Friday, 31 August 2012

Subway Zombies

Let me describe it to you.

They all sit in their seats, calmly and quietly.  Sometimes they are reading, but mostly sleeping. They are in a state of calm, often bobbing their heads and jerking awake when the ride doesn’t quite go smoothly.  Then, it stops.  The subway has arrived at the end of the line and everyone has to exit.  Immediately people spring up from their seats, rushing towards the still closed doors.  This is the most activity we have seen from them yet.  Like cattle rushing to the front of the chute, these people want to be as close to the opening doors as possible.

There are an equal amount of people on either side of the door.  Some waiting to exit, others wanting to enter- and of course rush past seniors and small children to grab the much coveted seat...for their bag.  And one for themselves too.

Then it happens. The doors open.

Those wanting out shuffle forward, so packed together they can't manage to lift their feet without stepping on someone in front of them. Everyone is walking in a slow motion but almost brisk pace.  It's hard to explain unless you've seen it.  But everyone appears to be in a rush, yet no one can be in a rush because of the hoards of people in front of them.  Those that are familiar with the morning events just walk along, some are still managing to read their newspapers, playing games on their phones or possibly even completing their crossword puzzle.  They shuffle along headed towards their destination.  You can't get around the group- you must follow and shuffle along with them.  Until you reach the 3-way fork: left, right or extreme left are your options.  This is where you need to find the hole in the crowd and make a break for where you want to be going.  It's only at this point I am able to walk at a regular pace.

The other subway obstacles are the stairs and escalators.  I always take the stairs.  There is a section of the subway I walk through which has 14 stairs.  Fourteen.  I know this because I've counted.  I can also tell you I climb 460 stairs per day.  Anywhoozle, 14 stairs.  And there is an escalator right beside the stairs- which I understand is to keep people moving along.  However, how lazy are you people who line up for the escalator so you can avoid the 14 stairs?!  Let me answer this: very lazy.

The subway is always interesting, with various types of people, fights, friendly people who want to have a conversation with those they don't know...I actually enjoy my time on the subway as part of my commute.  The driving part I could most definitely do without!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Rememberance Day

Why Wear a Poppy” – Don Crawford

“Please wear a poppy,” the lady said,
And held one forth, but I shook my head.
Then I stopped and watched as she offered them there,
And her face was old and lined with care;

But beneath the scars the years had made
There remained a smile that refused to fade.
A boy came whistling down the street,
Bouncing along on care-free feet.

His smile was full of joy and fun,
“Lady,” said he, “may I have one?”
When she’d pinned it on, he turned to say;
“Why do we wear a poppy today?”

The lady smiled in her wistful way
And answered; “This is Remembrance Day.
And the poppy there is a symbol for
The gallant men who died in war.

And because they did, you and I are free -
That’s why we wear a poppy, you see.
I had a boy about your size,
With golden hair and big blue eyes.

He loved to play and jump and shout,
Free as a bird, he would race about.
As the years went by, he learned and grew,
And became a man – as you will, too.

He was fine and strong, with a boyish smile,
But he’d seemed with us such a little while
When war broke out and he went away.
I still remember his face that day.

When he smiled at me and said, ‘Goodbye,
I’ll be back soon, Mum, please don’t cry.’
But the war went on and he had to stay,
And all I could do was wait and pray.

His letters told of the awful fight
(I can see it still in my dreams at night),
With the tanks and guns and cruel barbed wire,
And the mines and bullets, the bombs and fire.

Till at last, at last, the war was won -
And that’s why we wear a poppy, son.”
The small boy turned as if to go,
Then said, “Thanks, lady, I’m glad to know.

That sure did sound like an awful fight
But your son – did he come back all right?”
A tear rolled down each faded cheek;
She shook her head, but didn’t speak

I slunk away in a sort of shame,
And if you were me, you’d have done the same:
For our thanks, in giving, if oft delayed,
Though our freedom was bought – and thousands paid!

And so, when we see a poppy worn,
Let us reflect on the burden borne
By those who gave their very all
When asked to answer their country’s call

That we at home in peace might live.
Then wear a poppy! Remember – and Give!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Waving Signs Work!

A few weeks ago Brandon and I were coming home from a full day of appointments and errands.  We wanted to stop for some quick food because one of us had to go to work afterwards.  Our initial plan was to head to A&W.  Simple, cheap and easy- like a small town hooker. 

As I'm driving along and we're talking, he screams "PITAS!!!!!".  We enjoy pitas, but I was a bit startled as to why he was yelling it in the middle of our conversation.  I'm all for a good party and sometimes raising your voice is necessary, but at that particular moment I wasn't entirely sure why he was yelling.

