Sunday, August 17, 2014

Writer's Block

I would have written this post 20 minutes ago, but I decided I needed ice cream, and had to go to the store. I wish I were kidding.  That's what the last month or so has been like.

My vacation is over.  The original plan for the vacation was to write.  This is not quite go as planned.  The setting was fine, the chairs were fine (see previous entry), the computer worked fine, but I just sat in front of it and stared.  The cursor on the blank page would wink at me, mock me until I would cave and watch just one more episode of Seinfeld.  This happened for days before I walked away, having decided that agonizing over it would just ruin my vacation and make me more miserable. 

I've been so out of practice with the act that I didn't know how to handle writer's block.  Quite frankly, I didn't even recognize it for what it was when it happened.  Writer's block was something that happened to other people, to real writers.  It didn't happen to a girl like me, someone who just taps out their thoughts and frustrations on the weekend.  It doesn't happen to me*.  If I had seen it for what it was, I could have googled and read a bunch of garbage other people had written about it.  I could easily have wasted an afternoon doing that.  It would have felt more productive than what I was doing.

It was a good vacation, not a great one.  The end of the vacation was marked by a remarkable first date. We met for drinks, followed by coffee and a stroll in the park.  The date lasted 5 hours, with promises to see each other again.  We had our fourth date last night, which included just sitting together and listening to Mike Oldfield. 

Our musical tastes overlap so much, it's frightening.  At one point, I thought he was pulling my leg when he told me Death Cab for Cutie** was one of his favourites.  There's still a lot of great stuff we can show each other, not just in music, but in general as well.  I could go on and on about him, but I've probably said too much.  He makes me smile.  We might go camping this weekend.  

Everything's been going well enough in my life that I almost feel I've had little to write about.  I have stepped back a little. There's a brilliant moment in the 1937 movie Lost Horizon, where Edward Everett Horton is trying to write, but the writing is awful, because he only has nice things to write about Shangri-La (for context: they've crash landed their plane in paradise).  It's a delicious problem to have, really.  

*mad libs moment: leading up to the asterisk in this paragraph, replace "writer's block" with your choice of STI.  For example: "I've been so out of practice with the act that I didn't know how to handle genital warts."
**Last week, Chris Walla announced he's leaving Death Cab.  I was gutted, honestly, but he's still young (they all are), and his best work may still be in front of him. It will be interesting to see how Death Cab's sound changes as well. Not only are they losing a great songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, but I'm not sure if he'll continue producing for them.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Vacation post 1

Well, I'm on my holidays now.  Those of you who know me, know that these days are much needed.  It's like there's a buildup of baloney in my system, and I need to spit it out.  That's not an "I dislike my job" comment, I think it comes from doing something a number of days in a  row.  In my case, since Christmas.

Last year, for my vacation, I booked two nights at a bed and breakfast to sit and write.  I booked in at lovely B&B.   Now, in order to properly sit and write, one must have the first to achieve the second.  For the life of me, I could not find a comfortable place to sit.  The room even boasted a desk and chair. and I thought I was set for the visit.  The chair left much to be desired.

The desk chair was hard, a molded piece of plastic attached to a wire frame.  That was all it was.  The construction was mostly this cold metal tubing, rounded and shiny.  The seat itself was a hard and not welcoming of my ample bottom.  The hardness of the seat was ridiculous, I can't imagine how someone with less padding on their posterior would feel about it. The "armrests" were more cold tubing.  I would not be surprised to find that this is the design Satan commissioned for Hitler's arrival in the spring of 1945.  Satan knew he wouldn't able to write another shitty book in that chair.  I certainly couldn't.

This year, my holidays coincide with my brother's, and I'm able to house-sit.  There is no shortage of chairs here, and I already know there are a number of cozy places to sit.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I'm stifling laughter...

This has me giggling and kind of in tears:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It's an okay day...

I'm having an alright day.  Surprisingly, considering I dreamt a lot last night.  Each dream was a showcase of what my life would have been like had I married one of my exes.  So, there's that.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Differing Opinions

For those of you unfamiliar with me in my personal life, I have a strong sense of skepticism with regards to a number of things.  When I was in high school (grade 10 or 11, it was 1998), we were given an assignment to write in detail about three different science articles. My dad took me to Chapters (which was very new then), to grab a couple of magazines, and among them was a copy of the Skeptical Inquirer with Harry Houdini on the cover.  "A magician on the cover of a science magazine?" I thought.

I still have it.
I'd never really read anything like it before.  It's not in the shape it once was (for one, the article on Spontaneous Human Combustion has been torn out so I could hand it in with my paper*), but it's still really special to me.  Throughout the rest of high school, it was almost a religious fervor; Skepticism with a capital S.  That calmed down over time.  It introduced me to a way of thinking to which I keep returning, and recently my interest and convictions are quite strong**.

I told you that story, so I could tell you this one.

I'm experiencing a fair bit of cognitive dissonance lately.  Despite the above, I still hold out hope on one silly notion: the idea that there is one single person out there for me, and I just haven't met them yet.  As though I'm just sitting here, believing all the baloney I was ever fed about the "it'll happen when you least expect it," or "I know he's out there for you, and he's going to be awesome."  It can be comforting, but ya'll don't know that shit any more than I do.

As with any number of us, I turn into a moron when thinking about love.  This has probably done more damage on me than I'd like to admit.  In numerous instances, I'm sure I've not given someone a proper chance at dating me, and - on at least one occasion so far, I've given up on a relationship too soon. I'm constantly plagued with this: how can I know anything about my ideal partner, when I don't know what my life is supposed to look like?  The inverse could be true as well.  How do I build a life when I'm not sure what kind of a mess**** they're bringing to the table?

I know, in my brain of brains, that you don't need to believe in love as some magical woo-woo thing in order to experience it, I just don't think my heart of hearts knows it.  I had a fantastic conversation***** with a good friend the other day, and she told me (for the 5th or 6th time), that she didn't believe there was only one person for everyone.  She said this despite having a delightful husband, who is perfect for her.  I briefly wondered to myself (drunk, remember), if he would feel hurt to hear her say this, and then I remembered that he's as logical and no nonsense as she is.  A good match.

And those are two nice, warm people.  Imagine two calculating scientists together.  Is there an awkward moment during post-coital bliss, staring into each others eyes, holding each others faces, and they realize their souls have fully merged.  This, in spite of the fact they originally bonded over the dismissal of the idea of a soul, let alone one soul merging with another.

They're not allowed to be happy. Those bastards.

