Thursday, December 28, 2006
Stood in front of a classroom by myself and taught; legitimately lost a job; curled in a league; poked at the smoking rubble of my place of employment; went to four weddings (but, as you'll see, no funerals).
2. Did you keep New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don't think I did keep any, but I don't remember the ones I made so, who knows? But I will always make more.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Sean and his wife had tiny baby Gwen, Darren and Ellen had tiny baby Caden, and Steve and Krista had tiny baby Lauren, the apple of my eye.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Theodore Degu did, but I don't know if that counts, and also the blacksmith shop.
5. What countries did you visit? Just this one.
6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006? Better classroom management skills, better organizational skills, and a boatload more patience.
7. What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? November 3rd - my 25th birthday - was a beautiful day at the site, I was offered my current job, and I had a large group of friends come out to celebrate, including a couple from the BEd. Also, I drank my face off in a way I haven't done since high school.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Keeping myself together after everything that happened in September.
9. What was your biggest failure? Everything that happened in September.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? A few colds (including one right now) and my usual bout with dermatitis on my hands.
11. What was the best thing you bought? Well, technically I "bought" the Major at the end of the year...but I would have to say that it was the joint purchase that the boy and I made of all the graphic novels in the Sandman series. It devastates me, it's so good.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My dad's! Yay for New Dad!
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Often my own, occasionally the boy's, and sometimes people I consider my friends...but mostly my various employers.
14. Where did most of your money go? Clothes, keeping the boy in the manner to which he is accustomed (kidding), books.
15. What made you really really really excited? My two year anniversary with the boy, the new Crowded House Live Farewell album, the Sandman (and Neil Gaiman in general), .
16. What song will forever remind you of 2006? When the Night Feels My Song - Bedouin Soundclash
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer? I think a) happier, b) neither, and c) hard to say.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Being active; being more responsible for my own destiny.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Less being afraid of things.
20. How will you be spending Christmas? I spent Christmas at home with my family, and had dinner at my aunt's in the suburbs with our extended family. I fully believe this year's meal was the best in family history.
21. How will you be spending New Year's? At a friend's, dressed as Shellie from Sin City for our first annual "Movie Stars and
22. Did you fall in love in 2006? I am lucky enough to be with someone who I can continually fall in love with.
23. How many one-night stands? That's a negatron.
24. What were your favorite TV programs? The Rick Mercer Report; 22 Minutes; CSI; the first season of the X-Files.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I think I hate less people now.
26. What was the best book you read? The Sandman cycle (1-11) by Neil Gaiman
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
28. What did you want and get? An MP3 player, kisses,
29. What did you want and not get? A cat of my own, an apartment of my own, easy solutions.
30. What was your favorite film of this year? V for Vendetta, the Prestige, Flushed Away, The Departed
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I had a great day! (See above) and I was 25.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A full time job.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006? Teacher-smart.
34. What kept you sane? Caitlin, Bryan, Tara, the boy.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Clive Owen (yummyummyummy)
36. What political issue stirred you the most? Global warming, same sex marriage, equality rights.
37. Who do you miss? My classmates from Nip and Guelph
38. Who was the best new person(s) you met? Ellen
39. Side question...who would you like to get to know better? Ellen
40. Favorite memory of 2006? Dancing to "Unchained Melody" with the boy at the union Christmas party; Brendan and Colleen's wedding, the joys of the jacuzzi bathtub; finishing the Sandman and then discussing it.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Apologies for the brief hiatus - it was a weekend that was crazier than anticipated. To make up for it, here are three tunes from the same album: A Christmas Together by John Denver & the Muppets. It's the musical release from the Christmas special of the same name, which I'm sure I've seen, but don't actually have any memories of. This hails from a time when Muppets Christmas specials didn't suck (lookin' at you, Moulin Scrooge), and the whole album is a gem. John has such a sweet, pure voice, and the Muppets are in fine form, backing him on tunes both traditional and contemporary; well-loved and obscure.
Little Saint Nick gets the nod not because it manages to do anything truly amazing to an arrangement that's pretty much the Beach Boys, only done by the Muppets, but because the choice of Muppets to do the song is pretty wicked. Rolf the Dog does a great job on the main vocals; the harmonies are tight; Animal is Animal and it's so perfect when he's singing the "Run run reindeer" bits.