I then realized it was because of one of those poor teenagers holding those poorly made signs advertising for a restaurant or fast food place.  You know the ones.  With the kids walking up and down the side of the street, shaking their signs unenthusiastically, with their headphones on looking as bored as a senior at a social networking convention.  There he was- that teenager holding a sign that said "PITAS, PITAS, PITAS!".  Well no wonder Brandon was yelling!

We much prefer pitas so we made a sharp turn into the plaza, and enjoyed our lunch.

The moral of the story is that those unenthusiastic kids are worth their minimum wage salary because we have visited that pita shop twice since then.

Which makes me wonder further, what if those restaurants employed a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man?!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Today I Learned...

(I'm such a liar at the "Today I Learned" segments- I rarely learn these things that same day I'm writing, I should rename is "Recently I Learned")

That social media enables women to act crazy when they first begin to date a man.  And that most women in this day in age of social media, all act the same when they first start dating a boy.  This post, boys, is for you.  It goes a little something like this:

Me with my first computer
When we (I'm going to generalize us women here) go on our first date with you, we may, or may not, have added you to Facebook, followed you on Twitter, friended you on FourSquare, followed you on Pinterest (if you have it) or added you to my circle in Google+.  I'd say I would have checked out your MySpace page, but that was so 5 years ago!  Who knows, if I'm really interested I may check out your YouTube channel or your favourites to see what's going on there.  Basically in a nut shell, we'll have tracked you down in every possible way via the Internet.  If we can't find you on any of the more popular social media platforms we may ask you a question such as, "so weird, I was looking for my friend Joe Smith on Facebook the other day, and thought 'oh I should look up (insert man of interest's name here) while I'm online so we can be friends, but I couldn't find you.  It was probably just me, because you have Facebook right?"  This is our nonchalant way of asking you while trying to seem not quite interested (because clearly we didn't go online looking for you!) but just interested enough so you know we're into you.  If we're lucky enough, you don't have a private profile so we can see all your "dets" without adding you as a friend prematurely thus freaking you out.  We want to avoid this, and instead of, you know, NOT checking you out online, we just do it as covertly as possible.

Once we have found your online presence, we are going to scour your pages! And I mean, potentially, hours of time spent.  We always think we're going to find important information there- we're looking for likes/dislikes, exes, your posts, your friends and just generally what you're saying.  More specifically, have you mentioned me?  If we do find your exes, expect that we'll try to check them out as much as we can.  What do they look like?  What do they do?  What are their interests?  How did you guys converse?  And by no fault of theirs (or yours) we'll likely hate them immediately.  And in turn hate everything they like and try to never bring things like that up in our conversations.  When talking to our friends we'll find ourselves saying things like, "can you believe she had a cat?!  haha a cat!  What kind of people like cats? ugh".  (Then we'll give our mom's cat away.)

There are going to be things we see on your profile(s) we want to bring up to you, but don't really know how without showing you that we obviously spent hours researching you and your walls.  Posts like, "just graduated from high school and totally had a wicked time with that chick I met the other day".  Clearly, this post is at least (in my case) 7-10 years old.  Which means I have literally spent hours scrolling and reading through your wall.  How can I possibly bring up this "fun" event and discuss it with you without letting you know what I've done (which I know is excessive and, in essence, wrong)?

The answer is I can't.

But I will still call my friends and tell them the situation and ask them what to do.  I'll get one of two responses.  One is honest and the other isn't.  The first is the dishonest one, with the friend who wants to pretend she's better than me- or at least better than my behaviour- "OMG! you did what?  you're obsessed.  The answer is to stop doing this, and never mention it to him- ever!"  Ya, ok friend.  Thanks for the obvious advice.  We all know we shouldn't do this, but we all know we will anyway!

The second friend is going to try and be helpful.  We will keep calling friends until we find the "helpful" friend.  She's going to say something like, "haha you're crazy. OK, here's what you do... first start casually talking about highschool..."  She'll probably suggest asking you questions and hope that you open up with the story.  This never happens, or works- you guys never remember nor think to tell us about your old stories.  And although we know that, we're still going to try it anyway.  And you may react oddly and start to think we're crazy.  When this happens we'll simply laugh and brush it off, yet obsess about it for the rest of the night.  Most times, we will never get to the bottom of your mystery post.

