Thursday, 30 December 2010

Home

I don't even know where the last week has gone! Christmas was a whirlwind this year. I am now back at Rrunuv Bayit but for not even 12 hours before heading out again. Flying tomorrow to New Orleans for New Years!!!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Mike's Home

Little Brother Mike is around for the holidays, which is awesome even beyond the fact that he brought all the seasons of Entourage to lend to me. Some things never change though, he has a mind like a sieve. We are leaving the security of our country in his hands?

For example, a couple of days ago we had the following phone conversation....
Mike: So, you asked for Sims 3 on your list right?
Me: No, I asked for Sims 3 Expansions, I already have the game....ummm, YOU gave it to me last year for Christmas.
Mike: Oh, so I should return that then.

Almost Done

I'm on my way back to Toronto and I have three last minute gifts to buy at The Eaton's Centre, all gift cards so I'm hoping it is quick.

CBC News

Last-minute holiday shopping will peak Christmas Eve afternoon, according to Canada's largest debit and credit card transaction company. Moneris Solutions expects there will be 400 transactions per second on Dec. 24 between 1 and 2 p.m. ET, as shoppers hit the stores one last time before Christmas Day. That works out to be 24,000 debit and credit transactions per minute.

The payment processing company said Dec. 23 was the biggest overall consumer day of the year, as it's the last full day of shopping before Christmas Day and stores often stay open later. But in terms of sheer volume of transactions, Christmas Eve afternoon will be even busier, as last-minute shoppers look to grab their last gifts before stores close.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Men & Birds Of Prey

On my drive into town this morning I saw four Birds of Prey. I was driving slowly down the causeway which is one of the few places where I religiously drive at the actual speed limit, since this area is a protected Biosphere; I don't drive slowly for my own safety or for the safety of other drivers on the road, just for the environment. The causeway to get off of Long Point onto the main land is a couple of kilometers long and during this stretch I saw a Ruff Legged Hawk, that at the time I thought was a Golden Eagle which I gather we don't get this far east. There were also three Harriers, though I call them Kites. So I am embracing the fact that I'm a birder, though at the moment a pretty bad one.

I was in town for about an hour doing a few random chores like going to the pharmacy and grocery store. In the span of the hour, I saw four different guys wearing wearing an item of camouflage clothing. The one guy was just wearing a green camouflage baseball hat, but the other three where wearing full on camouflage pants. This is not the army style, though they do pair them with big boots, this is the intense and sometimes bright leaves and foliage hunting camouflage. One of the pairs of pants was polar fleece, I didn't even know they made camouflage fleece.

Even though it is a Biosphere, around here no animal is safe. The birds will get the small animals and the hunters go after the larger ones. However, I am obeying the speed limit so hopefully the car won't get any.

But Daddy It's Cold Inside



This is my life right now. My parents keep it so cold in the house. I would love to have the thermostat at 70-72, but will happily live with 68-69. It is currently 65 and at night they turn it down to 62-64. I assume that these numbers are Fahrenheit and I have no idea what the real Celsius temperatures would be, in my mind these are just 'Thermostat Numbers'.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Dial Up

It is painful, so painful.

Monday, 20 December 2010

The Holidays

I'm heading into The Land Of Slow Internet Connections this afternoon. Mom and Dad are coming to pick Binx and I up and I'm going to spend the week with them. A couple of days this week I will go into Brantford with Mom and go shopping while she's at work. I also need to do a whole bunch of baking, which I'm really excited about. I am in charge of desserts at the big Christmas this year. We are going up to Collingwood for three or four days with the whole huge family, renting a chalet, and doing Christmas; I hope to get out snowboarding at least once. I got desserts because I am pretty much the only single person left in my family, save the younger cousins. Mike and his girlfriend have a breakfast to do. Though I'm glad I don't have a meal, since cookies, cakes and the traditional Chocolate Log are way more fun. I have no idea how the posting on Always Standing is going to go, but I will try. Stay tuned, and Happy Holidays to everyone!!

Sushi Panic!!

ERin stopped by from Edmonton on her way home for Christmas. Matt and her stayed over for a night here. She got me a Christmas gift that she prefaced with, "Well, it combines two of your favourite things." It turned out to be a sushi based boardgame, called Sushi Panic. The words "Sushi Panic" are the only English words in the entire game, the cards, box, etc. are all in Japanese. Luckily Matt was able to determine from the pictures how to play. It reminds me of the boardgame Perfection from when I was little, which I never had but saw the commercial for it so many times that I still know the jingle. Although, with Sushi Panic you aren't racing the clock nor are you fitting shapes into holes, maybe a better comparison would be Perfection combined with Jenga. You have pieces of sushi at different weights, worth different amounts of points, and you put them onto the sushi board; at a certain point the board pops up spilling all the sushi and the game is over, most points wins. It is so hilariously random, but oddly addictive. It has not left our coffee table all weekend.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Tyra Says

Ads Are Back

I had to get Justin to help me figure out what was wrong, it turns out that after earning around $15, AdSense shuts down your account until you confirm a few things. I had to confirm my phone number, banking info, and address. The thing that took the longest was the address because you have to request that they send you this letter, wait for it to arrive, and then fill in the pin code they give you in the letter. That is finally all done and now I have advertising back on Always Standing again. They don't send you any money until you are at $100, so I still have a long way to go. They have been either Public Service Ads - which make no money, or totally turned off, for months now. They were gone through my whole trip I think, which sucks because I had a decent amount of traffic over the summer. The ads are back though, and one day I may make a little bit of money out of this.

