Monday, 21 November 2011

Where's Tom?

Hey all! I know some of you probably saw that Lauren posted her Halloween post yesterday - yay Lauren! But Tom is still M.I.A. - so this is what I, the Canuck, propose we do: Take another week off (if you didn't notice, no one posted last week - not even myself). We might have to change the format of this blog - maybe make it bi-weekly instead or something.

I know that the last email I got from Tom said he was really busy with work and that he had been staying at the office late every night. Hopefully he returns to the land of the living soon to grace us with his presence.

Not too much is new with me, trying to get all my Christmas ducks in a row and such.

Cheers,

Allison


Sunday, 20 November 2011

What Happens At Zombie Prom...Probably Just Shouldn't Happen

This is very late post detailing my Halloween. But at least I'm getting it out there before Thanksgiving. :D

My friend asked me to DJ a party this year. Naturally, I said "yes." The theme of the party was ZOMBIE PROM. How awesome is that? I put together a perfect playlist of Halloween party hits, threw on an outfit that I would never be caught dead in on any other night of the year, and consulted my friends who are make-up artists for help in becoming ZOMBIFIED.

I spent the evening telling people I was an undead rock star. I think it was a semi-tasteful costume at first, but my fishnet stockings ripped a little bit throughout the night and dancing in a hot room made my make-up all smeary. I was a hot mess. A sweaty, undead, hot mess.

I meant to take a picture of myself before the party started but I forgot. And luckily, no one snapped a picture of me while I was doing the time warp again in a dark room with a bunch of other sketchy looking zombie people. I have to say - the phenomenon of Facebook photo tagging has made it almost downright unappealing to attend any sort of sloppy social gathering. But I do regret not having a picture of Zombie Lauren to share with you guys.

But the real story lies in my attempts to DJ this Zombie Prom.

Because my little hipster gnome friend that lives down the hall felt that he should also be the DJ. And the girl organizing the innocently told him that he could DJ it with me, thinking that it would be the best way to avoid conflict.

I was not thrilled. This particular hipster gnome is sort of like an annoying little brother to me and his music is usually awful. I did not want to get in a war with him though, so I agreed to let him open the party with a set of his music.

His music was worse than I thought it would be. It's the sort of music that makes you want to awkwardly lean against the wall and then eventually leave the party. Which is what people were doing. In fact, only one person was truly dancing to the music, and it was the guy who put it on. He had a smug little look on his face that seemed to say "Wow, this is great, my taste in music is fantastic!" Apparently he didn't realize that none of us knew how to dance to his weird hipster stuff.

I didn't want to be a bitch, but everyone was leaving. I went over to him and said "Hey, I love you man, but this music is terrible. Let me play some songs?" He started to protest, but I was already in the process of fading his iPod out. "You can come back on when we're in need of cool-down music," I said. I then proceeded to play "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer.

And suddenly, all the zombies in the room started dancing...

...And stripping.

*facepalm*

I'm sort of glad Halloween is a once-a-year holiday.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Blah!

Okay, so The TASG had it's first hiccup of the season...Tom and Lauren are sorry and will post twice this week (last week's topic and this week's...well I know Lauren is. Tom, are you okay? Tom!!!!!!!!!!! Can you hear me!!!!!!!???? I miss you!!!!)

This week's topic is "Sick Days" - Basically how we deal with being sick. I've got my first cold of the season and while it's not really that bad, it's still quite bothersome.

How do I deal with being sick? I tend to drink tonnes of tea with honey, orange juice and try to drink more water. I know you're thinking I'm probably all holistic and stuff...but no. I also hit up the drug store for Nyquil, Dayquil, Tylenol cold, Buckley's, nasal spray, cough drops...whatever fits my symptoms and will help me sleep and avoid actually having to go to the doctors.

I also generally don't take time off of work while I'm sick because I have a shitty job and I don't get paid sick days, so I usually just feel like dying for my shift then I go home and actually die. If I ever am sick enough to not go in, that means I'm really, really sick.

I don't get sick that much, but when I do it tends to last a long, long time. Last year, around Christmas, I was so sick that I actually lost my voice.

Anyways, I wish you all a happy and healthy November.

I'm looking forward to Halloween and Sick Days posts from both Tom and Lauren this week.

Tom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All cozy in bed today.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween is Weird When You're a Grown Up

This week's theme is: Halloween: The Aftermath. I assume most of us celebrated Halloween on Saturday, as tonight is mostly about Trick-or-Treating with kids. So this week we'll be sharing what we did on Halloween this year (or if nothing, we can share a story from the past).

This year's Halloween was the Halloween that almost wasn't. First, I wasn't completely sold on the party I was invited to. I'm going through weird feelings of social anxiety right now, where I mostly want to retreat within myself and be a hermit all winter long. Anyways, I started thinking about a costume anyways.

I've always wanted to be Joan from Mad Men, as she's one of my favourite character's on TV.

My other costume ideas were:

* Kate Middleton (I make fascinators for my Etsy shop, and I could have just bought a fake sapphire ring)
* Robin Sparkles from How I Met Your Mother 

Anyways, Joan was easier because I could use mostly my own clothes. I bought a vintage pencil necklace years ago (because of my unhealthy Joan love), so I had that. I have a pencil skirt - though mine was a bit shorter than the kind she wears (hey, on Halloween it's okay to slut up costumes, right?). I also had tights, black heels, a bright pink blouse, a brown cropped jacket, and a brooch. I bought a vintage silk scarf and pearl-like clip on earrings.

The other hard part was the hair - a 60s updo! Thank god for You-Tube and people who make hair and make-up tutorials for just about everything! I watched the video a few times, got some extra hold hairspray and a box of bobby-pins. It was a success!

Look at that hair! I'm so proud of myself, I might just do this on a normal day now.
Make it my new thing. I'll be the girl with the updo.
Anyways, the original plan was to meet up at a girl's house, arrange rides and then all travel together to the party - which was in this weird commercial space that my friend's boyfriend has turned into an apartment. But just as I was halfway ready a friend texted me that our other friends were already at the apartment. She gave me 15 minutes to get ready and then she was going to pick me up. At first I kind of wanted to just say nevermind and stay home, but I decided to just finish my hair and make-up and get dressed.

The party was okay - the space was pretty crazy. People were skateboarding and there was a swing hanging from the ceiling. I wasn't really feeling it though...so I sat on the couch and sipped a martini (part of my costume as well) and watched the others play beer pong.

There were a few highlights thought. I beat my friend at pool three times (dating a Brit is really rubbing off on me), and a girl dressed at Black Swan knew what my costume was (unlike everyone else). I mostly felt old and awkward and kinda wished I was curled up on my couch watching Beetle Juice or something Tim Burton instead.

The next day I had no hangover because I didn't drink that much. I did boring errands with my boyfriend and wondered if there was a middle ground between drunken dance parties and looking at tools at a hardware store on a Sunday afternoon.

I think I need to go to the pub soon.

So, Happy Halloween!

Tom, I hope you have a fantastic story for us all!

It was fun being a ghost & and Canadian Zombie in the cartoons last week!

Full Costume!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

This Is Halloween...

