Saturday, January 30, 2010

happily ever after...

Lately, all my posts have been very earnest and about self-improvement and other Serious Things. Which is great. But I don't want all my 2.7 readers to think that I've lost my frivolous side. So, in honour of the fact that I'm killing a bottle of red wine by myself (well, the dog is here too, but he's mostly asleep until I say the magic word "walk")and because I'm flipping channels between "Four Weddings & a Funeral" and "Grosse Pointe Blank", I present...

Romantic Movie Scenes That Make Me Swoon:

  • OK, I love the part in Grosse Point Blank where John Cusack and Minnie Driver leave their high school gym during their reunion and do it in the nurse's office. That scene is coming up shortly, so I may have to stop writing for a while soon...
  • The part in "Four Weddings" where Hugh Grant says "I wish I'd rung you. But you never rang me. You ruthlessly slept with me twice and never rang me." And then he runs after Andie McDowell and says ..."I really feel. In the words of David Cassidy, in fact, while he was still with the Partridge Family: I think I love you." (My other favorite part, and the line my friend Toni & I used to quote to each other ad nauseum is "Excuse me. I think I need to be where other people are not.")
  • Pretty much any part of "Lost in Translation". But specifically when Scarlett and Bill are in the hotel bar after the fire alarm goes off and the piano player's playing "I'm So Into You" and they're plotting to stay in Tokyo and start a jazz band. Oh, and the ending, of course. What's he whispering in her ear? Isn't it cool how we never find out?
  • The sort-of creepy but at-the-same-time-cute relationship between Andrew McCarthy (teacher) and what's-er-name (student) in "New Waterford Girl". I visited New Waterford this summer (it's in Cape Breton) and believe me, you'd want out of there too.
  • The surprising chemistry between Ben Kinglsey and Tea Leoni in "You Kill Me" (I watched this movie 3 times back-to-back when I was sick and visiting up at my dad's) ...
  • ...and also between Denzil Washington and Angelina Jolie in "The Bone Collector" (totally forgettable movie, though, so don't bother renting it if you haven't seen it.)
  • Mr. Darcy saying "I most ardently admire and love you," or something like that, at the end of "Pride & Prejudice". And yes, I mean Colin Firth. Is there any other Darcy, really?
  • The ending of "The Sure Thing". I have an ex-boyfriend to thank for introducing me to that movie. He had a thing for Daphne Zuniga. I had/have a thing for John Cusack. We were well-matched. In that respect, at least.
  • Oh my god, I nearly forgot "Amelie"! I adore that entire movie! But especially the end, when they kiss. growlfl.
  • The ending of "Casablanca". Because although I am no expert on the Silver Screen, I DO love this movie. Just like "Lost in Translation", it proves that sometimes, it's sexier when Guy doesn't get Girl.
  • Runners-Up: Dave, Bullworth, The American President, L.A. Story, While You Were Sleeping, Garden State, Delicatessen...
There's not much wine left in that bottle. Which means that I'm probably forgetting a few of my fave movies in my alcoholic haze. As you can see, I favour the quirky comedies over the mushy stuff. What about you? C'mon, weigh in. What romantic movie scene leaves you breathless?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Another house, not my own.

Okay, remember when I was all excited about house- and dog-sitting for my brother? Well be careful what you wish for, because the gods like to have their little joke.
*This post is firmly tongue in cheek, by the way. I am not complaining full-on. It's just that there are... complications.

First off, the Dog. He is seventy, in human years. Seventy. He should be hobbling around with greying jowls, glad to be home after sedately walking a couple of blocks.
Not this dog. He is a mutt, of Border Collie and god-knows-what-else origins. Sterner stuff. Which means that he can run and walk for hours and be ready to go again after a quick nap. He will chase a ball until it's too dark too see it, and then he will find it by the distant thud as it hits the ground. He would live outside always, if he could. Four days and I am already a love slave to his Sad Puppy Eyes. And I am walking. Three times a day I am walking. And running. And rollerblading. Anything to keep up with his needs.

Which is actually great, because Hello, room full of chocolate bars! My brother and his wife are raising money for a charity called Team in Training by selling chocolate bars. (Don't get me started on the irony of raising money to run 21km by selling sweet, fatty desserts. There is something so intrinsically wrong about that, Team in Training. WRONG.) Let's just say that I need these walks badly, given the choco-temptations lying in their office.

