Sunday, 31 July 2011

Adele's Album 21 is the Current Soundtrack to My Life

I know i just had a huge post about music and what I am currently listening to, but I recently stumbled upon Adele's sophmore album, 21. I had downloaded this album when it first came out, but never really gave it a thorough listen, mostly just picking the songs that were my favorites and skipping all the other ones. However, I now realize the error of my song skipping/song ADD ways. Seriously, this whole album is the soundtrack to my life right now. It's everything that I am feeling and want to say, but can't. Listening to her sultry, smokey, voice is like drinking a hot toddy of brandy, or a shot of whiskey. It's just amazing. It makes me think that maybe my iPod is some kind of sentient being because it just KNEW exactly what I needed to listen to right now. Kind of unsettling, but kind of not at the exact same time. So, if anyone needs some music to help them through whatever they need it for, I seriously suggest you listen to 21. It can be purchased on iTunes, for the bargain price of $9.99. Do it, do it now! It will make everything feel better, I promise.

This is just one of the amazing songs from her album. It's called I'll be Waiting, and it's one of my favorites.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Teen Mom: Why Making Good Life Choices Is Important

I love to watch bad television. The cheesy, fake, scripted, reality variety. I get so excited for new episodes of 16 and Pregnant, and Teen Mom. I just love watching the drama unfold. It's kind of like when you are driving and you see a really bad car accident, or a train that has derailed. You know that you should look away, you know that you shouldn't be obscenely curious, but you just can't help it. I think I love shows like Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant because they show me that making the good(ish) life choices that I have made were pretty smart. Also, it makes me seriously question why anyone would want a baby before they are completely, 100% ready for one.

Despite being peddled as a "documentary", I know full well that it is reality TV and most definitely scripted. But that doesn't make me love it any less. It's not like I actually believe that Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant are to be taken as serious pieces of tele-journalism, full of integrity. Let's get real. It's the entertainment factor and the drama that suck me in. I'm not saying that my life is without drama (although to be fair, it's mostly medical melodrama that I am plagued with), but where else can you see a girl, in a black out rage physically beat her baby daddy in real life? Where else can you see the twisted, intertwined webs of love and family life that is the fate of Catelynn and Tyler (Tyler's dad Butch, is married to Catelynn's mom April, making Catelyn and Tyler, who have been together for a long time, and who have a child together (who they gave up for adoption and if you see their lives, can you blame them?!) technically stepbrother and sister...also I am pretty sure that both Butch and April are drug addicts of some kind)? Where else can you see a mullet of epic proportions, in a ponytale no less, a large baby man with boobs bigger than my new government issue ones, and a controlling grandmother, who also beat her daughter?! If anyone knows of an alternative source, please let me know! It's for these simple reasons that I get sucked into shows like this. Someone once asked me (after he sat and watched not one, but two seasons of Teen Mom, and several episodes of 16 and Pregnant with me) why I, and I quote "wasted my time on such crap?!" He told me that I am too smart to waste brain cells on shows like this, and that may be true (it still remains to be seen), however, I told him it's because when I sit down to watch them, I get to turn off my brain. I get to not think (which doesn't happen often), aside from telling my heart to still pump blood, and my lungs to take in air. I can't even remember how I started watching. I think I sat down to watch an episode of something equally as trashy, and got mesmerized by a Teen Mom marathon. Before I knew it, I had been there for 4 hours. It's like I fell through the looking glass. I lost all sense of time and space, and the only thing that existed for me was the totally effed up relationships of 4 teenage couples, who were trying (and kind of failing) at raising children. It's like watching the blind leading the blinder.

The thing that makes me sad about watching Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant are the girls. They are just kind of so pathetic. I get that they want to have a good healthy, stable family life for their kids, but it's always the same sob story. They think that their good for nothing loser boyfriend will change, and that having a baby will bring them closer together. In reality, the guys never change, and they end up giving their kids a broken home. Heck, some kids get taken away from their mothers and given to the grandparents (see Jenelle in Teen Mom 2 fight with her mom over custody of Jayce). While it makes me incredibly sad for both the children and their parents, it also makes me angry. Had I known that I could get paid $280,000 for one season, just for getting preggo at 16 maybe I wouldn't have made the good life choices that I did. Seriously, Amber makes that much money for one season. She doesn't have a degree, or a job, beats her baby daddy, screams at her kid, goes shopping and on vacation, and she makes a crap load of money. It makes me so mad! I have spent the better part of my adult life, educating myself, making good life choices, and giving back to my community, and I don't think I will see that kind of money for a really long (at least not until after I either become a history rock star (move over Paul Slack) or become a badass lawyer).

