Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Verbal Explosion

It seems as though I find myself, everyday, becoming more and more disgusted with the way my generation is not only behaving, but eating, smoking, chatting and interacting. Before I continue, I mean none of this in any bad or hurtful way, but I do want this to be considered as a reflection on us as a self-centered society. So, pardon this rant; however, if I do not express it here, harmlessly, then I might just verbally explode on the next unfortunate idiot who decides that holding in that last drag on his cigarette (and releasing it upon sitting next to me on the bus) is acceptable behavior. Which, please note, IT IS NOT...


Let's get one thing straight: Not only is this a gross and deadly habit to the smoker, but it is also just as nasty to the people around who prefer to not have their life shortened by you and your wands of death. Do you know how annoying you are, especially when you smoke in line-ups or at public events? The exact equal of your puffing away would be the same as if I, hypothetically, took an aerisol can full of toxic fumes and released it in your face. Would you enjoy it? My guess is that you wouldn't. However, you would be going to the police and your lawyer to press charges of attempted murder. Let's change this back, shall we? Now, think of how we feel when us non-smokers complain about having to breathe in your smoke and all you do is play a very unsuitable I-have-my-rights card. Besides, with all that rat poison you're inhaling, you may as well go and wrap those lips of yours around a tailpipe. Yum! Pardon all that sarcasm, but do you not see? You are committing a slow and cancerous suicide. Life is valuable...don't ruin it because you think smoking makes you look "cool."


I was forced to witness the most horrible stomach offence known to man's digestive tract: Pop-Eye's Chicken and Biscuts. This young twenty-something, who was already far over his BMI, was rudely devouring his fried drumsticks and fries. If you could have only seen the grease that had not only made the bag clear, but that was dripping over everything! I felt like I was watching "Fear Factor." Yes, it was that bad. I sat there, unable to eat my own veggie pasta, but also feeling very sad for him. Here was a guy who should be enjoying the prime of his life, but instead, he sat on the edge of a very generous cafe chair, unable to fit himself between the armrests. Simply put: Why? As he sat there sucking every last bit of grease and batter from the chicken, cardboard container, and even his fingers, I began to question the reasons for this. Does he not know about healthy eating? Is this a way of taking his mind off really bothers him? Does he just not care? I don't believe in being size obsessed, but rather health focused. It really doesn't matter what size a person is, however what does matter is how heathy their heart and lungs are. Besides, that extra weight around the mid-section is what leads to heart disease.

The Evil iPod

I know that y'all love your music, and that even more of you love the status symbol of the white earbuds. I totally get it because this need for status that was the reason I began drinking Starbucks (before I apprecieated the taste of fantastic coffee and espresso). It's the joys of being a consumer. But let's all understand something:

Not ALL of us want to hear what's on YOUR playlist!

I personally am against the daily use of earbuds/ headphones as they can damage your hearing, but this goes way beyond that. I pay, along with many other fellow students, a good amount of cash to have the ability to ride the GO bus to and from the campus in comfy quietness. We gladly share our row, and we'll even offer an armrest as a sign of kindness and comradery, but we really don't want to overhear your favorite rendition of "Stairway to Heaven" for the entire ride to school. It's bad enough that the valley girl behind is telling her girlfriend about her awesome "night" last night (and no, there was no sleep involved), therefore, your mix of music added to the already present racket isn't quite what we all paid for. Why can't we all just turn off the cell phones and music players and just enjoy the noiseless drive down the 407? Would it really kill you to just sit there for 25 minutes?

I really could go on, but now that I feel so much better as to have had the opportunity to get all this off my chest, I really should get to class as it starts in ten. I'm not perfect and I know that there are lots of things about me that most likely drive people into insanity, but at least I try to be mindful of others...That's all I really ask.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Nuit Blanche Toronto

I'm so excitied! The Parisian night owl art exhibit has finally reached our city! What I love about this is that it is a full night of experimental and contemporary art meant to expand the public's horizons of what art "is" as a whole. The plan is to go down and experience this fun which I hope returns again next year as an annual event.

So, I have included the major bits of information, as well as maps, from their official website at:
About "scotiabank nuit blanche"
a free, all-night contemporary art thing
The literal English translation of Nuit Blanche is "White Night," a term used to describe a natural phenomenon that occurs at high latitudes where the dusk meets the dawn. It refers to a night without darkness; a night for new discoveries; a sleepless night.

