (former) friend of mine was drinking a beer WHILST DRIVING, and because I played devil's advocate in a debate about why it makes sense that guys don't call girls back after picking them up at a bar and sleeping with them.

First? Drinking and driving is, hands down, the single STUPIDEST thing a person can do. I grew up in a government town. No one I knew drove after drinking. No one. Granted, as previously mentioned, I was friends with the 'nice girls' - but I was also friends with the junior men's crew and the u-23 men's crew, whose idea of a good time was trying to get me drunk when I was 14 (I drank them under the table) and who built a potato canon (a la Royal Canadian Air Farce) and fired rotten apples at the cars going over the inter-provincial bridge from the balcony of our boathouse - not exactly the responsible type... And I knew party kids from raves. None of them were dumb enough to drive drunk or high.

I've met 'nice girls' here who have driven drunk. Honestly, their excuse is that they couldn't get home any other way. Seriously? CALL YOUR DAD! Or your mum. Or your older sister. Or SOMEONE. I don't buy the 'no other way' BS. Suck it up. I sure did a couple times. My mother never disowned me; she was happy I had the sense to call her.

And my boy-girl-bar-sex argument was pretty simple: generally, people don't go to bars looking for serious relationships. Or at least, guys don't, so women, logically, should know better. All I said was to keep that in mind. If you want fun, go have fun, but if you meet someone and you go home with him, don't expect him to call. If you want a serious relationship, get involved in your community, or do sports, or get involved with stuff at school: that's where you'll meet the kinds of people worth having a relationship with. They told me I was a hypocrite because I'd hooked up with the guy I was dating at a bar - yeah, a bar that was having a social for the Model United Nations conference where I met the guy (which he was in charge of running, no less).


Like I said, 'nice' is a mentality. It means being respectful of others, tolerant of differences, considerate of people's feelings, conscious of the safety of others, and smart about the way one deals with adversity. By my own definition, I'm not the ideal 'nice' girl. I could be a heck of a lot more diplomatic, and I tend to seem angry or argumentative when really I'm just really interested in a debate or an academic argument. I look angry when I'm thinking, my brow does this little crinkly thing over my nose - I'm getting wrinkles there already from doing it too much... I can't change the fact that I need intellectual stimulation and I will argue that I am right (most of the time I'm only vehement about being right when I KNOW I am right). But, other than that, I do try to be nice.

I'm a bit too romantic for my own good. I can't kiss someone without meaning it. I try to be as honest as I can without being hurtful, and I've taught myself when to just shut up when older generations spout beliefs that will hopefully die with them. I worry too much about other people and probably not enough about myself. And, despite my occasional lack of diplomacy, I'm actually really good in a crises. (Although, I'm good because I have the presence of mind to be bossy.)

I'm not saying it's the only way to be, but it has worked out pretty well for me. And it's what I feel most comfortable with. There are billions of potential incarnations of this, but I've found mine, as strange as it is, and I've learnt to embrace it.

Part of it is also knowing that there's a time and a place. This applied to people in the public eye more than anyone else, but with the boom of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, et cetera, it's becoming increasingly applicable to the general population. You don't want photos of you smashed up on Facebook? Well, don't get smashed. Or do it at home. Or somewhere where you know who's taking photos.

It's called discretion. It's a dying art.

I was watching Barbara Walters interview Anne Hathaway last night post-Oscars and Anne insisted that she does silly, stupid things all the time; she just doesn't do them where there is a ton of paparazzi. And, frankly, I have a feeling the things she's doing are a lot less stupid (or maybe just a lot less classless) than going commando with a shaved snatch in a pleather mini-skirt or whatever. I apologize for the mental picture, but my whole point is that she has class. And she keeps things to herself. The right things. The biggest scandal she's ever been involved in was because her douche-bag boyfriend was a fraudulent real estate developer (I swear that guy has Sean-Avery-Status in the douche department). In Anne's defence, he had a LOT of people fooled too.

Mandy Moore is another celebrity who is probably the epitome of nice. Real nice. And not just because of her role in 'A Walk to Remember' - the first movie I ever saw her in was actually 'The Princess Diaries' (opposite Anne Hathaway, no less) where she was the evil bitch. I've never read a really bad (unbiased) thing about her.

Another example, which may seem strange, but just goes to show how variable 'nice' can be: Edward Norton. Love the guy. He's smart as hell. He plays incredible roles. He's had incredible critical success as an actor. He's played violent and sometimes controversial roles. (If you haven't seen American History X, please do, it's an incredibly powerful film.) He received two Oscar nominations before he turned 30. How often is he in the tabloids? Barely ever. Why not? Because he values his private life and can't imagine not being able to take the New York subway.

My last example of 'nice' was actually the source of inspiration for this little rant. Sidney Crosby is probably one of the most famously 'nice' athletes in contemporary professional sports. Which isn't to say that there aren't lots of nice athletes out there, it's more that Crosby is actually almost as famous for being nice as he is for being a talented hockey player. Which is saying something. There was a recent article in the National Post concerning Crosby's niceness. The one line that pretty much sums up my point is this, "Controversy sells hockey tickets. But Crosby, the marketing machine, sells everything: clothes, hockey equipment, sports drinks and more. And sponsors do not like controversy."

I'm not saying that Crosby plays nice because his sponsors tell him to, I have a feeling the reason he has so many sponsors is because he IS nice. Crosby doesn't just smile pretty for the cameras. He's not watching his step. He's just himself -although sometimes, I suspect, a slightly edited version of himself. But when you get down to it, it wouldn't hurt most of us to be slightly edited versions of ourselves.

