31 Dec 2008

Goodbye, 2008

Well, it's been a year.

In 2008 (and in random order):

  • I turned 30. And it's not bad (nor did I think it would be). Not bad at all. To be honest, I feel this strange sense of relief to be out of my twenties, and not in a sour grapes kind of way that most would expect. I guess I've always felt like being in your twenties meant being lumped in with those dumb-asses that spent their time going to nightclubs, wearing hot pink and starring in The Hills - none of which have ever appealed to me. Being in your thirties means coming more into your own. It's being a flawed-but-lovely, smart, clever grown-up who actually gets taken semi-seriously. Thirties = The Age of Tina Fey, and lord knows I love The Fey.
  • I celebrated one year of marriage. He is my darling and I love him. But he needs to go to a sleep clinic for the snoring. Like, right now.
  • I decided to go freelance. Holy eff, why didn't I do this earlier? Mind you, for 2009, I need to get my butt in gear, get my website up, go after new business more ... but working with my existing clients, living off of less money and taking it slow but deliberately has brought me such happiness these last few months. I don't dread waking up anymore! That's a step in the right direction, no?
  • We traveled to England, France and Germany. We were so, so, so lucky to have amazing friends living in London (Barry and Esther) and Paris (Gauthier) who made our stays so brilliant. A return is necessary, maybe even in 2009. BEST TRIP EVER.
  • I'm very proud of my sister who is flourishing after leaving a relationship with The Fun Sponge. She now has her own condo (bigger than ours!), a new job and is having buckets of awesomeness with a good group of friends. Go Mel!
  • Patrick's sister moved to Vancouver this fall. We admire her for being so independent and willing to take that leap - there's no doubt she'll gain wonderful experiences from having done that. We miss her and look forward to seeing her in February.
  • In the very tippy-toe end of 2008, I decided to take on a more vegan lifestyle. Not 100% - but in the least, I'm trying to add veggie-based foods in my everyday life. We'll see how that goes ...
  • Our good friends Siobhan and Patrick moved into our building! It's like getting an insta-social life without having to try whatsoever. It's literally like rolling out of bed, grabbing a bottle of wine and going up the elevator. Shobey and I have enjoyed regular rendezvous to watch Gossip Girl and Project Runway ... and also "just because" drop-ins of wine and Pop 5 (my favourite game in the universe). Next up - The Bachelor. Eeee!
So 2008 has been pretty nice. Here's to 2009! Best wishes to you, your family and your friends from the Bycks!

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24 Dec 2008

Because A Bitchy Post Can't Be A Christmas Post

We're off to stay with the in-laws for the next few days over the holiday, and I hate the idea of a cranky post about some random idiot sitting here representing my latest thoughts over Christmas - so I'm blogging this evening to leave something merrier.

If you've ever thought of me as being someone who has a good sense of humour (and I hope I'm not being too presumptuous), you have my parents to blame. I am just a diluted version of them. This is what came to us a few days ago (if you click it, it will expand):


And this painting was what was inside:


They over-prepared us for horribleness. It's really not bad at all. True, there's something 'off' about Patrick. While I wouldn't go so far as to call him Sloth - I will say that he looks like a mix of himself, Rodney Dangerfield and a large baby (although, to give credit, sometimes he DOES look like a large baby. I have been known to pinch those cheeks and make babbling sounds as I do it). And I look like someone who has just realized that she's settled for a Rodney Dangerfield-slash-baby type and is experiencing a moment of grief ... but besides that - it's actually pretty good. It will be framed and hung! Take that, parents!

However, since receiving this gift, Patrick has been randomly screaming "HEYYYY YOOOOU GUUUYS!" and asking me, "Bay-bee Ru-th?" Seems life is now imitating art. How grand.

Ah, Christmas! Hurrah!

Happy Holidays to you and your families!

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22 Dec 2008

Further Evidence That Our Society Is Getting Stupider

Here's a scenario: Say you’ve just been in a fiery plane crash and you and the other passengers are trying to exit the melting plane. What do you do?



According to this dude, you pull out your Blackberry and update your Twitter status. While still on the plane. That's just crashed. And is on fire. With people in it.

WTF.

I'm really, really hoping that the reporting is off and he Twittered AFTER he got out of the plane - but so far, that isn't what's being relayed. Le Sigh of the highest order.

I could rattle on about how incredibly stupid, selfish and unsafe this was of him and how baffling it is that some people are actually impressed with this fool's 'instincts' to "break the story" - but really, do I need to get into it? Is a rant from me necessary? I think the majority of us who value certain things (like LIFE, other people, safety, not burning) over other things (the fleeting and fickle 15 MB of fame) - don't need any arguments about how silly this is. And if the words "jellyfish" and "bath" also popped into your head - Jinx! Buy me a Coke!

