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 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:


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


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!


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 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* 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.


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


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.

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!


* 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.

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?)