You can chock the politeness up to public persona all you like, but at some point, you have to start admitting that maybe the public persona is coming from someplace real. And even if that public discretion has been developed, there's a reason WHY it's been developed. The people who come off as nice usually ARE, and the reason why they're so polite is because - SHOCKER - they actually care about their image, because they know it is in their best interests to be honest and polite and discrete, and because they are more interested in long term success than having their 15 minutes of tabloid-splashing fame.

It goes back to discretion, and the archaic belief that some things are private. In a world where we share FAR too much about ourselves on facebook, blogs, myspace and the hundreds of other sites that ask us to provide personal information, there is something to be said for knowing what not to share with the world.

It's not beyond me that my four examples are also quite intelligent. Maybe part of being 'nice' is being 'smart' - smart about the choices you make and the things you say and the people you associate with. Not that you need a BA from Yale like Norton, to be smart, but the choices these people have made indicate that they are more interested in their careers and being genuinely happy than they are interested in the shallow gratification of infamy.

It's less than surprising that some of the nicest people I know personally are also some of the most successful (and the happiest). They're smart about their futures, and while we've all made mistakes, there's something to be said for learning those life lessons, and for not repeating mistakes.

I still feel like I don't fit into this definition of 'nice' no matter how much I might wish I did; I'm not particularly successful, I'm not particularly practical, and there is no actual reason for me to hold my tongue the way Sidney Crosby does or for me to worry that the paparazzi will ever hound me in the streets, but I still feel like it's in my best interest to be the way I am, even if I don't have a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with Reebok or my next lead role at stake.

Maybe that's just it; maybe if I want to be successful, I should take my own advice and be smart and discrete. Which would be good advice, I suppose, if I had a better idea of what I was hoping to achieve in life. And maybe, when I finally figure out what that is, this knowledge will help me.

Until then, however, the least I can do is be nice.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Hockey Rant in Canada (TM) - Celebrity Puck Bunny Mecca

This week's rant (more of a late-night, one-Alabama-Slammer-too-many ramble, really) takes us to my lovely hometown, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; home of the Tulip Festival, Winterlude, and the Rideau Canal, the longest skating rink in the world. Oh yeah, and we've got some politicians who hang out on a hill and sometimes do dumbass things like call unnecessary elections and threaten to eliminate federal subsidies of political parties (don't ask, you REALLY don't want to know). This week, however, Ottawa earned a new distinction...

Welcome to Ottawa: Celebrity Puck Bunny Mecca

First, Ottawa was graced with country music sweetheart, Carrie Underwood (who I actually think is super-adorable) via All-Ottawa D-man, Mike Fisher (who never quite did it for me, despite his mildly superhero-square jaw).

Now, once-jail-bait-Disney-darling, Hilary Duff, will presumably make a few trips to the national capital [but baby, you weren't traded to Toronto...] to support Mike Comrie, who is back.

(Wait, Comrie hasn't been on our IR list all season?)

What's next?

Some possible scenarios...

Scenario #1. Ottawa's front office trades someone to Calgary for Dion Phaneuf. (BAHAHAHAHA!!!) Her Royal Puckness Elisha Cuthbert completes the trifecta of blonde bunnies chilling rink-side at Scotiabank Place like it's the new Playboy Mansion... Oh, and the Sens get a rocking defenceman who might actually score a few goals or something...

*Mer pauses to revel in a momentary lapse in reality wherein the Sens front office makes even one marginally logical decision and Ottawa has some semblance of a defensive strategy... sigh*

Scenario #2. Paris Hilton jumps on Hollywood's hockey-boyfriend-bandwagon and starts shagging Antoine Vermette or Brian Elliott or whoever.

(Suddenly I find myself thanking God that Vermette has better taste; last time I checked he was engaged to a really adorable blonde chick - the type of girl I'd totally have a few beers and shoot the shit with at the bar five minutes after meeting her.)

In the aftermath of Paris and whoever's inevitably messy public break-up set off by a miscommunication regarding the meaning of the term 'senator,' Paris runs back into the arms of Stavros Niarchos III who has no idea what hockey is, where Ottawa is, or what Paris means by 'going five hole' ...

Is there ANY competition?

(I had to search hard for a good photo of Niarchos; the one of Vermette was the second photo that popped up...)

So what if Stavros Niarchos' billion in the bank... money can't buy abs like Vermette's.

Or biceps.
Or shoulders.
Or hair. (LOVE the hair!)
Could he get any cuter???

No wait, don't answer that...

(Warning: Gratuitous Eastern-Conference Eye Candy)

I've got to come clean: I have a soft spot for Brian Elliott these days.

Maybe it has to do with his whole not- sucking strategy...

Well, except against Vancouver the other night... ouch.

...and Vermette? Please put a shirt on, else someone jumps your bones...

Scenario #3. A certain, suddenly-single octogenarian, still smarting from being dumped by his three favourite blondes in the span of a few months, descends upon Canada's poor capital city to rectify the cosmic impossibility of anyone daring to have hotter bunnies than the Hef.

An epic battle ensues, wherein the Sens Army invades the Playboy Mansion, taking its inhabitants as spoils of war and forcing them into indentured servitude as Ice Girls unless they swear allegiance to Sens Nation.

Hef's harem willingly comply and proceed to make Scotiabank Place the hottest, coolest place on Earth. The term "Puck Bunny" is redefined Center-fold-style making Underwood, Duff, and Cuthbert look like the most wholesome freaking chicks on the planet in comparison.

The most interesting battle in the Northeast Division becomes the Battle of the Bunnies; the Sens, Leafs and Habs suck ass, and no one remembers how Buffalo's doing -even people in Buffalo- because all that matters is that the Bruins are still smoking all our asses no matter what.

Remember when it was worth dedicating time to discussing the actual team?

No? Neither do I... it's been that long. Although I have vague recollections of one year that Dany Heatley didn't make it to the World Championships because he had some big mug he wanted...