Lastly, I forgot how far away my brother and his wife live. They live in Surrey. I make no apologies to any of my readers who may be from there: Surrey is Hell. No, I take that back; Surrey is not interesting enough to be Hell. Surrey is Skytrain and strip malls and big box stores and fast food and white trash and litter and bland condos and falling-down crackhouses and the Mirage Nightclub (which my brother calls the Sluttage, for obvious reasons). East Van has many of these eyesores also, but we do them with style, dammit! I miss my 'hood.

I would like to tie this all together with a snappy ending, but I am tired. So very tired. And it's been three hours since the last walk. Which means that it's almost time to do 'er again.
*I would like to reiterate that I am (mostly) joking. Except for the part about being tired. Which I am. I mean, I've gone from being pretty much a couch potato to being the auntie of a very active pooch. You'd be tired too. Oh, and what I said about Surrey. I meant everything I wrote about that.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ennui, and links to help you escape it.

Here's where it gets hard: when the excitement of the new year wears off, when friends & family leave town and the money is stretched tight with no end in sight, when the fiery resolve of a fresh year burns down to smoldering embers. How to keep ennui (and bad habits) at bay? Not sure I have the answer to this question totally figured out yet. Mundane as it may seem, a To-Do list actually helps a bit. Crossing off things as I do them makes me feel as though I'm accomplishing something even though it's small. Baby steps. I know. Rome wasn't built in a day, and all that. Embrace the ennui. Or not. Actually, here are some things that are rocking my world and keeping a smile on my face even through the frustration:
  • my brand-new, super-awesome (and gag-me expensive) Bogs. Get some. Especially any of you who live in remote areas with, like, snow. And mud. They're waterproof, they'll keep your tootsies warm down to minus 30 degrees, and they look great, too. Bonus feature: buying them guarantees that the sun will immediately come out. It happened to me today, true story.
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Terry Gilliam redeems himself after "Tideland", which in my opinion was one of the worst movies I ever saw. "Dr. P" is bizarre, rambling, and looks fantastic, like all of his movies. Is it me, or does Gilliam have a thing for giant flying heads and saucer-eyed young ingenues? Who cares? One day I will write a song or create a show that puts people in a world like the one in Terry Gilliam's head. And then I will die happy.
  • Food. Ok, I feel conflicted about this one, because I really want to lose some weight this year, and soon. But... J made some killer Eggs Benny the other day, with a Hollandaise sauce to die for. And I ate some amazing risotto at a tiny little East Van restaurant yesterday night that tasted as though a hundred chickens died to make the stock it was cooked in. And Waves makes the best hot chocolate of all the coffee bars, and I slurped up some of that last night before seeing "Debt: the Musical". Which also rocked my world. Go see it, even if you're in debt yourself. Especially then.
  • House-sitting at my brother's place in a week: exercise room, pool, laundry, dog... need I say more?
  • The Cross of East Van. I haven't made up my mind on this new piece of art yet. Eyesore, or proud community badge? Creepy Christian undertones or righteous ex-gang logo? You be the judge:
Yep, pretty strange, isn't it? (thanks to for the picture). I may have to add an image of The Cross to my title bar, since this is East Van Chronicles after all.
  • And finally... the last thing that's rocking my world is THE BEST PICTURE I'VE EVER TAKEN OF MY CITY. SO GOOD, I HAVE TO WRITE IN ALL CAPS. Drumroll please.

Thank you Vancouver, for reminding me why I love you. And thank you blog for cheering me up on this january night.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

You Complete Me.

Still doing a lot of sitting around at home, due to this cold. Which leads to a lot of journalling, thinking, and brainstorming, much of it along these lines: Who knew the human body could contain this much phlegm? As I canceled both work and fun events yesterday so that I could be at home, I realized that I was truly sick and can only be thankful that I have the time to take it easy right now. Sometimes your body just knows.

