Monday, December 27, 2010

Just Take A Chance Please

Mood:  lazy.
Hating:  how cold my hands are; damn bad circulation.
Loving:  flannel pjs and Ronnie Day.
Lip-syncing:  Plugin Stereo ft. Cady Grooves -- Oh Darling


There's this thing we call heartbreak
But I don't think
My heart's ever let me down
My heart's never let me down

But I still cry
'Cause I can't always have it my way
And sometimes crying can help you out
Sing it aloud, sing it aloud

Shred your lungs
I need to hear you louder now
As if you'll never sing again
And when the morning comes and your throat is sore
You'll face the day like you did before
But with a smile on in the end

And I don't know
If you can hear me
But I can hear the sound of my own echo
Coming back alone

And I don't why
That should scare me
To be so lonely but I can't stop crying out
Sing it aloud, sing it aloud

Shred your lungs
I need to hear you louder now
As if you'll never sing again
And when the morning comes and your throat is sore
You'll face the day like you did before
But with a smile on in the end

I want to hear you sing this song back to me
Across of miles from home where we should be
And I miss you so badly
But I won't waste a simile
'cause you already know what you mean to me
If only I could hear you

Shred your lungs
I need to hear you louder now
And sing
As if you'll never sing again
And when the morning comes and your throat is sore
You'll face the day like you did before
But with a smile on in the end

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Such Simple Miracles

Mood:  content.
Loving:  the little things.
Lip-syncing:  Kevin Devine -- You Are the Daybreak


So this blog is mostly a glimpse of the insanity that resides within my head. But after reading a comment on my last entry, I realized I actually to tend to post a lot when I'm upset. And I think that happens with a lot of people. But for once, let me share some good news.

The past few weeks have been incredibly hectic for me. Finishing exams rather early, I've been working ridiculous hours at my retail job (I found out it's actually NOT illegal for a part-timer to work 41 hours in one week...huh). Understandable, of course, since it is the busiest time of year. Except for the fact that it makes me absolutely miserable. I constantly found myself irritable and angry for what little downtime I did end up having. Which, I think is safe to say, no way to spend your time.

And so, I have finally worked up the courage to quit.

This isn't to say there were no perks at this place, of course. I've befriended a couple of the folks I work with, mostly those who share the same dry, inappropriate humour that I do. They make my shifts more bearable. So I extend a heartfelt thank you to those few individuals for their camaraderie. They're such wonderful people, and I hope we can continue our awkward all-you-can-eat sushi get togethers and dark hilarity.

I have to say, I do feel guilty for leaving these friends in such a place, at such a time. Yet I also feel a sense of relief, despite the opinions some people are sharing about my decision. It's not as though I don't have another job; I was offered a cashier/serving job at a small Mediterranean place closer to my house. I'll still be able to afford my tuition, since I'm getting paid the same rate here too.

It was a complicated endeavor, quitting just in the middle of the holidays. Let me tell you, it was a battle and a half. When I first tried to hand in my two weeks, my manager wouldn't accept it. Kind of funny, now that I think back on it. Throughout the past two weeks, it's been quite the effort to get my point across that I will not be working there past Christmas Eve. I suppose it's flattering, to a degree, to have someone want you to stay at a company that badly. And truth be told, I considered it. As a nineteen year old trying to pay her own way through university, the thought of having the money from two jobs was kind of appealing. But, even though I do some pretty questionable things, my insanity doesn't quite allow me to think of balancing two jobs AND go to school full-time. I'm not sure anyone truly can.

I haven't been able to enjoy the holidays for awhile. Working since the age of sixteen, I've grown to dislike the craziness of holidays, always worrying about my hours and what not. This year, I'm going to do my best. Even though I haven't put up a tree yet, I think this Christmas is going to go down in my books as one of the best. And I'm starting my New Years resolution early. 

Life is always a balancing act. And in retrospect, I haven't done the greatest job. My priorities tend to be skewed, with me throwing 110% towards one aspect and ignoring or failing at the others. And I like to think this is a step in the first direction, my first truly measured and mature decision. Why should I stay someplace I was growing to hate? It's so easy for poison, for resentment and anger to seep into your life, and it's so much harder to get rid of.

But I'm going to try.

Merry Christmas. Whether you celebrate it, or something else, I wish you all the best this holiday season. I hope you stop to smell the roses, smile and laugh with your friends and family, and move forward with your goals. And of course, Happy New Year. May this blog become a brighter, happier reflection of life to come.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm Trying to Tell You Something

Mood: not happy.
Hating:  parents.
Loving: ranting to friends.
Lip-syncing:  Sia -- I'm In Here


Despite my foul mood, I'm going to share some pretty amazing news. Read the article in the link, and you'll be feeling a little better too.

Best present ever. Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Better Listen Now, It Ain't No Joke

Mood:  annoyed.
Hating:  this class.
Loving:  how I have about 5 classes left in this semester.
Lip-syncing:  Billy Squier -- The Stroke


This is truly what we need.

Reteaching Gender and Sexuality from Sid Jordan on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Do We Stay Together 'Cause We're Scared to Be Alone?

Mood:  hmmm; good question.
Hating:  school work, indecision, and rude people who just cause so many issues that inconvenience you and make you even more upset.
Loving:  brainstorming with Lyndsey.
Lip-syncing:  Pink -- Mean



“We should’ve gone to Starbucks.”

“Sarah, you can’t say that in Second Cup.”
“What? Is there some sort of rule?”
“I’m assuming there is.”
“Nobody has tackled me down yet--”
“Just be patient and wait for your damn coffee.”
I had to secretly agree with her though. We should have gone somewhere else today. What was worse than being stuck at a busy Second Cup in the late morning with a bunch of disgruntled people? Being stuck with Sarah, who was one of those disgruntled people. Usually it would be amusing to listen to her smart comments anywhere else and any day of the week, but that day was about getting out of the cafe alive. And with coffee.

“Do you have any plans tonight?” Sarah asked, glaring at the tall man carrying a briefcase who pushed between us to get his drink. I mimicked her glare as I responded,

“Not that I know of. Why? Is Patrick playing a show tonight?”

“Actually, I thought we could go to the movies.”

“The movies?” I repeated. “Is going to the movies still relevant these days?”

“Just thinking outside the box,” she said, cleverly mimicking the shape with her fingers.


“So will you go?”

“Maybe.” I heard her sigh in distress.

“Oh, come on!”

“I said maybe, Sarah. What more do you want?”

“No,” she whined, waving her hand over to the man with a suitcase who clearly ordered a few people after us. “We were totally standing in front of him!”

“Well, it probably takes extra time and care to make your special little lactose-free, decaf peppermint type drink or whatever you ordered.” Sarah ignored me as she flipped out her phone out to check her messages.

“If I knew this would happen, I would have stayed in bed with Patrick. Naked.”