No Coat For You

The door handle on our hall closet sometimes falls off. This happened to me this morning. Usually we just twist it back on but this time the thing we twist it onto has gotten itself at such an angle that we can't get the handle back on. We now can't get into the closet. Thankfully both Kristen and I have our winter coat out of the closet at the moment, but mitts, scarves, umbrellas, most of our shoes, grocery bags and other coats are currently trapped behind the closed door. We could probably fix it, but my tool box is also kept in the closet. I have to wait until my mom comes to Toronto on Monday and brings some pliers.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Future Mrs. Efron

So, all the tabloids and gossip sites are reporting it, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens broke up. I had TWO different friends text me about this today! I don't follow celebrities all that closely, so I'm very glad that I have people looking out for my interests. I'm trying to not be disturbed that I was the first person they thought of when hearing the news, to the point of thinking they must contact me to ensure I knew. (Don't worry, he is 23, it would be legal and not that creepy.) I had actually moved on in terms of celebrity crushes, more onto Joseph Gordon-Levitt and James Franco now, but Zac is still good too! DIBS!

It Doesn't Even Make Sense!

Today I am working on my final essay of the term. JennD is with me as she also has a huge paper due this week and we figured we would hang out as we wrote. She is at Carleton doing a MA in Film Studies. JennD is still at the research stage for her paper on Peirce's theory of signs and their signification and how this theory is being challenged by digital imagery. She read me the following sentence from one of the books:

The existing objects demoted by the indices must be so connected to the firstness represented iconically by the predicate, that the dicisign as a whole can indexically represent an object that incorporates both.
--- from Peirce by Christoper Hookway

I often come across very confusing, annoying, and pretentious sentences in my readings for school but it has been a long time since I have encountered something that ridiculously complicated. I don't think some of those are even words, nothing in that sentence is a typo, I double checked. I'm so glad I don't have to write a paper on that; I have no idea what it means!

Snowy Ottawa

Woke up this morning to cab delays and a beautiful snow storm. I love Ottawa winters: the dry cold, piles of snow, and blue blue skis!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Broad & Short 3/4 Portraits


I'm visiting in Ottawa and helping Steph finish up some portrait assignments for her current photography course. I brought along this fan that I bought in China this summer. It was so useful at the time since it was insanely hot and when waiting in train stations I noticed everyone had them. I kept it as a souvenir. The assignment is Broad & Short 3/4 Portraits. So, 3/4 Portraits are when 3/4 of the face is lit and the other 1/4 is shadowed, which is all of these. Broad lighting occurs when the lit side of the face is towards the camra, pictures 1 & 3 above. Pictures 2 & 4 use short lighting, when the shadowed side of the face is towards the camera. I prefer short lighting, it is way more flattering.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Not Worth 1000 Words

Don't Make Me Write The 1000 Words This Might Be Worth
Self-Portrait Online
By Christine Sweeton

Thoughts that accompany this photo:
-Hair is curly, figured I should get a picture of it like this since it is always up or if I'm going out it is usually straightened.
-Does it look a little like I'm sucking my thumb? I wish I was right now, in bed and falling asleep. I am so tired but am up late again doing schoolwork.
-I hope this is the last time I say this, but I really can't wait until I have my big camera here or a new small one or something so that I can stop using this online program.
-Wow, I look tired! I am not one to get particularly dark circles under my eyes but it is not looking good here. I'm even wearing some make-up!
-Holding the hand up to strategically cover the two zits on my chin, however I find the effect is strange, almost disturbing.
-Show me Natalie! When will someone finally just hire me to play her sister in something?

Thoughts connected to my upcoming photo shoots with Steph:
-So excited to get in front of the camera again!
-I am going to have to work at figuring out my expressions, smile, and angles with the shorter hair and weight loss changing things up.
-My hands and nails look all pretty, Steph will be pleased.
-I need to make sure I at least get to help title some of the shots, one of my favourite parts.

Friday, 10 December 2010

My Life In Pasta

I am up late and plan to be up all night. I have too many things due tomorrow, all of which I left to the last minute. I am hungry so have found a box of Presidents Choice White Cheddar Macaroni. I don't even know how I have that, I should not eat it as I am still trying to avoid all starches. However, it is good stuff and I'm hungry and I need something to keep me going for the rest of the night.

I stand at the stove and think, "I'm 26 years old. What adult is up at 2am on a Thursday making Kraft Dinner? Certainly not the type of adult I thought I would be. Am I even an adult? I certainly thought I would be an adult by 26."

And so I think about my life in terms of pasta...