As mentioned, this way of thinking does me a disservice.  Being a veteran of the online dating world certainly doesn't help with the cynicism.  I've grown really tired of all forms of online dating, but I can't seem to give it up.  I go out and do activities, and all my friends are on the lookout for suitable gentlemen, but I'm just getting no bites that way. I'm still having conversations on the sites, but there majority of the messages are all "hi how r u" type things.  It's hard not to picture a guy loading the phrase "hi how r u" into a gatling gun and firing at everything on the site with a vagina, like resumes when you're looking for retail work.

"Um, dad said to drop off a resume here because I have poor taste?"

*the second article I'd written about was the rapidly declining numbers of the Orange Roughy, a deep sea fish that, since it's a deep sea fish, takes over 20 years reach sexual maturity.  The result of this is that a lot of them aren't having wee little roughians quickly enough to satiate the demand of human yuppies.  It's still pretty close to my heart.  I don't remember the third article.
**people responsible for this include, but are not limited to: Susan J. Blackmore, A.R. Wallace, Brian Cox, Neil Peart, Stephen Fry, Charlie Brooker, Penn & Teller, James Randi, Stephen Hawking (did you know he's friends with Jimmy Carr?), Ray Hyman...the list goes on.
***it's very comforting, but y'all don't know that shit.
****educated guess that he'll have some sort of neurotic tendencies.
*****I was so stinkin' drunk.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


I've written about neighbours a few times here before.  There were the annoying neighbours, the overheard encounters with the two boys below me (now a boy and a girl, although I think just a girl for the summer), the two I got too close to, too fast (who have now moved, thank fuck), and the dog, Milhouse*, and his owners, who are a nice young couple.  I just realized I've mentioned the annoying ones twice.

On the first floor, there's a young lady in one unit and Alex in the other, a young fella who once helped push my car out of the snow.  I think he paints and collects Warhammer.  I had been worried about him the past little while, because his car doesn't seem to leave his spot much.  I've been there before.

The couple that moved have left one empty unit.  That makes up the building.  It's a nice building, everyone is polite.  In the morning, the girl below me doesn't get in the shower until she hears me get out.

If I look at the land surrounding our building, we've got four cars nicely lined along the back, and one that parks closer to the door.  Sometimes the grass gets a little long, but it's nothing that bothers me.

I told you that, so I could tell you this.  It's a small building, I have windows on both sides (makes for a nice cross breeze), which lets me see the building on either side of me, if I want.  On the south side, there's a nice building filled with young couples, and one old hippie** who rides his bike everywhere.

Then, there's the building to the north.

I wanted to take a picture of the yard, but I'm worried someone in the building would notice, and then beat the tar out of me or shoot me with a bb gun.  There's no joke here, this is a genuine concern.  Instead, I'll provide you with a small inventory of what I see through the weeds lining the fence, which are about waist-high:

  • 3 electric scooters, which are constantly being worked on
  • 1 jolly jumper
  • 1 dollhouse
  • 1 wheelbarrow, filled with running shoes and water
  • 2 rusted out, retired barbecues
  • somewhere between 5-8 bicycles, in pieces
  • 5-8 lawnchairs, pulled in or out of the building as needed, but often left outside
  • 4-5 large pieces of moulded plastic that were once items like kiddie pools or sandboxes
  • 1 fire pit, which is the only item not surrounded by crap
  • and other bullshit that congregates around classy people

When it comes to the building itself, most of the windows don't have screens on them, and those that do are busted up.  When the windows are open, the curtains are often spilling out and sticking to the bricks.  All air conditioners are tossed into the windows haphazardly.

Now, here's where I get uncomfortable.  All of this I'm writing here may sound like I'm making fun of people with less money than me.  The reality is, although it's very quiet out there right now, the number of domestic disputes and screaming I've overheard*** would almost be enough to want to move.  They also have this tendency to lean out the windows and yell conversations to people in the yard.  They've been loud enough to wake me from a dead sleep at 1 am. The cops visit there sometimes, but not often enough.

So, basically, I hate my neighbours, is the gist of this post.  Fuck them.

*Milhouse's actual name is Milo.  In the original post, I had changed his name to protect his identity.  I don't know why I felt the need to do that, he's a dog for chrissakes.  No offense to dogs.  Milo, if you're reading this, WHO'S A GOOD BOY?  WHO'S A GOOD BOY?
**The old hippie played Kraftwerk's Autobahn really loudly one afternoon, which made me disproportionately excited.
***Some of their greatest hits include "HOW COULD YOU? I FUCKING LOVED YOU!" in a shrill female voice, "YOU TELL HIM, IF HE COMES AROUND HERE AGAIN, I'LL KICK HIS FUCKING ASS!" and my personal favourite, "OF COURSE I'M GOING TO JAIL!!!!  YOU THINK I DON'T REALIZE I'M GOING TO FUCKING JAIL TOMORROW???" spoken by a gentleman we probably won't be seeing for 6 months, less a day.

Friday, June 27, 2014

On perfection.

My father helped install my air conditioner this year.  This meant that a 3 hour feat of setting the unit on the windowsill, throwing a piece of plywood to cover the hole above, and then stuffing any empty spaces with socks and towels became a 3 week venture of measurements, a planning and design phase, resentment from both parties, extreme politeness, and - finally - implementation.   What a good handful of people would probably refer to as "overkill."

My brother and I spoke about the difficulties of asking dad for a favour, and neither of us are all that keen on it.  It just took me much longer to realize than him.  My brother and I are adults now; when we ask dad for help with a number of things, we're simply asking for an additional pair of hands.  Dad, on the other hand, has this tendency to hear our requests in our teenage voices (long deceased, although their ghosts visit on some nights of heavy drinking and reminiscing), and pull the entire project on his own shoulders.  It's sweet (and mildly fascinating), but we're at the point where it often includes some complaining about the situation.

The air conditioner is in, and my father has built this nice little window box that fits snugly above.  I appreciate the effort my dad put in, but the amount of stress he experiences and drags me into is quite the price to pay.  The amount of planning in particular was far more than necessary.

Now, I've told you that story, so I could tell you this one.  The AC adventure of 2014 is a perfect example of Wallace over-analysis and perfectionism, often mislabeled "Wallace Genius."  A lot of my laziness is inspired by the frozen feeling that comes along with perfection.  In the case of myself, it translates roughly to:

  • Why lose weight if I'm not going to have the perfect body?  You're just shining the silverware on the Titanic, chubby*.
  • If I write a horror story, it should scare the shit out of Bloch/Benchley (Peter, not Robert)/LeFanu.
  • If I write humour, it should cause fits of laughter in Wodehouse/Benchley (Robert, not Peter)/Sedaris (both Amy and David)**. 
  • All satire should top Brooker/Swift/Bierce.
  • All erotica should inspire mad wanking upon reading the first sentence.
  • And other, somehow grosser, examples.

No wonder I get so little done.  Analysis-paralysis.