Ack. I am late! And my cartoons are fairly lame this time around. But, alas, here they are... (click to enlarge)


Thursday, 27 October 2011

A Very Awkward TASG Halloween

So, this is a day late, for which I apologise. Last night I tried to post a stalling message that read something along the lines of:


"DUE TO OBSCENE AND IMPROMPTU DRUNKENESS, THIS POST HAS BEEN DELAYED. NORMAL SERVICE WILL RESUME TOMORROW."




However, my drunken thumbs wouldn't let me send it. Damn them.




This, I believe, was a blessing in disguise, because I didn't have this idea until this morning. Now, I know it's not technically a comic as it's only one picture, but I am immensely proud of myself.




So, without further ado, my imagining of a TASG Halloween:






Monday, 24 October 2011

Trick or Treat?

This week The TASG has decided to show off our artistic skills once again by drawing comics of ourselves. This time the theme is Halloween.

Hopefully those of you who read my main blog will get an extra chuckle out of this one.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Tom, can't wait to see what costumes and silliness you come up with on Wednesday! Sorry my drawings really suck.

- The Canuck

Friday, 21 October 2011

Stuck On An Island With The Yank!

So I'm stuck on an island? And I can bring five CDs?

This is going to be difficult, but I have it narrowed down to these five:

1. "The Hazards Of Love" by The Decemberists. It's a glorious rock opera about inter-species romance and an evil rake, complete with a chorus of dead kids. It also just plain kicks ass.

2. "The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust" by David Bowie. I'm pretty sure the meaning of life is hidden somewhere in this album.

3. "Music For Men" by Gossip. Because at some point, I'm going to want to dance on this island. I would bring Lady Gaga but I would probably get sick of her. It's difficult to get sick of Gossip.

4. "Who Killed Amanda Palmer" by Amanda Palmer. This one is just good for my sanity.

5. "Absolution" by Muse. It was hard to pick which Muse album I should take, but I settled on this one. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE all of that "uniiiiited states of euraaaaaSIA" crap, but I think I'm going to need to rock out to tracks like "Stockholm Syndrome" and "Hysteria" while stuck on the island.

As for movies, I would bring these five DVDs:

1. Little Miss Sunshine. My go-to feel-good film. Really, I always grin when I watch it.

2. The Producers. The original one with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. I've always thought this is probably one of the funniest films ever made.

3. Slumdog Millionaire. One of my favorite films. Also one of the few films that can get a range of emotional responses out of me - I laugh, I cry, I hang on the edge of my seat in suspense, I cover my eyes because I can't bear to watch the part where they blind that kid, etc. Great for breaking up the monotony of an island.

4. Donnie Darko. Again, a personal favorite of mine. And I know I'm capable of watching it repeatedly. If I was trapped on an island with it, I'd probably watch it until I thoroughly understood the whole thing. It would be wonderful.

5. The Darjeeling Limited. Come on, you knew I'd have to sneak some Wes Anderson onto this list. And this one has both Jason Schwartzman and Adrian Brody (a.k.a: my husbands). Perfect.

Oh no! I forgot to bring a Tim Burton film! Maybe Allison will be stuck on the island next door and I can borrow "Edward Scissorhands" from time to time.

As for books...

I would bring books 3-7 of the Harry Potter series. I figure the first two aren't necessary because I read them a lot growing up and it's just a lot of exposition. Truth is, I've never properly finished the last Harry Potter book, so being stuck on an island with it would be perfect.
I probably don't need to bring all of them, BUT I'M GOING TO. Don't judge me. Or judge me. Whatever. You're just jealous you didn't think of it first.

I'm nerdier than people give me credit for. :P

Anyway, that's all I've got. Peace.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Desert Island Disks

This was taken at a TITANIC party. I thought the theme was almost apt.



I'd like to begin by saying being stranded on a desert island would be among my worst nightmares. Even if it was a picturesque Swiss-Family-Robinson island. All that sun and sand would drive me mental. So my collection of music, films and books would be something of a lifeline.


First up, the tunage:


I'd definitely take Morcheeba's 'Big Calm'. It would calm my nerves and the song 'The Sea' would be particularly apt. I'd also bring with me Metallica's Black album, Amy Winehouse's 'Back to Black', Damien Rice's 'O' and Paloma Faith's 'Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?' I believe these 5 albums, between them, would chill me out, perk me up, help me vent my frustrations and - for those times when you just need to sulk - wallow in self pity.


Films would also help pass the time, of course. I'd bring Moulin Rouge because - I'm so clever - if I shut my eyes or merely turned away from the screen, it would work as a 6th ALBUM. Genius. After I'd depressed myself with Damien Rice, I'd watch Sister Act to cheer me up. O. M. G. Another film that has songs in the soundtrack and - therefore - a 7th album! Next up - The Commitments (8th Album! OK, I'll stop now), and Schindler's List, to remind me that the society from which I find myself isolated is capable of being pretty shit and therefore less worth missing. Finally, I think I'd need to bring some Tim Burton, as Allison did. Just in case we've landed on the same island, I'll bring The Nightmare Before Christmas, so that we don't double up. That will also mean we have something festive for the holiday season, if we're there that long.


And lastly, books. Oh, books. I would bring War and Peace, for I think that would be great for passing a HUGE amount of time. I think I'm being too practical here, concentrating too much on the desert island and not on what's actually my favourite, but hey ho. G R R Martin's Game of Thrones would probably sate my embarrassing thirst for fantasy literature for a short while, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses would bring a little bit of intrigue and drama into my otherwise long, repetitive days in the sun. I'd also bring London Belongs to Me by Norman Collins, just to remind me of what it's like to be a Londoner. And finally, and I'm not sure this will be allowed, my anthology of Shakespeare. Not only would this fill LOADS of time, but it would cure me of one of my most troubling traits; a very poor knowledge of Bard. Then, if I did ever get off the island, I could return to Blighty with my head held high, throwing about witty one liners and deep reflections of my time lost at sea.

Monday, 17 October 2011

My Island in the Sun


Lauren suggested that we do desert island albums this week, but I upped the ante and said we should also include books and movies.

The desert island works like this: Everyone lists their top 5 _____ that you'd want with you if you were trapped on a deserted island. The purpose is to identify which albums, books, movies etc mean the most to you.

Here's mine:

Top 5 Albums

1) Out of Time by R.E.M. - This was the first R.E.M. album I ever heard and the reason I fell in love with this band.

2. Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers - With the return of John Frusciante (who's since departed again) came new life to this band. I liked them before, but this album was the first of a new era for the band.

3. 1967-1970 (Blue Album) by The Beatles - I couldn't pick an album so I went with a best of. This version is of their later songs. I love the early 60s stuff, but I like this one more.

4. The Reminder by Feist - I'd pick her new album Metals, but it seems too new for this type of list. I just need some Feist on the island with me.

5. Weezer (Blue Album) by Weezer - The best Weezer album by far.


Top 5 Movies

1. A League of Their Own - One of my favourite childhood movies. I wanted to be Dottie Henson.

2. Reality Bites - I relate to this movie on so many levels. 

3. Empire Records - I love the 90s, this movie is the epitome of the 90s experience.

4. Peter Pan (Disney) - I love all things Peter Pan - but it all started because of this movie.

5. Edward Scissorhands - One of the best Tim Burton movies ever. It's a whimsical, creepy fairy tale.


Top 5 Books

1. Jpod by Douglas Coupland - This book is a must-read for the Google generation.

2. A Heartbreaking Works of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers - This book introduced me to a whole different style of writing. It's non-fiction written so creatively and so movingly that I re-read sections because they were so brilliant. 

