Saturday, April 30, 2011

Concert Trifecta Post #2 - Old Man Luedecke/Hawksley Workman

I totally intended to do three separate posts for the concert trifecta, but since the last two shows were so close together, I didn't find the time to do so. Here's a merged post instead.

Thursday was a long day at work; it was parent-teacher interviews which meant I spent over twelve hours at school (albeit with an hour mall break to get dinner and buy a new umbrella since I left mine on the bus that morning), yet I was still committed to the trifecta, so at 8:30 pm, I transited to the Dakota Tavern to meet up with Jason to see Old Man Luedecke.

I got there with just enough time to chit chat and grab a beer before the show started at 9 pm. The Dakota Tavern is a small basement bar decorated with a bluegrass/folksy/country theme. In fact, my country friends from back home would probably kill themselves with laugher that I hang out at such places now. Anyway, it was a really fun show. If you want to hear one of my favourite Old Man Luedecke banjo songs, go to his myspace page and listen to "I Quit My Job". It's fun, and a really great listen on days when you are a bit fed up with work. Live vicariously, I say.

Here's a picture from the show.

Yesterday after work, Jason and I drove to Guelph to catch Hawksley Workman at the River Run Centre. We did the same trip in November when we saw Joel Plaskett at the same venue. A lot of artists will do a tour that covers small cities in Ontario, and it's fun to be able to leave the city and catch one of these shows. The River Run Centre is a really nice sit down venue where you have an awesome sight line from anywhere in the theatre. Our seats this time were farther away from the stage than when we saw Joel, but the view was still incredible.

The opener for Hawksley was Oh Susanna. I'm pretty positive that I saw her at the Canadian showcase that I caught at SXSW in Austin with AlieMalie way back when. I have a couple songs of hers, and I really liked her set. It was a bunch of great folksy songs and she has a killer voice. When she sang her last song "Soon the Birds" from her latest album of the same name, I would have to get it because I have a thing for birds.

In between sets, I went to buy the album and ended up buying a lot of merch. I got a Hawksley Tshirt with a wolf on it, because well, I love Hawksley and the image of the wolf brings me back to his (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves days when I first started listening to his music and catching him live. When I went to get the Oh Susanna album, I loved the matching book bag, and then I could throw in a *purple* (fave colour) Tshirt WITH A BIRD ON IT for an extra $5, I bought everything.

I got the CD signed too! She was standing right by the table, and I'm always a little bit embarrassed about autographs and such, but I would have felt weird not asking since she was right there. I told her I really enjoyed her set, and commented that the design of her new album was super cute. I'm sure I sounded dorky, but earnest, so there you go.

Then it was Hawksley time. Hawksley is one of my all-time favourite artists (I felt the bolding was necessary there). I have been following him for ten years now (it's our anniversary), and I'm sure I've seen him a minimum of fifteen times in that span of time.

This was definitely one of my favourite Hawksley shows of the lot. He played with his long-time pianst, Mr. Lonely, and a drummer, and I found that having three musicians on stage was a great way to showcase his music. He often plays with a full band, which I enjoy, but I felt that a bit less instrumentation allowed Hawksley's voice to shine very well.

Hawksley is the king of stage banter. I don't know how he does it, but he likes to randomly talk about subjects such as hockey cards, elementary school, cats, his family, and more throughout the set. And during his banter he'll go on a tangent within a tangent, but it's just so fun. I love his eccentricity.

Musically, he is phenomenal. His songs are great, and so many of them have special places in my heart. I'm always guaranteed a show full of my favourites, and I always seen to discover a new song when I see him live. This time it was "Lonely People" from his Los Manilicious album that came out a couple of years ago. I didn't recognize it when I heard it, but loved it and noted that I needed to figure out what song it was. When I did, I realized that I didn't listen to it because I don't like how it starts (therefore it would get skipped), but now that I've heard it live, it will find a resurgence in my Hawksley collection.

