Thursday, December 31, 2009

Don't just stand there

Yeah, there's something to a rappin' white chick, isn't there?

I dunno.

Last weekend, I was in Spokane. My buddy's friends decided we were hauling off to a karaoke bar. Honestly, I was a tad too inebriated to protest and too unfamiliar with the lay of the land to suggest another option.

I already had bragged about my talent with Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby.

One of the girls signed me up and I promise you ... I rocked the smoke outta that bar. It was said to my friend: 'Holy crap, dude, she isn't even looking at the words on the screen and she's rockin' it!'

Should I be proud?

But everyone has to have a backup plan, right? I started a new job with the Web Solutions team of Shaw Communications. Two weeks into my tenure, we had a social afternoon scheduled ... at a karaoke bar.

I was confident I would do Ice Ice Baby. But when we got to the bar and started flipping through the song list, it wasn't there.

I panicked! I looked for an escape route! I stammered! I stuttered! I ... no, not really. I was a tad relieved, knowing I wasn't quite ready to shame myself in that way in front of my new colleagues.

No, no, new Angela, you have to do a song.

Good grief, what's left?

Well, what other kitschy rap song could I do? Hmmm, I know!

Tonight's the night

I'm about to lose control and I think I like it ...

Somehow, I have a feeling 2010 is going to be one shebang of a year. And I'm So Excited by the Pointer Sisters popped into my head.

Not only is a great happy song to put me in the mood for hosting Single Girls New Year's Eve with Danelle and Wendy, but it brings back hilarious memories, too.

You see, when I was 19 I worked at a bar, Chevy's Rock N Roll Forever, that played a lot of hits from the 1950s and '60s. Every half hour on the top and bottom of the hour, the staffers had choreographed dances to perform.

Yes, we had to abandon our customers and posts, rush to the DJ stand and dance. Totally PG-rated! Well, except for that one girl who was screwing the bar manager and refused to sport underwear beneath her mini poodle skirt.

And on the quarter hour (:15 and :45), we performed lip syncs to songs of our own choice.

This, of course, was one of mine.

Rock in the new year!

It's officially New Year's Eve in Alberta.

Why I'm still up when I have to put in a full day tomorrow (and host the best-ever girls-only NYE!) is beyond me.

The most popular song to be played over the next 24 hours?

Without a question, it's Auld Lang Syne.

Here's a metal version for you ... and yes, you should be prepared to face more metal in the coming future. You'll find out why on New Year's Day.

For the more delicate sensibilities:

And one for the homies:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Gone are the days when I get to know every member of a band, his birthday and shoe size.

(Frank Feranna Jr! Your birthday was this month and I forgot!)

So when I heard this morning that Jimmy (The Rev) Sullivan had died, I didn't give it a second thought ... until a friend Tweeted the drummer for Avenged Sevenfold was dead.

The how and why of his death make no matter to this blog entry.

Instead, it is a tribute to one hell of a drummer, noting a few of my favourite Avenged Sevenfold tracks, all in heavy rotation on my MP3 player.

Rock in peace, Rev.

2010: A year of learning

Oh dear.

It seems my mind is going to be kept busy in the next calendar year.

In less than five minutes, I've devised a reading list based on a number of topics that interest me.

Specifically, I'm fascinated how the digital age is affecting not only communications among the general populus, but also our ability to engage in real-life social interaction and critical thinking. (There's also the drastic polarization of American politics. I can't help but be intrigued by this phenomenon.)

I started with Idiot America by Charles Pierce and The Cult of the Amateur by Andrew Keen.

In backtracking through Keen's blog, I've found he recommends Dick Meyer's Why We Hate Us: American Discontent in the New Millenium.

In a review of the book, Keen writes: "Dick Meyer is right. There is indeed something rotten in America today. And it could get worse, much much worse. Economic meltdown plus social change plus technological upheaval could add up to one furiously belligerent America. The world needs to take note. If the American brain really does go boom, it will bust not just America, but also the rest of the planet."

Sounds good, no?

