Thursday, August 31, 2006

Even things that seem still are still changing.

1) I think my summer vacay is officially over. I spent a lot of time at school yet again today. I was there today from 8:30 - 6:30 which is the longest stay of the week. And, I'm going back for more tomorrow.

2) Most of my time at school this week has been devoted to unpacking all of our science supplies as our prep room, office, and 2 classes were beautifully renovated over the summer.

3) You know you're a science teacher when you burst into applause after The Periodic Table has been hung up in a freshly renovated classroom.

4) Bad news: only 4 more days until classes start.

5) Good news: only 4 more days until the next performance night on Rockstar. Hope I get to hear Lukas do an original!

6) Here's a letter from me to Supernova:

Dear Supernova,

If you pick Lukas as your lead singer, I will mostly likely probably consider purchasing your CD because I really liked how he rocked out with you guys last night. It was kinda emo-gothy, which sounds lame, but trust me, it was not lame. I liked it. Please make every song sound like that.



ps Gilby is my fave. He seems smart for a former member of GNR.

7) Here's a letter from me to Ryan Star, who was kicked off the show last night:

Dear Ryan Star,

I really didn't like you at the beginning of the competition. I was quite frankly shocked that you weren't ousted very early on in the competition. But, kudos to you, you improved, and I actually started to enjoy your performances, although I'd find faults with them and call a lot of your moves cliche, but that was just because I was beginning to fear that you were actually a threat to my dear Lukas. But really, I don't think that you're half bad and you should stick to playing the piano since that's your forte, no pun intended.


p.s. I think you look like a snarly Adam Sandler.

8) I'm listening to the new alexisonfire song "This Could Be Anywhere in the World", which I really love. I used not be able to take alexisonfire, on account of George's screaming, but I can handle it in this song enough to enjoy Dallas' singing.

9) My title is from the song "Still" by Ben Folds which can be found on the Over the Hedge soundtrack. It's great, and has this neat effect at the end that made me think that I could hear the song playing somewhere else even though I had my headphones on. It was disconcerting but oh so cool.

10) I am so exhausted that I'm going to curl up and watch some Simpsons and go to sleep.

Happy 1st of September tomorrow!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I'm just a little bit Irish, a little bit heiress, a little bit Tower of Pisa whenever I see ya...

I'm not sure if everyone is aware that I'm really obsessed with this season of Rockstar.

If not, now you are.

My pal Sandee referred to it as my new religion the other day.

Her remark was a bit prophetic; I think I had a bit of an epiphany while watching Rockstar this evening.

Lukas is my favourite rockstar. He's from Toronto and looks like Hawksley Workman, plus can rock sparkly pink eyeshadow like no one else can. (I have become and extremely biased Rockstar viewer - I always like his performance best no matter what. I'm so not objective it's funny.)

Anyhow, this week fans were able to vote online for which song they wanted the contestants to sing, and Nirvana's Lithium was selected for Lukas. On Monday night's reality show, he was very anxious about the song, because he doesn't much care for it. The house band also voiced that he was having problems with the song. So it was a classic reality cliffhanger ending: could Lukas pull it off???

As I tuned in tonight, I felt pretty nervous. It was the same feeling I have when I (seldomly) watch a big sporting like an Olympic gold medal hockey game (or any other event when Canada's in contention), Mike Weir leading the Masters' (shh... I like watching golf), or when the Jays are in the playoffs (yes, I know that was a long time ago).

Thankfully, Lukas performed first, so at least I wouldn't have to wait. And. He. Rocked. It. As I watched, I even felt that he added some really good dramatic pauses to his performances that were, dare I say, Hawksleyesque.

Wow, he pulled it off, I thought. If Lukas can pull off Lithium, I'm sure I can pull off lots of things. I can even pull off going back to school, of which I was feeling really really anxious about last week.

Anyhow, that's the story of how one teacher's favourite summer reality program helped alleviate her back-to-work anxiety.

