Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lars and the Real Girl

"The search for real love begins outside the box."

Sweet. It was the word that immediately popped into my head as the end credits started to roll. Not the colloquial "sweet" used by adolescent boys, but the pleasing, satisfying, endearing and thoughtful sort of sweet you might find in a dictionary. Without all the sugar allusions. Because while it was a sweet film, it wasn't nauseatingly so; it had the perfect balance of reality and bittersweetness to even things out. It was moving. I laughed out loud.

Ryan Gosling deserves another Oscar nomination, if only for the way he blinked. Some actors dye their hair for a movie; Gosling transformed every little mannerism. The blinking, the squinting, the posture. There was something so unselfconscious about the performance, something so honest and awkward and gentle. The entire audience fell for the man-child named Lars.

And not since Wilson the volleyball has there been such a beautiful on-screen relationship with an inanimate object.

Go see it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

From Tuesday to Tuesday

I feel stupid. And sick. Nauseated and silly and immature and impatient and horrible. Unattractive and undesirable and lonely.

How was your Tuesday?
One week is a long time in the scheme of my emotional landscape. I was cleaning out email drafts this evening when I came across this half-written email, apparently never intended to be sent. Written to no one in particular.

Today was a good day. I worked for nine hours, had a decent lunch (see previous post), snacked on dark chocolate, made plans to meet a friend for a movie tomorrow evening, and came home to a little Pilates and leftover artichoke-and-mushroom oven omelet. And now I'm in cozy pajamas, half-watching Top Chef. I'm glad I didn't stay in last Tuesday.

Turkey Madness Version 2.0

It's lunchtime. Determined to redeem yesterday's turkey disaster, I venture into a small artist-run café called Artistic Grounds. It's a cash-only, super-tiny place, decorated with artwork by local artists (all of which is for sale).

I see a turkey sandwich behind glass. I order it. And then the magic happens. She opens the premade sandwich and starts to add whatever I want. For no additional charge. Havarti cheese, tomato, spicy Dijon mustard, a squirt of mayo. So good.

They have homemade chocolate chip cookies. I can't resist. And then I grab a bottle of water.

Now, keep in mind that such a lunch at yesterday's location would have come to at least $10. No exaggeration needed. So you can imagine my elation when she charges me $5.40 for my entire lunch. I want to hug her. And later, when I eat my awesome turkey sandwich, I want to hug her again. And that chocolate chip cookie? It's one of those melt-in-your-mouth, made-by-Grandma cookies. My happy radar is beeping.

If you're ever at Queen and Bathurst, go to Artistic Grounds. Support local artists and eat turkey that's not ham. Everyone wins.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Turkey Madness

All I want is a turkey sandwich. So I order one. On toasted whole grain bread.

The sandwich guy puts the meat on first. I stop him. What about the mayo? He was going to put it on after, he tells me. On top of the meat. I shake my head. I want it on the bread. He obliges, but he's clearly unimpressed with me.

He puts the meat on again. I stop him. I asked for turkey, but this is obviously ham. No, he tells me, he's made sandwiches before. Ham is more red. Well, this turkey is way too pink to be turkey. He assures me it's turkey and keeps making my sandwich.

I ask for mustard. He squirts some on the turkey/ham and then proceeds to thickly paint the other slice of bread bright yellow.

He asks if I want orange or white cheese. I feel like I'm 5 years old again. I say white. Yep, I am 5.

He puts one leaf of lettuce on it and asks if that's enough. I say no. Once again, he's not impressed. He sighs loudly as he adds another leaf.

When I go up to pay, I tell the lady that I'm not sure if it's a turkey or a ham sandwich. She looks at me as if I'm stupid.

As I leave, I hear a woman order peanut butter on white. He asks if she'd like that on whole wheat.

I go back to work and eat my ham sandwich. It tastes like mustard. I pretend it's turkey.

"Assume" makes a WHAT out of "u" and "me"?!