One of the other things I love about Hawksley (I'll try not to make this post a 10,000 word thesis, I swear) is his multi-instrumentalist talent. He played the guitar for most of the show, but also made it to the drums a few times, broke out a recorder (no joke!), the harmonica, and played with Mr. Lonely on the piano for "Your Beauty Must Be Rubbing Off". After that bit of sheer amazingness, someone from the crowd yelled "that was pretty good!" and Hawskley replied "that's what we're striving for here." It was funny.

It was an amazing show, and I'm thinking Hawksley will probably be working on something new soon since his last albums Meat and Milk are from last year and he's prolific that way.

I'll leave you with for a video of one the songs he played last night: "Oh You Delicate Heart". It's a little bit sad, but I love the video because it's shot in Paris.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Concert Trifecta Post #1: Christine Fellows

I just got home from a very enjoyable show at the Music Gallery.

The Music Gallery is one of my favourite venues in Toronto. It's located in a small church just off of Queen St. W. It's like a little oasis of calm in the middle of downtown.

Christine Fellows is a great person to hear at a venue with such great acoustics. Her songs are an eclectic mix that deal with topics such as spinsters, birds, stenographers, and well, death. Also, she's from Winnipeg, which is a town that tends to produce some interesting musicians, imho.

As I was discussing with my friend Jane, who accompanied me to the show, her music also exemplifies female friendship to me. I first saw Christine with my great pal Becca T. In fact, we had gone to see her play because we were more interested in who was playing before her, and had actually planned on leaving during her set since it was a school night, but we fell in love with her music and stayed and each bought her wonderful album "Paper Anniversary".

Since then, I've seen her play again with Becca T, and have also gone to a couple of her shows with my friend Jane. Christine played this show with two cellists, who both seem like they are her friends, so that's why I consider her shows to be kind of girl-power-bonding moments. However, I know lots of guys who like her music too, so it's not exclusive.

Anyway, I had a great first show of the trifecta, and I'll try to post after my other concerts this week (Thursday and Friday). I'll leave you with a picture I took (on my iPhone so not the best but it gives you an idea of the intimacy of the venue), and one of her songs if you are interested.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Just the slightest bit of finesse.

Greetings from a lovely spring day in St. Ratford. What? Spring I say? Yes, yes I do! It's warm (no jacket weather), and there was a little bit of sun out too. I'm confused. I thought we'd just be in the cold and rain forever.

It's the long weekend, and I'm enjoying it immensely. I got into town last night, and have been having a quiet time of it. Right now I've stopped at my fave Ratford coffee shop with wifi for a yogurt smoothie and blogging break from running errands. I went to the gym, went to Staples to replenish my pencil supply (my period 2 class NEVER has pencils and walk away with mine) and then I went to Zellers for new socks and ended up actually buying some clothes from there. Shhh, they are totally nice, and if anyone asks, they totally look like they came from the Gap, so yah, I guess they did.

My last stop on errand-running is a trip to the grocery store for some Mayan Chocolate Haagen Dazs. I gave up ice cream for Lent, and I look forward to eating some good ice cream tomorrow. My dad's gonna go nuts when I tell him the little pint was $7, but seriously, I'm not breaking the fast with cheap stuff. (ps I'm paying for it too, so he can't go on and on, but he will. It's all part of the fun of spending the weekend with my parents.)

Oooh, in neighbourhood gossip, apparently my neighbour's sons are having drama in their lives. My dad was chit-chatting with the neighbour today and was sharing all the dirt with my mom and I, and then he said "I mentioned that my law-abiding, god-fearing, top of the bracket, gainfully-employed daughter who is never moving back in with me was around for the weekend." My dad makes me laugh. I don't know what top of the bracket means, but at least I'm doing my parents proud in the neighbourhood gossip, or lack thereof, department.

Tonight I'm meeting up with some Gof9ers at a pub. Actually, no, I believe it's a wine bar. Anyway, last two times I've been in town we've gone to Bentley's, so I suggested Foster's this time. Some chit-chat and catch-up will be fun.

