HAPPY 2017!!

Happy 2017 internet!

It’s a new year and another new start to all the things we’re gonna say we’re gonna do and then most likely never complete and/or start said things. Since I’m a realist, I decided to go about 2017 in a different way.

I am currently sitting at my desk with my lemon and ginger tea (when I would much rather have a glass of wine), working on my “blog” (haven’t wrote enough for this to count) and listening to Hamilton, deciding to finally get starting on my:

25 THINGS TO DO WHILE I’M 25!!

Instead of doing stuff like “I’m gonna go to the gym every day” (no you’re not) or “I’m not going to eat sugar” (yes you fucking are) I decided to make a list of goals that I would like to learn as a bright young woman of 25. My birthday just recently passed and I figured I should get started on these goals.

What’s nice about setting goals after your birthday is that there is no official start day. With New Year resolutions you have to start on day 1. If you don’t then that’s literally an automatic fail. Then it’s just depressing. At least this way I can decide to do whatever goal I want for a year. It is impossible to complete all these in a single day. This way I am self growing as a person or whatever. And if I don’t complete all 25 goals that’s ok! I have TWENTY-FIVE things to do. That’s insanity. I mean, goals are great but I still have shit to do like: work, be an active participant in my relationship, pet my dogs, drink, talk my friends off the edge, school again in September, be talked off the edge by my friends, hang out with my sister, and perhaps like do other things that my completely sober brain can’t think of at the moment. But if I can cross up to ten things off this list I think that that would be an amazing way to spend my 25th year on this earth.

Anyway, here are the shitty things I wanna do this year.

  1. Become a (serious) vegetarian again
  2. Go to PEI
  3. Get 3 new tattoos
  4. Go to the Biodome in Montreal
  5. Don’t get take-out for a month
  6. Renew my passport
  7. Get my G1 (shut up)
  8. Go on a hike with my BFF
  9. Host a fancy dinner party (that I live through)
  10. Learn how to knit mittens
  11. Go camping
  12. Go up North
  13. Learn how to knit a shawl
  14. Harry Potter Marathon (movies)
  15. Go on a boat
  16. Join a sport team
  17. Go to a play at the NAC
  18. Volunteer
  19. Go to a talk
  20. Make my own wine
  21. Write up  min. 12 new blogs (one down!!)
  22. Finish my 52 book goal
  23. Don’t drink pop
  24. Fly in a helicopter
  25. Learn how to crotchet

So some of these are much more likely than others, but hey! If you don’t dream big then what’s the fucking point?

Advertisements

Shitty Things You Say and Do Part Two

  1. Don’t listen the first time: “It comes with a small house salad on the side or you can upgrade to a ceasar or greek salad for $3.” “Yeah I’ll have the french fries.” NO
  2. When you decide to sit at the bar but pull out three chairs for no reason.
  3. “Food and drinks are listed in the menu in front of you.” “Can I look at a food menu?” URG
  4. Orders a pop and food item. Gets a phone call and leaves, paying only for the pop. Wtf?
  5. “We’re in a rush.” Proceeds to sit at table for an hour.
  6. Allowing your shitty kids to draw all over the table
  7. Expecting free food when your prementioned shitty kid throws theirs on the ground.
  8. Expecting free beer because you frequent a bar often. Like no, you’re still a customer and we are still a business.
  9. “So I’m going to order this wrap, but change everything about it to match what I actually wanna eat.” OMG go to Subway then.
  10. “Can I get you something to drink?” “No thank you” “Water?” “Yes please and a Pepsi.” THOSE ARE DRINKS!!
  11. Dining and dashing…dick move guys…dick move.
  12. Lying about driving after you drank that one too many. Also a dick move. Don’t do it. DON’T!
  13. “Can we get two beers to go?”
    “No sir, that is illegal.”
    “Oh. Can we have a pitcher and sit on the patio?”
    “Yes.”
    Proceeds to pour pitcher into a milk jog and put it in their car. All on camera.
    Cops: “You’re on camera doing this sir.”
    “No I’m not.”

