Thursday, June 29, 2006
One of the hardest parts about writing on someone else's blog is that you need to come up with something more interesting than a play by play of your office job or a story about that time you fell up the stairs and sprained your wrist. The other day I caught wind of some Backstreet Boys news even though it was probably weeks old by that time. I was obsessed with the BSB when I was younger. When they did their "Never Gone" concert this past summer I jumped up and down excited and wanting to go more than I wanted fresh air or water. I might have maybe freaked out and told Shirley and got her all excited with me and she might have been a little hesitant at first but she came around and had an AMAZING time (because who wouldn't?!).
Anyways, recently it has been announced that Kevin (Shirley's favourite BSB) is leaving the group. I don't even know if Shirley is aware of this tidbit yet, but I figured that this would be the perfect medium for getting it out there. Below is the official statement from Kevin:
After 13 years of what can only be described as a dream come true, I have decided that it is time to leave the Backstreet Boys. It was a very tough decision for me but one that was necessary in order to move on with the next chapter of my life. Howard, Brian, Alex and Nick will always be my little brothers and have my utmost love and support. I would like to thank the Backstreet fans for all the beautiful memories we have shared together and look forward to including you in the next phase of my life. I wish my brothers continued success and look forward to their new album.
Apparently they are in studio recording their next album and have no intentions of replacing Kevin. I am unsure how they will record an album without him and wonder if it will sound complete when finished.
Hey Shirley, want to go to their next concert with me? :)
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Watering the Plants: Gay Pride
I don't care if it's a cheesy metaphor; I'm still using it! :) Maybe I just don't respect Shirley's blog the same as the other guest bloggers. I just see it as a blank slate upon which is our imagination transformed into written words. It doesn't need to be this or that, it can be whatever you want it to be. Thus, I'll continue to write my inane rants and thoughts, and if Shirley or her readers don't like it, tough beans.
As you may know, it was Pride Week, so my boyfriend Steve and I hopped onto a train to Toronto on Friday to celebrate.
It was amazing and shocking to walk down Church Street and see so many gays and lesbians in one place. I'm normally used to seeing approximately none most of the time, but this was great. I'm not a big fan of the S&M gear, cowboy outfits, or skin-tight attire made of exotic materials, but hey, whatever floats your boat. I've got no pictures of our time there because I forgot to bring my camera. God, the one time I forget and it has to be right then.
I snapped a few quick pics after we left and got back to the car. Steve bought me a rainbow flag! What a sweetheart.
My straight friend Dan with the flag in the subway station. He may be hetero, but he acts much, much gayer than most gay people I know.
And Stevie with the flag. :)
We had to leave town on Saturday, so we didn't stay for the parades, but it was a good time regardless. See you all there next year.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
I've got my favourite people posting on here because:
1. I can't; except for tonight - we got lucky and scored a night at a Best Western here in Macau which has internet access for the guests FOR FREE. That's a lie; an hour of internet comes free with the purchase of a beer, so we bought one. That's a lie too; we bought three.
2. They're better at this than I am anyway. Contrary to what Ashley said, though I do spend FOREVER on my posts, they are far from perfect. I'm just a freak when it comes to sharing one's writing.
3. They are my favourites - so wonderful and beautiful and I am so glad that I have them in my life. The .gif of the bloody cartoons, the cheesy metaphor, the dry wit and overall amazing sense of humour (didn't it just punch you in the stomach(?), it was so funny(!), the history they knew, the link(!) to a super old entry - they're amazing. There's one favourite that hasn't posted yet because she's too busy and I know that. I get to see her in a few weeks (read: 4), so I can beat her up later. Under the covers. Naked.
