Sunday, December 17, 2006

British Invasion

Kelly, Claire, Heather, me and Lesley rocking out to live bands at the Horseshoe Tavern. Beer was consumed, friends were made, blow-up Santa dolls were molested. All in all just another regular night with our darling friends from the UK. Good thing we promised to go visit them in 2008. Woot!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rancid Concert Review

Amy and I were lucky enough to get free tickets (a factor which increased my enjoyment of the show) to see the all ages Rancid at the Cool House on Monday. We missed the opening band, but I think it was the Planet Smashers. Or someone covering the Planet Smashers. Regardless it was some upbeat ska to start the night. Fun!

We had just enough time to grab a beer between bands and catch up. Then it was time! The filler music stopped and the crowd started buzzing. Black and white footage starting playing on the back drop interspersed with mug shots of the Rancid band members. A little self-righteous, but they're old so I let it slide.

They were energetic from the start and the pit was rocking. I danced my way close enough to get a clip of Lars before my camera took a little beating and stopped working. You probably can't tell what Lars is wearing, but it cracked me up. It looked like an orange/green stripped body suit with a muscle shirt over top. Sorry for the piss poor camera work, I'm new at this!

They played a good set, lots of old stuff, some decent stadium chanting. I really enjoyed the encore which they opened with an acoustic version of "Fall Back Down" off their 2003 album. I think the youngins in the house just wanted more moshing, but being old, I appreciated Rancid slowing it down for a bit. I think Tim Armstrong might have had another motive: to prove he can actually play guitar since it was pretty much an accessory for the rest of the show. To give him credit its probably hard to play when you're busy giving the finger to the crowd. Then the drummer came back and they threw it back 17 years to the Operation Ivy days and graced us with "Knowledge". Makes you a little nostalgic for the old teenage years.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Maid's Dress - Option 1

So here's the first suggestion for my October debut as a bridesmaid. I think they're pretty! I wonder if the bubbles are included? :)
Another version with the sashes in the front. I can't wait until the real deal!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

3 days; 3 Amies (epic)

I am hugely addicted to order and patterns. The mathematical side of my brain, I guess. Obivously, I was stoked when I realized that I had plans to hang out with three ladies named Amy/Aimee in three consecutive days last week and that each represents a very different stage of my life. Here's how it went down:

Thursday with Amy M (aka Anarchist Amy). Amy is easily my longest friend, we first met in Grade 8. She represents my Sudbury upbringing, my puck rock roots. She knows me to my core and is always an inspiration in how honestly and openly she lives her life. We met up and went for drinks at the Green Room. We discussed everything from relationships to Trotsky (Amy discussed, I listened). Back at her place we stayed up chatting until 1:30 in the AM. My favourite part of the night was when we were discussing being single and Amy said that after her last relationship her slogan is "Ha màs", Spanish for "Never again". We had both fallen into a pattern of depreciation in our last relationships, small allowences became unfulfilled needs, until we were fed up. After our conversation I promised myself that I will "never again" spend time pinning for any man who doesn't deserve my love and attention. (NOTE: This conversation was compounded on a comment my best friend Kelly made earlier in the evening: "Jess, I have higher standards for you than you do for yourself." What have I been doing with my life?)

Friday with Aimee. Due to my copius amounts of travel I avoid making commitments I probably can't keep, which includes sports teams. Luckily my friend Aimee is rediculously active (usually on at least 3 teams at any given time) and invites me out to co-ed events whenever they "need a girl." So Friday night was volleyball, which I haven't played in ages (evident by my missing most of my serves). As soon as the rotation was explained to me we got into a wicked groove. We were 4 and 2 by the end of the night and I was sweaty and smiling. Afterwards, Aimee, her boyfriend Jack (best story teller ever - ask about the "dildo story"), and I went for beers and munchies. All in all the most active and rewarding Friday night I've ever had.

Saturday with Amy C. Although we met each other at work less than two years, Amy and I have made up for it in hours of conversation logged. We kept missing each other due to work and illnesses so we decided to hook up on Saturday to go Christmas shopping. Her awesome fiancé Daryl joined us, and the trio headed down to the Eaton's Centre for some sensory overload. Amy filled the Subway ride with anecdotes from her office Chirstmas party the previous night (co-workers and free booze are never a good mix). Normally I ban malls at Christmas time, but it was a logical place to start. To complete the picture we got some Starbucks coffee and hit the stores. A question that arose as Amy was picking out boxer shorts for her brother: Why is it that men wear baggy cotton shorts under their jeans and women get stuck with low-rise thongs? I mean really, the differential in fabric usage is astounding.
That's Amy and me in our "Kill All Humans" t-shirts.