 

The Road – By Cormac McCarthy

In My Unhelpful Opinion – A Shitty Book Review

As per usual (do three book reviews count as usual at this point? Or do I have to write more before I can use that phrase?) my review of The Road on my GoodReads account can be accessed here and this review is a more “in-depth” one… sort of. If ranting can be considered in-depth. The Road as a novel also lacks depth, so that poses a problem too . Also spoilers I guess?

However, I do dig the start of my GoodReads review which was: what a boring ass book. Honestly I have never read anything more mundane in my entire life and I have read a good many deal of books in my time both good and bad. This book is set at the end of the world with freaking CANNIBALS and it still manages to be the most mind-numbing plot line ever. Things almost happen – they have the potential to be exciting. Friggen not gonna happen. The most exciting thing that happens is “the man” gets hit in the leg with an arrow or something (I finished this book just over 12 hours ago and I honestly can’t remember. Though I’m pretty sure it was an arrow).

Also holy cheese on a cracker “the boy” was the single most irritating character. This kid, in this new world that he lives in, should be dead. He was crying ALL THE TIME. Like omg it is the end of the world, grow some balls and learn how to survive. Again like I said in the GoodReads, I’m guessing the boy’s goodness and innocence is supposed to be reflective of the world they live in. Probably a little something about human nature and the difference of being the child who is being protected and the father, who is doing the protecting. Friggen barf. Maybe I’m spoiled with how awesome Carl is from The Walking Dead. I mean, he has actual character development and knows when to kill and when not too. This “the boy” had all his shit stolen from him including shoes, food, blankets and flint, is left to die on the beach and is like “well he was just hungry”. That’s not childhood innocence. That is ignorance and naïveté that should not be rewarded or allowed to continue if either of them want to survive. Who leaves your only fucking gun in the sand in a world that is borderline killing you everyday?

I thought maybe it was about a father’s love (not mum’s though ‘cause she most likely killed herself when she realized there was no hope left in the world) for his son, but even that turned out to be boring and lame. His whole thing was making sure his son survives, or that they die together. The Man dies and he’s like nope can’t do it, I’m going to let him get by on luck and the good will of strangers not to kill my boy because I can’t do it. I mean, which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to kill your child, but not doing it goes against pretty much everything that the book goes on about.

I give it 2/5 stars and that’s being generous because it was actually the narrator of the audio book that kept me going on this one. However, I give credit where credit is due and I remained entertained enough to want to see how it ends. There was no character development, so didn’t’ even care that he died. Honestly I thought the boy was gonna get kidnapped and eaten or something, ‘cause I heard this book described as “tragic”. I also made a quick trip to the cliff notes pages (since this is an audio book and not a hard copy) and I didn’t realize that McCarthy’s writing style added to the style of hopelessness to the book. So half point there, because Atwood did a similar thing and I liked that. Honestly overall I’m super disappointed in this book, which is a shame because it has been on my reading list for so long and I heard such good things.

Shitty Things Customers Do and Say to Your Server

1. Spill red wine all over the place WHILE breaking a glass in the meantime, don’t apologize, look irritated and just move seats.

2. Don’t listen to the server then s/he gives you directions on how to use the debit/credit machine

3. Say “I’ll leave the tip in cash” on a 90 dollar bill, sit at the table for another 45 mins and then leave a toonie.

4. “What beers do you have on draft?” “Sorry sir, we don’t have any, just tall cans” “But what do you have on draft?” “Nothing. Only cans.” “Are you sure? I think I see some taps right there.” “That is wine sir.” “Really?” “Yes. I do work here.” “Oh. Well I’ll have a bottle than.”

5. “What beers do you have?” [Lists them off] “Do you have Canadian?” No. I literally just listed them off. “Did you say Corona?” “The beer list is here sir.” “Oh. Well I don’t know what any of these are.” NOT MY PROBLEM

6. When the order is repeated back to you and then you complain that it wasn’t what you ordered. Yes, it was. You just don’t understand how to read.

7. [Comes in and doesn’t look at menu] “What can I eat here?” I don’t fucking know.