From sunset at 7:01 pm on September 30 to sunrise at 7:15 am on October 1, 2006, Toronto will be buzzing with activity as we break down the barriers between art and public space. For one sleepless night the familiar will be discarded and Toronto will become an artistic playground for a series of exhilarating contemporary art experiences. Scotiabank Nuit Blanche is a free city-wide event featuring more than 130 contemporary art projects for you to discover.

The Zones

For Nuit Blanche, Toronto has been divided into three zones encompassing more than 130 destinations. Within each zone you'll find a mix of Nuit Blanche exhibitions, My Secret City exhibitions and Independent Projects. The challenge -- explore them all in one night!

Note that the use of TTC would be the best, however, I would suggest using a taxi for more of the shadier areas of Toronto. (Let's face it people: It's a great city, but there are at least a few areas that I'd not want to be at in the wee morning hours!)

Here are some interesting exhibits in Zone A:

Kelly Mark

Installed at a street intersection, where people are forced to pause, this sign asks one to also pause one's mind . . . to "hold that thought" . . . if for only a moment.

Carlos Garaicoa, Henry Erick, Jose Toirac, Lazaro Saavedra and Cimarron

A special night of Cuban contemporary art, video and music.

Cuban curator Magda Gonzales Mora presents a programme of provocative, uncensored video works titled "Plus ça Change: New video from Cuba." The popular Afro-Cuban salsa band Cimarron performs an upbeat concert of danceable rhythms. Delicious Cuban food and beverages are available for purchase in The Rotunda Café. And be sure to visit "Carlos Garaicoa," the new exhibition presented by the ROM's Institute for Contemporary Culture. One of Cuba's leading contemporary artists, Garaicoa creates beautiful, thought-provoking artworks reflecting a culture where political idealism is disconnected from day-today reality.

And at Zone B...

Chris Curreri

Viewed only from the street, as one walks along Baldwin, passers-by will be treated to a neon love poem glowing from above. All Elvis Presley song titles, the glowing text anonymously announces itself from the second floor windows of Baldwin Street residences.

Samuel Roy-Bois

Creating an impromptu gathering place, a dance floor welcomes passers-by to spend time dancing or simply watching others move to a lively soundtrack.

Darren O'Donnell

Ballroom Dancing, an all-ages dance party, is a public forum for children and adults to play together all night long in a room filled with thousands of rubber balls.
Dare to dance with Darren O'Donnell to the tunes of his team of 10-year-old DJs. Children and adults alike are invited to play in a gymnasium transformed, disco lights and all, into a kid's ball-room-meets-nightclub DJ-ed by children. Reclaim the perception of the public sphere as a place of safety and communication, rather than danger and atomization. Participate in an exciting and unusual opportunity for 10-year olds to assert their identities. Give children control of the playlist and relinquish your own inhibitions.

How often do you give yourself over and dance with abandon to Sean Paul? Rest assured if 10-year-old kids are DJ-ing, you'll likely hear him more than once.
A nap area is provided for adults who need to crash.

Darren O'Donnell's barber is 10 years old. O'Donnell is a Toronto-based writer, director, actor, and the artistic director of Mammalian Diving Reflex (Haircuts by Children). The Globe and Mail says, "He writes like a sugar-addled genius at 300 km/hr."

...Lastly Zone C...

Christie Pearson with FM3, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Tim Hecker, Luis Jacob, Raz Mesinai, Orixasound, Sarah Peebles, Sandro Perri/Polmo Polpo, Ghislain Poirier, Marina Rosenfeld, Sickness Crew, and Windy & CarlInstallation

Artist/Architect Christie Pearson is obsessed with swimming pools. The existing environment of a Community Centre pool is transformed to recall an ancient forum from a city of the past - a Roman Bath - suggesting alternative ways of occupying public space.

Bring your bathing suit to Night Swim, a 12-hour swimming party with DJs. Explore the typical bathing sequence of the Roman Bath. Move in stages through leisure spaces with distinct temperatures, acoustic experiences, and potential activities. Linger in the Tot's Pool hot-tub turned caldarium. Soak up hourly sets by local and international sound artists. While floating on your back in the main pool get lost in reflection in the giant overhead mirror. Some spaces are about socializing, some about observing, some about listening, and some about your own experience. All connect you in slightly unusual ways to your senses, and - most importantly - to a new community.

Christie Pearson, the co-curator of the WADE festival of art in wading pools, helps design Community Centres in Toronto, including Trinity Bellwoods.

Bathing suits are not required to participate but are required to swim. Towels provided.

