Friday, November 24, 2006
my dream vacation
So I'm officially on vacation now. And how does an exciting gal like me spend her vacation time? Well, start with some kind of vague sickness (I'm gonna guess a mild sinus infection) that was picked up while on the road on Monday. Then yesterday (day one of vacation) spend your day cleaning the house for incoming guests (hope they've been taking vitamins and eatin' their Wheaties!) . Sounds like a dream vacation so far, non? Day two you get to further tidy the apartment, run some errands (mostly involving groceries) and then, like a loser, you can't stay away from work so you pop into a store to check in on them. What can I say, I have no clue how to take a vacation, and for the record I was forced by my boss to take this time off by the end of the year or lose the vacation time. Well fine then!

Anyway, I have a friend coming in from Montreal tonight to come and hang out with me for a few days. Dinner out with friends, daytime excursions, and booty shaking on a dance floor are planned. Should be fun. Then friend number one tags out and friend number two will tag in and come and stay with me for a few days. Shopping is the activity of choice with her. Well we ARE girls and the holidays are coming... she wants to do some big city shopping, and so I'll be taking her on the giant mall tour.

In other news I actually nearly pulled the plug on this blog the other day in a moment of hurt and anger. I found out someone from my family is reading this blog.... someone I had explicitly asked NOT to read it earlier this year. I have a separate 'friends and family' blog where the posts are often the same, but overall my 'anonymity' here allows me to be a little more open on here. This is clearly no longer the case and so I am going to have to now blacklist a whole lot of (personal) topics. Sorry gang, I'm a girl with trust issues and when someone deliberately defies my request, trust runs thin. More than anything I mourn the loss of a forum in which to share some of my deeper worries, concerns and ponderances. I accept it's my fault for ever opening my mouth in the first place and telling people I had a blog; if I wanted it to remain private I should have kept it secret. What can I say? I'm lousy at keeping secrets from people.

Unfortunately I would lose what little audience I have if I moved it without posting a forwarding URL so I'll just have to start filtering my posts. No more talk of my private life in any form.. *sigh*. But hey, that doesn't mean I'm not full of tall tales of pandemonium and fun! Perhaps next post will include one of my tales from the road..... involving cops and a desperate bid to find a washroom!

Shabat Shalom!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006
riding the voting high
I'm not gonna lie, I love to vote. And I'm not talking silly little polls you find on websites, I'm talking real honest to goodness heading to the polls and marking an X on a ballot. I get a thrill like no other and I can't put my finger on just what it is but I get *very* excited when I start seeing signs going up on every street corner signalling an upcoming election. It's like I know a party is coming and I'M going to be invited.

Recently I noticed signs going up and annoying political fliers showing up on my doorstep. I knew an election was coming up though I knew not what for. Is that terrible? What's really terrible is that I didn't care, I just wanted to get to the polls. I tried to pay attention to the signs and what colour (read: what party) went with each name, but I had no idea what the platform was for any of the candidates let alone what the election was really for. I assumed it was local municipal elections.

Monday was the big night and off I went to my designated polling station (the local community centre, where I have voted before) and I had my little voting notice in hand that I got in the mail, which tells me the when and where and what district I'm in. I was giddy on the phone with my sweetie as I tried to explain how very much I loved to go vote. I don't think anyone quite understands, I've now learned.

My heart raced with excitement as I headed down the hall to the gymnasium and entered the room to find tables set all around with little old ladies waiting to help me. I saw the table labeled "Ward 5" (c'est moi) and I was happy to see there was no one ahead of me. I scurried over and eagerly handed my voting notice/card to the nice lady and glanced around the table. "Let's see.... blue..... celestial.... ah yes, celestial blue, here you are" she said as she checked my name off the list. At that point I noticed something on the table I had not seen in any prior elections.... black folders on the table labeled "Secrecy Folder". GLEE!!! "WOW!" I exclaimed "SECRECY folders, hunh?? Very exciting!!". She didn't even so much glance at me as she got my ballot ready and said "Oh yes, everything here is very secret". She took my ballot, a regular sized sheet of paper, and slipped it into one of these mysterious black folders. She informed me I could go over to that polling station and that I was to only use the marker that is supplied to mark the ballot. I made some excited remark about the fact that I was provided a chair so I could sit and really consider my options, but she seemed less than amused. Undeterred I bounced over the polling booth and plunked myself down. (btw, am I the only one bothered by the fact that the lady didn't ask me for ID??)