I watched The World's End tonight.  It was enjoyable, but something about it missed the mark for me. Prior to this, I might have said the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost combination was infallible.  I did laugh out loud at a few moments, so it's not a complete bust, not by a long shot.  Maybe I'm being a little harsh on a movie that I would have been really proud to be a part of.  At any rate, the knowledge that even Simon Pegg can slip up*** should be enough of a reason to keep trying.

Here's a clip from one of my favourite ventures of his, Big Train:

Kevin Eldon kills me in that clip, holding up the two pieces of paper stuck together.  That's just funny.  Stellar team, that cast.  Although the show does have some weak points, this clip is near to perfection.

*As an aside, this particular attitude has been left on the curb for the past couple of months, and I've lost 14 pounds.  It's slow moving, but I already feel better.
**I'll make the joke before you can: this blog is clearly the exception.
***I am full out ignoring the existence of "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People"

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The sad realization that I'm not cool

I've always known, somewhere in my mind.  I mean, there were hints throughout my life, but nothing stark, nothing obvious.  Nothing like tonight.

I recently purchased a new (to me) vehicle.  A Jeep Patriot, about 6 years old.  I love it; it does everything I need, and it's good on gas.  It's new enough to me that I went for a drive tonight.  Music on loud, windows down, I love it. I notice there's a Jeep CJ* driving along beside me, with the doors off and music blaring. We stop at a light, and he's not right next to me anymore, he's next to the guy in front of me.  The guy in front of me rolls the window down, and leans across his girlfriend, and starts yelling friendly stuff at the CJ guy.

CJ guy can't even hear him.  Hip hop music blasting.  It's mildly embarrassing for sedan guy in front of me, but I don't know what my plan would have been if I'd been beside him.  Roll down my window further, crank up my music more?  Try and shout something friendly about how Jeeps** are great?  Then, get mad when he sneered at me?  "You bastard, this had to travel the Rubicon Trail, just like your model!" I'd yell. "Rubix cube tail***? What the fuck, lady?" he'd yell back.  

Would I roll down my window further, and crank up my music more, bobbing my head to the beat while making eye contact?  In the interest of full disclosure, this is what I was listening to:


Anyway, the light turns green, I end up beside him again, and I finally take a real look at this guy.  He looks like a total goof, to be honest.  He's at least 10 years younger than me, I can see his underwear over his top of his (too big) shorts, his shoelaces are undone, and there's a nice responsible looking dent in the front of the Jeep.

My soccer mom car turned at the next light.  Time to go home and listen to Kevin Eldon, Simon Munnery, and Brian Cox talking about CERN.

*My love of the CJ stems not only from the fun look and impractical handling, but the rich history of the car.  Another indication that I'm not as cool as I once thought.
**Incidentally, the whole "it's a jeep thing, you wouldn't understand" is exactly the kind of brand attitude that I can't stand.  The kind of smugness is a little obnoxious.  Oddly enough, since expanding their line so extensively, it mostly involves the Wrangler tough-guy models, and not the Soccer-mom models (ie, the Patriot).
***the runner-up for this joke was "Ruby's entrails."

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Nothing. And cavemen.

I'm tempted to write "Rien" as today's post and leave it at that, but I do feel the need to write a proper entry, so here it is.  As uneventful as it may be.

Recently, I had noticed that my clothes were tighter, and I felt sluggish.  So, I decided to do something about it.  Truthfully, my habits had gotten so bad, that one of the goals was as simple as "stop going to fast food drive-thrus."  I could write here that I've struggled with my weight all my life, but the reality is, I've been ignoring my weight most of my life.  For a long time, that was easier.

Anyway, I'm in week 4 of this lifestyle change, and I'm starting to lose my mind.  Portions of my brain are starting to bargain and rationalize at a level usually reserved for day 10 of a kidnapping.  The problem isn't that I'm actually hungry.  The problem is that I'm restless.  My brain just doesn't want to quiet down for me.  I'm really tired, but I don't think going to bed will help.  I want to do everything, and yet I want to do nothing.  The first week of this change wasn't like this, I felt elated, like I could take anything on.  These mood swings are why I worry about my mental health.  I haven't written much about that aspect of this blog for a long time, but the concern is always there, in the background. When I'm trying to be clever or funny, I usually just thank my lucky stars that I'm not in the mood I'm in now.  It's incredibly hard to accomplish anything when I'm feeling this way.  On my way home from my parents' I went to an empty parking lot tonight so I could sit in my car and write in my journal.  There are just too many distractions at home to trust myself to do it there (and I live alone!)

So there you have it, dear readers.  When you see creeps hanging out in a parking lot, looking down at their laps, they're not all masturbating.  Most are.

Nevermind what I just said.  Stay away from people sitting in their cars in parking lots looking down at their laps.  Unless that's what you're into.

I suppose I could have gone to a coffee shop, but that would have entailed three things:

- purchasing a coffee-like beverage, which I'm trying to avoid at the moment
- dealing with other patrons/distractions
- being that girl in the coffee shop who writes in her journal.  A journal that's riddled with Radiohead/Arcade Fire lyrics.  Seriously, no one wants to be that girl.

Also this.

I'm incredibly frustrated about everything this evening.  My lot in life, how things have turned out (better than most; I do try to be grateful), how not only have I not met "the one," but I haven't even come close to that first "mistake" marriage that unstable people like me are supposed to have.  And I'm trying to lose weight, but that's no guarantee to happiness.  Great, I'll be thinner and even more socially awkward, because I might be flirted with more, but I'll be no closer to correctly identifying when its happening.

Do you ever think about how you might have fared better in a different time?  My life would be much easier if I existed before things like language and makeup were involved.  If I could just be clubbed on the head and dragged back to a cave, that might be ideal*.   Of course, knowing me, I'd probably just latch onto the nearest family and be the kindly, kooky aunt, secretly resenting my friend Lucy.  Lucy would of course have been clubbed and dragged back to a cave many years before I would.

Wipe that grin off your face, you smug slut.

This isn't to say that I'm not getting any attention, of course.  There will always be people willing to fuck anything that moves.  This is all well and good, and I don't judge anyone interested for this reason, but I imagine the conversation afterwards being more disappointing than the sex**.

I guess I'm just better off being restless.

*I apologize if I'm setting us back a few - well, million - years, ladies, but keep in mind, this would put my existence before suffrage ("which is a good thing, but it sounds horrible," as Phoebe would say) or the birth of bell hooks.
**and the sex is plenty disappointing.

Monday, April 28, 2014

On the eve of my 32nd birthday.