3. Sex, Drugs and Cocopuffs by Chuck Klosterman - Clever, quirky, funny. I'm on a deserted island - I need a laugh.

4. When You Are Engulfed by Flames by David Sedaris - I need more laughs.

5. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens - This one is for anyone who was ever a fan of the TV show LOST.


Friday, 14 October 2011

Unorganized Thankfulness

So it's easy to get caught up with complaining about how life isn't exactly like I think it should be. I mean, I'm unemployed, I have yet to successfully break into the world of music, I still haven't quite figured out how to make a grilled cheese sandwich without burning it, and my favorite neighbors were recently replaced with a creepy old clown and a woman that smells like hamsters.

But the truth is, I have a lot to be thankful for. Here are a few of those things (in no particular order):

- I am not dead.
- I live in a part of the world where I am relatively free to pursue a lifestyle of music and creativity.
- Coffee. I am thankful for coffee.
- Tea can be on this list too.
- My family has always been supportive of me. The more time I spend in the "real world," the more I realize how rare that is and how lucky I am.
- Though they're not always in the same town/state/country as I am, I am lucky to have a variety of really great, genuine friends.
- Dave The Unicorn, my trusty KEYTAR. Playing my keytar is even better than ice cream.
- I am thankful for ice cream. Specifically anything of the chocolate peanut butter variety.
- MUSIC. It's sort of what my life is about.
- I'm college educated. Theoretically, that could get me somewhere, and it's a privilege that a lot of people in this world don't get. Though I didn't always like school when I was enrolled in it, I realize that I'm lucky to have that degree in my hand. (This is all starting to sound like Allison's list...too bad I don't have a picture of a Sex Inn to throw in here and sound a little bit like Tom's too)
- The blog world has proved itself to be fantastic. I've met a lot of fabulous people through it - including Tom and Allison, my fellow TASG members. So, yay blog world.

There are probably a million more things that belong on this list, but I think I'm going to stop here.

I just realized that even though I'm on time in MY time zone, I'm probably going to be LATE posting in yours. Oops. Silly Time Warp.
(It's just a jump to the left...)

Happy Thanksgiving, Canadians!
And to everyone else - Happy Friday! That's all from the Yank - peace out for now!

I'm also thankful for showers, running water, and the fact that I am not insane (though this picture may suggest otherwise)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Danke

Is that German for 'thanks'? I do hope so, for that's what I've been saying to all and sundry since my arrival in Frankfurt yesterday afternoon.

Forgive the brevity of this post; for the last few weeks we've been gearing up to today and the next two; it's the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Despite the hectic nature of the fair, I did sneak away for a fee minutes to ponder over this week's post.

What the fair consists of, for me, is sitting on a stand waiting for foreign publishers who have booked appointments. Frankfurt's exhibition hall is famous for being immense, complete with travelators and it's own skyscraper. As our clients arrive, knackered after a hike from another stand, I can't help but feel grateful that I get to sit still, as boring as it sometimes gets.

I'm also thankful that I'm in a job which allows me to experience this. Each appointment may be only 30 minutes long, but I generally enjoy every second. I'm finally beginning to embrace the fact that my job allows me to travel.

Given that we unwittingly booked a hotel smack bang in the middle of Frankfurt's sizeable red light district (the building opposite is called the 'Sex Inn', next to a club that proudly displays neon lights in the shape of topless women), I'm thankful that I made it home without being propositioned. Not that I would have minded, it could be taken as a compliment after all, but I'm so incredibly prudish and awkward that it would leave me feeling most uncomfortable.

I'm also glad that, though I'm far from home in a strange place, I'm able to tap into my global support network and read what the Canuck and the Yank are up to across the pond.

Auf Wiedersen!

T

PS I shall try to follow up with me in a photo, in true TASG style soon. The bags under my eyes are far too shocking to allow this at the moment. Those I am not thankful for.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Thanks a Latte!

Hello ladies and gents! We made it flawlessly through our first week back to this blog. Can we repeat last week's perfection? I sure hope so!

I am pretty much responsible for this week's topic. You see, as the Canuck, I get to share with you all my world view and my countries traditions and national holidays. Today is Canadian thanksgiving! I had my turkey last night and it was delicious...so delicious that I nearly died. So full!

Anyways, this week's topic is "Things I am Thankful For."

The Obvious

My Family

I am obviously thankful that I have supportive, semi-cool parents who listen to rock and roll and don't smoke or litter. They have tolerated me in my failure to launch - and we get along a bit better lately than before. My dad likes to watch HBO with me on Sunday nights and my mom and I listen to Florence + The Machine and Feist in the car. I don't starve to death because of my parents. My brother is cool too - a bit of a jock, but whatever. We are total opposites but we have some common interests. I am also fairly close with my aunts, uncles and cousins. 

My Friends

I'm weird and I have tiny little factions of people I call friends spread out all over. Most of the factions never intersect and this means I don't see all of the friends all of the time. But each group serves an important purpose in my life. To make me laugh, to remind me of simpler times, to support me when times are tough, to listen when I just need to talk. I have people who will gladly drink pints on patios with me all night long, I have friends who will get ice cream with me and walk by the lake as if we were on a date, friends who will do my nails for me and tell me if my outfit looks good. I have guy friends who offer me a different, and sometimes disgusting, perspective on things. I'm thankful for each and every one of them!

Food, Water, Shelter...

I'm thankful I get to eat fresh, healthy food daily and I don't have to beg for it. I have taps that give me fresh water to drink and shower in. I have a roof over my head, a bed, clothes. Basically I have all the necessities in life plus plenty of luxuries.

*cough* I'm lame *cough*...my boyfriend

Don't worry, I won't get sappy here. But he is someone I should be thankful for. He tolerates my insanity when I text him and he doesn't text me back and I freak out and think he's ignoring me - that means something, right? Truthfully I was content, for the most part, with my simple, uncomplicated single life, but somethings are worth the stress and complication. 

Oh, and I'm thankful for his British accent :)

Not as Obvious

My Education

My education is something that has caused me a lot of stress, and given me few rewards but I must remind myself that I am lucky to have had that experience. Not everyone is in the position to do what I got to do, so I am thankful for the enlightenment. My four years in university really helped me grow and mature as a person.

Music

While I CAN technically live without it, I can't imagine my life without music. My relationship with music isn't the same as Lauren's - I don't create music - but I do surround myself with it. 

Arts and Crafts

My whole life has been about art. Painting was always my favourite thing to do in pre-school. I can't imagine a world without art and homemade things.

~

Anyways, I think that's all I can think of for today...I'm sure I'm thankful for a lot more. Actually, I'm thankful that I "met" Tom and Lauren and that we get to share our crazy lives with one another though this blog and our personal blogs.

Thank you for reading!

I'm thankful for friends who have birthdays so I have an
excuse for photos such as this.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Summer...


Oh hello. Just me again. I'm ba-aaack.

(And on time this time! Yowza!)