Yes I realize that I feed into the continuance of these shows by tuning in to watch the trainwreck occur every week, but like I said before, I just can't help myself, and at the end of the day, I always feels a little better about my life after the episode is done.

This song reminds of Teen Mom...except the girls are quite often the problem...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Look at this F*cking Hipster, Or, Where Did All the Emo Kids Go?

My sister and I were having a conversation about how there seems to be a lack of emo kids and goth kids hanging around today. We were sitting and chatting and finally figured out where they all went. Thus a theory was born.

The punk kids from the 1980's gave way to the goth kids of the 1990's. The goth kids morphed into the emo kids of the early 2000s, who grew up to become hipsters. Fucking hipsters. Hipsters who gave up their teenage angst ridden music, black hair, and excessive facial piercings to instead sit in divey bars, like the Strat, drinking gross beer, wearing horn rimmed glasses, excessive amounts of flannel, or cowboy shirts (bollero optional), skinny pants (denim or otherwise) and now listen to bands that probably don't even exist(but if a band is playing the Starlight Room, they'll be there...because you know, bands that play the Starlight Room are obviously not big enough for other people to have heard them, case in point: Sum 41 at the Starlight Room, August 18, one has ever heard of Sum 41), all in the name of non-conformity and irony.

The one thing that hipsters fail to realize is that everyone is a hipster in some form or another. They will sit and talk about philosophers and poets spewing their sanctimonious bullshit, trying to sound more impressive than their hipster friends. They quote Goethe and Heidegger, Kerouac and Salinger, all the while having no idea what any of it means. They like to talk about obscure artists using multi-syllabic phrases that are meant to show that they are avant garde, when really, they have no idea, nor do they care, who they are or what they stand for. But in reality, it's all bullshit. They know next to nothing about anything, besides their former teenage angst, which they now shudder to remember, mostly because they realize that in an attempt at non-conformity they were actually fitting in.

In conclusion, this post is to remind hipsters, that no matter how individual you try to dress, or how ironic you try to be, you are really just like everyone else. Like every other hipster, emo, goth, or punk kid who came before you.


Monday, 25 July 2011

"I fell in love with being defiant": Music that is Good for Your Soul

I love music. Pure and simple. I also like to think that I have pretty decent taste in music, and while I realize that not everthing I suggest or listen to will be everyones cup of tea, I decided to share my summer playlist with the interweb. These songs always put in me in a good mood and bring a smile to my face. There is just something about what happens when I listen to them. I have songs for everything, songs that remind me certain people or events, or places, or things. Half the time I am playing a soundtrack to my life in my head as I go about my day. Songs help bring back memories, and help me make new ones. I love putting mixes together and seeing how they come out. I gravitate towards songs for different reasons. It could be because of a sweet bass line that I can't get enough of, or a certain line of lyrics, or a guitar riff. I love just listening to the subtleties of a song, and marveling at how it was put together. I get happy (an emotion of which has been lacking in my life as of late) and I want to sing along and dance. So, without further adieu, here is my summer playlist that you should listen to becuase it's good for your soul:

You and Me: Beggars
Something in Common: Free Energy
Noche Nada: Givers
Yer Spring: Hey Rosetta!
We Mapped the World: Joy Williams
Alive: The Midway State
Mexican Mavis: Boy & Bear
Her Morning Elegance: Oren Lavie

Sweet Child o' Mine: Taken By Trees
Two Weeks: Grizzly Bear
Moth's Wings: Passion Pit
Love Is All: The Tallest Man on Earth
Cathedrals: Jump Little Children
Say a Lot: Buddy
Everythings Okay: Lenka
Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken: Camera Obscura
Drowning Man (Tudor Court Version): Fanfarlo
Mission Bells: Armistice

Listen: Shaad & Dallas Green
Go Do: Jonsi
Merry Happy: Kate Nash
Three More Days: Ray LaMontagne
Helplessness Blues: Fleet Foxes
Love Is Endless: MoZella
Set Fire to the Rain: Adele
Addicted to Love: Florence + The Machine
Summer Angel: Minus the Bear
Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall: Coldplay

Say Hey (I Love You): Michael Franti & Spearhead (Feat. Cherine Anderson)
We Turn It Up: Oh Land
Dangerous: Peter Katz
Duet for Emmylou and the Grievous Angel: Rah Rah
Momentum: The Hush Sound
Getcha Good: Jenn Grant
Little Lie: Lindi Ortega
My Body: Young the Giant
99 Problems: Hugo
Cuckoo: Lissie

Pull Your Train: Mark Watrous
Something for You: Hannah Georgas
Buildings & Mountains: The Republic Tigers
If You Were for Me: Rose Cousins
Falling or Flying: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Stay Young, Go Dancing: Death Cab for Cutie
Emerald Lake, AB: Said the Whale
Tornado '87: The Rural Alberta Advantage
I Miss You: Foster the People

Seriously, you should take my advice and take a little listen to all of these songs. I can tell you with utmost certainty that you will enjoy every single one. All songs can be found on itunes for your audio pleasure.