So 3 flights, 26 hours of travel, and 28 hours without fresh air later, and I was in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We hung out with the relatives, suffered immense jet lag, went shopping and then hopped on another plane headed for Hong Kong this morning. Since we arrived, we took a nice, long boat ride to Macau where we're spending the night and then we're headed off to see the city and China tomorrow. I'm not really sure what's happening and that's fine by me. I'm used to being in charge at home and now that I'm on vay-cay, I'm in Chill Mode. Which is a good idea, seeing that the weather here is in the high 40s with the humidex. I much prefer being hot over cold, so I can handle the sweating. Believe it or not, the thing that has bugged me so far is the air conditioning. They blast it in the buildings, so that walking in and out is like jumping between tropical and arctic climates. I worry about the condensation that could possibly build up in my cameras.
I'm here without any travel consultations and no shots whatsoever. I'm totally taking my chances with Avian Flu. I did come armed with 1 after bite pen, 2 bottles of sunscreen, 2 bottles of premium insect repellant, 2 tubes of mosquito bite cream and 72 tablets of allergy medication (to bring the swelling down). There are two things I fear in life: Death and mosquitoes. I think it's apparent that I fear mosquitoes more.
It's the night of the 22nd here - I love travelling so far back in time zones that we end up going forwards. I lost the 19th somewhere between Vancouver and the middle of the Pacific. As we were going from Toronto to Van City, I could still see the sun, just peeking, over the horizon (even though it had set in T.O.) and I thought it was so neat that I was chasing the sun across the country. I'll be doing quite a bit of chasing across many countries over the course of the next few weeks. I haven't even been away from home for a week yet and I feel like I've done and seen tons. Life here is so very different from anything that we know over in North America and I know that I am so lucky to be able to see it for myself. The world is a big place and it's filled with a lot of good, bad and different. I'm far from seeing it all and even farther from changing it. I'm perfectly fine with that. I'll let the world change me first.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Guest Blogger: Ashley
Much like Al has hinted, posting on Shirley's blog is not like watering a few plants. When asked to be a guest blogger I accepted the task with far too much excitement and eagerness. Since that point I have been filled with trepidation. Why the HELL did I agree to write on Shirley's blog?! Have you ever watched Shirley write a post? If you have you know that it's painful, it's slow, and it's PERFECT. She notes every single flaw in her writing, every misplaced comma and hanging participle. She reads and re-reads her post multiple times before being satisfied with her work and even then you can tell she thinks that it isn't quite right so she reads it again. I remember at one point during finals when we were sitting in the computer lab writing one of our horrible take home exams and I looked over to see Shirley working very hard studying her screen as if she were about to discover a cure for some rare blood disease. I thought to myself how much I envied her hard work while I was flipping through blogs and reading MSN profiles. As I clicked on the link for Shirley's blog I saw that she had not been working on her paper but had been writing a post. Instead of laughing I wished that I had I wrote with that intensity. When I write a post for my blog I generally just write it quickly without much thought, don't read over the finished product and press the post button as I'm walking out the door. So now, I'm responsible for something that will appear on Shirley's blog. The place that she lays down her thoughts and ideas. Somewhere for her to vent and share. A place that is cared for. So now, I must ask myself "why on earth would she give me this responsibility?" I would totally kill her plants.
As for an introduction of who I am, since that seems to be the way things are done around here, my name is Ashley and I met Shirley at Laurier where we are both in love with Sociology (even though she sometimes cheats a little with business).
I remember the day I met Shirley with clarity. It was the day of Fringe Festival in our first year of university. She was in a play different from my own but we met in the makeshift changeroom backstage. She was funny and nice and above all else I wanted her to BE MY FRIEND! After we had said our good byes I scouted around and found her e-mail address so that I could add her to MSN. I was on a mission. I added her and we talked occasionally, I think that she thought I was kind of strange. I read her blog and eventually commented. We didn't become instant friends (again I think she was afraid of me). We ended up in some of the same classes in September and chatted on weekends. Now, she IS MY FRIEND and I don't think that she is as scared of me anymore.