Here is the rest of my reading list for 2010:

And for fun:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Unleashing my inner rock star

It wasn't exactly my debut on the stage.

I won't even deny it. I'm a bit of an exhibitionist.

But Grade 8 was my debut as a rock 'n' roller.

St. Andrew Junior High had a variety concert every year. It was meant to be a showcase of student and teacher talent ... you know, the usual stuff like singing and dancing and playing piano and stuff.

But that was the year of the art of lip syncing exploded. EXPLODED!

And thus, my friends and I collaborated to stage a performance of Nena's 99 Red Balloons, protesting the nuclear arms race and the Cold War.

The shop class helped us make our equipment, from a mic stand to a drum kit. The boys made me a bass guitar out of pressboard, spray painting it a brilliant, bright red.

I remember gasping when I saw it. They even ran wires down the neck to mock guitar strings.

Those four minutes were a brief moment in time and one of the few moments in which I've been able to unleash my inner rock star.

After all, I have no inclination to learn a musical instrument and the only time I can handle the sound of my voice is when the truck stereo is loud enough to drown me out.

I know I'm tone deaf. A friend from J-school, who was classically trained, told me as much one morning when I was croaking out whatever song was in my head.

I still think I sound exactly like Lita Ford, Madonna or whomever when I'm cruising down the highway, though.

Rock and roll, fellow babies!

A decade in review: Moves, heartaches and turmoil

The decade isn't over yet.


Nothing starts at 0. It starts at 1.

So the decade didn't really start until 2001. But I've been inspired by Leah's blog posts lately and she recently did a decade in review.

Thus, I'm doing a partial decade in review. A look at the first nine years of this decade in an effort to forge the path for 2010.

After all, we don't know where we're going unless we remember where we've been.

In 2001, I was living in Kamloops, B.C., and content in a very boring relationship. I had a breast reduction. While on short-term leave for the surgery, I learned my boss was disparaging me to the rest of the newsroom.

In 2002, I walked into my editor's office and quit my job, knowing I had another one at the daily newspaper in Kamloops. It was very empowering. And the very boring relationship continued.

In 2003, I faced tremendous life-changing events. I was out of sports writing, with my contract for the Daily renewed but for news reporting. I covered two murders and the premier's DUI all in the first two days on the job.

When I stood outside the scene of a murder-suicide placing bets with the other reporters on how long it would take for the coroner to remove the bodies, I knew it was time to end it. But how?

Weeks later, while I was chasing Jennifer Lopez around the city during her time on the set for An Unfinished Life, I took a call from Martin Hudson, who wanted me to come to Calgary and work for Sun Sports.

Bye, Kamloops. Hellooooo, Calgary.

The very boring relationship ended and I entered a deep, deep depression and ballooning up to 200 lbs.

In 2004, I learned that making it to the big time is not all it's cracked up to be. I was pinned to the agate desk, I wasn't writing ... and I knew I was a better writer than most of the guys on staff.

I welcomed my best friend into my life, adopting an idiot hairbag, named Shep. He is simply the best symbol of love and adoration I have ever had in my life. He makes me a better person by having him in my life.

In 2005, I met a boy. And he kissed me in ways that I could feel it in my toes.

In 2006, I had my heart broken. Yeah, by the aforementioned boy, but not just. First, his girlfriend didn't take too kindly to him seeing me. Whoopsie.

Second, I got laid off by Sun Media - second in horrifying only to the day I learned of my father's malignant tumour, subsequent illness and ultimately death in 1996.

I was lost. I had no identity. I had defined myself by my work as a sports writer. People liked me because that's what I did. And because of who I knew.

I stumbled. I drank. I lashed out. I drank some more.

I entered the world of communications. Ugh.

In 2007, I wandered aimlessly through life, changing jobs and entering the world of media relations. It was otherwise uneventful.

In 2008, my mother and I fought. Over this. She denies it happened. When I told her I didn't think I had anyone in whom I could confide, she heard 'you were a bad mother.'

In therapy, I learned I can't fix her. I can only handle her when she gets that way ... in a better manner than I had in the past.