And as much as I would love to picture that right now, I have to get my coffee,” I said, bumping shoulders with her as I made my way over to the counter.
Sarah and I met when I had just moved into the city, living in a barely decent hotel with a shared bathroom. I was shooting band photos at this club downtown. Sarah was bartending, and some guy had grabbed her ass when she was already on her last thread. She was on the edge of quitting right then and there when she saw me.
The singer for the band I was photographing was offering me something other than money in exchange for the pictures I had just taken. He was very touchy feely and smelled of leather and practically sweated Jack Daniels from his pores. Which would have been attractive, had it not been for his clammy hands trying to reach parts of me that were reserved. The more I refused him, the more his hands wandered. I had uncomfortably shifted and spotted Sarah watching me at the other end of the counter. When we locked eyes, I could tell that we both knew what was going on. She walked over, kindly asked the man fondling me to leave, but he only shoved his almost-empty glass in her direction. Alcohol had spilled on her tank top, and she immediately lost it and lunged herself at him. The odd thing was that she hadn't touched him. His judgment was distorted, and he immediately fell back on his barstool, crashing to the floor and cursing out at no one in particular.
Sarah and I became fast friends.

“Were you meeting up with Jay later?” she asked, batting her eyelashes dreamily in my direction. I rolled my eyes as I took a careful sip of my lukewarm latte.

“Do you always have to refer to my boyfriend like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like he's Brad Pitt or something.”

“Brad Pitt?” she frowned like she had tasted something bitter. “Oh, I would never talk about Brad Pitt like that.”

“You know what I meant.”

“Right. I guess I would have understood it faster if I had some caffeine,” she hinted, eyeing my latte.
I held my small cup of treasure closer to me, before declaring, “Mine.”

Oh, come on,” she begged, “Just a sip and I'll wait patiently for my peppermint bliss.”
“But it's at a decent temperature now, and I want to savor every drop.”
“But you owe me!”
“Owe you for what?”
She stopped attempting to snatch my drink for a minute to contemplate a good answer. “You know, that one time? When I...uh...”
When she tried to grab my coffee cup, things got complicated, and we found ourselves play fighting in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was bumping up against people I didn't know, and some of my drink was getting spilled down my fingers. Apparently this happened to Sarah as well, but she didn't take it the same way I did. She let out a high pitched yelp and let go, causing me to stumble backwards, smashing against a stranger with enough force to spill my latte all over the front of my jacket. I didn't realize until I stopped freaking out over the front of my coat that the back was also stained with hot coffee. I turned around, my mouth gaped, and I stared at the guy.
“Oh my goodness, I am so sorry!”
He, too, had a brown stain in the front. Hopefully he had put on several layers like I had so the heat wouldn't be overwhelming, but he didn't show a lot of reaction. Instead, he glanced over at Sarah and then back at me. It was almost as if time stopped around us until he would say something in reply. I tried to say something else, but nothing would come out. I was too shocked. Even the uncomfortable feeling of being wet didn't overwhelm me. I just watched this guy, wiping down the front of his sweater with his hand. He was fair skinned, had dark hair, and along with the new coffee stain on his shirt, there were paint stains of colour as well. When I looked up at his face, I couldn't help but notice a small closed-lipped smile on his face as he turned away from me and towards the counter to get some more napkins.
“Are you all right?” 
Shut your mouth, Charlie.
“I didn't mean to–” 
Be quiet, Charlie.
“I mean, you're not saying anything, and I feel really bad...” 
Run away in shame now, Charlotte.
“It's fine,” he finally answered, looking at me as he set his hollow sounding coffee cup on the counter.
Since my mind had told me to be quiet, I couldn't help but finally listen to it and stand there like an idiot. Life continued moving back in motion, and we just sort of blended in with the crowd of morning Second Cup traffic.
“Really,” he assured a second time, a smirk making its way onto his face as he wiped down the stain on his jacket. “It's fine.”
Sarah eased into the sad excuse for an apology as she walked over. She waved her hand in front of my face as if I was supposed to be in a trance. “He's fine, Charlie. Leave the guy alone.”
As my best friend convinced me to walk away from the situation, I couldn't help but glance behind us at the guy standing there, still smirking. Then, I noticed right before I turned back around that he was looking straight at me, and his hand lifted slightly into a wave. I was confused.
Sarah snatched the empty coffee cup out of my hand and tossed it in the trash. We walked down the sidewalk together.
“So what was that all about?” she asked.
“I don't know what you're talking about.”
“Oh, come on! You totally phased out like an idiot in front of that awkwardly cute looking art guy.”

I glanced at her. "Art guy?"

"Messy black hair, paint stained sweater, and pale skin? Art guy."

"I didn't know you wasted your time classifying people into pointless groups."

“Well, I get bored,” she shrugged before grinning. “...Okay. Carries around a ratty spiral bound notebook, mysterious bad-boy edge, and a voice that makes my heart explode.”

“Your boyfriend?”

“Music guy. Patrick.” She wrapped her arms around herself and squeezed giddily. “Okay, okay. One more.” 

I sighed in defeat. “Shoot.”

“Gorgeous man!” she exclaimed out of nowhere with a burst of energy. “Perfect teeth and beautiful blue eyes! British accent! And his body was carved by Greek Gods!” I could only stare at her in total shock. “Actor guy. Your boyfriend, Jayden, remember?” she gripped my arm. “Or did Art guy make you forget?”

“Shut up.”

“You never answered me. Are you going to see him later?”

“I really don't know,” I confessed softly. “I haven't seen him all week.”

Our conversation faded out the more we began to walk in the direction of the park. The city was unusually crowded that day, despite the heavy clouds and the occasional cold breeze. I couldn't help but inhale and take in the lightness of the winter air.

“It’s going to snow soon.”
Sarah sighed heavily as if she was experiencing a big letdown. “Are you serious? It better not be within the next two minutes. I hate walking in the snow.”

“Don’t you watch the weather?” I said after a sip of my drink. “It won’t be until late tonight.”

“Are you serious? You just lifted your head and smelled the air like a hippie, and
then you mention the weather channel?”

“I just needed clarification.”

Sarah scoffed and looped her arm into mine as we made our way through the park to avoid crossing the street. Despite the cold weather, people still sat in the benches aligned along the two grassy fields. Walking past everyone enjoying their lunch break was a similar yet less annoying way for winter window shopping. There, within that little area contained an astounding number of pea coats, scarves, and boots for me to make a note of the next time I had a little extra cash. In the meantime, I was content with layering my shirts and wearing two socks on each foot to compensate. I let out a sigh, watching the white puff of air fade away before I turned to Sarah.

Maybe it's just that time,” I finally announced. “Jayden and I are going in different directions –”
Sarah stopped in her path and turned to me, “Charlotte, don't say that. You two are great for each other.” I sighed. The moment ‘Charlotte’ came out instead of the familiar nickname ‘Charlie’, I knew I was now dealing with a very serious Sarah.

“Are we?”

