Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The braggart complains

After reading Dan’s blog today, I decided that I also wanted to share some of my high school grades:*

Mainly because I was a genius.

I’ve never been an overachiever though. And I’m far from a perfectionist. Anyway who has ever worked with me on anything as probably heard me utter the words, “Whatever. I give up. It’s good enough.” Throughout high school I relied on a solid method of procrastinating until the last possible minute, starting assignments with enthusiasm only to say, ‘Whatever, it’s good enough,” when I was nowhere close to really being finished, and then relying on my expert bullshitting skills to ace all my classes. (This is why you’ll note that my math marks are barely passing, and my math 30 is conspicuously absent—I never took grade 12 math because it’s difficult to bullshit your way through algerbraic equations in the advanced math class, especially when you’re slightly dyslexic with numbers.** But you’ll have note the exceptionally high English grade—the highest mark in the 2002 graduation class. English is what bullshitting was invented for.) And when my bullshit skills failed me, my charm and winning smile always got me what I wanted. And when even that didn't quite work, I was always good at crying.

My mom always told me that I should seriously pursue a career as a spin doctor. Due to personal ethics, I refuse to lie about anything, but I have definitely perfected the art of the white lie, or just flat out working around the truth. After watching Thank You For Smoking last night, I sat back with a smug grin on my face and the thought, “I could do that.” (Well, except for the part where Nick was a tobacco lobbyist, because I wouldn’t be down with that.) And anyone whose ever had a debate with me can attest to that—my favourite role to play is the devil’s advocate, and I have a hard time forming opinions because I like to play to all sides of the stories. Pick the right one, and you’ve got yourself a golden white lie. Because there isn’t two sides to a story; there is a whole grey area surrounding it, and that grey area is my favourite place to be.

Bullshit is also not getting me through journalism school. Yesterday I was at school for 8 hours without a break, and today I was at school for 11 hours, with only a 45 minute break to grab some sustenance. My eyes were bloodshot by the time I got home. I’m working harder in school this year than I ever have before.

It’s all because now that I’ve decided that I don’t care about journalism anymore, I have to try to get As in my classes so that I can get into graduate school, whereas before my marks didn’t matter at all.

The irony of this isn’t lost on me.

In other news, my weekends and Saturday nights have turned into baking and cooking extravanganzas. On Saturday I made cookies.

And a white chocolate rhubarb coffee cake that isn't much to look at, but was delicious. It dissapeared in less than 24 hours.

*I could only share some for security purposes. The Alberta education system uses grades as "passwords" which is also why I blacked out some of the numbers. Also, to explain to all the non-Albertans out there, 10 is grade 10 level, 20 is grade 11, and 30 is grade 12. At the end of our grade 12 terms, we are required to take Provincial Diploma Exams. The PDEs are a province-wide standard of testing, and worth 50% of our final grade, so I guess it's comparable to taking SATs. Also, check out all the little "Hs" for honours.

**I was only allowed to graduate because I completed my French 30, which, for some reason, is a substitute for math. I also graduated with 120 credits. I only needed 100.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dog-Eared Philosophies

I’ve always viewed relationships from their limitations, rather than as being advantageous.

Although I’ve never been above moping around about the house about the lack of a cute boy to a) spoon with, b) makeout with and c) hold hands with (also known as the Holy Trinity of Relationship Bonuses) this has never been enough for me to run out and buy a push-up bra and start shaving my legs in the ultimate bid for a boyfriend. My wheatbag, when heated properly, was a solid substitute. (Although, I have to admit, it was never very good at kissing back.)

My ideal relationship has always been hurried love affair that lasts a short while—a weekend, even, perhaps--and dissipates before the sun comes up on Monday morning. There are no harsh breakups, there are just circumstances that cause you to happily part ways, with fond memories in your mouth. Both parties pine after the other, maybe sending a letter back and forth, maybe a postcard, or even just cryptic packages in the mail with no note, except a tiny postscript containing only Xs and Os and a drawing of a dinosaur.

