Monday, 31 January 2011

Have Car - Will Drive - Episode Two

The one where the light goes on...

Something happened to me today that has never happened in The Toy, and I can't even recall it happening in any other vehicle I was driving. The gas light went on! I have been a passenger in cars when it has been on, but never driving. While I never say anything, I always feel a little smug - Oh, I would never let that happen, never let it get past half. I might even consider the frequent saying that cars run better on a full tank or think that often the gauge is not precise and half usually means less than half. I have never let a tank get even close to the 'light' stage. I actually didn't even recognize it at first. I can recall seeing the gas light in other vehicles and it appeared in a separate area and looked like a little symbol of a gas pump. The Toy's isn't as cool, it is simply a small yellow oval right below the E for Empty. I have no idea how long you can drive with it on, as I say for the millionth time, I have never let that happen before!

Have Car - Will Drive - Episode One

The one where The Toy is offered...

While my parents are in Texas for February and some of March, I have their car. (Well, really it was my car first. Actually, technically it was my late Grandma's car originally.) Anyway, the little purple Toyota, affectionately called The Toy, and I are hanging out. I was quite confused at Christmas when they suggested I take it while their away. "What am I going to use a car for?" Driving in Toronto really makes no sense, and I don't really go anywhere else. They also offered me the Wii while they were gone, which I was much more excited about. (Proven to be awesome as expected, I have only had it a week and already it has provided hours of entertainment. I rock at MarioKart, ironically a driving game.) Turns out they wanted me to use the car to drive down to The Cottage to check on it a few times while they were gone. I agreed, Rrunuv Bayit has a parking spot so there is no issue having The Toy in Toronto. Of course, as soon as the thought of having a car for a while hit me, I came up with a million things to do with it and places to go. Road trip to Vegas anyone?!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Graceland Basement

My parents are on their way down to Texas. I got the following update from my Mom:

We spent 4 hours at Graceland and am embarrassed to say, really enjoyed it. The house itself was a tribute and a memorial to his life, music and movies and was done very tastefully. The house is not very big and was left decorated as it had been in the 60s and 70s and Dad fell in love with the TV room and now wants to do the basement in navy blue and yellow with a mirrored ceiling, shag rugs, sparkly cushions and a bank of 3 TVs. His cars and aeroplanes were also pretty cool. Rest of it was pretty tacky as expected. ie Elvis mugs, purses, ashtrays etc etc, you could even have your own beaded jumpsuit for $2,100.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Animated Heroes

I saw Tangled earlier this month. (It is quite good, it has been a long time since I have seen an animated movie and I enjoyed it very much.) I saw it with a bunch of girls and we all agreed that the male-love-interest-hero character was very cute. Which lead us to talk about the good looking animated men of all time. Here is our list chronologically:

Prince Eric
A Little Mermaid (1989)Dimitri
Anastasia (1997)Eugene Fitzherbert/Flynn Rider
Tangled (2010)
Some honourable mentions include Cale (Titan A.E.), Prince Phillip (Sleeping Beauty), John Smith (Pocahontas), Edward (Enchanted), and The Beast when human (Beauty and the Beast).

Thursday, 27 January 2011

French According To Chris

If anyone has spoken French with me then they know, my French is beyond terrible. It has been described as cringe-worthy at times. What I lack in pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary (which is a lot) I definitely make up for in effort - I have no shame when it comes to speaking in my terrible French. Occasionally though I feel like I come up with some excellent translations of English words into French, usually this is for words that don't get translated and should just be said in their original English. This is like if you are ever at a checkout and listening to the cashier and customer talk in fast and perfect French only to throw in something like "Mastercard" in the centre, though sometimes I have heard, "Master-carte".

Here are some of my awesome creations...

Facebook - Livre du visage
Hotmail - Chaud-poste
Heather - Eather

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

When Genius Fails

And I changed my focus again...

iLiterature: Incorporating Hypertext Fiction Into Critical Academic Study

For over 10 years, e-readers only imitated the experience of reading conventional print. In a rapid eight-month time period, starting in November 2009, the e-book industry saw the release of three mainstream readers that broke the confines of the printed book: Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Apple’s iPad, and Amazon’s Kindle 3. Because of their WiFi capabilities, this new generation of e-readers have the potential to bring hypertext literature into the mainstream.