Tomorrow I'll have another nice quiet family day, and then I'm back to Toronto on Monday. (Schools get a four-day weekend, bless them.) This upcoming week will be busy. I'm going to see Christine Fellows, an awesome folk singer from Winnipeg, who is married to Johnny K of the Weakerthans, on Tuesday night with my friend Jane. Then Thursday is parent-teacher interviews, and I think I'm going to meet up with Jason afterwards to catch Old Man Luedecke, a banjo-player from Nova Scotia, at the Dakota Tavern. Incidentally, I once saw Christine Fellows and Old Man Luedecke play together as part of the Pan-Canadian Folk Ensemble, so it's kind of funny that I'm seeing them within a couple days of each other this week. On Friday, Jason and I are going to Guelph to see my beloved Hawksley play. I haven't see Hawksley play in over a year and I realizing that I'm totally jonesing for a Hawksley show. I spent a good part of yesterday afternoon watching Hawksely stuff on Youtube. Keep your fingers crossed that he plays Ilfracombe for me.

So yes, next week will be a concert trifecta week, which is always my favourite kind of week (last happened in October). My 2011 concert-going has been a little sparse, but hopefully it'll pick up.

I hope you all have nice Easters if you celebrate. No matter what, you should eat at least one egg or rabbit shaped chocolate concoction.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Now show a little backbone, why don't you?

This post has been brought to you by aching joints that woke me up at 2:00 am courtesy of my work spouse. She talked me into trying a new class at my gym that I've been meaning to try for, oh, three years, but have always put off until another time because new things intimidate me. Anyway, having a person to try the new thing with finally got me to do it, and it was good, but I am sore. I will go back again, provided I regain proper working order of all of my limbs.

Anyway, aches and insomnia should bring to you a good random post.

1) I really love the new Foo Fighters' album "Wasting Light". Get it. I haven't listened to something this straight up rock 'n roll in a long time. It's all killer no filler; each song is great. I am rekindling my love affair with Dave Grohl and I like it.

2) I am reading Tina Fey's "Bossypants" and it's a must read. I'm almost finished; it's laugh-out loud hilarious, and is especially awesome if you are an SNL/30 Rock fan like I am. It's totally a book that you could read in one sitting. I thought I would be able to finish it last night, but my ability to turn pages and focus was hampered by bodily pain. (Ha-ha, joking... I'm not that broken...)

3) I feel like we've skipped summer and fall and gone straight back to winter. What is with this? Snow on Sunday, then cold on Monday, and absolute nastiness on Tuesday. Also, since it's April, I have the silly habit of putting on my spring/fall jacket when I leave the house and then paying for it later. Clearly, my weather expectations are too high.

4) I really like the salted caramel squares at Starbucks. They're little, so not a caloric kick in the pants, but a nice little treat instead.

5) I bought a new tshirt at Lululemon that has anti-stink technology: they say you can wear it a second time without washing it. I'll be trying out that property tomorrow. If no one will go on the treadmill beside me, I'll take it back. Have you ever had the misfortune of being beside a really smelly person at the gym and then having to pretend you were finished your workout to change machines? I have. Also, I was once beside some dude who curiously smelled of maple syrup which, although not unpleasant, was really distracting.

6) We watched Reality Bites last night. It's still good. It's fun to watch a world with giant cell phones, people who talk into phones attached to the walls, and a world without Youtube or other parts of the internet. I've been feeling all sorts of 90s nostalgia lately. I liked that decade. I find it awesome that Doc Martens are apparently back in style. There is now a Doc Martens store on Queen St., and I like watching people wear them on the subway. I kind of want to buy a pair, but I know I have a black pair of boots somewhere in my closet. Breaking them out again is on my to-do list. Or better yet, I'm sure I could find my purple three-holes from grade eight kicking around my parents' place somewhere. (Kidding... well, I could find them, but I don't think that pair has aged as well as plain black boots.)

7) My high school is planning its 25th year reunion. I want to have no part of it, but I've already been added to the group on Facebook. I am still in touch with the people that I really liked during high school, and for the rest of them, bah. Also, the parts that I really enjoyed during high school, other than shenanigans with the Group of 9, were the nerdy ones where I learned about science and math, and I doubt there will be any of that during the reunion.

8) I having been counting down until this long weekend. Two more teaching days. April's been an exhausting month, and the last week will continue to be with parent-teacher interviews and Earth Month activities. But then, it's May, and the long coast into summer will begin. I haven't taken on any projects in May/June so it should be an easier end to the year.

