Jazz it up

Okay.

So some of you know that I’m a little into jazz.

And by a little I mean I LOVE IT.

I mean, I could probably listen to Lee Morgan’s Sidewinder for years and never get sick of it.

It’s just that good.

Most of my jazz knowledge comes from two places: my mum, and CBC radio.

My favourite program on the station is “Tonic” hosted by Tim Tamashiro (a jazz musician himself). The show airs every night from 8-10pm on CBC Radio 2, as well as Sundays at 10pm on CBC Radio 1.

For any readers residing in the Great White North, I highly recommend to check it out. All international guests? iTunes that stuff, yo!

I always look forward to my drive home from hosting the Storytelling Show on Sundays because I can just sit back and let a bunch of sweet, mellow tunes wash over me. It’s the perfect soundtrack as I crank up my heated seats and cruise out of downtown Vancouver. The whole experience allows me to unwind  – not only from the adrenaline rush from hosting my own radio show, but from the insanity of the weekend on the whole.

Also, Tonic is the program that taught me that the trombone used to be called the “sacbut” and that, ladies and gentlemen, is never, EVER not going to be one of the funniest things in the whole world.

SACBUT.

(I am twelve years old, evidently. But also maybe seventy because I really, really love jazz?)

It’s a mystery!

Anyway, the other day, whomever helms Tonic’s twitter account (I really want to believe that it’s Tim, but I cannot be sure) posted the following tweet:

tonic

To which I responded:

tonic 2

Truth be told, I was a little nervous that this may have been overkill until I saw this:

tonic

Which made my silly little heart so ridiculously happy.

Seriously, the only thing that could have made it better would have been the inclusion of a little Lee Morgan.

Lee Morgan playing the sacbut.

YEAH.

Love Actually, is, all around (can we move the Japanese Ambassador to 4pm tomorrow?)

Well, it seems as though the Christmas season has officially arrived here on the West Coast of Canada.

Which means, it’s only a matter of time before I watch my three favourite holiday movies:

Muppets Christmas Carol

Home Alone

Love Actually

It’s actually the third film on this list that was the impetus for me writing this post.

IMG_20131121_222611

I was thinking about when would be an appropriate time to sit down for our yearly viewing of this masterpiece, before asking myself (for maybe the millionth time) – DID ALAN RICKMAN REALLY CHEAT ON EMMA THOMPSON?

This questions has been plaguing me for the past ten years.

Common consensus would say, yes, Harry and Mia did in fact engage in coitus (hence why we see her putting the necklace on in her undies, with an unmade bed in the background – I HAVE SEEN THIS MOVIE MANY TIMES) but I have such a hard time accepting this reality.

But most likely this is because of my all-consuming, and always growing love for Ms. Thompson.

Ya know?

EXACTLY.

Anyway, even though to me, this movie is perfect (to paraphrase Rick Grimes and all), here are a few other problems that always arise upon every viewing.

*holds up sign of mummified human being*

Too much?

ONWARDS!

1. I don’t believe that Colin Firth’s (Jamie’s) wife would cheat on him with his brother. I mean, THAT GUY? Really? HIM? Could they not have cast some crazy, smoking hot dude (a real Carl if you will!) to play this part?

And why is everyone so disappointed that Uncle Jamie isn’t staying with the family for Christmas? HIS BROTHER WAS SEXING HIS WIFE BEHIND HIS BACK! The fact that his entire brood of blood relatives is willing to excuse that horrible behaviour, but is insanely upset that Jamie won’t carve the bloody turkey is WAY COLD. And I’m not buying it!

Although “I HATE Uncle Jamie!” has become one of Marc’s and my most favourite sayings to date, so – not all bad I suppose.

2. “Miss Dunkin’ Donuts 2003.”

COME ON RICHARD CURTIS. We all know Aurelia’s Portuguese Dad isn’t using that as his insult of choice when he’s fat-shaming his other daughter.

What the hell man? IF you’re going to go for the cheap weight-related joke, at the very least use your imagination and don’t just go for the lazy laugh!

3. That photo of Harry (Alan Rickman) and Bernard (his son), framed on Karen (Emma Thompson’s) dresser cracks me up every time I see it. Bernard just looks completely nuts, and is making the most bonkers face of life.

I can never NOT see it now.