(Note 1: The fact that I've been at school a lot for the past two days may have helped too. Although I haven't gotten any lesson planning done, as I've been helping unpack following the lab renovations we got over the summer, I'm now in the mindset to go back. I'm even looking forward to it.)

(Note 2: I feel like I must elaborate on my golf viewing. I have come to rather enjoy watching golf on tv. My parents watch it a lot, so over the years, I've gotten used to having it on in the background. The nice thing about golf is that they keep switching to different players making different shots. All of the changes keep my attention somehow. Plus, once you get to know the players, it gets a bit more interesting. However, I only watch golf when I'm in St. Ratford. Unless Mike Weir is leading a big tournament...)

(Note 3: This post has taken me forever to write because I've been chatting on MSN and voting for Lukas while writing. My friend Mathew just sent me this hi-larious news item.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

I was underwhelmed if that's a word...

So, the high school reunion wasn't the wild party that I'd imagined. We stuck our noses in at a respectably fashionably late hour, saw that there weren't many ppl reunion-ing, and went to a pub instead and had our own mini-reunion.

On the bright side, the lack of wild party meant that I was in driving condition and was able to give my pal Wendy and her cousin a ride home. They had hoped for fun times too, and were planning on take a cab home, but I stole the 'rents car and drove 'em home instead. The only reason this is note-worthy is because I got to take the fourth road out of town. There are four main roads leaving St. Ratford, and I'd used the previous three during my week home, and I was psyched to have used the fourth.

I also ended up doing a little reunion-ing on the train. I sat beside a girl who was in my grade 12 English class and we had a fun chat.

When I arrived back in Toronto, the subway at Union Station was crazy busy because people were leaving a Shakira concert (or such is my hypothesis).

My friend Joanna is my latest real-life friend who was pressured by me to start a blog. Her first non-test post is great, and I predict great things from her blog.

I'll leave you with a funny joke that I heard today.

A priest was giving a sermon on the evils of alcohol. "If I had all of the beer in the world, I'd throw it in the river. If I had all of the wine in the world, I'd throw it in the river. If I had all of the whiskey in the world, I'd throw it in the river." Satisfied with his dramatic speech, he sat down. The cantor stood up to lead the congregation in the next hymn. "Let's all turn to page 345, and sing the hymn Lead Me to The River."

Friday, August 25, 2006

Tainted Love's too fast to dance to...

I am indecisive.

That's why my blog has such a cumbersome name. Way back when I decided that I was going to try this blogging thing, I couldn't think of a title for my blog, so I just typed in something assuming that I'd be able to decide on a better title later. Obviously that never happened. (Actually, perhaps this isn't a testament to my indecisiveness, but to my inability to think of a good title...)

I seem to attract indecisive friends. Or at least they're indecisive when it comes to social activities. Hence "what should we do tonight?" or "should we go to such and such event?" can become questions to which determining a satisfactory answer can be an arduous process.

In high school, we determined a strategy called "not the leader". Whenever there was a decision to be made, the last person to call "not the leader" was deemed the leader and therefore in charge of making the decision. I was usually the first to call not the leader, and thus avoided having to make decision the majority of the time.

Incidentally, there is an all years' reunion for my high school this weekend. The events range from a golf tournament today (no thanks) to an open house at the school tomorrow (I don't like spending any more time in a school than need be) and a party tomorrow night. I kinda of wanted to go the party, yet kinda didn't want to go, so I was hoping that I'd use my friends to make up my mind for me. If they wanted to go, I'd tag along, but if not, no biggie.

We'd been emailling back and forth about the reunion for awhile and I think everyone was of the same opinion as me, so no decision had been made. A couple nights ago, my friend Jo asked me whether we were going or not.

"I call not the leader." Hah. I could wash my hands of the decision making process.

"Too late, Christa and I already nominated you leader."

Tricky devils. How would I outsmart them? "Fine then. I will take the easy way out, and say that we're not going. If you guys don't like my decision, feel free to declare mutiny on me."

Jo laughed at my trickiness, and looked quite tempted to declare a mutiny, just because mutiny sounded like fun. However, I was quite pleased with myself at more less not being the leader.