The little pseudo-wall they put up to provide you with some sense of privacy had instructions, in English and French, on what was to be done (and NOT done). When I finished marking my ballot I was to slide it back into the folder so that the votes were hidden but the (enumerator's?) signature at the top was visible. I was excited again by being part of this top secret ritual and pulled the ballot out to have a look at my options.


They didn't put the party next to the names! In one election they had taped a "cheat sheet" to the pseudo-wall so I could at least refer to it to see who was with what party, but I didn't even get that this time. I was going to have to vote solely based on name. At that point I started to feel like a bit of a bad citizen for voting based entirely on how I felt about a name, but it's not like that's a new concept and it certainly wasn't going to stop me from enjoying the moment. Shrugging, I proceeded to read each name under my breath to see how I felt as each rolled off the tongue. One guy definitely sounded Greek or something and I was enthralled by the idea that he actually had an X in his name (how often does that happen??) but ended up voting for some guy who had a Scottish sounding name. With the right roll of the R it sounded good to me. I also voted for some woman who had the same last name as me (slightly different spelling) because.. well come on, how could I not?

When I was done my super scientific selection I stood up and walked to the end of the gym (as directed by the first lady) and handed my secrecy folder to some other woman (with yet another woman who was clearly assigned to stand and just watch) and I had to stand there while she slide the top half of my ballot into this magical machine. My ballot was sucked in, never to be seen again. Of course, this was all just about more than I could handle in terms of excitement and when I was handing the folder to the lady I blurted out, with great enthusiasm "This is SOME crazy exciting process, hunh?? I love it!!!". She gave a bit of a chuckle, which was the closest I had to any kind of understanding from anyone the whole night.

So what's my point? None I guess, other than I love to be a part of democracy. My parents had instilled in my brother and I that it was important to vote, always. In my mind I look at it as a right for which people have fought and died so I had best make sure I pay my respect by being a part of the democracy. And let's face it, I love the process of it all even if it takes all of 4 minutes, if you really drag it out. But I tells ya, it will likely be the highlight of my whole week.

P.S. the guy with the X in his name came in third place.

Sunday, November 12, 2006
"I like things that are great. Good things are fantastic."
Here are some things I have learned in recent weeks...

I must really love my friends a lot because I was talked into standing in a lineup outside in the cold at 7am on a Saturday morning until the store opened at 8am so we could buy Tickle Me Elmos (TMX) for my friend and his friend's kids (and one or two for eBay).

I have never been a fan of flying but I there are some planes I am less afraid to be on than others. Big planes scare the bejesus out of me, though I'm sure I'm supposed to somehow feel more secure in such a behemoth. I have done enough flying in giant planes to and from Israel (via Hungary, Holland, England, and France) to know that taking off and landing in these beasts isn't my favourite thing. On more than one occasion I have clutched the arm or leg of the poor soul next to me.

Similarly I don't care much for tiny two-seater planes like Cessnas despite an ex-boyfriend's attempt to get me to appreciate them (he was a pilot). He was a great pilot and all but I didn't like that I could feel every air pocket that the tiny plane encountered. See, it's not actually the flying I am worried about so much as the potential for falling out of the sky, and when the plane dips and drops and my stomach rises to my throat my brain gets the distinct notion that it is, in fact, falling. However, thanks to said boyfriend I now know the whole phonetic alphabet and recently corrected a credit card customer service rep on the phone when she was trying to spell something out using said alphabet.

So, which planes do I not mind? Well in I have recently had to take many trips in a Dash 8 and found that not only did I not have sweaty palms at take off and landing, I dare say I almost enjoyed the flight. Is that possible? Did I really just utter those words?? Perhaps I didn't take my flights under scary enough conditions (ie: storms) but overall I found myself glued to the window to watch the world passing below me. What's the difference? Well, I think it's because it's small enough that it gives me the illusion of more control than the giant airbus planes.... I feel like, if the engines cut this thing, would be more agile and we could glide to a nice spot somewhere if we had to. Same goes for the Cessna I suppose but there's a little more "meat" to the Dash 8 so you don't feel air pockets quite so badly, which we've already established makes me fear for my life. I likes me a mid-sized plane in which the take off is over with in like 30 seconds. Big planes bad. Tiny planes bad. Midsize planes much better.

I have also learned that when it rains, it pours men. Recently while working I was hit on, hardcore, by two separate guys in two different stores. They were totally cute and I can only scream in my mind... where the HELL were you guys at the beginning of the year?? Why does it happen that you only find people when you are already seriously seeing someone else? It's an annoying test of my monogamy, I tells ya. But I did not waiver and instead took it as a form of flattery and smiled as I left the store and called my honey to say say, hey, I love you.... :-)

So I finally got to come home for a weekend and I immediately holed up in my apartment and proceeded to spend a day and a half catching up on all the tv shows I had taped on my PVR (aka, DVR TiVo). I don't believe in watching "live" tv anymore as the commercials take up too much time and I have at least 20 shows taped and waiting at any given time. Here's what I'm watching....