There you have it! 3 days, 3 Amies (those of you who remember your core French will recognize that the plural of "Amy" is also the plural, feminin form of "friend". I couldn't resist :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The only constant thing... change. I found out last week that my career guru, my office idol is resigning! I have so much respect for this man; he's smart but humble and treats his clients as his number one priority. In the past ten months that we've been working and traveling together I've learned so much and advanced my career exponentially. So obviously, I'm upset. Now, the grown-up in me says that I shouldn't take it personally, that this is a great opportunity for him and that he doesn't have any obligation to stay and mentor me.


The single-child in me who hates not getting what I want is having a tantrum! A juvenile, fists-pounding-the-floor, two-year-old in the mall, TANTRUM! I want to scream that its just not fair! I liked what I was doing, where I was going... What is going to happen to ME? How does this affect MY life?

Of course I don't actually say any of this. Mostly I just pout to myself. But really I know that deep, deep, DEEP down I'm happy for my co-worker, my friend. And I know I'll bounce back. Right now, though, with all the other crap going on in my life, I just wish I didn't have to deal with it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

F'n cold

McMurray cold snap.
Balaclavas, block heaters.
Absolute zero.*

So I'm a bit of a science geek. I remember when I was learning about temperature in school and I asked my Dad about the logic behind the Fahrenheit temperature scale. You see, Celsius was understandable: zero is set at something basic like water freezing and 100 at water boiling. Kelvin: set zero at the absolute coldest possible temperature and go up from there! My logical little brain could understand all that. ...But Fahrenheit? This bidness made no sense whatsoever. My Dad explained (and this is the equivalent of bedtime stories for us nerds) that at the time this dude Fahrenheit was inventing temperature he also set his scale at what he was able to measure as the coldest possible temperature. I just looked it up in my handy dandy conversion table and 0 F is equal to... MINUS EIGHTEEN CELSIUS (aka summer in Northern Alberta). That was the best he could do? Come on! It was -30 when I got off the plane last night in Fort McMurray and my nose hairs haven't unstuck since.

*I wanted to add many more "F'n" expletives, but there are just too few syllables in f'n haikus.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Can I just say I AM SO STOKED! Last night my good friend Joanna (who just got engaged, way to go Tim!) called and asked me the question I wasn't sure I would ever hear: "Will you do me the honour of becoming my bride(smaid)?" I was on the bus, crying, and bouncing off the walls. A bridesmaid? Me? What better excuse to be unabashedly girly, unapologetically giddy, and completely over the top? Not to mention the fun parties and pretty dresses. This is by far the best news I've had in awhile :)

And it gets even better: the wedding isn't until next October so this is just the beginning!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Imagine you're at the zoo. As you pass the monkey cage you stop to observe these amazing creatures. You're entranced. Their gestures, their interactions are so familiar... so reminiscent of human relations. One monkey stares at you with a look of such deep understanding in his soulful eyes that you think to yourself: Could they be thinking, feeling, wondering the same way we do? Could they be loving, hurting, dreaming like us? Are we really any different?

Then you notice the monkey doing something, but you can't quite figure out... oh, he's reaching around and grabbing... his own fecal matter. He then winds up, launches the warm mass, which lands squarely on your pant leg, and scampers off laughing.

Life is like a monkey: Just when you start to take it too seriously it throws shit at you as a reminder that you should just laugh at it and move along to the giraffe exhibit.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Shock de culture

Last week I was in Montreal (or more accurately Dorval) for work. I was a little nervous because the scope of the project was out of my comfort zone, not to mention that I had to conduct all business in French. However I fancy myself as having a little Quebecois in me (laid back and all that), so I figured a good attitude would get me through the week. It was with this mindframe that I sat, sweaty-palmed, as the opening meeting (attended by 10 French Canadians and me) was wrapping up. I had successfully navigated my way through a french introduction of myself (I even got a laugh out of everyone!) and was finally starting to relax a little.

We were discussing the logistics of our visit to the site, starting with a tour of the facility. At this point it should noted that this facility uses some nasty, smelly chemicals which we could potentially be exposed to during our tour. As we're just about finished, the Health & Safety rep practically yelled at me from across the room,

"Jessica, are you pregnant or think you might be? Even if you're just trying, there are certain areas you shouldn't visit."

Just like that. In front of everybody. I tried to maintain my composure, but I was so shocked! I checked my translation, was that actually what she said? Yes. Did she just ask me an incredibly personal and sensitive question in a room full of people I've never met before? Yes. Was everyone looking at me waiting for an answer? YES! I imediately thought of using humour as self-defense and saying something like "That would imply that I've actually had sex in the last 2 months, so no!" But luckily I quickly realized that a) I had no idea how to get that across in French and b) a comment like that might actually make everything more awkward. I managed to stammer a "non" and shake my violently to impress on them that I was definitely NOT preggers. Everyone seemed to accept this and moved on with the meeting. I was a little shaken, but I had a job to do, so I got over it.