Thursday, 21 July 2011

Why Facebook is Like Recess for Older People

Remember the days of elementary school and recess? The days of creating childhood alliances, crushes, gossip, bullying and Red Rover? I remember those days and sometimes I think about how awesome it would be to go back in time and have recess all over again. I was thinking about this not to long ago, and then I had the epiphany that I never lost recess. It's still around, just different. This led me to the conclusion that Facebook is just like recess only for older people.

If you think about it, there are tons of comparisons between them. Instead of the childhood judgement of our friends, enemies, and frenemies in the sandbox, we now judge via facebook photos, information provided, and who other people are friends with. We still get to pick and choose our friends, but now it's over the interweb and not face to face. Instead of being a little jerk on the playground and telling a friend we no longer want to be friends with them, we delete them from our friends list, and more often than not they are none wiser. Instead of picking on your crush in the playground, people creep facebook to get as much information about the person they are interested in as they can. Flirting still happens, but instead of a boy bringing you a bouquet of dandilions to say that he likes you and wants to be your boyfriend, he sends you a Facebook message and requests a relationship status update. Alliances are both forged and broken in the sandbox and on Facebook.

Facebook is also like recess in that it is a chance to take a break. A chance to play a game or pass a note. I can't count the number of times a day I check my Facebook to see if anyone has messaged me or commented on a picture, thus taking my attention away from the work sitting on my desk or the assignment from school. It's a chance for people who are starting their foray into adulthood to play again. Instead of the actual physical activity of playing tag, we now tag our friends in pictures, posts, notes, and videos. The gossip and rumors that were rampant on the playground are now perpetuated through pictures and wall posts. The popular kids still exist, but instead of being surrounded by friends at the monkey-bars, they have hundreds of friends and thousands of pictures, and are still seen as popular.

All of this makes me think that we never really leave our childhood or recess behind. That in reality we just get bigger and our playground gets more sophisticated.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Undomestic Goddess Part II, Or, Why I Really Want to Learn How to Use Electric Hedge Trimmers

In my house there are 2 people who do all the yard work. My mum and my dad. My mum takes care of all the flowers and trees, planting and pruning things to get the yard looking just so. She does a pretty bang up job of it too. I don't know how she does it, but she always knows exactly what will look good in any given spot, and exactly what flowers will bring the most colour to our yard. I think it's quite the art if you ask me. She always has beautiful planters full of pretty flowers at our front door and in front of our garage that greet me when I pull into the driveway and walk up the front steps of my house.

My dad on the other hand, takes care of everything else. He makes sure everything is maintained. He is especially fond of his grass. My sister and I always tease him that he loves his grass in the summer, more than he loves us. He spends hours upon hours outside, making sure that our lawn is perfectly manicured. I am not kidding. The grass at our house is like carpet. Lush, green carpet. Because of his obsessive need to keep the lawn looking perfect (perhaps his OCD is where I get my OCD), no one, other than him, is allowed to mow the lawn. I am actually surprised that he has not yet placed a "Please Keep Off the Grass" sign on our lawn.

A result of both my parents doing any and all yard work, and the fact that I don't typically leave the house because I am allergic to basically everything in nature, is that I have no clue how to do yard work. But, that doesn't mean that I am opposed to learning. I am more than willing to drug myself up on massive doses of antihistamines to learn. It might sound surprising, but this urge to learn how to do yard work mainly centres around the tools. I can say in all honesty that I want to do yark work, mostly because I think it would be so awesome to use an electric hedge trimmer. Seriously, that thing looks so badass! They look like a cross between a narwhal, alligator, and a Transformer (Autobot, not Decepticon)! The mere thought of getting to play with one of those bad boys is dizzying, and fills me with delusions of grandeur about being the best gardener in the history of ever! However, I don't think I will get to fulfill my dream of going on a nature rampage with electric hedge trimmers any time soon, because most people tend to not trust me with sharp objects that have the potential to do bodily harm to myself and other people. I can be a bit (or a lot, depending on who you talk to) distracted sometimes, and I have a feeling that the reason why I was never required to work in the yard in my youth is because my parents (perhaps wisely) felt that I would hurt myself, or strangers, and also probably because they didn't want their yard to look like crap. Don't even get me started on how I would love to use one of those riding mowers! But that's mostly because I would want to race it. To me, they look like power-wheels for adults!