And with that, I'm going to try sleep again. Happy Wednesday everyone!

p.s. Thanks to everyone for the sweet comments on my previous post. I enjoy all of my bloggarinos immensely!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Personal Life.

Here is one topic that I don’t blog much about. Ironically, I think I started a blog so that I would work on becoming more open about my feelings and thoughts and all of that stuff, but my blog has become very light and fluffy most of the time, and more of a record of things that I’ve done rather than my feelings.

Anyway, I have an awesome readership, and I’m sure they probably sometimes wonder what’s going on: does christielli have a boyfriend?

A lot of my long-time friends from high school read my blog and know the tell-tale signs that there is someone special in my life: I’m doing all kinds of fun stuff but I don’t mention with whom. If I’m going to sushi with Mathew (my friend who’s like my brother) you know. However, if I just say I had sushi... well it was probably on a date.

For most of last year I was with someone that I actually started to mention by name on my blog, which is a pretty big deal for me. Then, out of the blue, he broke up with me and emo posts started to appear. I was surprised that the break-up hit me hard: I was unhappy in the relationship in a lot of ways; but still content enough to stick around. I was even once close to breaking up with him myself. At one point, I actually listed a bunch of things that were bothering me, and he was really great about everything so I left things, only to be dumped a couple of weeks later. I think the reason that I was bothered so much is that I knew the reasons that he was giving me for our breakup were not sincere. He just didn’t want to feel like a bad guy and couldn’t say “this isn’t working” and went the “it’s not you, it’s me” route. I ended up feeling so brushed off and uncared for, and I think I took things more to heart than I could have anticipated which made things a bit rough.

After that happened, I started spending time with a friend of mine who I’d always harboured a bit of a crush on. I met this friend through a mutual love of music: a couple years ago he’d posted some pictures of a Joel Plaskett show that we were both at on the internet, I commented on them, and we connected through various forms of social media. We started running into each other at various concerts around town. I always thought this guy was very nice and cute, and clearly had good taste in music, but by that time I figured that out he was dating someone, and then I ended up meeting someone else, so that was that.

However, fast-forward to the end of last year and we were both single. We ended up going to a string of shows together and things just clicked. We spent a good deal of time together over the Christmas holidays and kept seeing each other more and more afterwards. I don’t know if there was a particular point when we were “together”, but when you end up celebrating your birthdays, and Valentine’s Day, you know things are going well.

Anyway, I’ve been really happy in this relationship, so I’ve been thinking that I should blog about it. I mean, I blog about everything else, so why wouldn’t I blog about this? I think it’s just because I am always afraid of jinxing things by writing about them or talking about them too much. Whenever I start dating someone new, I try to tell only a few friends. Why? It’s because whenever I tell too many people and things don’t work out, well then I have to tell all those people it didn’t work out and I end up feeling even crappier. I think I’m this way because I have A LOT of *close* friends, so it’s always a nightmare after things go sour. There are so many people I have to tell. Note: I’m not saying that I’m super popular, but I’m just really good at maintaining friendships and I’ve been left with a lot of people who are interested in my happiness.

It’s definitely time to start writing about where I am because it’s been almost four months since Jason and I have been together. I’m very happy: we have the same ideas of a perfect afternoon, we love shows and music, and he makes me feel very special. Also, I’m pretty sure that he could hold his own with the Group of 9, and that’s really important. Also, he would be the third Jason who has been brought into the group, so you just have to wonder about the odds of that.

Just thought I’d share that with you on this snowy Sunday in April.

p.s. Sleeping over at school went well. Here is the sock monkey that I made. I think its mouth and the Instagram filter that I used for the photo make it look very Tim Burton-esque. Should I buy it or donate the monkey to charity?

Friday, April 15, 2011


I should be in bed. I should.

Tomorrow is my second annual sleeping at my workplace event. Student council is organizing a fasting-for-charity event, and I get to supervise for the duration. It will be a lot of fun, but it's been a lot of prep work.

On top of that the Eco Club has been really busy because April is Earth month.