Luckily I do have one friend who is decisive, but often out of the email loop. Anyhow, I had to call her regarding tonight's plans, and she decided that she wanted to go to the reunion. So now there is someone who wants to go, meaning that myself and the rest will go with.

Anyhow, the point of this is that now I have an excuse to go shopping for clothes. And not back to school clothes either. Fun clothes.

p.s. I'm also kind of excited that I can go around singing my second favourite Stars song, Reunion, for the next couple of days.

p.p.s. Operation Get Sarcasm Out Of My System is going well. It's helped by the fact that I'm at my 'rents and my Dad makes a good target. I explained to him my mission, to which he replied "Oh gee, being sarcastic is going to be real tough for you, eh?"

Thursday, August 24, 2006

September's coming soon, I'm pining for the moon.

My job will officially be easier this year. Pluto is no longer considered a planet. I now only have to teach eight planets.

Let the good times roll.

p.s. My condolences to any Scorpios. Your sign is now ruled by a dwarf planet.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

And to think I'm the pre-eminent Proust scolar in the United States.

Update from my last post...

I successfully made it to my pal Jolene's place without getting lost, as I usually do when I visit anyone in the Kitchener/Waterloo region.

Then, we went to see the movie which was extremely enjoyable. I heart Steve Carrell.

Allright sarcastic responses to comments...

K- Gee that was a good attempt at being sarcastic.
Lea - Yes, you're right. I'm ready to give up my summer freedom and go back to staff meetings, rubrics, and hall duty.
M@ - I'm never going to trust your opinion when it comes to movies again.

Okay, I'm feeling like I'm expunging some sarcasm. I got a lot of it out while having dinner with my pal Jolene. Thank goodness for her.

The sidewalks are watching me think about you.

So it's Wednesday eh? The blogging's been sparse, mostly because I have absolutely nothing to blog about. Yay St. Ratford.

Well, I've been keeping myself low-key, but I've booked myself to drive all over the countryside to visit my assorted scattered friends over the next few evenings. I had to get gas the other day and it hurt muchly. And I'm probably going to use it all up in the next three days.

Tonight I'm driving to Waterloo to see Little Miss Sunshine with my friend Jo (hey m@ it'd better be as good as you said, or you owe me gas money).

I've been dealing with *choke* the fact that I have to go back to *choke* school by doing a bit of shopping. I can't go back without new clothes after all.

The other thing I have to do before I get back to school is get a lot of my sarcasm out. Sarcasm and teenagers don't really mix, in that most of them don't get it and believe me. For example, when asked if I know swear words in Italian, I reply "I know the swear words in every single language." I had a few kids going for awhile until I broke down and started to laugh.

So, if you want to help me and can make a comment in which I can reply very sarcastically, perhaps I can get it out before September. That would be very helpful.

Huh. Well I really should get going. Sorry that I have nothing worthwhile to blog about. Perhaps I do need to back to school. As if I just said that.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

They don't play me on the radio...

Allright, I'm a loser who is too lazy to figure out what to do on a Saturday night, so I'm staying at home and catching up on my blogging.

I'm actually at my 'rents home in St. Ratford. I haven't been home very much this summer, so I'm going to hang here 'til next Sunday. I actually brought home my new laptop (a little bit lighter than the deceased one), so I don't have to go to the library for Internet purposes. Woot. Although, I do have to use dial-up, which is so quaint and slow. ;)

I feel like I've already had my weekend, so socializing tonight isn't really necessay. My friend Heather was visiting me in Toronto for the past two days and we kept ourselves very busy. We went to Ben Lee on Thursday night (fabulous as always), had some $5 martinis after the show, did a lot of shopping and saw the new Will Ferrell movie (hilarious... as long as you're into Will Ferrell movies). So, after making the trip home, I feel that being low key tonight is the way to go.