Still doing a lot of thinking about what's ahead this year and how to make it really count. It's my year- no, it actually is: the year of the Tiger, in Chinese astrology. Yesterday was a big one in terms of The Future; I had 2 meetings, both of them dealing with future work opportunities. The first meeting was a gigantic job offer, a huge, flattering, scary, fun possibility that involves lots of hard work and living in a very isolated community for up to 4 months, away from everyone I know and love, performing every day. The second meeting was with my most beloved band, and it was the kind of meeting we have periodically (although mostly via email), where we basically re-hash our frustrations over never being free to play or tour at the same time. We say a lot of IloveyouIloveyouIloveyoubutIcan'tcommitrightnowduetosuchandsuch and then we all sigh in frustration and look for other work. Being in a band is a lot like being in a relationship. No, actually it IS a relationship, but a tricky, polygamous one. Being in a band comprised of four busybusy people is like having an affair: there's never enough time, no one's ever completely happy, and whatever you do, someone ends up getting shafted.

In honor of my new, fiery (and phlegm-y) commitment to Living Life To Its Fullest, I want to make a bold choice to start the new year off with a bang. But instead I hover, unable to jump in to this new job opportunity without an ache of regret.

You see, if I leave the city for 4 months, I won't be able to make music with my friends for a long time. And one of them might move across the country in the interim. My latest self-help book says that every decision leads to wonderful opportunities, and I am starting to know that. This is a wonderful band, but I can't possibly make a living off it right now.

But, but... when I stand on stage with these guys, I feel more powerful, more talented, more complete than I've ever felt. We have a long way to go and they drive me nuts sometimes (and I drive them nuts too, no doubt) but there is something so special there.
Part of me would like to be like of hero of some mushy chick flick; you know, the one where you think the lovers have gone their separate ways and then in the last scene he runs into the airport just as she's boarding the plane and holds out his arms and says I didn't marry the other woman/take that job after all and they fall into each other's arms as the credits roll. But there are 3 other busy people here, and if I ran into the airport, metaphorically speaking, ready to declare my devotion, I might just find that the plane had already taken off. Without me.

All of which is a really convoluted way of saying that I can't help having regrets, even as exciting new possibilities open up before me. And I have less than a week to make my final decision about a huge chunk of the coming year...
Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The new year is really here. Time to take down the blue disco-ball Christmas decorations hanging off every available surface in our apartment. Time to start making those calls and doing that practicing and looking for those jobs and setting those goals. It really is. Time, I mean.

As we age, my brother and I, and have no children to replace us as "the kids", we spend Christmas in a floaty sort of limbo. The Day itself, the 25th, becomes less important (for me, Christmas has always been about the 24th anyway; the anticipation being so much more fun and mysterious and exciting than the payoff of Christmas Day.), but if I'm lucky and not working, Christmas Day becomes Christmas Week, which lasts until the 1st of January.
So it was this year. My brother, his wife and I flew to my Dad's on the 25th (replacing getting up early for presents with getting up early for the airport), and lay around on my father's truly excellent couches eating rich food, drinking too much, and watching hockey. There were no hyper-excited children underfoot, and not much in the way of presents, since we'd spent the money on plane tickets instead. And what is Christmas without kids, really? Well, just a time to eat, drink, be with family. A time for talking with far-flung family members over the speakerphone or on Skype. A time to be there for my dad, who lost his wife last Boxing Day.
He's doing great, though. Looking ahead, not pining for what he lost. And, symbolic though a "new year" is, I too am looking ahead to see what comes next.

I'm working on my attitude, that's the first thing. I'm staying positive, even though I have this cold which won't #%$%& leave. I partied a little too hard last week, ran 8km with my super-fit brother right after Christmas, played a high-energy New Year's Eve party and stayed up until 3:30 that morning. All of which was very, very fun. All of which was very, very bad for this cold, which has lodged itself in my chest and nose and is hanging on like grim death.
So the challenge has been: how do I spin this into something good? And the answer- well, maybe I can be thankful for having this weekend free, so I can rest and take care of myself before work and meetings begin. Maybe I can be thankful that being stuck inside gives me time to do some brainstorming and journaling instead of running around trying to do too much in the cold and damp.
And I am thankful. Because although staring the new year feeling awful was not what I would have wished, it has reduced life to the essentials. Stay warm and dry. Conserve energy. Plan, but don't do. Spend one day doing nothing but watching tv and eating expensive takeout you can't even taste because your nostrils are plugged up.
Rest, and wait, and see what happens next.