Waking from my Writing Coma

So I've just finished a draft (final?) of something and the feeling is always like finally arriving at your hotel after an incredibly long, grueling, farcical series of misadventures. It's over. It's done. You're not dreaming. There's a tired, weighted sigh of relief... the feeling that holy-sh*t-I-really-need-a-drink... But what to do now?! (Besides opening the mini-bar, … Continue reading Waking from my Writing Coma

My Three Dads

There is a line in a movie that I am not ashamed to admit I have seen way too many times* which goes: "Typical isn't it? You wait twenty years for a dad and then three come along at once." I feel a little like this right now. I've had several months of plugging away at a project with all the diligence of an AP English student (which is to say, very little diligence, but we fake it well), and now everything has kind of exploded in my face.

Accepting my Slytherinness

I didn't join Pottermore for the longest time. My relationship with Harry Potter was intense, but troubled. It oscillated between shameless joy and celebration to cheek-biting scrutiny and critique. In one past life, I'd enthusiastically dressed up in costume and painted signs, windows, and children's faces for the midnight releases at the bookstore. In another, … Continue reading Accepting my Slytherinness

Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: VIII. Broken Down Somewhere in Belgium

This is part of a series I have been working on. The Introduction is here. I can't remember how it was I found out that the bus had broken down. What I definitely remember is that it was extremely cold. The bus breaking down did come several hours into a long bus trip from London. From there, … Continue reading Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: VIII. Broken Down Somewhere in Belgium

“Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f***ing live.”

The above quote comes from the marvellous Deadwood, out of the mouth of the marvellous Calamity Jane. And I'm really feeling it right now. It's been a while since I've posted much of anything. Life is like that. Peaks and valleys. Hills and troughs. I feel like this is a lesson I've figured out before. … Continue reading “Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f***ing live.”

Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: II. Madrid, the Arrival

This is part of a series I have been working on. The Introduction is here. the arrival I was supposed to take the train from Paris to Madrid. It was one of those things that I had planned out well in advance like the responsible adult I had thought I was. I bought my Eurail … Continue reading Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: II. Madrid, the Arrival

Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: I. Paris, Versailles

This is part of a series I have been working on. The Introduction is here. Versailles A few days into Paris—before the Australians, the honeymooners, the college kids, and the life-traveller; after the three asshole partiers, Matthieu from Montreal, and the nameless guy from Newport Beach—I decided to check out the Palace of Versailles. It was … Continue reading Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: I. Paris, Versailles

Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: IV. Casablanca

This is part of a series I have been working on. The Introduction is here. I was exhausted and burnt out. For short trips, you rally. But backpacking is a marathon. I dyed my hair from blonde to brown before I left Vancouver because I knew I was going to Morocco, and I’d heard warnings—mostly … Continue reading Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: IV. Casablanca

Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: I. Paris, the Five Types of Travellers

This is part of a series I have been working on. The Introduction is here. the five types of travellers My first week in Paris was a crash course in backpacking. The first day, wandering from my hostel along Rue Moufftard down to Place St. Michel, took me onto the Ile de la Cite, towards … Continue reading Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: I. Paris, the Five Types of Travellers

The Commencement of Commencement Advice Commences

There's nothing more useless than unsolicited advice.  I was going to preface that with When you're young, but it's really applicable to all ages. Unsolicited advice simply comes at a much greater frequency when you're young. As I age (like a slowly ripening then rotting apple; that is the metaphor I've chosen to age by), I understand this … Continue reading The Commencement of Commencement Advice Commences

Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: Introduction

This is the introduction of what I hope will become a series / retrospective project / diary-after-the-fact / examination of memory-and-place-and-all-that-jazz. All the links to other posts about specific adventures and places are/will be below. Whenever you get back from a long bout of travelling, the world always feels different (at least for a little while, … Continue reading Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: Introduction

I was bound to waste a whole post on a cat sooner or later

As we promised ourselves upon our return from England, Husband and I got a cat. The more appropriate term might be inherited - nay - took in... as if she was the ragamuffin who charmed her way into our hearts in an 88-minute running time. It's actually nothing of the sort. She is the cat … Continue reading I was bound to waste a whole post on a cat sooner or later

Resolutions and Pattern Recognition

I've never much been one for resolutions but sometimes circumstances arise, flailing their fists, demanding action be taken. It's never anything so banal as the ticking of the clock from one year to the next that does it; no, for me, it's something drastic. Often, these resolutions end badly. Why? Because I suffer from the horrible conflation … Continue reading Resolutions and Pattern Recognition