Several observations:

- Being a grownup means not being able to book your birthday off, because there are important things happening on your birthday.  Not birthday things, mind you.  Business things, like project quotes and contracts are to be arriving at your desk on your birthday.  It is entirely selfish for you to think it's about you, BUT WE CANNOT DO IT WITHOUT YOU WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO SELF-CENTERED HARLOT FINE WE'LL FIND SOMEONE ELSE THEN WHO WILL PAY YOUR RENT WE OWN YOU DIRTBAG.  Why are you crying?

- Being a grownup means not being able to buy Damon Albarn's first ever solo album until you've satisfied your grownup duties. This may mean you won't have it for several days after its release.

- Being a grownup means that being drunk on a Monday and singing Tom Petty's "Learning to fly" in your apartment by yourself is less badass than you thought it would be when you were 15.

- Same goes for Blue Rodeo's "Rose Coloured Glasses."

I really don't want to go to work tomorrow, but I do want to remain gainfully employed.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dewey Readathon - End of Event Meme

  • Which hour was most daunting for you? My eyes started to really weld shut around 12ish.  I gave in and went to bed.
  • Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?  Nothing in particular.
  • Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nothing in particular.
  • What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?  Don't know, i wasn't as engaged in the activities as last time.
  • How many books did you read? 1.5
  • What were the names of the books you read? Wildwood and Diaries of a Young Artist.
  • Which book did you enjoy most? The books are really different from each other.  Didn't enjoy one more than the other.
  • Which did you enjoy least? See above.
  • If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?  Was not a cheerleader.
  • How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  Pretty likely.  We discussed hosting a challenge next time.
  • Saturday, April 26, 2014

    Dewey Readathon - Mid-event Survey!

    Mid-Event Survey
    1. What are you reading right now?
    Still reading Wildwood, by Colin Meloy.  I think I'm a slow reader.  Took a break, though (JaneyCanuck insisted I read a bit of Gone Girl - totally worth it).  I might switch to "Diaries of a Young Artist" soon.  It's little.

    2. How many books have you read so far?

    Just over half of Wildwood.

    3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
    Perhaps finishing Wildwood?  Might set it aside for some Robert Block or P.G. Wodehouse short stories.

    4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?

    I was up early to drive up to Guelph, but nothing other than that.

    5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

    I *am* the interruption.  I'm reading with two other friends.  I'm peppering today with dramatic readings of some of my favourites.  Here's a picture of me reading Fahrenheit 451 to them:

    Like a sir.
    6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
    How long a children's book can be and still be acceptable.  

    7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
    I thought the separate sign-ups for cheerleaders was a little strange?  What does the initial sign-up do if it doesn't include that?

    8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?


    9. Are you getting tired yet?

    A bit.

    10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?

    Dewey Readathon - Intro Meme!

    Hour 1!

    1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

    I'm at my friend, Janey Canuck's, in Guelph, Ontario.

    2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

    Wildwood, by Colin Meloy.  I bought it just for today.

    3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

    Cupcakes!  Beautiful cupcakes!

    4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

    I'm tired!  I was up at  5:30 to get here on time.

    5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

    It would be nice if I could make it the full 24 hours.  Wish me luck!

    Sunday, April 20, 2014


    Headphones - meaning, little speakers you put either in or on your ears to hear music - have changed over the past few years.  They're starting to come in fun colours, in different sizes, all that fun stuff.

    Here's the thing: no one seems to give a shit about sound anymore.  I was in a bookstore (of all places), with my sister-in-law the other day, and they now have an electronics section.  In the bookstore*.  So, we had already had our first encounter with the "electronics associate"**, and were wandering around looking at other stuff, when I see the headphones display:

    Yeah, there's a fucking mirror.  The creepy associate comes around the corner and tells me to try some on and see how they look.  SEE HOW THEY LOOK.  I don't need headphones, so I declined, but I said to him "wouldn't you want to hear what they sound like?"

    "Oh, yeah, you can plug them in and do that, too."  But the offer was secondary to see how they look. Maybe it's a sign I'm getting older, but I was just floored that they would even have the display like that.    The mirror gets more space then the headphones.  I can't imagine what people would think of my home headphones:

    Built for sound quality and comfort, not unlike my own body.
    The associate was constantly under our feet, so sister-in-law and I wandered off a few more feet, into the books, picked one up to suggest it to her, and the associate was right there again.

    "I cannot recommend that book*** enough."

    I set the book down, and we both just gave him an exasperated look.  Seriously, dude?

    But yeah, mirrors, so you can see what you look like in your headphones.

    * "We sell e-readers, so we have to have our dick in a number of other pies, too."
    ** these douchebags warrant their own post, to be honest.
    *** The Help.

    On Film: Part 1

    Well, I've finally decided to write a post about movies.  It was this or my sixth episode of Mad About You this morning.

    Those of you who know me in my personal life, know that I have a degree in Cultural Studies, but I've often over-simplified things and told people my degree is in film.  I should really stop doing this. One, it's a little disrespectful towards the literature and art I studied, and - two - it makes people think I have more technical know-how than I do.  Let me tell you what my degree got me.

    It got me a job in a video store.  I will say this once: there is nothing wrong with working in retail*. However, while working at the store, I overdosed on movies pretty badly and didn't watch any for a few years.  Even now, watching a movie is a little rare for me.  I'm telling you this so you know my opinion on recent movies is worth exactly bupkis.  Also, honestly, my opinions and knowledge of the older stuff is lacking, too.  I'm out of practice.

    Here's a short list of some of my faves, some with explanations or general comments.

    Metropolis (1927)
    I promise I won't go year by year, but this was another that was big for me when I was a kid.  This film influenced me more than I probably realize.  I don't know if I'd be as big a science fiction fan as I am without having seen it as a kid (and the "as a kid" part is important, though I couldn't say why).

    The version I most enjoy of this one has a soundtrack by Giorgio Moroder**.  I would say this is because I'm a product of the 1980's, but the editing on it is fantastic.  It is actually the shortest version, but the clearest in narrative (of the handful I've seen).

    Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)
    Charles Laughton in a comedy.  I love him, and this movie is just fantastic.  Everyone in it is incredibly well cast.  It is a little "yay, America," but I feel it's justifiable here.

    All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
    I get genuinely disappointed at whichever rank this gets on the AFI top 100 list.  It always feels low to me.

    Wings of Desire (1987)
    This is the movie that made me change majors when I saw it in first year.  Hollywood remade it as "City of Angels," and removed anything worthwhile from the film***.

    The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)
    My first serious Hollywood crush.  Still waiting on the sequel.