Parents - Growing up my parents would make pasta using the dried bags. The kind you get at the grocery store for a couple of dollars, there would always be a few floating around the cupboards and pantry. This was easy and could be paired with homemade cream or tomato sauce, either made that night or brought out from the freezer. I had this same type at friend's houses as well. A great thing to feed a pile of people in a hurry, off to soccer practice or dance class, easy to throw leftovers into tupperware for work the next day.

Grandparents - My grandparents have a pasta maker, it attaches to the end of the counter and you use it to stretch and then cut pasta that you have made from scratch. Granny would make the dough and Pa would help the kids with the little metal machine that we got to crank. A slow and delicate process. I don't even really remember how the pasta tasted just the joy of making it.

Students - Kraft Dinner in all its varieties. A solution because I had just left home and didn't know how to cook. No time, no money. Writing papers all hours of the night, sleeping in computer labs, and eating the pasta right from the pot. A box was never enough to share between two people but eating the whole thing yourself is difficult and leaves you uncomfortable full. The dishes stay dirty for a long time, but the colour never fades.

Yuppies - I heard on the radio this morning, "Yuppies like to serve their dinner guests fresh pasta." Of course they do, and I'm sure they picked it up at some cute little store in Little Italy on the commute home from the office. After such a busy day it is nice to have a few friends over to have dinner and discuss important issues. Talk about wine parings while worrying about who is trying to contact you on your Blackberry.

I don't know which of those I want. I don't know where I want to be in life. However, I do know that I wish I wasn't awake right now.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Actually Published

Just as I was leaving Justice another team was working on a large project, which my team helped a little with. It was a publication, a large magazine-like brochure for both internal and recruiting use. (Printed but also published online.) Since Justice takes many articling students, we often have people at job and student fairs, this publication is used to promote the Department.

I knew it was happening, it was pretty exciting, but I wasn't really involved. However, when it got printed I was told that my name was added to the list of writers at the very last second. One of the actual writers had used a profile I had done as a base for the larger profile for this publication, and she felt I should get credit. If you have ever worked in the government, the copying/using/revamping of other people's writing is just normal practice; I would not think twice of having someone use my work or using others, as all of it is just common and shared. Still, it was very nice to be included.

So I have my name attached to a true piece of published something or the other. As a writer! What is even cooler is that it has both an Cat. No. (no idea what this means) and an ISBN number (which I also have no idea about but I have at least seen before.) It is also copyrighted for 2010, to The Queen of course, as she owns everything a public servant does.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Matt's Blog

Matt and I worked together at Natural Resources. He left before I did to go and do his Masters in the States. This is a picture from when I went to visit him in New York City a couple of years ago. (I look horrible.) He is now done his Masters and about to do the same trip that I just completed. (Trans-Siberian/Mongolian railway through Russia, Mongolia, and China.) However, Matt is doing the Trans-Siberian in the reverse direction than me and he is doing it in the winter!! I have added the blog that he and his travel-companions are doing to the My Links on the left. I know that the My Links section needs some revamping and I hope to get to it sometime over the holiday season.

Passing Them Along

I love buying travel books but I don't really love owning books. (This is something I'm working on though.) I especially love the EyeWitness Top 10 city guides but sometimes a trip calls for something a little bigger. For my big trip this summer, I had a Top 10 for St. Petersburg and Beijing, many thanks to JennB last Christmas for those. However, it was a long trip, both in time and distance, also a bit of a strange trip. I felt I needed to get some real travel guides for this one. I picked up the only two available for the Trans-Siberian: Trans-Siberian Handbook and Lonely Planet Trans-Siberian Railway. One of my favourite things about getting guidebooks is that when friends, and even acquaintances, go to visit the same places I lend them out. Each time the person writes their name inside the front cover and the date of their trip, my Top 10 Paris one has upwards of 8 or so uses. I figured no one I knew would ever be taking this trip and I would end up saving these as souvenirs. In an awesome turn of fate, a friend of mine is going in January! I am mailing him the books today (which is why I took a photo with them.) I have added his blog to My Links to the left so you can follow along on Matt's journey. I'm very jealous that he is going in the winter.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

A Plan In Place

Let's just be blunt about this here - Depression is random. This is why it is an illness and just like other illnesses it can be controlled but at the same time I don't control it. (Ok, that went from blunt to confusing.) However, before, during, and after the fact you can always see where it all went wrong, what little things added up to bring it all about. It does seem like I never learn and I fall into the same traps every time, but well, yes, I have no excuse here I don't seem to learn and I do fall into the same traps. But, here we go again, this is what I'm going to do to try to fix it:

-Drinking, I have planned out my alcohol for the rest of the month and I will have one Gin & Tonic at the British side of the family's Christmas and I will drink on New Years Eve in New Orleans but sadly that is it. I will have to stay dry during Taylor's visit, while I'm visiting in Ottawa, and for the rest of my Christmas celebrations.
-Exercise, I ran today, even though it was bloody cold, and it felt good. I'm going to start doing Zumba with Kristen and other things at least 3 times a week. I will have to figure out a more solid fitness regime for the new year.
-Sleep, sadly I am going to try to stop napping. I have been pretty good about this and while I still have a myriad of other 'escapes' I have been pretty good about staying away from my bed once I get out of it. I need to get into better sleep patterns though because I am staying up way to late and sleeping in far to long.
-Doctor, I have yet to get a new physician and/or psychiatrist in Toronto. I started the process but it got delayed with trying to transfer my files from Ottawa and I gave up. I'm going to call tomorrow and set up an appointment as soon as possible, I'm also running out of my prescriptions soon so I am in dire need of sorting this out.
-Silence, I walked away from the whole idea of Depression for the last little while. I didn't talk about it to anyone on my trip and I don't talk about it to people in Toronto. I used to be very open about it but lately I just have been pretending it isn't there. I would wake up in the morning take my meds and then ignore anything and everything else. I have to stop hiding it so much. So these posts are a start at that, putting it out there to the internet again.