There was a long pause after that.
We ended up going to Sarah and Patrick's apartment, a place I was no stranger to despite the fact that Sarah and I were no longer roommates. We both found apartments with our boyfriends on opposite sides of the city, but I always found myself at Sarah's anyway. It had a terrace that overlooked the park. It was a great place to hang out and sip hot chocolate with its warm, comforting vibe; unlike mine and Rob's place, with our modern, minimalist furniture. It felt cold and empty.
“Maybe we should stay in tonight,” Sarah suggested, looking through a sushi takeout menu. “I'll invite Lyndsey and Brian to meet us over here for drinks. Patrick is coming home from the record store in about ten minutes, so he can pick up--”
“I just want a big, fat cheeseburger and a huge order of fries,” I said as I sank into one of the big comfy chairs, my hands making gestures as to exactly how big I wanted the burger.
“Burgers,” she repeated, switching takeout menus. “Burgers sound good.”
An hour and a half later, there were five of us sitting on the terrace, slightly tipsy from the drinks of the evening and our tummies full with the oh-so healthy burgers and fries. Our friends, Brian and Lyndsey, joined us as well as Sarah's boyfriend of almost a year, Patrick. I did feel out of place. But I didn't have to share a chair and a blanket this time around, so it felt pretty comfortable from what I could judge between Lyndsey shifting around on Brian's lap every five minutes. Sarah had her own blanket as well since Patrick was so busy strumming on his acoustic already, gazing deeply into his girlfriend's eyes while she stared at him like he was maniac. When Patrick got drunk, he was usually our source of entertainment. That night, he was cooking up his own rendition of Lionel Richie's ‘Hello’ just for Sarah.
“I can see it in your eyes,” Patrick sang, his voice echoing for the neighbors. “I can see it in your smile!”
“Can we please go inside?” Lyndsey begged, breathing out a miserable white puff of air into the cold.

Lyndsey was a nurse. She was one of the coolest nurses I had ever known. Well, I only compared this to the hormonal haggarts who literally enjoyed the pain of stabbing needles in poor soul’s arms. She truly loved what she did though; she worked even crazier hours than I did. Brian owned his own construction business. They met under the unfortunate circumstances of his trip to the emergency room after saving one of his employees from being flattened by a cement block. Having Lyndsey clean him up put Brian in such a good mood he didn’t even fire the guy operating the crane.
“Aw, baby, just one more verse!” Brian begged, pulling her to sit back down on his knee. Lyndsey rolled her eyes and gave in, putting her arms around his neck and snuggling close. Brian gave the three of us a wide grin. Sarah and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes.
“You doing okay over there in solitary, Charlie?” Brian asked, “Jay couldn't make it tonight?”

I shook my head, “No.”

“Acting thing,” Sarah explained, shrugging it off for me.

“‘Cause I wonder where you are!” Patrick practically elongated the last word as much as he could hold the note, causing stirs from the people below us.

Lyndsey couldn't seem to take much more of it and stood up. “Time to go inside.”

“Lynds!” Brian begged as he stumbled over to the window we had kept open. After that it was only the three of us. I guess it wasn't so bad since Sarah needed company along with Patrick singing like a drunken idiot. It must have been a long day at the record store for Patrick to drink so much.

“Have you called Jay?” Sarah asked, slyly trying to reach over to Patrick so she could grab his guitar from him.

My lifted my hands from inside my cozy blanket and checked my phone on my lap. “Not within the past fifteen minutes.”

“Maybe his phone's off.”

“Maybe he's ignoring me.”

“It's all in your head, Charlie,” she sighed, both for me and the fact that she failed since Patrick moved over to the chair Bri and Lyndsey had vacated. “Just because you saw one guy today who made you rethink things does not mean you should start ending your relationship.”

“It's called lust,” Patrick briefly stopped his singing to say one relevant thing for the entire evening. I sighed.
Sarah, I know you're like the love cheerleader and all, but for once, can you be realistic?” She pursed her lips. I continued. “I love him. I love his dedication to his career...” Brian and Lyndsey, who both happened to be eavesdropping, interrupted.


I looked over at them, back at Sarah, and even Patrick who was still at it with his guitar.

“But I'm not happy.”

My phone began to ring in my lap. I hesitated answering it since four pairs of eyes were all staring, waiting for me to make up my mind. When I did pick up the phone, Patrick decided it was the right time to start strumming his guitar loudly.

“Hello!” he sang. “Is it me you're looking for?”

It broke the ice between them. I, on the other hand, wasn't laughing. I held the phone to my ear, listening to him breath.

“Charlotte? Are you there?” His heavy British accent echoed through the other end of the line.

“I'm here,” I replied.

He sighed deeply into the phone, “You should come home. We need to talk.”

“Home?” I repeated out loud. How strange. I never called our apartment a "home". It was more of a place, a place I couldn't imagine living in.
“Yes, home,” he said, sounding a bit annoyed.

We didn't say goodbye to each other. That was part of every phone conversation between me and Jayden. We would just hang up, no other explanation. Instead of worrying, I just closed my phone and tried to focus on the game of charades Brian and Lyndsey were playing from inside. Even Sarah had convinced Patrick to calm down and watch them through the window. They seemed to both be having such a good time as a couple. I felt like I should leave. I grabbed my shoes next to the leg of the chair and attempted to tiptoe towards the window.

“Is Jay coming?” Sarah asked, a hint of hope in her eyes.

I just exchanged glanced with her and Patrick and shook my head. “No, I've got to go.”

“All right,” she said, “Call me later.”

Jayden’s first good experience with acting started as soon as we moved into the apartment. I guess it was understandable to say that I blamed the fail of our relationship to that overpriced loft on the eighteenth floor. It looked like neither of us on the inside. The first room was the kitchen, a room I barely used since I failed at being a cook and could only make a decent grilled cheese. The next area was the living; or non-living room. We barely used it. It was just oddly shaped couches and chairs that were too firm if anyone sat on them to watch the television that had no cable. But the view from the window was breathtaking during the evening. Then there was the bedroom, a room barely used by me since I was at Sarah and Patrick's so much. The bed was still fairly new and had only been used once or twice since we moved in. Poor bed. There wasn't a lot of colour either, despite the numerous times I had suggested it. Instead, it was now mostly ice blue walls with black and white furniture. He had hired a decorator. We never had time to really plan out the place for ourselves. She just sort of worked with it, and we just gave her the money due to our conflicting schedules.
I waited miserably for the elevator to hit the eighteenth floor and the doors to open. My keys were already dangling from my hand.

He was leaning against the counter when I first came in, his buttoned down shirt opened with his sleeves rolled up. His hair was a dirty brown mess, like it was every other day. He was in typical model mode, definitely not convinced he wasn't working anymore that day. His phone was still in his hand, as if he was about to call or text someone when I'd just walked in the door. When he looked over at me, he shoved his phone into the pocket of his dark denim jeans, ran a hand through the front of his hair and started towards me. His arms wrapped uncomfortably tightly around me.

“Hey," he whispered softly into my hair. I gritted my teeth.

“Where were you?!” I pushed him away from me. “I sat there alone with Sarah and Patrick and –”

“I didn't feel like being around those people,” he mumbled. “I wanted to be with you. I wanted to talk about—”

I looked at him in disbelief as I slammed my bag on the side table. “I sat there like a lonely...lobster or...a penguin-”


“The point is that you weren't there!”

“I didn’t know it was a group thing--”

“Well it was!” I snapped. “And I was embarrassed!”

He shook his head and sighed before walking over to me, “I’m sorry. I didn't want to be with people, just you...What am I supposed to say?”

“Those people are my friends!” My skin tingled to the touch of his hands on my shoulders. He let go soon after to run them through his hair. Like that was going to fix anything.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated, returning to leaning back against the counter. “You were embarrassed, and I'm sorry."