Official Survival Guide

Where will you be at 3 am? Whether you sleep in Saturday morning or take an afternoon nap, arrive at Nuit Blanche well rested and ready for a sleepless night.

There are a few items you should consider bringing with you on this adventure: Comfortable shoes are essential for an all-night trek! Check the weather forecast and dress appropriately -- you may need an umbrella or clothing layers for cool weather. Other ideas include a blanket for spontaneous picnics and catnaps, plus coffee, tea, water and snacks for quick rejuvenation at 4:30 am. Bring a camera, a flashlight, your swimsuit and lots of friends, but most importantly bring an open mind and an all-nighter attitude!

You'll find everything you need to start your explorations in each zone at a Scotiabank Information Hub. Look for these three unique destinations:

Zone A Hub: Village of Yorkville Park

Zone B Hub: Butterfield Park

Zone C Hub: Trinity Bellwoods Park

Food & Drink
You'll find a selection of restaurants, bars and convenience stores open throughout the night near the three exhibition sites. Plus, look for the Food & Drink symbol throughout this website. A number of the Independent Project venues are offering late night refreshments in their restaurants and bars. Call ahead to confirm hours and menus.

Contemporary art refers to the work being created by artists today in the present era. This is art that reflects and addresses the challenging themes and dilemmas of our times. Utilizing current practices, styles and mediums, artists push the boundaries with provocative ideas and strive to evoke lively debate within our urban centres. Through Scotiabank Nuit Blanche you can participate in these discussions and become a part of the contemporary understanding of visual art, culture and the social consciousness of our communities.

Trained guides and educators, called docents, are on site at most of the commissions to offer information and facilitate your understanding and enjoyment of the exhibitions. The docents worked with the artists and curators to develop an understanding of their work, the creative process and how to interpret the work so that they are able to share this information with you.

Maps & Signs
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche sites are spread across three zones. On this website you will find a map for each zone showing the location of each event site. Each site has been assigned a number that will appear on the map and it will also appear on the identifying sign when you arrive at the site location. Curated Exhibition projects have been assigned square symbols, My Secret City has triangle symbols and all Independent Projects are indicated by circles.

Hope you can make it as it might never return to the city again if we don't patron it!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Passion to Publish

I find myself, more and more every day, wishing that I could publish a book. The only thing that is holding me back, I believe, is my fear of it ending up on the clearance table at Chapters and the lack of focus with regards to a specific topic.

On what would I write? Fiction, perhaps, but the genre is so broad and there are so many ideas that I have that it would be hard to decide where to take it. Then, there is my love of opinionated pieces, vaguely reminisant of Rosie DiManno of The Toronto Star,* but I hate the aspects of journalism where you have to pump out a piece a day. For me, the creation would be perfectly do-able, however, the quickly paced environment and the "do-anything-for-a-story" attitude of a reporter simply isn't my style. There are certain lines which encompass me. I have not boxed myself in with will not's and cannot's, but my morals and standards, to which I set my daily life, I care not to change as they shape my person. Therefore, hunting down people and harrassing them just for a column in the paper is not what I consider ethical. And I can only assume that DiManno had to work her way up in the world of yellow news to having the coveted spot that she has, as that seems to be the only way nowadays.

On that note, I had considered to take on the enormous attempt to compile and publish a journal of sorts. I mean not of medical or academic, but of opinionated pieces that I have written as a collective reflection of us as a socialital whole. It would be of an informal nature, with both humor and madness, where I could just let the ranting wind carry me wherever it desires. You know, a simple and entertaining narrative of daily life and all that I've encountered.

Hmmm, perhaps that is possibility...

Mainly, my problem is that I can write for hours about life and my obervations of it. As my profile for this blog explains, I love life and I cannot help myself as my imagination runs wild. Most days, I find myself scrambling for a pen just so I can write down whatever I have developing in my head. Also, the way in which I write is so different than my peers in university. For example, I was sitting in my Professional Writing lecture at York University when a young woman interrupted our lecture by running in, grabbing some man's aviator glasses, proceeded to jump up onto the lecturn, tossed a banana into the audience and exited. The professor admitted soon after that it was a staged disruption and then asked of us one thing: to write a paragraph, however we care to, about what just happened. After about three minutes, she began to randomly choose students to read their pieces which, in nature, seemed all the same: "I saw a girl run...screaming...tossed a banana..." and et cetera. Then I heard her command, "You there, in the red hoodie. Read yours!"