In 18 months, my favourite team went from the Stanley Cup final to 2nd last in the league. (Sure, they're fifth last now, but I'd rather have Hedman in a year than a few points now.)

No wonder I'm cheering for the Blue Jackets and the Giants more and more lately...

i miss this guy... well I miss him kicking ass...

Oh, and my living room is officially better than the pub; the pub doesn't have a 6' wide television -- okay, so neither do I, technically, but we have a projector -- SO COOL!!!

a random sampling of things I've gotten away with writing for university credit...

Getting back to the broader scope of topics I like to ramble about...

Sometimes I seriously wonder about the standards we have in Western education systems... as stated, this is a random sampling of stuff I've written (and gotten As on).

The Agony of Ecstasy?
The Exaggeration of the Evils of Rave Culture

My concluding sentence from a criminology paper on the moral panic surrounding ecstasy use during the "War on Drugs" in the 1990s (I got an A+):
Concern about raves and ecstasy use faded into the background as rave culture began to decline in popularity and ecstasy use began to drop. The issue was all but forgotten as politicians, law enforcement officials and the media focussed their attention on the newest war on a noun: the War on Terror.
Oh, and I used the Goo Goo Dolls song 'Big Machine' as the epigraph. I heart the Crim Department.

Assessing the Invasion

Oh, POL 241, how do I love thee, let me count the ways...
1. Taking Intro to International Relations as a summer class (we have full 13 week summer semesters at SFU) when I could write my term paper at the beach = BEST PLAN EVER!
2. Instead of being subjected to a Dutch Canadian Bushophile, I was taught by a PhD candidate doing his dissertation on anarchist involvement of the anti-globalization movement.
3. Scott subtitled all his lectures. ex. Realism was the' Lord of the Flies Edition', War & Conflict week was the 'You Sunk My Battleship! Edition.' My personal favourite was the 'Don't Take Your Guns to Town Edition': International Law and Organization.
4. Then he gave me an A on a paper that included the following:
...Luttwak demonstrates a certain degree of racial prejudice when he claims that Iraqi insurgence is due to "Muslim hostility" rather than the routine rebellion generated by foreign occupation. These prejudices prevent Luttwak from considering that problems might arise [for reasons other than] the inherent inability of the Iraqi people to comprehend Western democracy.
I went on to slam the same author for idiotically ignoring the simple fact that Islamic beliefs encompass politics and that attempting to impose secular democracy on any nation violates their right to political self-determination and their right to function without international interference, which contradicts the single most important tenet of realist doctrine and the backbone of the entire, bloody Westphalian state system.

Global Communications
The Inadvertent Lovechild of Progress and Liberal Market Economics

The fact that I got away with the title is itself hilarious, since the paper was a glorified book review of Ronald Wright's "A Short History of Progress" (DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME READING IT). The paper itself was written in about two hours the morning it was due and included the following:
... at a point in his book where his suggestions as to how we ought to go about achieving these objectives might be reasonably expected, he leaves his readers hanging with the rather baseless assertion that "now is our last chance to get the future right." At this time, he succumbs to the cop-out that he has done his job simply by presenting his case. Nowhere does he provide any advice or set forth any policy suggestions that might help prevent our inevitable spiral into resourceless chaos, instead he seems content to whine and hope that someone will pick up where he has left off and formulate a brilliant plan to get us out of our fate.
The fact that I got away with writing this is shocking. My sentence structure is appalling, my use of colloquialisms is completely unprofessional, and the content is questionable at best... first year... *shudder*

Prestige at Any Cost

This is, quite possibly, the most contemptuous paper I have ever written. Oh, except one (I'll get to that). In a survey course in African history, my paper was about Belgian colonization of the Congo. Some examples...
... Leopold [II of Belgium] was determined to have a colony. He did not really care where the colony was, so long as it existed.

For Leopold (as it is unfair to apply the fanatical desires of one individual to a whole nation), an African colony was a way to overcome the diminutive size and insignificance of his nation and prove his wealth and power.
And yes, I FULLY intended for that to be a thinly veiled jab on Leopold's endowment.

Educating the West about Islam

The most contemptuous paper I have written. The first paper I ever cared about, for the most amazing prof I have ever had. William Cleveland was brilliant. Read his book. The middle east will finally make sense. I swear.
[Pipes'] arrogant assumption that the imposition of American cultural norms will help solve the problem of [Islamic] extremism (and, one must extrapolate, terrorist action) is laughable as it forces Muslims to adhere to a predetermined sociopolitical construct that they did not have a hand in creating and may have no interest in preserving.

[Pipes] cites the "readiness to intimidate and use violence" as one of the many problems with Islamism, conveniently neglecting to mention that this tactic is standard in power struggles and that the United States employed the same tactics to assert their military and economic dominance more than any other nation in the twentieth century.

The following is from a paper I wrote that I was actually pretty proud of at the time. It was on of the half dozen papers I wrote in which I actually felt like I was at liberty to have an original thesis. The first line of a paper entitled "Reinventing Humanity": Lady Justice stands blindfolded with a scale in one hand and a sword in the other.

Yup; it sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? It actually made sense though. I returned to the blind justice motif for the whole paper. I'm actually kind of entertained by the fact that I wrote this. The ideas aren't bad, but the quality of writing is sub-par - when I finally do get my act together and go back to finish my degree, I really hope that taking time off to write for the past year and a bit has some positive effect on the quality of my written work. Frankly, it had better.

Justice has as many interpretations as there are people on the planet simply because we all understand it a little differently, but this does not imply that judicial systems can treat individuals with different standards without serious consequences. Ken Booth states that ideas should not be discriminated against based on origin. In this case, the concept of blind, indiscriminating justice should not be dismissed by non-Western states simply because of its Western roots...