While Shirley is away myself and the other guest bloggers will not be able to fill her mighty (yet small, small enough that we can share -another perk of being Shirley's friend) shoes but we can try!!
Guest Blogger: Big Al
When Shirley sent me an invitation to be a guest blogger on her site I was filled with mixed emotions: Excitement...Fear...Hungry...pretty much in that order too. I mean, what do you write on someone else's blog? This isn't the same as keeping someone else's house clean for them while they're away (even though that's exactly what Brian just compared this to). There is a distinct possibility that you're going to leave things in a much worse state than they were before. After some thought, I decided I'd just introduce myself. What better way to get to know Shirley than by learning more about who she chooses to spend time with, right? Right.
Real Name: Alex Lee
Weight: About a buck fifty.
Marital Status: As far as I know, none of my marriages are recognized by the province of Ontario. So...single.
Occupation: I've been working at a grocerty store for...the last two years, as of Tuesday. Oh my God. I'm severely depressed.
Favourite Movie: Pulp Fiction
Favourite TV Show: Scrubs
Favourite Musical Act: Weezer
Favourite CD: It's hard to pick one, but I've listened to Ready To Die by The Notorious B.I.G. about nine thousand times.
Notorious Words To Live By: "If I wasn't in the rap game, I'd probably be knee deep in the crack game. Because the streets is a short stop. Either you're slingin' crack rocks or you got a wicked jumpshot." In my case, both are true.
Favourite Sport: Basketball, both to watch and play.
Is Your Game M.V.P. Like Steve Nash?: Yes.
How I Met Shirley: We have many, many mutual friends. However, our first true interaction stemmed from the occasional bus rides we took together in grade nine. We used to play that game where if you spot a yellow car you get to punch the other person. I never got her once. I think about that game everytime I see a yellow car. And everytime I stare at the permanent bruises on my arms.
Three Most Desired Women: Jessica Alba, Adriana Lima, Christina Milian
Three Men I Would Totally Do If Given The Chance (Not That I've Ever Actually Thought About It *Whistle, Whistle*): Conan O'Brien, Hugh Jackman, Michael Jordan
If I'm Still Able To Conceive After Years Of Blows To My Groin, My Child Shall Be Named: If it's a girl, Charlotte. If it's a boy, Febreze.
Feel free to use any of those questions on the next "getting to know you" chain e-mail you decide to send.
Sorry if that came off as snarky or impersonal or abrupt, but I'm restraining myself from taking advantage of this webspace that has been bestowed upon me. I'm not even sure where to go from here. Honestly, I figured I'd just upload a picture of my wang every few days for your viewing pleasure until Shirley got back. Better judgment has prevailed. As it is, I suppose I could regale you with tales from Shirley's past, not that any immediately spring to mind. I'll just make them up if I have to. While we're all waiting for her to come back and share her sordid adventures with us, we could use this space as sort of a greatest hits compilation and remember all the good times we had. Then her new shit will drop and initially intrigue us, but inevitably disappoint. Then she'll follow up with a series of posts that are meant to represent a "return to her roots" and she'll win back her fan base in dramatic fashion! This metaphor, or whatever it is, has gone straight to hell.
Then again, for Shirley's sake, perhaps you'll never hear from me again.
We miss the hell out of her already, don't we?
- Big Al
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Now That the Introductions are Over...
I will preface my posts (this is Brian, by the way) with the above GIF so that you, the reader, may better differentiate between Shirley and I to avoid confusion (ie, why is Shirley talking about *insert random sport/car/lewd joke involving male genitalia*). Why the image of one cartoon figure beating another with his own stomach? It amuses me, that's why. Also, Shirley didn't write a proper farewell because she doesn't love you guys. ;)
I'm sitting here, wondering what to write. I feel like I'm a house-sitter; I've been trusted with the keys and given instructions to water the plants, collect the mail, and keep the damn cat off the oh-so-expensive furniture. So this is the dilemma that is posed to me: should I be a good boy and house-sit, or do I call my buddies over to shoot a porno in her bedroom with a hooker that I hired with the change that I found in the couch?
