Monday, August 03, 2015

Best Day.

You know those days where all of the stars align and a bunch of good things happen? Today was one of those days.

First, I got to the Rogers Centre at 10:30 am for Russell Martin (aka my sports boyfriend) bobblehead day. The lines were SUPER long; even longer than they'd been for Jose Bautista bobblehead day.  I felt a bit of stress that I wouldn't get one, but woo-hoo, I did!

Then, through some pre-game random texting (I had time to kill), I found out that not only are my friends Matt and Melly from Winnipeg coming down for the CHVRCHES concert in October, but also for Nuit Blanche.  I'm super excited because I haven't see Melly since 2012!

Then, our new adorable ace pitcher, David Price, threw a beautiful game with 11 strikeouts.  There was a moment where he got out of a bases-loaded, zero-outs situation and I almost passed out from the stress.  See the old Blue Jays would have fallen apart at that moment, but not the new Blue Jays.  Loved it.  We are now tied with the Minnesota Twins for a playoff spot.  There is still two months to go, but I am optimistic and confident in this team.

Finally, I got home and entered a Twitter contest being held by one of my favourite authors, Jennifer Weiner.  And guess what?  I won!  She's going to send me an autographed copy of her new novel Who Do You Love.  Woo hoo!

Pretty great day!

Friday, July 31, 2015

I am super excited about baseball.

Now that I'm back from my trip, baseball has gotten its hooks into me.

I just got home from a very nice game.  The Jays beat the Royals (best team in the AL) 5-2.  There was good pitching, and three home runs including one from my sports boyfriend Russell Martin.

Even more excited have been the trades in advance of tomorrow's trade deadline.  The Jays made some deals this season (as opposed to last) and got themselves perhaps the best shortstop in baseball, a reliever, and an ace of a starting pitcher.  There is so much excitement around these trades.  Playoffs, here we come, I hope, I hope.

Other than being excited about that, I've been laying low.  I binge-watched a new show called UnREAL that I really liked.  It's based on a fictional reality-dating show called "Everlasting" and shows all of the manipulation and drama that goes on behind the scenes. It's completely soap-opera-ish and super fun.

Now, I have to find something else to watch... Until there is more baseball.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

#wwmcd

WHAT WOULD MARIAH CAREY DO?

That was the theme of my Vegas Vacation.  I was living it even before I realized it.

One afternoon, I had some time on my own, so I explored the strip.  I wandered to the Bellagio hotel to watch the fountains, and realized that I was getting a bit hot and thirsty, so I did the logical thing: I found a patio bar and ordered a margarita (and some water).

After wandering in the desert heat, a margarita will hit me hard which is AWESOME because I can make some awesome decisions after one margarita in the heat.  EYELINER is what went through my brain.  It is time for me to start wearing eyeliner.

I went to the neighbouring Sephora, got some advice from the consultants (i.e. I'm not skilled enough for liquid liners) and walked out with glittery black liner and somehow, the perfect red lipstick that I'd been looking for.  I've wanted to wear red lipstick, because so many people look awesome in it and says it makes them feel amazing, but I've never found a shade that makes me look anything other than a clown.  This one though (Makeup Forever in Rouge Artist Intense) is my shade.

And, the purchase of glittery black eyeliner was completely unintentional.  I though I was buying matte black, but I like the glitter so I thank the margarita for the error.

(And clearly, red lipstick and glittery black eyeliner is what MC would do so I was ahead of the game.)

I also decided to go on the roller coaster at the New York New York casino, which as anyone who has seen the Fantasy video would know, is what MC would do.  I haven't been on a roller coaster since I was 18, and in really didn't worry too much about it until the thing was going up a steep incline which I knew would drop off and then I wanted to get off... I just closed my eyes and swore the whole way and exited completely dizzy and glad I did it.

That brings us more to the MC show which was AMAZING.  I liked MC a lot as a kid and listened to the heck out of her first two albums on cassette tape.  When I was in high school, I was too cool for her but secretly still liked her and did not turn away when her videos came on MuchMusic.  As such, I knew most of the words to her 18 #1 hits that she performed, and knew the corresponding music videos to which her sets were based on.  It was amazing!

By the end of the last night, as I was figuring out to wear, I asked myself what would MC do, so I decided jean short and heels it was.  I had a nice final evening of drinks and dinner with my pal Claire and her husband.

There were lots more super fun moments in Las Vegas too, but that's all I'm going to write about for now. If you want to see pictures, they're all up on my Instagram.  :)

And now I'm back home with Ms. Rilo who missed me.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Coffee at the airport bar.

I always get to airports too early.  This morning I'm off to Las Vegas (first time ever) for adventures with my friend Claire, who flew there with her husband en route to Hawaii.

Anyhow, to save money, I took the TTC out to the airport, and because I like to avoid rush hour and leave nothing to chance, I got here pretty early.  Also, who knew what kind of havoc the Pan Am games would wreak upon the airport.  The answer, is not much.  Apart from having to dodge a large group of people wearing Mexican track suits, it's pretty quiet here.  The check-in, customs, and security lines were all swift, and I was at my gate in about twenty minutes.