4. What is UP with the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary (Is that her title?) who likes to make fun of Natalie? Is she in love with the Prime Minister? Why the hell would she make such a crappy comment about the size of Natalie’s bum? I mean, isn’t that crazy unprofessional? I DON’T GET IT.

5. Daniel (Liam Neeson) and his step-son get over his wife’s death way too quickly. Also, no one learns to play the drums in a week. TAKE THAT YA WEE MONGREL!

6. Do we really think that backpack is chock-a-block filled with condoms?

7. What is UP with girls from Wisconsin? Is Christmas Eve and Budweiser some kind of lethal sex combination for these young ladies OR WHAT?

8. Look man, I think Kiera Knightley is as lovely as the next gal, but what the heck is up with that wedding dress? Midriff baring? In the middle of winter? And is she wearing feathers in her hair? I mean, look how effortlessly amazing Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is in his suit. Could we not have at least tried to match this?

9. Also, am I the only one who thought that Mark (Peter’s best friend) was in love with Peter? I still kind of wish that this was, in fact, the case. And that he really did hate Juliet, because she had taken away not only his best friend, but the love of his life.

10. LAURA LINNEY. What are you doing friend!? TAKE CARL AND RAVISH HIM. We all die, over and over again, every time we watch you waste such a magical chance to bed Carl the enigmatic chief designer-cum-underwear model!

So there you have it dudes. My (small!) beefs with one of the best holiday movies of all time.

Do you agree?

Disagree?

Let me know.

But in the meantime, I’ll let Joanna have the last word:

All I want for Christmas is YOU.

(And you.)

(And you!)

Putting it off until tomorrow

I realized I had a problem when I began reading Battlestar Gallactica fan-fiction on the internet.

I suppose this wouldn’t have been so bad if I had either been  a) a fan of the show or b) someone who regularly enjoyed world-wide ready smut, but as I was neither, warning bells were quick to sound.

(The worse of it?  I actually had to SIGN UP to gain access to the website.)

OKAY FINE.

I always had a thing for Adama and Roslin. I understand that this makes me very weird. But I am okay with that.

It was a Tuesday at two in the morning, and I was mashed into a kitchen chair with my knees pressed up against my chest and my slippers half slid off my feet, feeling kind of turned on, but mostly horrified.   Dressed in my husband’s boxers and an old tank top, I felt chills run the length of my spine – the kind that makes you feel completely clammy,  as though your entire body is blushing.

I stumbled to my feet.

The need to get away from the computer, and its mocking stare was overpowering; I felt nauseous.  As I stepped backwards I tripped over my cat’s overturned scratching post.  Cracking my knee against the desk, I toppled to the ground.

As my face made contact with the carpet, the face of the evil force that had lead to this late-night, lackluster climax (metaphorically, not literally) rushed up to greet me.

This was procrastination beyond anything I had ever known.

It must be noted that I had every intention of writing this post at the last minute –as any piece on procrastination is wont to be, I’m sure – and let the record stand that I did.

BUT.

I also decided to do a little bit of research.

For instance, did you know that the origin of the word is derived from the Latin pro, meaning “forward, forth, or in favor of,” and crastinus, meaning “of tomorrow”?  And that it can be defined as “to voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse-off for the delay”?

Synonyms include: frivoling, idling, dilly-dallying, loafing, puttering and trifling.

Examples of procrastination often cited include: frenetically cleaning, exercising, cooking, baking, watching television, completing crosswords, obsessively checking e-mail and trolling online gossip and sporting websites.

Very true. And also a great way to procrastinate.
Very true. And also a great way to procrastinate.

(A friend who wishes to remain anonymous confessed to once visiting soapopera.net to read the episode recaps of shows she didn’t even watch.)

However this is not to say that there aren’t numerous inventive, creative and incredibly interesting ways to pass the time when you are not doing the thing (whatever it is) you are supposed to be doing.

I once met a guy, a then UBC MFA student who recounted how he makes lists whenever he procrastinates.  I thought this to be rather mundane (everybody makes to-do lists!) and asked him to elaborate.

“No,” he told me.  “You don’t quite understand.  I don’t just make lists.  I make lists and then I memorize them.  For example, the 1987-88 NHL scoring race went as such: Lemieux 168, Gretzky 149, Savard 131, Hawerchuk 121, Robitaille 111…”

I sat there stunned as he rattled off the top ten point leaders as well as their totals.