For someone who is quite indecisive (and still can't decide if she likes the jeans she bought weeks ago) and likes to carefully think out decisions and plan ahead for everything, it may be a little surprising that I jump to conclusions quite quickly.

For example, I sliced my thumb open in the fifth grade. I told the doctor to amputate my hand as I'd never play the piano again. I'm glad he didn't listen.

I once told my Sunday School class not to listen to Amy Grant after I saw a 10-minute clip of her on TV singing love songs to a man (shocking, I know). I assumed she switched her affections from the Almighty to the flesh (or something like that). I later recanted this, and Amy is once again near and dear to my heart. But still, my childlike rash judgment has stuck with me a bit.

I wasn't even really aware of this until the other day when an email conversation with a friend ended rather awkwardly. The first place my head went was, "I've overstepped some kind of invisible bounds. I've broken some sort of unspoken rule of friendship. It's over." Is it really? Probably not. Maybe. But jumping to a conclusion isn't going to help the situation. And rereading the text won't help either.

I'm starting to dislike the written word when it comes to conversation. I don't mind blogging, journaling, or creative writing, but typing in an attempt to get to know someone is painful. My quirky babbling doesn't mesh with everyone, and neither is my sense of humor apparent to those who skim read. And my paragraph-long answers to a two-word question could be a little overwhelming, just as I interpret a one-sentence reply as a brush-off.

Moral of my story: I'm glad I still have my hand. Amy Grant remains a nostalgic favorite. And it's time to start talking face to face a little more.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


A couple weeks ago, I was almost asleep when my high-school locker combination popped into my head. Then, as I was packing up some Christmas baking last weekend, I found the sticker from my lock (combination faded but still there) on the bottom of a tin I used to display in my room when I was a teenager. Weird.

Those of you who knew me between the ages of 16 and 19 know that at such a point in my life I was quite attached to a certain band. Or at least a certain lead singer of a certain band. Now, you must understand, I did not put up posters of Jonathan Taylor Thomas in my bedroom when my peers did. I did not hold hands with immature cootie-carriers in junior high. I was the mature one with the ridiculous standards. And then I met Toby Penner, the older, fantastically gifted and completely-oblivious-to-me musician. And he rocked my world. So while my friends were trying to find prom dates, I just lip-synched to Jake in my bedroom, fully planning to marry the guy one day.

Yeah. Times change.

I’m older. So is he. And Jake CDs are now merely nostalgia hugs on rainy days. But Toby has a YouTube channel, so I can continue to stalk him. In a less creepy way that I would have if such technology were around five years ago. With age comes wisdom. I now understand that he wasn’t really my Prince Charming; Reunion Records just made me believe he was. But his very existence helped protect me from the adolescent broken heart; he inspired me to spend late nights at my piano, figuring out simple chord progressions to journal entries that barely made sense; he furthered my belief that I would never have to settle for less than God’s best for me. And for that, I’ll always have a soft spot for Mr. Penner.

I also blame him for my orange pants. But no one’s perfect. Hey, love can make you dress like a pylon :)

So here’s Toby, reminiscing over the same days I now type of, sheepishly admitting to the very bubblegum pop that defined my seventeenth year.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"High School Musical 2" vs. "Newsies"

High School Musical 2 is on right now. I’m totally sucked in. I won’t even pretend to be watching it for mere “cultural research.” It’s just pure sugary fun. I liken it to Newsies for the next generation, most likely because Kenny Ortega directed both of them (although no one actually watched Newsies until years after it was made. It’s more of a VHS/DVD phenomenon).

I completely get the Zac Efron thing. If I was 16, he’d be on my wall. Okay, probably not my wall, but I’d probably have a couple Seventeen magazines hiding in my room somewhere while I lip-synced to the soundtrack in front of my mirror. I only wish I was kidding.

A Tale of 2 Ortega Movies.

High School Musical 2


The Star

Zac Efron. Perfect Aldo hair. Rather sensational in Hairspray. Shot to stardom way too quickly. Pray for him.