You can bet your bottom dollar that when I have my own yard, I will most definitely fulfill my dream of using electric hedge trimmers. Maybe I'll sculpt a topiary in the shape of a unicorn! That would be sweet!


Sunday, 17 July 2011

Undomestic Goddess, Or, How I Lack Many of the Skills Needed to Keep Me Alive In the Event of an Apocalypse

I was recently reminded of the fact that I lack many, if not all, life skills. I am 100% serious. This is not one of those things where someone says they suck at something and then people reassure them that they aren't completely useless type of deals. This is me, admitting, that I am completely undomestic. I can do laundry, but that is simply because of my obsessive need to keep my clothing looking nice (as my family typically tends to shrink/destroy my nice things).

I was reminded of my utter uselessness at all things domestic at a friends bridal shower. We were playing (and I use this term very loosely because by playing I mean I was whining about how I didn't know any of the powders and therefore not really paying attention to the task at hand) a game in which the participants were required to identify 10 white powders in separate bags that could all be found in the kitchen and were all edible. Now the only time I really ever venture into the kitchen is to make myself a cup of tea or coffee, and maybe some toast. The only white powder that can be found in the kitchen that I know of is flour, although, I will say that I was rather creative in my answers as it's entirely possible to find anthrax, cocaine, and crystal meth in a kitchen . I turned to my friend Kait (the beautiful bride to be) and expressed my frustration. Now, Kait is much more domestic than I am, but as she is a history friend of mine, agreed with me that our particular skill sets were not useful in this type of exercise. My skills are geared towards the cerebral, mostly having to do with History. I can map out for you the order of ascension of English monarchs from Henry VII to present day, or conjugate Latin verbs and recite Latin poetry. I can transcribe 16th century court documents and tell you what the punishment for vagrancy was. You need a 16th century statute dealing with economic regulation? I'm your gal. But ask me to identify common items in a kitchen and I have no clue what I am doing.

I don't bake. I don't cook. I barely know how to operate a can opener. Making mac n' cheese is asking a lot from me. Don't even get me started on things involving my car. I only know when something needs to be done to it because it tells me, and even then I need to ask someone. I remember the little orange tool light thing (see I don't even know the name of the tool!) came on to tell me that I had 15% oil life left and I called my dad and asked him how I could make it go back to 100%, not once thinking that it needed an oil change. I am completely and utterly useless at things involving everyday life. In the event of some kind of cataclysmic event in which everyone that I rely on for survival died, I would be, in a word, screwed. Royally screwed. If the starvation didn't kill me, the inability to function in a world outside of the library/my house/books would. It would be sensory overload. I would be dead at 25 and it would be my own fault.

I suppose that all of this would be an easy fix. That really, I could learn all these so called "life skills" that would help me survive, and fight off the legion of the undead that would be a result of the aforementioned cataclysmic event in which everyone that I rely on for survival died. Yes I could learn it. But at the end of the day, I find it all so boring. Sure baking cupcakes is fun...for about 15 seconds. It's fun until you realize that you have to wait for the cupcakes to bake, and then you have to clean up, then you have to wait for them to cool down, and then you ice them, and then you clean up again, and then you are left with cupcakes that no one in you house will eat because they are too "unhealthy". If you ask me it's not worth it. I would so much rather be reading or doing something much more productive with my time. Sure I could learn how to change a tire, but at the end of the day, am I physically strong enough to do it myself? You bet your bottom dollar that I most certainly am not.

So I ask you this, would having life skills actually help me in the long run? I somehow don't think so...


Friday, 15 July 2011

No Right Now Does Not Mean No Forever

I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine, and she said something that struck me as being pretty profound. I highly value the things she has to say and despite the 30+ year age gap between us, her advice is always relevant and quite often exactly what I need to hear, even if I don't want to hear it. She told me, "Leah, just because God is saying no right now, does not mean He is saying no forever". This struck me because I realized that just because we might want something so badly right at this exact moment, doesn't mean that it would be the best thing. There are so many factors in life that either make or break something, and when something doesn't go your way, or have the outcome you wanted or hoped for, or still hope for, doesn't mean that it won't ever happen, or that something better and different won't come along.