Once we are more stably dating you, we will start posting "cute" things on your wall.  This is to achieve one of two (maybe both) things.  One: to show you we are truly interested in you and want you to know we're thinking about you.  Two: to show all the other people (read: women) who are perusing your wall(s), that we're dating you.  Basically, we're peeing on you (or your wall, I guess) to mark our territory.  But we'll deny this to the end of our relationship if anyone ever confronts us on it, and we'll just say it was option one.

We will also post things on our own wall(s) to try and elicit a reaction from you, or just get your attention in general.  Things we like will become more evident, in hopes you'll strike up a conversation about it next time we talk.  Or we may post about something you like, hoping you'll comment on it online- or offline.

what guys think we look like while on our computers

Basically what I'm saying here, is that women get crazy when we start to date someone.  And with social media paving the way to make it a smooth and easy ride for us, it's just going to get worse!

(Brandon, in case you're reading this... I never did these things.  Well, not really.)
Hold on, I'll be right back, gotta go tweet about this antique desk I just saw in hopes Brandon will notice it...

Saturday, 25 August 2012

A New Home?

Last weekend Brandon and I went to Niagara Falls with my mother.  We were very lucky to be invited by my mom as a quick getaway from our daily life, expenses paid.  It was definitely a much needed and appreciated break.  Of course, we’ve all been to Niagara Falls before- being such a major Canadian attraction in our home province, but this was the first time Brandon and I went there together. We did the typical midway stuff: 4D moving theatre, Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum, Niagara SkyWheel, mirror maze- where the woman running it thought I was a child!

My mother insisted we go on the SkyWheel- which is basically a large enclosed ferris wheel that overlooks the midway and the falls.  We were happy to do this one attraction she was so sure she wanted to do, even with her fear of heights and ferris wheels in general.  I double checked with her at least twice that it truly was something she wanted to do.  After insisting it was, we bought our ridiculously overpriced tickets and entered the little pod we were to ride around and around in.  The automated voice told us what all the buttons were for and while “he” was talking my mother was Barker babe-ing, ensuring to show us what each button did. 

However, her tune changed as soon as it started moving.  Immediately her face went white and she gripped the seat with a death grip I can only recall seeing as a child when we were in trouble.  The brave woman from before was gone and now replaced by a nearly panicked mother.  This of course, made the ride that much more fun for Brandon and I.  Who knew we’d get a show with the ticket price?  She peeped her eyes open every now and then to take a look at the view, but otherwise her eyes remained pretty tightly squeezed shut.  The funniest part (only because she too was laughing) was that each time we made it to the bottom she thought that was the end of the ride, but we’d go around another time.  Six excruciating go rounds before she was allowed to leave her capsule of terror.  Unfortunately, the photos taken don’t really represent her fear as well as we hoped- but we did get a decent one of us (taken ourselves because my mother was otherwise preoccupied).  Actually, you can see Brandon looking at my mom in this picture- that may be what his smile is about too.

Following that experience, and calming ourselves from laughter, we headed back to the bus which would take us to our car.  The bus we grabbed took us on a roundabout tour of the area picking up and dropping off passengers as we went.  It also drove into MarineLand.  I’m not a fan of places like Marine Land which house wild animals (in this case specifically whales, dolphins and other marine animals) for the sole reason of human entertainment.  Living in cramped quarters, miniscule compared to their wide-open natural ocean habitat, these animals are “trained” to do tricks using sticks, discipline and farmed fish as reward.  None of this is healthy for the animal, but as humans we ignore these things and instead impose our own entertainment purposes above another living animals’ welfare.  I had heard there was a protest happening that weekend, and so as we drove in we saw all the concerned people with their signs trying to convince people not to go into the park.  I'm not sure if the protest was working, but the parking lot did seem rather sparse.  I would have like to have joined them, but we had places to be.  That, and I was stuck on the bus anyway.

When looking at the map Brandon spotted Fort Erie.  Not the place- but the actual fort.  History was calling his name, and admittedly I wasn't super excited about it at first.  But then we started driving through St. Catherine's and into small towns near Fort Erie (the town) and we fell in love.  With a small place called Stevensville.  So small, so cute, so inexpensive.  We loved it!  And of course the actual fort is right nearby.  So that made it all the more pleasing for Brandon.  And I have to confess, the fort was quite interesting and pretty.  The tour was really interesting and informative, telling me information about the War of 1812 I never knew before.  That isn't saying much though, I don't know many details about history in general.  I mean, I know the basics: 2 countries are mad at each other and begin fighting, which then escalates to eventually include other countries thus becoming larger (history-making) wars.  But that's about the extent of it.  I took classes like English, Creative Writing, Modern Literature etc.