Academic writing has both hailed and condemned e-book technology. However, it is only through e-readers and computers that hypertext literature can be read due to hyperlink technology that produces reader interaction and creates a non-linear style distinctive of this medium. Thus far, the scholarly approaches to hypertext literature predominantly focus on the changing relationship between author and reader, and on whether or not the experience of hypertext literature alters reader subjectivity. This paper breaks from the current scholarship by presenting and addressing the issues surrounding the critical study of hypertext literature, alone or in relation to other hypertext or conventional literature.

In order to critically engage with hypertext literature in the manner currently the custom in Literary Studies, the readers’ experience with the work must first be homogenized. This tactic, however, is in complete contrast to the very concept of hypertext literature and the author’s choice to write in this medium. To bring this fiction fully into the academic canon a more standardized reading must be available. Currently, discussions about a work of hypertext fiction revolve around the author’s writing style, which does not provide a complete literary analysis. Criticisms of hypertext fiction need to be expanded to include more areas of analysis. For example, when studying areas such as plot and character development, the path, or paths, taken by the critic through the hypertext material must be communicated to others.

In this paper I suggest different methods to communicate paths through hypertexts so that readers can understand, and if desired, follow the narrative experienced by the critic. These tools must be developed to guide readers through the text in the same manner that the critic of the work has chosen to discuss. This paper also presents various types of technology that can be used to save a specific hypertext sequence so that it can be experienced again, or by others, in the same way.

This emphasis on consistency does not imply that critics should only study hypertext literature in the exact same fashion as other literature. A piece of hypertext fiction still needs to be explored as fully as possible by critics following and mapping various routes through the work. This means that a piece of hypertext literature could possibly be analyzed against itself. Although the medium presents many opportunities to consider text in new ways there are some serious challenges which must be addressed before this genre can be fully integrated into academic literary study.

When Genius Strikes

I have spent the day chasing a research topic without finding any type of thesis. I have an abstract due very very soon, which basically means I have to write an essay proposal but pretend I have already written the essay. From a reading I had in my undergrad, I wanted to look at cyber tourism - the use of the internet as a new way to 'travel' and exoticise the 'other.' (Had to pull in some 'rhetorical quotes' there.) It seemed like a good fit since I'm pretty comfortable with post-colonial theory and it would also bring in some of my Mass Communications background in media. However, I was overwhelmed by the number of books written on, if not the exact subject, than something close. Also, I had no decent idea to pursue, just a topic.

Then, of course in the middle of the night, I for some reason start thinking of eBooks and the effect of the digital age on narrative. I would specifically focus on fiction and how content might be changing with the changing medium, as might the reading experience and critical engagement. Obviously, the digital age has had a huge effect on the publishing industry, which has responded with eBooks. This also connects into what I originally used in my proposal for both my Ontario Graduate Scholarship application and my graduate studies admissions. I wanted to look at modernism and some very specific digital mediums of narrative fiction; cell phone novels and web serials.

I needed to open up my laptop and start writing something down because no matter how much I think about it now and even if it is a really great idea, I will probably forget what it was in the morning. I am reminded of the Mitch Hedberg quote; "Sometimes in the middle of the night, I think of something that's funny, then I go get a pen and I write it down. Or if the pen's too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of ain't funny." So, here I am writing some quick thoughts down and since I hadn't done a blog post yet today I thought I might as well share them on Always Standing. Final thought: I like the title iLiterature: Effects of the Digital Age on Narrative. This will probably change though.

No worries, I will probably still use the whole cyber tourism thing for a seminar presentation at some point in the year, so that research won't go to waste. (I know you were worried about that.)

Monday, 24 January 2011

Maybe Soon

I'm thinking of getting a Twitter account. It is the future (actually, the present) of social media. I have never been anti-twitter, it is just that I found that it seemed like a glorified Facebook status without all the other nice features of Facebook. I didn't want to have both, and Always Standing. However, it might be time. I would put up a Twitter feed on one of the side bars. I may look into it in the coming weeks.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Rick Mercer Taping

Kristen and I With Rick Mercer

Thursday, 20 January 2011

On The Cover

One of the assignments Steph had to do back in December for her photography course was create a magazine cover. Most people in the class were going to do still life shots and make something like Knitting Magazine; not one to shy away from a challenge, Steph decided to do a women's magazine. I got to model and it was a full out photo shoot: make-up, studio lights, multiple outfit changes, and even a fan. The resulting picture is very polished. I think I liked others better, I want to look through the set again at some point since my smile is a little strange in this one. However, the best part of it is all the stuff surrounding the picture, she really made it look like a magazine - the woman is a wonder in photoshop.