The Anniversary of a Our First Not-a-Date

The first date Husband and I went on was not actually a date but rather more like a premise for a terrible Christmas movie. It was two years ago. We were roommates at the time and still referred to one another, "My roommate, Gregg--" or "Me and Boy Roommate--." We never quite reached the "My friend, Ashleigh--" … Continue reading The Anniversary of a Our First Not-a-Date

So We’ve Yet to Find a Decent World Map with South Sudan

For my sixth birthday, my grandparents bought me globe. It sat on the desk, tilted at that attractive, precarious angle. I loved that the mountain ranges were palpable beneath my fingertips. Their intention with this gift was to aid my transition into the realm of proper education. I had just begun the first grade. This … Continue reading So We’ve Yet to Find a Decent World Map with South Sudan

Positively – Well, Almost Certainly – 4th Street

This past weekend, Husband and I rented an apartment on 4th Street in New Westminster. This three-storey walk-up was built oh-so optimistically one year before the crash (1928). With views of apartment blocks, a cobbled road and a slice of an industry-laded river, it makes us feel like we're living in an F. Scott Fitzgerald … Continue reading Positively – Well, Almost Certainly – 4th Street

An Eventful Week (or, “a week full of events”)

Last Thursday we returned on the train from York to Doncaster, enjoying one last chance to experience the UK with the carefree attitude of souvenir-shopping tourists. No longer was there a life to plan. Friday we enjoyed one last dinner with my aunt and uncle, our gracious hosts during this two month stint of ego, … Continue reading An Eventful Week (or, “a week full of events”)

To Read or Not to Read: Morrissey’s Autobiography

One of the things I am going to miss about Britain (more on that later) is the fact that Morrissey releasing an autobiography warrants not just mentions on the news but also hardcore, "man-on-the-street" journalism. Truly, the public needed to know what the average Mancunian thought of Morrissey. We needed to know, I tell you! … Continue reading To Read or Not to Read: Morrissey’s Autobiography

All Hail the New Backpacking Generation

Another difference between backpacking now and backpacking five years ago: the millenials have become the dominant backpacker demographic. Five years ago, I was one of the only people with a laptop—and this was pre-smartphone, pre-iPad. I only had my laptop because I held illusions of sitting in French cafes typing out a masterpiece. But most … Continue reading All Hail the New Backpacking Generation

Land of the the Bone-Grinders

Still we linger in Doncaster. Things, however, have taken an interesting turn. In his ongoing efforts to delve deeper into the eccentricities of British history, Husband stumbled across an interesting fact about the town in which we are currently staying. In 1822, it was reported in the London Observer that "more than a million bushels … Continue reading Land of the the Bone-Grinders

A Not-So-Polite Rant About The Great Gatsby

As I remember fondly from working at a bookstore, every time a movie adaptation of a book comes out (especially one starring a quote - heartthrob - endquote) it creates a certain rush of readers: people who only pick up books with movie posters for a cover. No judgment. Really. Whatever gets you reading. I … Continue reading A Not-So-Polite Rant About The Great Gatsby

The Etiquette of Facebook, or, “Please don’t bring up those elementary school pictures I was tagged in in front of all our co-workers.”

Even if Emily Post hasn't quite got round to adding a chapter on it, there are unspoken rules to social media. They boil down to Wil Wheaton's motto: "Don't be a dick." Here are a few: 1. Don't tag unflattering pictures. 2. Don't start comment wars over something irrelevant. 3. Don't invite me to play … Continue reading The Etiquette of Facebook, or, “Please don’t bring up those elementary school pictures I was tagged in in front of all our co-workers.”

Flowers and Canneries and New Spouses

The most common question heard by newlyweds: "How's married life?" Answer: "Good." The second-most-common: "How does it feel to be married?" That one is a little harder to respond to. Usually, I will say, "Just the same as before." But that's not necessarily true. There is a difference I was not expecting. Mostly, it's in … Continue reading Flowers and Canneries and New Spouses

Why you Probably Shouldn’t Blog With a Kidney Infection

For the last two weeks or so (or is it three? I've honestly lost count. Maybe it's even four. Anyway, feels like forever), I've been rendered helpless and lame with a kidney infection. It sucks. It really, really sucks. After a round of antibiotics, it was getting better but I was still so tired that … Continue reading Why you Probably Shouldn’t Blog With a Kidney Infection

