Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Twelve Days of Christmas.

I was in the mall today, inching my way through the chaotic masses, listening to the PA lady remind me over and over that there are seven shopping days left. Somehow, I just don't believe that "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was originally intended to be a shopping countdown.

My bank account is now at rest. I'm done.

This is more like it. Thanks, Dad, for the link.

For the Love of Mitch

I love Mitch Hedberg. I could read/listen to his stuff all day. Too bad he's dead. It dampens the hilarity a bit.

I saw a commercial on late night TV. It said, "Forget everything you know about slipcovers." So I did. And it was a load off my mind. Then the commercial tried to sell me slipcovers, and I didn't know what the hell they were.

A lollipop is a cross between hard candy and garbage.

I saw a lady on TV, she was born without arms. That's sad, but then they said, "Lola does not know the meaning of the word 'can't'." That, to me, is even worse in a way. Not only is she missing arms, but she doesn't understand simple contractions. It's easy, Lola - you just take two words, put them together, take out the middle letters, put in a comma, and you raise it up!

I think foosball is a combination of soccer and shish kabobs. Foosball screwed up my perception of soccer. I thought you had to kick the ball and then spin round and round. I can't do a back flip, much less several, simultaneously with two other guys who look just like me.

I like rice. Rice is great when you're hungry and you want 2,000 of something.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Winter’s Tale


I had an epiphany on Thursday afternoon: I didn’t want to work on Friday. I asked my boss for the day off. It was a risky thing to do, considering there was work to do and I was taking a significant chunk of time off over Christmas, but I did it. And surprisingly, he gave the okay. So I woke up early Friday morning and caught the 7:30 bus to Kitchener. I like to think of my weekend as “Home for the Holidays Part 1.”

Friday afternoon, I spent four hours making gingerbread cookies with my brother Joel. It was quite the hilarious adventure with a surprisingly stellar outcome, save for one burnt batch. We discovered that if you flip a burnt cookie upside down and thickly coat the burnt side with icing, the sugar counteracts the burnt taste. Joel is the sprinkle king. And he was right; Mom uses the icing recipe in the little pamphlet. I assumed she had a magic one stored in her head. I’ll never live that one down. One day we’ll host a cooking show. With a witty title like How to Bake Gingerbread Cookies In Under Two Hours From Pre-Made Dough.

That evening, we watched Sons of Mistletoe. I don’t care how uncool this makes me, but I love made-for-TV Christmas movies. And Sons of Mistletoe became a favorite when it first aired in 2001. I’ve been waiting for it to air again ever since. I’m serious. I’ve Googled the thing many a time. Warm, gooey, heartwarming Christmasy goodness. ‘Tis the season for orphans and romance. George Newbern is one of those everyman charmers whom I absolutely adore. Plus, he makes my Jesus radar go off. It’s a gift, identifying Christians in Hollywood.


I woke up early. Up until Saturday, I had only purchased one Christmas gift. So Mom and I headed out into the shopping madness and I gave up my debit card to the Ghost of Christmas Presents. We shared New York fries, ran into an old friend (he’s not old; it’s just been a long time. Just to clarify, in case he ever reads this), I discovered a love of the Skinny Vanilla Bean Latte, and had a pretty productive and stress-free day. I’m now almost done my shopping. And because most of my family is literate, I will not elaborate further. No one wants to learn what they’re getting for Christmas from a blog.

We got back in time to make pizza for dinner. So good. And then two games of Scrabble. With three tiles (one of them a blank), I scored 78 points. I wonder if Scrabble pride is a subset of the pride listed in the seven deadly sins.

And it started snowing.


Winter wonderland. My church in Toronto cancelled its service. As did many churches in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. But not my parents’ church. In fact, we went super-early. No weather would stop the Christmas play from premiering. After a continental breakfast (iced cinnamon cookies. Yum), we watched a rather delightful play starring my father (or semi-starring him. I’m pretty sure he had the most lines. Or pretty close). And since the play centered on people getting snowed in, the whole “weather outside is frightful” was actually quite appropriate.

I didn’t mind the snow today. It was beautiful. It felt like Christmas. I was nostalgic for an era before my time. I wanted to go for a sleigh ride. But the thought of busing it back to Toronto was a little daunting. I seriously considered staying in Waterloo until tomorrow morning. But I didn’t want to get on a 5 a.m. bus and lug my heavy bag to work with me.