And while that sounds very idealistic, I’ve had a couple of relationships that fall into this category. The kind that movies are made of—heart throbbing, hand-holding, eye-gazing, laughing at each of the other’s jokes constantly, kissing passionately and trying to hold onto a moment before time robs you of it. (In Australia, I had a relationship just like this. I met Ronen at my hostel after accidentally hitting his car with a basketball in classic Jess fashion, and we went swimming together later that day. A huge wave crashed me into him, and our lips met—you can’t get much more romantic comedy cliché than that. There were walks on the beach, and glasses of wine, and books exchanged. There were even dolphins. But at the end of the two days, when he offered to travel up the coast with me for the next three weeks, I immediately said no. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my independence just for some hand-holding and aqueous mammals.)

And when I think back on the last three years of my life, three years that I spent (mainly) happy and (mostly) single, the list of things that I’ve accomplished that were only possible because I was single are overwhelming. If I had a boyfriend, would I have moved to Toronto? Would I have gone to Vanuatu? As much as I’d like to tell myself that it would have all been the same regardless, having a dedicated wheatbag for a partner allowed me to do all these things. I wouldn’t have moved across the country. I wouldn’t have traveled across the world. I wouldn’t have met all the amazing people I know today.

For the most part, my decisions have been completely independent and selfish for the last three years. And that’s the way I like them.

And that’s the way I’ve always envisioned my life. A future of completely independent and selfish decisions where no other parties are truly involved and/or subsequently hurt by whatever decisions I might make. I guess this is why I’ve never been that interested in marriage.

I’ve always thought that’s what relationships were all about—sacrificing your independence to be with another person.

And while that may be partially true, what I’m starting to realize is that maybe the difference comes when you truly want to be with someone. Because suddenly, it’s no longer sacrifices or limitations. Instead, maybe it’s a whole new set of possibilities.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Cleavage-Free Bad Metaphor

Facebook is like going out to a scenester club where all your friends are trying to shout and talk over loud music. People are trying to drag you in every direction at once and, really, all you want to do is go home and sleep, but you're afraid that if you do, you'll miss out on something.*

I think I prefer the blogosphere. It's more like your favourite, dimly lit pub where you can get a pint of beer and relax with your friends.

*Or maybe it just feel that way because it seems like every party picture (and then some) that I've ever posted on this blog has somehow made its way onto Facebook. Looking at Facebook is like reading 10 Premature Nostalgia Sunday morning posts in a row.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

How did this happen?

I feel like I'm betraying blogger by whoring myself out on facebook.

I'm sure it's just the novelty. It'll wear off.

(At least that's what I keep telling myself. . .)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I'm out there. Waiting.

I hit a new low tonight.

I just joined Facebook. But much like myspace, I will likely ignore that my account exists. In the meantime, I've signed up for the sole purpose of lurking people.

I'm may be above Internet communities,* but I'll never be above creepily stalking people on the Internet.


*Just to clarify, blogging is WAY beyond just being an "Internet community". . .it's a lifestyle and therefore excluded from that statement.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Facts for Friday

1. As a kid, the older brother my brother's best friend who lived up the street used to babysit us on occassion. We had a pretty close relationship with him, and would hang out with him even when he wasn't required to take care of us. Our relationship was so close, in fact, that one night when he came over to babysit and he had this wicked sunburn on his back, he let us peel it for him. We sat in the living room, an old yogurt container ready and waiting as a recepticle for his dead skin, and went to work.

It was like a special treat.

2. I'm currently growing my toe hair out so I can photograph is and post the results on the blog. I don't have much, but it's really long. I feel like I should embrace the strangeness of this, and try and diminish the embarassment I've always felt.