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16 Dec 2008

And They Wonder Why They're Still Single

A recent survey among members of an online dating site found that 36% of the women polled would dump their (ed note: imaginary) partner for giving an "inadequate" Christmas gift. The survey went on to say that women with higher educations were most likely to give a relationship the axe over this reason.

It makes you wonder what brilliant thesis papers these ladies would have written. I'll guess:

  • Evidence and Examples of Telepathy in Males
  • If The Shoe Fits: Disney Princesses as Modern Role Models
  • Beyond Digging: Technological Advancements in Gold Excavation
  • Off With His Head!: A Historical Review of Capital Punishment
  • Finding Truth and Inspiration in the Speeches of Gordon Gekko
What lovely, lovely women. The site admins should do all the men (and the 64% of non-crazy ladies) a favour and flag the profiles of those finicky females through a suitable, easy to spot icon. This would do:

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11 Dec 2008

Inflated-Deflated

INFLATED: 15 minutes ago:

Guy at liquor store: Uh, you got some ID?
Me: Really?
Guy at liquor store: Yes, really.
Me: You don't know how flattering this is. *I pull out ID*
Me: I'm 30.
Guy at liquor store: *Looks at ID* Oh, yes - yes you are. Sorry!
Me: *Glowing*
Guy at liquor store: So, you don't get ID'd very often?
Me: Uh, no. Totally don't get ID'd often.
Guy at liquor store: I'm surprised - you look young.
Me: I love you.

DEFLATED: 5 minutes ago:

At the neighbourhood burrito place (DON'T JUDGE ME) and Jennifer Warne's song Ain't No Cure for Love is playing on the speakers as I'm paying for my oh-so-nutritious meal.

Me: Wow ... I haven't heard this song in ... like ... 15 years!
Girl at burrito place: I don't think I've ever heard it.
Me: Wha? Really?
Girl at burrito place: Well, 15 years ago, I was only four years old.
Other Girl at burrito place: Huh, huh ... I was two!

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10 Dec 2008

A Dream Is Dead

Yesterday afternoon, when I pried myself away from the computer to grab something from the kitchen (imagine that), I immediately smelled something .... smokey. Frightened that I had left the oven on, I searched the kitchen for anything that could cause something to smolder. No burners were on, the oven was off, the microwave was off, the toaster wasn't plugged in - just the dishwasher was finishing its cycle. I stood there stretching my nostrils as wide as I could, tilting my nose upward, trying to detect where the smell could be coming from. The smell was distinct. Woodsy. Hickory. Smoked.

I remembered that right below our suite, a new wings and ribs restaurant was finishing renos and was about to open. The smell was exactly like a smokey, hickory BBQ sauce. There also just happens to be a vent in our kitchen that could plausibly be connected to the downstairs. I imagined that perhaps they were getting their kitchen ready and were starting a process of making vats and vats of rib sauce. I imagined this was just the beginning and that I'd be smelling more of these vats in my future.

I'm ashamed to say that I was not upset by the possibility of living in Wing Manor. I was thrilled. When Patrick came home, the smell had subsided, but I excitedly chatted with him about how good our place was going to constantly smell. Mmmm ... hickory smoked wings and ribs ... Mmmm. It would be like living in a BBQ hug.

Today I learned something new.

If you don't put things away properly in the dishwasher, they can fall to the bottom and be directly exposed to the heating and drying coil of the appliance. Like, say, this wooden spoon that I found in ours this morning:

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5 Dec 2008

Ugh Canada

Warning: Long and rather un-funny political post follows.

Not long ago, I blogged about how I wanted to become more passionate and active in local and national politics. I said this while basking in the glow of the Obama victory and the outpouring of everyday citizens who believed they could make a difference to better their nation. When I imagined myself becoming ga-ga for government, it was with a naïve vision of making myself heard in order to help push through important legislation, stop a great injustice or promote an inspiring leader. Instead, I am muttering about the crappiness of our elected officials and doubts that Canadians have little say over what’s going to happen next.

Before I continue, I’ll let my biases be known: I’m a socially left and fiscally right-ish individual. I don’t belong to any party and view each election as open season when it comes to my vote. In past federal elections, I’ve voted Conservative, Liberal and most recently, Green (dare to dream, little vote!). I’m by-and-large not optimistic about the people we elect and tend to presume that they’re all just a bunch of egomaniacs who will likely do and say anything to get what they want. I don’t, however, “hate” anyone – not even the people who are least likely to ever get my vote. I don’t think anyone or any party is evil – but I don’t think any one party is particularly awesome – they’re all as fully capable of corruption as they are at doing good. My vote in every election is done so that I can retain the right to take part in Canada’s favourite pastime: complaining.