She was looking right at me. So, I hesitantly began:

The Banana and Aviator Girl: Chaos finally conquered class. Who knew that a twenty-something, stark raving mad woman could disrupt and decidedly amuse a full lecture hall of students? Apparantly, redheads are that fiery!

The professor looked blankly at me. Before I could sink any lower into my chair, she announced, "Now that was a paragraph! You're cartainly taking the right class!" (Whew!)

I just hope that this ability to write is a gift that will stay with me until the grave. Now, I'm in no way claiming in any of this to be a good writer, however, I am saying that I am a writer who needs to write as this is all I know. Maybe one day, I'll be able to write enough to just compile an anthology of short stories, opinion pieces, human interest stories and so on.

My dream is to one day see my book on the new arrivals table of Chapters and, who knows? It might even reach the New York Times bestseller list...of course, with a nod of thanks to the book club queen herself!

*You can read some of Rosie DiManno's pieces at by clicking on "Star Columnists," then "Rosie DiManno."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Few of My Favorite Things

This was sent to me and I couldn't help but share it:

To Commemorate her 69th birthday last October 1, actress and vocalist Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers she performed was from the legendary movie Sound of Music. However, the lyrics of the song were deliberately changed for the entertainment of the "blue haired" audience.

In usual comedic style, she entertained the crowd with one of her most famously sung songs My Favorite Things.

Here are the lyrics she recited:

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cadillac's and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak,
When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets, and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heat pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Back pains, confused brains, and no fear of sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache,
When the hips break,
When the eyes go dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad!

Ms. Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores...And rightfully so!

Monday, September 04, 2006

One Busy Summer

Wow! Life's been so very busy. There has been a lot going on this summer, so let me fill you in:

(1) Soulhouse Community Youth Drop-in

I haven't had this much fun at work in ages. Everyday, I spent over five hours on public transit, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat because I wouldn't trade this summer's experiences for the world! I had the chance to go to work each day, spend it with my friend, Steve, and have fun with the kids. It was awesome. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to get closer with Tabitha and her parents (friends of the family) as well as meet some new people like Adam and Seth and all their councillors. Because of this job, I was able to pay off my tuition and then come out ahead by $1,300! I can't thank God enough!

(2) Casey's Bar and Grill

Yep, I'm still there. Sometimes, I really hate my job, but all the servers and I are so close, especially Michelle, that I can't leave. Besides, even amidst the stupidity that arises there, it is such a great opportunity to talk about God.

(3) "The Super Summer Series: City Adventures"

Every Thursday, Steve and I would take the kids somewhere downtown. We've been to the Islands, Ontario Place, bowling, Kensington Market, Chinatown, a Blue Jays game, Buskerfest, the CNE and even a scavenger hunt on the TTC! It was great! The kids got to see some stuff that they've never experienced before and Steve and I got to forge some great relationships with the kids. My favorite day was Buskerfest because it was cheap on the wallet, but full of amazing and wacky fun!

Watching the break-dancing outside of St. Lawrence Market...It was really cool!

The mime girl promoting street theatre. She was excellent and I loved her quiet interaction.

Last, but not least...

(4) My Social Life

I've had some nice chats with old and new friends alike. Every Tuesday night, Tabitha would let me bunk at her house. We've had some fun times this summer planning her wedding, laughing at the foolies of men and discussing the silly politics of The Peoples Church. Then, I'd also have dinners at A&W or at Chapters with Adam, Seth and Antonette from Camp Highlife, or with Marielle or Steve. Oh, and I can't forget the fantastic chats over lattes with Adam...such a great conversationalist and what a sense of humor!

As for my dating life, it's pretty much non-existant. But that's okay as I know that God has something in store for me...I just have to be patient. That one guy from the choir hasn't gotten the hints (note the plural) that I'm not interested. I had and still have a crush on this one guy from Peoples due to his phenominal personality, but I've learned very quickly that if there is ever a chance in heck for me to go out with him, it's going to have to be a God-thing. (I do have to say that not only does he have a spectacular personality, but the icing on this cake is that he is very good-looking, too!) I figure I can pray about it!

Anyway, I do have to go. The three beers I had tonight at our Labor Day family BBQ are wearing off and I'm getting sleepy. God bless and take care.


...and the Pumkin Spice lattes from Starbucks came out this past Tuesday. Yay! Fall is here!

Try this next time you ask for your latte:
"A triple restretto, two percent, venti Pumpkin Spice latte."

It's breakfast in a cup...Yum!