Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm kind of a big deal, you know.

Something that I wrote is being published.

In a book.

Okay, okay. I'll admit--it's an anthology. A feminist anthology. And it's pending publisher approval.

But something that I wrote is being published. In a book.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Defying Expectations

Fun fact: Apparently if you google "necrophiliac rash" it leads you to my blog. Winning!

With that being said, I'm about to say arguably the most controversial thing I've ever said on this blog:

I remember sitting in a first-year journalism class and having an instructor lecture us on the moral danger of having a Shopper's Optimum card versus an Airmiles card. "Airmiles sells your information to other companies," she told us, outraged.

Uh, so what? Why should I care if my information is being sold? If it results in me getting free stuff, sell away!

Same goes for Facebook. You're tracking my demographic's preferences and trying to figure out how to best market products to us? I'm all for it! Sounds crazy, maybe, but at the same time, I'd rather have targeted marketing directed at me, instead of companies trying to sell me useless shit.

Seriously, what ever happened to being an informed consumer? Are we really that complacent? (Then again, maybe there's something telling in the fact that over 4 millions snuggies have been sold since September.)

Anyway, I was sent another swag package this week, this time by L'Oreal for Double Extension Beauty Tubes. Free makeup? Yes, please! The fact that the product actually works is only icing on the cake. (Seriously--I thought the line about creating "tubes" around your eyelashes was ridiculous, and a little redundant, because isn't that what all mascara does, technically? Turns out I was wrong. This stuff actually does create tubes around your eyelashes. It was pleasantly weird to have my skepticism proven wrong for once.)

Thanks L'Oreal! My only complaint? I got mascara all over my glasses before I went to work this morning. Effective, but not condusive to working at a not-for-profit desk job, where I already wear more makeup than anyone else in the office. I felt a little bit like a drag queen going in to work with insanely long eyelashes.

In closing, I love Lil Bow Wow. Even if he's not so little anymore.

(Also, if anyone can find me a vinyl copy of "Fela-Ransom Kuti and the Africa '70 with Ginger Baker: Live!" I will be forever indebted. It's strange how obsessive I've become about finding an album that only has five songs on it.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Conflict Resolution

The more I think about it, the more ridiculous it seems to just pick up where I left off.

I didn't stop writing. That's not what happened. It's just that I had to start writing for myself again. Everything else that I was writing here was too close to being personal, too close to the surface.

But then again, that's supposed to be the whole point, right?

So here goes:

Immobile--my journals for the last eight months are filled with this word, underlined, bold, repeated on every page. It was the breakups--and there was more than one. It was the decision to put journalism on hold. It was the debt that's still holding me in place. It was the eye infection, and the skin condition, and every other physical manifestation of the schizophrenic ball of nerves that I had become.

And it was the fear, the absolute paralyzing fear, that somehow, somewhere along the way, I'd forgotten everything except my own motives. "Am I a bad person?" This was the phrase that came out of my mouth on an almost daily basis. This was the question that monopolized every conversation I had with friends for months--because really, who was ever going to answer yes?

The question is still unanswered--somewhat. I really don't know what changed, but maybe I can just chalk it up to this: I went home for a week, remembered where I came from. And I realized that the problem is probably the opposite of what I feared--the problem is that I probably care a little bit too much.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Collecting Interest

Relationship-wise, I've never really considered myself commitment-phobic.

Sure, I don't think that married couples need to live together, let alone in the same country (except, you know, by law. . .I think.) Sure, the idea of marriage makes my chest feel tight. And sure, I tend to test the guys that I'm dating, just to make sure they want to stick around. (Most recently, I believe this is what has earned me the endearing nickname "Jerkface.") But I have never been one to hold back from enjoying a person in every capacity for simply who they are--and I've never held myself back from daydreaming about that enjoyment being a lifelong thing. (Execution, on the other hand, will never be anything more than a daydream.)

