Sunday, August 21, 2016

It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken

If you're not Canadian, this post might be weird to you.  I grew up listening to The Tragically Hip, who pretty much Canada's band, but didn't make it so much anywhere else.  Which made us love them more. I was a teenager during the heady days of 90s Can-rock, so the Hip's songs run through my veins, even if in my early twenties I was too cool for them and shirked them away, much like a teenager would to her father.  However in my mid-twenties, I was back to appreciating them but they were always going to be there, so no big deal, right?

Anyway, this spring it turned out the lead singer of the Hip, WHO IS A LEGEND, has terminal brain cancer.  Gord Downie is Canada's unofficial poet laureate.  The band was going to do one last tour.  I managed to score EXACTLY ONE ticket to a Toronto show.  I went.  It was amazing.

After petitions, our beloved national broadcaster, the CBC, said it was going to air the very last (albeit a miracle) Tragically Hip show from their hometown of Kingston Ontario.

That show was tonight and WHAT THE FUCK I'm more emotional than I was after the show I saw in person.  I do not understand feelings.

I wrote a long rambling thing I was going to post for my high school friends' (Group of 9) Facebook Group but I decided it was embarrassing so I'm posting it here because in a a away, I want to remember these feelings.  Forgive me.


Guys, I'm an emotional wreck after that Hip show. Who else watched it? (I know Joanna did.)

I think we ALL went to that Hip festival together in 1997. Am I right? I know MEL and I were in a car with Jonas and Mark W. She was being annoying by throwing pretzels around.

I remember so many shed parties and dancing (okay moshing) to New Orleans is Sinking. I remember when the Trouble At the Henhouse album came out and we'd drive around listening to Gift Shop and Ahead By A Century. I remember wide open blue country skies with white fluffy clouds and feeling that we were invincible and life would never change.

But then it did. I remember moving to the city and listening to Phantom Power and In Violet Light and saying about the Hip "it's not the band I hate, it's their fans." (Snobby Sloan lyric.) I listened to those songs so much as I did my best not to fail out of U of T.

I remember studying, studying, studying but then taking a break to see Gord play a solo set at Yonge-Dundas Square during the Coke Machine Glow era.

I remember seeing the Hip with new friends but still feeling connected to the past. I went to the most amazing Hip show for Canada Day 2012 with my friend Elisa (who is Vern's friend too now!). I remember Gord playing with the Sadies at the Field Trip music festival a couple of years ago and when he came out, so did the sun and my friend Matt from Winnipeg and I said that if Gord can't change the weather, no one can.

I would have never guessed that I'd be obsessively listening to the Hip again in 2016, more than 20 years since I discovered them. I took them for granted. I take a lot of things for granted. I suck at living in the moment. I don't think I have much courage. I need to work harder at boosting people up, especially myself. Art of all types has always been my solace. Where would I be without words, stories, and music? And I think that's why I've been so sad about the finality of this tour. I always thought I'd have access to these words and music that make me feel better, but I don't. I always thought there'd be another Hip show.

I just now want to to approach everything with courage and grace, too. And to remember that there is no dress rehearsal, this is real life and let's get friendship right, get life day-to-day.

Monday, August 01, 2016

I'm Still Here

Wow.  I think July 2016 is the first month since I started this blog back in 2005 that I've gone without posting. 

It's not that I've been busy.  My mind has been scattered and unfocused, I suppose.  Tasks that require full attention (like reading and blogging) have gone by the wayside for wasting time on Twitter, watching baseball as escapism, and paying too much attention to American politics (I was glued to the DNC).

The upside of summer is that I'm not longer feeling tired, stressed, or overwhelmed and that's a sweet way to feel.

What have I been doing with my time if not blogging, reading or traveling?  I guess I've just been being.  I've caught up with friends somewhat.  I've gone to a shitload of baseball games (seven in July).  I visited my parents.  I saw some movies.  I watched Stranger Things on Netflix (loved it).  I've gone to a few concerts.  

The most notable concert that I went to was Hawksley Workman in his hometown of Huntsville, Ontario.  I've always wanted to see him play there, and it's close to my pal Becca T's cottage.  I was hoping she'd be there for the show and we could go together, but her calendar didn't align with the show.
As I was sitting on the train going to visit my parents, I was thinking about how much a Hawksley Workman show would soothe my soul.  I decided that I was going to go, so right there on the train I used my iPad to book a rental car, a hotel room, and a ticket.

It was a great idea.  I think my only regret is that I didn't spend more time out in cottage country.  I decided that it'd be a 24-hour trip which consisted of me driving there (about 3 hrs), settling in, having a Dairy Queen Blizzard for dinner, a nap, and then walking from my kind of crappy hotel (which reminded me of travels with my parents in the 80s/90s but with wifi) to the theatre.

