Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hair Apparent

On a blistering hot day, Alex and I decided to forgoe Pride Activities in favour of sitting in Nathan Phillips Square listening to jazz music and sitting beside the water, with Alex's head in my lap.

We had been sitting like this for no more than 5 minutes when a homeless guy (again, I'm calling him homeless for lack of a better phrase--he could very well have had a home) approached us.

"Hey man," the guy said, laughing, "I just had to come over and tell you that I've never seen that much hair on a man's face before. I saw you, and saw how much hair you had, and I just had to tell you!" The guy kept rambling on and on about the dense, thick hair that has migrated out of Alex's official beard area and onto his cheeks and neck, for a good five minutes before finally wandering off.

I waited until he was out of earshot before I got in my dig. "Alex, a crazy guy just complimented you on how hairy you are. Does that tell you anything?" I chided him.

"Yah," he said, excitedly, "a crazy guy just complimented me on my hair! Now, I'm never going to shave!"

True story.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oh, those summer nights

Here's a visual image for you: Alex and I have just returned home from An Inconvenient Musical (which I highly recommend--it's hilarious!) and a quick dinner at 751. I'm wearing a dress with a high slit and heels, and Alex's face is about to explode from roughly two tonnes of atmospheric pressure caused by allergy build-up in his sinuses.

And there on the street, directly in front of my house, is 5 huge boxes of VHS tapes, discarded by the movie store downstairs for being obselete technology. Well, guess what? Being a luddite finally got me somewhere, because I am apparently one of the last Queen West Torontonians who owns a VCR.

While Alex runs upstairs in mad search of tissues, I eagerly start to sort through the dusty boxes. It's not until a bum (there's no need to be politically correct here) walks over and starts slurring something obscene that I realize that it's nearly midnight and I'm squatting on the sidewalk exposing myself in a dress and heels, completely alone. Another dude, this one looking like he has somewhere to sleep, walks by me with a creepy grin on his face. I run upstairs, a few select tapes in hand, and tell Alex about the scene below.

Alex tries to convince me that we should just haul all the boxes upstairs, go through them, and then take them out next Thursday. (Which is the next recycling day.) Then we hear the clattering of tapes. The bum has come back, and he's pouring the biggest of the boxes ALL OVER the sidewalk. There's literally a pile of about 100 VHS tapes in the middle of the sidewalk. He leaves, but by the time I walk Alex down to catch the streetcar, a scene is developing. People are taking pictures with their cell phones, and a group of about six are digging in. Others pass by, each one looking excitedly at the tapes before realizing, "I don't own a VCR."

In the end, it's just me and another guy. "This is like Christmas!" he tells me, "My girl is going to be so happy." After seeing one two many copies of Riding in Cars with Boys, I call it quits.

My Haul: E. T., The Salton Sea, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, and, quite shamefully, What a Girl Wants. And I'm not going to lie--I also had a hard time passing up my very own copy of Britney Spears' Crossroads.

Tax Evader: The Cottage Country Edition

With only four months left until I become an Ontarian, I've been compiling a list of things I need to do to embrace everything that is Ontario. Number one on the list? Going to Ottawa, the nation's capital, for Canada Day. (After all, you can't get much more Canadian than that. I was planning to wear a flag, drink Canadian beer, start saying "eh?" instead of "hey?" and getting a small maple leaf tattoo on the small of my back.)

Unfortunately, this year's long weekend is a non-long weekend long weekend. In otherwords, I have to work on Monday.

So when Brie invited me to come to Krista's cottage at Port Stanley, I jumped at the opportunity. Because after four years of living in Ontario (and yes, what I'm about to say is somewhat shameful), I've never been to a cottage.

Okay, okay. Before you get your panties in a knot, let me clarify. Have I been to a cabin? Sure. A house in the woods near a lake? Absolutely! Does my family own a house on the lake? Of course, we even had a cabin on the lake at one point! The difference is that in Alberta nobody owns "cottages." And when you grow up in Cold Lake, which Ontarian's would consider "cottage country," the idea of going to the cottage is somewhat lost on me.

. . .Or at least it was four years ago, when I arrived in the city, stunned by the skyscrapers, and naively loving the sound of emergency vehicles and streetcars at night.

Now that I live here, have graduated from university, work for a non-profit and am working my way nicely into a yuppie lifestyle (jokes people! jokes!) I suddenly understand the sheer and utter neccessity for cottages.

Our beach time was limited because of the rain, but the weekend at the cottage was pleasant. I went for a walk by myself down by the lake, developed an irrational fear of vampires and didn't get very much sleep. It was good times.

But more importantly, the weekend had me making a new list, a solid list: things I want in an earth-sheltered home. Top of the list? Close to a body of water--specifically a body of water that you can swim in. (Also on the list: a loft, a library, a wood stove and recycled tires for insulation.)

Bottom line? While I may become an Ontarian in November, I'm not too sure how long it will last for. Because while I'm sold on cottage country, I'm developing a serious hate-on for the Great (Unswimmable) Lakes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Something Borrowed

When women compliment other women's wedding dresses, do they genuinely mean it? I mean, do they genuinely find tacky white dresses that constrict breasts and hide women's thighs appealing?