“‘Sorry’ isn't going to cut it anymore,” I admitted, folding my arms tensely.

“What are you talking about?”

“I never see you anymore,” I murmured. “The only time we talk, we get into fights.”

He shifted his eyes towards me instead of the tiles on the floor. “What do you suggest?”

My mouth opened, but what I really wanted just couldn't form into words. “…I don't know.”

“I got signed with a very good agent today,” he confessed, eyeing the tiles again and holding in his excitement.

“That’s great.”

“He’s based in Paris.” I nodded, glad that I didn’t have to wait so long for the catch, but it definitely left some extra time for the word “Paris” to sink in.

Jay walked over and took my hand, squeezing it, hoping for more happiness to come out of me or something as if I was a sponge of emotions. But I continued looking away, scared to even glance at him.

“It’ll be six months of networking and shows, and there’s just a lot more to do over there,” he explained in his soft, romantic voice, probably hoping that I would take it in better that way. Again. Sponge.

“And where does that leave me?” I asked him, finally looking up into his eyes. “I have a life here, Jayden." He winced as I used his full name.

“But-” he interrupted chuckling in some sort of disbelief, “I can take care of you, Charlotte. I was going to leave on a flight tonight so I could surprise my family in London. I was hoping you’d come with me and meet them. And then Paris for a few months –”

“Great. A few days of you teasing me before you leave me alone in a strange city for six months. Sounds great, Jayden. A fantastic time.”

“So what do you want to do, Charlotte? Huh?” He tensed. “Tell me what you want to do right now, because I have a plane to catch.”

I felt the air become dense as I breathed out and looked at him. For once, I admired the scruff around his chin and the color of his eyes. None of that mattered to me in the beginning of our relationship. It was just him. Being around him. How he used to be. He used to be the guy singing off-key with Patrick at our little get-togethers. Now he was someone I barely knew, someone I could only pretend to be happy with.


He briefly pressed his forehead against mine, and that was the last moment we had. He left with his suitcase.
What we just did was undefined and left up in the air. Even though it wasn't official, it felt like it was.

And it felt lonely.

Friday, November 5, 2010

So We Made Our Way By Finding What Was Real

Mood:  content and slightly amused.
Hating:  all the work I know is waiting for me; but I'm going to enjoy some relaxation right now.
Loving:  cozy blankets and snoring pet dogs.
Lip-syncing:  Daughtry -- September
Quote of the Day:  "Girls chase nothing. Not even their vodka."


I love getting together with people you haven't seen for awhile. Updating each other and getting all caught up, you get all nostalgic and happy, reminiscing and just enjoying one another's company.

Of all the things I still remember
Summers never looked the same
Years go by and time just seems to fly
But the memories remain

It's nice to just get together and share. It's kind of like therapy, but better because you know you're getting heartfelt thoughts and advice from someone who actually cares about you, and your outcome. Perhaps it doesn't happen to everyone, but I know oftentimes I lose track of myself, of the world. All the problems, the stresses, the troubles, fill my vision and mind, and I drown in all the negativity. I lose sight of what's good, what's important; what's real. But all I really need is that one phone call, one text message from someone asking how I am and if I want to meet up. Eating, laughing and just talking through everything can really help cement your thoughts, bring your attention back to the foundations of happiness and shine a light on where you were meant to be headed. You may not be even close to getting where you want, or finding that way again, but we can all use that extra hand in guiding us on that path to the reality you truly desire.

So pick up the phone and call that old friend. It can be well worth your while. We all need those breaks, those moments where you just kick back and hang out with your buddies. And sometimes it'll help you realize the absurdity of the world; and how Apple is clearly moving forward in world domination...Or maybe just among us...hahaha...

I feel like we should be a little concerned, at some point. But maybe after we've finished remembering that one time...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Struggle

Mood:  frustrated, stressed.
Hating:  midterms.
Loving:  Toby Lightman.
Listening to:  my Documentary Film and Television professor. Being of the social networking generation, I multi-task well; at least I believe I do.



Everyday is a struggle
between what I want to say, and what I should keep to myself
And the words that do leave my lips
Well, they don't hurt me
But they hurt everyone else

So I find myself in need of a pause
I'm not sure why but I think that it's because
of this desire to be what others want me to be
Which is nothing close to me

But I'll see better when the smoke clears, when the smoke clears inside my head
And I can listen when the screaming doesn't repeat everything that I've said
All that remains is me and who I am at the end of the of the day
And this happens everyday

Everyday is a battle
between what I want to know and what I don't want to figure out
But they're still hovering here, in these dark thoughts of mine
That you know I can't live without

So I find myself in need of a pause
I'm not sure why but I think that it's because
of this desire to be what others want me to be
Which is nothing close to me

But I'll see better when the smoke clears, when the smoke clears inside my head
And I can listen when the screaming doesn't repeat everything that I've said
All that remains is me and who I am at the end of the day
And this happens everyday...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Just A Little Older, That's All

Mood:  sad.
Hating:  how, no matter how much you want or need it to stop or at least slow down, life will continue to go on...
Loving:  memories.
Lip-syncing:  Damien Rice -- Aime


Sometimes life just feels like chapters of goodbyes.

You may have never been my grandmother through blood, but you were in every other sense of the word.

I love how you use to totter along every morning along the sidewalks, turning around to yell at me to walk faster, despite the fact that you were more than twice my age. I love how you use to, on the hour, every hour, sweep the floor of your entire house. I love hearing the story of how you met, fell in love, and then was separated from the love of your life for years; only to find him again many years later and then become best friends with his new wife. It still blows my mind, and I think it says a great deal about the kind of person you were.

You use to squeeze my arm fat, and call me the 'chubby one'. But then you'd smile that slightly crooked grin and tell me that it was good; it meant that I had a bigger appetite in life.

I think the same could be said of you.

With one of the biggest hearts and passion for life I've ever known, I loved coming to visit you. You truly made going to California an adventure for me every time, and I know you transferred your love of the West Coast to me.

Nothing broke my heart more than hearing your diagnosis. And my chest still squeezes just a little bit when I think back to how you cried when you saw me and the rest of my family in the hallways at the convalescent hospital back in May. But none of that pain compares to weight that settled on my shoulders at the phone call we got last night at 1.00 in the morning.

I'm glad to know your battle with cancer is over. I'm glad to know you're not suffering anymore. And I'm glad to know you were sleeping, and left with a smile on your face; just like in life.

So goodbye, Grandma. I love you, and I'm going to miss you so much. May you find the same peace and happiness in heaven that you spread here. I'll find a way to see you again.

Rest In Peace.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

There You Go, You're Gone For Good

Mood:  blah.
Hating:  insane amounts of reading for school.
Loving:  frozen blueberries (no seriously, try putting your blueberries in the freezer for a few hours before you eat them; you will not regret it).
Lip-syncing:  Brooke Fraser -- Scarlet
Quote of the day:  "If actions speak louder than words, than why is the pen mightier than the sword?"


So I've been in back school for just going on three weeks. And I've been struggling with writer's block for just going on three months.