And, did I mention report cards are due tomorrow? I'm finished for two of my classes, but for one I still have two sets of assignments to mark tonight. I'm done that, but I have to go in early tomorrow to enter the marks.

Of course, I wouldn't be up so late if I hadn't procrastinated so much. Tsk tsk.

I look forward to Saturday and an epic sleep following tomorrow's sleepover.

Can you believe I'm brining a suitcase to work? Figured it was the easiest way to transport my stuff on transit.

The next two weeks of April will be really busy with more environmental stuff, parent-teacher interviews and the usual daily grind of planning, teaching, and marking.

However, I am really really looking forward to seeing Hawksley Workman play in Guelph on April 29th. We were gonna stay overnight since Guelph's a cute town, but it looks like I'll be attending a funeral (friend's dad) the next day.

Happy Friday and enjoy your weekends. Keep your fingers crossed that the sleepover is problem-free!

ps We are making sock monkeys. It will be fun.

Monday, April 11, 2011

We Are Who We Are.

Okay, first of all, I apologize for taking my title from a freaking Kesha song. I listen to the worst of worst pop music, tossed together with some upbeat indie stuff, when I'm at the gym. That's why that song title came into my head as I was thinking of this post while I was on the treadmill. Anyway, I am getting sick of the same old same old, so I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions to add to my lame and cool workout music.

Here's a post about me being who I am. Which is a nerdy science teacher who tries her hardest to make stuff funny.

I'm teaching one of my classes a unit on optics. You know, light, mirrors, refraction, lenses, etc. It's so not as fun a chemistry because we can't light anything on fire (well, I guess I could try it with a magnifying glass... hmmm....) and we can't dissect anything (well, actually we could cut open a cow's eye if there are any kicking around... hmmm....). However, I can try to pepper in some lame jokes during my lessons to liven things up.

Today we were talking about all types of mirrors. When describing the properties of an image formed by a mirror, we science teachers tell students to remember the acronym SALT which stands for size, attitude, location, and type.

Here is how I always explain SALT in my most deadpan and driest of voices.

"S stands for size. Is the image larger, smaller, or the same size as the object? A stands for attitude. Is the image ruder than the object, or is it more polite? L stands for location..." And on I go.

Now, today's class was absolutely silent when I made my little speech. I turn around and I say "Seriously?" and I look at them. They all sort of look at each other and start to laugh. "Miss, you weren't serious about attitude**, right? Right? What if we mess up on the quiz and get that part wrong?"

"Then I know you weren't really paying attention the whole class."

"Oh... well will you at least write LOL on the quiz?"

"Sure. However, did you like my delivery? I tried so hard not to laugh. I think you guys totally fell for it because you were so quiet!"

"No, no, we didn't. We just wanted to make you happy!"

Anyway, my next lame joke was when I was explain the meaning of the word converge, which is used in reference to light rays that meet up in one spot.

"So now you guys can impress your friends with your new vocabulary. You can say to them 'hey, want converge at the mall after school?' "

Of, course I got a chorus of "Oh Miss, that means our friends would get all confused and wouldn't know what to do! And we'd sound like giant nerds. That would be a horrible thing to say."

"I know it would be. However, my lame explanation will help you remember the meaning. That's why I say these things, you know."

Anyway, that's how I amuse myself during a dry lesson on mirrors. The funniest thing was I told my work spouse this story after school, and she was like "I so use the same joke about attitude! It's so fun. I like to say some images are mean, and some are nice!" And no, we had never converged previously about this joke. It was an example of independent discovery, just like Darwin and Wallace and the theory of evolution due to natural selection.

So yeah, lame professional science nerds. We are who we are.

**In case you were wondering, attitude is whether the image is upright or inverted.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Done, done, and I'm on to the next one.

Jury duty is done. At about 11:30 am on Friday, just as I was contemplating what I wanted for lunch, the head jury organizer dude came out and let us know that our services wouldn't be needed any more. We had completed our civic duty and were exempt for the next three years. Back to work for me tomorrow.

I had a pretty low-key weekend. I ran a few errands on Friday after my early dismissal but didn't do anything too exciting; I picked up a new book at Indigo and spent a lot of time absorbed in it.