Anywhoozle, we fell in love with this little town.  So much so, when we saw some houses for sale I employed my savvy MLS skills and checked out prices.  Exactly in our house hunting price range!  It was meant to be!  So, new location plan: we're headed to Stevensville... in a year.  After we save more money for our down payment, that is. We're very excited that we can afford a decent home on some good sized land, perhaps even enough for my dear horse, Sophie.

See you soon, Stevensville!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Men's Soap Operas

Men are always ragging on women about the soap operas they watch.  I don't really watch a soap opera, per se, but I do love me some Grey's Anatomy.  And Brandon would classify that as a soap opera.  So, going by his standards, his beloved "Always Sunny in Philadelphia" show is also a soap opera.  Just so we're on the same page, I have pasted the definition of "soap opera" from Wikipedia (the always credible essay source).
"A soap opera, sometimes called 'soap' for short, is an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on radio or as television programming"

So, yes by these terms, I suppose Grey's Anatomy could be considered a soap opera.  However, so too then, can Always Sunny.  Let me explain why.  I made the mistake of asking Brandon how the characters were related.  He proceeded to tell me the following:

Dennis and Dee are siblings, twins I think, who at first thought their father was Frank.  You see, Frank raised Dennis and Dee.  However, a later episode reveals that Frank could actually be Charlie's biological dad.  But now none of them refer to him as their father, instead he's just "Frank". They own a bar together, well Dennis and at one time Charlie, but he later sold his shares of the pub.  So now it's just Mac and Dennis who own the pub together.  Dee bartends at the bar, and owns no part of it.  Charlie and Frank live together in a shabby apartment.  Frank has a somewhat jaded and illegal past and has since given up the business world and lives as a poor man and hanging out with the younger gang.  That's about the gist of it.  While in no way is Always Sunny a typical soap opera, but it definitely has a manly spin on one.

Another, very popular male-centric soap opera-esque "story" is the Batman series.  Anytime Brandon tries to explain to me all the various story lines of the plethora of Batman movies, comics and just known facts I get more confused.  Is Batman alive?  Does Robin exist?  How many different Robins have there been?  Who is Night Wing?  Are there different men who "play" Batman?  Why does Bruce Wayne have a different voice when he's in his Batman suit?  Does Bruce Wayne lead a normal life?  Is he married?  Just how many enemies does Batman have anyway?

And the answers to all these questions can be pieced together either by purchasing every single piece of Batman paraphernalia and taking many, many years to figure it out.  OR... just go ahead and visit my old friend, Wikipedia. Batman's page, of course, links to many of the other characters involved in the story lines, which then link to more and more... this is what makes it a soap opera.  There are way too many characters involved and so many different story lines that inter-connect, sometimes not making sense within others and often ignoring deaths and having characters, even Batman himself, returning from the dead.

Does this not reek of soap opera?!  Many soap operas bring characters back from the dead, explaining their mistaken death as just another twisty-turny storyline in the already complicated web they weave.  Additionally, you have the actor changes.  There have been seven different actors to play Batman since 1943.  OK, quick- speed round!  List them!  I'll wait.

Did you get them all without Googling them?  No, me neither.
  • Lewis Wilson
  • Robert Lowery
  • Adam West
  • Michael Keaton  (let it be noted: much better suited to his role in Multiplicity
  • Val Kilmer
  • George Clooney
  • Christian Bale
Even in the comic books, Batman is portrayed by Bruce Wayne and later, for a short time, Dick Grayson.  Are you seeing the similarities?  Batman is a soap opera hiding behind the facade of a comic book.  So, next time your man gets on your case about watching your favourite "girly" show, figure out which show he's watching that is hiding behind a manly mask.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

What your slippers really say about you

We've all heard them, "what does your dog's breed say about you?", "what the colour of your room means", "Want to find out just who you are?".  The quizzes that promise to tell you all about you!

Do you seriously need a silly magazine/online quiz to explain things?  I mean, sure, it's fun to do those things to waste some time when you're supposed to be doing dishes and cleaning the house.  But I wonder how many people are truly interested what their favourite brand of toothpaste really does say about them?  Are there people out there who actually give merit to these quizzes with, I'm sure, very little thought put into creating them?  I hope not.  But if you do, simply send 3 easy payments of $12.95 to me and I will send you a booklet full of them, and you can find out exactly who you really are...because I know.  Solely based on your choices.

How could anyone know anything about me based on my name?  I didn't pick it, my parents did- does this mean they knew I'd be stubborn and unstable?! Hmmmm...