I wish I could blame it on work, on school, on finances, but I can't. In part, those are causing huge amounts of stress for me -- I still have no idea how I'm paying tuition -- yet it's not as though those things are anything new. My life has always been delicate balancing act between working, paying bills, education, friends, and what not. Everyone undergoes similar, if not the same, distractions, disappointments and sacrifices. This time around though, I'm not sure where my inspiration has gone.

Lost:  One muse. Looks like thousands of random story, poem, song, theatre, and/or photography ideas that may or may not be linked with a jumble of words, actions and insomnia. Offering handsome reward.

The worst part is, my lose of creativity is seeping into the rest of my life. I find myself unamused and bored, uninterested in things that should be intriguing and entertaining. My perspective has been lackluster lately, and it's all I can do to simply roll out of bed to go to school, then trudge myself to work.

Wallowing in desolation, I stared at my ceiling for an immeasurable amount of time before I flicked my laptop back on. The screen illuminates little in my dark room, only revealing my cotton sheets, some unread books and articles on my nightstand -- I like to pretend I'll eventually become a good university student and do my readings before class -- a water bottle, my cellphone and my USB key. Ah, my precious flash drive, the incredible piece of technology that seems to hold almost all the contents of my life.

Scrolling through unfinished songs, half-crafted plays, unedited photos, story plans, and other random tidbits, I hoped to find that flash of something that will spark my imagination and artistry. I stumbled across an incomplete one shot.

For those not familiar with the term, a one shot is simply a short story, cutely named 'one shot' in the reflection that (most) short stories tend to only have one chapter.

Back to what I'm about to present. Started not too long before this frigid tundra settled over my talents, it's something that most writers are probably familiar with:  the weaving together of personal experience with a few extras. I think I'm going to finish it someday. But it's only right that I share what I have now, in case it never does see the light of day again, which would be a disappointment to him. It seems like just yesterday, but I realized today it's been years. Hard to wrap my head around. But with the recent passing of Lawrence Stern as well, perhaps it's his way of gently nudging me in the right direction.

Feel free to let me know what you think. Keep in mind, it is an unfinished piece. Yet maybe by putting this out there, it will not only explain the ink etched into my skin, but offer me an outlet through which I may be able to find my muse once again.

Note:  It is named after 'Scarlet' by Brooke Fraser. One of my personal favourites, and I like to think this does reflect the musicality and emotion in the song. However, it's a personal choice whether you want to listen while reading or not...



Step. Step. Stop.

Step. Step. Stop.

I turn to glance behind me again. The road is still barren, the dull evening light casting odd shadows. I could barely make out my car parked beside that bush. But that was the point.

Step. Step. Step.

Step. Step. Crunch.

The paved pathway gives way to loose rocks and gravel as I continue on my way. The salty tang of the ocean breeze reaches my senses as the wind caresses my face, gently brushing against the tears trailing down my cheeks.

It's okay to cry here. It's okay to scream, to let it all out. Tension, stress, pain; they all disappear here, at least for a little while. There's nothing around for miles.

It was here that we always came to find peace.

Moving in and between the overgrown bushes and weeds, I try to find the pathway that hadn't been used in months. It was much more difficult than I remember. But then again, it wasn't often that I trekked through on my own.

Step, step, step.

My pace quickens as the foliage lightens, allowing me glimpses of the twilight sky. The trembling of my hands as they push aside leaves and branches betray how little time I had left. I couldn't keep myself together for much longer.

Step, step, step.


The trees give way, like they always do, to allow me to walk out into the little clearing overlooking the ocean. Nobody else knew about this place. Most just head straight for the sandy shores just a bit further down the coastline, opting to frolic in the water, tan, eat and drink with friends and family while the sun beat down upon them. Even now, I can hear the distant sounds of laughter from a few stragglers trying to squeeze some last minutes of fun from their beach day. The clouds had already rolled in, blanketing the sky in a somber grey. How appropriate. Even without the threat of rain, the beach's curfew was approaching, and most had already vacated, packing their belongings away and climbing into their cars to drive off; almost like it was a regular day. To them, it was. They'd go home, sleep, and wake up tomorrow to carry on with their lives, this day at the beach just another memory.

Just another memory. I hate that phrase.

I swallow hard as I carefully make my way closer, trying to get to the collection of rocks that appear to be balanced precariously on the edge. They're secure though. We had spent plenty of time rolling around, playing and sitting on these rocks. But they too, were now just memories.

Closing my eyes, I take a deep breath; deeper than I had in awhile. To not taste the sterile air of the hospital is more of a relief than I thought it'd be. Now settled into a comfortable spot, I draw my knees up to my chest to rest my head against them. Staring out across the great expanse of water, I feel like a weight is slowly being lifted.

No need to be strong here. No need to pretend. No need to act like it's all okay.

I squeeze my eyes shut tighter as the tears began to pour. Wrapping my arms around my legs, I clench my fists, digging my nails into my palms. Ragged sobs burst from within as I begin to rock myself back and forth gently.

All just a memory now.

This had sort of become our unofficial spot. I recall the day he'd dragged me here. I'd done nothing but complain the whole way, but as the sky with its brilliant setting sun came into view with the waves crashing against the rocks below, I'd understood. I laughed long and hard when he said it, but it truly was one of those places where the sky, land and water meet. It was beautiful. A sense of calm and unity oozed from the very stones of this place. Nobody knew us here; we could be honest to ourselves, and each other here. Countless day trips, midnight escapes, and random excursions had ended here. So many thoughts, feelings, ideas were formed here, breathed in from the harmony of nature. Confessions and breakdowns, laughter and fun, pain and heartbreak. All just memories.

He's nothing but a memory now.

It was here that I found him that day. Busy with work, I hadn't been able to go with him to the doctor. Neither of us had thought anything of it; it was just a persistent bruise. I told him he needed to stop banging that leg into things so it could have time to actually heal. I hadn't realized how wrong we were until I had to come looking for him. I should have come here first, instead of waiting around his apartment. He shouldn't have had to be alone after the diagnosis. But time had never been an issue for us before.

It hurts.

I gasp now, trying to draw oxygen into my lungs. It hurts so much. The emotional ache I'd been suppressing within begins to fight, bubbling to the surface. My body begins to tremble in distress. I can't lie to myself here. It'd be a betrayal of what it stood for. It needs to come out. I unsteadily rise to my feet as I feel the first few droplets plop onto my skin.


The strength of my cry increases with each scream of the question, the thunder in the distance the only answer to the agony in my voice. I don't understand. And I don't think I ever will. Is it something he did? Something we'd done? Were we being punished? Am I being punished? What was it? A test? A mistake?

So young. We'd barely started our lives, hardly had a chance to explore the world. We didn't even really know who we were before we were thrust into this nightmare.

It happens to other people, other families, other friends. It's just a statistic; until it comes and destroys your life. Then you begin to understand the charities, the fundraisers, the messages. I didn't. I let out another sob as my head drops to my chest. The foul taste of bile invades my palate as I remember my goddamn selfishness with disgust. He needed to be strong for me, because I didn't get it. He needed to research, to talk and explain to me about what leukemia was, how it worked. He needed to comfort me when his tests and treatment started. And he was the one who reassured me that everything would be fine.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

When Everything's Made to Be Broken, I Just Want You to Know Who I Am

Mood:  tired. Always tired.
Hating:  how I have to go to a part-time job I hate in less than 10 hours.
Loving:  the way it smells when it rains.
Lip-syncing:  Goo Goo Dolls -- Iris


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

They Say You Don't Know What You've Got 'Till It's Gone

Mood:  sad, but happy to a certain degree.
Lip-syncing:  Jake Coco and Caitlin Hart -- Don't Go


I still remember the day I first saw him.