Extra airport time is always fun if you're in the shopping Mecca that is Heathrow, or even Terminal 1 here in Toronto.  However, I'm sadly sequestered in the US departure section of Terminal 3.  I was craving the idea of a Tim Horton's breakfast sandwich, however, a pane of glass separates me from that as it is (unsurprisingly) located in the Cdn departures section.

Instead, I found one of those ubiquitous airport restaurants/bars, where I just finished a surprisingly good wrap and I'm drinking coffee and staring at a lot of booze at the bar ahead of me.  Thanks for free wifi, I can use this time to catch up on blogging, emails, and the like.

I've had a fun past few days.  On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week I took in some free Panamania  concerts at Nathan Phillips Square (my beloved and often seen Joel Plaskett Emergency, and my Canadain guilty pleasure pop punk Marianas Trench).  I love the spirit the games are bringing to the city and I'm kind of sad that I'll be missing out on Stars and LIGHTS next week.  (But I've seen them both before and Vegas awaits.)  There will still be more free shows into August for the ParaPanAm games, so no loss.

Also, I am cool with Kanye playing the closing ceremonies.  Torontonians are annoying complainers. (Although I would have been happier if they chose Drake!)

I also got my hair cut and my nails done for my trip.  Then I did a decent cleaning job of my place and cooked dinner for a friend on Friday night which I haven't done in FOREVER.  My stove was like WTF, I'm sure.

I went shopping at Vaughn Mills with my pal Vern on Saturday, and then on Sunday went to the Jays game where they played like they always should.  In the evening, as I was doing laundry, I streamed the gold medal baseball match between Canada and the USA.  It was one of the most exciting and wildest baseball games I've seen.  Fun!

Well, I apologize if this post is full of errors because I don't feel like proofreading.  I think I'm going to splurge on a magazine, and go read that until my flight.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Everything Must Go!

I can distinctly remember when I started listening to The Weakerthans.  In the year 2000, I was in university, and used Naspter (!) to download songs via my slow UTORdial internet connection.  I would read about bands in Chart magazine (of which I received a printed copy in the mail), and if they sounded interesting from an article, I'd download a song or two and based upon my small sample size, I'd buy the album.

My decision to sample some Weakerthans' songs was based upon their name; I thought it was cool.  In retrospect, I can say that as someone who has tended toward self-reflective introversion all of my life, I've always been attracted to art that explores the concept of weakness, hence I would obviously be attracted to a band that has the word "weaker" in its name.  Even better, I soon discovered that many of their songs explored a theme of home, and maybe feeling slightly alienated from your home, and I dug that.

I bought their album Left & Leaving on my 21st birthday.  My birthday used to always fall on reading week when I was in university, so I went home to Stratford for the break.  It was not a fun birthday.  I was recovering from a truly awful case of strep throat, so no parties were had, and I could barely eat food (not for lack of hunger, but for extremely sore throat).  All I remember was that by the time the day rolled around, I felt good enough to hop in my parents' car, drive to the CD store and buy the album and then spend the rest of reading week listening to it in my discman well I shook off the rest of my illness.

I think the Weakerthans became my absolutely favourite band once I saw them live.  I saw them that summer in a now-closed punk rock club called The Reverb on Queen St.  I went with my friend Eric, who hadn't heard of them, but was game for a random night out.  By that time, they were trying out some new songs that would end up on their album Reconstruction Site.  Eric ended up loving them because of a lyric "I've had a really nice time; but my dogs need to fed" which he interpreted as the singer having dinner with a beautiful woman and leaving because his dogs were more important.  Anyone who values animals over such trivial matters has a place in my friend Eric's heart.  (I think the song is actually about an Antarctic explorer having hallucinations, but I've never told Eric that because he remembers the lyric and the concert fondly to this day.)

I saw The Weakerthans a lot in years 2001-2003 in small rock venues all over the city.  They played a lot of songs from Reconstruction Site during that time frame.  When that album came out, the songs felt like familiar old friends, and it remains one of my favourite albums of all time.

I have lots of other great memories entwined with this band.  There was the time when they were playing in Hamilton and Becca T and I took the GO bus to see them, but had to stay overnight in a Tim Hortons because the last back to the city was at 11 pm, just as the band would be hitting the stage.  The first bus back to the city was Sunday at 5 am, and we were university students who would not want to splurge on a hotel overnight, so an all-night Timmy's it was.

Years later, they played that same venue in Hamilton, and since we were both gainfully employed, we were going to rent a car to go to the show, but then at the last minute Becca couldn't go.  However, my colleague (now lifelong friend) Nancy was good to drive to the show.  She had a great time at the show, and commented that she'd never seen me quite so happy as I was at a Weakerthans' show.

If you've actually made it this far in this post, I congratulate you.  It's mainly a stream of consciousness of memories of my favourite band spurred on by the fact that it was outed today on Twitter that the band is no more.  The guitarist had made comment to CBC Music, and then the drummer also confirmed it in a tweet.  It's really no surprise; they haven't had an album since 2007, and haven't played in forever.  I missed them the last time they played Toronto.  It was part of RiotFest, and I'd just returned from Kenya and didn't feel like sending $75 to see they play for 45 minutes while I was jetl-agged.  Next time, I thought!  Silly me.