Six Signs I have Moved Past that Weird ‘Extended Youth’ Phase into the Realm of ‘Real Adult’

1. My home has entered levels of cleanliness never before imagined or aspired to. I am well and truly becoming my mother (who, but a mere twenty-five years ago, became her mother.) 2. When I get an injury or illness there is very palpable fear that it will never truly go away. Just one little … Continue reading Six Signs I have Moved Past that Weird ‘Extended Youth’ Phase into the Realm of ‘Real Adult’

Conversations in my Office Kitchen: a Depressing Vignette

Tis but ten o'clock in the morning. A big meeting has just let out. The table in the kitchen is littered with snacks leftover by people with far more prestigious jobs than I. (The apple pie looks nice, but I daren't be so presumptuous as to take a slice under the careful eye of all these … Continue reading Conversations in my Office Kitchen: a Depressing Vignette

Shows Dr. Roommate and I have watched together: an attempt to understand just why the hell we keep watching Downton Abbey

Shannon and I are still watching Downton Abbey. I tried to think of why, but fell short of a way to explain myself. We started watching the show because it was so damned critically acclaimed, but then we discovered that it, well, kind of sucks. So why were we still watching it? For reasons I've … Continue reading Shows Dr. Roommate and I have watched together: an attempt to understand just why the hell we keep watching Downton Abbey

I don’t even have the where-with-all to think of a good title (meeting the family, perhaps?)

This past Saturday night, BoyRoommateFriend met the family. (Why, that's a premise you could shape a Ben Stiller movie around!) My family has a remarkable way of dealing with new significant others. Mum, in particular, has a knack for staging these so-called Events. When she can't lure you into the trap of an alleged birthday … Continue reading I don’t even have the where-with-all to think of a good title (meeting the family, perhaps?)

Only eleven more months until Christmas is over again

"Douglas," our chipper wee friend of a Christmas tree, sits discarded in the backyard. Having completely missed the free tree chipping the second weekend in January, we have no idea what to do with it. I only remembered the tree at all when the snow thawed last Friday. "Oh yeah," I remarked to BoyRoommatefriend, "The … Continue reading Only eleven more months until Christmas is over again

Frustration towards an inability to find a suitable writing environment

I think I need an intervention. This post is ridiculous. Sometimes I can't even form a coherent sentence. But badly wish to.* Following a rather messy attempt to write on my lunch-hour, I found this in my notebook. Word-for-word, without editing, this is what my (literally out to lunch) brain ranted about: Lost in mess of abstract … Continue reading Frustration towards an inability to find a suitable writing environment

For Christmas one year I got a Jem doll and middle-class guilt

This is the story of How I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate Class Differences. I'm pretty sure most of why I grew up to appreciate Marx is encapsulated in this tiny little nugget of childhood. This is the second time I've had to write this post (as I've already grumbled about). Whenever such a … Continue reading For Christmas one year I got a Jem doll and middle-class guilt

An Explanation for the Increased Activity

So I've finished another novel. It's not about Pirates in Space. In fact, it's probably the exact opposite. It's about two step-siblings who start an affair after the death of their younger brother (who narrates the story). Very strange turn to take, I know. Anyway, the first draft of the manuscript is done. I'm now … Continue reading An Explanation for the Increased Activity

Way to out-hipster the hipsters, Fox News

Much has already been discussed about Fox News calling The Muppets Communists, and that sound you may have heard was a billion people's jaws dropping to the floor with a resounding "Whaaa....aaaaat?" The headline "Are Liberals trying to brainwash your children against capitalism?" might seem like too much, but then when they proclaim that the … Continue reading Way to out-hipster the hipsters, Fox News

Why this December Might Just be Awesome

For some reason I'm actually excited about Christmas this year. Not quite wear-a-tacky-sweater excited, but actually-going-to-decorate-a-tree-and-drink-lots-of-mulled-wine excited. Not entirely sure why this is, but it might have something to do with the fact that I don't really have anything to be depressed about this year. As someone who deals with month-long mood swings and varying … Continue reading Why this December Might Just be Awesome

Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

As I'm sure anyone who knows me is well-aware, I was a Batkid. Now firmly established in the realm of adulthood, I feel some vindication in knowing that the world has reached a general global consensus in acknowledging the truth: Batman is the Coolest Superhero. Sure, he might not be your favourite (for whatever godforsaken … Continue reading Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