I'm also going to try not to overextend myself in the coming week. I have a bad habit of trying to fit every single person I know into my social schedule and I often end up exhausted. I'm going to focus on visiting a couple of people I haven't seen this summer, and relax for the rest of the time...

Hope that you're all enjoying your weekends!

ps I got the letter yesterday. Sigh.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Dream all you like 'cause when it's lights up, you're alone.

I need to clean my apartment, hence I am doing everything in my power to put off that chore. Yeesh. Thank goodness for blogs to blog on.

Tomorrow my pal Heather is coming to visit me for a couple of days. We're going to catch a Ben Lee concert, perhaps go out for martinis, and make a trip to Ikea. I can't believe I've seen Ben Lee four times in the space of slightly over a year. It's just that he plays Toronto a lot at small-ish affordable venues. Why can't other artists/bands play Toronto enough that I can catch them four times in a year? (Cough, cough Weakerthans.)

Yesterday Season 8 of the Simpsons came out on DVD. You know I was all over that.

Also, I discovered that Torquil Campbell of the band Stars has a side project called Memphis whose CD "A Little Place in The Wilderness" was released yesterday. I wasn't sure if I was going to get it, but they had the CD available on a listening booth at HMV. I randomly listened to track 2 and as soon I heard the line "I guess that we've been friends for a while now baby... Yeah, I would even ask you to my wedding day," I knew then that I must own the CD. It's fabulous. Pop noir suits me. Oh and if you're the type to download just one song, get the song "Incredibly Drunk on Whiskey". Love it.

Oh, birthday shout out to my dear friend Jo who turns 27 today. I'm such a good friend that I won't point out that she's older than I am. Cue evil grin now.

Come to think of it, most of my friends are older than I am. This sucked when they were all 19 before I was, but now it's all good. I'll be able watch them each turn 30. Oh, I'm horrid. However, my roommate is 2 years younger than I am. Oh, to be 24 again. Those were the days...

Before I undertake the vile task of cleaning, I do get to procrastinate a bit more by running to get a stamp for a letter. I will also check my own mail on my way, which I've been doing with trepidation this week because I'm anticipating the arrival of the letter. The letter comes every year in the middle of August to remind us teachers that we will have to be getting back to work soon. Gah.

Update: Cleaning not complete, but I did get a lot done. The letter did not arrive today. It's still summer! Woo!

I was just doing my daily reading of music news, and I came across this interesting article. New Sloan album in September! 30 songs! 76 minutes! I am beyond intrigued. I am currently listening to the single on their myspace page and I'm loving it. It's a Jay song. Jay songs are my faves... (I think... depending on the day...) Can I get a Slooooooooo-ooooooooooan?

Argh. Oh no. It seems like that at the end of July, you could download the new single for free on iTunes... Sniffle. This must have occured when I was computer-less. Gah. Well, on the bright side, at least that means I won't make myself sick of it before the album is actually out. I tend to do that sometimes with new singles.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mais tu manges encore...

Last night I was feeling like I tend to neglect my roommate. We don't really hang out much or anything... It seems like when she goes away, I stick around here and vice versa.

Also, my roommate works a lot. And by a lot I mean it's 10:45 pm right now and she's still not home. Anyhow, last night I was thinking that I should do something nice for her... I considered making dinner for her, but her home time is quite unpredictable... Anyhow, I got the bright idea that I'd bake cookies for her today.

So this afternoon I walked to the grocery store (in the rain - got to finally use the umbrella that I bought especially for my UK trip that I actually only used there for about a minute... which is a very good thing) to buy baking supplies. I thought the gesture would be nicer if I used my (nonexistant) baking supplies instead of hers. Although I did borrow her baking soda and baking powder since it's ridiculous for the girl who bakes once a year to buy those things.

Anyhow, I ended up making a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies and a batch of banana muffins. I feel quite proud of myself for this momentary flair of domesticity. Huh. I guess I'm all warmed up for the next time I will bake which is traditionally for the staff Christmas potluck lunch...

Still waiting for my dear roommate to cast off the shackles of work and come home to her baked goodies. Yeesh. Good thing I'm on vacay. I can stay up as late as need be.