I loved reading about Tom and Allison's summer adventures and am stoked to get this TASG thingy up and running again.

That being said, I guess it's time to bore you with the things I did last summer.

Summer seemed to go by really fast. It wasn't a bad summer, though I don't know if it was the best summer of my life or anything. Here are some of the highlights:

- I (unintentionally) stalked the filming of "Portlandia" quite a bit and ended up meeting Fred Armisen as well as being an extra in the show.

- I learned how to play pool.

- I had a really good house-sitting job and recorded the vocals for my new album in basement while staying there.

- I spent way too much time in my room alone trying to learn this dance.

- I got a job writing trivia questions for pub quizzes and quickly got fired because my questions were "too obscure" (I felt like the world's biggest hipster...).

- I spent many nights sitting on the front stoop of my building with my friends. We would order pizza, watch the cars go by, drink PBR, talk about our various creative projects, contemplate the meaning of life, give each other misguided relationship advice, etc. These were some of my favorite nights of the summer.

- I started making my own greeting cards.

- I played some songs at a couple of garden parties.

- I went dancing a few times, mostly at cheesy theme nights (i.e: Soul Night, 90's Dance Music Night, etc.).

- I learned a valuable lesson involving leopard-print pants (a clothing item to be worn with caution!).

- I saw Imelda May perform at the zoo. The crowd was kinda dead, but she rocked it.

- I spent a lot of time stressing out over things like money, my E.P. album, the future, etc.

- I developed a mild addiction to The Bins.

- I got new glasses - the kind that look like I stole them from Woody Allen and cause everyone to ask if I have a real prescription.

- I started writing a sitcom based on my life in Portland.

There you have it - the highlights of my summer. I feel like I'm probably forgetting something, but I think that list is good enough.

And now... it's time for Fall. In a word, woo.

That's all I've got for tonight. See you next week, boys and girls.

<3,
The Yank
(awkward moment with street performers brought to you by "Portlandia")

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

A Cruel, Cruel Summer...


Actually, it wasn't. But how could I start a summer-themed post without referencing an Ace of Base classic?

So, fear not. My summer wasn't cruel. It wasn't, however, the all-singing, all-dancing booze haze it might have been.

At the beginning of the summer, Neil broke his ankle. Now, summer is his season. He is the fire to my ice* so it was especially hard for him to be holed up inside when he would have preferred to be basking in the sunshine. I actually didn't mind. I thought about changing jobs for a while. That didn't work. My one trip abroad was a one night work trip to Trieste (which is very pretty, I do recommend it).

I know it's incredibly British of me to moan about the weather, but for a long time it didn't feel like summer, rather an extension of spring. It's odd that as soon as the sun did come out - at the beginning of October - things began to look up.

Firstly, I watch my football team trounce local rivals QPR six goals to nil. That's a rare figure for Fulham to reach so I was, I believe understandably, overjoyed.

Then came some more big news. I'm really wary of jinxing it, so forgive me for not saying anything just yet, until it's set in stone, but it's looking like my life may be undergoing a fairly substantial change soon. Nothing huge; I'm not emigrating, crowning myself King of the World or giving up alcohol (or coffee, though kudos to the Canuck for succeeding where I've failed!) any time soon. But there is a possibility that those miserable, my life is going nowhere feelings may be quashed. At least for a while. And if it does happen, I promise you'll hear it here first.

In the meantime, I'd like to thank Allison and Lauren for being patient enough to let me recharge my batteries. It's fair to say that blogging has eluded me this year. I've been running low on inspiration. But I don't want to stop, I just needed some time to think. It wasn't you, TASG, it was me. And I'd like to come back now, if you'll have me?

Ciao for now. Lauren, my favourite new twitterer, I look forward to reading your summer post!

T
X

* On the subject of fire and ice, I lost at least two months of my summer to G. R. R. Martin's sprawling fantasy epic A Song Of Ice & Fire. I'm pleased to note that Risha has also succumbed to the temptations of Westeros. This makes me feel much better about myself.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Putting Away My Summer Clothes

So cold!

Welcome back to The Transatlantic Support Group! We took the summer off to chill out and not feel the pressure to blog weekly for a bit, but as the cold weather rolls in so do we. Blogging is really an indoorsy activity, so it only make sense.

We started this blog around this time last year because there's just something about fall that makes 20-somethings a bit sad. Maybe we miss the back-to-school feeling. As students we got so used to major changes happening this time of year. New classes, new people, that we're let down when autumn is just a colder, sadder version of summer.

But let's not start out a new TASG season all depressed - let's reminisce. Let's talk about our summers.

WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION
by The Canuck

• I went to England in May

• I got into a relationship that was long-distance for most of the summer. Scary, but good. I am officially an insane version of myself!

• Had a lot of cold pints on patios with amazing people.

• I listened to new music from bands I love and bands I've just discovered.

• I saw a few movies: Bridesmaids, Bad Teacher and Harry Potter (3D!)

• I saw the musical adaptation of Billy Elliot with my mom and two of my aunts.

• I ran my first 5k race and ran my second 5k charity fun run.

• I met up with old friends from years ago.

• I visited my university for the first time since graduating in 2007.

• I went to the driving range.

• I threw a goodbye party for a friend who left for college.

• I took plenty of naps.

• I learned to enjoy mornings and wake up earlier.

• I nearly gave up coffee, but still have the occasional cup at work, but only in the morning.

I'm sure I did more than that, but that's just a quick re-cap. It wasn't the best summer ever, but certainly not the worst.

Hope you all had amazing summers - or at least not the worst.

Tom - Mr. Wednesday, I can't wait to here from you love! (I'm dating a fellow Brit, so I'm allowed to talk like that now, right?)




Tuesday, 21 June 2011

We're On a Break!

Summer = Summer dresses

We're not dead...we're just lazy busy. Collectively we have decided not to kill this blog, but to take a bit of a summer vacation from the weekly posting. This blog will remain semi-active (hopefully) through the summer months, just not regularly. We can just post here when it seems appropriate - stuff that just doesn't fit on our main blogs. In the fall, hopefully, we can get back into it and we'll do the Monday, Wednesday, Friday thing again.

Stuff that's been on my mind lately...

Hmm...everyone on my Facebook from high school seems to be getting married, engaged or having babies. It's terrifying. My sort of ex's brother just married a girl who was once a very good friend of mine this past weekend. Her and I don't talk anymore. I'm not sad about the "sort of" ex, he was an asshole, but I do feel that this marriage has sealed the deal that my high school life is over. I have very few friends left from high school. That said, those who've stuck around have been the best people I've even known!

I saw the movie Bridesmaids recently and it really made me think about the collection of friends you have. Friends from childhood, friends from high school, friends from university/college, friends from work, family friends. I know we already tackled the subject of friendship, but as I get older the topic becomes more relevant. Who will stick by you till the end? Who will know you best as you are today? Do people stay the same or change? A bit of both I think.

I am pretty happy with my life right now though...even if I'm still not gainfully employed. I'm feeling better about life and loved ones. If I had to fill a wedding party today (don't worry, this is totally hypothetical) I don't think I'd have a problem.

Anyways, hopefully you'll hear from Lauren and Tom sometime this summer!

Cheers,

The Canuck!