Oh Baby, I just can't stand another lonely night... Save me from another lonely night

There hasn't been a new video game on the scene, well at least in our lives, for some time.  Sure there was some dabbling in "Gotham City Imposters"- an online first shooter XBox Arcade game.  But there was no end or real goals besides XBox "chievers", points and levels.  Boooooooring!

Though my false hope had me thinking that would be all until Chirtmas, deep down I knew it couldn't be.  Deep down I knew there would come a day when the next big video game showed up and took over Brandon's life.  That day has come, folks.  Let me introduce you to the new member of our family...well at least that's how much time it takes up, you'd think it was.

Darksiders 2

Collector's Edition, of course!  Would we have it any other way?  Ask me how much I love the extra empty box that takes up otherwise useful storage space, and the extra toy collectible that adorns the shelves.  Words cannot express my feelings towards these things.  So I just won't try.

What else does this game bring, besides constant love and hours of entertainment?  Hours of loneliness.  And talking to myself...unintentionally, of course. 

Me: "Brandon let's discuss the wedding menu." 
Brandon: ......

Me: "What should we have for dinner?"
Brandon: ......

Me: "Hey, look I'm naked!"
Brandon: ......

See the theme?  No, me neither.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Olympic Sports I Could Do

We have been inundated with Olympics.  And I have to admit, today I was glad to see them go.  This happens every 2 years- winter or summer Olympics, our TVs, newspapers, magazines, social media and everywhere else are completely taken over by the events.  Even the ones that, clearly, no one cares about.  Like race-walking.  Seriously?  Race-walking?!

These gals hardly look like they're working at all.  Yet look at the one on the left- she's clearly straining herself.  When I watch the summer Olympics I tend to watch the events and think to myself, "ya, I could do that!"  (Whether or not that's reality doesn't matter to me.)  So, I thought up some events I could most definitely participate in, and possibly be a contender for a gold medal.

  • creating Excel spreadsheets.  Yup- you read that correctly.  I am THE master of Excel spreadsheets.  Sure the people who developed it may know it a tad better than me.  But the restrictions on the event would clearly dictate no computer nerds allowed.  Therefore, I'd win.
  • colour coordinating closets & finding items in record time.  OK, so you could chalk that up to learning my colours early in life- mom says I was advanced.  Or was it special?  Anyway, my closet is colour coordinated and also organized by type of clothing.  I am super quick at it and can always tell you exactly where any piece of clothing I own would be located.
  • worrying about unnecessary things prematurely.  I am a pro at thoughts such as, "I really hope Brandon has organized his DVDs in alphabetical order so I can find the movie I want to watch as soon as I get home" or, "I wonder if he thinks my shirt is the wrong shade of pink?  what if he hates it?" and, "if I don't get home within the next 10 minutes, my whole day will be thrown off and I may not have adequate time to sit around and read Twitter".  See?  There's no way I wouldn't win gold on this one.
  • reciting dog and horse breeds upon seeing them.  Man walking down the street with his rare Norwegian Lundehund- I knew it, and I could tell you about the history of the breed too.  Go ahead and test me.
  • coming up with ridiculous insults and curses to drivers around me during rush hour.  This is fairly self-explanatory.  Cut me off, and I will be sure to flash you one of my useful fingers and probably yell a creative obscenity at you that you've never heard of. 
 I'm sure there are many more ridiculous Olympic events I could medal in, but I don't have time to list them all- I've got to go worry about whether or not the towels are on the correct shelf in the linen closet.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

I Learned to Steal From my Grandma

Not like a car or anything major.  Just fruit, napkins, condiments...

I can remember so often going out for a meal with her, and she'd always take the extras that we hadn't used.  We'd go to a buffet and she'd take extra, easily hidden, food for later consumption.  I'm fairly certain that a buffet doesn't have a take-out option.  They sort of bank on the idea that you won't eat as much as you pay for, nevermind taking some home.

The last time Brandon and I went out to eat somewhere I recall keeping the extra ketchup and napkins and being reminded of my grandmother.  Never mind turning into your mother, I skipped that generation and went straight to the earlier.  Come to think of it, I've been "stealing" condiments since I've been an adult, and before that I was doing it for my grandma.  We're a regular Bonnie & Clyde duo.  Better watch out for us fast food & restaurants of Canada...we're on our way to your door step next!  Stealing ketchup, mustard, napkins and plastic cutlery on our way...

Laugh at me now, but when times get tough, and money a bit tight, and you've got a naked hotdog jonesing for some ketchup, don't come crawling.  Because we're hoarders, not sharers.  This for sure is my strength should the zombie apocalypse come upon us.