On Saturday, I got out and enjoyed the beautiful weather and spent the evening having dinner cooked for me (mussels = yum) and watching some TV. I enjoyed the new SNL; I liked seeing the Foo Fighters play. I had totally forgotten how they used to be one of my favourite bands when I was in university and the massive crush I had on Dave Grohl. I have to admit I've spent some time this evening watching old Foo Fighters videos and listening to their music.

Anyway, I did promise a book review post and since I've been reading voraciously, now is the time. Actually the two books I read whilst on jury duty, "I Love You and I'm Leaving Anyway" and "When God Was A Rabbit" were quite mediocre. I'm going to review the stuff I've read lately that was actually good.

The Paris Wife - Paula Mclain (fiction)

I love any type of historical fiction that is written about the life of a historical "footnote". You know, someone who was associated with someone famous but never really became famous themselves. This book is written from the point of view of Ernest Hemingway's first wife Hadley Richardson.

I found the book very interesting because it is set mostly in Paris in the 1920s, and has interesting supporting characters in the forms of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and other literati of the time. Also, the Hemingways moved to Toronto for a very short time during this period: they pretty much hated it, but their son was born here.

Of course, being that Hadley was Hemingway's first wife, you know that marriage doesn't end well. In case you do plan to read it, I won't describe what happens (of course, I ruined the ending for myself with Wikipedia), but it's a sad tale of betrayal that ends this well-written book.

The Memory Palace - Mira Bartok (non-fiction)

This is a memoir written by the daughter of a schizophrenic mother. Emotionally, it's a tough book to get through. The author and her sister went through a lot growing up with a mother who would often come after them with knives, so they would have to push furniture against their doors to protect themselves. Of course, their mother's behaviour was a result of mental illness, and it's tragic how the system was unable to help her. As adults, the sisters tried to get their mother declared as mentally incapable of taking care of herself, but the court system disagreed since she was capable of cashing her monthly welfare cheque and buying her own cigarettes.

As a result of their mother's destructive influence on their lives, both daughters change their names and move away so their mother can't contact them. Seventeen years later, she is diagnosed with cancer and the daughters re-enter her life. It's harrowing reading about this: it seems really harsh that these women cut their mother out of their lives; however her illness impacting them greatly (she would phone hundreds of times a day), and they really didn't have much of a choice.

Throughout the book, the author weaves ideas about memory and the influence of art. It's a very well written book, and despite its dark topic, it made me think a lot about my relationship with my own parents and how hard it will be to lose them. I got to the end of this book on the subway, and I have to admit I was crying. It was a very powerful read.

I Think I Love You - Allison Pearson (fiction)

This book is the polar opposite of the book I reviewed above. It's a book about a woman who was in love with David Cassidy when she was fourteen and how she gets a chance to meet him when she's an adult. A lot of the book centres around the main character's teenage years, her friendships, her David Cassidy love, and The Essential David Cassidy magazine. I think this book really resonated with me not only because it was a super fun read, but because I think most girls had their own "love" for a male teen idol that happens during that time in between childhood and adolescence. My David Cassidy was Joe McIntyre from New Kids on the Block, and the author does a great job describing that illogical love between a young girl and her teen idol.

We All Fall Down - Nic Sheff (non-fiction)

One of my eccentricities is that I "enjoy" reading books about addicts and their struggles. Why? I think part of it comes because I'm a bit of a control freak, and reading about someone absolutely losing control is darkly fascinating for me; also, since these books are memoirs, they usually have happy endings. The addict cleaned him/herself up and got a book deal to boot! It all works out okay in the end. Happy face.

A couple of years ago, I read a pair of addict memoirs that were very interesting. "Beautiful Boy" was from the point of view of the addict's father, and "Tweak" was from the point of view of the addict. Well, you have to believe that I was stoked when I saw the sequel to "Tweak" on the bookshelf when I was done jury duty.

The style of "We All Fall Down" is similar to that of its predecessor: it's actually classified as a book for teenagers, but I had to read both of them because I was so curious after reading the dad's book. The writing is honest and conversational. Anyway, it turns out that Sheff had not kicked his addiction battles with the publishing of his first book, Tweak. He was off of the hard stuff, but still struggling with alcohol and pot. Anyway, I hope that after this book he's able to stay sober, and perhaps branch out into writing something else, since he is a decent writer.