...One problem that Western-style retributive justice systems fail to address is what I believe can be another interpretation of justice’s blindness. Western legal procedure is followed with a certain degree of blindness to the consequences of the legal outcome; familiarity, acceptability and the degree to which Western legal traditions have influenced international legal norms has made it difficult to question the legitimacy of Western legal procedure, especially when these systems generally deliver a great deal of retributive justice. ... When Western parties discuss justice, it is almost exclusively retributive justice to which they refer, disregarding forms of systems of restorative justice as soft, dangerous or ineffectual.
Go back and count the number of times I used the words 'justice' and 'legal.' My head hurts...

On the bureaucratic structure of the United Nations' Peacebuilding Commission:

Considering the risks states take being involved in UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding endeavors, it is only fair that the largest contributors of military or financial resources have a say about how their resources are used and distributed. But this inherently gives those with the most money and the biggest guns the loudest voice...

You can lead a state to peace by dangling the carrot of aid in front of it, but only the state itself can chose to permanently implement peace. This is the highly realist ideal of self-help, but with a twist; instead of seeking self-help due to the paranoid delusion that every other state is maliciously self-seeking, it reflects the drive for responsible self-governance and sovereign control over one’s state.

The sad reality is that considering only current security concerns, economic stability, and political and civil trends will not explain the vast majority of conflicts that arise even in zones where one or more of these factors is a large contributor. As was the case in the Balkans, Rwanda and Cambodia, there are religious, ethnic and historical undertones that cannot be quantified by the strength of a state’s military, GDP or number of women’s rights groups.
This is the result of my being trapped in the ivory tower for a LITTLE too long:
Society is shaped by its legal structure (or lack thereof) and vice versa; in a post-conflict situation the re-creation of justice both conceptually and institutionally can bind people to their society like a prototypical social contract.
And, finally, one sentence that embodies everything I hate about academia:
The very idea of peace conditionality is dependent on realist ideal of sovereign control over instruments of hard power, and presupposes the legitimacy of a state to impose its own prejudices when providing assistance to other nations.
I'm not sure what worries me more: that I wrote it or that I understand it perfectly. Regardless, the following paragraph scare me even more, not because I wrote it or because I understand it, but because I meant it.

Despite the tenacity of competing realist and liberal traditions within the UN, there are still those who believe that it has the capacity to change. Kofi Annan uses as an example “a great American and the first UN official to receive the Nobel Peace Prize,” Ralph Bunche, who he quotes as having said that “the UN has no vested interest in the status quo” and exists “not merely to preserve the peace but also to make change -- even radical change -- possible without violent upheaval. It is this philosophy that must prevail in the twenty-first century if the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission intends to actually build peace. A failure to acknowledge the complexities of the peacebuilding process and the negative effects of applying a narrow Western world view upon states with vastly different capacities and priorities will result in more conflict, not less. A concerted effort must be made to develop the role of conflict prevention in the PBC and to encourage collaborative approaches to rebuilding states. By working with donor and recipient governments as well as NGOs and grassroots civil society organisations to pursue creative new solutions to age-old problems of community reunification, military disarmament, job creation and political balance, the solutions to many problems can be found. Their implementation, however, is dependent on our ability to listen to what states actually need and want rather than what we believe they ought to need or want.

That is about as pretentious as I get though, which is why I'd make a lousy academic. (Except I never really wanted to be an academic; I wanted to work in a more policy-oriented field, but that's beside the point.)

Some days I really do wonder why I'm not still in school though. I miss it... well the academic debate part, and the writing essays part, and the readings part... and then I spend a few hours trying to read about genocide, and I remember why I'm not doing that to myself right now: it's horrifically depressing.

And, on that cheerful note, I bid you all adieu so that I can go read ... about the Cold War. (someone out there is rolling their eyes, I am sure)


Wednesday, 18 February 2009

literal LOLs

the shag is no more...

Stefan Legein got a haircut. Apparently, in Syracuse, this counts as news.

(Is it horribly pathetic of me to be a little sad? I really like his insanely long, almost Wayne Campbell-y hair...)

Any reference to Wayne's World.

If you do not understand, I - I - I have no words for you. Go. Watch it. Now. That's an order. For the sake of your pop-culture education.

Scaramouche, scaramouche will you do the fandango?
Thunderbolts and lightning, very, very, frightening MEEEEEEE!
GALILEO! Galileo!
GALILEO! Galileo!
GALILEO! Figaro!
Magnifico-oh -oh -Oh-OOHHHHH!

But I'm just a poor boy NO-body loves me-

He's just a poor boy from a poor family-

Spare him his life from this monstrosity-


Easy come easy go, will you let me GO?
Bis-mil-lah! NO! we will not let you go-let him go-
Bismillah! we will not let you go-let him go

Bismillah! we will not let you go-let me go

Will not let you go-Let Me Go!

Will not let you go LET ME GO!

no, no, No, No, NO, NO, NOOOOO-

Mama mia, Mama mia, Mama mia LET ME GO!!!

BEEE-EL-ZEBUB has a devil put aside for meeee -


(hand-banging, air guitar solo time!)

Freddie Mercury has nothing on Garth Adlar.

This article resulted in my laughing, nay GUFFAHING, so hard that about twenty people in a coffee shop in Kits were staring at me like I'd lost my mind, except for the cute guy sitting next to me who knew I'd lost my mind because he's editing a novel too.

Seriously. If you need a pick-me-up. Fourth paragraph. It's priceless. I love you Dany, but what have you been smoking ? (Cause it sure ain't Geno in the Art Ross race...)


