Tuesday, January 30, 2007

And no one is watching me slide... below street level, barely alive.

My birthday is fast approaching (16 days to be precise). This birthday is proving to be a lot of work for me, because both my driver's license and health card are set to expire this year. It's kind of weird, because I remember getting them 5 or so years ago and thinking "Man, I'll be so freakin' old when I have to get these things renewed. I wonder what my life will be like? What will I be doing?" It's always weird to think that you are in the process of living your past's future.

Anyhow, I decided to get my license renewed today. The office I went to was in the same government building where I had a summer job for two summers during university. I loved this particular job. Well, maybe not so much the job but it was the people I worked with that I loved (note: most of them don't work there anymore so I didn't do any visiting). Walking back into that building brought back a lot of memories.

I passed by a lot of other buildings with memories on my walk back to the subway from that office. I walked by my old univeristy residence, the apartment I lived in for two years, and the cheap photocopy shop, and assorted coffee places.

Ahh, nostalgia. I really enjoyed my days as a university student. I wonder if in five years, when I have to do the old identifcation renewal dance yet again, I'll think back to now, and how I lived on good old ________________ Ave and worked at good old _______________.

ps Typing blanks just made me feel like I wasn't writing a post, but making up a test/assignment...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The songs you wrote got me through a lot.

I read an interesting article in the Toronto Star today about how Canada is a nation of songwriters.

Now, no song can I write, but I have to say that songwriting is probably my most appreciated art form, and the article got me to thinking about *who* are my favourite songwriters. Here are my personal top 5 in no particular order. Three of them are Canadian and two of them are American.

1) Ben Folds - I don't know what I like better about Ben Folds: his piano skills or his songs. Put them together, and you've got some of my favourite music of all time. Ben Folds' songs have many different sides: clever tongue-in-cheek (Rockin' the Suburbs, There's Always Someone Cooler Than You), amazing storytelling (Annie Waits, Boxing, Fred Jones Pt. 2), reflections on personal life (Gracie, Brick, Late) and wonderful ballads.

I have to mention that the Ben Folds Five song that means the most to me is not even written by Ben Folds; it's written by Darren Jessee, BFF's drummer. The song is Magic and it helped me cope with the death of my Nana, with whom I had a very close relationship. She died of cancer when I was 19 and I spent a lot of time listening to that song the last summer when she was alive. It's about coping with the death of a loved one, and it's a happy song for me now, because I smile and think about her whenever I hear it.

2) John K Samson/The Weakerthans - The lyrics of Weakerthans' songs, written by John K Samson, are quite simply poetic. I could write a dissertation on my favourite lines from Weakerthans' songs. I love the song Pamphleteer; it paints such a vivid picture in my mind; and then at the end of the song I can actually hear pamphlets fluttering to the ground. One line that always sticks in my mind is from Elegy For Elsabet: "As the sky tries on its uniform of turned-off tv grey". Turned-off TV grey! Brilliance!

3) Hawksley Workman - I love eccentricity. I love when every single song by an artist is very different from the rest. I love how Hawksley is able to make everyday things seem magical in his songs. And, I totally agree with him that "modern music could be the healing sound."

4) Sarah Harmer - All of Our Names is just such a wintery album for me. It makes me want to move out to a deserted farmhouse and walk through the snow. The song Lodestar makes me want to go canoeing at night. Her songs are so descriptive and paint such vivid pictures in my head. Each of them is like looking at a painting.

5) Tori Amos - Tori Amos was such an aquired taste for me. I had a summer job at an art gallery and "Under the Pink" was left in a drawer by a coworker. I would listen to it for the last hour of my shift when there was no one in the gallery. I didn't like it at first, but then one day I realized that I loved it and I had to get it. I love how a lot of her songs are like puzzles that I have to listen to a lot to figure out. And I'm pretty sure that what I take from the song is probably different than what others take from the song.

So who are your favourite songwriters?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

When disappointment is a slow burning fire...

Right now I'm feeling a bit crappy, and I wrote a post to explain why, but I felt like I came off like a whinging little brat, so I deleted it.

I just feel like I've had to put my life on hold since October to deal with stuff, and I'm getting a little tired of it.

I miss being carefree is all.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Once I wanted to be the greatest...

This is the best news article I've read in a long time. It makes me oddly happy.