    I'm gonna break the land speed record with the least aerodynamic design in existence.
    The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
    It's this perfect, little piece of candy, filled with lovely people (including Noah Taylor!)  I used to say this was my favourite film, but then Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) came out.  It's pretty clear that I really do like Wes Anderson, but I don't think I'm a blind follower by any sense of the word.  I haven't seen Darjeeling Limited since it came out;  it feels like an attempt to create a Wes Anderson film.  There's this thin candy shell around it, with nothing inside.  It is worth pointing out here, that Wes' brother, Eric Chase Anderson, was not involved in Darjeeling Limited.  In the other films, his design was such a heavy influence (the stage of the bisected boat in Life Aquatic was his design, all the drawings from Royal Tenenbaums).

    This little list barely scratches the surface.  The truth of the matter is, there are probably at least 3 different lists:

    • favourites (includes movies with drastic flaws, eg. Comic Book Villains)
    • movies I think are important from a film standpoint
    • movies I think are important from a legal standpoint (this would include mondo and some of the more extreme horror)

    At some point, I realized that I didn't have any one favourite anymore.  I think this stands true for everything. For a 15 year period, if you had asked me who my favourite band was, I'd have told you Radiohead****. But there are so many worthwhile musicians out there.  Favourite author?  Spider Robinson, but there's a lot of other writers out there (he's still super high on the list, though).

    *except for dealing with snarky customers, am I right, folks?
    **also, he composed "Danger Zone" for all you Top Gun fans.
    ***Separate the wheat from the chaff, and be sure the chaff is released as a movie.
    ****But please don't put me in a room with a bunch of other Radiohead fans

    Friday, April 4, 2014

    Retail Therapy

    I had an incredibly trying day yesterday.  There are a number of big changes coming at work, and I'm not sure how I feel about them.  At the end of the day, my stomach was churning.  I left work feeling very determined.  I got in my car, and drove off wish a purpose in mind:

    Retail Therapy.

    It's not an activity I've ever really engaged in, but yesterday, I thought that spending a good chunk of change and buying myself something nice might make me feel a little better.  The plan was to go out and buy a new purse/briefcasey type thing.  I drove all the way across town, to the "nice" Winners (shopping at a Winners was a sign that I wasn't really all that serious, I should have seen that immediately).  I think I was interested in the hunt of looking for a bag, not the bag itself.  I could have just walked into a place like Danier and be done with it.  Also, I wanted to spend money, but I don't think I wanted to spend Danier money.

    The drive across town was the nicest part of the trip.  Some days, I forget how much I just enjoy driving.  I had Blur on shuffle (all albums, all songs).  It's neat to hear a band you like switching back and forth between phases*.

    As anyone could predict, the bags were all shit.  After all that wandering around - not really looking at things, but thinking about work the entire time - I still felt the need to buy something, in order for it to have felt like retail therapy.  This is what I came home with:

    Posh candy and measuring cups? And you say you actually need the measuring cups? You suck at this bro.
    I wandered around Bed, Bath, and Beyond for a bit afterwards.  I spent less than $20, and I still feel guilty for spending it. The fact that I'm bad at wasting my money on cute things feels like the icing on the cake, like I just failed at failing.

    Anyway, time to shower and dress for work.

    *but only if you like all the phases.  If I did this with the Kinks - who I totally love, honestly - I'd still end up skipping a few of the more modern tracks.

    Sunday, March 30, 2014

    The big issue I have with betterment.

    It can be easy to feel like you truly know someone through reading their blog, but I think this is quite false.  There are any number of reasons why someone's blog can fall to the wayside in their life.  When things are busy and going very well, it's difficult to turn back to the blog.  When you're turned your bed into a nest and have trouble getting out of it, it's difficult to turn back to the blog.  While I haven't turned the bed into a nest yet, I've certainly been teetering on the edge lately.  I'm not depressed by any means, but if I don't act, I may be soon enough.  I want to use the word "malaise" or "ennui" here, but I think those words are generally reserved for people cooler than me.

    While I don't like talking about work on here (although, I touched on it in my last entry as well), the fiscal year end has me completely run off my feet.  In addition to regular 'year end' stress, my particular role is running one body short, effectively doubling my workload.  For the past two weeks, I've been arriving home much later than usual, and just vegging out until bedtime and then getting up and doing it all over again*. 

    The real culprit here, though, is the weather.  I like snow, but I can't remember when we've last had a winter so long.  It's severely bummed me out.  This weekend seems to finally be showing true signs of spring, so I'd like to shape up and get myself back in order.  I haven't stepped on a scale in awhile, and I'm a little worried that I might be back up to my university weight, which I swore I'd never return to.

    There is an entire in industry dedicated to pulling up your socks and facing issues head on.  And in some ways, it's hard not to try and reach out and see if any of them will help. 

    The pile on the left is what I feel I should be reading.  The pile on the right is what I plan to read.  Both piles will be put off.

    My relationship with these books is strange.  It is important to note the following: of the self-help books shown above, I've actually only purchased one of those myself ("It's your money" by Gail Vaz-Oxlade. Given that she's more finance oriented, I'm not including her in the below indictment).  All the others have just shown up, dumped on me by well meaning friends and family who were trying to clear their houses of clutter**.  I always approach these subjects with such indifference; so many of them have let me down in the past I look for the similarities in all these books.  For example:

    Give it up to a higher power

    So many of these damned things have a pervasive thread of religion/spirituality running through it.  God is like herpes for self-help books.  You could write a self-help book that doesn't mention God at all, but as soon as it's set on the shelf with others and it'll break out in God faster than you can say "Abreva."  This element doesn't expose itself until you've reached a level of commitment with the book, around chapter/step/aura 3 or 4 of the book.

    My favourite of these are the books that insist you can do without this element.  "Just focus that energy on something else, like a rock," they'll say, effectively insulting theists, atheists, and anyone who dabbles in good sense.  Fuck you and fuck your book.

    Dedicate your life to this book.  Teach it to others.

    Speaking of herpes, once you've jumped through all the hoops of a self-help book/system/lifestyle change, most of them will encourage you to go out in the world and tell people about it.  Whatever you do, don't give them a copy of your book (you'll need it for reference should you fall back into old habits!), make them buy their own.

    The book tells you this so that you'll help people, not to sell books.

    This system WORKS

    There's a really great element to the entire trend of self-help.  Say you start reading one of these books, and it has a lot of great advice in it***.  Then, your life gets a little busy.  Maybe you're helping plan a wedding, in a custody battle, doing hostage negotiations, or the most recent girl you've locked in the basement is proving to be a handful****.  It doesn't even have to be this extreme, the end result is you can't dedicate as much time to the book as you had intended. 

    Even if you do dedicate your time and energy to it - following the directions as closely as you can - things don't go as well as you'd expected.  There's no way the book has failed you, you must have failed the book.  All of these books (even the good ones), have this way of making people feel like shit, when they should be getting people to feel safe, or even excited.  These books are like douchebags at the bar that all women should try to avoid*****. 