Oh Captain, my (alternate) Captain,
While I appreciate that, as Alternate Capitaine (and sometimes-Big-Cheese), you must set an example of optimism for the sake of your team, and, while I really do find your inherent optimism and naivety unbelievably adorable, let's try not stray too far into laa-laa land. The Sens currently have the 5th-worst record in the league. Yes, being better than the Leafs again somehow makes everything in the universe make slightly more sense, but let's not let our imaginations run away with us. You are 13 points out of a play-off spot. That margin may, very well, increase. So I suggest you just keep drinking what ever concoction Cory Clouston is slipping into your Gatorade bottle and just keep going out there and kicking ass. Because, let's face it, you're still at least seven wins from being IN THE RUNNING. Which isn't to say, don't TRY. Do try. Try very, very hard. But don't, for a second, think that I'm convinced you'll be anywhere but Berne on my birthday - and, frankly, if you aren't by some freak chance in Ottawa or some other eastern conference arena on May 7th, you had BETTER be in Berne! Because if you aren't, it will mean Canada's not in the 1/4 finals at Worlds.

That said, if the Sens actually make the playoffs, I will fall prostrate at your Vector-calloused feet for all eternity and vow to never again doubt you again so long as you shall play. Since I already have a jersey with your name and number on the back, I'll have to think of something ridiculous to do if you make it to playoffs. Something that can be done cheap, from Vancouver. Because betting (or was it begging?) the world worked last time: I own a Sykora jersey as a result... and I really DO want you to make the playoffs; I just have absolutely no faith that you will. Sorry guys.

So, I suggest you start at least trying to close the 31-point gap between you and Malkin. Or you could just get on those 24 goals you owe me - really I'll take either, I'm easy. (40 goals or 80 points, remember?)


p.s. could you PLEASE kick some Vancouver ass tonight??? I'll be wearing my Sens jersey and I'd rather not get ridiculed. Thank you!

“And what finally leads Milton to his terrible conclusion about Satan’s fall? Or hasn’t anybody done the reading?” - from 'The Historian' by Elizabeth Kostova

When I read this line, I hear it in Mrs. P's voice. She was my favourite high school English teacher's voice and I literally cried a few tears laughing so hard on the bus reading this the first time. I think she may have actually said these exact words in my last year of high school. Only she would have said 'horrible' instead of 'terrible'; I'm not even sure why I can tell you that, but I can. It was even funnier because she is tall and pale, with white hair, but no wrinkles and she seems to have been frozen in time - but no one can really tell you at what age she was frozen. She may be immortal or a witch. Either would explain her cynical appreciation of gothic romance novels... this is a woman who, whilst I was writing the final examination for her class in eleventh grade, dropped a copy of Northanger Abbey on top of my exam notebook and said only, "Summer reading."

Prof. McGonagall reminds me of Mrs. P. Especially this look.

“...opening one of the windows a little bit to let the fresh Toronto air stream in...”

I read fanfic the way some people watch reality television; as a guilty, mindless pleasure that I really shouldn't ever admit in public (...whoops...) Once in a blue moon, I stumble across something cute or well-written or funny that just makes my entire day. I actually feel a bit badly, because I usually really like this girl's stuff, but I was compelled to copy and past the aforequoted (so not a word, I do not care!) sentence fragment because it was just too funny. Too. Freaking. Funny. LOL-funny. ROFL-funny. I'm-actually-using-horrendous-acronyms-funny.

Toronto aka. The Big Smog. Ten points if you can find the Skydome.

Remind me, what's the first rule of writing? Oh yeah, WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW! Clearly the author has never been to Toronto. Rule #2: Do you research - Google has expedited this process ridiculously - take advantange of the knowledge at your fingertips. Still, I have to thank her for making my day, however unintentionally.

The Blue Jackets are 6th in the West! This made me laugh out loud from sheer giddy one-of-my-teams-might-make-the-playoffs! joy. A few more straight wins (here's looking at you, Mase) and they'll be comfortably on Chicago's tail.

Tomorrow should be a fun afternoon. I will be watching the Sens-Nucks game on the big screen at the pub a (very literal) stone's throw from my back door - how often is it that any pub in this city WILLINGLY shows a Sens game? I will be cheering for the Sens extra hard because if they win, the BJ's also win. I will be simultaneously following the BJ's-Leafs game on my laptop on, praying doubly hard that Steve Mason has conquered mononucleosis and can shutout Toronto out or something, because if Columbus wins and Van loses, Columbus snags 5th place, Ottawa gets two lovely beautiful points and Toronto, well, Toronto sucks a little more than the Sens. Which, sadly, is something I take significant (superficial) pleasure in.

Go Sens! Go Columbus!

quite possibly my single favourite Team Canada photo
Soobie-Doo, the Wounded Cowboy, JT & Mase: January 5th, 2008

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

New York, New York!


Good News! From the Syracuse Crunch Blog:

Crunch forward Nikita Filatov, who has been out with a bad sinus infection, said he should be reading [sic] for Friday's game vs. visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He practiced on Tuesday, but is not going to Toronto.

"You can announced in the paper, Friday, big show,'' he joked.

- Filatov and injured forward Stefan Legein had a spirited post-practice workout. With Filatov listening, Legein claimed that in some scoring drills he dominated his teammate.

"I want to change my number to 91, because I'm better than him,'' Legein joked. Filatov wears No. 90.

Legein, who has been out with a broken finger, said he could get medical clearance as soon as Wednesday and might play Friday.

I am dancing. On my bed. Like a little kid. Wheeee!!!

East Coast to do list
[note: (march 17, 2009) items crossed off were ACTUALLY accomplished :P]

The MoMA (I've only been meaning to go since 1999)
The Guggenheim (ditto above)
The Met. Again. For the fourth time.
skating on Wollman Rink :)
Ground Zero
Saint Paul's Chapel
knitting with A.J.
cavorting in Brooklyn with A.J.
Ellis Island
Syracuse Crunch game
mommy-daughter day
Lake Placid ?
Liberty Bell
Free Library
Constitution Hall (?)
find that Flyers statue
whatever else A.S. tell me to do in Philly
Holocaust Museum
Spy Museum
see the White House (since I can't go on a tour)
Lincoln Memorial
Library of Congress
Amada for Tapas (gotta eat!)