Search & Find

I lost myself a little yesterday. I guess I saw it coming, I could feel it pulling me back for about a month now. September and October had some rough moments but they were all tangible, related to Binx or because I was adjusting to a new city and a new life. But, November has felt different, there has just been this dark cloud hanging around, and I'm used to the dark cloud coming around sometimes but this one was shooting some really bad thoughts into my head, I guess you could go with some sort of extended storm and lightening metaphor if you're feeling poetic.

I haven't felt that/this awful in a long time. I haven't thought those things in what I would like to think has been years. Feeling so worthless. Feeling so hopeless. Feeling like life is so pointless. But at the same time, somehow feeling nothing. How is that even possible? Pain and nothingness? Just this empty pit, my body feels hollow and it makes me nauseous. Just sitting on the kitchen floor crying for no reason, I don't know why it always seems to be in the kitchen.

I had felt it for so long, and had been fighting it. I would wake up in the morning, stare at the ceiling and know that it was there but I willed myself to get up everyday and trudge on through. I was so looking forward to writing a post at the end of the week saying -Look, it was here but I got through it, I didn't let it win this time.- I don't feel like I can really write that anymore. I think people knew there was something wrong, something looming, I could occasionally hear the concern and fear in their voices, and if I, the most socially oblivious person in the world, could pick up on it, then some people definitely knew.

I'm sorry, I'm trying to crawl back up to the surface, I guess the storm metaphor is gone and we have moved on to a water one now. Please understand that I don't want to be here. I am scared that this is happening and I hate it. I am sorry to everyone, especially those tied in for one reason or another, it is tough and I wish it wasn't this way.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Last Night's Lies

- Eyes - contacts instead of glasses
- Face - make-up when I normally wear none
- Chest - bra that moves me up 2 cup sizes
- Height - 3" heels
- Hair - straightened when naturally curly

If I ever do end up meeting someone at a bar when I'm out drinking and/or dancing with my friends, they really aren't meeting me after all. I think I would feel badly that in the end they would not get what they originally thought/saw.

Guest Writer - A Swan On Saturday - Part III - Heather

I had been wanting to post about the Greek myth 'Leda and the Swan' for a long time. I was a little weirded out by the idea of a women having sex with a swan. Then I realised, why should I write it when I'm friends with an expert on the subject!?! I asked Heather, fresh back from completing her MA in Greek and Roman Archaeology at Newcastle University in England, to write up a post. Please enjoy this final post in a three part series.

From Heather:

A Swan On Saturday - Part III - The Bestiality Sexuality

Greek gods were anthropomorphic, meaning that they looked like humans. But the Mediterranean was full of zoomorphic (animal-like) gods at the time, and so Greek cultural and artistic traditions, closely tied to those of Mesopotamia and Egypt, were familiar with portraying an animal in a human pose. Take Egypt for example. Most of their gods were animals or at least half animals, and yet they were often seen standing on two legs or seated on a throne like a Pharaoh.So the idea that a swan could mate with a woman wasn’t so far fetched. And sculpting a lewd statue of a woman who is, literally, parting her legs so a swan can enter her is nothing to the society who painted scenes of orgies and prostitutes on their drinking cups. When you look at all the examples out there, da Vinci’s is actually rather tame. Yes, Leda is naked and Zeus the Swan is cupping her butt with his wing. But at least he’s reaching for her face with his beak, instead of her nipple, like here:
Modern artists are still inspired by this story, and they don’t seem to shy away from the bestiality either, like this 2008 painting by Steven Kenny:
I think the most shocking thing is that Renaissance artists would portraying the coupling of a woman and beast, but sex between a man and woman was too risqué.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Going Out

Being Evil Bitches
Kiyomi, Myself, & Kristen
Self-Portrait Online
By Christine Sweeton
We kept laughing, this shot was much harder to get than you would think! I need a camera, these webcam-glam-shots are awful!! (I prefer the stick-your-hand-out-camera-glam-shot, which I take so many of when drunk.)

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Finally

I finally got a mark back today that I didn't look at and want to die. Finally! Normally I wouldn't be disappointed in this mark, just accepting, it is very much a "Meh, that is what I get." So, it is still far from something I am proud of and excited about. I'm clawing my way up towards producing the type of work expected at the graduate level. The semester isn't over yet, but I am really looking forward to Dec 12th when it is all behind me!