I'll be a good boy for now and water the plants. Shirley is gone for a while, after all, so there's plenty of time for lewdness later on.
How about some self-exposition? I am a walking Asian stereotype. I do well academically (especially in math, but I haven't taken a math course since first year), I aspire/am parentally-pressured to be a doctor, I am naturally introverted, and my parents owned a Chinese restaurant in a small, town dominated by WASPs. It is the latter that most defines me as a person; your outlook on life gets a little warped when you grow up in a place that doesn't know the meaning of "politically-correct."
I obviously exaggerate. I met many great, kind, and friendly people there, but like most things in life, it's the exceptions that stick out in my mind. It's the rednecks that hurled racial epithets and heavy objects at me, it's the feeling of being different and never being able to fit in with the dominant culture, it's the wanting of a better environment in which to grow and learn and play.
I tend to be a non-confrontational person, so I dealt with these issues by not doing so. I am so incredibly chill, relaxed, and unfazable today because I've become a Vulcan in many ways. It takes a lot to make me angry, upset, hate, love, or even to merely care about something. I see this as a Very Bad Thing; I'd like to be more passionate about everything and anything, but breaking down years of psychological barriers takes so much work. :(
But anyways, I think the plants are well-watered by now. It's time to cave-in to parental pressure and study for the MCAT.
Monday, June 19, 2006
From YYZ To YVR To TPE/TSA* To SGN
My brother and I are thefting wireless internet from an internet cafe dealie across the hallway in the Taiwan International Airport. I'm sure there's a real name for this place, but I can't be bothered to find out.
I think it's 8am on Tuesday the 20th now, but I can't be sure. I'm not keeping track of time so the 19th went by without me even noticing. I think it was half-spent in the Vancouver airport (which is BEAUTIFUL, by the by) and then the other half spent sleeping on the plane while flying up the west coast towards the Bering Strait. The vodka must have helped with that. What?
Apologies for not saying a nicer goodbye - I've been crazy busy lately and I've felt nothing but rushed for the last few days. But, life is swell and everything was and is wonderful so there's no complaining here, not one bit. So, goodbye to touring (yay for an awesome last trip to QC) and goodbye to my house in M-Town (I can't wait to breathe you in when I get back).
I hope my guest blogger(s) keep(s) you peeps company while I'm gone. I'll try to update every now and then, but don't hold your breath. I'll think of you often. Promise.
PS: I left the house in the hugest rush so I left my list of address on my desk. I'll need those addresses for postcards emailed to me please and thank you!
* There's two airports in the city and I don't know which one we're at. Le sigh.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Guest Blogger: Brian
Greetings and salutations. My name is Brian, and I seem to have fallen down a well. I was minding my own business, playing in the verdant forest of life, when I met this girl named Shirley. I, being the guillible, innocent boy that I am, let her lead me by the hand down a sunlit path until we came upon the aformentioned well, into which she pushed me. I expected a quick end to my unfortunately short existence, but instead, I find that the burden of entertaining you while your regularly-scheduled performer is off gallivanting in Asia has fallen upon my shoulders. If all goes according to plan, other guests may show up and we'll have one big shindig.
Before you start to think so, I am indeed a real person and not merely a product of Shirley's non-existent schizophrenia. For proof, I offer you this photograph of her and myself:
Yes, figments of one's imagination do not easily imprint themselves on film (or in this case, the charge-coupled device of a digital camera); therefore, I am real... Or so I tell myself. You can possibly infer from my writing that I am somewhat delusional, bordering on crazy, and fully immersed in the process of becoming insane. This is what six months in a town like Hamilton will do to a man.