Wandering through a giant high school that was completely foreign to me, my eighth grade self timidly sat beside my father when we were brought into this dark cave of a room. Black walls, black boxes, black curtains.
"Kind of cliche," I said to my dad. He shrugged. I knew he wasn't a fan of this subject. He wanted me to take music, like my older brother and sister, to be a good little band student. Music makes you smarter, a better student.
"Not this," he replied, waving his hand about the room. This small, stuffy space was definitely not made to hold this many people.

It was made to hold much more.

That tiny, confined room became like a second home to me through the next four years. A safe haven, a place to cry, to laugh, and to love. In fact, even walking in there now stirs a deep, unexplainable feeling in my chest.

Lawrence Stern was an intimidating man when I first laid eyes on him. With his long, grey/white hair, wide glasses, and mismatched shoes, I thought him a bit crazy. Especially when he started gesturing wildly during a small exercise. One detail that stands out was his arm drum roll, the one he did after he made some cheesy joke I didn't understand; that bump-bump-thud, meant to mimic a old-fashioned comedian's drum sound.

How 'Stern'.

For anyone who attended Streetsville Secondary, Stern became a sort of living symbol for Streetsville's incredible theatre program. I was drawn into drama from that very first fascinating  demonstration during grade eight orientation night. Severely disappointed when I realized my first drama class was not until second semester, I eagerly joined the mongrel group of ninth graders hoping to make it into Streetsville's annual fall Showcase performance. We worked closely with another teacher, but this was truly my first exposure to Mr. Stern. Most certainly not my last.

Stern had this intensity, this passion that was undeniable. Actually, I remember being baffled and a little frightened. I smile and laugh at the memory, but Stern's first impressions are always a little questionable. In fact, Stern was a pretty questionable guy. He had the strangest habits, and most bizarre thought patterns. It was impossible to have a conversation with him without having to step back and take a second look at your perspective, and even better, at another perspective on the issue. It's what I truly loved most, talking with him.

I had to be honest. Brutally, completely honest not only with him, but with myself. Stern had that quality about him. He often became my confidant of sorts as the years passed. It's no secret my parents and I have never gotten along well, and Stern often gave me the reality checks I needed to figure out whatever part of my life I was struggling with at the time.

It was a bittersweet day when I attended his retirement party. Although I'd never had him as a drama teacher -- Marsha Legault became my second mother, with all the things she taught me -- I was apprehensive about him leaving. It felt wrong somehow. What felt even more wrong was how I lost touch with him after he left. Weekly emails trickled down to once a months, once every few months, and then next to never. We use to exchange anecdotes, photos, music, and it just trailed off. It's really my fault. Stern was perfectly capable of maintaining friendships with his other students, and now I just feel a little guilty.

Visiting him in the hospice for cancer patients did nothing to ease it. Seeing him, so different from how I imagined, just broke my heart. But I know that's not what he wanted to hear. And the minute he opened his mouth to give me shit about my life choices, I knew he was still the same old Stern. Nothing would ever change that, and in that way I'm glad. To see him suffering through the pain was hard to do, so to know that agony is over for him is a relief.

It's always in retrospect that we see our mistakes. We wish we could go back and spend more time with the people that matter. Despite all the warnings, all the reminders, sometimes we just forget. And then we regret. I know Stern doesn't blame me for anything, but I do. And it's useless to play the blame game, but sometimes it's unavoidable. I wish I could go back in time. Impossible, yes, I know, but it doesn't change the fact that I want to.

But let's not waste anymore time on impractical thoughts, useless things and regrets. Instead, remember those we've lost. Remember them for their laughter, their strength, their passion, their intelligence, the inspiration they provided, the way they pushed conventional boundaries, their insanity and brilliance, the comfort they provided and the love they shared.

And their mismatched chucks.

Rest In Peace, Lawrence Stern.
Go ahead, rock that porcupine hat and give 'em hell up there. May you continue on your path to teach, love and live in the afterlife.


07 Dec. 2010 -- Edit:  There is a facebook group that was created, called "In Memory of Lawrence Stern"
That is the link. Feel free to head there and share your memories as well...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Final Song, A Last Request, A Perfect Chapter Laid to Rest

Mood:  incredible.
Hating:  that the weekend is over.
Loving:  friends, music, inspiration.
Lip-syncing:  Avenged Sevenfold -- So Far Away
Quote of the Day:  "Now and then I try to find a place in my mind where you can stay, you can stay awake forever."


Coming back from Heavy MTL was just inspiring. It was an incredible weekend filled with people, booze, craziness, and most of all, music. I won't get into the minuet details of my trip to Montreal, but I will share how absolutely amazing Avenged Sevenfold was. Their first show without Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, their drummer, and they couldn't have been more extraordinary.

I wish I could just spend time gushing about Alice Cooper, Slayer, Rob Zombie, Korn, Hatebreed, and the other insane bands/artists that performed, but that would take way too long. Instead, I'll simply post what I managed to scribble down on the way back home.

All for the love of music <3

Drummer's Kick

I hear the beat like nothing else
The bass in the right
the slam from the left
Your hands pound through the music
like angels playing me lullabies
The electric pulse sends my knees beating
like a never ending lecture of foes
Take what you've learned
and prove what you know
The lessons learned through practice and notes
Full of love and hatred for fellow man

Whole notes held just long enough
to feel your heart beating
Now I can't quit tapping my feet
in hopes you'll notice I'm keeping time
Trying to rock out to a song your soul hasn't fully found yet

I sit in a familiar place
Full of memories of the way it used to be
All glistening smiles as if time has never passed
A chunk of me the size of last night's drunken mistakes
belongs here, to you for always

You have a drummer's kick about you
Consistently moving and shaking with the beat
Arms flying as if to tell me I have my own personal angel

You have no idea how much your sound has blessed the non-believers
They're all listening to the cries of the drum bass kick

Plug in your headphones
Let the waves of sound wash over
As if they were made from the skin of your enemies

I see those instruments in the corner
The corner where we forgot old beer bottles
And the nights we can't remember but still try to forget

You connection has rhythm
Friends have soul
Our family's created through rock and roll
So I shift to drop D
answering your beat with my strings
Tell me what you really think of me
But let's play a major note to depict where I come from now
Haven't you noticed the changes in my grin?

There's nothing else more important
Then the weaving together of friends for the perfect life song.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I'll Sleep When I Am Dead

Mood:  ...
Hating:  the heat. No, that's a lie; I hate the humidity.
Loving:  friends, who have become family by choice.
Lip-syncing:  City and Colour (ft. Gordon Downie) -- Sleeping Sickness
Quote of the Day:  "Women want to enjoy the process, while men just want to get to the destination."


With the end of the Toronto Pride week being smothered in heat and humidity, I find myself contemplating inclusion. It's so easy to say what's wrong, to talk about change, to promise you'll be there for someone. But when push comes to shove, you truly learn who cares and loves.