But after nearly five years of living in Toronto, it's only now clear to me what a commitment-phobe I truly am. Natty's moving out at the end of the week, taking most of her belongings with her. Since I work in an office where I essentially get paid in high-fives and the occassional thumbs-up, my co-workers have been eager to help me out in these financially-trying times. "Let us know what you already have, and we'll see what we can give you."

That's just it, though, I explained to them. I don't own anything. After nearly five years of living in Toronto, I don't even have a fork to call my own.

My policy has always been that as long as my total possessions are capable of fitting in the flatbed of a truck, that I'd be good to go--literally. (It's hard to take off and move when you have stuff.) But it's clear that I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. It's also clear that being able to use something other than my fingers to eat probably falls into the basic necessities category.

So when I returned to Toronto after Christmas holidays, I made the ultimate commitment--in the form of a turntable. Because really, what says commitment more than a vinyl collection? (Although, I have to admit, three weeks later, the "collection" stands at four records that were donated to me by the office intern. I haven't been able to bring myself to actually buy anything yet.)

So Toronto, for now, I'm committing to you. I'm committing to my job, I'm committing to my apartment, to my friends, and maybe even to my relationship.

I'm committing.

At least until something better comes up.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Seize the Cupcake

If there was ever a reason to blog again, it is hands-down today's post-brunch field trip to Cupcake Camp on Queen East.

For $5.00, we were given access to all-you-can-eat cupcakes. Well, kind of.

Here's how it worked: There were two different groups. There were tasters, and there were bakers. The bakers brought their cupcakes and were each scheduled in for a time slot. Throughout the three-hour period, different cupcakes would be released ever 15 minutes, and each baker would have an opportunity to describe their creation. The only catch? It was "first come, first serve" and there wasn't a lineup.

With over a hundred people at the venue, and only a few dozen cupcakes coming out every 15 minutes, it was clear that we needed a strategy in order to maximize our cupcake intake. We got our games faces on.

Canice and Nina were designated as the official cupcake grabbers. (Unfortunately, Canice didn't show up until later, so lost her spot on the team.) The plan was that Nina would use her height (or lack thereof) to weasel her way as close to the table as possible. Using her Red Bull-fuelled hands, she would then grab a cupcake and bring it back to the group for consumption.

Once the designated cupcake grabber returned to the group, we would cut up the cupcake equally for two purposes: to ensure that others in the crowd also had access to cupcakes, but also to ensure that we didn't become too full so that we were able to eat as many cupcakes as possible.

It was past 2:15 when the first cupcakes were released. The crowd was tense in anticipation, developing their own game plans and murmuring amongst themselves about whether or not they would be one of the lucky few who secured a delicious treat.

The first baker went up to the microphone, and the crowd was silent for a brief moment while she described what she had baked. Then the tray of cupcakes was set down on the table, and the crowd erupted. They surged forward and we could only hold our breath for our forward-player, Nina.

But sure enough, it was only moments before Nina emerged from the crowd triumphant, a cupcake held over her head!

It was the first of many cupcake victories to come.

Carla with Cupcake #1.

Sarah and I revel in Cupcake Victory #1. Envious bystanders looked on as we enjoyed our winnings.

Nina missed out on round #2, but Sarah come up as a suprise cupcake grabbing superstar. Putting aside her small-town demeanor, Sarah used the patented "orangutang arm claw" strategy to secure this cupcake from the back table. Sarah reached up and over the crowd, lowering her arm into the tray like a toy machine claw, grasping at whatever she could grab. Success!

Carla also had her moment of glory when she secured this neopolition cupcake. While the rest of us waited for the cupcakes to arrive, Carla eavesdropped on a nearby conversation that revealed that the cupcakes may not even make it to the table. Following the hot tip, Carla edged closer to the tray that was moving through the crowd. And when it was lowered prematurely--she was there!

All-in-all, we sampled enough cupcakes to leave my hands shaking and my head light.

The only problem with Cupcake Camp, is that really, we were just too good at it.

It kind of makes me wish that Cupcake Camp was a competitive sport--because if it was, I feel like it would be the first time I would feel like a winner.