Anyhow, I spent some time today uploading some UK photos on flickr. I've actually had the account for quite some time, but never really bothered to do much with it. Now I've uploaded my max for the month and made the badge and everything. So feel free to visit.

Hope you all have happy Tuesdays!

ps This post's title is a line from the super cool catchy song "Ton plat favori" by the francophone band Malajube. Love it.

Update: Roomie came home at about 11:40 pm. Had cookies 'n milk bonding session. Mission of roommate non-neglect accomplished.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The time is getting closer; the time to be a ghost.

I'm in the mood to regale you with one of the ghost stories from my ghost walk in London. So, sit, back, and dim the lights to make your environment a little bit more spooky...

This story is set at the Old Doctor Butler's Head Pub which is located down some alley in the financial district in London. This story happened years and years ago, when the streets of London were filled with horses and carriages.

One night a priest was enjoying a pint at the Old Doctor Butler's Head. A cab pulled up in front of the pub, and a lady dressed in black hurried into the pub. She came up to the priest and said "Father, you must come quickly. I know of a man who desparately needs to talk with a priest. He has a grave sin to confess."

The priest could tell that it was a serious situation from the look in her eyes. It was most irregular for someone to approach him in a pub to ask for his services. He quicky finished his pint and followed the lady to the cab. She gave the cab the address and instructed the priest to ask for the master of the house upon arrival.

The priest arrived at the house and knocked on the door. The butler answered. "I've been summoned by the master of the house. He has a desparate need to speak with a priest."

"That's strange," replied the butler. "I'm pretty sure that no such summons has been made. However, I will bring you to speak with the master."

The master was an elderly man; perhaps in his sixities. The priest explained that a woman had directed him to speak to the master of this house because a man was in desperate need to speak with a priest. The master looked somewhat perplexed "Well, I certainly did not send for a priest. I live alone. I can't think of anyone else who may have asked for a priest... unless it was the butler."

The priest shook his head. "Your butler seemed quite unaware of the situation. It could not have been your butler who was in need of me. I travelled quite a long way to be here. Are you sure that you have nothing that you'd like to discuss with me."

"No, I'm sure I do not. I am a very pious man; I have led a godly and just life. I go to church every Sunday and give a generous tithe. My priest knows me well and knows that I try to please God..." The master trailed off. "Well, actually, since you are here... There is one incident that has troubled me for twenty years. I have never dared speak of it to my own priest, because I am so ashamed. But since you are a total stranger, I feel that perhaps I should tell you." The master's face became slightly pale and ashen at the thought of this secret.

"Please tell me this secret my son. I can see from your face that it deeply troubles you. Telling a man of the cloth will help you find redemption in the eyes of God."

"I am a widower," divulged the master. "My wife sadly perished twently years ago. One night we got into a heated argument during which I pushed her away from me. In the heat of my anger, I applied too much force to me and she fell back, hitting her head on the mantle. Her injury proved to be fatal. Her death was recorded as an accident, but... it was my fault. I killed her. I've never told a soul the truth about her death."

The priest took the master's hands in his own. "This is a very grave secret to have kept all of this years. I would like you to come to my church tomorrow. The service is at 10 o'clock. After the service, we can talk more about this and I will pray for you in a house of God. This is a matter of much importance. Please come."

"Oh, I will Father. I will. I've been troubled by this secret for twenty years. I will see you at your church Father." The master thanked the priest profusly for his visit and got directions to his church.

The next day, the priest scanned the congregation for the master. He was not in the church, nor did he come to speak with the priest after the services. The priest felt troubled by the master's absence. He was quite sure that the man was sincere in his desire to talk with him again. He decided that he must return to the house to make sure that the master was well.

He knocked on the door. The butler answered. "Hello sir, I have come again to speak with the master," the priest explained.

"I'm sorry Father. The master passed away in his sleep last night," the butler replied.

The priest was stunned. "May I come in? Perhaps I could give the body a blessing."