Later that evening over dinner and drinks with my co-worker (who is 100% Quebecois) I casually brought up the situation to reassure myself that I wasn't in the wrong. I was going on and on about how awkward it was, how I couldn't believe she asked me that, etc. when I noticed a strange looked on his face. "You know", he said slowly. "It really wasn't a big deal. Nobody even noticed." I must not have looked convinced because he shrugged his shoulders and added "You don't have to be such an anglophone about it."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fleeting thoughts

Today I set a new record for my over traveled self: Three plane trips. That's three take offs and three landings. On any other day I may not have even remarked on this milestone, but the varying weather patterns between Fort McMurray (aka Fort McFreezing-my-ass-off) and Calgary made sure that these trips into the upper atmosphere would not go unnoticed. This morning I drove to the aiport in a snowstorm that did not permit me to exceed 30 kph in my rented Matrix. Yet somehow deciding to become airborne is a good idea! Of course in this situation they don't just take off and get it over with, they let you pile onto the plane (Dash-8, mind you) and sit on the runway while the snow heaps on faster than the attendants (who can barely grow facial hair) can wipe it off with that most technical of all airplane accessories - the broom. I'm surprised Swiffer hasn't cornered this market yet.

Regardless, I survive the morning excursions with barely an increase in my heart rate. I must be immune to any irrational plane phobias by now, right? Well, warm and safe on the ground in a snow storm is different than an entire flight from YYC to YMM with so much turbulence that the beer cart girl (sorry, flight attendent) couldn't make her rounds! Now that's a traumatizing flight experience.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The finer things

A priviledged life.
Tones? Muted. Palettes? Bland, gray.
The stench of status.

I travel for work. A lot. So much that this year I achieved Air Canada Elite Status well before the December 31st deadline. I received my card and dutifully attached my luggage tag, not fully realizing the significance of being deemed as Elite. What does it mean? Not a whole lot: lounge access prior to your flight, upgrades to business class, some extra points. I've already visited the lounges in a couple, albeit smaller, air ports (Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec) when traveling with my boss (Status: Super Elite). It's nice to have a free BEvERage or two and some snacks, but I never thought of it as a big deal. Until today.

I used to cut it close with my flights out of Toronto. But since the onset of the new carry-on rules (rant: the airline's attempt at making passengers feel safe from terrorist threats by banishing the most inane items, but still letting you have whatever it was they were adamantly against two months ago) I've started coming to the airport well in advance of even the recommended lead time. Today I was early enough to have the privilege of visiting the Air Canada lounge in Terminal 1. I was totally unprepared for what greeted me as I got off the elevator.

First, this place is massive. It's 20,000 carpeted square feet with heaps of chairs and tables for, I guess, lounging. The style is fit for a trendy downtown club. There's access to conference rooms and (ready for this?) showers. God forbid anyone with status have that weary, haggard look of most travelers. Second: An army couldn't consume all the food and drink. There's hot soup, a salad bar, a fully stocked alcohol bar, huge bowls of fresh fruit everywhere. Third: Huge panoramic windows look over the runway and Mississauga skyline.

Right now I'm comfortably seated in my leather lounge chair, enjoying free internet and the steaming hot 100% Colombian coffee resting on the marble table in front of me. I decided against food since I got upgraded to business class and I know I'll be provided with a hot, free meal during my flight. Maybe its because I'm currently reading a series of lectures by Stephen Lewis about the dire situation in Africa, but this all just strikes me as being so excessive. But hey, as Ron Burgundy says, 'When in Rome...'

Monday, September 25, 2006

Raks Sharqi

Double hip sit, dip,
Shoulder shimmy, figure eights.
Curves that move like... this!

Belly dancing! I just took my second class at a local health center and it is awesome. Sorry, AWESOME! We're learning a dance routine to Black Eyed Peas "My Humps", maybe not the most traditional belly dancing song, but definitely fun. And dangerous. I can just imagine Lesley (who is also newly addicted) and myself innocently out dancing one Saturday night and that song coming on... It could be a recipe for disaster! Because as much as I *think* I look sexy, my limited skills combined with alcohol might be more akin to muscle spasms while experiencing a high voltage electric shock. But as long I'm having fun, that's all that matters, right?

Top 5 reasons to be a bellydancer:
5. You can entertain yourself at spotlights by practicing chest isolations.
4. Costumes!
3. You can have a perfectly good reaons to tote around a sword.
2. You can sing along to lyrics in a foreign language with no idea of what they mean.

And the number one reason to be a bellydancer...