Anyway, those are some of the better books I've read lately that I felt were worth reviews. Next up, I think, is "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness. I'm sampling the first chapter of this novel on my Kindle, and it really speaks to my inner sixteen year old because, well, it seems a bit gothy.

Happy Monday everyone. Have you read anything good lately?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

And now for a break.

I get to go back to school tomorrow! But then it's back to more jury duty on Friday. Hopefully Friday is my last day. I guess I could still get picked for a trial, but it doesn't seem likely (knock on wood). Apparently they don't need our services tomorrow, so we get a day "off".

The bright side of jury duty is that I still do get paid, and I don't get any vacation or sick days taken off. I managed to get a great supply teacher to fill in for me while I've been gone, so my anxieties related to leaving my classes were alleviated over the past couple days.

I spent a good hour this morning making up a good review worksheet for my grade 10s, and typing out the answers for my supply (she's not a science teacher). However, I guess that was wasted time since I'll be the one teaching tomorrow, and I don't need an answer key. Meh, oh well, it made the time pass faster.

I've almost finished two books since I've been on jury duty. No one's even been called to court in the past two days. Just a lot of sitting. There's gotta be a more efficient way to do this, right?

Last night I was at school until 7 pm making lesson plans. I went in again today because student council is involved in a project where they are making 1000 paper cranes to sent to Japan as a show of support after the earthquake. 1000 cranes has a significance to their culture; according to ancient legend if someone folds 1000 cranes, they will be granted a wish.

Anyway, by the time I got to school, 700 cranes had been folded. When I was in grade 5, I remember a grade 8 trying to teach me how to fold an origami crane and getting really frustrated with me. I never was able to complete one. I joked that origami cranes bring back traumatic memories for me. Anyway, one of my favourite student council kids taught me how to make one, and I think I made about ten or so. In fact, I was the one who made the very last crane. I was excited. Here's a picture of some of my creations.

As I was folding cranes, I was also asked by two kids for reference letters for scholarships... due on Friday of course. That means tomorrow will be pretty busy with catching up, making more lesson plans for Friday, and writing letters.

Between my vacation and jury duty, I've finished four books within the past month. I think I might do a book review post soon. Heck, maybe I'll write it while sitting on Friday.

Hope you all have nice Thursdays.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Civic Duty

Well, looks like I'm in for another morning of sitting. Thank goodness for Iphones... I can do some work emailling as I sit. I will probably use the rest of my morning to finish a book.

Looks like I'll be here the rest of the week. That's if I don't get picked for a trial. I've already been "challenged" (rejected) once.

Things I like about Jury Duty:

- I have time to read. I always complain that I don't have enough time for that.

- They got new comfy chairs in the jury lounges. Better than my plastic desk chair at school. Not that I sit much at school...

- The court staff are all super nice and have dry senses of humour.

- I get to go out for lunch on Queen St every day! And I don't have any lunchtime meetings so I actually enjoy my lunch!

- Yesterday, I had to be here at 8:30 am but for the rest of the week it's 9:30 start time. I get to sleep in an extra hour.

- When you are called to court, it's pretty interesting watching the legal system in action.

Things I Don't Like:

- I worry a lot about work while I'm here. Are my classes behaving? How will I catch up for what's essentially a missed week.

- I feel like I have two jobs right now. After I'm finished here today, I will have to go to school to make more lesson plans.

- We really don't know how long we're going to be here. Teachers tend to be control freaks (I know I am), and having no control over my day is really frustrating.

- Did I mention that I'm struggling with not being at work? I have never left my classes this long!

Anyway, over all it is a really interesting experience, and I think I'd have no anxieties if I wasn't so attached to my job. At least I know that after this I'm exempt for three years and it's pretty rare to be called more than once. Civic Duty done.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

With my favourite band's most popular song playing in the background.

It's been a pretty busy and eventful few days since I've last blogged. Here's an update about what I've been up to.