    A photo of a dick on the back cover that you can compare your life with

    "In addition to Better, Faster, Stronger,Clive McEnvy has written three bestsellers and two failed erotica novels.  He lives in the east-central district of Toronto (read: the beaches), with his wife, matching Volvos, and two chocolate labs.  He is better than you, and your purchase of this book is going towards owning a third racehorse that he never sees, due to his horse allergies." 

    I don't know if I'm actually bitter, or if I just want every book to have a barefoot Shel Silverstein on the back.

    Everything's going to be okay.  I was torn between a picture of him or Tom Baker.
    I know that at least a little of my problem with these books, is me (I guess the "negging" works on me, too).  It's very hard to want to absorb and move forward with something when every fifth page inspires you to wail and gnash your teeth.  I won't go so far as to say that I think all of them are frauds, as I think a number of them are simply misguided (like psychics).  Most are bad writers, and I think the ratio of bad to good is higher in this genre than others. 

    We need to stop publishing these guys, and I, for one, need to stop reading them.  My big problem is focusing on what's important and doing the work.  Self-help bullshit is just another way for me avoiding focusing on the things that will really enable me to move forward, not just give me the illusion of progress.  The time I spend sneering at these books stops me from reading more interesting things, and in the long run, stops interesting things from being published.

    Well, that file box isn't shrinking anytime soon, and I've got somewhere to be later.

    *Not to mention that I should be working right now.  I've brought a filebox of items full this weekend, and I haven't touched it yet.
    **which is probably a step in at least one of those books shown.
    ***I'm not denying that there's probably a lot of good advice, maybe a nugget of truth every 30 pages or so.  What I am denying is the thought that most of these books are worth the money.
    ****or, say, it's fiscal year end.
    *****also, those kind of vicious douchebags only fuel the idea that being a "nice guy" means you're somehow entitled to sex.  There's so much sexual cluelessness in the world lately it hurts my brain.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    I took a vacation day yesterday.

    I don't like to write about my work on here*, I took a vacation day yesterday to try and relax and it seemed to have the opposite effect on me.  One of the people I work with even texted me with a work related question while I was off.  Like, seriously, you can't wait one fucking day? Why do you think I'm not at work right now?  Do you think I'm just off, pining to hear from you and just daydreaming about being at work?  Well, I kind of was, but it wasn't the good kind of daydreaming.

    Knowing I had today off, I logged into the network on Saturday and did about 4 hours of work.  Regardless of the time off, I knew I was going to be doing it.  It's the kind of work that you need uninterrupted time for, which I was just not getting at work at all.  So, I successfully ruined my Saturday.

    On the bright side, I babysat my niece and nephew that night, which meant my nephew kept getting out of bed until I stopped trying to put him back in it and he fell asleep against me while watching Thomas.  I don't mind it when he does that.  I love my niece and nephew, but sometimes it's difficult not to resent them a little.  The amount of energy I put into being a great aunt might be better spent talking to other people and maybe trying to start my own family**. 

    On Sunday night, I went to bed with fantastic visions of sleeping in the next morning while everyone else went to work like a sucker.  Instead, I woke up at three am to a horrendous nightmare of me working in a grocery store during the zombie apocalypse.  I was in the upstairs office and they just kept coming.   I woke up incredibly stressed out, but also disappointed in my brain, because I'm getting pretty sick of the zombie craze, with sleep being the only place I could normally find to get away from it.

    Now, I don't want to go back, because there's going to be a tonne waiting for me.  Also, I'm in a course this morning***, so this morning's garbage will have to be added on top of all that.

    Hi-ho, off I go.

    *for several reasons, including "don't bite the hand that feeds you", complaining gets you nowhere, and "oh, you're that kidAmy?"  That last one is kind of funny, because I'm pretty sure I'm not that difficult to track down.
    **which is, of course, the best thing you can say to a man during your first coffee date.
    ***my workplace is really great that way.  :)

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

    Fucking idiot

    I talk to a number of people through the dating site on a regular basis.  It's not that I'm not shy, I'm just used to the online dating scene.  The one who seemed most promising to me just told me moments ago that he has a wife, and that he hopes that's "not going to be a problem."


    Thursday, March 6, 2014

    On Writing

    I've spent the evening working on a piece I've been trying to nail down for awhile.  Every so often, I'll be chatting with a writer somewhere (anywhere), and I'll receive this tidbit of advice:

    "Well, kidAmy, at some point, you have to ask yourself if you want to be a serious writer or if you want to live your life doing... I'm sorry, what the hell do you do for a living again*?"

    This is often said by a member of the opposite sex - somewhat condescendingly - who is trying to dole out advice**.  The condescension is my own fault, actually;  I've often put on the costume of the beginner in an effort to chat up male writers I think I might want to marry*** someday. 

    "Oh, I would so love to write, how do you do it?  My little brain couldn't handle the big ideas you come up with!"  Shortly thereafter, I excuse myself to the washroom, where I punch myself in the face and then bitch about him on twitter.  Being a fragile woman is hard.

    At any rate, I was at work recently when I realized that maybe I didn't want to do this for the rest of my life.  I believe someone was staring me in the face, waiting for me to answer a question as to why I hadn't completed their job that day.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not handing in my resignation tomorrow (I really quite like my job), but I have resolved to complete the first draft of this novel in the next half year****.

    This big decision was confirmed when I found myself giggling out loud at several Dilbert comics in a row*****.

    *It's something vaguely paperworkish. With a cubicle, and friendly coworkers, and dickhead coworkers.
    **And my decision to keep a roof over my head and food in the fridge is a decidedly unimpressive route.
    ***Sleep with.
    ****Lawrence Block bangs them out in four weeks, the hardworking, totally deserving bastard. 
    *****They're just like us!  With his dog in the office, and his tie that never lays flat.  Oh, that's our Dilbert.  (I'm typing this, but my eyelids are saying "kill me" in morse.)

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    Today is Charlie Brooker's Birthday.

    I really cannot stress how huge an influence Charlie Brooker is for me. Yes, a lot of his fiction is a little reminiscent of years gone by (Steve Allen and Harlan Ellison, to name only two), but that's why I love him. 

    I realized the other night that overall, I'm really not impressed with contemporary science fiction.  Far too much of it is in the space soap opera/space cowboy vein (eff you very much, Roddenberry).  I dislike those in their purest forms (exceptions include anything involving Steve McQueen or Alan Ladd), why the heck would I want to watch it on a spaceship?

    My favourite form or era of science fiction was creepy, harrowing, even (It's a cookbook! We're headed to that planet third from the sun!  Be sure to give the little ones pebbles they can throw, too! The key to the future is removing words from the language, not adding more, silly! And so on,
    until my stomach hurts).  Even in it's simplest forms, it's asking difficult questions, turning a mirror on society in ways other art and writing fails to do, despite best efforts.