"Certainly." The butler lead the priest up the stairs to the master's bedroom, where he was lying in bed. The priest began to pray over the master's body. He noticed that the man looked at peace; during his many years as a priest, he had prayed over many bodies and it was rare to see one that had quite the look of peace as did the master.

While he was finishing his blessing, the priest noticed a framed photograph on the table by the master's bed. He recognized it at once. It was a photograph of the lady who had summoned him to this house the previous evening! He picked it up and brought it to the Butler. "Who is this woman, sir? She was the one who found me in the pub last night and sent me to this house to speak with the master!"

"That is very strange, Father." said the Butler slowly. "This is a photograph of the late mistress of the house who passed away twenty years ago. An accident took her. "

The priest looked at the Butler with wide eyes. "She must have known somehow... she must have known that the Lord was going to summon her husband last night. She knew that he had a grave sin on his soul that he needed to confess... That must be why she summoned me."

This was probably my favourite ghost story of the "Haunted London" walk I went on. It reminds me a lot of the ghost stories that I read as a kid; they always had some sort of twist ending.

Many summers ago I worked as a summer student in the art gallery in Stratford. Since it was a popular site for tourists, we got a lot of pamphlets about upcoming tourist-y type events in town. I noticed that there was a weekly ghost walk offered for $5. Since I'm a sucker for a ghost story, I thought that it'd be a good alternative to going out for coffee or a movie one night and convinced a couple of friends to go along with me. It was quite well done, I'd wager to say it was slightly better than the one I went on in London only because it probably contained more ghost stories. (The one in London had a lot of historical information too... which was highly enjoyable... but if I was a local looking for spooky stories, I'd be slightly disppointed.) Anyhow, now when I'm in Stratford, I always pass by certain places thinking "There's the poltergeist house" and "Oh look, it's the old haunted orphanage".

Of course, all of this talking of ghosts begs the questions, do I believe in ghosts? As I've mentioned, I've loved a spooky ghost story since I was a kid, and I've always been attracted to things like Tim Burtons movies (I think deep down, I'm a bit of a goth kid).

But, being the math/science girl that I am, the left side of my brain kicks into action and demands a rational explanation for supernatural phenomena such as ghosts, ghouls and hauntings. One of the most interesting scientific explanations for supposed hauntings that I've heard about it is low frequency standing waves. These are sounds that can be produced by something in an environment that humans are unaware of since they cannot hear them. However, they affect the human body by messing with some of our senses, such as causing our eyes to vibrate; this would explain any weird apparitions that someone could see. Infrasound can also lead to hyperventilation which can cause people to panic and can confuse the senses further. (Here's a neat article on ghosts and infrasound if you're so inclined.)

Once in my life have I sort of, maybe, thought that I could have encountered a ghost myself. This incident occured a couple years ago when I worked in an isolated community in Northwestern Ontario. The building in which my classroom was located used to be the local nurses' station. It was now divided in two; half was my classroom and the other half was the local computer centre. One afternoon, I had stayed after school to do some work. I thought I was by myself but I could distinctly hear a baby crying. I figured that the director of the computer centre must be next door with her little grandson so I walked through the connecting door to say hello. No one was there. I looked out the window to see if anyone was around but there was no one. Weird. Could it have been the ghost of a baby who may well have died in that building years ago? Or was a low frequency standing wave messing with my perception? Or, maybe I was just working too much...

Soooooo, do you believe in ghosts?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Travelling. I. Only stop at exits.

I've been pondering as to how I'm going to present my vacay pictures in my blog. I'm going to assume that I'm probably going to do nothing much else photo worthy over the summer, so I figure I'll spread them out over a few posts organized by country or city. Today's pictures will be from my actual old country: Wales. (I'm 25% Welsh. My dad's dad came over when he was 12. I learned from a magnet that I purchased in Wales that my hardy Welsh surname means "mighty army". So don't mess with me. Also, my surname's motto is apparently "My God, My Wales".)

Before the pictures some random meandering from my brain:

- This cold that I brought over from the UK is kicking my ass. I'm very tired.