On Thursday evening, I went to see a "live" viewing of The National Theatre's production of Frankenstein. It's pretty neat that you can see a performance broadcast from the London broadcast in major cities across the world. It was an amazing production directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) and with amazing actors in the roles of the creature and the doctor. I really enjoyed the show, despite the fact that Frankenstein is a rather depressing story. If I had written it, the blind man would have told his family about the creature before just springing him on them, and they all would have lived happily ever after.

Friday was absolutely beautiful weather-wise. I took Fea and my student teacher (it was her last day) out for lunch at a neighbourhood bakery, and it was a nice way to spend a Friday lunch. After school, I went to the gym and then the grocery store. However, after that I didn't have too much energy left. I had a hot bath and then went to bed at 9 pm for an absolutely epic sleep.

Saturday was another beautiful sunny day. I got out my bicycle pump, inflated my bike's tires, and rode my bike to the gym. The wind made for a tiring ride home (there's a bit of a hill that I really feel after a workout when it's windy), but it was great getting my bike out. Starting on Monday my building's really wonky elevator (age: 55) is going to be renovated, so I don't know how often I'll be dragging out my bike 'til it's fixed (I live on the fourth floor).

After my nice bout of exercise, I relaxed a bit and got started on phase 1 of spring cleaning: spring tidying. I have so much crap about that I need to deal with. However, step one of minimizing the look of disaster in my apartment is done. I hope that next weekend I'll have time to start going through stuff, and do some hardcore cleaning.

After my tidying, I met up with Jason for a nice little pub dinner, and then we came back here to watch some Tim Burton movies in preparation for finally seeing the Tim Burton exhibit at the TIFF Lightbox. We only managed to watch Corpse Bride (my fave) before watching SNL, so it was not the Tim Burtonathon that I envisioned, but still enjoyable.

Today was the day of actually going to the exhibit. I can't believe that I waited this long: Tim Burton is my favourite director by far. However, I knew it was in town until April, and my natural procrastinator took hold. Good thing about procrastinating: I got a Groupon for 2 for 1 admission. Bad thing about procrastinating: the exhibit was super busy. After showing up at 12 pm to get tickets for the 2 pm viewing, we hit up the Rivoli for brunch. Eating french toast at the first place that I ever went to a proper bar rock show (Hawksley Workman in 2001) is fun.

The exhibit was amazing. Ever since I was a kid, I've been fascinated with ghouls, ghosts, graveyards, all things gothic, death, and suburbia. Tim Burton's art and movies encompasses all this stuff in a way that sucks me in, and I've loved his movies since I first saw Beetlejuice. The highlight for me were the items from The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, and Edward Scissorhands, but all of the movie-related items brought back memories of growing up/growing older with his work. In addition, seeing all of Tim Burton's other artwork, including his earlier artwork, was fun too. We laughed pretty hard at one particular sketch that said a couple "liked to hold hands" but they were actually holding severed hands. Awesome.

You can't take any pictures inside the exhibition, and they mean business. We heard a girl getting in huge trouble for taking a picture of Edward Scissorhand's costume. She had to show that she deleted the photo, or they would have kicked her out. However, you are allowed to take pictures at the instillation at the entrance:

Here's me looking like a blurry, happy dork.

This evening I met up with my friend Flora for dinner and dessert. We had a really great time catching up, and I gave her the "Flora" brand cookies that I bought for her in Spain. We first came across the "Flora" brand of food in Australia when we travelled there in 2005. It's a brand of margarine. Flora actually bought a tub and dumped out the spread so she could have the container. Too bad we hadn't come across the cookies then.

Here's a picture of the cookies along with all the other goodies I had packed in my suitcase on the way home.

Tomorrow, I am not going to work. I am going to jury duty! Can you believe it? I hope I don't get picked. Seriously, there is so much going on right now at work. I can't afford to be gone for too many days. My summons says to expect to be gone a week, but I'm hoping that I'm only gone for a day or two. I've left lesson plans to cover Monday and Tuesday. If I'm there longer than that, I'll have to go in to school to make more, ugh. This is one of those few times in life that I really hope that I get rejected.

Hope you all have nice weeks!