So, 10 of 25. That’s what, 40%? EPIC FAIL. And I wouldn’t change it for the world!

1001 places to go before I die

I can't be bothered to actually number these. This list is be no means comprehensive, or in any particular order. It will certainly be added to at random when my fanciful heart decides

Istanbul. Prague. Paris. Amsterdam. Delft. Oxford. Sofia. The Hague. Lucerne. Cairo. Lebanon-especially Beirut. Morocco. Jordan. Pompeii. Crete. Bonn. Nuremberg. Munich. Berlin. Bergen-Belsen. Auschwitz-Birkenau. Treblinka. Poland. Chernobyl. Romania. Vienna. Venice. The Gaza Strip. Tel Aviv. St.Petersburg. Moscow. The Louvre. The Wolf's Den. Nice. Madrid. Normandy. Checkpoint Charlie. Sarajevo. Kibungo. Tehran. Kigali. Siberia (the Trans-Siberian Railroad). Khartoum. Trefriw. ICRC Headquarters. Mount Kilimanjaro. Belgrade. Novokuntsevkoe. Budapest. Somalia. Katanga. DRC. Washington,DC. San Fransisco. Tierra del Fuego. Ellis Island. Copenhagen. Oban. Bolivia. Kelowna. K2. Everest. Dawson City. Iqaluit. Memphis. The Khyber pass. Gros Morne. The Great Glen Way. The Mauritshuis. Nepal. Mumbai. Dehli. Kolkata. The Taj Mahal. Amritsar. Pekhawar. Kashmir. Victoria Falls. Vatican City. Geneva. Berne. Zurich. Nagasaki. Hiroshima. Kyoto. Pashupatinath Temple. Warsaw. The Wailing Wall. The Temple Mount. Jerusalem. Mecca. Graceland. Dubai. Kuwait City. Khandahar. Alexandria, Egypt. Rome. The Parthenon. Ground Zero. Langley. Ethiopia. Patagonia. South Island, New Zealand. Arizona. Utah. Oaxaca. Cote d'Ivoire. Chiapas. Darfur. Malta. The Great Barrier Reef. Bucharest. Portland. Los Angeles. New Orleans. Death Valley. Cape Town. Kimberly. Lake Placid.

Monday, 16 February 2009

365 days...

There are 365 days until February, 16th 2010, and y'all know what that means?

ONE YEAR until Olympic Hockey begins in the lovely city I currently call home!!!

Pierre McGuire is getting in the Olympic spirit by playing Nhlstradamus and picking his Team Canada tonight on TSN. You can read more about it here. Personally, I think that's like trying to predict the draft a year ahead of time (anyone remember all the pshh-he's-so-not-going-number-one remarks about Tavares this time last year? yeah, well look how that's panning out).

I think the whole process reeks of speculative, nationalistic propaganda... BAHAHAHA, I thought I could get that out without cracking up but I can't! In any case, to get myself in the spirit, I will engage in the same (largely useless) charade. A lot of my choices will be the same as, well, EVERYONE's choices.

Mer's 2010 Fantasy Team Canada
Rick Heatzlaf
(aka Dany Heatley, Rick Nash and Ryan Getzlaf)
Sidney Crosby
Jarome Iginla
Jason Spezza
Vincent Lecavalier
Mike Richards
Jeff Carter
Joe Thorton
Shane Doan
Marc Savard
a Staal

Possibles: Brendan Morrow, Patty Bergeron, Simon Gagne, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp
Dark Horses: Colby Armstrong, JT

Dion Phaneuf
Chris Pronger
Mike Green
Jay Boumeester
Scott Niedermayer
Dan Boyle
Shea Weber

Martin Brodeur
Roberto Luongo

Back-up: Marc-Andre Fleury
Dark Horse: Steve Mason

(Okay, I wrote that at 10:30 a.m. - I just checked McGuire's predictions... scary...)

You must read this. MUST.

On March 8th, I'm going to see a ludicrously talented bunch of hockey players at Verizon Center. And they are even the ones I'll actually be cheering for (who are even better). There will be photos. And, possibly, epic tales of Penguin-stalking shenanigans.

In other news, the Ottawa Senators don't suck this week. They won their fifth consecutive game tonight. Toronto officially sucks worse than we do. Again. All is right in the world. Cory Clouston should be canonized.

Dany Heatley is killing me. In the good way. Good thing I live four provinces away...

Late Edit: I love this chick...

NHL Rant of The ... Game Day;;
[Because we all know I watched at least one of them.]
Today Is;; 2.16.09
Matchup Of Focus;;Columbus vs. Stars: Steve Mason Part II

You wake up some time late in center ice of Nationwide arena.
You collect yourself, only to come to the conclusion you're in mother fucking Ohio,
your ass is wet and numb on the ice,
and you're missing a shoe.
The second you stand up, visions from the previous night flood your mind.
Steve, in your room, staring at you with the intent to bang you into a coma.
At first, you shudder at the thought.
Fuck. I'm going to get his mono.
Then you shrug and snicker.
That's alright the stars are going to rape him tonight. Happy mono, Stevie!
You slip your way off the ice and decide that while you're there alone you might as well take advantage of it.
You walk straight down a hall and into the locker room without any hesitation.
You shut the door behind you and flick a set of four switches to turn on the lights, but to no avail.
The same feeling from the previous night enters your stomach.
Your heart starts pounding.
You see the one fire light shining in the center of the room.
Your phone vibrates.
You try to remember if you turned the stove off.
You sit in the light and take out your phone, staring at text from an unfamiliar number.
It says: look down
You do as directed and let out an ear piercing scream.
You're wearing a Turco jersey.