Or is it just another thing women lie about?

I'd really like to know.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm a big girl now

I'd like to say that since my convocation I've been settling into my role as an adult nicely.

But that would be a boldfaced lie. My life has been more hectic than usual. . .except this time it's in a good way--even the difficult decisions. I finally feel like I'm moving forward, like I'm going someplace.

But there's always time to go back in time 15 years with my big brother. (The last time we went to Medieval Times, I was in third grade.)

Everyone says that you lose touch with your friends after university. But I'm guessing "everyone" didn't take an applied arts program at Ryerson. Right now, I'm seeing my friends more than I have in an entire year.

And I'm seeing friends I haven't seen in five years. Touko, who was travelling throughout South America, stayed with me this past weekend. It's the second time in the last three years that I've had a visitor from Finland. My International Alliance of Friends (as my brother would refer to it--he thinks I make friends just so that no matter where I go in the world, I have somewhere to stay. . .and it's kind of true) is stronger than ever.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

My Style

My style is a nerdy-looking girl wearing a pretty dress, apparently. Ugh. I hope this didn't make it into the print edition. (Also, the quotes were fabricated, with my approval. 'Cause I was like all, "I don't get it? Toronto secret? Wouldn't it no longer be a secret if I told you?" And favourite store? "Uh, my favourite store is in Edmonton." The only thing that I actually said was the bit about the monocle.)

I'm braving the rainy weather in my nerdy glasses, my shorts from junior high school, a too small-tank top and paint-splattered sandles to find out is my stylishness looks better or worse on newsprint.

Edit: Yup, there it is. Thankfully, NOW is a weekly publication.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tax Evader

I don't think it's any secret that I'm proud of being an Albertan. And despite living in Ontario for the last 4 years, I still am one, at least legally. Full-time student status has allowed me to keep my Alberta identification, my Alberta health care, even my Alberta kickbacks (why would I ever give up Ralphbucks?) But all that's about change.

As of six months from the date that I finish school, I officially become an Ontaritononian (that's what I call people who are from Toronto). In November 2008, I will become an Ontarion resident.

Now, I could just dodge it all. I could lie. I could never switch over my ID, continue to file my taxes in Alberta, even completely disregard my health care coverage (hey--I have benefits now--so why not?) just for the sake of insisting that I'm an Albertan. I could become a fugitive of the law, just for my love of Alberta. (Okay, or because I just like the idea of being a fugitive of the law. It sounds kind of sexy.)

But I'm willing to give Ontario a chance.

I'm willing to acknowledge that my knowledge of Ontario is limited to Toronto, London and Ottawa. I'm willing to acknowledge I've spent nearly all of my time in the city hear, and according to the television ads, "There's no place like this, no other place like this for meeeee. . .Ontario!" (It's kind of a catchy song.)

So here's the plan. Over the course of the summer, I'm going to devote all my free weekends to investigating my new potential province of residency. If Ontario wins me over by the end of August, I will embrace my status and get an Ontario health care card. (Bold move, I know.) If not, at least I'll have something sexy-sounding to put on my business card.

For my birthday weekend two weeks ago, I decided to put the plan into action. Alex Dodd and I drove to Collingwood. I wasn't impressed at first. See that big hill in the distance? That's what they call a mountain in these parts. Blue Mountain, in fact.

But I got to feed fish, so I guess that's a point for Ontario.

We went for a hike up to the Collingwood Caves. Gorgeous view of Georgian Bay? Another point for Ontario. Eight thousand and twenty two people with little kids also hiking up to the caves? That's about minus 10 points for Ontario. There's seriously way too many people in this province.

Cool boulder thing where people were allegedly sacrificed? It's not Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, but I guess it will suffice.

My favourite part of the hike was Fat Man's Misery.

It was actually a breeze for me to get through, but Alex had a tougher time. It's more like Tall Fat Man's Misery.

This would look like a more hardcore caving experience if it wasn't for the signage in the cave.

I was introduced to Ontario's provincial flower--the trillium. Alex told me it was rare and illegal to pick, so I thought it was a definite step up from Alberta's wild rose. But according to Wikipedia, this isn't the case:

While it is a popular belief that it is illegal to pick the common Trillium grandiflorum (white trillium) in Ontario, in reality no such law actually exists. However, the rare Trillium flexipes (drooping trillium) is protected by law in Ontario [1], because of its very small Canadian population.

Verdict on provincial flowers? Well, the trillium is definitely prettier, but a bit of a pansy (ha, get it) and can be injured easily, whereas the wild rose is thorny and grows like a weed. It's a tought choice, really.

Ontario and Alberta both have trees. Good work on that, Canada.

There was something so soothing about being pulled behind a tractor.

Ontario does have one solid thing going for it: Alex Dodd. He bought me a professional kite for my birthday (I know!), which I promptly flew directly into the top of a very tall, non-sturdy, prickly tree. Alex, in an act of sheer chivarly, prevented me from crying by climbing the very tall, non-sturdy, prickly tree, all while a group of kids gathered around watching and adding commentary like, "I kind of want to see him fall" and "I knew a guy who fell out a tree once and is paralysed now."

In conclusion, I'm going to have to conduct further investigations in this Ontario matter. . .with my monocle!