Sloth wins 3-year battle with German scientists

At long last,
zoologists give up trying to bribe animal to move
January 24, 2007
Associated Press

JENA, Germany – To thine own sloth, be
true.

For three years, scientists at the University of Jena tried to
persuade Mats the sloth to co-operate in an experiment on animal
movement.

But nothing they tried, not even the promise of cucumbers and
spaghetti, could persuade the lethargic Mats to get up off the floor of his
cage, climb a pole and climb back down.

So today, scientists at the university's Institute of Systematic Zoology and Evolutionary Biology said they had finally given up. It was, perhaps, a triumph of nature over nudging researchers.

"Mats obviously wanted absolutely nothing to do with furthering science," said Axel Burchardt, a university spokesman.

Mats' new home is the zoo in the northwestern city of Duisburg where, according to
reports, he is very comfortable.

I have to catch up on my CD listening. A couple of weeks ago, I came across Cat Power's "The Greatest" and Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins' "Rabbit Fur Coat" on sale, and I bought them both. I feel that I've only had time to skim the surface of these albums. I love love love the title track of Cat Power, and there's a super cool cover of the Travelling Wilburys' "Handle with Care" on the Jenny Lewis album. Ben Gibbard of DCFC adds some vocals to that track. All the reviews of that CD that I read said that that track was corny, but I say screw 'em, I love it.

Two days until Friday.

Big Boo-urns to no new Office tomorrow night.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Think of me any way you want.

Sometimes I feel that the rate at which time moves is much greater than I'd like it to be.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Well these dead petals, honey, brought me here.

Ahhh, here I sit in my typical Thursday night post-Office bliss. Another great episode. There were a few lines that made me say "I am totally going to start using that line!" However, I forget what they are now... That's okay, that's why I tape the show. I will rewatch and relearn.

I also tape the show because my roommate and I have the tradition to watch Ugly Betty first and then The Office. Ugly Betty was pretty good tonight too. Yay for good TV. I'm a total appointment TV viewer. I'm actually happiest when I have a show to watch every night, but I really don't watch much anymore. My regular TV diet consists of The Office, Ugly Betty and The Daily Show/Colbert Report. That's it.

My pal Becca T always joins us for Office night. She wasn't able to make it for Ugly Betty tonight, so as we were waiting for her to start watching The Office, we had to find something to have on in the background. I noticed that the Quebecois version of The Office, La Job, was on. My roommate's finace and I were quite happy sitting there watching it, even though neither of us have good French. The episode was very very faithful to the British original, so our language deficit was irrelevant. My roommate proclaimed us nuts.

Have you seen the All-Bran commercial with the guy in the grocery store? Today one of my colleagues told me that whenever she sees that commercial, she laughs because she thinks of me. Apparently I talk like the way the guy does at the end of the commercial... Hmmm, I need to see that commercial again so I can see who is the weird one - my colleauge (maybe she's seeing things) or me (maybe I really do talk that way).

Have you ever had one of those times when you end up watching something and you're not sure how? Maybe you were watching the show before or something and didn't get around to changing the channel or perhaps you just ended up sitting on the couch for a minute and the TV was on and you started watching. Anyhow, somehow, I ended up watching American Idol last night. Can I just say that I found their auditions particularly disgusting?? They spend so much time focussing on people who are horrible singers so that everyone can laugh at these people. Now, if you want to go on TV and make a fool of yourself, whatever, but I questioned whether some of the people there were fully aware of what they were doing. The few minutes I saw reeked of exploitation and meanness to me. I usually stay away from American Idol, but I have seen some of the auditions in the past, and this year they seemed especially mean. Yuck.

Anyhow, I think I've babbled on about television enough. I guess that's what happens in January. It's too cold to go outside, plus you don't have much money after Christmas.

So the weekend is very close to being upon us. I'm heading down to St. Ratford to check up on the 'rents. I was slightly besmirched when I booked my train ticket. It went up by $4!! Gah!! That's one less latte for me. Boo-urns!

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's a shoreline, and it's half speed

It's soooooooooo cold here today. I can't complain, because we have had such a crazy nice weather so far this winter, whereas other people in Canada have had it pretty bad, but still, it's freaking cold out there.