A Hatred of Clubbing that Transcends Generations

[liberally adapted from reality] The house was silent save for the flickering of some distant infomercial blasting through the two am airwaves: a direct transmission of nothingness from the autocorrected perfection of the studio right into Dad's vacant, tired eyes. He heard me stagger in, heels clicking away across the linoleum. Each clacking step came … Continue reading A Hatred of Clubbing that Transcends Generations

Behavioural Tendencies of Lower Commune Residents with Focus on Frequency of Alcohol Consumption

There's an interesting pattern of behaviour that has established itself amongst Lower Commune residents. It seems to start like this: Subject A arrives home following a bad day at work. A bad mood is inevitable. Occasionally this bad mood is compounded by a) Mondays, b) other monthly occurrences, c) personal baggage, d) nasty surprises, or … Continue reading Behavioural Tendencies of Lower Commune Residents with Focus on Frequency of Alcohol Consumption

How Apple Products Will Bring About a Dystopian Future

My cellular telephone is currently broken following an unfortunate canoeing accident. This means that I am not longer enjoying the benefits of an iPhone*, but rather struggling to navigate the murky controls of Dr. Roommate's old Blackberry. There are so many little icons and I have to roll a little ball around just to find … Continue reading How Apple Products Will Bring About a Dystopian Future

The Duende’s in the Details

 duende  The duende is a demonic earth spirit who helps the artist see the limitations of intelligence, reminding him that "ants could eat him or that a great arsenic lobster could fall suddenly on his head"; who brings the artist face-to-face with death, and who helps him create and communicate memorable, spine-chilling art.  I spent my … Continue reading The Duende’s in the Details

Things I like and things I dislike… at work

So the great Joe Verde gave me one of the most awesome presents ever yesterday, courtesy of Think Geek. It seems I have a reputation with self-inking stamps. Let's not allow the fact that I once specially ordered a "superseded" stamp online just to use on all my old drafts cloud the reality here... Stamps … Continue reading Things I like and things I dislike… at work

Conversations I have had at work

I actually had this conversation once: Co-worker: I have a question. Me: Shoot. Co-worker: *some inane question about something I wouldn't even have remembered even if it happened five minutes ago, let alone a year and a half ago* Me: *simple answer* Co-worker: Well, that's not in the instruction manual. Me: But that's the answer. … Continue reading Conversations I have had at work

The Five-Pound Chocolate Bar, or, Why I Can’t Save Chocolate

Is it just me or are they stuffing fewer and fewer chocolate-covered almonds into those door-to-door peddled boxes these days? Perhaps I am just siphoning nostalgia back from the days when we sold actual chocolate bars. I was at my parents' house the other day when I heard a rapping, rapping at the chamber door. … Continue reading The Five-Pound Chocolate Bar, or, Why I Can’t Save Chocolate

Texts that may indicate an increasing level of douchebaggery.

Sometimes I think that I am a douchebag but completely unaware of it... and now I am slowly realizing that I am a douche. Or perhaps I am just becoming more of a douche as I age. Either way, it's disconcerting. These are texts that I've sent this week that I think indicate my increasing … Continue reading Texts that may indicate an increasing level of douchebaggery.

This Week in Triage

  Triage [tree-ahzh] the principle or practice of sorting emergency patients and/or casualties in battle or disaster into categories of priority for treatment* I drive (or perhaps... drove) a 2002 Cavalier. I say he is lovingly monikered Ernie because of my desire not to ascribe to gendered naming conventions, but really it's because his first license … Continue reading This Week in Triage

Quantifying my Attempts at Responsibility

Following the abrasively shocking revelations of last Sunday's hair dye debacle, Dr. Roommate and I endeavoured to act like real grown-ups this weekend. As Sunday night closed in, the adventure was deemed "successful," as though we might be able to tick off a small box on a to-do list. "Grow-up." Check.* We both had work ahead … Continue reading Quantifying my Attempts at Responsibility

The Traumatizing Reason Why I Hate Playing Monopoly

To quote my mother: "Monopoly tears families apart." This is fact. Yet still, Sunday night witnessed a rebirth of the Rajala Family Game Night. We used to do this often as kids, perch ourselves around the kitchen table and play a good old family game. The fun was renowned, the fights... more so. What could … Continue reading The Traumatizing Reason Why I Hate Playing Monopoly