We still don't speak often ... just special occasions. It's trying sometimes, knowing I can't turn to my mother in times of crisis. But that's how life has to be.

In 2009, I took on a new path of discovery. Therapy taught me my heart had not healed from getting laid off. Therapy taught me I make rash, impulsive decisions because of one decision that was taken away from me.

My therapist challenged me to find the creative outlets I lost when I was pushed out of journalism.

I've taken more pictures, rediscovering my passion for photography - one that was lost when I was constantly berated to shoot more by a former editor, even though we had photographers on staff.

I've started writing more, starting two blogs in addition to this and unleashing my rants upon the Twitter sphere.

And I changed jobs. One where I'm not faced with people doing the job I used to so love, reminding me of what I don't have anymore. One where I write. One where I have some autonomy.

One where I'm learning to assert my control where necessary - not all the time.

And one which I'm able to leave at the end of the day and focus on me and my time.

In 2010, I challenge myself to learn more ... to read, to write, to shoot.

And to love.

To open myself up to loving me more. And maybe you, too.

A year in review: '09 was fine

Back in the day, I hated doing the year in review features for whatever newspaper at which I was employed.

It was tedious work, although every once in a blue moon it reminded me of a great story on which I worked.

My beautiful friend, Leah, completed her bloggy Year in Review and I'm going to piggyback on her words.

Because this time it's about me. Not about anyone else.

1. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't like making resolutions. A British University study has found 78 per cent of people fail at their resolutions. I choose to not set myself up for disappointment in me. After all, I battled my Catholic guilt for long enough. Why do that all over again?

Instead, I'll try to find something beautiful and awesome in every day.

Like my blogging friend David Ollinger comments on Wendy's latest the Muse and Views post, 'Let's put the '10' in 2010.'

2. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The day I realized I make rash and impulsive decisions because of a big decision that was taken away from me when I was 17.

I started a new me the next day.

3. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I did Christmas my way. Without guilt for not doing it someone else's way just to please that person.

Shep and I packed up the truck and busted for Washington State. We visited with friends in Kamloops, B.C., Seattle and Spokane. It was incredibly relaxing and, while Shep was partaking in more relaxing, I was shopping ... like a fiend!

4. What was your biggest failure?

I fell in love too quickly ... again. But that was before the aforementioned epiphany.

He really was a nice guy, I swear. And he said a lot of the things that every girl wants to hear. He was romantic, he was attentive and he was one helluva date.

He also was nowhere near the place he should have been to want to be in a relationship.

And neither was I.

5. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

I adore my new friend, Wendy. She challenges me intellectually but we also can giggle like two 15-year-olds.

She's a welcome addition to my circle AND she's willing to pose for my camera.

Thank you, Wendy for being a part of my life!

6. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I was so excited for my date with the aforementioned guy with whom I fell in love. I obsessed over my outfit, my shoes, my makeup, my hair.

It was the first real date I had since probably prom. Long have I been the type to just fall into a relationship without challenging me or the guy to make the effort for each other.

And, although the relationship didn't work out, it was worth it.

I'll remember that date forever.

And I'll expect more from men in the future, thanks to Tony.

7. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier. Most importantly ... more content with who I am.
ii. thinner or fatter? Oh fatter. It's been the December of Decadence. And it's over in a few days.
iii. richer or poorer? Richer. I changed jobs and my new position allows me to make more money. A lot more money.

8. What was the best book you read?

There were two books I read that I couldn't put down.

2. The Cult of the Amateur by Andrew J. Keen (I almost hot linked to Wikipedia and that would be doing a tremendous disservice to Mr. Keen. If you read the book, you'll understand why.)

9. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 38. I spent it quietly, taking Shep and the camera for a walk at our favourite park in the northwest. I remember a thunderstorm started and scared the bejeezus out of my dog.

The clouds stuck around and I recall posting on my Facebook status that I couldn't find a star on which to spend my birthday wish.

10. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Nothing. It was an incredible year of learning and growth.

11. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

I can go from sweatpants and a T-shirt to an updo and cocktail dress in less than 60 seconds.

My shoe closet has tripled in size, especially after Jill introduced me to the designer line, Naughty Monkey.

Now that I'm making better money, I'm investing in nicer pieces, too.

I remain addicted to Dynamite and now that I've discovered Nordstrom Rack ... well, there are a few reasons to go back to Spokane. Often.

12. What kept you sane this year?

Blogs, therapy and friends.

13. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

It goes back to my answer for No. 2.

My life lesson is step back from a situation and think it through, before making a rash, impulsive decision.

This will be reflected not only in my love life but also in my professional life, my personal conduct and my financial stability.

Because I'm going to put the '10' in 2010 ... and be a 10!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wait ... was Dad a sketchy Santa?

My dad was the neighbourhood Santa.

We had an old-fashioned Santa Claus costume. It was crushed velvet in scarlet red and it came with shiny, black gaiters that draped over his work boots.

Wait a second ... how did we find the costume every year we decorated the house and never catch on that ... oh man! Kids are so naive.

All the StumbleUpon pages are Christmas-based tonight, it seems.

And I find a page dedicated to Sketchy Santas.

There's Santa with his entire face covered in cotton batting:

Santa, scaring the bejeezus out the little kids:

Santa with a plastic face ... and quite possibly, some kind of odour, according to the little girl pinching her nose:

And Santa, who looks like he has a serious hate on for the kid sitting on his lap:

Was my dad a sketchy Santa?

I remember Santa appearing at all the houses in our neighbourhood.

I remember him smelling strangely like my dad - a little bit soaked in rum and a lot bit of tobacco.

And I remember the laughing and giggling, the hugs he got from the other kids on the street and the back slaps he earned from their dads.

So no way was he a Sketchy Santa. He was a Super Santa.

Wishing you a very Elvis Christmas

Elvis's music was a part of my youth.

My birthday was two days after he died. I remember my mother crying her eyes out while I was turning six.

Elvis was Mom's great passion.

He may have been a part of everyday life in the MacIsaac household. Like clockwork, his Christmas LP came out every Christmas.

Released in 1957, Elvis crooned to the classics such as White Christmas, Here Comes Santa Claus, Silent Night and Oh Little Town of Bethlehem.

Mom loved it when he sang the religion anthems.

But we were just kids.

And we liked it better when Dad would sing-along with Blue Christmas or when Elvis was at his rockingest best.

So here a handful of Elvis Presley-MacIsaac household memories. Don't forget to curl your lip when you're singing along, too.

I'll give it to someone special

I love the Christmas songs from the 80s.

Oh hell, I love 80s music. There, I said it.

Wham's Last Christmas is No. 3 on a BBC News poll for favourite Christmas songs in the U.K.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's been 25 years

We were listening to satellite radio's 80s on 8 on the way home from shopping today.

The station was pushing the most political issues of the 80s and that topic can't go without mentioning the spotlight shone on starvation in Africa.

Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats and Midge Ure of Thin Lizzy brought a bunch of United Kingdom pop star together to form Band Aid. There was Bono, Boy George, George Michael and Andrew Ridgely (then Wham!), Annie Lennox, Sting, Duran Duran ... all the greats of the 80s.

Do They Know It's Christmas, which marks its 25th anniversary this Christmas, was a great song and I can't help but remember every single word and every singer in the video.

The video also spawned American and Canadian versions.

See how many stars you can name in We Are the World by USA for Africa:

And my favourite, Tears Are Not Enough, by Northern Lights:

It opens with Gordon Lightfoot and Burton Cummings, for heaven's sake.

Gordon Lightfoot and Burton Cummings!

Oh ... and somewhere around the end, the 1985 NHL All-stars -- both Wales and Campbell conference teams -- are involved.

Now that's Canadian.

It's written in the wind

Yay, another one from Love Actually.

Of course, you may only know the words if you've watched the movie as many times as I have.

Billy Mack, played by Bill Nighy, is a washed-up British rock singer and he does a remake of his '70s smash hit, Love Is All Around.