Christmas List - 2010 - Additions

Of course as soon as I post it, I get a ton more ideas!

-Black interesting headbands, hard or elastic
-Glasses lens cleaning towel
-Flask
-Large, predominately black, necklace
-Cute Overload calender

Dragalicous

My mom called me up last month and said that my grandparents had been visiting. Pa had left a copy of the Toronto Star at The Cottage and while she was going through it, saw an ad for Priscilla Queen of the Desert. I had lent her the movie to watch over the summer and both her and Dad enjoyed it. She now wanted to go see the musical, and said "I don't know why it takes having a daughter living in Toronto to go and do stuff like this." I don't know either, but I was totally down. We often go to see the big productions, but from these strange 'cheap seats,' they are armchair-like seats that go along the side of the balcony, and they are much cheaper than other sections. (I actually believe sitting in 'A Box' is even cheaper, but as Teri and I can attest, the sight lines are so awful it isn't worth it.) She got tickets for the three of us and made plans for a little trip to the city to see the show and stay over at Rrunuv Bayit.

Sadly, a good friend of my mother's died over the weekend (R.I.P. Sandy) and the wake was scheduled for the same night as the performance. My mom asked if maybe Kristen would like to take her ticket. So Dad came down and spent the afternoon with me. He picked me up on campus, but we drove to leave the car back at the apartment and took transit. We browsed for Christmas gifts and walked around Eaton Centre; it is Sears' Flagship Store and they own the building and their headoffice is above the mall (and yes, ironically it is still called the Eaton's Centre.) We then shared a nice pub dinner across the street and decided to go to the theatre early to pick up the tickets. Dad convinced me to walk, it isn't far but it definitely wasn't close. It was a really nice walk though, dark and crisp. Dad showed me what used to be the tallest building in Toronto, which he went up to the top of in his early teens, interestingly it is now across from a building that might be three times its size. After picking up the tickets we went to hangout in a Second Cup. Dad somehow doubted our ability to sit and chat for just under 2 hours. (No idea why he would doubt this, has he met us? has he met us on coffee? Trust me, we were fine.) Kristen met us there and we went to the show.

The show was awesome!! I don't have much more to say beyond that it was true to the movie while also being different and great by its own right. It was a full blown flashy, fun production. Great music, great costumes, a great time. We all loved it!!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Christmas List - 2010

It is December 1st, which means it is time for my annual huge Christmas list! I always wait until after Mike's birthday, which was yesterday. Happy Holidays everyone!!

Big Ticket Items

-Small digital camera
-Cord/Cordless drill
-$ for clothes
-$ for travel

Clothes
-Socks (Shoe size 7)
-PJs (L/M)
-Sweaters (M)
-Black Leggings (L)
-Pretty Winter boots
-Moccasin slippers with fur
-Tank top camis (M) Black & other colours
-Zipper sweater/sweatshirts (M)
-Running Shoes (7)
-GD for Smart Set, Rickis, Sears, Le Cheateau, Aldo, etc.

Binx
-Cat brush you wear as a mitten
-Pet cleaning wipes
-Cat Attract Litter
-Cat litter deodorizer

Games
-Sims 3 Expansion packs (PC)
-WoW Game Cards (PC)
-Card Decks
-Bridge Set of Cards
-Puzzles
-Taboo
-Scattergories

DVDS
-Season 1 - Volume 2 of Glee
-Season 5 of How I Met Your Mother
-Boondocks Saints
-Cutthroat Island
-Inception

Books
-Freud collection/anthology
-Eyewitness Top Ten for New Orleans
-Easy instruction book for Bridge
-Anything by William Gibson
-'Classics'

For The House
-Cordless phone
-Bookends
-Small watering can
-Kitchen Knives with stand
-On Counter Paper Towel Holder
-On Counter Cooking Utensil Holder
-Oven Mitts
-Screwdriver with all the ends
-Large bath towels/bath sheet
-Hardware to hang pictures

Other
-Simple sports watch
-Nice dressy watch
-Post-its and tabs for research
-Milk chocolate
-Gin
-Cool snowboarding helmet
-Cream corn
-French-cut green beans

Monday, 29 November 2010

Layers Of Greatness

I saw a trailer on TV for the following Direct-To-DVD animated movie:
Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale
Discover your inner sparkle! Join Barbie in a colourful, modern-day fairytale filled with fashion, friends, and fun. Barbie and her dog Sequin jet off to visit her aunt's amazing fashion house in Paris. Much to their surprise, it is about to be shut down forever! After she discovers three enchanting Fairies with sparkle-magic powers, Barbie comes up with a brilliant idea to save the business. She even inspires Alice, a shy fashion designer, and together they create a dazzling runway fashion show! Barbie shows that magic happens when you believe in yourself.

I would like to add a few more awesome notes to the above description, firstly the dog, of course, can talk, and wears a pink sparkly outfit. This film is the 12th in the Barbie Film Series. I saw bits of the 8th one, The 12 Dancing Princesses, a few Christmas' ago when my little cousins were watching it. I can tell you, whatever you are picturing, it is worse - so so so much worse. The horrendous computer animation was just the tip of the iceberg, I actually had to stop watching. Oh, and at the start of this one, you know, before she goes off to Paris, she is an actress filming on a movie set for "The Princess and the Pea." Look at Barbie go!! (Also, why the hell are faeries part of this? Oh Barbie.)