When the River Meets the Sea (which the truly hardcore Christmas fanatics will remember as the song from "Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas," another Henson creation) is also just a very nice, peaceful song that it's somewhat difficult to connect to Christmas except in the experience of the spiritual, the ebb and flow of life. Christmas is a chance to be part of something bigger--the greater goodness of life, of love--and this song finds the essence of that.
It's In Every One of Us builds on the feeling that "River" gives me. They are both songs about the potential for truth, and the possibility of redemption through truth. Which is actually a little more religious in nature than I usually like to think of myself. This song does speak to a greater truth than simply the religious, however:
Friday, December 15, 2006
THSWSNBN (this is the first of two references to that place in the calendar) has a sister site, which I will call Disco Inferno, and on the property of the Disco Inferno there is an old, 19th century building that has been converted into a lovely theatre space. There is some bitterness and contention among the Local Historical People about this, but say what you will, it is a beautiful theatre. One of the benefits for working for THSWSHNBN is that you occasionally wind up with tickets to shows at this theatre, including, two summers ago, "Leader of the Pack: The Ellie Greenwich Story." Today's song shows up in that musical (which I highly recommend if you like the era at all, but then again, I totally want to see Dreamgirls).
Ellie was a songwriter who penned some of the most memorable songs of the early 60s, working with a variety of different co-writers, most notably her husband Jeff Barry and also Phil Spector. "leader of the Pack," "River Deep, Mountain High," "And Then He Kissed Me," "Da Doo Run Run" are only some examples of her work, which was hugely influential. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) was originally recorded by Darlene Love (and later by U2, for the first A Very Special Christmas) and is one of the most vocally powerful 'pop' Christmas songs; the original arrangement benefitting from Phil Spector's Wall of Sound business.
It's not perfect, it's a little raw (or at the least the vocals are), it speaks of pain but still manages to be quite hummable. What more could you want in a Christmas song?
Thursday, December 14, 2006
It really wouldn't be much of an advent calendar without this song, would it? This song is a lot of thing that Christmas songs shouldn't be; it's ponderous, sad, and a bit preachy; its lyrics are, well, sometimes less sensical than, say, Frosty the Snowman. On the other hand, this songs is a lot of things that Christmas songs should be; it has a children's chorus, it doesn't pretend to a false cheer, and most of all it is driven by hope.
I usually don't say too much about what is going on in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as I really don't think that I know enough about either situation to make any kind of intelligent statement. Every Friday I struggle with the notion of supporting troops vs. supporting what they are doing, and I never reach an answer that's at all satisfying. But I think that whatever side of those conflicts you fall on, that whatever you believe about them, that you do wish them to be over, and in that respect, this Christmas song is perfect.
(As a small addendum to this, I would like to state for the record that I wish people would stop doing cover versions of this song. I was going to write "bad cover versions" but then I realized that all of them were bad. This song is so iconic--I think it's just as emblematic of Lennon, his life, and his work, as Imagine is--that it would be hard for any performance to outstrip, outshine, or even add anything new to what we know and love. And if you aren't doing any of those things, what's the point of doing the cover? Yes, yes, I know sometimes it's just because you "love the song so much" - but keep those demos for friends and family and don't inflict that on the rest of us. Thank you.)
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Day 5 of the Musical Advent Calendar finds us looking at a particular group. To be quite honest, we should probably give Day 5 of Musical Advent to the entire album (20 Greatest Christmas Songs) that this group produced, but if I must (by my own silly, self-imposed rules) choose a single song from the album, I would choose the medley of Mary's Boy Child / Oh My Lord. According to Wikipedia, it was the UK Christmas Number One in 1978, which makes sense. It is a beautifullly produced piece of pop music. The timing is just right for it to be moving away from disco and towards New Wave; very synth-happy and very 'bright' sounding production. Anyone who knows me or my musical taste well would know that this sound is right up my alley.
The mix of the two songs works well. Mary's Boy Child starts out well, talking about Christ coming to earth etc and then morphing into the vaguely call-and-answer style of Oh My Lord, which has terrific rhythm to it. Throughout both songs, the harmoinies are absolutely terrific. The group was three singers and a DJ from the West Indies, apparently, but they were produced in Germany by that guy who was responsible for the whole Milli Vanilli debacle. (It seems that he had a very similar approach to his production with Boney M, and most of the male vocals are not the DJ but actually him.)