It's actually a reprise of Wet Wet Wet's contribution to the Four Weddings and a Funeral soundtrack, another Hugh Grant delight.

"So if you believe in Father Christmas, children, like your Uncle Billy does, buy my festering turd of a record," Mack says on a radio show. "And particularly enjoy the incredible crassness of the moment we try to squeeze an extra syllable into the fourth line."

Here is the original Wet Wet Wet song:

And don't be afraid to check out some more Wet Wet Wet, a great British rock band.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dancin' and prancin' in Jingle Bell Square

Do I love the '80s?

Can you tell?

Thus, the only version of Jingle Bell Rock I can give you is that of Hall and Oates.

Love the modified mullet.

It's a very spacey Christmas

The Space Needle in Seattle ...

... brings you SPACE SANTA!

Merry Christmas, y'all!

You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel

I wouldn't touch you with a 39 and a half foot pooooooooole ...

Who hasn't grown up with the Grinch at Christmas?

Given the choice between the two of you, I'd take the seasick crocodiiiiiiile ...

And what a terrific voice on Boris Karloff.

Stink, stank, stunk!

Monday, December 21, 2009

So really I'd better scurry

Baby, it's cold outside.

I'm not afraid to admit it. I have a total girl crush on Zooey Deschanel. I love her voice.

Plus, she's in a few Will Farrell movies and I've warmed up to the zany Farrell since I saw Elf, The Anchorman and Stranger Than Fiction.

This song is, of course, from the Elf soundtrack. It really isn't a Christmas song but it's on a Christmas movie soundtrack, so there.

Don't care about the presents

I'm not a big Mariah Carey fan.


There isn't a single MC song on my MP3 player. Debbie Gibson? Three songs, for the win, baby.

But this is one of my favourite Christmas songs. It's on the Love Actually soundtrack and all things about my all-time favourite movie are great.

Coming to you from Seattle!

We're starting a week of Christmas songs. How do you not know the words?

Brought to you by Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny.

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Christmas, my way

It's been a very long time since I enjoyed Christmas.

First, a brief history lesson.

My mother did all the work to make Christmas happen. She collated the Sears Christmas Wish Book wish lists, she bought the presents, she decorated the house, she did all the cooking and she slept on Boxing Day.

Somehow, though, Dad was the spirit of Christmas in our house.

He dressed up as Santa and made the rounds in our neighbourhood, visiting all the kids.

He lingered in bed Christmas Day morning, ensuring we kids agonized as the wrapped presents sat there, taunting us in their fancy wrapping and bows.

And when it came time to unwrap his presents, he made sure each one was given its appropriate share of attention.

We were allotted a minimal amount of cash to buy presents. Dad might get a pair of socks from Shane, a bag of tobacco from Kevin, a set of lighters from me and some gloves from Jason.

But we knew - as he opened each gift - those were the best darned socks, tobacco, lighters or gloves that ever existed in the world that day.

He left our world in January 1996 and somehow, Christmas has never been the same. It has always been missing a little bit of spirit.

Surely, my brothers have carried on in his absence. I was never able to. I couldn't decorate my apartment. I couldn't even open the box to look at the ornaments I've had since I first set up a Christmas tree with my Newfoundland roommate Rosetta in 1995.

This year is different.

I've baked my cookies not out of a sense of duty to give friends presents but out of a sheer enjoyment of the season.

I've decorated a tree - the pictures you see here - and agonized over every swish of Shep's tail, just like Mom used to when the cats got too close.

I've gone out to visit friends and I'm doing Christmas my way.

And for the first time in 15 years, I'm enjoying it.

Happy ho-ho, y'all.

Here's where I get evil

Do you know the words? I do.

Can you keep up? I can't.

This is one of those songs I always wanted to nail. I thought I would be a true Newfoundlander if I could just keep up to Con O'Brien and the Irish Descendants down the stretch.

It's near to impossible, b'y.

So I'll just keep a twinge of my accent instead.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Am I scaring you tonight?