3. Last night Alice and I went to get pedicures on the coldest night of the year. Before we put on our socks to leave, they saran-wrapped our toes to protect the polish. I enjoyed the sensation so much that I'm tempted to wear saran wrap under my clothing on a regular basis. Alice confessed that she wore the plastic wrap for the rest of the night.

4. I hate purses. I only own one that I regularly carry, and it has a broken zipper. I kind of wish the human body had carrying compartments built into it. I don't like the fact that I have to carry "stuff" around with me.

5. I'm not a big fan of slang either. One might even say that I'm anti-slang.

6. It's a common misconception that eczema is just a rash. The truth is that as a skin condition, it can also involve covering the skin with what I fondly refer to as "pus balls." Basically this means that underneath the top layer of skin there is surplus of pustules that, when popped, become painful and itchy. Fun. (Wikipedia, although faulty at times, leads me to believe that I have Dyhidrosis eczema. Apparently pustules and small blisters are unique to this form of eczema and it only affects 20 out of 100,000 people. Doctors have never mentioned this to me, but then again, they always told me that I would grow out of it. Also, I was grossed out by the picture on the Wikipedia link until I realized that my right hand frequently looks exactly like this.)

7. My parents' computer literacy usually blows my friends away. In particular, they think it's really cool that my Dad has his own msn picture (and has had for about two years now). In fact, he has a selection of msn pictures to choose from. And a couple of weeks ago, they found this blog and now read it. They're welcome readers (hi Mom and Dad!) but it makes me wonder if their hearts really surge with pride when they realize their daughter is using the Internet as a means to rant incessantly about pus, peeling dead skin and toe hair?

You learn something new every day. Today, you all learned 7 new things. This has been Facts for Friday.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dear Canadian Winter,

You're kind of an asshole.

With great disdain,


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The best way to boost

I had barely settled in the regular hum, click and rotation of my brain functioning exclusively in readings and lectures (with my body struggling to keep up) when I found myself once again flying home to be with my family in Edmonton and St. Albert.

Due to the circumstances of my visit home, the flight was booked last-minute which resulted in a layover at the Regina airport. Despite the fact that I have experienced over 16 different takeoff and landings in the past 12 months, I was unfamiliar with the Regina airport, and accidentally walked into the baggage claim area before I was sent in the right direction by the helpful airport security.

Back at the gate area, I looked at my ticket for the gate number of my flight to Edmonton. It was blank, and my eyes were weary from studying for the entirety of the previous flight. "What gate should I be at?" I asked one of the airline employees. "Back at this one," she told me cheerily, "your flight is in about and hour and a half, so be sure to be back here by 8 o'clock."

I became kind of excited at the prospect of a new airport to explore, until I realized that returning to the gate by 8:00 p.m., wouldn't be an issue. . .

. . .because I couldn't walk away from it. The departures area of the Regina airport was limited to say the least, and I couldn't walk more than 100 feet without hitting a wall.

In fact, this was about the most exciting thing in the airport. This chair, that is, not that guy's cowboy hat. (My flight from Regina to Edmonton was on a plane that seated about 50 people. I was one of only two females on the flight, the rest being middle-aged white men. Three men on the flight were wearing cowboy hats. For the record, the correct way to place a cowboy hat in an airplane storage compartment is with the brim facing upwards.)

In case I got confused and lost in the airport, and became so weak and parched in the strenuous search to find my way again, there was this handy map that highlighted all the water fountains within the massive airport. Helpful!

There was also this outdated picture depicting the typical Saskatchewan census population: old, senile people, and sketchy guys with moustaches.

Regina was not the kind of place to kill an hour and a half late at night. I was not impressed.

And then a rash started to develop and itch on my wrist. I blamed it on Regina.

I wandered to the small coffee area, where I ordered from a girl maybe a couple of years older than me. She had bags under her eyes, and her hair was in a sloppy ponytail. She reminded me of the cliched characters you only see in made-for-tv movies. "She would be the single mom character who works in a diner to pay her bills," I thought to myself. All that was missing was the checkered uniform and nurse shoes.