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Al-LIT-eration

I have finally finished my first big LitMod essay this year, and I came up with the greatest title, I was so proud:
The Fantasy of Fanny Hill:
The Improbable Portrayal of Prostitution
that Perpetuates Patriarchal Oppression
However, my awesome editors (Kristen and JennB) both vetoed it. Kristen found it too long; coming from Journalism she isn't used to writing in the 'literary present' or the long titles. JennB was fine with the length but said, "Seriously Chris, don't make a mockery of something we have all put a lot of work into. Don't get me wrong, I love good alliteration, who doesn't? But you can't make that the title." I whined about how it was good on so many levels, but in the end I agreed with them. So I ended up with this:
The Fantasy of Fanny Hill:
The Unrealistic Portrayal of Prostitution
that Reinforces a Male-Dominated Discourse
in Eighteenth-Century London

Saturday, 27 November 2010

First Toronto Snowfall

I woke up this morning to a nice dusting of snow on the ground. After hearing for weeks about -30 temperatures in Edmonton I was starting to get a little jealous of the rest of the country's Winter that had yet to start here. It is beautiful right now, crisp and white, with a blue sky. I'm interested to see what the season will be like in Toronto. It is my favourite one after all!!

Guest Writer - A Swan On Saturday - Part II - Heather

I had been wanting to post about the Greek myth 'Leda and the Swan' for a long time. I wanted to look into the strange story of why there would be sex with a swan, what is this myth? Then I realised, why should I write it when I'm friends with an expert on the subject!?! I asked Heather, fresh back from completing her MA in Greek and Roman Archaeology at Newcastle University in England, to write up a post. Please enjoy this second instalment in the three part series.

From Heather:

A Swan On Saturday - Part II - The Myth

Leda was the beautiful Queen of Sparta who unwittingly attracted the attention of the ever-horny, womanizing top Olympian, Zeus. Zeus decided to seduce her. To do so, he turned himself into a swan. For some reason. Maybe it was a secret fantasy of his, and what good is being the head of a pantheon of gods if you can’t pursue all your secret fantasies? In his disguise, pretending to be pursued by an eagle, Zeus fell into Leda’s lap for protection. Of course, Leda took one look at this most beautiful specimen of swanliness and simply had to have him. Or let him have her. Whichever way that works (though really, it doesn’t with a swan).

Leda and the Swan shared a magical night, the kind where time slows down and feathers float through the air, though in this case they were Zeus’ and not from a pillow torn in the heat of passion. Zeus flew off into the night, and Leda returned to her husband’s bed for more carnal exploits. Apparently, for all his swanliness, Zeus hadn’t quite satisfied Leda.

Months later, as these things go, Leda gave birth to two eggs. Yes, eggs. The eggs cracked open to reveal two sets of twins, one sired by each man, one divine and one mortal. They were Helen, Clytemnestra, Castor and Polydeuces. Helen became Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships and a ten-year war. Clytemnestra became the wife of Agamemnon, leader of the Greek forces in Troy, who she promptly killed to be with his cousin. Castor and Polydeuces have their own story of heroism and brotherly love, and eventually became a constellation and the astrological sign Gemini.

Funny thing is that this isn’t the only instance of bestiality in Greek mythology. Pasiphae fell in love with a bull, jumped into a handy cow costume, and soon gave birth to the Minotaur. Zeus turned his lover Io into a cow to hide her from his wife, Hera. He also turned into an eagle to carry off Ganymede, and a bull to carry off Europa. The Satyrs, who had sex with anything that moved, were half goat, and the Centaurs, who raped many a maiden, were half horse. Oh, those crazy Greeks.

Friday Night / Saturday Morning

Not What I Want To Be Doing Right Now
Self-Portrait Online
By Christine Sweeton

Friday, 26 November 2010

Good Job Paris

I got a Facebook message from ERin telling me that the following had been in the Edmonton Metro: A man was in custody after a late-night coffee run in Paris, ON. He turned up at a coffee shop drive-thru wearing no clothes. Way to go Paris! It is national news. I looked into it though, and it was at a Paris 'coffee shop' (Tim Horton's) but the man was from Cambridge, ON (where I was born actually.)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Remind Me

I sat down last night and for the first time really doubted my decision to do grad school. I can't even remember where I was sitting, just so overwhelmed, the couch, my bed, somewhere. And all I could think, over and over again was, "I can't remember liking school. When was the last time I enjoyed this? I just don't want to do this. I find no joy in academics." These are crazy thoughts, I was loving my Masters a mere week ago, I love studying and reading and learning. ("I love to learn" being my main motto, along with "English Major, Whhhaaaat?!") But it is different now, everything is due! Big things, big big things are due. I actually want to start a countdown, and I hate countdowns - I am done all my presentations, still have 2 huge essays and 2 small ones. Then again the essays are not even particularly long, I have written longer, but the research behind them needs to be better, the writing needs the be cleaner, the argument needs to be stronger. I can't wait for it to be over, I want next semester and a clean slate. I need a fresh start. I need to remember what it is like to enjoy school.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Update From The Cottage

