Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Upgrading and cooking.

On Saturday I went with my friend Elisa to see Blue Rodeo at the Molson Ampitheatre.

Elisa is a former colleague/forever friend.  We became close because we co-taught a class of students at-risk.  A real line from that class that sums up the experience is "Miss, I'm too sober to be here."  (Us too, kid, us too.)  However, by the end, the two teachers and the kids formed a strange unit that we called our dysfunctional family.  Elisa and I have always referred to each other as co-parents because of this little dysfunctional family from years ago.

Apart from being co-parents, we also have similar concert-going styles.  We'll both see bands over and over again, and have a love of Canadian music from the 90s.  I don't know when it happened, but we found out that we both love Blue Rodeo, and have huge crushes on one of its lead singers, Jim Cuddy, who is pushing sixty and wearing it well, dammit.  To give you an idea of the man's fineness, watch this.

We've made it a tradition to see Blue Rodeo whenever they play Massey Hall, and have always wanted to see their annual summertime show at Molson Ampitheatre.  So far this has never happened, because one or both of us has been travelling on the date of the show.  However, this year we were both in town, and we got cheap-o lawn tickets.

The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE, aka The Ex --> a giant fair with rides, games, and the most unhealthy food you'd want to eat) is happening right now, and since you have to walk through the CNE grounds to get the Molson Ampiteahtre, and get free admission to The Ex with your concert ticket.  We took advantage of this and got there early so we could walk around and eat some of the unhealthy food.  I had the Thanksgiving Waffle from Fran's (a waffle made out of stuffing and cranberries, stuffed with turkey and gravy).  We split one of this year's most talked about offerings: deep-fried red velvet oreos (i.e. an oreo coated in red velvet batter and deep fried).

When we made it over the venue, there was a marketing campaign going on by Klipsch Audio, where they wanted you to take a picture of yourself being enthusiastic somewhere by their logo and post it on social media.  The winning picture would have their lawn seats upgraded to something closer to the stage.

We are younger than the average Blue Rodeo fan.  We heard lots of people say "Twitter? Instagram? I don't use those!" when the Klipsch explained the contest to them.  We knew that we had this contest, especially when our teacher brains listened carefully to the "enthusiastic" description and posted a slightly embarrassing photo of us jumping in the Klipsch tent.

At about 8:30 pm we got the call from Klipsch that we'd won the upgrades, and we were escorted to our new seats much closer to the stage!

Look at the view of the band!

And Jim was oh-so-close and still looking good!

It was such a fun show.  They did not skimp on the hits, and we had a blast singing along to some Canadian classics.  You know a band is Canadian when they namecheck Lake Ontario in their songs.


If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably noticed that I've been cooking a lot lately and maybe have thought WTF.  I am not a fan of cooking.  I have a few recipes that I've mastered that I can make when needed, but for my day-to-day life, I do not cook.  However, cooking for myself is something that I wish I could do more often, and I've come across something that helps me.

I signed up for a service that allows you to pick 2-3 recipes per week from a list, and they deliver all of the ingredients to you on Mondays.  It costs about $10 per meal, which I do not think is extravagant at all.  The recipes are definitely healthy, and use locally-sourced ingredients.  I'm on my second week of doing this and I've made lots of yummy things like turkey with red peppercorn sauce, spinach stuffed chicken, Bavarian sirloin steak, and vegetarian pad thai. 

I feel this a DIY learn-to-cook class.  I don't know how long I'll keep having ingredients delivered to me, but I'm learning tricks from these recipes like making tasty rice by adding tomato paste to the water, how to cook steak (I'd never cooked steak before), and making the best roasted sweet potatoes ever by coating them in Bavarian mustard.  

Tonight I'm having my pal Mathew over to watch the very important baseball game (let's stay in first place Blue Jays!) and to try out pistachio encrusted steak with fingerling potatoes and dino kale.  Hopefully both the meal and the baseball game are winners.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Lazy Dog Days of Summer

The end of my third-last week of summer vacation is is approaching.  It seems like a longer than average summer since we go back to school a bit later because of a trick of the calendar.

I've been spending the past week socializing, keeping up on baseball (of course), and even conducting some cooking experiments.  I also finally bought myself a new TV, and got Apple TV to go with it, so I've been enjoying watching Netflix etc on a big screen as opposed to my iPad.

That's really about it.  My brain has gotten so mushy that I don't know what else to write!

Oh I know what else to write about: the serendipity of running into friends.  Yesterday, I went to the Eaton Centre and first ran into two good friends from school, which lead to drinks, and afterwards I ran into a friend from university at the LCBO.  I always think how these events hinge on all kinds of small decisions/luck.  That is, I had to choose to go into a certain store for a specific length of time, choose a slow cashier's line with two people ahead of me, etc et. for these random meetings to happen.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Like list.

1) I really enjoyed the book I won! It was an enjoyable, non-cheesy romance. If that sounds up your alley, definitely check out Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner.

2) I think it was last week that I quickly made it through the show Transparent.  It treats its main character, an older trans woman, with such empathy.  Most of the main characters in the show are really messed up, but I ended up liking them anyway.  Except for the son Josh.  I read a review where they describe him as that bad boyfriend you had who quickly declares his love for you and then rips out your heart in a second. And that's precisely why he's so unlikeable.

3) I saw the movies AntMan and Trainwreck. Both were good.  Trainwreck made me surprisingly emotional because Amy's dad had MS in the movie, and so does my mom, so it was that (not the love story) that affected me.

4) I saw Jann Arden the other night at a free Panamania show.  She is hilarious but her songs are so sad.  It's quite the contrast.  I'd never seen her live before and really enjoyed it.  Her music definitely reminds me of my teenage years, but is still very relevant and relatable.

5) And what else can I say about my beloved Blue Jays who have won 11 games in a row, and have taken first place in the AL East.  They have a big three-game series against the Yankees this weekend in which they can hopefully hold onto first place and put some space between themselves and their rivals.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Goodbye Jon.

Tonight I went to the Bloor Cinema for a free screening of the final episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  I figure that's the best way to say goodbye to your favourite television host: big screen, six hundred other people, and complimentary buttons!

Unsurprisingly, the final show was pitch perfect.  The first segment included an impressive array of Daily Show correspondents: Samantha Bee, Ed Helms, Steve Carrell, Lewis Black, Larry Wilmore, Kristen Schaal, John Oliver, and I could go on and on.  The array ended with a dramatic entrance and heartwarming thank you from Stephen Colbert.  The six hundred or so of us in the theatre were clapping and laughing though the entire segment.

After that, there was a nice bit where Jon toured through the Daily Show offices, saying hi to each and every employee.  He then returned for a "join me at camera three" bit where he warned us to be vigilant for bullshit.  Lastly, after thanking his family, crew, and audience, his moment of zen was Bruce Springsteen playing out the show.

I am not sure when I actually began watching the Daily Show.  I've definitely been watching it for a solid decade.  It's been my late night show of choice, although I usually watch it online the day after now as opposed to staying up late.  I'll really miss Jon Stewart's brand of insightful, smart, critical, and often angry comedy.  I've always felt that he was the media's biggest critic, and he was the only one out there calling out bias, hyperbole, lies, and bullshit.  I'll miss him.

I'm glad I went to the cinema for the finale.  It was more of an event than if I watched it at home on my couch, so I can always remember it fondly.  Plus, I got a commorative button, ha-ha.

I always find it weird when you feel the need to express gratitude when a pop culture type thing ends, but I think that comedy is art, and comedians are artists and art is important and personal.  And that's why the audience needs a moment to say goodbye to artists.

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



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.