Waiting for the coffee to brew (the girl had insisted on putting on a fresh pot for me), I sat and watched the few other people also waiting for their flights, and started scratching my wrist, and continued hating Regina.

And then it hit me. My cynacism and snobbery towards the Regina airport were distinctly Torontonian in nature. Five years ago, the airport wouldn't have seemed boring or empty to me--I would have just been captivated and excited by the prospect of flying somewhere.

My bad mood started to dissipate, and I took comfort while I listened to the coffee shop girl talk on the phone in a distinctly Prairie accent. "How was school today?" she inquisitively asked the caller.

This is home. This is what I know. And for a moment, I didn't feel like an Albertan, and I didn't feel like a Torontonian. For the first time, I felt both.

I suddenly felt very Canadian.

"Coffee's ready!" the girl called out.

I went up to fill my cup and asked her offhandly, "Are you from Regina?"

"Yah. I'm from a little hamlet right outside of Regina."

"Oh," I said. "That explains it."

"What?" she asked.

"You have a rural accent," I told her, walking back to my table, fresh coffee in hand.

A smile spread across her face. "You seem like a talker," she said, grabbing a photo album from behind the counter

She sat down at the table with me, and we began looking through her scrapbook of Saskatchewan together. "I put this together because people always ask me questions about Saskatchewan, and I wanted to show people that's it's not just being able to see your dog running away for 5 days." She told me about uranium and the dinosaur beds, and about potassium. With each word and picture, the pride spilled out from her lips, but even more shockingly, so did the information and facts. The pictures were rich and colourful and carefully taken. "That's my daughter," she told me, pointing at an elementary-aged school girl.

Jen told me that she had been working at the airport to save up money to go to university. "It's strange how people think you're stupid just because you work in a job like this," she said. Jen has the capital of every state committed to memory, in addition to the historical succession of every Canadian Prime Minister. It wouldn't surprise me if, in addition to knowing the history of Canadian brick-making (which she does), she also knew the chemical properties of uranium.

"Some people look at this job at just a way to earn money and complain that it doesn't pay very much and it makes them miserable," she explained. "But I figure, why not talk to people while you're here? You meet so many different people from all over working here. I play games with the businessmen who come through here while they're waiting. I challenge them to name all the states. I memorized all the state capitals because people like it when you know something about their home. It makes them feel good."

Jen made me feel very Canadian.


After spending the weekend with my family in St. Albert, Alex Dodd and I spent Sunday shopping. After I bought a $30 dress and complained incessently of hunger, he decided that we should go out for an early dinner. "But only if you wear the dress," he told me.


Dressed to the nines, me in my new flimsy black dress and heels, and Alex in his suit, we went to the Blue Willow restaurant, cribbage board in hand. All our fellow diners (all of whom were over the age of 65, which is part of the thing that makes the Blue Willow so awesome because listening to 70 year-olds talking about spam e-mail is unbeatable entertainment*) were clearly jealous of our card game.

Full and happy, we went to Whyte Ave. to pick up some vegan chocolate cake from Mosaics. Unfortunately, it was closed for renovations. Even more unfortunate, we ran out of gas.

While Alex ran to get gas (sans jacket, mainly because he hadn't brought one apart from his suit jacket) I sat in the car, sitting on my feet to keep warm, and text messaging my cousin for entertainment.

She somehow thought it was funny.

Not even close to funny, I assure you.

Me= Not Impressed.

Alex had been missing for nearly an hour, so I started making up rhyming songs that involved a lot of profanity. Mainly about being cold. And hating Alex for forgetting to put gas in the car. (In his defense, the gas gauge is broken, and I also forgot to remind him. And he ran to get gas while I sat on my ass in the car.)

Alex finally returned, poured gas into the car (sopping it all over himself and his suit) and then we discovered the battery was, in fact, dead.** He tried to wave someone down to help, but they actually spun their tires in the snow in an effort to get away from us faster. I also discovered my AMA membership has been cancelled.

