Friday, September 10, 2010

How not to holiday

Ottawa, ON
August 2010

I am a spectacularly crap tourist. Once upon a time, when planning holidays, I would spend the month leading up to my trip researching my destination to within an inch of its life. How do I get downtown from the airport? Where is the airport? Where should I stay? What should I do? Where do the locals eat? Where can I see a band? Do they have a good art gallery? Where can I get a crème brulee? Should I bring thermal underwear? And, speaking of underwear, is there a laundromat close enough that I won’t have to resort to the ol’ 'inside out 'n' back to front'?

For my first overseas trip, I constructed an enormous Word document featuring a hideously detailed itinerary, a backup itinerary in case anything on my real itinerary turned out to be lame or a scam, and contact details for any and all airports, hotels, and car rental companies I might come into contact with. I researched public transport options from the airport to downtown, then put together a walking map from the drop-off point to my hotel. I then printed the whole thing out and had it bound together - I was basically a fanny pack and a sun visor away from being a 50-year-old Floridian woman.

These days, however, my forward planning involves booking a flight, and, if I’m lucky, finding somewhere to put my stuff and sleep for the week. The situation deteriorates even more so, should I find myself travelling alone. I arrive in the airport at my destination, excited but largely disorientated and confused, and head directly towards the giant wall of brochures that every plane station invariably features. I make sure to grab a good city map, and then proceed to furiously molest the display, rabidly snatching up every brochure I can see - these will constitute my itinerary for the trip. After tracking down some sort of transportation from the airport to my hotel, I use the drive downtown, not to look at my surroundings, but to sift through my hefty brochure loot. It's at this point I normally realize that I have three copies of most things, and that half of them are advertising elderly walking tours and scenic helicopter rides – i.e. largely unappealing, and/or for millionaires only. After whittling out the lemons, I’m usually left with maybe two ideas for things to do, which might keep me going for about one afternoon.

For some reason, the idea of being alone for an extended period of time is generally accompanied by that paralyzing fear we all know and love, regardless of the situation. Whether I've gotten lost in a Super Target for days and haven't been able to find a single staff member, or if I'm travelling in a beautiful and fascinating city, the ominous feeling of my impending loneliness is always the same. I become overwhelmed by the prospect of having to find enough activities to occupy myself for the whole time, and invariably end up running errands for the duration of my holiday. Suddenly I realise that replacing the screen protector on my iPod Touch is my first and only priority. I mean, the corners of my current one are peeling up, they're losing their stickiness - we're talking life and death. I can't fathom how I didn't recognize the severity of the situation until just now - and what luck, that I should have this week away from all my responsibilities to devote 100% of my focus to the task of acquiring a new one. And this is a recurring phenomenon - when I was in Ottawa last month, I visited six different Shoppers Drug Marts one day trying to find a Neutrogena cleanser I had seen in SELF magazine on my flight up there and realized I couldn't live without. 

So if you ever find yourself traveling somewhere with me, I apologize - but you have to realize that if I don't find a place to get a haircut immediately, we're both going to be in trouble. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reasons I am an Idiot, #481


What I meant to say at the beginning of the whip/plow drill: 
"Do you want to whip first, or do you want to be whipped?"

What I actually said at the beginning of the whip/plow drill:
"Do you want to plow first, or do you want to be plowed?"

I'm extremely fortunate, in that my teammates don't seem to mind the fact that I am an imbecile. Or, perhaps they think that it's because I'm foreign, and I might be normal in my own country.

Either way, I think we can all agree that I should never operate heavy machinery, or give directions to anyone.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I heart Verhoeven

I hope you won't judge me when I tell you how hilarious I find this tweet.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reasons why September will be awesome

Summer in America was a strange time for me. It felt a lot like what I imagine living in a black hole would be like, with a touch of Groundhog Day thrown in for good measure. In my various eavesdroppings around the coffee shop in which I may as well live for the amount of time I spend here, I've heard people complaining about how fast the summer went. It had the complete opposite feeling for me - I had nothing to do all day for about three months except go to roller derby practice, clean the house, and muck around with my friends. I had a ridiculous sleeping pattern, normally sleeping from 2am until midday, then waking up feeling completely disoriented and...blank, somehow. It felt like I was living in a bizarre alternate universe, where school or employment didn't exist.

I find it really hard to be productive in any way, shape or form when I have no regular routine or daily schedule - and, as a result, I wrote a grand total of nothing for the whole summer. Inexplicably, now that I'm incredibly busy again, I'm feeling inspired to write again and have started writing three different pieces. I'm hoping I'll get them finished, edited and tidied up in the next couple of weeks, because I'm feeling incredibly guilty for ignoring my poor blog this whole time (does anybody else feel like an absolute wanker using the word 'blog'? I feel like a pretentious turd when I say it. I shall henceforth call this site my digital portfolio. No, wait, that's almost worse).

In any case, I thought I'd kick start the semester slash month of September with an exercise in gratitude! Think of me as a poor, white Oprah, passing on my favourite things to all and sundry. Without further ado, I present to you: Reasons why September will be Awesome.


The new season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I can't even explain to you all the ways in which I love this show. It's a pretty incredible story: a bunch of friends wanted to make a TV show, so they did. They filmed their pilot for less than $100, presented it to a bunch of networks, and one of them picked it up. The end. This tumblr is incredible, by the by. Here are some of my favourites from it:


Three day weekend in t minus two days!


Indy's Irish Festival in downtown Indianapolis. The manfriend and I have three day passes - I'm going to drink a ton of beer and pet a leprechaun. 


Easy A comes out. I'm all about Emma Stone, and by golly, if Easy A doesn't look freaking awesome. When I first happened upon this video, I watched it about forty times consecutively. 

One of my derby heroes, Suzy Hotrod of Gotham City 

A month of intensive derby conditioning. After a crazy couple of months for the Lafayette Brawlin' Dolls (three bouts in seven days! Two five-hour road trips to away bouts in as many weeks!) we finally have a month off. That in no way means we have a month off, however, as we're changing up practices, implementing new drills, and skating more than ever. I'm skating about four days a week now and kicking my ass at practice - I really want to work on my endurance, and getting my five lap time down to 45 seconds. 


It's no longer so warm I get heat stroke on a daily basis. Up until about two weeks ago, it was so hot here every day and night that there was little else I could do beside sit on the floor in my bedroom (because that's where my window-mounted fan points) and watch TV on my laptop while not moving. It was starting to get really old.


The leaves start to turn. This is officially my first Fall ever, what what! We went to the Fort Harrison State Park last week and walked through the foresty bit, where I got to step on many a crunchy leaf! I can't tell you how excited I am for the whole place to look like this:


Getting to spend a heap of time with this guy:
I know, right? Go me.


This so closely resembles my own life that it's not even funny. 

New 30 Rock! Oh, Liz Lemon, you've come back for me! 


Finding a ton of sweet new music to listen to:

I love this 80s-sounding version even more than the one I have. Swoon!

You, my dears, are welcome.