Archive | December, 2009

My Resolutions This Year.

31 Dec

Participate in the 365 Project (taking one photo a day for the entire year). Learn to improve my photography skills.

Write more often than I do.

Take one class. Then another, then another.

Apply to teacher’s college (depending on prerequisites and time, this may have to wait until 2011 but in the very least, I can look into applying).

Take better care of my stuff. Stop accidentally breaking things a week after buying them.

Travel somewhere. Somewhere exciting. Go on a plane. Take drugs if you must, but do it.

Read more books.

Try to be more social. Stop saying no because you’re “tired.” Live now; sleep when dead.

Find a new job… even if it’s a total lateral move while I work toward some semblance of an actual “career,” it’s time for me to branch out and find a new environment, maybe learn some new skills. As much as I love the girls at work, as far as personal development goes, I’ve plateaued.

Keep track of spending. Only buy things if I really love them.

Make this the year I actually do improve my French.

Be as happy as humanly possible at any and every given time.

The Most Pertinent Things I Did This Year.

31 Dec

I turned 27.
I started a blog.
I moved, along with my fiance, back in with my parents for the summer.
Then I moved back out again.
I cried over the death of Michael Jackson.
I tried to write a novel in 30 days and failed spectacularly.
I hated my job, but not enough to find a new one.
And I got married.

Also, I decided I better do more with 2010. I love this time of year. Everything feels so fresh; it really feels like the possibilities are endless.

Stay tuned.

The Rappers I Have A Strange And Undying Love For.

30 Dec

I’m not exactly a connoisseur of rap music, but there are certain rappers who can do no wrong by me.

Mos Def.
Have you listened to 24 Hour Karate School yet? The chorus incorporates wooshing sounds! It’s amazing! But I’d expect no less from Mos Def. There’s something about his voice that I’m very, very into. Here is a link to a crappy YouTube video that will allow you to partake of the awesome. Go ahead and cue it up. I can wait.

Will Smith.
What can I say, I grew up with the Fresh Prince! I love how wholesome he is. I love how the rudest song he ever recorded was the one about an old lady who caused a car accident. My favourite song, though, is definitely Switch, and here’s why: 1, I like songs that tell me what to do (“It’s a hop and a clap, flip it round…”); and 2, I like a good call-and-response chorus. Plus the video is sort of unintentionally hilarious, which makes it all the more enjoyable. It was clearly recorded at a time when Will Smith thought he had to be “tough” or “street” or some such nonsense, and he’s just… not. I don’t understand why he’s yelling in the first verse, but I like it! I also don’t understand why, during the bridge, he asks her if she’s too cute to dance, or scared. Is the dancing she’s already doing not enough for him? What more do you want, Will Smith??

LL Cool J.
There’s just something deeply charming about LL Cool J, isn’t there? I think it’s the baby face. If you haven’t read I Make My Own Rules, you really ought to. Be sure to get the uncensored version. After you finish, you’ll think it would be enough to make you hate him just a little bit, but you’ll find you just can’t. He’s just too lovable. Sometimes when I’m grumpy, I sing along to this next song while I’m driving. Instant mood lifter.

Jay Z.
Musically speaking, I’m not actually into everything Jay Z does. Perhaps that’s due to the sheer volume of work the man releases in any given year. Regardless, while his music might not always blow me away, I’m absolutely fascinated by him as a person. He’s married to Beyonce. He’s rumoured to be a member of the Illuminati. He has such a deeply commanding presence that honestly, he could be rapping about local gas prices and I’d be rapt with attention. He comes up with lyrics like “bullet wounds will stop your buffoonery.” I’m sure you’re sick of Run This Town, but when’s the last time you sat down to listen to Change Clothes? Yeah, I thought so… you’re welcome!

Snoop Dogg.
I feel like Snoop Dogg’s whole gangsta thing is, in part, an act. I can totally picture him sitting down and having a tea party with his kids. You can tell he has a real sense of humour… remember that bizarre, disco-style video he put out a couple of years ago? You loved it, your 11 year old cousin loved it, and your mom loved it. Your 11 year old cousin probably wasn’t allowed to listen to Drop It Like It’s Hot, but I bet your mom liked that one, too, just like everyone else who ever heard it.