With no other easy solution, his uncle came to boost us and we finally made it home by around 8:30.

The moral of the story?

Don't trust Alex Dodd to remember anything, ever. But do know that he'll keep you warm and even lend you a jacket to cover your bare legs even though he's cold, too.

Or maybe the moral is to not have broken gas gauges in your car.

I'm not really sure.
*The second best thing about the Blue Willow is that when you're done your meal, they bring you these hot towels. But they get you to stick out your index finger, and then they spin them onto your finger! Alex has to take notes for his cabbage roll restaurant in Radway. And the third best thing about the Blue Willow is that they have vegetarian spring rolls and vegan meals. Yes!

**There was foreshadowing to this earlier in the day, too, when I got into a fight with Alex about how to properly boost a car. I explained that the proper way to boost a car is to show some cleavage, approached a male, and simulatenously look really pathetic but in a cute way.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I was almost your brain surgeon.

Every time a new acquaintance asks me what I "do," my first response is that I work in marketing. It's not a lie exactly, but considering that I live, breathe, and subsequently suffocate on j-school, it's not exactly the truth either.

In my social life, I like to gloss over the fact that I'm a journalism student because it nearly always illicits the same response:

"Oh, that's sooooo funny! I was actually going to go into journalism, too! I got really good marks in my high school English classes. I even wrote a poem that was published in my yearbook."

That's special, really. Thanks for sharing about something you almost did, but then didn't do. That's like me telling a med student that I "almost became a doctor because I was really good at dissecting frogs in biology class!"*

It's not that easy.

Imagine you’ve been spent 20 years of your life walking the correct way, when someone comes up to you and says, “You know something? You’re doing an excellent job of walking upright, and I think you have potential, but you should actually be walking backwards.” So, you start walking backwards, but you suck miserably at it. And then you start thinking that maybe you shouldn’t have even started walking upright in the first place. You’d much rather prefer to just start crawling again. But after trying and failing many times, you finally succeed in learning how to walk backwards. You’re feeling brilliant, since your walking skills are clearly superior to everyone else who is walking forwards. You’re feeling on top of the world!

That is, until that same person comes up to you and says, “Okay, good job on walking backwards. But what I actually didn’t tell you is that now you should also be walking on your hands. Through pits of fire. While carrying a full jug of leeches using only your big toe. Think you can handle that? Good. Because once you’re done, I’ll be grading you.

Oh, and did I mention you owe me $5000?”

This is what journalism school is like. And this is what learning to write again is like.

(Fun fact: I would estimate that out of the 150 people who were originally accepted into my program 2 and 1/2 years ago, only about 110 remain. The whole process is kind of soul-crushing.)

And now, here's a blurry picture of my cleavage as compensation for reading that terrible metaphor:

(For added bonus points, can you spot Alex Dodd in the above photo? )


*Which I was, by the way. You should have seen me handle a scalpel. Pro, all the way. Dissecting the fetal pig was my favourite activity. I wasn't a big fan of the cow's eyeball, though.

I'm strongly sexist, but only moderately racist.

Got 10 minutes?

Think you're not racist? Sexist? Bigoted in any shape, way or form?

Or, are you admittedly not really sure?

As a requirement for our Critical Issues in Journalism class, we were sent to this site to take a racism test. I did a couple of others while I was there, and it was definitely worth my time.

Click on the link and when it loads go to demonstration tests. Click on all the agreements and then choose whatever test suits your fancy based upon the descriptions. I recommend taking one of the race related tests.

(I almost never post links to stuff like this, but I genuinely think this is worth 10 minutes of your time. I'm also kind of eager to discuss results in the comments section.)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Feminist Diatribe

The McClung's Winter 2007 launch party is tonight. Pick up your copy in the RCC or various other venues throughout Ryerson.