A Stepping Off Point

I have my marks from last term. They are not good. I am done being upset at myself over them as that took up too much of my time last year. A new year, a new semester, the turning of the proverbial new leaf. They aren't horrible-horrible, basically they say to me 'Umm, don't do a Ph.D. and start working harder and earlier on your assignments.' However, if you know MA programs, basically everyone lives in the A range, this was confirmed today when a guy in my class said, "Don't they have to give you at least an A-?" No, no they don't, and I am proof of that. I wish my learning curve was shorter, I wish it took just one bad mark on one assignment for me to get my ass in gear, but it appears as though I had to blow an entire semester to learn my lesson. (Admittedly the depression last term didn't help but that is no excuse, especially as I did not explain this issue to anyone at school, meaning I couldn't even use it as an excuse if I wanted to. However, I'm using it as a little bit of an excuse in my head.) This semester is going so well so far, all two weeks of it have been awesome! This term will be different! This one will be better!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Power Of Grammer

--from an email forward

An English professor wrote the words:
A woman without her man is nothing
on the chalkboard and asked his students to punctuate it correctly.

All of the males in the class wrote:
A woman, without her man, is nothing.

All the females in the class wrote:
A woman: without her, man is nothing.

Punctuation is powerful!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Holy Pretentious

One of the coolest gifts I got at Christmas this year was a subscription to Toronto Life Magazine. Every year my brother and I get a magazine of some sort in our stockings. When I was younger it was Teen or Seventeen, then for a while I was getting Cosmopolitan, and then in recent years they gave me Fitness or Women's Health (they may have been trying to give me a hint there). However, this year it was Toronto Life. The December issue featured a cover story, The Secret Life of a Bay Street Hooker, which I had seen in the window of a magazine shop a few days earlier and had been super curious about. An awesome added bonus to the present - my parents got me a year subscription!

I'm really excited to be living in Toronto, but I'm still trying to get a handle on the city. I'm trying to understand the politics, figure out the nightlife, and avoid missing out on cool events. This magazine may help with this, but it also might be presenting a Toronto life that is just way out of my league, a league I don't even know if I'm interested in ever joining. Don't get me wrong, it is an awesome (and well written) addictive read, I love it and can't wait for the next issue. However, it is pretentious as hell. Proof: Just as I talked about yuppies and their love of fresh pasta in a previous post, the magazine has an article listing the top five restaurants in Toronto that make their own pasta on site. I believe the article (entitled Best House-Made Pastas) starts like this; "Factory-made linguine and penne just don't cut it anymore. These days, it's all about making it in-house."

Best quote however is in the Homes or actually Great Spaces section where there is an article on "Toronto's artsiest power couple" and their recent renovation of a beautiful three story Victorian home in The Annex. The article comes complete with many colour photos, on the photos are little black numbers pointing out specific architectural and decorative features, the numbers correspond to lists of little descriptions. After reading this my jaw dropped at the extravagance of it all. (Hey, we all love excess, I just spent New Years in New Orleans for goodness sake, however this is just ridiculous.) "The floors are white oak from Austrian forests harvested by Benedictine monks." Are you fucking kidding me? I actually do hope it is a joke.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Made My Day

At the gym the treadmills all have personal TVs attached to the front. At the side of the normal treadmill display is a small separate controller that you plug your headphones into and you can change the channel, put on subtitles, etc. I personally turned mine off since I just wanted to run and think, but I may use this feature in the future.

It Made My Day
The girl running beside me, was watching Cake Boss. Really? While you are working out you are watching a show about a bakery? Awesome!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Not A Taurus

It has been reported that the star signs are out of date. According to this new scientific update on astrology, I should be a Taurus and not a Gemini. Let's look at these two for a second...

-an entanglement of paradoxes
-easy acceptance of opposites
-a world of duality
-mind can bounce around from one topic to another with great ease
-champion of cocktail party chatter and lighthearted social encounters
-fun to be with
-ability to change with the changing winds
-can be seen as shallow
-the eternally youthful child
-razor-sharp wit
-loves verbally dueling
-curious, talkative, versatile and mentally active

-noted for determination
-will not be distracted from goals
-need for stability and simplicity
-creates a life that is functional
-may seem boring to some
-not interested in taking unnecessary risks
-attraction to material things
-less about objects more the pleasure they bring to the senses
-comfortable living and working space is important
-practical, sensible outlook on life

Yes, I am not a Taurus. (My mother is a Taurus, by both the old and new measurements, and I feel like it is fitting.) I am so very much a Gemini, thank you very much. So I'm going to ignore this new development for now.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Joined A Gym

I joined a gym yesterday. I now have a membership with Extreme Fitness, which is a Toronto gym chain. The main location that I will be using is right near campus, it is huge and beautiful. I went today to have my 'fitness assessment' and it was not good, I was assessed as being unfit - no real surprise there. I'm actually tired from it and we did barely anything. I'm excited to go tomorrow and really start working out.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Zero To Nerdy

These are some more photos from the shoots I did with Steph before Christmas. I believe these were for an 'environment' assignment; she had to submit portraits where you can see the background and the background can't be a studio. She used this series, however the titles are my own.