OK, so I bumble a lot of the words to this song but it does make me break out into a chair dance.

And since I need to learn the words:

What's wrong with me?
Why do I feel like this?
I'm going crazy now.

No more gas, in the red,
can't even get it started
Nothing heard, nothing said
can't even speak about it

On my life, on my head
don't wanna think about
Feels like I'm going insane, yeah

It's a thief in the night to come and grab you
It can creep up inside you and consume you
A disease of the mind, it can control you
It's too close for comfort

Put on your pretty lies, you're in the city of wonder
Ain?t gon? play nice, watch out you might just go under
Better think twice, your train of thought will be altered
So if you must falter be wise

Your mind?s in disturbia, it's like the darkness is light
Disturbia, am I scaring you tonight?
Disturbia, ain?t used to what you like
Disturbia, disturbia

Faded pictures on the wall, it's like they talking to me
Disconnecting on calls, the phone don?t even ring
I gotta get out or figure this sh** out
It's too close for comfort, oh

It's a thief in the night to come and grab you
It can creep up inside you and consume you
A disease of the mind it can control you
I feel like a monster, oh

Put on your pretty lies, you're in the city of wonder
Ain?t gon? play nice, watch out you might just go under
Better think twice, your train of thought will be altered
So if you must falter be wise

Your mind?s in disturbia, it's like the darkness is light
Disturbia, am I scaring you tonight?
Disturbia, ain't used to what you like
Disturbia, disturbia, disturbia

Release me from this curse I'm in
Trying to maintain but I'm struggling
If you can't go-o-o
I think I'm gonna ah, ah, ah, ah

Put on your pretty lies, you're in the city of wonder
Ain?t gon? play nice, watch out you might just go under
Better think twice, your train of thought will be altered
So if you must falter be wise

Disturbia, it's like the darkness is light
Disturbia, am I scaring you tonight?
Disturbia, ain't used to what you like
Disturbia, disturbia

All the violent, sweet, perfect words you said

Do you have that one song you hit 'back' on over and over and over and over again?

This is my current one:

If you don't know the words

Just bob your head and sing the 'na-nas.'

It's easy. Try it.

But if you really want to sing:

All the hip young things
Trying to make a scene
Living out forbidden dreams
Star spangled banner
Flutters in the sky
Time hustles those
Who wait to die

Come on little honey
Come on now, please
Come on little honey and dance with me

Sweet soul sister
Keep on pushing till the dawn, well
Sweet soul sister
Forever dancing on and on

Ooh, she's a Dior girl
Twisting round the world
Midnight crush boogie scene
Firm fixed expression
Sensual, tender, smooth
Sexual panther, beautifully cool

Come on little honey
Come on now, please
Come on little honey and dance with me

Sweet soul sister
Keep on pushing till the dawn, well, well, well, well
Sweet soul sister
Forever dancing on and on, yeah

Hustle and strut through Paris at night
Hustle and strut
Hustle and strut through Paris at night
Hustle and strut
Say na na na
Say na na na, yeah

City of sin
Come and let me in
City of sin
Come and let me in, ow

Sweet soul sister
Keep on pushing till the dawn
Sweet soul sister
Forever dancing on and on

Sweet soul sister
Keep on pushing till the dawn
Sweet soul sister
Forever dancing on and on, yeah

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wax a chump like a candle

Not only can I sing-along to this song ...

Not only is this my karaoke song ...

But I also can bust this groove spontaneously and on command.

Try me some time.

The last time I went out for karaoke, the bar didn't have this song. I was absolutely crushed.

One of my favourites

I StumbledUpon this picture tonight:

It's a scene from my all-time favourite movie, Love Actually.

Mark, played by Andrew Lincoln, professes his everlasting love to Juliet, played by Keira Knightley.

My heart breaks with every poster he shows her, knowing Juliet - married and very much in love with her husband - will never return his ardour.

Click here for the complete scene. I'd embed the video but everyone who mounted the clip has disabled embedding ... buggers.

Who stuck this ice pick in my temple?

Do you get Chinook headaches?