The Neptunes/Pharell/N.E.R.D.
I don’t know the other dude’s name. I can’t even picture what he looks like. Is there a third guy, too? I really don’t know. That’s how into rap/hip hop I am. But I do loves me some Pharell. He seems cheeky, and I appreciate that quality in a person. Remember that Lindsay Lohan cameo in the Everyone Nose video? Come on. That’s awesome. Also awesome is the riff in this old song:

So, even though rap/hip hop/hippety hoppety (as my father calls it) isn’t my preferred genre, I still have immense room in my heart for these particular individuals. Do you have a list of musicians like this, who in your opinion can do no wrong even if their style isn’t your usual “thing”? Do tell.

Xmas Tires Me Out.

26 Dec

Xmas is my favourite time of the year and I appreciate every wonderful thing that comes along with it.

But goddamn, it makes me tired.

Working in retail this time of year, exhaustion creeps up on you starting in November. Things just get busier and busier and busier until eventually, you’re literally standing at the cash register for 8 hours, getting sore cheeks from smiling and a sore throat from talking to so many people. You feel like you are Always. At. The. Mall., because when you’re not working, you’re shopping. The din is deafening, the crowds are maddening… it’s fun in its own way, and I try not to complain about it because quite frankly, I think if combatting the mall parking lot is your biggest worry in life, you really have nothing to whine about, but the exhaustion does come. And when it comes, it comes full force.

I am generally predisposed to two things on xmas day: Napping, and dissolving into tears at the end of it all. Check, annnnd… check! But that said, I am fine now, and truly it was a banner year. Amazing food, incredibly thoughtful presents, and spending the whole day with my hubby… good stuff, all of it.

Still… you know that song that goes, “I wish it could be xmas every day,” or something like that? I’m really glad it’s not.

Wish me luck tomorrow. I open, and it’s a double whammy: Boxing Day + the Saturday after xmas… sounds to me like we have a recipe for chaos!

What I Did Today, Among Other Things.

24 Dec

Happy xmas eve day!

I am using the word “today” somewhat erroneously in my heading, because today is technically the 24th, and the “today” to which I am referring happens to be the 23rd. But, as I am inclined to think of my todays as being “the periods of time between sleeps,” I am simply going to refer to the past 36 hours or so as “today.” So… Things I Did Today:

+ I went to work. 8 solid hours of holiday hell.

+ I went to the library, because one of my holds came in. After I hit the publish button, I fully intend to read said book, no matter how tired I am.

+ I created The Official (My Place of Employment and Shop Number) Wouldn’t Say No 2010 Pin Up Calendar for a co-worker. (I will explain this later.)

+ I wrapped about 20 presents. No lie.

+ I baked honey chocolate chip cookies.

+ I made that bizarre but so good “fudge” that you make with condensed milk and chocolate chips.

+ I ripped out the chunk of my Ravenclaw scarf that went too terribly awry for me to tolerate.

When you list it out like that, it doesn’t actually seem like all that much. But trust me… I am exhausted.

So, what exactly is the Wouldn’t Say No Pin Up Calendar? Quite simply, it’s a calendar that features pictures of sexy old men, or men who are otherwise conventionally unattractive but to whom you still wouldn’t say no. Wink wink. Nudge nudge. During one particularly boring shift, my coworkers and I came up with a (fairly extensive) list of such men (ex: Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson, Alex Trebek… but only with the mustache), and tonight, in the name of xmas, I took it upon myself to turn said list into a pin up calendar. The best part was googling things like “sexy old man with weights” and “art attack guy” (yeah, he’s on there), and then sifting through the results in order to find the dreamiest image.