It was a beautiful theatre that was installed inside the old city hall.  Hawksley was amazing.  It was just him and his longtime piano player, Mr. Lonely.  It felt like he had seen my "Favourite Hawksley" playlist and was exclusively playing songs from that.  It was definitely what I needed and planning that little concert getaway has been my best decision all summer.

On the baseball front, the Jays have been treating me to some amazing baseball.  I've been to 15 games so far this season and I kept track: the Jays are 10-5 when I'm there.  I've seen some crazy stuff, including a 19-inning game on Canada Day (they lost) and some exciting wins.  I have a good network of baseball friends to stand in giveaway lines with, and endlessly message during live and televised games.  Our baseball in-jokes are growing by the day.

There's been a lot of bad news in the world this year, and I'm glad to have baseball as my blanket fort of escape.

Oh, and the best part of it is that the Jays are in playoff contention this season.  They were in first place of the AL East yesterday but slipped to 0.5 games back with today's loss (in extra innings).  I'm looking forward to an exciting August and September.  That AL East will be a tight race.

On Friday I'm leaving for a little trip to Kansas City for a baseball game, a blog friend meet-up, and some midwest road-tripping.  I'm also hoping to get to Cleveland for another baseball roadtrip.

And who knows? I'm trying to be more spontaneous this summer so maybe something else will pop up.

Well, now I've got at least one August post in, ha-ha.  Hope to make it more!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Final Exam!

I'm just sitting here while my last period class writes their final exam for the year.  I've got the rest of them marked and all of my term marking done.  I seriously am just waiting for them to be finished so I can complete my last set of marking for the 2015-2016 school year.  It will be so nice not to have the ever-present anvil of marking backlog hanging over my head.

The last five days of school will be for me to get report cards finished, clean up my very messy lab, and organize my binders.  And the usual year-end social gatherings, goodbyes, and of course, graduation.

So far I have a very unplanned summer.  I really want to mainly stick around the city for July to focus on self-care.  I want to exercise, eat healthy, and declutter my apartment.  Oh, and I also have a very packed baseball schedule in July.

At the beginning of August, I'll be flying to Kansas City for a baseball/blog friend meet-up.  That will be super fun!  Also, I think there is a baseball roadtrip to Cleveland in the works in August too.  I kind of want to do something spontaneous in August (i.e. fly somewhere random) but hopefully I will have enough money still kicking around then.

Really, all I want to do right now is sleep for a solid week.  LOL

Friday, June 17, 2016


Right now I'm keeping Hallway #8 under control during Day 1 of final exams.  Yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I've got a few labs left to mark, but it's kind of the last thing that I want to do on a Friday afternoon.

Last weekend was fun overall but I did one thing that I have NEVER done in my life: I bailed on a concert.  Eons ago, I bought a ticket to see Florence and the Machine (who I love) with Of Monsters & Men (who I like).  When I bought the ticket, I think I completely forgot how absolutely draining June is.  When the show rolled around last Friday, I had to go home after work to drop off my laptop and work stuff at home.  The idea of taking transit for an hour to a crowded venue with lots of people, sound, and light was so unappealing to me.  I just wanted to sit on my couch and watch baseball.  Mathew was going with a bunch of other friends, so I didn't have to worry about bailing on a friend.  I ended up staying home, and going to bed early.  I regret nothing.  I'll see Florence next time.

On Sunday + Monday, I had two super fun days of baseball.  Sunday was Country Day, so my friends and I arrived early to get our free cheesy plaid baseball caps, and run around the Flight Deck taking pictures with cardboard cowboy cutouts of various players.  The game itself was very close.  The Jays ended up outslugging the Orioles to win.

Monday was my batting practice visit.  It was amazing being on field watching the Jays warm up, although I kind of felt weird gawking and taking photos.  All the others in attendance had brought stuff to get signed (I brought a Sharpie just in case), but I was skeptical that I'd get an autograph.  At the end of practice, only one player came over to sign and guess who that was?  Russell Martin (aka my sports boyfriend).   I got him to sign my hat!

In other exciting news, I managed to score ONE ticket to one of the Tragically Hip shows here in August.  I had tried several times to get 2-3 tickets for myself and friends, but no luck.  On Tuesday, they released more tickets, and I tried for multiple tickets to no avail.  Finally, I decided to just see if I could get one, and I did!  I guess it'll be a lonely show, but I'm glad I'll get to go.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I pulled some late-night marking marathons.  I'm so glad that I'll get to have a chill weekend now.  I don't have any big plans and I'm glad.  Quality time with sleep + cat is what I need.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Welcome to a neglected blog.

Still not finding too much time to get my blogging mojo going (checking other or writing mine). June is such a busy time.  Writing exams, marking marathons to get it all done, prepping final lessons, and getting exam reviews together.