    When I see the faces of everyone gathered in the pub to watch the prime minister star alongside a pig, or we see the little girl taking a cupcake up to the boyfriend-bot in the attic, I really feel like there's classic, harrowing science-fiction at work.  And the episode titled White Bear, well, that's just phenomenal.

    I first encountered him on 10 O'Clock Live, which I'd started watching because of David Mitchell (and Jimmy Carr, who is always fun).  I was floored; I liked Mitchell's political rants and really thought someone couldn't get much more acerbic than that.   Unfortunately, the show was a little uneven, and awkward at times (the fact that it was aired live may have contributed).  IMDB indicates the show is still going, but nothing new has aired in 2014.

    As with a number of people I admire, I think what I like most about him is his tireless work ethic.   I swear the man's never been out of work.  I just hope other writers find him as inspiring.   I hope we get lots more out of him.

    (I couldn't work it in, but while reading a little more about him this evening, I learned him and his wife have had their second child just a couple of days ago, so that's lovely.)

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    It's a sad evening

    It's a sad evening when you're watching your phone, hoping for a message from a man, and receiving an email from the previous one that brings you to tears. 

    For some mysterious reason, this new one hasn't hugged me yet, and the last one has written to comment how great I am at hugs.  I almost feel like, if I do get a hug from the new one, I'll be sniffing around for table scraps of love.  I want to give him a final chance, but I don't really know what to make of the situation.

    As for the last guy, I don't want to be with him, but I guess it still hurts more than I wanted to admit.  He was gentle, kind, and a great hugger. He was also flaky and frustrating.

    Why is this all so fucking hard for me?

    Wednesday, February 12, 2014

    "A friend of mine grows his very own brambles..."

    When I'm really interested in someone, I go through this terrible phase.  In a strange way, I shed my skin.  On this skin are all of my hobbies and personality traits that I subconsciously don't feel are helping me impress this particular gentleman at hand.  What ends up being left is an overly agreeable piece of marzipan molded into what was once a vibrant cynic. 

    Creepy marzipan.  That's me on the left, without the penis.
    The shelf life of marzipan is great, for a food.  As a doesn't really work.  At some point, I start to develop mass quantities of resentment. 

    When I split with someone, I often tell myself I enjoy being single.  While I do enjoy singledom*, there's really no reason for me to stop enjoying myself within a relationship.  Basically, the above is all bullshit, and it's bullshit I create for myself.  This needs to stop.

    I had a rather emotional breakup last month.  I didn't include the relationship or the breakup in the blog for various reasons**.   I'm realizing that what I've been doing is clearly not working. I've had this strange feeling after the end of the last two serious relationships that I was somehow getting closer to what I wanted, the relationship that I really need***. 

    I must admit my concern for the way things have been going is completely inspired by a recent...acquaintance.   I only met him the other night.  He's smart and very funny.  I don't know what he'll be to me, if anything, but - at the moment - I hope he doesn't want to be friends.  I'll end this here, see footnote 2 for reasoning.

    *which is almost completely attributed to living alone (pants optional).
    **reasons included, but not limited to: risk of jinxing myself, risk of him discovering the blog, previous partners reading while shaking their heads and feeling superior to me (although, I guess if it makes them happy...)
    ***reread that sentence, but swap out the last two "I"s for "Gotham".   Use a growly voice.

    Elbow's Some Riot

    Saturday, February 8, 2014

    Online dating is weird, man.

    "I don't envy you."
    "I don't know what I'd do if I were single again."
    *leaning forward with polite interest, and pity in her eyes*
    "Isn't it kind of scary? I mean, I know the stigma's gone, but still?"

    The less said about online dating, the better.  So... here's a whole post about it!

    Before anyone comments that I'm picky, I think most of this is about some form of social graces.  While the below is clearly my opinion on what is and isn't acceptable, things like manners don't fly out the window simply because you're online. 

    One small pet peeve that I have, and I wouldn't be surprised if I was the only one, is when people refer to themselves as nerds.  Having interests is a good thing, period.  Bragging about being a nerd, even if true, strikes me as incredibly pointless.  Since becoming a badge of honour, everyone calls themselves nerds and the word has no meaning.  If you're on a dating site, and you have interests, that's good, I'd love to hear about those interests.  If you brag about being a nerd, I might not want to hear about them.

    Pictured: Someone I wouldn't say no to, given the right circumstances... ugh, fuck your caption.

    In some ways, I'm really grateful I'm a woman.  I think men have a harder time on dating sites. I don't even really have to reach out to anyone (although I do), I can just wait and they'll message me.  For this paragraph, I'm speaking of men who are not douchebags (who will be covered later in the post), I'm talking about genuine, nice fellas, who are really just looking for a date*.  When they first join, these poor buggers come online, and they take a look at who's around, and then write a really nice email.  Sometimes, the email is epic, frightfully long, commenting on a tonne of .  And they never hear back.   I've responded to some of these guys, and it doesn't end very well.  About halfway through the coffee date, there's a voice in my head saying "run, bitch, run!".  If there's one thing I've learned, it's this: if someone is socially awkward in an email, there's not much of a chance meeting in person is going to improve that**.  I'm not saying these men are lower than me, or scum of the earth, I'm simply pointing out that these guys are never a match for me, no matter how much we have in common on paper.  I think a number of these guys aren't a match for anyone, yet, but they'll get better at it over time.

    The guys you want to hear from are the ones who say a simple hello, comment on something in your profile**, and then just say it would be nice to hear back.  I picture these guys maybe writing 3 or 4 of these, and then carrying on with their lives.  Unlike the previously mentioned fella, who I picture agonizing over each word ("have I used the word 'interesting' too much?").  Also, if I do chat with them over the phone (text or actual conversation), there is often the slightest gap in between conversations, because they're busy doing something else.  Having a life is pretty sexy at times.

    The last category of gentleman is the douchebag.  I'm sure there are a couple of men out there I've incorrectly mislabeled as this, but then maybe they should stop acting like douchebags.  These guys are the entire reason a good number of women are labeled as "responds selectively" or "responds extremely selectively." These guys will send a message that reads simply "hey u****", or the ever simple "sex?" My personal favourite was:

    "I go to <local university>. I think you're a milf, are you up for a friends with benefits type affair?*****"

    Dating is difficult, no matter how you're going about it.  Even if you calculate things carefully, at some point, you're going to have to come out from behind the computer and talk to a person.  I have such a hard time with people who don't understand this.