At the bus station, I asked the woman how the weather was affecting the bus schedule. She said she didn’t know. She hadn’t been outside since earlier that morning. I love it when people don’t understand what I’m asking. Someone else told me that everything was delayed by an hour. But since the bus ran hourly, I caught the 1:30 bus at 2:30 instead of catching the 2:30 bus. No real delay for me, then. The Toronto-bound bus arrived. My brother Nathan got off it. He was coming home for Christmas from Peterborough, and I was heading back to Toronto. The people in line looked at me strangely as I hugged the guy getting off the bus, phoned my parents to tell them to pick him up, and then boarded that very same bus.

The guy beside me on the bus was reading Douglas Coupland. The girl ahead of me leaned back and squashed my legs. I slept. I started reading The Lovely Bones. It almost made me cry. Twice. Go read it.

Post-bus ride, I lopsidedly trekked through some deep snow on unshoveled sidewalks, lugging a massive bag, suffering through knee-high drifts behind my place. My soaked jeans are hanging in my shower.

I’m unpacked. I’m warm. I’m ready for bed.

It was a good weekend. I drank coffee three times. That’s a record for me. And I think I can handle another short week now.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Envelope, Please

Award season is upon us. I don’t feel much like listing all of the nominations for every award show going, but since the Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning, I will draw your attention to some of the noteworthy nods (at least in my world).

Of course, I will have to first point out that Lost was, once again, snubbed. Quite painful, really, as it’s the best show on TV. At least Heroes was also snubbed. Not sure why Grey’s Anatomy keeps getting nominated. Blech. And where was the Christian Bale nod for his work in Rescue Dawn/3:10 to Yuma/I’m Not There? Sheesh, people.

But Cate Blanchett was recognized for I’m Not There. She was brilliant and, thus, most likely unbeatable in her category. I haven’t seen most of the films yet, so I can’t start making predictions, but I was pleased to see Hairspray, Amy Ryan (of Gone Baby Gone), and TV faves Hugh Laurie and Patricia Arquette on the list.

Reasons for my early morning happy dance:

Pushing the Love

Pushing Daisies was nominated for BEST MUSICAL OR COMEDY SERIES.

Lee Pace (Love him. Second only to Zac Levi when it comes to TV boyfriends).


Anna Friel


Canadian Love

(Bolded text indicates the Canadian, whether it be the actor, the director, or the production itself).

Eastern Promises (Dir. David Cronenberg)


Juno (Dir. Jason Reitman)


Julie Christie


Away From Her (Dir. Sarah Polley)



Lars and the Real Girl

Ellen Page



William Shatner


Boston Legal

Donald Sutherland


Dirty Sexy Money

Anna Paquin


Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee


Adam Beach


Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Now, there is still no knowing if the Golden Globes will even air. With no end to the writers' strike in sight, there's talk of the event being picketed. Most actors wouldn't dare cross that line. So maybe this year it really will have to be just an honor to be nominated.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's in the bag.

I carry an unusually large bag. Sure, it may be a trendy thing to do, but I'm not really that hung up on looking like Jessica Simpson when I leave my apartment at 7:10 every morning. The trend just happens to coincide with my habit of lugging everything I own with me everywhere.

But lately, it's been almost too full. Too heavy. So I thought I'd take an inventory of what's inside.

Things in my bag today, not counting the pockets stuffed with coupons, a dryer sheet (for those static days), keys and unmentionables:
  • Nalgene (750 mL)
  • Lunch (sandwich container, 2 smaller ones for grapes and almonds)
  • 75% dark chocolate bar
  • Weekly planner
  • SpongeBob notebook (filled with scribbles about end credits and grocery lists)
  • Mere Christianity
  • Wallet
  • Checkbook
  • Pens
  • Cell phone
  • Tylenol
  • Lozenges
  • Glasses case
  • Snow White clutch filled with lip gloss
  • Kleenex
  • Indoor scarf (since I wanted to wear a winter scarf with my coat and didn't want to double-up)
  • Freebie newspaper
  • Gum
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Deodorant
  • Band-Aids
In case of any emergency, I'm ready. I'm the office pharmacy. I don't have to swing by my place after work if I decide to go somewhere in the evening. And on rainy days, I manage to stuff Bert the Umbrella in there too.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

For Your Reading and Viewing Pleasure

I’m lazy, so it’s link time.