Steve Mason, honorary BAMF, Rina-proclaimed Pimp Of The Year, oh how we and our mothers love you.
SURE, you lost tonight.
Sure you lost tonight against Marty fucking Turco.
That's alright with us because we know you're slowly perfecting your impersonation of a steel wall.
That being said,
Go Stevie Wonder.
Go Jackets.
Go die Cheechoo.
Go Everyone.


Saturday, 14 February 2009

Hockey Rant in Canada (TM)

Dear Messers Alfredsson, Heatley, Kelly, Lee, Phillips, Spezza, and Vermette,

Thank you.


The Sens and the BJ's and the Giants all winning tonight almost makes up for the Pens losing GAG-2 to the Leafs.

LATE EDIT: This is stolen directly from someone's profile on a site which shall remain safely anonymous. I have copied it here because it made me laugh my ass off. And because it's about Steve Mason (who is one shutout from attaining 'le sigh' status like Colby Armstrong). If the author of this wants me to take it down, I will. Personally I think it's worth sharing.

NHL Rant of The ... Game Day;;
[Because we all know I watched at least one of them.]
Today Is;; 2.14.09
Matchup Of Focus;;Columbus vs. Carolina, but more specifically: Steve Mason
You get bored after a humiliating loss and decide to search "Steve Mason" on Google. Your goal is to find some chatrooms overrun by fifteen-year-old junior puck bunnies so you can bash the young goal tender on playing a stellar game.
You click on an odd link on the 13th page that looks good.
You see a small picture of Mason smiling and it winks at you devilishly, playing highlights of your team getting its ass stoned by him.
The screen goes red.
Outside, the wind is howling and the floor in what you thought to be your empty house is creeking.
You spring out of bed, throwing you destroyed laptop at the edge of the mattress, but its too late.
Someone is in the shadows of your room.
You mentally go over those Judo lessons you took when you were ten.
The light flicks on.
Steve Mason is standing there staring at you like you're a piece of meat.
This could either be a really good thing or a really bad thing.
All hope for good is instantly lost when you look down.
You're still wearing your Carolina jersey.

Steve Mason is the grand definition of BAMF. This man is an amazing goal tender and tonight his performance between the pipes was crazy. Sure, he didn't get the shutout, but from the moment I turned on the game at the middle of the first period to when I had to leave by the end of the second, I was satisfied.
You know that higher-pitch of voice announcers get when their team is on the rush? Well that's exactly what the Carolina announcers sounded like for about ten minutes straight while CBJ slowly got themselves higher up on the board. Mason was making save after save after save on quite a few awesome chances by any attacker from the 'Canes.
His show of athleticism was top notch. His reflexes were just.... Puma status.
Mason for Calder.
Mason for Vezina.
Mason for President.

The Pictures of My Heart

The Pictures of My Heart
by Diana Brebner


When you enter the research
wing there are no signs,
nothing that tells you that here
your body is necessarily
an object of study. There

are no plans to weigh your
soul. No-one gives a damn
(for the purposes of clinical
trials) if you believe in
anything, even yourself.

The drugs have a cardiotoxic
effect and machines will
measure how much you can take.
I wait while my heart fills
up with light. I imagine

angels with their research
wings, beating like test
flight pilots, crashing and
rising up, hitting walls
of despair. The walls are

mounted with hypotheses,
results, and names. There
are little brass plaques
on the doors. What would
you think about if your

heart was pumping glowing
particles? May and Mary
argue with a stubborn computer.
Karen small talks while
Sharon Ann checks the IV.

We wait for the pictures
of my heart. They will
look like dogfighting
planes in a war. Wreckage
and bodies wash up later.


At the heart institute the hearts,
and other companion bodies, all
hold sway. Everyone runs when one
heart stops. Now, in the research

wing, hands are still at my side
(some of them mine) preparing for
an out-of-body experience. In the
silence of panic I become a Hindu

god ornate and many-handed, each
hand a life of its own. One
clambers up the air, temple monkey
in a tree. One lifts, benediction,

to your face. Some hands remain
beside themselves with imagination.
Some are imagination. One turns a
face to light and begins to

speak a sign language, the hands of
girls dancing in the jewels and
headdresses (their gold clothes
fitting like gloves). Some hands

wave good-bye, sadly with hankies.
Some wave swords. One black hand
Reaches out for pictures of
my heart, lifts them to the blue light

and shows them to its companions.
They pass from hand to hand, like
photographs of a birthday, a baby
or a vacation. Every hand stares

in recognition. One by one, like
ribs of a chinese fan, they fall,
folding into my arms, the pictures
splayed in a hand, like old cards.


Polaroid pictures of my heart
are pinned on their white
storyboard. Other pictures
of hearts are sappy valentines
compared to these pointillist
mug shots, strictures for

love’s century patiently
constructed out of dots. The
heart’s shadowed pear,
a city by satellite,
computer imaged memory,
blemished fruit, a sunspot

flare. The colour pictures
of my heart confirm
a world: bizarre, disorderly,
but calm. Terminals show
lurid blots that squirm
pink, orange, red and blue.

Each is a balm, the bright
carnal and carnival of the
expected. Now, when I send
you some message of love,
it won’t be a Parzival call
to amor. A grailed heart’s

not true enough for that.
I think I’ll just call on
your hands for love. I’ll
leave the masque of despair
to the heart: an old dance,
heartbreak, a suitable task.

...just in case anyone ever wondered why I worship my mother and do not expect to ever be her equal in literary talent...

I don't do Valentine's Day. By some small twist of fate, I happen to be one of the biggest saps on the planet. I sometimes feel things so deeply that I become momentarily convinced that my heart is, quite literally, physically, about to burst with joy or sorrow. I love 'love' as a concept and as a act. I love flowers. I LOVE chocolate. I love Jane Austen and summer picnics and romantic winter dates involving skating or Winterlude or the like. And I love those so-sweet-you-want-to-melt couples. I just don't like the holiday. I never have.