Monday, 6 June 2011

We're playing catch up

Please forgive us - we're gonna let this week be a catch up week for Tom and Lauren! Have no fear, this blog isn't going anywhere - we just might have to make some changes for a little while on how we post and run things.

Cheers,

Allison

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

We Don't Know How It's Ending

There are a few things I should point out before I jump into discussing The End Of The World As We Know It:

1) This post is late. Very late. *bows head in shame*

2) This is post number 100. Long live The TASG! *raises superhero ring to the heavens*

Now that those things are out of the way, I will continue with the regularly scheduled programming (which is not true - Allison is supposed to post at this point but Tom and I operate in our own personal time zones, so you're stuck with me...but I digress).

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't somewhat fascinated by the whole concept of the world ending. I have countless songs devoted to the topic. I even co-wrote a post-apocalyptic rock opera in college (it was synced with footage from "Night Of The Living Dead" and everything). I'm a sucker for any of that end-of-the-world zombie apocalypse crap and I even have several ideas of how I will fight for my own survival in an apocalyptic situation. So when everyone went crazy with the rapture hype, I couldn't help but use it as an excuse to think too much about the end times. And naturally, when the rapture scare was all said and done, I found myself in that strange state of existentialism that sometimes engulfs my brain when I think too much.

I didn't think the world was actually going to go all Biblical on May 21st. I paid attention in Sunday school growing up and I knew that Jesus probably wasn't going to tell anyone he was coming back - he was just going to show up. But the whole thing got my mind rolling. What if the world did suddenly come to an end? What the universe suddenly expanded to the point of breaking apart and everything ceased to exist? What if the sun exploded or the Mayans came back from the dead? What then? All we have accomplished on earth will become completely irrelevant and we will inevitably become extinct.

So what is the point of anything if we're all just ultimately going fade away into nothingness???

The day after the rapture was scheduled to happen, a man jumped off a ten-story parking garage and killed himself right outside my neighbor's place of employment. She was late coming home because the whole street was blocked off. I guess the guy was yelling about how he missed the rapture right before he jumped. I guess a lot of people tried to stop him but he was too upset with God and himself to listen to them. He truly believed that Jesus had left him behind and he would have to face the end of the world. It's an incredibly sad story that I wasn't entirely sure how to process. My neighbor mentioned it so casually in conversation ("They had to scrape a guy off of the sidewalk today because he missed The Rapture") and catapulted into a related story about how her coworker spent three hours trapped in a sushi place because of the incident. I was still stuck on the fact that a guy killed himself because of the rapture scare. He was so worried about the world ending that he ended his own world prematurely. If that's not dramatic irony in action, I don't know what is.

I think the only thing we can really know for sure is that we are alive and on this planet right here in this very moment. So we've got to live our lives to the fullest, keep our brains out of that abyss known as existentialism, and make peace with the fact that we don't really know how the world will end.

Anyway, this post has become awkwardly heavy. So I shall leave you with a song:



(Note: This video is very old, but the song is relevant.)

Commercial Free!


I'm late, I'm late for a somewhat important date. I know, I'm never late - but I was giving Lauren a chance to finish her post from last week. That will hopefully still get posted soon as well.

We never confirmed this topic with each other, but I'm just gonna go with it:

IF MY LIFE WERE A TV SHOW

I'd say it would be a dramedy on HBO or Showtime. Episodes would follow the bizarre adventures of my character...let's call her Beth. Beth works at a coffee shop after getting laid off from her desk job at a magazine that eventually goes out of business. So the show would also tackle the subject of the changing economy and media. You'll laugh, you'll cry.

Other characters will include a best friend who lives in another town who you don't meet often, but you read chats and texts from her....let's call her Amber. And several co-workers at the coffee shop who act as a support group.

Other topics that would be touched on would be dysfunctional and long-distance relationships, anxiety issues, family drama, the crazy regulars of the coffee shop, and various other issues that come with the whole Quarter-life Crisis. She might even have a crazy stalker!

She also has a local pub that she meets a group of friends at each week to play trivia. I'd obviously have to work on making it a little more sexy...to fit with the HBO/Showtime style.

So that's my life on TV...tune in next week for another episode of The Transatlantic Support Group!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

No Use Permitting Some Prophet of Doom to Wipe All The Smiles Away

Guys, this will be a short post. You see, I quit my job and sold all my belongings to pay for a bill board warning of Armageddon. And now I'm in a bit of a pickle, with barely enough for 5 minutes Internet time.

I jest. And I should not mock those who have sufficient faith to take such drastic steps. I should also stop quoting Cabaret (see post title).

I was only aware of the predicted end of days from about Thursday last week. Perhaps it was bigger news across the pond?

Like Allison, The Road sprang to mind. As if the prospect of armageddon wasn't uncomfortable enough, I was now reminded of Cormac McCarthy's sparing use of grammar (*shudder* Great book, other than that).

Is it weird that at 26 years of age, prophets of doom still have the power to keep me awake? Is it not even more bizarre that I'm not religious and still let predictions based on religious texts scare me?

In my defence, I suppose it's natural to fear the end. That point when all of mankind's history, progress and ambition crashes to a halt. When everything you've worked for or collected suddenly becomes pointless, and all your hopes for the future impossible.

Predictions like this - and I gather the Biblical support for it is thin on the ground - tap into this fear. Was it exploitation? Did he somehow make millions from it? Or was it a genuine mistake by a genuine believer? I don't know. All I know is that I could have done with a bit more sleep on Friday night, I've enough on my plate without worrying about how to survive the end of the world.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Lenny Bruce is Not Afraid!

So on Saturday the world didn't end. That means The TASG lives on!

Yeah, I'm shocked too.

I really didn't think it was going to - I mean, those people have predicted the end of the world numerous times and it's never happened, so I wasn't worried. But it did get me thinking.

What if those crazies were right? I know that if the rapture happened I wouldn't be one of the chosen few, so I'd just be stuck on earth with most of my family and friends....yeah...hell on earth actually sounds pretty sweet, right? Unless it turned out to be like the book The Road by Cormac McCarthy, which would be horrible.

Anyways, I got to thinking about how the end of the world would be a total buzz kill and would ruin my  summer plans. I still have things on my bucket list, and if my bucket is prematurely kicked by some sort of hellfire, that would suck.

As for the end of the world, I think the world is ending. Just like we're all dying. The world as we know it will end someday - the sun will burn out, the ice caps will melt, earthquakes and volcanoes will engulf us all, the ozone will disappear - all that scary stuff environmental groups have warned us about.

So yeah, we made it through another judgement day. Hallelujah!

The sun is still shining!
See ya Wednesday Tom!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Busy Life Of A Hipster...

Here we see Lauren The Hipster in her natural habitat
People naturally assume that because I don't have a steady job or go to school, I have a lot of time on my hands.  And it's true - my days are structured differently than a lot of people I know.  But that doesn't mean I don't do things.  I fill my days with projects.  Sometimes I go on adventures.  When I am at my best and being the most productive, I lose track of the days entirely.  I sleep weird hours.  I become engulfed in the music that I am creating, the stories I'm writing, and the people I'm interacting with.  I need Rebecca Black to remind me what day of the week it is.  It gets to the point where I wake up on Sunday morning and realize that I was supposed to update The TASG two days ago.  I'm sure you guys have noticed this.  Yet again, I apologize for my general lack of timeliness. 