This weekend my mom was in the local Santa Clause Parade, not in the town closest to The Cottage, which is Port Rowan but actually in the slightly larger town of Port Dover where we keep our boat. She sent me the following in an email:

Santa arrives for the Port Dover Santa Claus Parade on a fishing tug (The Eau Clipper), escorted by the Coast Guard. Everyone lines the pier to watch him (and the Mrs, various elves etc) disembark and get onto the Lions Club Float. The parade then starts from the pier and goes up the main street. So much fun. I was totally unaware of this and couldn't figure out why everyone was congregating at the pier where we were all getting the floats ready. By the way the Port Dover Racing Division and Sailing School won the prize for Best Non Commercial Float. - whhoo hee! We had 3 floats, basically decorated dinghies - lights, garlands, music (Sam the tech guy from Lighthouse Theatre is a sailor, Morgan painted the sailing school signs). Fi rode in one of the boats, I handed out candy canes. Nothing like Paris, there was only 1 firetruck and no old cars!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Quote Of The Day

"You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think."
-Dorothy Parker

The story is Parker quipped, "You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think" upon being asked to use 'horticulture' in a sentence.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Today In Toronto

-Coffee at a café called Ezra's Pound. An allusion to a poet who I only recently learned was male.

-Walked past the Santa Clause Parade. A marching band was playing one of my favourite Christmas Carols, Angels We Have Heard On High. Glo.o.o.o.o.O.o.o.o.o.O.o.o.o.or.ia...

-Renewed books at University of Toronto's John P. Robarts Research Library. An architectural wonder from the early 1970's that resembles a peacock.

Changing The Face Of Men's Health

You may have started to see more mustaches than usual lately. (A facial hair trend that is, for the most part, not very attractive.) It is because November is Movember!! A chance for guys around the world to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache for the month. The rules are simple, start on the 1st clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month. The funds raised through Movember Canada go to Prostate Cancer Canada which funds vital research that will led to better screening tests and treatment options and to run support services for men surviving prostate cancer. One of the things that I admire about the Movember campaign (beyond the obvious benefits of raising awareness and money for such an important cause) is their amazing use of social media. The WEBSITE is incredible. Then they have their own My-Space style Mo-Space, social networking links, YouTube videos, parties and contests. Here is an excellent video clip explaining the Movember concept:

I will be donating through the following participants. (Click on their name to be taken to their 'Mo-Space' page.)
-Kevan Osmond, Teri's little brother
-James Harris, Family friend and fellow blogger
-Trevor Rankin, Co-worker from Natural Resources
-Ben Miller, Family friend in the UK
Visit one of my friend's sites to donate, donate through someone you know, or just go to the main site. It is a great cause and a fun concept!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Guest Writer - A Swan On Saturday - Part I - Heather

I had been wanting to post about the Greek myth 'Leda and the Swan' for a long time. I especially wanted to discuss the amazingly creepy painting by Leonardo da Vinci. (Somehow he is able to make a swan look like a porn star!!) Then I realised, why should I write it when I'm friends with an expert on the subject!?! I asked Heather, fresh back from completing her MA in Greek and Roman Archaeology at Newcastle University in England, to write up a post. Please enjoy this first post in a three part series.

From Heather:

A Swan On Saturday - Part I - Introduction

Chris called me the other day to talk about this painting of Leda and the Swan by da Vinci. I had seen the painting before, and others like it. Leda and the Swan was a popular Greek myth for appropriation by Renaissance artists. Chris was surprised that da Vinci had managed to make the swan look so human, and, let’s face it, overtly sexual in nature.

I was reminded of a statue I saw when I was in Venice in March. It was Leda and the Swan, and the pose was so erotic that my friend and I actually had a lengthy discussion about it:

That statue, from the Venice Archaeological Museum, is actually a Roman copy of a Greek original. So da Vinci was in good tradition. Upon further perusal of Google Images, it has become clear that all Renaissance portrayals of Leda and the Swan are very sexual, in a way that a 21st century audience can find disturbing because of its implications of bestiality. Clearly, the Greek, Roman and later Renaissance artists had no such qualms. In fact, they portray Leda and the Swan in a far more sexualized way than they were comfortable portraying an actual man and woman.

But wait! Who are Leda and the Swan, you say? Well, that’s the real reason that Chris was asking me about it, and that’s coming up in the next post!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Where Did These Come From?