1. It doesn't seem so much like "excercise" when you're wearing chiffon!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

DJ PressPlay

Soundtrack to my life;
A piece of me, of you, there.
Play it one more time

What is it about certain traumatizing events that cause us to break all the rules? For example, I have a strong personal belief about not repeating songs. You know how tween girls love to do with their Backstreet Boys (or whatever they listen to). This principle was developed during my year at boarding school when I had an actual ROOMmate. As in we co-habitated a 9 x 9 cell (aka dorm), with bunkbeds and everything. The horror. Being an only child thrown into that situation was not cool; the mere concept of sharing anything, let alone a bedroom, was completely foreign to me. So please understand that I had some feeling of animosity towards Abi from the very beginning. The relationship may have been salvageable, if it hadn't been for one irrefutable fact: she was a Song-Repeater. She loved to play songs, or more accurately ONE song, over and over until it was the only thing I could hear in my head. A lobotomy could not remove this thing. The song that year, and I will never forget it as long as I live, was Murder She Wrote by Chaka Demus and Pliers (I had to look that up and frankly its hilarious). If you're not familiar with this particular piece of musical diarrhea, count your blessings. You're missing out on such inspired lyrics as:

Now dis one dedicated to the girls
Dem wid di angel face and the devil heart
Yuh no say Ragamuffin Chaka Demus an youth called Pliers
Come to deal with your case
Step up my youth - Hear dis!

Multiply that my 100 decibels and 2 million hours and you might begin to comprehend the slightest measure of my pain. Oh, and then there's the unforgettable chorus:

Murder she wrote (fi real fi real)
Murder she wrote
Murder she wrote
Murder she wrote

Dat is 100% fi real. I could not be makin dat up, mon.

Needless to say, my personal values lie strictly against song repetition. It's juvenile, it's annoying, it's insulting. However, now is a time of rule-breaking and I have found myself listening to the same 10 Dashboard songs for two weeks strait, probably ruining any future enjoyment of the album in the process. My life is being played out in 40 minute segments. And I'm not talking about idle background music. Un-uh. This is loud, passionate, sing-along, full-tilt consumption of the music. I'm thinking about the 1200 steps I'll need to kick this addiction.

That was until today, when salvation arrived. A concerned friend (no doubt worried about my mental stability since my vocabulary was reduced to only Dashboard lyrics) actually mailed me a new CD! Aside from the excitement of getting an actual present in the actual mail (you can touch it!), the CD is perfect. City and Colour (3 cheers for proper Canadians spelling) is suitably raw and haunting, and will accompany me in my endeavors indefinitely.

As long as I keep breaking the rules...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Blog Virgin

A haiku dedicated to my newborn blog:

Join the ranks of geeks!
Justify my existence.
Audience? Unknown.

Recently (like last week) when I went through some serious life changes (like the end of a long-term relationship) I told my friend Allison that I thought I might like to start a blog. Her advice was this: Don't be shy about posting random crap about your life. I'm thinking I'll heed this advice as Allison is a credible source; she has been blogging successfully about her knitting and her life for almost 2 years. So here it is! (Pat myself on the back.)

Not to dwell on the negative, but there is a nagging voice in the back of my head. It says it can already foresee problems with Jessica-as-blogger. Well, only one problem, but its a doozie. The dilemma is this: I'm a false-starter and I'm in denial. What does this mean? That I love to get really worked up and excited about an idea, maybe even make the first few steps to making it reality, then, regardless of any immediate gratification, drop the entire thing. I have proof of this condition. Observe the madness: a never-used snowboard, a hard-to-store exercise ball (soon to be accompanied by a yoga mat, I'm sure), totes of yarn, several journals with only the first three pages used, cookbooks and kitchen paraphernalia, art supplies for making greeting cards, empty plant pots, a friggin' tackle box and, obviously, associated tackle, the list goes on! It may just sound like I'm a pack-rat, but I'm telling you, I am a false-starter. The denial part comes in the way that I keep telling myself I will take up all these activities some day and really, really enjoy them. Actually, admitting it out-loud feels good. Hopefully admission is first step to my recovery, if any is possible. Just know, dear self, that blogger could quickly be added to your list of poser hobbies.

While I'm being honest with myself, I should admit the real reason that this blog is even being pulled out of the realm of daydream and into reality. The reason is this: I am bored stupid because I am being held against my will. Don't be alarmed, but it's true! Basically I'm a prisoner in a hotel in Fort McMurray (a post unto itself) while I'm here for work. On its own, this situation is yucky, but bearable. Now here's the kicker: It's Saturday night. Not the end of the world for most people, but I just happen to be a person who lives for going out and socializing on Saturday nights. I'm being very serious right now. Out of everything I've ever started, I've remained 100% committed to celebrating les Samedi soirs. Getting stupid and staying out late on Saturdays is essentially a religion for me! I worship the deities of cold beer and loud music! I subscribe to the belief that God meant to slur "Let there be alcohol and parties" on the sixth day! This is bordering on persecution!

That's it, I'm taking my fate into my own hands. I'm going to search for a beverage in the hotel bar before it closes.

Pray for me.