First and foremost is Battlestar Galactica. *sigh* I cannot say enough about this show and if you're not watching it you're a fool. I was reluctant to start watching this remake of the old series but Mulder talked me into it and I will love him forever for doing so. This show transcends stereotypes of what a sci-fi show is and in essence is a tv drama that happens to be set in space. The writing is stellar, the effects stunning and the cast hot. Well come on, it never hurts to have a good looking cast to look at. I laugh, I cry (yes, I do. shuttup!), cheer and groan when they leave me hanging at the end of each episode. I own the 1st and 2nd season on dvd and you can bet your sweet ass I'll be buying all the seasons. If you're not watching this show you must take steps to rectify that. Go to your local video store (*couDOWNLOADITgh*) and rent the dvs and catch up. I promise you, you won't regret it. You can thank me later.

Prison Break is another that Mulder got me into while I was staying with him in Israel and has been dubbed by my mother as "the most stressful show on television". No kidding, we actually did a "stress test" in which we tested her blood pressure at each commercial break and her blood pressure steadily rises as the show progresses. Not only is each show a cliff hanger onto itself, but several times throughout the show you are left wondering what could possibly happen next. Each commercial break is a cliff hanger, my friends (and lord help me, this is one of only 2 shows I watch while it airs, as is tradition with my mom every Monday night). If you're not watching it, you're only a season (ok, TWO, but who's counting) behind; go rent it when you're grabbing Battlestar Galactica.

I am doing my best to watch Survivor every Thursday night with my Survivor buddy of 2 years but getting over to her house has been tough when I've been on the road so much. But I still watch it, I still like it, though it's nothing out of the extraordinary. It satisfies my reality tv craving.

Lost is another one that I have stuck with even though I'm starting to wonder just how far they can go with it. They better throw us more of a bone this year or I think they're going to start losing their audience.... but damn, what is UP with the polar bear on a tropical island?? I can't help but wonder what, coz I'm a sucker and I gots to know.

Heroes is quickly becoming one of my favourite new shows and if there is a show this season that you MUST get caught up on it's this one. "Heroes is a serial saga about people all over the world discovering that they have superpowers and trying to deal with how this change affects their lives". Read more about it here and trust me when I say it's good stuff.

I've gotten into a new show called Standoff about a team of hostage negotiators. I started watching it because the guy from the hilarious movie Office Space is starring in it. It's not a bad show with cute chemistry between the two leads.

I also like Jericho, a show that preys on one of my greatest fears; not so much a massive terror attack (the show starts with nukes going off all over the USA) but the chaos and anarchy that follows when it becomes an "every man for himself" scenario. That shit scares me, I'm tellin' you! Good show with some potential, I hope it survives.

For a laugh I turn to 30 Rock which has made me laugh the way I was hoping Studio 60 would but never did. I absolutely adore Tiny Fey and the way she delivers a line, and being paired up with Alec Baldwin is superb. Alec is great in a way similar to William Shatner... I can't put my finger on it, it's just the way they say things. A shameless personality means they will do anything for a laugh, even if it's at their own expense, and the dry way in which they give their lines keeps you on your toes; if you don't pay attention you may miss the punchline that was slipped in there. Watch 30 Rock, you know you want to.

What About Brian, Help Me Help You and The Class all get honourable mentions with The Class being the show that has surprised me the most. The pilot didn't impress me too much but the show has really picked up and I find it pretty damn funny. Worth checkin' out as it too has potential.

Also, a nod to old favourites like Boston Legal (Shatner and Spader is like peanut butter and chocolate!), E.R., House, Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives; I'm still watching them and for the most part still likin' them.

Wow, when you throw in Oprah and Ellen it's safe to say I watch a little too much tv, no? I didn't even get into my love affair with The Daily Show with my honey Jon Stewart...

Anyway! Hopefully I'll pull away from my tv today long enough to actually leave my house to run some errands. Later I have a date with paperwork and expense reports for work and then homework and a presentation for my French class this Tuesday. The good times never end here at my home. Jealous much? Pfft, don't lie, I know you are.

Thanks for stickin' around through my extended assuming anyone is here and actually reading this. hahaha.... Have a good week, y'all!