8. [Comes in and doesn’t look at menu] “I’m allergic to wheat, shellfish, tomatoes, most fruit and I don’t eat port or beef.” Ma’am, why the fuck did you come into a restaurant where all these things are served?

9. Don’t tell me there is something wrong with your food when you’re done. Or 75% done. Or after you paid. Tell me when I check on you after your first couple of bites. When you’re done I can’t do jack shit for you because you’re done. You ate it.

10. If you don’t like your drink, it sucks to be you. In Ontario you cannot return your drink. If there is something wrong with it (flat, corked etc.) well then yes of course it will get fixed. But if you sit there and are like “this tastes icky”, oh well.

11. Burp and puke over your shoulder and then don’t tell anyone. That is disgusting and no one likes that type of surprise.

12. Snap your fingers to get my attention. I am not a dog and this will not work.

13. Ask me about school and then insult me with the response “Well good luck finding a job with that.” Lady, you are just ASKING for poor service.

14. No, Facebook does not count as a piece of ID.

 

The Cellist of Sarajevo – Steven Galloway

In My Unhelpful Opinion – A Shitty Book Review

Oh this book. This beautiful, powerfully sad, enlightening book. Based on the actual Siege of Sarajevo from 1992-1996, and the cellist that played tribute to 22 people who lost their lives trying to buy some bread. This book follows three different characters Arrow, Dragan and Kenan. Arrow is a soldier, an expert sniper, who unlike her fellow comrades and enemies does not shoot who she deems the innocent. She has her own moral code and is insistent on keeping it. Dragan, is older man whose wife and son escaped the city without hom. He works in a bakery which, for the most part has kept him from being enlisted in the war effort. Kenan is a father and husband. He is weighed down by his responsibility to keep his family alive as well as keeping old promises to a neighbour who refuses to simply change to water bottles with handles.

This book is one of those rare finds that can make you feel a deep sadness. The sadness fills you up to the brim and just consumes you fully. Like most well written works of fiction, it has to be true enough that the reader can picture the narrative being plausible. Dragan and Kenan’s storylines and characters are mundane enough that you can picture an average person going through the motions and thoughts that they do. Dragan is simply trying to get to work. To do so, he has to cross a street. But this everyday act is hindered by snipers killing whoever they feel like. Kegan has to get water for his family and neighbour so that they can cook, drink and wash. Seemingly simple aspects of your life, that in their reality, can get them killed. Arrow on the other hand, is the type of soldier that you hope exists. She has her own moral code that dictates who can live and who can die. But that code was created for her because of the “us versus them” mentality that exists.

While I was listening to the audio book The Cellist of Sarajevo. There was a moment when Dragan is waiting to cross the street. The Men on The Hills are sniping the area and it is too dangerous to cross the road. Another man had tried and paid with his life. Dragan noticed that there was a camera crew waiting to film the people trying to cross the road. It is here that he discovers that dead bodies do not make the news. It is people surviving, taking a stand and facing impossible odds that make people want to help.

A couple weeks ago this image began circulating the internet. As a testament to how powerful the picture of that little boy was, it came in the midst of the 2016 Rio Olympics, when the entire world has their attention focused on our best athletes competing against one another rather than world events. The war in Syria is still an ongoing event. We here in Canada and the United States have the privilege of being so, so separated from war. This is the type of picture that reminds us that there are certain injustices in the world that we have no possible way of empathizing with. Tiananmen Square, the fall of the Berlin Wall, or the horrors of the Vietnam War are all images that depict bravery, freedom or the horrors. The picture of that poor little Syrian boy falls heavily into this category with the reminder that the Syrian War is still destroying lives on a daily basis.

Even though the setting of this book is takes place about 20 years ago, the way that Galloway writes it, you can essentially substitute any war for it, with the exception of the cellist’s story line. It touches on love, promises, the meaning of life, the difference between living and surviving, friendships, family, the politics of war, morality towards people’s mortality, hatred, self-reflection in times of hardship and peace, bravery compared with cowardice, sorrow and happiness. In short, it is a book that makes you feel and think about a lot of things in a different light that you might otherwise would not of.