It's become quite fashionable to hate the holiday; a kind of bland rebellion against commercialization and 'love' for those who are fed up or embittered or lonely. Most of my exes seem to think that the reason I disagree with the holiday is out of some pseudo-feminist vendetta against 'relationshipiness.' The only problem with this is that if this were the case, it would make me a massive hypocrite. I've only been single for 4 of the last 12 Valentine's Days. This year will make #5. This is actually the first time since I started dating (in 1997) that I have been single on consecutive Valentine's Days. It's always been by choice.

I've only ever had one boyfriend who (bless his soul) respected my request to simply ignore the holiday entirely. All the others have been under the impression that my dislike of the holiday stems from never having had a 'proper' Valentines. They seem to think that they just need to show me what it's supposed to be like, how nice and lovely and romantic it can be... Fact: nothing will ever top 1999, in terms of significance, sweetness or horror. It was my best and worst Valentine's Day. But, even the fact that it was slightly horrific is not why I dislike the holiday.

What irks me is the fact that Western society has such warped priorities that we feel the need to set aside a day to tell those we love that we love them. Surely, the fact that we are too busy to remember most days, is a sign that our priorities require serious reevaluation?

I am reading a wonderful novel by Elizabeth Kostova called 'The Historian.' In it, one of the main characters, Helen, says that '[w]hen there is not much money to be made, no one goes rushing around for it.'

When there is very little money to be made, people are at their leisure to lead quite rich lives (rich in family and friends, at least) - as opposed to rushing around, worrying about how to keep affording the over-abundant lifestyles they've bought into (quite literally, in most cases).

Just as, in a city with an abundance of character, there is no need to set aside time to appreciate that character, in a relationship with an abundance of love, there is no need to set aside a day to venerate that love. Marking anniversaries or setting aside time to nurture a relationship is one thing; putting so much stock in one insignificant Saint Day (which is no longer actually recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, FYI) is a bit ridiculous.

I suppose it's a bit idealistic of me to hope that someday the tradition will fade for lack of necessity but I'm forced to admit, however begrudgingly, that it is likely remain solidly entrenched in the collective psyche of all those too busy trying to get rich to actually live richly.

It is worth mentioning that Helen's observation is not the only passage of 'The Historian' worth quoting: the book is 909 pages long, but absolutely incredible. Imagine, if you will, a less cheesy, more intellectual, better written version of 'The DaVinci Code' -- only about Dracula. The actual Dracula, Vlad Ţepeş (aka Vlad the Impaler), the absolutely horrific fifteenth century ruler of Wallachia (in modern-day Romania). If nothing else, it is proof that a vampire novel can be something other than fantastical, over-romanticized bullocks. It is sleep-with-the-lights-on-after-reading-it good. It seems a bit too real to be straight fiction. Suffice to say, there is a reason Miss Kostova went to Yale...

Now, if you'll excuse me I have a date with Dracula.

As my friends and I say,

Thursday, 12 February 2009

The #1 Thing I LOVE ???


man, victory tastes ever so sweet...

(resisting the requisite corny-as-all-hell "crank of up the AC" joke... oh, no wait... shoot...)

Dany, you're forgiven for those two non-existent points last night. Tonight's two goals will do. Next stop: Minnesota... I like this road trip. This whole not-sucking thing is kind of wicked boys. Keep it up!!! I don't even care about Tavares, just WIN WIN WIN!!!!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Things I hate. Things I LOVE. Mostly things I hate. I hate a lot of things.

(With apologies to Jess. Consider it a kind of deranged, slightly altered epigraph...)

HATE – The bus driver who glares at you for paying the correct fare: doES HE want an excuse to yell at me?

LOVE – The guy at the coffee shop who gave me a large for the price of a small.

LOVE – Street meat.

HATE – My cable internet provider. I am missing two hockey games thanks to you. (thank god both my teams won or I’d have to have killed someone...)

HATE – My modem. If I didn’t have to pay to replace you, I would smash you with the claw end of my framing hammer.

LOVE – The bus driver who doesn’t give a shit that my transfer just expired.

HATE – Getting on the wrong bus.

LOVE – When aforementioned rocking bus-driver lets me off a couple blocks down from my stop (which isn’t actually a stop on his route because I’m on the express bus that isn’t supposed to stop for another 40 minutes...)

HATE – The guy on the bus whose idea of ‘turning his music down’ does not lessen the volume of his ipod to something that will not give me a headache.

HATE – My laptop for being arse. Even if it was free. First order of business when I get a book deal and/or sell the rights to my first book to Fox: buy a MAC. Second: pay off my student loans. Third: A one-way ticket to berlin.

Love – My room-mates for being lovely.

HATE – The people upstairs who insist on vacuuming at 3 a.m.

HATE – writer’s block.

HATE – my cell phone.

HATE – cell phones in general. And ipods. And Any modern gadget that gives people every excuse to pretend they don’t know they are being rude. You are being rude. You know it. You're going to go to A new circle of hell, Where you will have a cell phone crazy-glued to your head as the Devil yells at you in a voice not-unlike fingernails on a black board, giving you a lopsided headache for all eternity.

HATE – That I haven’t seen BJ since that night on the bus when we both nearly cried.

Love – BJ.

HATE – the F5 hurricane that hit my room. Not my fault it’s a disaster zone...

HATE – myself. for lacking the courage necessary to suck it up and jump in the deep end of shark-infested tank of writerdom.

Love – My lovely readers for telling me I don’t suck. (And for meaning it.)

Love – Kylie. For being amazing.

Love – My queen-size bed. Which I don’t have to share.