Also, in magical thinking news, I totally used The Secret to score myself some Olympic mittens today! Okay, not really, but here’s the story: A couple of days ago, Steve told me that Olympic mittens are supposed to be the hottest xmas gift going this year. I railed against Olympic garb for awhile, saying things like “You’re not an olympian, why do you need the uniform?” and so on and so forth. But then I noticed my mother had a pair in the backseat of her car (which we had borrowed due to some sudden strange noises emanating from my steering column)… and I thought they were actually pretty cute. So I reconsidered my position. Then, this morning on my bus ride to work, I noticed a girl wearing a pair, and they looked adorable and patriotic and warm. You guys know well enough by now how obsessed I am lately with staying warm, right? So I grew covetous of the Olympic mittens, and I cursed myself for not discovering their brilliance sooner, because apparently they are really hard to get a hold of right now. It’s like the Cabbage Patch phenomenon of the 80’s, but for grownups. Long story short, my manager totally gave me a pair for xmas! So you see? It’s true! Ask the universe for the things your heart desires, and the universe shall provide.

And just in case you were wondering, the steering column was just rusty. If your car ever starts making a noise to suggest that a hobgoblin has taken up residence under the hood, rest assured: it’s a simple case of a rusty steering column.

Dear Brain, I’d Like Some Sleep…

22 Dec

It’s one of those nights. You know the kind of nights I mean. The ones where you’re exhausted beyond repair, and you really want to sleep, but your brain starts motoring along, telling you about all the things you ought to be doing instead of sleeping. Currently, my brain is very excited. It wants to read every unread book lining my bookshelf (and trust me, there are plenty). It also wants to re-read the Harry Potter books. It wants to watch the Harry Potter movies, too. And knit a Harry Potter scarf. Actually, according to a selection of online quizzes, I would be placed squarely in Ravenclaw, and thus my brain wants to knit not one, but two Harry Potter scarves: One in the book-purist colours (blue and bronze), and one in the movie colours (blue and grey, an arguably prettier colour scheme). My brain is also telling me to hurry up and finish cleaning the bedroom before xmas. Then it starts going on about all the xmas chores that I have yet to do (such as wrapping a single gift).

Clearly, my brain wants to be doing something right now. Even though I’m dead tired. Want some evidence of how tired I am? Today at work, a man who vaguely resembled Matthew Perry came through my till. For a moment, my heart leapt up and my eyes bulged out of my head, as I honestly believed I was ringing up soap for Chandler Bing. And tonight, upon noticing a very bright light shining off in the distance, I interpreted it as a firecracker over the Peace Tower. Never mind the fact that today is not a fireworks-worthy holiday (or a holiday of any sort, to the best of my knowledge). Never mind the fact that fireworks aren’t giving to hovering in the sky, frozen solid in mid-explosion.

It’s total monkey mind, my friends.

Fun fact: I read once that a far more significant portion of the population hears voices in their heads than what statistics would lead us to believe. Why? Because the voices aren’t always disturbing; they’re simply there. And nobody complains about it if it doesn’t bother them. I’m pretty sure I am one such person. The monkey in my mind never shuts up, quite frankly. As such, I believe he is deserving of a name. How about Alan?

And with that, I’m off to bed! Not to sleep, necessarily, but possibly to get started on a book, or perhaps a scarf.

It’s My Day Off! What Shall I Do?

16 Dec

Today is my lone day off of the week. Working retail during the holidays is madness. As something of a compulsive list-maker, I feel it necessary to write down all the things I’d like to do over the course of the next 24 hours or so. That way I can periodically consult my list to ensure I have truly made the most of my day off.

1) Sleep in to a ridiculous hour. (Done.)

2) Eat squares for breakfast! This is one of the things I love about being grown up. Yes, there are bills, and tasks, and stress, and work, but if I decide that I’d like to sleep in to 11:30 on my day off and have a breakfast composed entirely of holiday treats, who can stop me?

3) Get my jeans hemmed. I have that unfortunate thick-waisted, flat-assed, short-legged body type. If you referred to me as “squat,” I wouldn’t so much be offended as I would agree with you. Perhaps if I cut down on the breakfasts composed entirely of holiday treats, that wouldn’t be the case. In any event, finding new jeans that I like is a job and a half. What fits in the waist almost never fits in the bum, and nothing is ever a short enough inseam. Thus, when I find jeans that match 2 out of 3 criteria (waist and bum fitting well), I don’t hesitate. I buy ’em and get my mom to hem ’em, because she’s really good at that.

5) Buy presents for co-workers. Also buy gift wrap. The very last of my xmassy shopping.