I won't get into the debate of homosexuality and what not. That is not what's on my mind today. Social rights and civil movements are always of interest to me, but lately my personal life has taken some rather dramatic twists. Although I do not post regularly enough as it is, I figured I'd take a second to just write that I'm not sure when the next time I will post is.

Writing, art, music; they're all linked. And since I couldn't find the words to pen myself, here is a song that's disturbingly accurate in describing my life. Enjoy. And wish me luck.

Sleeping Sickness
City and Colour ft. Gordon Downie (from the Tragically Hip)

I awoke
Only to find my lungs empty
And through the night
So it seems I'm not breathing
And now my dreams are nothing like they were meant to be
And I'm breaking down, I think I'm breaking down

And I'm afraid
To sleep because of what haunts me
Such as living with the uncertainty
That I'll never find the words to say
Which would completely explain
Just how I'm breaking down

Someone come and, someone come and save my life
Maybe I'll sleep when I am dead
But now it's like the night is taking sides
With all the worries that occupy the back of my mind
Could it be this misery will suffice?

I've become
A simple souvenir of someone's kill
And like the sea
I'm constantly changing from calm to ill
Madness fills my heart and soul as if the great divide could swallow me whole
oh, how I'm breaking down

Someone come and, someone come and save my life
Maybe I'll sleep when I am dead
But now it's like the night is taking sides
With all the worries that occupy the back of my mind
Could it be this misery will suffice?
Ooooohhh my life

Someone come and, someone come and save my life
Someone come and, someone come and save my life
Someone come and, someone come and save my life
Could it be this misery will suffice?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sing With Me, If It's Just for Today

Hating:  working a min. wage job, trying to save money.
Loving:  friends.
Lip-syncing:  Aerosmith -- Dream On
Quote of the day:  " '...and then they came to the place where land and ocean meet.' I shall never call it a beach again."



Thursday, May 20, 2010

Would You Lie With Me and Just Forget the World?

Mood: saddened, contemplative, and as always, tired...
Hating:  tattoo pains haha
Loving:  the ocean.
Lip-syncing:  Snow Patrol -- Chasing Cars


When someone passes on….what does it mean?

The word "pass"; we use it everyday. I pass people on campus, I pass people on the street. Does it mean because I just pass" them they have no importance?

When I think of passing I think of someone with the probability of never seeing walk by again, wave or greet you again, but when we pass on does it go unnoticed like the people we don’t remember from the street or campus?

I don't quite know how to say how I feel.

It just never really made sense to me. To me the word "pass", is more a gentle way of putting something that doesn’t need to be softened, it is a way of life…life something that will soon enough be taken away. But why do we run in fear from it?

It’s just like asking why we cry with pain when someone dies or leaves us. Are we scared of their faces fading? Their legend going unnoticed? Not being able to have a conversation with that loved one again?

What seems to pass us everyday is the fact that none of that is taken away. No one believes enough in belief itself to see that. When we shed tears about not being able to see our loved ones happy face…you are potentially selling yourselves short, if you can remember that they once had a smile upon there face, you can see it again, for it is not the human figure but the memory that leaves us feeling warm

I need your grace to remind me to find my own.

When you are little and cry at sleepovers because you miss your mom or dad, maybe it is not because they are not physically there but because you may not remember just how they tuck you in, or just the way they smell when they kiss you good night. It is the loss of memory of the little things that make us sad.

Passing on, or leaving, has no meaning other then the fact that their human figure no longer carries body heat, no longer walks around the streets with emotion in their eyes.

Forget what we're told, before we get too old...

Passing on is just finally being able to fly, being able to walk through doors, and jump through windows. Passing on is being able to be free without feeling physical pain. When we pass on , we in reality, have everything we ever dreamed of, everything if you look down inside is found when it is your right time to leave.

We strive for the time we are here to be something remarkable, but the truth is, dead or alive, someone will remember you. Even if you were that beautiful person who was merely “passed” on the street corner one day. We shall not shed any more tears for those who have passed on because they are more with us then maybe the ones who we see every day. Why do you think you cry when you sleep over at that old friend's house, or your grandparent’s house? It’s because the people who are here living…don’t have that same memory as the people who have passed on.

When you are off in one of those moments trying to remember their faces, their smell or the sound of their voice, don’t try too hard. They are there. You just need to listen. They listen to you… it's your turn. Dream about them, write about them, sing about them, and how much you love the fact that they are still here in spirit, which is so much stronger then human form.

Because the truth is, spirits never die.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

May You Never Be Broken Again

Mood: tired...stupid insomnia.
Hating: school, work, schoolwork.
Loving:  I believe creativity and inspiration only strikes when I'm procrastinating...
Lip-syncing: Alter Bridge -- Blackbird

Quote of the day:  "I'm pretty sure I'm not eating a burrito for the atmosphere. Yeah, definitely not."


These are our streets
The rain slicked pavements,
Peeling paint
Into eternity.

Stiff-necked streetlights
Only illuminate the evidence,
Or lack thereof
Of a coming revolution.

And yet here we stand
Hands clasped in prayer,
Our ineffectual vigil
To the victims taken by these streets.

But can you feel it?


Monday, March 22, 2010

They Will Buy You and Sell You For Celebrity Status

Mood:  bored out of my mind.
Hating:  0/3 essays, 1/2 final presentations and one major assignment to finish.
Loving:  ...if I throw myself off a five story building, I wouldn't have to do the schoolwork, right?
Lip-syncing:  Marianas Trench -- Celebrity Status
Quote of the day:  "The bra:  tit and bit holder."


Alright. So who actually pays attention in class? There are much more entertaining things to occupy your mind.

"I pray at the church of asses in the seat."

I'm a pretty sardonic person. Almost everyone I know can attest to this. Although physical humour can be absolutely hilarious, I specialize more in words. I'll admit, I'm pretty easily entertained. However, my tongue can be rather sharp at times, but mostly my snide comments are just meant for a little teasing.

And no one is above a little teasing.

Being famous means having pictures of you plastered left and right, available for anyone's use. Yes, I abuse that privilege. Here are some of my favourite artists with some rather amusing captions.

They get better, I promise... I just really like this picture.

I fear only my fellow theatre geeks will understand this one...

Tee-hee-hee, this speaks for itself, I think.
Alas, I can't claim this next one as my own, but it brings a good chuckle. Thanks Lynn!
This is one of my favourites...
The next two go together.
And by request, here are a couple of my favourite Synyster Gates ones.

And this is what I do in class. And what I do instead of completing school work. What a great use of thousands of dollars of tuition money.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yes, We'll Drink and Fight!

Mood:  getting better.
Hating:  professors who cancel 9.00am classes without bothering to tell the class.
Loving:  today!
Lip-syncing:  Buck O Nine
Quote of the day:  "Want to know what else would wake you up? A nice, quiet lobotomy."


I've all the makings of an alcoholic, I think.

Waking up at 7.00am, sitting in rush hour traffic for over an hour, only to get to school to find out class is canceled can put anyone in a foul mood. Add a sleep-deprived, already pissed off me, and you're not too far off from a nuclear explosion.

But once again, a friend swoops in the save the day.