“There are only so many times you can look at something until it sticks with you,” he told me.  “For a while it was NHL stats.  I pick and choose what I want to learn about I suppose.”

Another friend told me how when he procrastinates he obsesses over bicycling infrastructure.

“Does that have something to do with the actual construction of the bike?” I asked.

“No,” he said.  “It means that I lust after places like Copenhagen and Amsterdam,” he explained.

I didn’t tell him that I thought that was pretty darn weird.  I mean, who was I to judge?

So why do we procrastinate?  There are four main theories on this topic.  The first concerns a fear of anxiety, fear of failure or pursuit of perfectionism.  The conceit being, the more an individual fears the task at hand the more anxious they become about starting.  Therefore, they are more likely to put it off, hence a need to procrastinate.

The second theory is that of self-handicapping.  This is when people place obstacles that hinder their own good performance. The motivation for self-handicapping is often to protect self-esteem by giving people an external reason, an “out,” if they fail to do well.

The third theory concerns rebelliousness.  Certain personality traits, such as hostility and stubbornness supposedly leave individuals predisposed against schedules and authority and are therefore more likely to procrastinate.

The fourth is a theory that purports that we are constantly beset with making decisions among various courses of action, and as such, make decisions based on what we would rather do more.  For instance, should we do homework or spend time with friends?  Do we watch TV or go for a run?  Study for a midterm or clean the bathroom? It suggests that individuals are more likely to take on the task that is both more enjoyable and easier to attain and put off those more difficult with varying degrees of personal satisfaction.

There are of course less academically substantiated hypotheses.  These concern the beliefs that underneath it all there is a fundamental, human belief in the profundity of procrastination.  Perhaps it is both part of a conscious denial of, or rebellion against the linear nature of time and the structured nature of the world that revolves around the completion of assignments, the writing of exams, and the never ending list of projects.

Procrastination is a conscious practice; it is an attempt to move beyond the moving forward; it is an exercise in existing only in a moment and trying to make that moment last forever.

Some academics believe that procrastination is a thoroughly modern invention, due to a move from an agrarian society to urban.  Back in the 14th century, 98% of the population of the Western world lived on manor estates (take these statistics with a grain of salt) and spent their days working on the land of whatever lord, or earl held power.  From sun up to sun down their day was mapped out – there was no time, let alone substantial resources for procrastination.  It wasn’t until the advent of numerous deadlines, schedules and commitments, or ever, the advent of personal choice, that procrastination came into play.

There are a number of tests and scales that allow you to measure your own level of procrastination (just google “procrastination test.”)  On the one I took I came out as a “moderate procrastinator” who “puts things off sometimes even though [I] know I shouldn’t.”

Oh yeah?  What profound insight!  Yeesh.  (Thank goodness I didn’t have to pay money to take the test.)

Also, I couldn’t help but think as I answer all ninety-one questions was how great an exercise in procrastination it was in and out of itself. Which in turn took me back to hockey stats and bicycle paths, because it is interests like those and quizzes like the one I took that make me wonder whether or not procrastination is a bad as we have come to think.

Perhaps it less destructive and more instructive than we give it credit.

The popular adage goes:  “procrastination is like masturbation – either way you’re just screwing yourself.”

I’ve come to consider that this may be the insignia of some puritanical, incredibly efficient sect, because if everyone felt as good after a day of procrastination as they did after a hour (or whatever) of self-loving, school libraries would reek less of desperation and more of quiet satisfaction.

I mean, depending on the day, the individual involved and the specific job at hand, people find themselves immersed in something they’d never before considered important and perhaps still don’t find important – yet are still learning and still growing nevertheless (Battlestar Galactica fan fiction not included.)

But the fact remains the same, we are still doing something.  We are still learning something, or practicing something, or scrubbing something; at the end of the day, we will still have something to show for our efforts despite our lack of progress on our intended project.

Case in point: procrastination can lead to a tidier, germ-free apartment; knowledge about Danish cycling routes; and a windfall realization as to why identical evil twins are so damn popular on day-time TV.

Open up and bare it all

Hi Chickadees!

There are so, SO many things of which I have to write, but while I get my thoughts (and pictures, and videos) in order, and oil up my oh-so rusty typing fingers, I am going to answer the ten funniest questions OF LIFE posed to me by the amazingly hilarious Great Unwashed.