Anyways, I just wanted to say hello and I got carried away. So, umm... Hello. :)
Ready, Set, Go
My life has been a whirlwind of crazy busy but good lately. I'm leaving for the airport in 10 minutes. Going to Asia. Gone for 5 weeks. Then 2 more. I will miss you Internet peeps, despite neglecting you for the last little while.
I'll be in touch soon-ish. Smooches!
Monday, June 12, 2006
Though it's clearly not evident on this here bloggy blog given the quality of recent posts, I am typically a girl of high standards. It usually only works one way, being that the people I'm with don't need to live up to such standards because they are reserved mainly pour moi. In most situations with others, I am rather easy to please (see: something shiny) and I don't need relationships (both friendly and romantic) to be extravagant - I simply like enjoying each others' company and just chilling out without having to work for a good time - nor do they need to be maintained via compliments and/or other general vocalized niceties. I've never been very good at taking compliments and I'm still trying to figure out how to do so gracefully without resorting to complimenting the person back or making some sort of self-degenerating comment.
Lately, I've been assaulted with a barrage of greats and prettys and beautifuls and smarts and intelligents and awesomes, and all of the sudden I am not only freaking out over how to say Thank You without sounding under-appreciative, but also over what to do to with myself in order to maintain such a state of being so that I continue to deserve such words. I grew up with an intense fear of disappointing people and though I think that receiving compliments is supposed to have the opposite effect, nice words make me feel even more nervous about being inadequate. The difference is that I wouldn't feel 'not enough' at the time, but in the future.
I know, I'm a self-conscious freak.
Here's my line of reasoning:
1. If I get called pretty or beautiful, then I feel like I am pretty/beautiful right at that moment and only when I am looking as good as I am right then. I start to feel that when I wear plainer clothes and less eye make-up and when my hair isn't just so, that maybe I won't be pretty/beautiful anymore because I don't look the way I did when I was called so. Hence, the closet in a constant state of near-explosion and my incredible collection of face-painting products (that gladly, I don't use that often).
2. If I get called smart or intelligent, then I feel the need to upkeep the image of Geeky Yet Awesomely Cool by using big or uncommon words in everyday conversation. Like ambivalent or plethora. And I start paying attention to the newspapers and brush up on my random, trivial facts (did you know that the word 'trivia' comes from the Latin words tri - meaning 'three' - and via - meaning 'street' - because at the intersections of where three roads met would be where people would post notices and announcements). I mean, I use these kinds of words anyway, but now there's more pressure to do so.
And that's the thing right there: Pressure. Compliments, in some twisted way that only my twisted mind could twist up, somehow put more pressure on me to be even more of what I am so that I don't fall into the not enough pit. Sometimes I feel that it's not so much a pit as it is an imaginary well that I've already fallen into and in trying to dig myself out of it, I'm only getting myself deeper and sadly, deeper. It makes sense though, right? When my awesome qualities get noticed it's natural that I want more of that, so I'm only trying to make my awesome qualities stand out more lest the person think I'm not so awesome anymore.... Man, that sentence reeked of low self-esteem and the need to have others validate my existence.
I know I'm awesome without being told so, I swear.*
Anyway, all this came to mind when I thought of the poor state of my blog (and how it's sucked for so very long because I'm away from my desk often and for so long at a time** - wah!) and how once upon a time my friend Dan used to tell me so often that he loved this place and my writing. Now, I have never, nor will I ever, think of myself as a Writer, but his comments used to make me feel Aww and think Hrm. Every time he said something nice I felt the need to pump out something better so that he'd continue to see that Yes! My reasons for enjoying her blog are completely legitimate and not built on flimsy foundations! I know that our friendship is nowhere near needing to impress each other all the time (Dan Dan Dan, don't you go and send me an email telling me that you still like my writing because I'm not fishing*** for more of that!), but sometimes I can't help but feel that maybe if I haven't disappointed him that maybe I've disappointed someone else. That nebulous someone else, of course, being me.