Christian Bale. Arguably the Internet’s first star. Before major fan sites were old hat, he was bigger than the A-listers. A cult fave since the mid-'90s. And now Batman.

The Music

Catchy bubblegum pop. The soundtrack has been HUGE. And award-winning.

Rousing Disneyfied pop. The re-released soundtrack was selling more than Britney Spears on Amazon (when Spears was in her prime and it meant something).

The Fan Base

Smash hit. Even my brother could correct me on my “did they kiss or didn’t they?” trivia last weekend. Set viewing records on cable.

Cult hit. A guilty pleasure for my generation. And the one to follow. Not popular until VHS and DVD. Bombed at the box office.

That Solo

“Bet On It.” Zac gets to be all angsty and manly and dance by himself on a golf course. A departure from bouncy pop.

Santa Fe.” Christian gets to be all angsty and manly and dance by himself in a cowboy hat. A departure from bouncy pop.

The Kiss

Saved for the end. With music swelling, sprinklers going off, fireworks.

Saved for the end. He comes back for her. And the masses rejoice.

And now, for a visual comparison:
Zac in action:

Christian doing his thing:

Love live the Disney musical machine.

Friday, November 23, 2007

"Whatever Happened to Predictability?"

A couple of Entertainment Weekly “reporters” were given the challenge of watching the entire series (that’s eight seasons) of Full House in one sitting.

Here are excerpts from their Uncle Jesse marathon.

*I thought the pic was appropriate, as I've already had one Christmas dinner.
And I have two Christmas trees in my apartment. And I'm cold.

Question of the day: How do I get their job?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's time to move on.

A cute boy smiled at me today. Was it because I was super-cute and fetching? I wish. It was because I can't let go of my dysfunctional relationship with Bert (yellow umbrella). In the pouring rain, a twisted mass of canary-colored nylon sheltered half of me. Any smiles garnered from strangers were stifled laughs.

Fast forward to thirty minutes later.

I'm almost home. It's still pouring. A car swerves, hitting a deep puddle with remarkable precision. I am drenched. My new coat has a pretty fantastic dirty water pattern splashed across it. My jeans are now hanging to dry. And Bert, even more ravaged than before, is recovering in my bathtub.

I think it's time to start seeing other umbrellas.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blog Outtakes.

I think about blogging quite often. In fact, I’ve started numerous blog entries that I’ve never bothered to post. My computer has saved drafts of both nonsensical babble and censored-by-me journal entries. The former I am sparing you from; the latter I am sparing myself from.

I will, however, share snippets of thoughts I’ve never posted. In no particular order.

Reading Into Things.

I've heard guys complain (numerous times) about girls reading into everything. Some are hesitant to compliment, go out for coffee, or even chat for very long for fear the girl will be planning their wedding in her head as they do so. Or interpreting "Wanna catch a movie?" as "I love you." And they do have a point. We're good at that.

But I think there's a much bigger problem (and I know I'm not alone on this one).

I read into me. Yep, that's right. When you say you like my haircut, I'm more likely to worry about how you might interpret my response to such a comment. At the end of a conversation, I'm replaying my own stupid answers or body language that might have misrepresented who I am. I regret sending emails, for fear that they're too business-like, too flirtatious, too all-round stupid. And this isn't just with guys I'm interested in. It's a guys-in-general thing.

Facebook Friends.

I haven't seen him since high school. Apart from the world of facebook/myspace, we are now strangers. I was 13, standing in his garage, listening to his band play. Now he owns his own production studio. And home. And makes hauntingly beautiful music. And we remain strangers.

In my head, she's still a rebellious teenager in a Nirvana shirt. In reality, she's a happy newlywed. I wish my head would catch up sometimes.

He came to my birthday party the summer before 2nd grade. I moved away at the end of 5th grade and haven’t seen him since. And now he works a block away from my office. I’m not sure how to catch up. Fourteen years is a long time.