6) Re-watch Love Actually, possibly twice. Love Actually is a movie that I sort of wish had been made without the holiday element. Why? Because I think that overall, the story could have been told at any time of year, but because it revolves around xmas, I only get a hankering to watch it at xmas. But I love it. And I want to want to watch it more often. Since I don’t, I just have to pack as many viewings as possible into the days directly preceding xmas as I possibly can.

My biggest decision of the day revolves around whether I should wear sparkly grey eyeshadow or red lipstick. My life is so hard (she said with a wink). BYE!

Song of the Day.

11 Dec

Song of the year, whatever. Honestly, I haven’t been able to get this song out of my head since the first day I heard it. It doesn’t matter what else is stuck in my head at the time, there’s always a constant chorus of “Rome Rome Rome Rome…” playing softly in the background.

Buckley’s vs. Benylin: Your Definitive Conclusion (based on my personal experience and opinions).

10 Dec

Apparently a lot of people are finding my blog by searching “Benylin vs. Buckley.” I gave both brands a namecheck during my bout with swine flu, but didn’t really go into a detailed review of either. Thus, I am here now to elaborate fully on my opinion of Benylin vs. Buckley’s.

FLAVOUR.

Buckley’s: I’ve noted in the past that even though the slogan for Buckley’s is “it tastes awful, and it works,” I don’t personally find it that bad. It’s mildly unpleasant, to be sure, but overwhelmingly it just tastes of pine trees. You feel as though you are imbibing something natural and wholesome that will cure you of all ills. Remember though, it’s fundamentally sap and drugs.

Benylin: Tastes like sugar sweetened death. Like tasting the scent of formaldehyde with a candy coating. I honestly don’t know what flavour they were aiming for here. Usually, the sweeter cough remedies aim for “cherry” or “grape,” but this just tastes like a Mary Poppins’ spoonful of sugar gone wrong.

APPEARANCE AND VISCOSITY.

Buckley’s: I am not going to sugar-coat this. It reminds me of semen every time I pour out a spoonful. There. The truth is out there. That is to say, it’s an off-white, slightly milky in appearance, slightly thick sort of goo.

Benylin: The screaming bright red colour does nothing to assuage my feeling that this is indeed some sort of nuclear byproduct. Viscosity is normal for cough syrup; runny yet thick enough to be sticky.

NEED A CHASER?

Buckley’s: I don’t. Husband does. They recommend mixing it with equal parts honey if you can’t man up and take it straight. One thing I do not recommend is following a hit of Buckley’s with a serving of orange juice. Just trust me on this one.

Benylin: Husband doesn’t. I do. In fact, I needed to brush my teeth.

EFFECTIVNESS IN CALMING COUGH.

Buckley’s: Hours upon hours of relief. Cough does not disappear, but rather, becomes tolerable. Relief is felt for 4 – 6 hours (at which time you are conveniently allowed another dosage).

Benylin: Mere moments. It was about 10 minutes before I was coughing my throat raw all over again. But you’re not allowed a second dose after just 10 minutes. So in that regard, Benylin kind of screwed me.

EFFECTIVENESS IN TREATING OTHER SYMPTOMS.

Buckley’s: No such benefits noticed. It clears your head a bit after you first take a dose, but after that, it’s really only the cough that goes away. Aches and chills remain.

Benylin: Well well well. Point Benylin! This is the area where Benylin excels. Although I didn’t notice any real effect on calming my cough, Benylin is definitely a soothing product in other regards. After taking it, a pleasant warm sensation came over me and while I was still achey, it didn’t bother me quite as much.

OVERALL:

Duh. Buckley’s takes it.

Of course, in all fairness, everybody is going to react differently to different drugs and just because I find the taste of pine trees more palatable than that of medicine doesn’t mean you will agree. In truth, there’s probably no better medicine than lots of sleep and whatever your doctor deems appropriate for you. But for those of you (and I can see that there are many) who would rather resort to the internet for advice on Buckley’s vs. Benylin, there you have it.

It should go without saying that nobody ever pays me to say anything, but I’ll say it again: Everything you read here is based entirely on personal experience with products that I bought with my hard earned money.

Song of the Day

9 Dec

I can’t get Shimmy Shimmy Ya out of my head.