I'm sorry that I couldn't find a sound clip for you, but if you see this album secondhand or remaindered anywhere, you should absolutely pick it up. It truly is a feast for the ears in a way that only the late 70s could provide.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
You have a tendency to go to the very bottom of an issue and you always seem to resurface transformed and wiser from your experience. This last trip down was quite intense, yet now you are on your way back up. Don't try to make things move too quickly. It may take a while yet to figure out exactly where you are going, but one thing is certain: you cannot go back and undo what has been done. Your future is waiting for you to arrive.
Monday, December 11, 2006
This is one that has always fascinated me. In childhood it stuck out because it was so sombre. A lot of traditional Christmas music is serious, I know, but this is one of the few that I find downright depressing in its tone. Which is funny, because the tone often doesn't suit the lyrics: How can one feel these "tidings of comfort and joy" when they are wished upon us so mournfully?
It's also a terribly English song (see also: The Holly and the Ivy), which, again refers us back to the above comment. The rhythm in it is what makes the song stand out. A long, long time ago we used to actually have a carol-sing assembly in school, and this was one of my favourites to sing for this reason: the great big breath you take at the beginning to keep the proper flow between the lines.
Scorpio (Oct 23 - Nov 21)
You are quite ready and willing to jump in and deal with tough issues now, rather than just sticking your head in the sand. You realize that denial will not get you anywhere. If your finances are a current source of aggravation, resolve to make changes, even if your situation feels hopeless. Communication may be the missing key. Start slowly and you could be moving mountains in no time at all.
Huh. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
It probably isn't too obvious today, but I actually began my education in a French immersion program, back when French immersion actually meant "no English until grade 3." Raffi is a popular children's singer here in Canada (and his music was featured on "Full House" once upon a time) and I have actually seen him in concert three times, including one time where I got to go up on stage and play with his band for a song. Naturally, I have no recollection of this. The Raffi Christmas album is truly a classic, and this song stands out to me as the gem in the bunch, probably because it made me feel special to be the only in my family who could understand the lyrics. It's a very sweet, simple song sung to Pere Noel from the perspective of a small child who asks that he not forget the child's shoe as he comes down from the sky with his millions of toys. It's much more lyrical and poetic in French, I assure you. Even if you can't understand the words, it (and Raffi) do a lovely job of capturing the season as it appears to children.
Down the windy winter avenuesThere walks a lonely man,And if I told you who he is,Well I think you'd understand.But it doesn't have to be that way.What we had should never have ended.I'll be dropping by today.We could easily get it together tonight.It's only right.The holidays are stressful--it comes with the territory. Though Croce's song discusses this in a romantic context, I think it could easily be applied to many of our dealings with one another at this time of year. It really doesn't have to be that way...we can each forgive a little, forget a little, and try to remember that love is what the spirit of the season should be.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
The musical advent calendar. This probably would be a much cooler feature if I had started back on December 1st, but I didn't...I'm sure someone else has probably done this, and done this better. However, I do have a semi-secret, abiding passion for the music of the season, which stems back to my youth when all the good toy lines also produced music as a tie-in product. I had the Rainbow Brite Christmas (and a silver star for Rainbow Brite's tree!), a Care Bears Christmas (oh, Grumpy! - this one actually had to be purchased twice because I wore out the first cassette), and of course, the Mini-Pops Christmas. Because this music is a passion of my father's, we have a very extensive library of Christmas CDs, and, well, I probably know more about it than most people would care to.