I was extra busy a couple of weeks ago because I was trying my hand at event planning.  Now I know why all booking agents smoke.  I spent way too much time sending emails to bands and performance artists with the hope of making a profit off of live shows.  The whole plan fell apart before I could make much more than $12.  I ditched that whole routine and went back to focusing on the most important thing right now:  my E.P. 

When the E.P. is done, I will focus my efforts on getting a job.  Who knows, maybe I'll end up working at the Plaid Pantry at that point.  But I'll worry about that after the E.P. is done.  I've got a game plan and I'm sticking to it. 

Gah, what a boring post.  I apologize.  There's no way to describe "my busy life" without sounding irresponsible on some level.  Hmmmpfh.

Anyway, hope you guys are having a great weekend.  This is The Yank, signing off.  

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A Letter of Apology to the TASG




- Knackered -

This support group has been somewhat less transatlantic than it should have been of late (though I do think Allison's hop across the pond should count).

I wish I could say this was likely to change; that from here onwards it's back to weekly blogging for the Brit. But I fear the reality will be somewhat different.

The topic "My Busy Life" has never been more apt. My life is so busy, it's become an un-life, almost. I'm alive, yes (contrary to how my sporadic blogging would make it seem), but am I really living? Between miserable hours at work and brain-dead hours commuting, plus trips to see N who broke his ankle and is now housebound*, I've had no time to myself. And it's coming to a head. There's a rage and frustration building up inside me that suggests something needs to give.

Something needs to change. If it doesn't, I'm worried the rest of my twenties will pass me by and I'll wake up and realise I spent too much time wallowing in misery or beating back stress to actually enjoy myself.

Guys, I'm sorry. This is a miserable, self-pitying post that won't be any fun to read. But seriously, I've had enough and want to run away to the countryside where birds sing, the sun shines and everybody's happy. The countryside is really like that, right?

Yank & Canuck: despite my silence I hear you and am following the trials and tribulations of your respective lives. I shall update you as soon as I've slapped myself and convinced myself to stop bitching and man up.

* I'd like to stress that N's injury is not one of the things contributing to my mood, I am being fully supportive. I even bought DVDs. And strawberry milk.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Stand by Us

Me enjoying a rugby match in Bath, UK.

So you guys have probably noticed that this blog is kinda lacking lately. Lacking Tom especially. I do hope that we return to our regular scheduled programming soon - but in the meantime please stick by us!

This week I say our topic be "My Busy Life."

Right now, my life isn't that busy. I work and when I'm not working I fill my time with other frivolous activities - such as, going to the pub. I'm also filling my time with catching up on all the shows I missed while I was in the UK. How I Met Your Mother, House, Modern Family, and Big Bang Theory. I live a full and interesting life.

Anyways, I know Tom and Lauren are quite busy right now - but hopefully you'll hear from them soon.

Sorry for the short and sweet post.

Cheers,

The Canuck

Monday, 9 May 2011

Ze Balance Scale

Hey, sorry I am late (again...)! Allow me to dump my favorite travel story on you guys. I actually wrote this for a class a while back but I've kept it in the archives because I like it. Enjoy!


The infamous lamp (I bought the base in the states)
It’s almost two a.m. in Cairo and an airport security guard is yelling at me in Arabic. It’s my backpack. It’s set off sensors. What the hell is in my backpack?

The guard grabs it. All twenty members of my group wait for me, too exhausted from the past three weeks of heavy traveling to fully grasp what is going on. I am completely flustered as the guard points to the x-ray of my bag on the monitor. I don’t understand a word of what he’s saying, but I can see that he is pointing to something small, round, and wirey in the bottom of my backpack.

I gasp. It’s that stupid, multicolored globe lamp I bought in the market place back in Dahab. I thought I was getting a bargain, but the vendor ended up selling it to me with two roughly cut wires on the end of the chord instead of a conventional plug-in. It was one of the many times I managed to get ripped-off in Egypt, but that’s beside the point. The crazy thing wouldn’t fit in my luggage with the rest of my souvenirs, so I had foolishly stashed it in my carry-on.

I really should have known better. The lamp totally looks like a bomb.

The airport security guard wasn’t going to let me get by easily. I stood frozen by his x-ray monitor, wondering how I was going to explain to my parents that shouldn’t come pick me up at the airport because I was stuck in Cairo with a crappy bomb-shaped lamp I paid too much for.

Niyar, our group’s wonderful tour guide (nicknamed “the nicest man in all of Egypt”), saw what was going on and was there to help me in an instant. “Lauren,” he says in broken English. “What is in your bag? Can you show the man what is in your bag?”

I dig the lamp out of the bottom of my bag and hand it to the guard. “Lauren, what is this?” asks Niyar, as puzzled as the guard. I explain to him that it’s a lamp. He turns to the guard and starts talking very fast in Arabic. The guard rips the lamp from its careful packaging and pokes it suspiciously. I stand there helplessly as Niyar and the guard exchange angry-sounding Arabic phrases. Finally Niyar turns to me and says “We will pack this in your luggage. I will help you.”

Without warning, he unzips my enormous luggage, unleashing three weeks worth of dirty laundry. Why was it a good idea to pack my underwear on top? I felt as though everyone in the entire airport was staring at me, the moronic white girl with flaming red hair, as I frantically shove loose bras back into my suitcase and covered them with a souvenir papyrus scroll. I transferred a couple of random, smelly clothing items to my backpack, dumped the lamp into my luggage, and proceeded to struggle with the zipper for what felt like an eternity.

When I finally joined the rest of the group, I was completely embarrassed. Members of my group asked me what had just happened and I told them I would fill them in later because it involved a word you can’t even say in an airport (“bomb”). I collapsed in a chair by our designated terminal and fished around in my bag for my last mango juice box. I slumped in defeat when I remembered that the guard had confiscated it shortly before the lamp incident.

And then I got on the plane.

I hate planes even more than I hate airports.

I love traveling, but planes make me nervous. Anxious, even. Sometimes, they go as far as to make me sick. Once I used five barf bags in a two-hour domestic flight, but that’s beside the point. The point being that I had narrowly escaped the Cairo airport with a suspicious lamp and I now had to endure 13 hours of flying.

I found my seat between a bubbly blonde girl and a middle-aged Egyptian man. The blonde girl was with my group and had a lifelong phobia of airplanes. As soon as the takeoff began, she began to hyperventilate. I offered her a stick of gum in attempts to calm her down. The Egyptian man politely asked if he could have one as well. I had just enough gum to get myself through the next couple of flights, but I like to act like I’m a nice person, so I gave him a piece anyway. This small gesture was enough to make him my new best friend.

After the plane was in the air, the blonde girl calmed herself down, put on headphones, and promptly fell asleep. Everyone else on the plane dozed off as well. It was past three in the morning. But my new BFF Abdul wanted to stay up and talk and I was too on edge to sleep anyway. So when the Dutch stewardess came by and offered us bad airplane coffee, we each took a cup.