To warm myself up, I'm listening to summer sounding music. A song that sounds super summery to me is Broken Social Scene's 7/4 (Shoreline). As I was listening to this song, I realized that I always meant to look up the lyrics, because I have no clue what they're saying in the song. There's one part where *I* sing "It's cooler, it's cooler than hell" and it turns out the real lyrics are "It's coming, it's coming in hard" and I'm slightly disappointed. I liked my lyrics better. But, I suppose I could respond to the real lyrics by saying "That's what she said" a la Michael Scott.

Don't you love it when in life you make a goal for yourself and you attain the goal? I did that last night. I decided that I was going to watch the *entire* Golden Globe awards ceremony, and I did it. Oh, it was tough going at points - especially when they were giving Warren Beatty his lifetime award. But I did it.

(Note: I honestly believe the trick to being happy in life is to let the little things make your day. For example, I'm a pretty cheery person, and I think that's becasue things like new CDs, a compliment from a coworker/student, a funny TV show etc do really make my day. I don't hold out for big things.)

(Note: I don't really consider watching the Golden Globes an accomplishment. I was just being silly. However, my silliness lead me to philosophize a bit in my previous comment.)

My roommate made it through an hour of the show and declared boredom (boredom is for the weak I say). But, during the ceremony we did decide that we would go see Dreamgirls tonight so that we can take in Jennifer Hudson's performance for ourselves. Now, I have not seen the movie yet, but I'm pretty damned sure it did not deserve to win Best Musical/Comedy over Little Miss Sunshine. And... wtf with Alec Baldwin beating Steve Carrell for Best Actor in a TV Comedy? Robbery I say!

All right, I should be off to go to the movie. I have decided I'm going to walk to the theatre, even though it's cold. There is something wrong with my head apparently. Oh well, at least I have a funky hat to cover it with.

Update: I came to my senses and did not walk to the theatre. Listening to summery tunes did make me forget the wrath of the cold outside. Dreamgirls was quite good, especially the music and the singing. I enjoyed it and agree that Jennifer Hudson totally deserved the Golden Globe, although there wasn't anything particulary "supporting" about her performance (it was more of a lead). Still, the movie was no Little Miss Sunshine.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A box of candy, smoke in your hair.

Took this from Raina.

A= Available~ yes.
B= Best Friend~ Becca T
C= Cake or pie~ I'm take a cake of the chocolate variety.
D= Drink of choice~ Non-Alcoholic: Chocolate milk or a Latte from Starbucks. Alcoholic: Amaretto and Cranberry juice.
E= Essential item you use everyday~ Okay, beside the obvious essentials like toothpaste, deodorant etc, I'd say mascara. I have really wimpy lashes.
F= Favorite color~ Green
G= Gummy bears or worms~ Worms.
H= Hometown~ Stratford ON Canada
I= Indulgences~ Lush bath products, lattes from Starbucks, books and CDs.
J= January or February~ February 'cuz that's when my bday is.
K= Kids and Names~ None. And I'm not one of those ppl who have names already picked out.
L= Life is incomplete without?~ Music.
M= Marriage date~ I took a quiz online once to predict my marriage date and it said June 2003. Liars.
N= Number of siblings~ Zip, zero, nada. (And no, I'm not a spoiled brat... okay, maybe a little. But I'm pleasant as long as I get my own way.)
O= Oranges or apples~ Oranges. I've been eating a lot of them lately.
P= Phobias or Fears~ Failure and rejection.
Q= Favorite Quote~ I wish I quoted brilliant philosophers and thinkers, but I'll be honest and admit the only thing I quote ever is the Simpsons. A lot. Right now, the quote going through my head is "Marge it takes two to lie: one to lie and one to listen."
R= Reason to smile~ My students.
S= Season~ I love the fall.
T= Tag 3 or 4 people~ You want it, you take it.
U= Unknown fact about me~ I like the new Justin Timberlake song "What goes around... comes around." I'm more than a bit uncomfortable about this.
V= Vegetable you don't like~ Onions.
W= Worst habit~ Worrying about really stupid stuff.
X= X-rays~ Teeth and right foot. (Broke it on a trampoline.)
Y= Your favorite food~ Pad Thai
Z= Zodiac Sign~ Aquarius

Friday, January 12, 2007

There are no right angles in my life.

Funny moment of the day: About 8:35 am. A student from my period 2 class comes by period 1 to visit with me.