She cried through drama class, bemoaning her PMS-induced hatred of high school. She was going to be a star. Today, she’s a burlesque dancer* in an open marriage.


A Lie for a Life?

She was hiding Jews behind her wall. When Corrie Ten Boom looked that soldier in the eye and said, "I don't know what you're talking about," was the lie a sin? And was it better to sin than to offer up the innocent to evil? Wouldn't the truth have been the greater evil? Perhaps she should have remained silent.


A few weeks ago, I was looked in the eye and thanked for my legacy. Pretty humbling. And empowering. I didn't know I had one.

I’m scary.

I terrified the girl upstairs. To the point of giving her a completely sleepless night. All I had to do was open the front door.

Just a Thought.

Sometimes an excellent first date can set the bar too high for the next guy.

Oozing Coolness.

I sewed a button on my coat while on the bus a while ago. I am officially the coolest person ever.

Meet the Blog.

At what point in a new friendship does one introduce the blog? Over time, I’ve become more hesitant to share this with non-bloggers, as it can contribute to rather lopsided relationships. I blog about me, my friend reads about me, I learn nothing about them. I have a non-blogging friend who doesn’t read blogs. She’d rather hear the story in person than intrude on the written thoughts of others. Or something like that.

More of the List.

I’d like to learn to play the guitar. It’s #52 on my list of things to do.

You’ve Got Nothing.

I check my email too often. Facebook only further aggravates my problem. And the high of receiving a message fades all too quickly, leaving me wanting more and more.

Quote of the Day.

C.J., a contestant on season three of Top Chef, is bewildered by women, particularly their love of a certain thin pancake.

“Girl power. If there was another Spice Girl, there’d be Crêpe Spice.”

So true.

Monday, November 12, 2007


  • Chuck just broke up with his fake girlfriend. Love that show. Speaking of fake relationships…
  • Ryan Gosling turned 27 today. Numerous coworkers pointed this out to me. It’s getting a little out of hand. Yet still quite amusing.
  • I think I should join a gym. My hour-long walks are already being compromised by inclement weather. And it will only get worse. I’m torn between Extreme Fitness and a local community centre.
  • I’m becoming a Wes Anderson fan. Go see The Darjeeling Limited.
  • The writers are on strike. Which means there will be more reality television. Which means I’ll be watching less TV.
  • A guy on the subway in New York saw the girl of his dreams. So he created a Web page to help find her. And it worked. The hopeless romantic in me is charmed.
  • Thanks, Michael, for pointing me to a study that has forever challenged my work ethic. An excerpt:
    A similar study conducted at Harvard University over a period of three years attempted to determine conclusively whether working was more productive than various different subsets of not working. The results showed across the board that working is 100 percent more productive than listening to music and checking e-mails, 100 percent more productive than meandering around the office socializing with coworkers, 100 percent more productive than playing online Sudoku, 100 percent more productive than watching YouTube videos of nostalgic childhood television programming, 100 percent more productive than reading celebrity-gossip blogs while chatting with friends on Instant Messenger, 100 percent more productive than napping, and 98.2 percent more productive than not showing up to work.
  • I chose to come straight home after work rather than run errands in the rain. The main reason? I have yet to replace Bert the Umbrella. It’s just too soon to move on.
  • Christmas starts for my family this Saturday. Which means Christmas baking starts in my apartment this week. So much fun.
  • Kendall Payne’s new album, Paper Skin, is hauntingly gorgeous. So vulnerable. is where it’s at.
  • My sponsored child does not go to school. He dropped out after Grade 2 because of a distance issue. He's only 10. So sad.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tragic & Lovely

"Nadine's crazier than Joel." Yes, I was recently introduced this way. And my brother Joel can be pretty fantastically crazy.

My theme song of late has been "I Am Slowly Going Crazy." For various reasons. And of varying degrees of madness. But I figured out a rather pretty chord progression for my version of the song, so I suppose it's worth it. And crazy can be fun. Or so I've heard.