I am the type of person who likes to know what is going to happen. I like to have multiple plans that will get me to where I feel like I need to be just in case one doesn't end up working. These contingency plans give me a sense of balance, a sense of control. But i realized that sometimes you have to give up your control. You have to take a step back and just let things happen organically, and know that eventually everything will be okay. I've had this epiphany at a time when I really needed it, with the help of my good friend, who's wisdom and patience I have come to rely on and appreciate more than she will ever know. And while I don't necessarily believe in the organization of religion, I do believe in God. I know that when you feel like your life is out of your control, rather than trying desperately to regain that sense of balance, that you just have to let it go, and know and trust that He will always be there to hold your hand and guide you to the path that you need to be at.

I am learning to let go.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Leggings Are Not An Acceptable Substitute for Pants

Leggings are not an acceptable substitute for pants. Period. End of story.

I don't understand where this horrendous fashion trend originated, or how or why it started, and more importantly, why it has persisted in being a bane to the fashion world. I will freely admit that yes, I wear leggings sometimes. I wear them to yoga, or pilates, or when I go for a run. But let me make one thing clear, you will NEVER (and yes, I am speaking in absolutes) see me wearing leggings as a substitute for pants. I am actually enraged when I see girls walking around in a pair of leggings with nothing more than a regular t-shirt. Nothing is worse than looking at some girls muffin top squeezed into something that is not supposed to be pants. It's quite disgusting actually. If anything, leggings can be used as an acceptable substitute for tights, or if you are wearing an obscenely short skirt and need something to keep you decent (Brittany Spears would have been wise to heed this advice not so long ago).

The only time that leggings are acceptable is if your shirt covers your ass. If it does, and if your leggings are thick enough that I can't see your skin/underwear through them, then by all means, wear them. If not, stay far far away from leggings. If you do persist in wearing leggings as pants, I will judge you, and I will judge you hard. It's like Beau Brummel once said: "If people turn to look at you on the street, you are not well dressed". Please remember this.

I am fully aware of another trend known as jeggings. Legging jeans. If they look like they could be legit skinny jeans, and again, if your shirt covers your ass, wear them. If they look like regular leggings that have been printed to look like denim, don't wear them! And more importantly, if your jeggings are acid washed, throw them away! Don't inflict that kind of torture on the retinas of the unsuspecting public. No one will thank you for it, and I highly doubt anyone will come up to you and tell you look good, because you don't. You look like a washed up 80's rocker, who is still trying to live the dream.

So, for the sake of my sanity, eyesight, and those who are subjected to my endless railing against leggings,  please stop wearing leggings as pants. Next time you are tempted to leave your house in a pair of leggings, stop and think to yourself, "is this really a good life choice?". The answer will ALWAYS be no. No, it is not a good life choice.


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Oh look, I have a blog...

Someone once told me that I should write a blog. When I asked him why, he told me it was because I am smart, funny, and inspirational (although, I really don't think so) and that I should share those things with the world. Quite frankly, I really didn't think that people would care, or want to read a blog by an opinionated, realistic, smart ass, cancer survivor, who more often than not ends up putting her foot in her mouth. Needless to say, I laughed off his suggestion several times, calling him silly and telling him that no one would read it or care, and each time I told him no he told me that I would be surprised, and continued to encourage me. He planted the seed in my head for this blog, and that seed was nurtured and watered by several others (I'm looking at you Carolyn, Abbey, Colleen, and Adeline) who also think that I should share the things I have to say. You can blame them for the posts that will follow.

I suppose I should say something about myself. The first thing you should know is that I am tiny, and I mean pocketsized tiny. I was once measured by a co-worker when we were pretending to do work, and he swears that I am 4'11, but it says that I am 5'0 on my drivers license, and since that is a government issued piece of documentation I am going to go with that.  I am a history student with a focus on 16th century English social policy. Yes, I know it sounds boring but I love it. I look like I could be Asian, but I'm not, and I really enjoy sweaters with thumb holes.  I love pilates and soccer, shopping and shoes, hiking and reading, music (i especially love those little gems i like to call guilty pleasures, like Hanson!).  I have bad addictions to coffee, lululemon athetica, philosophy bath and body products, and Bobbie Brown makeup. Hello Kitty makes me smile. Pink is my favorite colour.

One other thing you should know about me is that my boobs are 100% fake. Yes, i understand that is a very strange thing to tell the world, but, I have a legit reason. When I was 23 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. A result of that is my new government issue set, as I like to call them. Coincidentally, they are why this blog is called "Lopsided: Life, Love, and Everything in Between", and one of the reasons why I finally decided to start a blog. I want to be able to show people that cancer can happen to anyone, and that no, it is not a death sentence, and I hope at some point I can do that here.  

I can't promise that this will be interesting, or that I will have anything of value to say, but I am going to try. Sometimes it will be silly, sometimes it will be serious, and it might not always make sense, but I hope everyone enjoys it.