Losing It

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are being interviewed together when a reporter makes the ridiculous statement that they’ve been working together for ten decades. The reaction is adorable.


A coworker sent this article to me today, which is hilariously appropriate seeing as my dad’s crashing my place in a couple days. It’s quite a phenomenon, the freeloading parents (Dad, you’re more than welcome. Just don’t smoke up while you’re here).

Roommate Wanted

I’m a pretty picky person when it comes to living with people. Which is why I live alone. Apparently, this guy’s pickier.

My favorite excerpt:

You must be ok with my upholstery hobby. On every third Tuesday of the month I request that you vacate the house between the hours of 4 pm - 11:45pm while I upholster various pieces of antique furniture. I am a perfectionist and require complete silence in the house. I've tried this with housemates who've promised to stay in their rooms, but this proved impossible as bathroom habits demand a regular schedule that interrupts my artisan work. That said, I will give you a small stipend on these days if it will assist you in finding something to do with that block of time.

No newspapers or magazines. The ink gets everywhere and the gloss irritates my eyes. Sorry! You are free to read them on the front porch, but they must be stored outside of the house (perhaps in your car?)

This is not to sound discriminating, but, if you speak either French, Urdu, or Afrikaans, I kindly request that you not speak them in my vicinity as the cadences used in these languages are grating to the ears and nerves, for me.

Geeky Kind of Love

Best wedding cake for nerds ever:


Talking to Telemarkers 101

I was once a telemarketer. A woman gave me a rhubarb pie recipe over the phone. And a man warned me that we shouldn’t talk about the government, or they’d put bags over our heads and ship us off to Cuba. But no one did this to me. (Warning: It’s a little PG-13).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Jimmy & I

Klara: I really wouldn't care to scratch your surface, Mr. Kralik, because I know exactly what I'd find. Instead of a heart, a handbag. Instead of a soul, a suitcase. And instead of an intellect, a cigarette lighter which doesn't work.

Alfred: That's very nicely put. Yes. Comparing my intellect with a cigarette lighter that doesn't work. Yeah, that's a very interesting mixture of poetry and meanness.

‘Tis the season to spend quality time with my second dead boyfriend (#1 being Gene Kelly). There’s something about snow that makes me want to dedicate an evening or two to Jimmy Stewart (always credited as James, by the way). And after reading biographies on both men, Jimmy is really more my type, what with being faithful to his wife and all.

So this past weekend, I was quite delighted to find that The Shop Around the Corner was airing on TCM. I have a soft spot for TCM, partly because it plays the classics and partly because I have a credit on its website.

The film is an adaptation of the Hungarian play Parfumerie and inspired the Judy Garland musical In the Good Old Summertime, the Broadway musical She Loves Me, and, much later, You’ve Got Mail. Since Tom Hanks is the modern-day Stewart, it makes sense. It's the Everyman charm.

Loved it. Love him. I can feel It’s a Wonderful Life calling me....

Alfred: I think people who like to smoke candy and listen to cigarettes will love it.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


My brother Joel drew this for me a few years ago. Brilliant.
Click on image for full size. You must read it to understand.

Right Now

There are clean sheets on my bed. Still warm.

There are sweet-potato fries in the oven.

My apartment is lit by two miniature Christmas trees.

I am home.

I spent last night in Parry Sound, Ontario’s winter wonderland. While I often complain about the cold in Toronto, it’s a different kind of cold there. It’s a crisp, picturesque, storybook cold with over a foot of pure white snow blanketing everything. For a brief moment, I wanted to be Rosemary Clooney, all decked out in a fur-trimmed red velvet cape, singing alongside Bing Crosby.

I went to cheer on my cousins who were starring in their high school’s production of High School Musical. I have yet to be a parent, so I can only imagine the pride that comes with seeing your child sparkle in the spotlight. Even still, watching the girl I once tried to teach to walk gorgeously singing and dancing on stage was pretty mind-blowing.

They were fabulous. So proud.