"Miss, you're a math teacher too, right?" he says in a very serious tone with a puzzled look on his face.
"Yes, I teach math as well as science," I say, bracing myself for some complex mathematical question. His tone suggested something of differential calculus or perhaps numbers of the imaginary sort.
"Okay... so if David Beckham makes $710 000 per week, how much is that a month?"

I honestly think I will eventually develop some sort of disorder that is related to holding in laughter, because I have to do it so often. Apparently you must have your math teaching qualifications to multiply a big number by four. Just so you know. So, if any of you ever have a difficult question like that, feel free to send it along to me. I like to share my expertise.

On the subject of Beckham, I wish I was paid $250 000 000 for 5 years. Okay, if that wasn't the most pointlessly obvious thing I've ever said, I don't know what is. But, eff it, that's a quarter of a billion for kicking a ball around!! Really, there is something just a little wrong with the world when some people get insanly high salaries and others are starving.

Sigh, anyway, I won't bother pondering the problems with our world because that is not the way to start a weekend. Hmm, I think I may take a little nap, before I figure out what I'd like to do with evening 1 of my weekend with no plans.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Held like water in your shaking hands are all the small defeats the day demands.

Yay for Thursday nights and The Office! Is the character of Dwight Schrute not one of the best characters ever? Is it not shocking what happened at the end of tonight's episode? Can it puh-lease be next Thursday now so I can watch the next epidsode??

There's really not much else to report from my world. I think I have a fairly quiet weekend coming up. That's good. I can sleep in and catch up on some other stuff and maybe take some time to read. Definitely take a long bath. Hopefully, the weather will be agreeable enough to go on a long walk. There is so much joy in the little things in life.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I'm falling in love my walkman and me with David Bowie. Yeah. You betcha.

First of all, Happy David Bowie's 60th birthday to each and every one of you! I decided to use the occasion to quote from my favourite Veruca Salt song (With David Bowie). I've been on a bit of a Veruca Salt kick lately. I think that's because I bought the new Nina Gordon album with Christmas money, and I'm enjoying it a lot and it's caused me to listen a lot to Eight Arms to Hold You. (Side note: I bought that album to celebrate the 25 cent raise I got from a promotion at my crappy high school job. I have a scarily accurate memory when it comes to where/when/why I bought every CD I own.)

Anyhow, so I the fact that I'm sitting here writing this post proves that I survived the first day back after vacay! Woo! I have to say, I missed the little rapscallions just a bit. Life is soooooooo boring when you don't have to argue with surly teenagers about cell phones, hats, and the like...

Right now I should be working on making up exams but... oh man, procrastinating is better. I've also kind of decided that I don't have to start them 'til tomorrow because the first day back is stressful/traumatic/busy enough without having to add to it. My deadline isn't until Thursday anyhow and I work better under pressure.

Apparently a little bit of winter decided to come along. I went for a walk and it was a little bit chilly and a few flakes of snow were coming down. I hope that's the worst we get.

I bought myself a new winter hat that I adore at a craft fair in December. I haven't gotten to wear it much with the unseasonably warm weather we've been having. I wore it tonight for my walk. Now, I love that hat, but it doesn't work well with the over-the-ear headphones I have because in order for the hat to look cute, it must go over my ears. If there are headphones on my ears, it doesn't work. So, I had to resort to using my earbuds while wearing the hat. So it looks like if the weather gets home, I'm going to be spending a lot of time changing my indoor headphones with outdoor headphones. I know - my life is sooooooo extremely complicated.

Doesn't it scare the lot of you about how Stephen Harper and his ilk are becoming all "concerned" about the environment and trying to clean up their acts because a poll showed it's the #1 issue for something like 70% of Canadians. Puh-lease. I hope that when the election is eventually called that people don't fall for these old wolves trying to masquarade as sheep. Because then we could be in for a Conservative majority. Scary.

I really like oranges.

I also like rambling and then switching to an unrelated topic just like that. It's fun.

Okay, I do have a little bit of work to get done before I go to sleep. I'm trying to get in the habit of sleeping enough in 2007.

How many days 'til Friday?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

It's just as easy as 1-2-3 but the only ones who know, babe, are you and me.

I'm back in Toronto and the wonderment of high speed internet. Not that they don't have high speed back in the sticks, but my parents don't, so I was treated the slowness of dial-up for almost 2 weeks.