- As a result of said cold, I spent the morning reclining on the couch watching CBC Newsworld being very thankful that I was safe at home and not flying out of London today on account of today's heightened airport security due to the foiled terror plot.

- I'm loving my new laptop. It's still got the new computer smell and it's got a really nice widescreen monitor. Last night, my fabulous pal Mathew came over to help me transfer all of my files from my old hard drive to my new one. Nothing was lost. All of my music and pictures were safe. Oh, I guess I should be glad that my work stuff is safe too. But we all know what's really important - the music.

Okay, so without further adieu, here are some snapshots from my time in Wales:

Below is the castle keep at Cardiff Castle. The first set of treacherous castle steps that we climbed. Thankfully we didn't have to wear chain mail.

View of Cardiff City from the Castle. In the left hand side, you can see Millenium stadium where Madonna incidentally played the evening before.

I took this picture of a Welsh beer truck because I found it amusing that the beer was called "Brains".

A traffic jam in the Welsh countryside.

The longest town name, spelled phoenetically here.

The Snowdonia mountians in Northern Wales.

I saw lots and lots of sheep during my trip.

This is Llangollen, a picturesque town in Northern Wales.

Stay tuned for more pictures of Ireland, or England, or London, or whatever I feel like depending on my mood...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

New Laptop!

Yay! I made up my always indecisive mind and bought myself a new laptop. It's so fun blogging and checking my email without having to sneak into my roommate's room.

Now comes the long process of installing all of the programs etc. that I require.

Old country pics to come soon!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

And we all will sleep well.

I made it back safe and sound. I was home in my humble apartment at about 4 pm last night (which felt like 9 pm London time). I managed to stay awake until 8:45 at which point I crashed. I woke up this morning at 9 am, had breakfast and fell asleep reading until noon. I think I may be over my jetlag.

My last day in London was fabulous. We wanted to do as much as possible and I think that we did a good job of it. Here's a rundown of our last day in London break-neck sightseeing schedule:

  • Went to the closest tube station (High Street Kensington) and bought a day pass.
  • Took the tube to Westminster Abbey for a photo-op.
  • Walked by the Parliament buildings and took a photo.
  • Passed by Downing Street.
  • Saw the Queen's Guards at St. James' Palace.
  • Walked to Trafalgar Square. Admired the Canadian embassy.
  • Saw the majority of the highlight paintings at the National Gallery. These included two more Vermeers (!), Rembrandts, Van Goghs, Monets, a Michaelangelo, and some Da Vincis. Supported the Gallery by spending lots at the gift shop.
  • Had lunch at Covent Garden.
  • Took the tube to Buckingham Palace. The Queen was in residence. Took lots of pictures. Admired the Canadian gates.
  • Took the tube to the Tower of London. I made lots of corny jokes about being beheaded.
  • Took the tube to Oxford Street. All of the shops were crazy busy and we were crazy tired by this point so we took the tube back to our hotel for a brief nap.
  • Had dinner at Giraffe again so we could try a different flavour of smoothie.
  • Went on a Haunted London walk in the evening. It was very very good. I would recommend looking into the "London Walks" company if you are ever in London. When I get my pictures up, I'll share some of the ghost stories that I remember. The highlight of this walk for me was we walked through the place where they filmed the Diagon Alley scenes from the Harry Potter movies.
  • Went home to pack and go to bed since we had to leave for Gatwick at 7:30.
So my last day of holiday was fabulously tiring. You can alway tell a good holiday when you come home more tired than when you left.

Toronto seems so quiet and sleepy compared to London.

I went to look at laptops today but decided not to buy one because I'm still a bit jetlagged and have the sniffles. However, I have vowed to get one tomorrow so I can start uploading my favourite pictures.

Now I've got blogs to catch up on. I've missed you all!

Saturday, August 05, 2006


All right. So the vacay posting hasn't been very frequent, but here I am again, coming to you directly from London on the second last night of my trip. We just finished our grand tour of England/Wales/Ireland this afternoon, and I've got tomorrow left to run around London like a madwoman, trying to see and do as much as possible.