Please go check out her blog. You will not regret this decision.

And now! My answers:

 1. If you had to choose between Anna Karenina, War and Peace and Steve Martin’s acclaimed novella “Shopgirl” which book would be the best weapon in a bar fight?

First off, GREAT QUESTION.

My initial reaction was all, “UMMMM ANNA KARENINA YO.”

NEXT!

In terms of sheer weight (both literally, and literature-aly), The Jerk doesn’t have a thing on old Leo T. In fact, I am surprised he is even included here in the list. I would have expected something like – Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov, and Les Miserables.

IMG_3795
RIGHT?

I only initially chose the adorable adventures of Kitty and Levin (and the insufferable angst of Anna and Vronsky) because it was first in the list. War and Peace would also pack one hell of a punch.

But I digress.

My decision in the end actually IS Shopgirl (and not just because I love the word “novella”), but because anyone who thought to start a bar fight with me, and then happened to espy that I was reading such dreck would probably realize that going rope-a-dope with me just wouldn’t be worth it.

My life would be much too sad already.

Side note: my husband really hates Steve Martin.

Like, a lot.

I don’t really care either way, but I do dig the fact that he plays the banjo.

2. What is the longest period you’ve ever gone without bathing? Please note, stays in Turkish prisons do not count.

DULY NOTED.

Okay, first things first –

I LOVE TAKING SHOWERS.

They are firmly ensconced in my Top Five Things to Do By Myself.

Plus I just generally hate feeling dirty. Nothing feels as good as a great scrubbing.

The longest I have ever gone without showering was two weeks in grade ten when I was a camp counsellor in training.

I took part in a teenage Outward Bound-type excursion, and being that we spent the entire time in the wild woods, we also went the entire time sans-showers.

I tell you, even though we had the opportunity to swim almost every day, I was practically dreaming about soap and shampoo by the end of the trip.

3. You’ve decided to take on three additional husbands and or wives, who are they? Both living and dead people may be included, although admittedly an attraction to the deceased is a little beyond me.

SUCH A HARD QUESTION.

But such a good question.

Okayokayokay.

For the purely physical: James Spader circa 1986.

Or Rafa Nadal circa all of his Armani ads.

SO HOT I JUST CAN’T EVEN.

For the purely intellectual: David Mitchell.

SO FUNNY AND SMART I JUST CAN’T EVEN.

For the whole package: Stephen Colbert.

*brain explosion*

4. What is your most unfortunate public transportation story?

I have drooled quite a bit on the metro in my day.

Also, once, while riding the last skytrain back home I watched a guy barf all over the floor.

That wasn’t very nice.

5. Go back in time, you’re attempting to sell your five year old sibling, what is your asking price?

ONE MILLION CHOCOLATE BARS.

6. In a bid to secure the Guinness World Record for “Longest and Highest Transport of Tom Cruise” you’ve decided to piggyback this superstar across the Andes. What phrase do you repeat to yourself during the tough parts of the trek to spur yourself onwards when Tom’s pointy hip bones are digging into your spine?

The following classic line from Top Gun:

“I WANT SOME BUTTS!”

(See below video.)

No joke, I use this line almost daily.

7. What do you consider to be a valid reason for a hunger strike?

I wrote a super long answer about torture and imprisonment without cause that was super, super grim (surprise, surprise!) so for the sake of brevity I’ll just say that weird pink chicken mcnugget sludge.

The thought of that stuff pretty much turns me off food for life.

8. Name three items you hide from your spouse or significant other or even better, yourself.

I don’t actually hide much, if anything at all, from Marc.

As many of you who read this blog might have guessed, I’m a pretty transparent person.

However, for years I denied that it was me who put the dent into our old VW Golf. I also only watch Drop Dead Diva when he’s either asleep or out of the house. One time I farted on the subway and convinced him that he was in fact the one who farted.

9. Where are the hiding places for these items? Wait! Don’t tell me, I’m a terrible secret keeper.

MY CONSCIENCE.

10. How do you feel about my interviewing skills? Will they make Oprah love me?

If the big O doesn’t love you, please take some level of comfort in the fact that I most definitely do.

So there you have it!

What about you dudes? What are some of your answers to the fab-tastic queries?

Please do share.

Because let’s be honest here, they are just too good not to.