A week or so ago, I sat on my bed and thought, "Is this my life?" It wasn't a complaint; I was merely trying to process the rather significant changes and events going on around me. "Tragic and lovely" is how I summed up my recent preoccupations to a friend. I've been both blessed beyond measure and quietly broken (well, the "quiet" part is probably quite subjective). Either is far better than feeling numb.

I was sitting in a cafe recently, chatting with an old friend. We were talking about nothing of major significance, yet the conversation felt hardly trivial. And I caught myself experiencing a new freedom. It was the oddest thing, being so aware of myself without the burden of self-consciousness. And for that brief moment, I wanted to stop time and just sit there forever, completely content with the woman I've become. And this friend is a rather spectacular individual; logic would dictate increased insecurity around such a soul. But no. "Maybe this is what it's like to feel beautiful," I thought, before slipping back into present space and time, and stepping out into the evening air.


It’s easy to complain about work. Or threaten to look for another job. And I’d be lying if I tried to pass off my work environment as a positive and supportive space 100% of the time. Because of this, it’s also easy to overlook the fun times. And so, in an attempt to be Little Miss Giggles, I shall share with you the recent fun times in the world of subtitling.

  • A coworker gave me a book: Geeky Girl: The Straight Scoop on the Well-Rounded Square. Thus far, I have learned that I need to know more about Star Trek, feminism, computer technology and knitting.
  • Post-Halloween candy run. We were too late, but Shoppers got our money anyhow.
  • Running into George Stroumboulopoulos at The Healthy Butcher. And totally ignoring him.
  • A closed-captioning friend Photoshopped my head onto Rachel McAdams' body so that Ryan Gosling’s arm was around me and not her (this was post-breakup news. Clearly, I was the reason for the demise of their relationship).
  • Playing Scrabulous.
  • Looking at bridal gowns online. A coworker’s sister is getting married and is welcoming feedback as she narrows down her choices.
  • Countless emails that evolve from serious grammar questions to giggly girl talk.
  • Sharing hair stylists and dentists.
  • Researching Cobb salads and discovering that the ingredients in the one someone bought for lunch are wrong.
  • Changing the Wikipedia definition of chickpeas to include being poisonous.
  • The invention of a Walker, Texas Ranger drinking game. And no, people don’t generally drink while on the job. But it’s fun to speculate. The rules below are copied from a long email thread going around yesterday. You have to take a drink every time:
    • Walker comforts a child by saying, "When I was your age, my father told me a story about a young Indian boy..."
    • Walker punches someone (not dropkicks).
    • Walker uses his magical Walker-sense to "feel" something out.
    • Walker acts like an asshole [not my choice of language – don’t judge] to Trivette, who laughs it off as if they were best friends.
    • The Cherokee are shown to have magical powers.
      • Drink two if it's a different "mystical" culture, like the re-incarnated Buddhist lama who can cause plants to grow and heal his wounds.
    • Walker visits the state prison, and it's suggested out loud and in the prisoners' reactions that Walker has put every single one of them in there.
    • Walker goes undercover.
      • Two if it's as a different ethnic race.
    • When a major backstory is introduced in Walker's life, like, five seasons into the show, and it just has never come up before. Ex. that he was engaged to be married, and she was assassinated.
    • When we meet a character we've never heard of before, but who Walker is BFF with.
      • Two if the character dies before the opening credits.
    • C.D. tells someone not to worry about Walker, who has gone missing.
    • C.D. tells someone not to worry about Walker who is undercover doing a strange job because it just so happens Walker has work experience doing the very same task.
      • Two if it was "just after he got out of the Army."
    • Walker must jump out of a closed window and yet somehow doesn't have a scratch or cut on him when he's done.
      • Two if it's any storey above the first.
      • Three if there's also a fireball following him.

I love those days when work doesn’t feel like work.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

More Life

She’s still alive.

I have a new friend.

She now knows Jesus.

And miracles are happening.