* This doesn't mean that you have to stop telling me so. :o)
** Got home yesterday aft, leaving again tomorrow morn.
*** There's an important distinction to be made between working to earn more compliments as opposed to just plain ol' baiting and fishing around for them. I like to think that I try to earn my keep.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Ottawa is curvy.
...and I have a thing for antique-y lamp posts.
I'm a dork and I care about the Parliamentary Library that just finally finished being restored. Mm.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
I Wish I Knew How To Quit You**
Finally, there's something else that I don't like about Ottawa: Boring tour guides. To my fellow tour-industry peeps, it is now peak season and little kiddies are running all over the place on their End Of School trips and you NEED.TO.BE.MORE.FUN. Giving a tour to adults is one thing, but when you've got a group of children with you, you cannot, CANNOT, give them years and dates and names of obscure painters and architects and even past Governer Generals, despite their importance, because not only will they not remember any of it, THEY DON'T CARE. Dude, I care and I couldn't bear to pay attention to your tour. And when the keener Tour Manager who actually wants to learn about the history of her country is paying more attention to the design in the hardwood floor than to what you're saying, you know you need to spice it up a notch. Yeesh.
Also, I have now seen the full extent to which McDonald's has a grasp on the minds of tomorrow. I know that children go through serious brain cramps when away from home (see: severe lapses in judgement on overnight school trips), but when they decide to leave the group and secretly run across an eight lane highway with cars going at 130kph to eat at a McDonald's because there isn't one on this side of highway, there's something wrong. One: Is it really worth it? Two: If you don't get killed first, you will get caught.
Other than boring tour guides and slightly idiotic children (who were actually quite wonderful when not craving McD's), the tour to Ottawa went swimmingly.
The great thing about summer and NO SCHOOL is that there are so many things to do and so many wonderful people to do them with that not only is being completely exhausted from your daily activities so that a three hour nap is required at 4pm in the afternoon acceptable, but that it is actually expected. At least for me. I love that.
When I was younger, summers were spent being bored at home, on the phone with my best friend, or working at the mall. I led a boring life and I even had a summer journal that I wrote in everyday when I was about twelve that chronicled what time I got up every morning and what I ate for breakfast. Today: I slept in, had fresh fruits for brekkie, went to a driving range and hit the batting cages, chilled out with my uncle, brother, brother's girlfriend and a pecan-mudslide sundae in the wonderful summer sun, came home to nap, sang tunes from one of my favourite movie-musicals in the shower and danced around my room while on the phone because my mood was just that good. School can be awesome too, but summer is a high that I never, ever want to come down from.
Doing physical activity out in the sun was excellent for me and that was more upper back exercise than I've gotten in a long time. I have now officially golfed and fully appreciate the skill required to hit that damn tiny ball and have realized that I'm a much better softball player than I am driving-ranger. On a safety side note: baseball helmets, though dorky looking and awful helmet-hair inducing, are actually helpful in preventing major head injuries. I know this because my brother was taking a few practice swings and didn't notice how close I was standing to him and with one swift whoosh, his bat successfully connected with the back of my skull. Thanks to the helmet, I was saved from a gruesome death a la bashed open head, unlike Jake Gyllenhaal* in Brokeback Mountain** - though an accidental bat to the back of the head is nothing like a hate-driven crowbar to the beautiful, beautiful face. I am so glad that we made a spontaneous stop at the illegally-burned DVDs for cheap! store.
*I LOVE YOU. Jakey baby, will you and your chiseled, rugged good looks, defined jawline, dark hair and clear blue eyes marry me? Bring your buddy Heath too, just in case we need company.
**WOW. Just wow. I can't believe I waited this long to see this movie. Why do the sweethearts have to die? Why do hearts have to be broken? Why did his death and that music have to be the saddest things ever? Le sigh. And oh man, that kiss? Those KISSES? Best ever. Holy turn on. Mm mmm melllt.
***I LEAVE IN TWO WEEKS!!!