Abdul was cleanly dressed in business attire. His English was wretched and he knew it. I managed to understand that he had been in Egypt for a month visiting his family and he was returning to his wife and daughter in Amsterdam. The conversation quickly went from normal and polite to bizarre and mildly reminiscent of the movie “Airplane.”

“Do you smoke?” he asks, raising an eyebrow.
“No,” I reply.
“Good.”
There’s a pause.
“Do you smoke?” I fire the strange question back at him.
“Yes. Yes, I enjoy Egyptian water pipe.”
“Oh. Cool,” I say, for lack of a better response.
“Yes.”
There’s another pause.
“Do you have boyfriend?”
“Yes.” I did have a boyfriend, but I’m pretty sure I would have said “yes” regardless.
“Does he smoke?”
“No.”
“Good.”
Yet another pause. I half-expect him to ask me if I’ve ever gone to a Turkish prison.
“You live with boyfriend?”
“No, I live with my parents…”
“Oh, your boyfriend live with you and your parents?”
“No, my boyfriend lives with his parents.”

Abdul was confused. He then embarked on a ten-minute monologue regarding how hard romantic relationships can be in Egypt because of the Muslim culture. “And that’s why Amsterdam is paradise!” he exclaims happily. “In Egypt, you want to do the sex with girlfriend, you no can. It is bad with the religion. But in Amsterdam, you can make love to girls you love!”

I start fumbling through my backpack for my headphones, but Abdul merely takes that as a cue to change topics. He randomly asks what month I was born and we discover we were both born in October. “Oh!” he says excitedly. “Are you ze…” he moves his hands up and down in attempts to nonverbally convey something he doesn’t know the English word for. I have no idea what he’s talking about. He continues to make ridiculous hand gestures. “You know…it like, weighs things…” he says, laughing.

The stewardess comes back to collect our coffee cups. Abdul rattles off a word in Dutch and asks if she can translate it to English. Stumped, she shouts the word to another stewardess across the plane. Sleeping passengers wake up momentarily to glare at us in confusion. “Balance scale!” the stewardess on the other side of the plane shouts in reply.

“Yes!” proclaims Abdul. “Balance scale!” The stewardess continues on her way down the aisle as Abdul continues to move his hands up and down. “I yaaaam ze balance scale!” he says proudly. “Are youuuu ze balance scale?”

I finally realize he’s attempting to talk about astrological signs. And he was going to sit there and ask me if I was the balance scale (otherwise known as “Libra”) repeatedly until he got a response.
I can’t hold my laughter in any longer. He also starts laughing, and the two of us proceed to have a strange laugh attack that wakes up half of the airplane. Meanwhile, he’s still making those silly balance scale-esque hand gestures. Once I’m able to breathe again, I tell him I’m Scorpio. He gives me a blank look and doesn’t understand what I mean until I turn my hands into scorpion claws and pinch the air.

We keep up this strange dialogue for most of the flight. Soon the Netherlands are below us. The blonde girl next to me wakes up in time to have a small panic attack during the landing. I was proud of myself for not even feeling queasy. Abdul gives the hyperventilating girl a look that seems to say “Wow, you stupid American” as he chews my last stick of gum. Lack of sleep is finally catching up to me. When the plane lands, I stumble down the ramp in a zombie-like state. I mumble an incoherent farewell to Abdul Ze Balance Scale. He smiles, happy to be back in the paradise of Amsterdam.

But I am still far from home. I spend the few Euros I have on overpriced coffee and crash on a bench, dreading the next romp through security sensors. I think about my gargantuan luggage and wonder if my bomb-lamp will make it all the way back to Oregon. Before I know it, I’ve fallen asleep on the bench, coffee in hand. A friend wakes me up in time to catch the next flight.

And so it begins again. I love travelling, but I hate flying.

Lauren of Arabia

I'm Coming Home

This is past-Allison...the Canuck girl who's been away in the UK for a week, but hasn't actually experienced that yet because I'm still in Canada typing this post to be scheduled. So when you read this I will be likely on a bus, plane or taxi coming home from my (hopefully) fabulous holiday in Bath, England.

No one suggested a topic for this week so I'm going to declare this week a free form topic. It's hard for me to write about stuff that will still be talked about in a week's time.

I know this is a week old (when you guys read it) but during my last shift at work, before I left for a week, my co-worker and I did a lot of work - it was raining so we just cleaned the whole store. At the end of the shift she drew a little comic strip about our afternoon:

It was pouring rain, so we cleaned almost EVERYTHING!

Val cleaned out the syrup containers (what we use in hot chocolates and flavoured lattes).

We felt pretty good about our productive day, and then a lady spilled her tea on the floor :(
"I'm going on vacation tomorrow" was my mantra while I mopped it up.

We rewarded ourselves with pizza! Pizza has never tasted so good!
I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. I know it's not our Transatlantic Super Squad comics - but still pretty awesome I'd say. I'll leave you with some random photos I found on my computer.

Not sure why I took a photo of myself eating a sandwich.
Crazy two-headed kitty!
Me and my cousin's son.
Probably a photo I took for this blog but never used...until now.

Sorry for this post - I just can't really think about what to write about that will matter in a week's time.

Monday, 2 May 2011

"You Sound Like You're From London"

All packed?

It's 9 a.m. on Monday morning here in Southern Ontario. At 5 p.m. my airport taxi will pick me up and take me to Pearson International Airport where I will board a 8:40 p.m. flight to London, Heathrow. In honour of my trip abroad I suggested the topic of Travel Stories. I feel like Tom (who lived in Italy for a bit) and Lauren (who spent time in Egypt) will have way cooler stories than me - but I will list my most memorable vacations.

• Florida, 1989 - When I was five and my brother was four our parents drove the family to Florida. My mom's cousin was living there at the time, so we were to stay with them for a bit. I don't remember the drive much - but I do know we stopped and picked pecans in Alabama, and we stayed in some motels in the Southern United States. I remember my dad went fishing and caught a pelican. I also remember swimming and sucking on my hair because it tasted salty. We did the whole Disney World thing - which was fun. We also visited JFK Space Center - where I got to try on a space suit.

• England, Scotland & Wales,  2003 - During my last year of high school my family booked a tour of Great Britain. It was the first time I'd ever been on a plane - so I was excited and nervous. The tour was a whirlwind, but I saw so much and fell in love with Edinburgh, Scotland. For a while I considered trying to go do a Masters degree there just so I could live there for a bit. It was an exhausting, but life changing trip. Also, travelling with my family was stressful and staying in a hotel room with my brother was a bit annoying.

• Montreal, Quebec, 2009 - For my 25th birthday I took a trip with one of my best friends - Amanda. We  took the train and arrived in Montreal, took a cab to our hostel (bunk beds with annoying crinkly plastic mattress covers) and got out our maps to plan our trip. Instead of exploring the nightlife of La Belle Province, we basically did a walking tour of the city in the rain. We also sampled all the famous foods - Poutine, Montreal-style bagels, and smoked meat sandwiches with a cherry pop. We saw the John and Yoko exhibit at The Montreal Museum of Fine Art. We walked through the outer section of The Bell Centre (where the Montreal Canadians play). We bought wine at a variety store and weird fake vodka and drank out of plastic cups in our hostel. It was an amazing trip - even though it rained a lot.