(Or, if you want, you can just read my cover story about catfights, or my article about kava online.)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The dangers of free beer

On Friday after class, Brie and I were dead set to celebrate our re-union. It was also too convinient that Junior had won the VIP tour package for the SteamWhistle Brewery from my fundraiser.

This right here is what will be known as photographic foreshadowing, at only 4 in the afternoon.

The tour package included SteamWhistle merchandise and free food for Junior and 9 of his friends. Little did we know that we'd be getting much more than just a "taste" of the brewery's beer; we'd be getting free beer for the rest of the night.

The SteamWhistle brewery is right downtown under the CN tour.

At the last minute, a bunch of people bailed, but we managed to salvage together an interesting group of people. Alice came out.

Christine (who I stayed with in Calgary way back in April) and Olga came out at the last minute.

And when I called Sarah and Carla at the eyeopener office, neither one of them could come, but Jamie, the paper's photo editor and previous owner of a very thick beard, was more than happy to come too.

Junior was our amazing host.

As VIP guests, we also got out own personal tour guide. Matt knew his shit, and I think our tour ran about an hour longer than it should have, partially because the journalist in me came out to play and I asked about nine hundred and eight-two questions.

Fun fact for all the vegetarians out there: did you know that a lot of beer has gelatin in it, but breweries aren't required by law to list it in the ingredients?

The Wan Bigfella Fundraiser may have been a fundloser, but this tour package made it all very of worthwhile.

When I drink, scientific sounding words like dichotomization and titration are heavy on my tongue.

And when the words left my mouth, perfectly pronunciated and in correct context, everyone stopped talking, their mouths agap.

"Did you just say dicohotimization? You can barely use normal words right now, but you just said dichotomization?"

"Yah, so what? You wanna fight about it?"

And then I start rambling about whatever my favourite animal of choice is at that moment in time. (Currently it's barnacles, despite their lack of a central nervous system. But in the past, it's been albatrosses, parrots, aadvarks and sloths.)

And with that, all is right in the world again.

I've always hated SteamWhistle beer. But somehow, free beer tastes about 10 times better.

After the SteamWhistle tour, we went to Tortilla Flats before heading to Mark's place and picking up Dayn along the way.

We jumped on the streetcar to head to Dance Cave. (We decided to continue with the "free" theme of the evening by going to the one place that is relatively close by with dance and no cover.)

Chris was also on the tour, but somehow I have no pictures of him other than this.

Nando and his friend Mike came out to join us.

And Court and Jonny met up with us in the line there.

When I'm drinking, my affection and love for you is loose in my mouth, and not hidden. Admiration and feelings I'd never share and suddenly flowing freely. Things I'd usually hide; not from you, but from myself. Because to admit to myself that you all mean this much to me, is to admit attachment.
And sometimes you need to let go.

Why the long face?

After I got back to Toronto last weekend, I was tired, but ridiculously excited to see Alice, who had stayed in the city for Christmas. We've known each other for a year now.

We went out to Dance Cave for Mark P.'s 22nd birthday. Happy Birthday Mark! (Okay, I realize this is now a kind of belated blog post, but you know I love you.) I actually had a dream the other night that Mark P. was trying to market the "Mark P. drink." It did quite well. He was using myspace primarily to advertise. (I think we're too wrapped into all these technological social spheres.)

I couldn't resist giving Jeff intense scalp massages all night.

Brie came back from Amsterdam on Saturday. We hadn't seen each other since the start of June, when I left for Vanuatu. When I saw her again, I couldn't stop hugging her. We also held hands. And then she taught us to play this game called Long Face.

The goal of the game is to make your face as long as possible. This is more fun than it may look.

It's also impossible to look attractive while playing this game.

Lana also came over for the day and we went out for Mexican food.

Katrina came back home and decided to clean out her room from last term.

Which is when she found this:

Things aren't quite the same at China, though: Sasha has gone on exchange to London for the term. Long face has more than one meaning.