ZERO TO NERDY IN THREE SHOTSLooking For Clothes On A Saturday Morning

Sniff Test: Nothing Is Clean

UHHH, Pissed At Noobs

All Photos By Stephanie Beach Photography

Sunday, 9 January 2011


The Word On The Street is a free, annual, public festival that celebrates the written word and champions literacy. They strive to connect readers with their favourite authors and books in order to cultivate a lasting relationship essential for the continued growth of a literate community. (Kristen may also work for them.)

The Word On The Street has applied for a grant through the Pepsi Refresh Project. Please everyone go and register to participate in the program to vote for the various ideas presented this cycle. You can vote everyday, so go often. But, only vote for The Word On The Street in the $25,000 category, it would be really great if they could win this!!!

Fashion First

Toronto got a nice big snowfall this weekend. First thing in the morning everyone in the neighbourhood rushed out to clear the sidewalks. Looking out of the big front window, Kristen noticed that people were using a lot of salt and it seemed to infuriate her...
Kristen: Oh my God! Why does everybody use so much salt!?! Why don't they use sand!?! It is just as good, does the same thing, and is way better! Salt is terrible. It is bad for pants, and boots, and the environment, and dogs!
Me: Umm, is that in order of importance?

Saturday, 8 January 2011

I Got One

After talking about it for the last few months, I did finally get a small point-and-shoot camera for Christmas. I also brought my 'big camera' to Toronto, so I hope to start using it too. I'm so glad that my days of the web-camera photos are over. Now there will be tons of these again...
Drunk Self-Portrait
By Me

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Foggy Thoughts

In keeping with tradition, I am going to write a brief point-form summary of my recent trip to New Orleans. So in no particular order...

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Dates: December 31st, 2010 until January 4th, 2011

-No last call, no limits to the amounts of alcohol in a drink, can purchase and drink on the street, these lax liquor laws are insane
-Touched a sting ray at the aquarium
-Great ratio but I still managed to fail in the guy department
-Kept a quote book that is filled with hilarious comments
-Saw only two people throw-up and one fight, so impressive with that many people, most of them being guys, and that much drinking
-By the second day my stomach muscles ached from laughing so much
-Found a huge (2 inch body) beetle in our hotel room the first night, were unable to get rid of it until the second, named it Fernando
-Got my tarot cards read
-I made it home one night because someone wrote our address on a napkin
-Will admit to getting some of my beads the legitimate way, however other members of the group only smiled and waved, ironically they ended up with more than me
-Amazing architecture
-Do not pick up mardi-gras beads off the ground, even if they have just fallen
-Raw oysters are just as wonderful as I remember
-Had to cab back to the hotel every night because we had been told by more than one person not to walk in that area after dark
-Visited a small VooDoo Museum which was interesting and not at all scary
-A lot of football stuff going on and I became a temporary Arkansas Razorbacks fan after we learnt their cheer
-Watched hilarious acrobatic street performers who made racist jokes
-I bought a drink at a mall and JennB got a beer at the IMAX
-Had wonderful weather, though at times it was a bit cold, even though the forecast had been bad
-Spent one day in bed with a hangover and have spent two days back in Canada recovering as well
-Heard it cost $5000 to rent a balcony for New Years
-Outside of the French Quarter we could still see the destruction and water damage from Katrina
-Saw a improv comedy show where they made fun of us, predominately for being Canadian
-Ate shrimp everyday although most of the time is was deep fried
-Had amazing travel companions!!
-Trip Causalities: My voice, JennB's chin

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

New Year's Resolutions

-Continue to back away from the starches
-Make the switch from boys to men
-Just keep on travelling

Monday, 3 January 2011

New Years Eve Beads

We Got These With Dignity & Class
Photo by unknown

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Years Eve In New Orleans

New Years Eve, New Orleans, Louisiana
Photo By Unknown