Any non-Calgarians now are asking themselves the question 'WTF are Chinook headaches?'

My friends, allow me to fill you in.

They are seven steps from hell.

They feel like:
  • an ice pick is stuck in my right temple
  • two iron hands are gripping the sides of my head and squeezing with all their might
  • I've been hit by a Mack truck
  • I'm Pete, Monica's boyfriend, who consistently lost in his quest to be the Ultimate Fighting champion

In all seriousness, Dr. Werner Becker, a professor of neurology at University of Calgary, conducted a 2007 study on headaches and weather patterns in our fair city.

He discovered a Chinook, a warm Rocky Mountain wind, can trigger migraines and severe headaches in some folks.

As far as I've read, he still hasn't figured out why.

From the website:

Researchers found that 17 of the 32 patients suffered migraines on pre-Chinook days. On days when the Chinooks blew more than 24 mph, 15 had a tendency to get migraines. Only two patients were more likely to get migraines under both weather conditions.

"This indicates that the two weather conditions trigger migraines differently," Becker explains. "How Chinooks trigger a migraine is still not known."

I wish we knew why. Then I could figure out to stop them.

To date, two activities assist in abating the pain: working out and sex. The latter requires me to stir myself from the walking coma through which I muddle until the Chinook goes away; the former requires me to ... well ... have a boyfriend.

In the meantime, I'll just try to sleep it off.

Good night, everybody.

She took the midnight train goin' anywhere

Yeah, all we small-town girls think this about us.

This is @steenyweeny's fault.

Is there anyone else who can wail like Steve Perry?


Don't leave me hanging on like a yo-yo

I used to be a bit of an actress. 'Used to,' you think, your eyebrows creasing in mockery.

Our Grade 8 production, Glimpses, featured a series of spotlighted soliloquies.

My part? The cheerleader-esque cool girl.

It couldn't have been more outside of my comfort zone ... and so much closer to the girl I wished I was.

I was dreadfully shy back then but acting let me become someone else, step into a fantasy world where I could be who I wanted to be.

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go was the finale song for Glimpses. And we all had to dance.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Just like I remember every word to this song ... no matter how hard core my rock 'n' roll has become.

Monday, December 7, 2009

My feminism: a rebuttal

This feminist wears bras.

This feminist blushes when a man pays her a compliment.

This feminist smiles sweetly and says thank you when men hold the door open or let her off the elevator first.

This feminist has rejected the title of feminist at times because of the association with the bra-burning, drum-beating militant crowd with which she has been identified.

But this feminist knows where her roots lie and she hurt on Dec. 6, 1989, when a lunatic entered l'Ecole Polytechnique and gunned down 14 of her sisters.

These sisters were pursuing an education in engineering, a profession not typically chosen by the 'fairer sex.'

On that very day, I was pursuing an education in English literature. My ability to write took me to a career in journalism, my passion for athletics took me to a specialization in sports.

A male-dominated profession, for sure.

I plied my trade for 15 years until I was laid off in 2006.

I beat no drum and set no fires.

No one heard me roar 'I am woman.'

But I'm still a feminist.

And that part of me had her fires lit when she read a column today calling out women for not doing enough.

In some ways, Barb Gustafson and I see eye to eye. We don't want to be pigeon-holed by someone else's label, because each one of us has a different definition of 'feminism.'

We each understand the 14 women who died 20 years ago weren't studying engineering because they wanted to prove a point that they could do a 'man's job.'

Our paths diverge, however, when Ms. Gustafson charges that we have stopped fighting, that we have let our guard down.

A CIBC report reveals a 50 per cent increase in the number of self-employed women in Canada. It projects one million Canadian women will own a small business by 2010.

It reveals 800,000 women are business owners in Canada and the number of women-owned businesses is growing 60 per cent faster than those run by men.

We are MPs and MLAs. We are senators, cabinet ministers, scientists, soldiers, police officers, firefighters, web designers, managers, presidents and vice-presidents of corporations, doctors and lawyers ... and sports writers.