This caused a need for me to stay up late last night catching up on my CBC Radio 3 podcasts. I listened to the best of 2006 last night and there was some really good songs that were included. There were some that I really should have added to my best of 2006 list such as:
Skinny Boy - Amy Millan
See You on the Moon! - Great Lake Swimmers
Cereal for Dinner - McEnroe
We Say No - Great Aunt Ida
A Million Dollars - Joel Plaskett Emergency

However, I had one of those special musical moments while listening to this podcast. A song started, there was some piano, then some soft lyrics. I was engorssed in one of those rare times where you absolutely adore a song on first listen. The song was "Time Breaks Down" by Bend Sinister, a Vancouver band who is yet unsigned to a label. Go listen to the song on their myspace page. As Grant Lawrence says, you have to listen to the whole song because you never know where it's going to go. Amazing. I've been listening to it all freaking day.

Also, I was totally unaware there was a new episode of the Office this week. I missed it! My fabulous roommate taped it for me, but I couldn't find it. Thank God for Youtube. I honestly think it was one of the best Office episodes ever. Perhaps my fave of season three? I had a few of those moments that one experiences only during the Office where Michael does something so stupid, and so embarassing, that it's painful. Yet so funny. I also laughed so hard when Dwight was comforting Pam and he was being so sweet (very un-Dwightly) and then said "I guess you're PMS-ing pretty bad, huh?" (Very Dwightly comment.)

Friday, January 05, 2007

The children were eventually rescued by, oh, let’s say Moe.

Above is my favourite ending ever to a Simpsons’ episode. Can you tell how I’ve been spending my lingering moments of my holidays? (I haven’t been that bad… I just had a mini season 9 DVD marathon with my Dad.)

Tomorrow I’m taking the train back to Toronto so I can relax for one last weekend before going back to work. Since the weather’s been so incredibly mild, I’ve been feeling more like I’m on March Break as opposed to Christmas holidays. On Wednesday, I drove to Kitchener-Waterloo to spend some time with friends. As I was driving, I had to take off my wool coat and toss it in the back. I wished I had my sunglasses with me. I also had to shout “Yay Spring Break!” (a la Millhouse Van Houten) a couple of times to amuse myself.

I’ve read a lot this past week. I’ve almost read all of my Christmas books that I got as gifts. First was “The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette” by Carolly Erickson. It was okay. My dad seemed to like it more than I did (he always reads my books before giving them to me. He claims he’s “testing” them). I was hoping for more detail on her life when she moved to France; Sophia Coppolla’s movie has a lot about that period, and for some reason, I find it more fascinating than her later life during times of political strife.

My second book was “The Last Days of Dogtown” by Anita Diamant. I really recommend it. It’s about a dying village inhabited by spinsters, whores, and other castoffs, in Massachusetts in the early 1800s. It’s very well done and made me cry in parts. (Books always get points for making me cry – unless I feel that I’ve been manipulated. Then they lose points.)

Third on my list was “Lullabies for Little Criminals” by Heather O’Neill. This book was chosen by John K Samson (of my favourite band on earth – The Weakerthans) for CBC Radio’s 2007 Canada Reads. I really enjoyed it overall, although it was definitely disturbing in parts. The book deals with a 12/13 year old girl who has been raised by her very young heroin-addicted negligent father. She ends up spiraling into drugs and prostitution; it was the prostitution part that was really hard to read about. However, the book was definitely a gripping read. I want to read the rest of the Canada Reads selections so that perhaps I can download the podcasts and be really into the whole thing.

Right now I’m reading my last book, “Teacher Man” by Frank McCourt. It’s his memoirs about his years teaching high school English in New York City. There are some parts I really relate to, and it’s probably good that I left it for last, in that it’s getting me back into the teaching mindframe. When he describes his teaching, he mentions how the students would get him off-track quite a bit by asking him to tell stories about his childhood in Ireland. This reminds me so much of a high school geography teacher that I had (right now all of my high school friends who are reading this are chuckling and remembering about how we called his class “colouring class”). He used to tell these stories about this “crazy” high school in Scarborough that he used to teach at. It turned out that my first practice teaching assignment was at that school, and either he exaggerated a lot, or the school had turned over a new leaf by the time I got there.

Hmmm, when I sat down to write this post, I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about, but it looks like it’s become a book review post. I love when my brain seems to pick a blogging topic on its own, and I feel like I’ve done very little thinking in the process.

Oh, and happy weekend to all!