I'm pretty sure the last (and I guess final) time I saw The Weakerthans play as a proper band was in 2010 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre down at the Ex with a boyfriend-at-the-time who wasn't really into them, but kind enough to go with me.  The Queen E Theatre isn't huge, but a far cry from the little punk bar where I first saw them.  I don't remember specifics about the show, but I'm sure they played all my favourites and I smiled my super-happy-I'm-at-a-Weakerthans'-show smile.

Musicians probably never get to know how much their music means to their fans.  It's kind of crazy that songs get written, released, and played at shows.  However, it's kind of crazy that these songs written by complete strangers become the soundtrack to my life, and when I listen to them, they bring back so many memories and take on meaning to my own life that might not even be connected to their lyrics.  

When I remember shows, I do sometimes remember the music, but I usually remember who I went with, what was going on in my life at the time, how much fun we had at show, and events surrounding the show (Becca T and I almost freezing to death in Hamilton before finding that Tim Horton's; Nancy smelling like horse at the show because she had horse lessons before we went).

I had always hoped to see The Weakerthans live in their hometown of Winnipeg.  And I was doing so well at reaching that dream!  Thanks to this blog, I have a couple of good friends who live in Winnipeg, so I have a choice of couches to sleep on and people to see the show with.  I've just been waiting for that show to happen so I can fly out for it.  Sigh, I guess it won't happen.

Although, the title of their last album is Reunion Tour, so perhaps there is hope for my Winnipeg-Weakerthans trip yet.  Also, their buddies The Constantines have been riding the reunion thing for the past year.  (Ah, Weakerthans/Cons shows, so many good memories!)

But for the time being, I'll miss my favourite band.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Changes

I decided to visit my parents for a "weekend" out of the city.  I put the word weekend in quotes because days of the week don't have much meaning to me in the summer. My weekend in Stratford is Saturday night to Monday night.

Today I went out for lunch with my friend Heather.   Many times we've met up in downtown Stratford, had a nice meal, and wandered the shops. After lunch we bee-lined to our favourite Stratford bookstore: The Book Vault. Of course, we got distracted along the way and ended up at the coffee shop.  Did we miss it somehow? We turned around and spent a good five minutes being utterly confused until we realized that the accounting firm next door had expanded into our beloved bookshop, which was gone forever.

We crossed the street to the other bookstore, but it wasn't the same. Our favourite bookstore had mad deals.

As we continued shopping around, I couldn't help but notice about the changes that have happened. Yes, a lot of my fave stores that I've been shopping at since I was a kid are still there, but I couldn't help but notice that my favourite stationery, shoe and clothing stores are gone. One of my favourite restaurants has been standing empty for quite some time, as are the spaces above and below that housed the sketchy nightclubs we frequented in our late teens/early twenties.  The biggest inn in town is now a Best Western, and the coffee shop across the street where we used to recount those sketchy nightclub nights, sits deserted. At least the Dairy Queen is still in business.

As we were ending our shopping, a lady stopped us and asked if we were from here, and I responded yes. She asked us where the Royal Bank was, and it took me a little longer than I'd like to remember. I realize that after all this time living in Toronto, I'm no longer the hometown expert that I used to be. There are lots of restaurants that I've never tried, and my favourite places are disappearing.

However, my heart was warmed to see that my childhood toystore still sells gimp by the metre and stickers by the square so some things are still constant.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Road trips and hangouts.

Made it back from my baseball road trip to Detroit.

We crossed the border and then went to the Eastern Market for some yummy pizza.  Then we headed to the hipster area for coffee and to see the abandoned train station. I really liked the train station.  Detroit is rather interesting because there is so much that is empty but it used to be very populous, and now it's less so.  It would be cool to have a time machine and go back to experience it in its heyday in the 1950s/1960s.

Speaking of that time frame, we tried to go to the Motown museum but it was sold out for the day.  Instead, we checked into our hotel and then headed downtown. There was a Tiffany clock in a building that my friend Vic wanted to see and it was an inside joke made funnier by the fact we saw it.

The game was really fun.  American ballparks have all the flash.  The game was dismal for the first seven innings; the Jays couldn't get a hit and the score was 8-0.  But, in the top of the eighth, the tides turned and the Jays scored six runs, much to the dismay of the Tigers' fans and the joys of the many Jays' fans who made the trip.  Unfortunately, they weren't able to get more in the ninth, but at least they made a comeback. After the game we were treated to some pretty nice 4th of July fireworks.

On Saturday, we mainly did some shopping.  I was very well behaved and only spent money at Trader Joe's.

Mathew made a nice collage of the trip.  You may wonder why there are scuba divers in the picture but that's because we listened to an episode of Dateline about mystery in the deep blue sea, I kid you not.


Since I've been back in TO, my house guest (Becca T) had to leave and then I had a chill two days of not much.  However, today one of my long-time blog pals was in town and we had brunch.  Tonight is dinner/movie with work pals.  Then tmrw is spa day.  Not too shabby.