Socially, things get busy too with many year end events.

And, the next four days are jam-packed!

Friday --> Florence and the Machine concert
Saturday --> Road trip to Hamilton to visit friend
Sunday --> Jays game
Monday --> Work, and then I won an auction using my baseball nerd points to go on field for Jays batting practice!  (Then watch the game.)  Can't wait for this one!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

C'mon ladies let's get in formation.

Holy shit Beyonce.

I was blessed enough to get tickets to the Formation World Tour that hit the Rogers Centre last night. This is because I'm blessed enough to have my friend AlieMalie who figured out the pre-sale code and bought two tickets to the Toronto show and two tickets to a Chicago show for herself.

Then I was blessed enough to bring my friend Justin, who loves loves loves Beyonce and it was super great to make a person's dream come true by saying "Hey do you wanna be my +1 for BEYONCE?"

If you are a long-time friend of this blog, you'll know that I've always identified myself as an indie rock chick.  My diehard musical snobbery of my teens/twenties has dwindled.  I'm kind of happy that now I'll listen to pretty much everything.  I love Katy Perry, P!nk, Kesha, and Drake (especially Drake).  Heck, like the rest of the world I enjoy the new Bieber songs.  (Everyone does, right?)  So yes, I'm a bit of a pop fan now and I'm thankful I've loosened up on the snobbery.  This is more fun.

However, Beyonce transcends pop music.  I knew her singles with Destiny's Child and from her solo albums, but it wasn't until 2013's eponymous Beyonce album that I really got into.  Long story short, I was bummed about something, my dear friend AlieMalie said "you should listen to the song Flawless, it's a feminist masterpiece" and boom, life changed.  Then, the Queen goes out and makes the Lemonade album/video which is an artistic masterpiece.  Best rock song of the year? On Lemonade. Best country song of the year?  On Lemonade.   Best gospel vocals of the year? On Lemonade.  I know that I'd adore this album at my height of music snobbery because I could always appreciate great art.

When it comes to shows, for much of my life, I would mainly only see bands that would have to set up their equipment themselves with the odd musical festival thrown in.  Most of the bands I follow have graduated from shitty basement bars and back rooms to comfy theatres like the Danforth Music Hall or Massey Hall.  In the case of Metric, they can even support stadium tours.  However, it's always great when I can catch a show at Lee's Palace or the Horseshoe Tavern.

I went to my real first pop concert last year.  It was a 90s throwback of Nelly/TLC/NKOTB and was hella fun.  Then I saw Mariah frickin Carey in Las Vegas which was a total spectacle.  But last night's show?  Oh my goodness.  That was something.

The show mixed visuals with amazing dance numbers, vocals, and spectacle.  I don't want to spoil anything, but for the last set of songs, part of the stage TURNED INTO A POOL, and Bey and her dancers danced in the water and it was transcendent.

The Queen is also genuine and charming and her message of powerful feminism, empowerment, and owning your life and sexuality as a women is so fucking necessary.  Not to mention her celebration of woman of colour.  I loved that her drummer, guitar player, and dancers were all black women and like Lemonade, the show was a celebration of black women who have so fewer opportunities.  I love Lemonade but I know it wasn't made for me.

Everything Beyonce is amazing.  Bow down.  When is the next world tour?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Do not punch Jose Bautista in the face, you loser.

I was super excited to follow tonight's Raptors game.  I was pretty confident that they would win game seven (and they did, decisively) and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time in franchise history.

But I got distracted by the brawls in Arlington Texas and didn't pay much attention to the excellent basketball news.

Those Texas Rangers can't get over a well-deserved flip of a bat.

Look, he hit the HOME RUN of his career.  The home run of the past 22 years of franchise baseball. It was Jose Bautista's first time in the playoffs, and he flipped the bat when he won the series.  Big deal.  You would have too.

Response: wait until his last at-bat of the two re-match series of the 2016 regular series.  Bean him in the ribs with a 98 mph fastball.  Then, when he illegally slides into second base, punch him in the face when he's not expecting it, because people in baseball don't punch.  But that's okay; it's deserved because he flipped a bat.


On top of all of the sports emotions, I had a really great conversation with a good friend who I hadn't spoken to in six months.  The six month hiatus wasn't necessarily purposeful, but it was as a result of changes in life, and more changes.  It's a really weird situation that I can't get into here, but fuck. When the news that you know was coming, and had already accepted, arrives it still throws you for a loop.

On the same day Jose Bautista was punched in the face.  How poetic.

So I grabbed one of those craft beers I was saving in the fridge and threw on a record and I think it's OK now.

But, geez, emotions in baseball, emotions in life, it's a lot sometimes.