Perhaps drinking before 11.00am is a little extreme, yet today is one of the few days I believe it's acceptable. It's not like I'm halfway to being drunk by any means; I like to think I hold my alcohol well. It's just that today is one of the many celebrations of a distinctive culture and heritage, whether you belong to it or not.

It's truly a beauty of Canada. With so many ethnic groups living and working together (for the most part; that's a whole different argument though), it's such a blessing to be able to experience the nuances and history of something completely different from your personal life. Whether it be the Chinese New Year, Diwali or Rosh Hashana, you get the opportunity to explore and learn new things you never would have otherwise.

Although today makes a bid for the favourite. Have to love the green beer and camaraderie. So get out, learn, celebrate, and enjoy being an honourary Irishman!

Happy St. Patrick's day!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Blackbirds Screaming

Mood: nauseous, shocked.
Lip-syncing: Ludo -- The Horror of Our Love


As lovely as it would be to survive on my art alone, I am forced to work other jobs until...well, whenever I can. My part-time clothing retail position is one of them. Located in the mall, it's one of those typical, minimum wage employment places.

Except today wasn't a typical day.

Walking into work today, I expected it to be a regular, somewhat slow Sunday, especially with the gloomy, rainy weather. Even located at the bottom of a staircase, pedestrian traffic tends to be moderate at the most. And my short four hour shift lived up to those expectations. It wasn't until five minutes after closing time something happened to shake my world.

Having just served the last few customers, I was kneeling on the ground, locking the entrance to the store to let us remaining employees clean in peace. To lighten our mundane work, we often attempt to keep light, joking banter between everyone. However, just as I was pulling out the door keys, I saw a dark object in my peripherals just as a low thud resounded. Confused, I turned to see a body lying a few feet from our door. I watched as an employee from the store next to us dashed out to the unconscious man on the ground.

It was only a few seconds, but it felt like hours as a puddle of blood pooled beneath his head. As the other employee quickly lifted his head out of the fluid, he turned to me and yelled something about falling from the top floor. I blinked. Then my instincts kicked in, screaming out to my manager to call an ambulance.

My hands were shaking as I rushed to unlock the door, sliding out through the minuscule crack as the it slid open. Skidding through the crimson liquid, I collapsed to my knees next to the man on the ground as he began to regain consciousness. As the other employee and I struggled to hold him still in his waking movements, the man raised his head.

There is no way I could tell you what he looked like. His face was smashed in, features next to indistinguishable from the blood streaming and caking the entire surface. He shifted one hand enough to hold his unhinged, and though I have no official medical training, what I presume to be broken jaw in place. We held him still, despite his sobs of pain, for fear of spinal damage until the paramedics arrived.

I still cannot fathom everything myself. Bits and pieces of the situation keep appearing, flitting through my mind as the night wears on. I would not believe it myself had I not just stripped off and tossed out my blood-soaked jeans.

I feel sick.

I'm not quite sure how else to feel. Or respond. I've no idea how this man came to be on the top story, how he slipped...or perhaps why he jumped.

I'm not sure what to think.

It's always startling to come face to face with mortality. Do not think I delude myself with immortality or illusions of grandeur and strength. I know I'm human. I know how vulnerable I am, to others, to the world...and to myself. We all are. But to think of it every waking moment would be ineffective.

To wonder and ponder our weaknesses and mortality is a waste of time and effort. This is not to say one should ignore personal drawbacks and flaws, only to see others as inferior. No, the conclusion I've come to is bit of a cliche. Always easier said than done, but to live life to the fullest is an honorable pursuit. To enjoy every moment you have, to ignore the threats of life -- within reason, of course; don't go skydiving without a parachute -- is, I find, honorable. An amazing way to share your passions, to be enthusiastic, to live your life.

To pursue your dreams, to love, to have no regrets is true happiness. And perhaps that is the way to have have the blackbirds of death sing, instead of scream.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Maple Leaf Forever

Mood: fantastic!
Hating: work and how long school seems to drag on for.
Loving: brap brap Canada!
Lip-syncing:  Queen -- We Are the Champions and


24 hours afterward, the feeling continues to flow through the streets. I'm still reveling in it. It's hard to believe. Unfathomable.

Then again, not really.

Canada is a vast country. The world's second largest land mass. With mountains, prairies, metropolitan centres, fisheries and copious amounts of the Arctic, sometimes it's hard to feel like connected to it all. It's hard for me to feel connected to the people living two houses down from me on my street, let alone people over 1 000 kilometres away. Very few things draw together every citizen living here.

And almost nothing draws us together like hockey.

The Vancouver 2010 Olympics were quite the experience. Starting under questionable circumstances, this year's event was a roller coaster like no other. On a side note, may Nodar Kumaritashvili and his family find peace.

But back to the reflection upon our hosting experience of the 22nd Winter Olympics. Alexandre Bilodeau's beautiful run broke our gold medal drought, and from that point on, the medals kept pouring in.

But like I said, almost nothing draws us together like hockey.

This is not to undermine our other athletes. I found my jaw dropping as Kaillie Humphries, Heather Moyse, Helen Upperton and Shelly-Ann Brown won the gold and silver medals for bobsledding, throwing back a pint with Jon Montgomery on his hilarious strut through Whistler, and sniffling back my tears as Joannie Rochette took to the ice. But last night, in the classic U.S. vs Canada showdown, one can truly feel the country's pride and joy. As that one commercial said, "Let's show them who's game they're playing."

It was a high intensity game that would have done any hockey fan proud. Yes, it would have been nice if we'd demolished them like the women's hockey team score of 18-1, or even our men's sweeping of Germany 8-2. However, no fan can turn down the excitement and anxiety of such a close, nail-biting game. Drawn into overtime, I think it is safe to say almost every single North American person was on their toes.

When Sidney Crosby knocked in that final shot during overtime, I don't think I've ever heard such a collective cheer. Inside the bars, on the streets, in the cars; Canadians everywhere were celebrating. Myself included; don't worry, my friend is paying for the dry cleaning bill after dumping a whole pitcher of Guinness on me.

Stains and alcohol aside, the hours after the game were full of intensity and pride. Waving a Canadian flag out the car window as we drove, there was not one car that did not honk, one person who didn't wave, one Canadian who didn't feel included.

Amazing, isn't it?

Hockey is a rather simple sport. In fact, I find almost all athletic activities are easy to follow. But for us up north, hockey is so much more than just a game.

Hockey gives us that common ground. It provides an opportunity for us to boisterous and arrogant -- for a change, depending on your perspective -- with completely random strangers. The camaraderie that springs forth from hockey games cannot be explained. In fact, I'm having a pretty hard time trying to describe it, let alone express it in such a way for someone else to understand.

But I think that's the true beauty. This...thing that comes from hockey can't be explained to a non-Canadian. It does not have true logic, or real reason. It's just there. It's part of who we are, ingrained within the very fabric of this magnificent country. It's as much Canadian as multiculturalism, poutine, and back bacon.

Perhaps we are too polite, reserved, humble. Not necessarily bad qualities; actually, if more people shared them, I think the world would be a much better place (pardon the cheesy children's show line). But winning the Olympic gold medal for both men's and women's ice hockey?

It makes Canada a much better place.