Being as I'm not sure how much internet time I have left on this thing, plus my mind is a bit fuzzy and not overly coherent at the momenet because I'm pretty tired, I'm just going to randomly list things from my trip...
  • I love the red dragon symbol of Wales. I got a Starbucks mug with the dragon on it, thus fulfilling my quota of one Starbucks mug per trip (when possible - no Starbucks mug was to be had in Cuba). (Sorry for my love of Starbucks Wes.)
  • I felt a little bit seasick on the ferry from Wales to Ireland. And I *never* feel seasick. Sitting on the top deck of the ferry in the fresh air made me feel a bit better.
  • I really really really loved Ireland and plan to go back someday. It's a crazy-delicious country.
  • I kissed the Blarney stone! Can you not just tell how this blog entry is far more eloquent than any that I've written before.
  • After climbing up a couple castles, I learned that castle steps are pretty precarious. I can't imagine having to run up (or down) them in chain mail.
  • I discoverd that I like Guinness. I've never tried it in Canada because I assumed I probably wouldn't like it since I'm not a big beer drinker... But, I loved it on first sip!!! Now, I've heard that Guinness tastes better in Ireland, because the bartenders are trained in the correct manner. I watched, and the only trick to me seemed to be was that they half poured it, let it sit, and then finished it off.
  • Oh yeah, my first sip of Guinness was is this crazy country Irish pub called the Shanty.
  • We drove along a scenic 100 mile loop in Ireland called The Ring of Kerry. It is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Everyone should go around the Ring of Kerry before they die. It starts in Killarney.
  • The second time I had Guinness was in Limerick at South's Pub. If you've ever read Frank McCourt's book Angela's Ashes, you'll recognize South's as the pub where Frank's dad drank all of his wages. I imagine South's is a bit cleaner since back then.
  • The washrooms (or loos, I should say) at South's were labelled "Frank" and "Angela".
  • The Guinness at South's was fabulous. They imprinted a shamrock on the top of the beer. Neat-o.
  • Dublin is a crazy busy city. We didn't spend that long in the city centre but I plan to go back. I spent most of my time at the National Gallery, where I saw a lot of awesome paintings, my favourite being a Vermeer (a Dutch painter). I've always been intrested in Vermeer since I read Girl with a Pearl Earring... Anyway, it was awesome seeing one in real life.
  • I know all of the words to the song Molly Malone. (In Dublin's fair cit-y... where the girls are so pret-ty...)
  • The ferry ride from Dublin to North Wales was much much much calmer. I'd even wager to say it was enjoyable.
  • In North Wales, I visited a town called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch. Say that five times fast. It translates to "the church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio's of the red cave".
  • If you like rock-climbing, go to Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. Not that I did it myself, but I did see the wicked rocks in this park.
  • If you ever have time, visit Chester Enlgand. It's very pretty.
  • Today I visited Iron Bridge, and Stratford-Upon-Avon before arriving back to London. If I ever hear another Stratford, Ontario tourist bitch about how busy that city is, I will tell them to go to England.
  • I'm pretty sure the English swans could beat our Canadian swans up.
  • I went to Harrod's this evening and almost went into shopping meltdown. The store has 300 departments. I think my favourite was the candy department.
  • Had an enjoyable dinner at a restaurant called Giraffe. If you're ever there, try one of their smoothies. They're delish.
  • Watch your wallet in London. On our way from Harrod's to dinner, we ran into some ppl from our tour. As they were walking into Harrod's, a pickpocket stole one guy's wallet but his wife was able to chase the scoundrel down.
  • Things are soooooooooo expensive over here. I don't understand how people can make ends meet. Everything will seem so cheap when I'm back home.

Okay, so that's a rundown. I've taken lots of pictures, which will be uploaded as soon as I fix my computer woes back in the new country.

Catch you when I'm back home! I'm not ready to go back home, but my wallet is...