Many of us are forging career paths and balancing lives of great variety.

We are role models and we are leaders.

We aren't, however, wearing T-shirts announcing our feminism and brow-beating our brothers into submission.

Instead, we should now - as a society, sisters and brothers together - take steps to educate men about the effects of their words and actions.

To teach men rape is wrong.

To teach men hitting women is wrong.

To teach men women are equal partners and merit respect.

We need to stop teaching that women are victims.

And by expecting us to take all the responsibility for change, we perpetuate that notion ... and victimize the girls who will be following in our footsteps and blazing their own trails.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What have you found?

I get to find weird and interesting things daily, just by using StumbleUpon.

I Stumble for messages of positivity, stuff about the web, philosophy, world religions, kooky stuff, feminisim, photography, sports ... all the stuff that makes me me.

This blogger posts the random stuff he finds on the Internet and in real life.

And I found him.

I'm loving the sofa cake. Each time I take another look, I want to grab a fork and dig in!

Check out the Teddy Bear of Teddy Bears ... is it a little bit creepy or is it just me?

In honour of the So I Found guy, then, here is one of the more unique 'finds.'

His name is Rodeo Santa.

Whenever I'm travelling, no matter what time of year it is, I try to find a kitschy Christmas ornament.

Rodeo Santa lives in my house because of a trip to Albuquerque, N.M., in the spring of 2006. I was walking through Old Town and spied The Olde Christmas Shoppe.

Out of curiosity -- a Christmas shop in Albuquerque? - I fell in.

And fell in love with Rodeo Santa.

It was then I began my quest to decorate my place with souvenirs of my travels.

Those journeys have been neither great nor far (yet!), but I've picked up a few cool items on the way.

Like Jasper the Bear or Marty the Moose or Skating Santa ... not only do they make my Christmas unique, but they get to remind me of some great places I've been.

One of my all-time favourites

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning
by John Donne

AS virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"Now his breath goes," and some say, "No."

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears;
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
—Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
Of absence, 'cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th' other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.

Happiness is ...

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Life and its little surprises

Those are the Pit Stops ... the surprises along the way.

This morning, I hit one of those pit stops that was like a Wendy's in the middle of the nowhere on the 401 through Ontario.

While I was pounding away on my keyboard last night, Tweeting to my little heart's content, my Gmail notifier, flashed ... 'So-and-so wants to add you as a friend on Facebook.'

What? Who? Noooooooooooo ...

He had the most awesome mullet (come ooooooon, it was 1987!). He was tall. He looked surly all the time.

And his brother was the lead singer of a band. A band!

I had the hugest crush on him. And back in those days, I wasn't near as gregarious as I am today. I was shy ... scared to say more than a peep for fear I would say something inappropriate.

(Now I just say inappropriate shit whenever I feel like it. Ha!)

I would ask him to dance. He always seemed to comply begrudgingly. He would nod, maybe grunt in my general direction and then stare over my head the entire time.

We would commit the egregious act of the High School Shuffle, stepping side to side, sometimes throwing a kick into it, awkwardly snapping our fingers and bobbing our heads in time to the beat.

We may have slow danced once or twice ... at one of the Parish Centre dances I attended, despite my father's lack of approval. I'm sure I wrote about it in a long-since-lost diary, the words surrounded by little hearts and my never-to-be signature, Mrs. Angela Crush.

I was grinning ear to ear when that little 'Confirm' button on his friend request, anxious to check out his profile and learn what he's been up to these past 20-some years.

So, it was with another ear-to-ear grin I opened my email this morning to read this message: The Crush has sent you a message on Facebook.

"I had the most amazing crush on you then and thought you were the most beautiful girl around," he wrote. "I wanted to ask you out but I was shy and thought you would say no, and the rejection would have killed me!"

Truth be told, I replied, if he had asked me out, I probably would have looked around for the first hole in the earth to jump into.

I wouldn't have been allowed to go out with him anyway, given the strict rules my parents gave me when I was growing up.

I won't lie. His message made my day.

And I hope it isn't the last hear from him.