So, I'm on the AA-Team. (Good for baseball, bad for boobs.) Since you can't really get an AA, or even an A, bra at a normal store I tend to go for the B. Victoria Secret just opened up at The Eaton's Centre and I was rather disappointed in how glaringly similar to any other store it was, namely La Senza. I don't know why I get sucked into the hype that something will be different or better, but corporations are rarely truly innovative. All the same shit, different sign. The one key difference about Victoria Secret is they had something called the The Miraculous Bra, which promises to add two cup sizes. This means it would bring me to a D or at least a C. I tried it on and it was insane! I bought one. When I wear it, I don't even look like myself, my body looks completely different. I have many conflicted feelings about it. I don't feel comfortable posting any pictures at the moment (more because I have a zit on my face than any other reason.) I also don't know how comfortable I will be wearing it in various situations. I honestly feel like it is a lie - I'm not going to get into this further at the moment because it is an awkward conversation. I also have never before been so tempted by the idea of plastic surgery - I'm not going to get into this further either as I am ashamed to have even had the thought. When I wear it though, it is true to its name, just miraculous.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Top Three

Three things that made my day...

-The 'all walk' light at Yonge & Dundas, no cars, just pedestrians

-President's Choice Candy Cane Ice Cream, it is back

-Binx curled up on a towel in a little box beside my bed

Where Did Natalie Go?

Still 'Scared But Tired'
Self-Portrait Online
By Christine Sweeton

It has been hard without a little camera. (I know I keep saying this.) I should have brought my big SLR to Toronto but it is at The Cottage at the moment. However, I found a place online to take a photo using My Little Pet's webcam. Here it is in all it's annoying gritty webcam-glamor-shot glory. Strange thing about this picture, I think I look a little bit like Anne Hathaway. I hope the Natalie Portman resemblance can still be seen, I love looking like her. The main point of the photo is to show all the friends and family who are far away how short my hair is. And this is straight! Well, straighter than normal. It was perfectly straight about 5 hours ago but it is raining here and, as usual, it has started to go a bit wavy. Still, when it goes back to being my normal curly hair it is going to be insanely short. I'm excited to see what it looks like after I get out of the bath tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

So Many Inches

My OSAP money finally came! I was living on the last dregs of my bank account and dancing on the edge of a maxed out credit card. But now I am no longer in the red and can now do/buy the things I was ignoring because I was too poor.

First off, I need to update my clothes. I do love shopping, however at the end of the day clothes couldn't mean less to me. I rarely end up spending any money on how I look, and sadly this tends to show. I make do and buy what I need to get by. By the end of my time in Ottawa my wardrobe was almost exclusively business-casual for working in the government, then over the summer all my normal-basic-casual clothes went on the trip with me and got so worn out and gross, plus with my recent bit of weight loss nothing even fits anyway. Basically I have been screwed for clothes these past few months, to the point that when Taylor was down she forced me to buy jeans and paid for them. (I'm paying her back with the OSAP money tonight.) I went shopping again today and am slowly starting to build up some nice clothes for winter.

Secondly, it has been almost a year since I last cut my hair. Yes, it is lovely long, but it was also very dried out and damaged at the ends. I wore it up 90% of the time, and by up I don't even mean a ponytail but actually in a tight ballet-bun. It was definitely time to get some shape put back into it. It is always scary trying to find a new hairdresser who can cut curly hair, I have had some awful experiences in the past. I did a walk-in at a nice place in the Eaton's Centre and I think the guy did a great job. It is much much shorter, I think at least 4 inches were cut off. My hair is now at my shoulders!!

Monday, 15 November 2010

New Years Plans

In an awesome whirlwind, it turns out that JennB, myself, and 2 other girls are going to be spending New Years Eve in New Orleans. We already have our flights and hotel in the French Quarter. It is going to be an amazing 4 days. When JennB was visiting this weekend we looked a bit more into the trip. Turns out that according to the party website Pub Club, New Orleans is the best place in the world for New Years, above Prague, Sydney, Las Vegas, and Rio. (They actually list New York as the worst place, because of the crowds, the weather, and the clubs ripping people off.)

According to the website...

New Orleans and New Year's Eve go together like rum and red drinks. In fact, it's often difficult to tell New Year's Eve from any other day of the week on Bourbon Street. That is, unless one has been to Bourbon Street on New Year's Eve. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

The real beauty of Bourbon is it's openness. Drinking is permitted in the street – that's the case everywhere in the French Quarter – and there are dozens of places to purchase all manner of alcohol. This includes not only bars but small stores with a counter that serves frozen drinks, jello shots and cheap beer. There's live music everywhere, from jazz to rock to zyedeco.

I am so excited! Can't wait! It is going to be epic.

No Ads

I am not computer illiterate, however, I am also not completely comfortable with coding and understanding the general workings of computers, the internet, etc. Usually when I run into an issue with Always Standing I am able to figure it out through trial and error, some goggle searches, using the Help feature, or reading forums on the topic. I have been battling my current dilemma off and on over the past few months. My Adsense ads are no longer working!! I have two that should be showing up and only one is. Also the one that is showing has been a Public Service Ad for months now, and I don't think I make money on those. None of my usual problem solving techniques are working. I don't understand what any of the articles are talking about! I'm frustrated and stuck!!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Lost The Word

While watching Love Actually, the Colin Firth story line where he falls in love with the Portuguese girl...
Me: Oh, I love this part.
Kristen: Me too.
Me: Language and Love, it like, go past. Love, go past. Goes past...
Kristen: Transcends. Is 'transcends' the word you were looking for?

Not a good moment for me as an English Major.