My Goodreads Review

This book was recommended to me by my friend and I’m so happy that she did. Books that are based on true events but depict the story from a fictional lens are always so chilling because there is that grain of truth that each character holds in them. A father who cannot let his children see that he is a coward; an older gentleman protected from enlistment partly due to his age, partly from his occupation at the bakery; an expert marksman who refuses to reveal her true name because this version of herself is not permanent nor her true self; and finally the cellist who plays for 22 days as a tribute to those poor individuals who only wanted a piece of bread, but instead lost their lives.

A truly touching novel that speaks of the hardships of war and how those who live through it on a daily basis, manage it.

 

A Handmaid’s Tale – by Margarat Atwood

In My Unhelpful Opinion – A Shitty Book Review

When I decided to make this entry my first publication on my new blog (yay!) I had the image in my head that it was going to be this profound, inspired piece of work that is well-written, and reflective of the years that I spent in university getting a higher education. Fuck that, my response to this book is raw and needs to be written as such.

When I was just over half way through the book, I updated how I felt about it to my friend, who has read all of Atwood’s books. I described it as such:
Me: “Reading it is like being a metaphorical frog in boiling water.”
Her: “Wtf you talking about?”
Me: “You start reading this book, and you’re waiting for a plot to emerge and
understand what  the heck is going on. Then all of a sudden you realize you can’t                     stop reading and anxious to find out what is happening next.”

The Handmaid’s Tale was an excellent book. I guess it is important to understand that this is the first of Atwood’s books that I actually read as a physical hard copy. I listened to the MaddAddam trilogy as audio books and absolutely loved them. However, I am thrilled that my friend made me actually read this one. The narration is disjointed, and Atwood’s lack of using quotation marks when people are speaking tend to give the conversations more and less meaning.

My initial response to finishing the book was a mixture of being super pissed off and annoyed both at how it ended (books that leave more question unanswered than answered is incredibly aggravating) and at the protagonist. Offred (Of-Fred – took me to the end of the book to understand this name. I kept reading it as Off-red) is the narrator of the story, giving the account of her life both in the present day and of the past. She tells the Commander that in order to continue to risk her life to see him, she wants to “know what is going on.” At this point in the book is where I’m like – “Right on! We’re getting somewhere now!” Then, just as Offred was disappointed with the Commander’s request to play Scrabble with him (her wanting to burst of laughter of how mundane it is) we are brought into the “black market”. Which is essentially just a Men’s Club. A freaking men’s club. That’s it. Prostitution and illegal goods will apparently always have a place in society.

You’re sitting there reading this book and wondering why she is bothering to tell us her story. She doesn’t uncover some super secret conspiracy. You learn about the Mayday group, but Offred is indifferent to the group as a romance with another character comes about and she is able to confide in him about her life. And this is where you understand our passive protagonist. She is lonely. She had her family torn apart and is used as a “uterus with legs” and needed companionship. While she is not a believer in whatever messed up extremist religious sect took over, she has no desire to help bring it down.

Now I am calling this a review so I should write something about the book too. As I stated before, it was the first book of Atwood’s that I actually read. So for those people who haven’t read her before, not having quotation marks when there is a conversation being had gets confusing. I had to reread a few pages here and there before I got used to it. It also flows back and forth from the present to the past, because as you find out in the end, “The Handmaid’s Tale” was an audio recording, which when you finish the books, allows everything to fall in place. When the book first started I felt really frustrated by the lack of a plot. But there can’t really be a true plot from Offred can there? She, as a woman in this world, literally has no rights. Her only purpose for existing is to have a baby. That she doesn’t even get to raise. She can’t be touched by anyone other than the Commander and his Wife. She can’t hold property or have money (not that it has any value).  As I described earlier, she has no will to overtake her oppressors. She never even tells us her name.

Anyway, in my unhelpful opinion this book is awesome. It makes you feel a bunch of very conflicting emotions, it is a wonderfully written, and provides succulent brain food.