    *no matter how clueless or misguided they may seem at times.
    **the same cannot be said for texting, however.  I've met a number of people who were shit at texting, because they just didn't like texting.  When you write an email, you have time to properly form sentences and restrain what you're saying.  If you really don't have time to write a proper email, then maybe you don't have time for a dating site.
    ***"I've noticed you've mentioned a passion for highlighting all the moments in Harry Potter that hint to Dumbledore's sexual leanings.  I also enjoy this!"
    ****did not capitalizing or typing out the y or the o really save you a tonne of time there, champ?
    *****MILF? Fuck you and fuck your university, you little shit.

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

    Identity Crisis 2: Art Journal Blogger

    I know I originally said I would be Makeup Blogging, but yesterday was my first real attempt at an art journal spread, so I'm going to share that with you today.

    There are a number of great art journal tutorials on youtube, but I'm really not equipped for video making, so I'm doing it in my blog instead.

    Step 1:
    Glue two pages together using Mod Podge.  Regret it almost immediately when the product wastes no time telling you that it likes to make paper wrinkle faster than a botox commercial before pic. (Wait, is this a thing?  Maybe... "it wrinkles faster than a prom dress on the floor of a limo".  Oh, yeah, that one.)

    Step 2:
    Get really sad, because if you had gesso, you wouldn't have to pretend the wrinkling was a happy accident.  Remember you had gesso in your last apartment. (Did you see the size of that jug in that video? Is she fucking drinking it? Seriously, though, it's a great video.  She explains it really well.)

    Step 3:
    Put everything on hold while you look for your gesso.  Waste 20 minutes putting up posters and finding gesso.

    Step 3a: realize you're clinging to your youth.  Pour yourself some wine.

    Step 4:  dump what is clearly way too much product on your pages.  Panic and rush to spread it around before it dies.

    Rash decisions and poor planning are at the heart of many art projects.
    Step 5:
    Tear up and stick on a bunch of tissue paper.  Slap more gesso on top of it.


    Step 6:
    Very lightly slap a bunch of blue paint across it.  Realize the bumpyness is kinda fun.  Decide the simplest design is probably the best.  Cut out two tissue paper tulips.

    This should have been a close-up, sorry
    Step 7:
    Give them stems and leaves.

    Step 8:
    Slap on a pithy, cathartic, or inspirational message in the center, using stamps. Something along the lines of "dance like no one's watching", or "you're not my real dad," or the ever popular, "it's my body and I'll share my hepatitis with whomever I want."

    Step 9:
    Notice that stamps are a gigantic pain in the ass while using them, and realize it will be 10 times worse when cleaning up.

    Step 10:
    Lean back and enjoy your creation.  Here comes the grand reveal...

    Sponsored, epileptic fit.
    This was great fun, and I'll be keeping it up. 

    For examples on youtube:
    Vicky Papaioannou

    Christy Sobolewski

    Leslie Herger (lots of general art instruction there, too.)

    There are so many great videos on youtube, you can just keep clicking and finding awesome stuff.  

    Friday, January 24, 2014

    Identity Crisis 1: Food Blogger - Refried Bean Quesadillas

    My most recent endeavour has been to pull my finances back on track, with the help of Gail Vaz-Oxlade (  As such, I've had to take a hard look at where my money has been going, and did a thorough spending analysis.  I've been spending a ridiculous amount of money on take-out food, and I need to scale it back.  So, I'm trying to learn how to cook, with all the hits and misses.  Here's last night's attempt.

    Refried Bean Quesadilla
    • Large soft tortilla shells
    • Cheese
    • Diced tomato
    • Diced green pepper
    • Taco seasoning
    • 1 can refried beans
    First, check your freezer and be sorely tempted by the frozen pizzas you see.  Then remember you have to use up the tortillas sitting on the counter.  Look back in the freezer, feel a sudden flood of productivity and take some chicken breasts out for Crockpot Tacos the next day*. 

    Step 1:  Get your tortillas ready on a cookie sheet.  I'm making two so I'll have enough for tomorrow's lunch**.  Spread a generous layer of refried beans on one side of each tortilla.

    This is fine.  You have frozen pizzas if this doesn't turn out.

    Step 2:  Furrow brow and feel doubt.  Make sure the can doesn't say "Purina" on it.

    Step 3:  Feel sad that you've only found cheddar cheese and you don't have mozzarella***.  Pile on an embarrassing amount.

    Enough to cause a traffic jam in uranus.

    Step 4:  Throw out the green pepper, because you're only one person in an apartment, and it's gone bad anyway.

    Step 5:  Sprinkle a small amount of taco seasoning over the cheese.

    Step 6:  Marvel at the fact that your tomato hasn't gone bad.  Cut it up and throw it on there.  It'll look something like this:

    Step 7:  Fold over the naked side of the tortilla to create half moons.  Pop into the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 8-10 minutes.

    Step 8:  Look at the packet of taco seasoning, and notice that you - the wimp with the palate of an 80 year old Englishman - have purchased the packet marked "Hot & Spicy."

    Now you have no idea what the traffic is going to be like in uranus tonight.
    Step 9:  While waiting, make yourself one of these!  It's what's you've been looking forward to all day anyway:

    Step 9a:  Ignore the fact that the spend analysis you've completed showed you had spent 10 times on booze what you do on books***, and drink it.  To make:
    • 1 part amaretto
    • 2-3 parts lemonade
    Step 10: Take quesadillas out of the oven and let cool a little.  Remind yourself there is frozen pizza in the fridge, if you really need it.

    Step 11:  Enjoy it, because it turned out pretty good.  The only small change I would make is to add a little more taco seasoning than I did.

    You may have noticed that I've not put any measurements in the above.  This is for three reasons:

    Reason 1:  We're all adults.  You know how much cheese and spice you can handle.
    Reason 2:  This may come as a surprise: I'm not a food blogger.
    Reason 3:  

    Stay tuned over the next few weeks for "Identity Crisis 2: Makeup Blogger. Art Journal Blogger"

    *Thinking about it now, I might make a really simple post on those, they're so easy and so tasty.
    **Breakfast, let's face it. Don't judge me.
    ***Or monterey jack.  But you're single, so you never buy it anyway.
    ****What have I become, my sweetest friend?

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

    This is why I can't have nice things

    Well, per my previous post, I was able to both reach my desk and clean it off (more info and photos to come, including a ridiculous amount of shredding that took way longer than I'd like to admit).  This afternoon, I was able to sit down at my desk to write what was to become this blog post.

    Like a real writer.  Also shown: picture that should be properly mounted on the wall.

    I had sat down for not even 10 minutes when...

    Epic tea spill.  There was nothing remaining in the cup whatsoever.  I don't think I've ever moved so fast, it got everywhere, including on the brand new laptop and the phone (both are fine, but, ugh).  *le sigh*