This is how I see the events of late:

Prime Minister Harper, leader of the party with the most votes, has been described as the type of guy who only likes to be in the company of Yes Men. Where Obama hopes to surround himself with diverse thinkers, Harper prefers to hear one unified voice. It’s this trait – not his much heckled cold Syberian Husky-esque eyes or Lego Man inspired hairdo – that seems most defining. Anyhoo … a lack of dissenting opinion has a history of producing the risky environment of group-think and like nearly all occasions of when group-think has been festering, a false set of realities sink in (like, oh say, acting as if you have a majority) and crap that would normally be flagged as dicey or unwise gets the green light. Add into this mix that these group-thinkers are also all politicians (a.k.a. self-interested pigs) and you can actually see shit clearing space to create clear runways toward fans. So, when the Conservatives presented their Challenger Shuttle of a budget, the Tory Fantasy World burst.

Now, the elements within the budget that have people up in arms are actually worthy of debate. Not everyone supports public funding of parties. Not everyone stands behind strikers. And not everyone thinks pay equity suits should go beyond a union to solve. But according to some, these hot-ish button issues were tossed into the budget as a bully move and peeps don’t like getting bullied.

Especially Stéphane Dion, chronic victim and lame duck leader of the Liberals. He had his share of bullying in the last election, largely at the hands of the Tories, partially at the hands of the media that loved photographing him with his backpack. So rather than hand over his lunch money once again, Dion threw down the abacus. Harper got the big remind-o that numbers are everything and a new election isn’t the only trick up the constitutional sleeve in the case of non-confidence. Harper flinched and the Conservatives pulled the plug on several budget bloopers and pledged to make changes before representing the budget.

This is where Stéphane should have said “You better – because we’ll be watching, Tabernak!” and then sauntered off into the sunset. He would have gotten one hell of a high-five from the countless Canadians who were less than thrilled with Harper-style decision making but still needed to keep our country moving. And it would have been about as positive of a note Dion could have hoped for to wrap his already finished career with, short of having another Dion-kin serenade him with a song from the hit film, Titanic.

But, no, this isn’t what happened. Remember, we are talking about petty, petty politicians whose decisions are completely personal. Instead, we get The Coalition: a merry band of power-hungry white hairs who proclaim to represent most Canadians. You know, because a vote for the Liberals is the same thing as voting for the Bloc. Or the NDP. Or vice versa. Totally the same thing. Where the coalition passes the math test, they flunk the one about ideologies.

Cue idiotic mud-slinging. Conservatives transform themselves into Sarah Palin and shriek that Dion is “pallin’ around” with communists and unity terrorists. They refer to the coalition as traitors who are attempting to perform a coup d’etat (apparently some Tories believe that the world is their Wikipedia and this term can now be edited to describe a legal shift in power that occurs without military force). They stupidly poke the dormant separatist beast. It quickly gets fugly.

The coalition, on the other hand, likens Harper to a certain dictator who had a fondness for goose-stepping. They act incredibly dismissive of people who actually DID vote Conservative, provoking that other dormant beast, western alienation. They also become more entrenched in their resolve to gain control of the government and perform a vote of non-confidence, even if the Conservatives delivered a new budget that contained seeds for trees that grew money. The fug worsens. For the first time ever, America - with its lack of health care and an insane love of guns in the hands of everyday chump citizens - looks like a tempting place to live.

So, rather than being instantly voted out, Harper did the obvious thing – request the suspension of parliament for nearly two months. If anyone thinks that the Liberals or NDP would have done differently if in the same position, you are either lying to yourself or a monumental idiot.

So now we are where we are.

In my opinion, this small break presents an opportunity to right wrongs:

  • The Conservatives need to create a budget that is chiefly focused on benefiting Canadians – not sucker punching their foes.
  • Harper needs to learn to play nice or take a hike.
  • The coalition needs to wipe their shit-eating grins off their faces, start thinking about Canadians and work with our government to pass a good budget.
  • Dion and Layton: Enough. We know this is about $1.95 and your own blind ambitions.
  • Jean Charest. Jean Charest. Jean Charest.
  • We ALL need to demand more from our elected officials. Make your voice heard today.
  • Finally, for fuck's sake, show up to vote. Even if it is only a few months after the last one.

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I have no shame

Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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