• Ottawa, Ontario, 2010 - My cousin (the one I'm visiting in England) got married on January 2 last year. My parents and I drove to Ottawa (with a stop-over in Kingston, Ontario) for the wedding at the Delta hotel. After a beautiful and super fun wedding, we stayed an extra day to see the sites of our nation's capital. We saw parliament, the Canadian National Gallery, The By-ward Market - all in -20 degrees Celsius weather. It was cold, but I'm so happy I went though. My hotel room was amazing! I've never stayed somewhere so nice.

• Belleville, Ontario, 2010 - Last summer I took the train and visited my friend in Belleville. Not exactly an ideal vacation spot, but I was excited to visit my friend and see where she lives. I also rented a car - a first for me. It rained a lot, but we had fun visiting some small towns and looking at knick knacks.

So, I'm not the most travelled person I know - but I feel like I'm pretty good at making the most of my holidays. I mostly spent my childhood years camping and going to my cottage (or grandparent's house). I live pretty close to both Toronto and Niagara Falls - so I have taken many day trips to those places. I actually lived in Toronto when I was in university. I can't wait to come back and tell you guys all about my trip!

Tom & Lauren, I'll read your posts in a week - 'Cause I've got a ticket to ride!

Bonus points to those of you who can tell me the name of the film the title quote comes from.

I'll reply to comments when I return - so don't be shy! Tell me your travel stories!

I Forgot To Watch The Royal Wedding...

I'm so classy

Oh dear.  I almost forgot to write about The Royal Wedding.  I am doing so at this time. 

I have a confession to make:  I forgot to watch The Royal Wedding.

I was up at 4 in the morning and everything.  I was going to try to find a way to stream it online, to jump aboard the bandwagon and celebrate something I have no real association with.  But I got really focused on what I was working on and I just plain forgot.  I'm sorry Kate.  I'm sorry William.  I'm sorry Tom. 

The Royal Wedding wasn't really that huge over here in the states.  A few of my friends posted Facebook statuses about drinking tea and eating crumpets, but that's about it. 

Now, the death of Osama Bin Laden...that's a different story.  I think the entire country knew about it within minutes and it's all people are talking about. 

I found out when I was in a cafe.  I was on the phone and my friend on the other line got a text message with the news.  He shared it with me.  When I got off the phone, I overheard people in the cafe talking about Osama's death. 

And then, of course, somebody put Obama's speech on the TV in the corner.  The rate at which news gets out these days is atonishing. 

But I digress.  Back to William and Kate...I wish you the best.  As long as Prince Harry is still single, I'm cool with the new couple (marrying into a royal family is one of my long term goals). 

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Pfft.

If I'd zipped the hoodie up, it would read 'REPUBLIC'. Just saying.


The last two weeks have forced me to reassess my relationship with the Royal Family. Relationship is the wrong word - it's not like they invite me round or anything. My opinion of the Royal Family would perhaps be a better wording.


A few weeks ago, I was certain. I was sure that they are neither use nor ornament and should be ousted in favour of someone like me, who would use the tax payer's hard-earned cash on drink and fun instead of fancy cars and castles. In this way, the country would be united under a monarch who was just like them.


However, in the run up to the wedding things have reached fever pitch. I walk past shops selling Kate Middleton masks. MASKS I TELL YOU. My brother's girlfriend is having a street party. The hairdressers on the High St is offering a ROYAL WEDDING DISCOUNT. It's as if the world has gone mad and I've unwittingly wandered into 1950.


But then it hit me...it's not annoying me. I don't look at all the hype, all the Union Jacks, and feel anger. I feel something else. Is it...patriotism? I think it might be. And that's unusual. You see the British don't often celebrate British-ness. It's quite a rare occurrence. Unless you're Welsh or Scottish in which you have loads of options. The English, then, rarely unite unless there's a World Cup on. But despite the differing opinions on the matter, at least everybody's talking about the same thing for once.


It's difficult to put aside 20 odd years of not knowing what the Windsors actually do, but I think for tomorrow I will try. I'll concentrate on the pomp that Allison mentioned. And, as I'm going to a Royal Wedding party, on the drink that I hope will be flowing soon after they tie the knot.


But after tomorrow it will be business as usual. Honest.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Kicking the Habit





Given that Lauren highlighted her habit of posting two days late in her Bad Habits post, I think it's only fair that I do the same. Especially as this is a week (and a day) late. Not two days.



Ashamed as I am, my lack of punctuality is not the bad habit I want to concentrate on. No. I am here to discuss the mother of bad habits, the habit that sends biting finger nails, turning up late for work and swearing running and screaming in terror: smoking.



This is really quite topical for me, as I gave up four weeks ago. This is harder than it sounds. It should be easy to resist the temptation to waste money on things that do you no good at all, but there's a reason that companies can make millions by 'helping' people kick the habit.

While I know that it was bad for me, I do miss it still. But I suppose that's part of an addiction isn't it, if you didn't miss it, you wouldn't be addicted. And I was.

I should say though, while I'm sure there is lasting damage, it's incredible how quickly the human body can turn itself around and start to repair itself. It's impressive, really. At first I wondered why not smoking was making me cough - I assumed it should be the other way round. Apparently it's the lungs getting rid of all the crap. Sorry, that's disgusting. But good, too. It was the best cough I ever had. And not just that - there's pins and needles as your circulation improves, your sense of smell improves. All this I'm grateful for, I just wish the insomnia would sort itself out.

Anyway, that's my uber-late bad habits post. Wish me luck, as I'm not out of the woods yet and could still succumb to tobacco's siren call. And don't go anywhere - royal wedding post coming right up.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Pomp and Snobbery at It's Finest

This week Tom suggested perhaps a Royal Wedding theme - I know what you're thinking - that we've jumped on the bandwagon. I suggested that it might be fun to every-so-often tackle specific topics to our respective countries and each write a lighthearted post on the subject.

While Tom says the Royal Wedding is more of a Brit thing, but I disagree - because as a Canadian, Prince William is my future king as well. The British Monarchy reigns over the entire commonwealth, which includes Canada. I obviously don't take it too seriously, but I do enjoy the glamour and fanfare of it all.

I'm not here to talk about Wills though, I'm here to talk about Kate and how I adore her fashion sense. I want to own all of her hats pretty much. I want to someday host a garden party and make everyone wear fancy hats and drink tea.

I've decided to derail the topic a bit and not talk about the upcoming nuptials, but to talk about one of my favourite colours lately: Royal Blue.

My famous hat paired with my favourite coat ever!
Seriously this jacket was a steal and it's gorgeous!
Royal blue is such a eye-catching colour.
One of my new nail polish colours: Dating a Royal.
Not quite as glitzy as Kate's sapphire, but I love it.
This is a lapis ring I bought back when I work at a jewellery kiosk. I love the colour.
It's hard to see in this photo, but there is royal blue in this dress.
This was my birthday outfit.
I won't be watching the wedding on TV - as it comes on at 3 am here, and will likely be quite boring. I'll catch the highlights online. A lot of people seem quite upset that this wedding is getting so much press - but I don't really care one way or the other. For me I think the little girl inside of me is living out her princess fantasies through this.

Tom, as you live in the city that this wedding is happening, I expect a full report on the state of London right now! Also, your Bad Habits post :)