So I've decided to highlight one song here each day until the day itself. The parents, the boy, and myself went to see the lovely Natalie McMaster last night, and she did a beautiful version of "O Holy Night" (or "Minuit Chretiens" to the boy) on the fiddle. "O Holy Night" is probably my favourite traditional Christmas song. It is gorgeous both musically and lyrically (although the boy tells me that the French lyrics are quite intense and include references to Christ arising to free us from original sin). Probably one thing I like about it is that the song is so vocally demanding that not everyone chooses to sing it--the "FAll on your knees/ and hear the angel voices/ o night divine" part is just killer if you can't manage the range. I don't usually care much for the "powerhouse" singers like Mariah, Celine, etc., but this is a song that requires a set of pipes. The combination of music, lyrics, and vocals in "O Holy Night" has a power and strength that few other Christmas song have. I am not much on the religious tradition of Christmas (silly heathen upbringing) but this song makes me feel connected to it.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Today (or, more correctly, tonight) is the first night of the First
Light Festival at the good old HSWSNBN. It should be an interesting
year - I am getting paid (hurray) but there is currently no snow
(boo!) and it is threatening to freexing rain on us. I'm always
afraid because if things don't go well, there is always a chance that
they may decide not to do it again next year...and I very firmly
believe that First Light is the most worthwhile thing that we do (or
pretty close to it). I have a whole whack of people coming to see me
this year, from the House of Geek Reunion tour '06, to the youngest
Skylark, to a few friends from Nip days gone by...and I want them to
see my beloved site for the best of what it can be, the best of what
it can offer. Oh well. At the very least, it will still be night,
and there is something truly magical about the site at nighttime.
I have purchased my first cellular phone. It is also an mp3 player, a
1.3MP camera, and a video camera. It also has world clocks and
calendar functions. I am hoping it makes waffles for breakfast as
well. It came with a 1Gb memory card as well, so I am on my way to
sweet tune heaven.
The Liberal Women's Caucus has decided to publish a Pink Book
concerning their ideas about the federal government should go with
regards to euqality and women's status, etc. under federal law. It
says something, though, that the party that wants to be most concerned
with the ladies still feels the need to call it a Pink Book though,
just in case we were unclear about where the government really stands
on redefining gender norms and moving towards equality.
I probably shouldn't complain, though, under the Conservatives it
would be the Barefoot and Pregnant book. But then again, a Barefoot
and Pregnant book wouldn't be pretending to help women, either.
With tomorrow, we move officially into the holiday season, and with
that comes the holiday music...my sweet, secret weakness...
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I would really, really like a monkey for a pet.* The Telus people have always made great commercials, but their new round of holiday spots, which feature various monkeys giving each other gifts (of cell phones of course) are just too cute. I kind of feel like if I had a monkey for a pet, it would be an anthropomorphization of the imaginary friend I had as a kid. And really, who doesn't want that, even at the age of twenty-five? I just know that the monkey and I would be best friends forever, even if it threw its feces at me. I could teach it to pet the cats, and probably to blog for me, and also to play tricks on my sisters. It could help me teach, as well, and accidentally poop on troublemakers. Beware the wrath of the monkey's butt, guys.
*Actually, I really don't want a monkey for a pet because I don't think that it is very fair to the monkey. I don't really believe in exotic pets.
This is a very pointless entry. I think that I could be a really good blogger, except that I am not. I've taken up curling on the weekends in a mixed league with my father, and I am spectacularly bad (although, it must be confessed, rapidly improving). My right knee has borne the brunt of the damage, as it now sports what I would like to call a perma-bruise because I have very poor form when kicking out of the hack. There is, however, something unreal about the sound of a 44-pound granite rock sliding down the ice as you run along the ice trying to keep up with it, wondering if you'll have to drop your broom and sweep, wondering if you can do any of that without falling flat on your ass.
There is really nothing wrong with me that a hot bath and a good cup of tea won't fix, or so I'll keep telling myself.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
There is a video game commercial for Gears of War that includes Gary Jules' "Mad World" in it and it's wonderfully effective...very creepy and very cool. Not that I particularly care about video games, or next gen systems, but I like a good piece of marketing when it shows up.
I have, as some of you have noticed, been feeling out of sorts lately. On the surface, things are going very well for me. The job, so far, has been very rewarding. I am spending lots of good, quality time with people that I care deeply about. I am dating someone who makes me very happy. And yet, there is something that isn't quite right. I'm not quite sure how to put it into words, because I'm not quite sure what exactly it is that I am talking about.
If I had to guess, I'd say that maybe 60% of this is due to the change in seasons. This time of year always gets to me a little bit like that. I want everything I eat to be carb-tastic; I want to wear jammies and stay in bed; I want to watch a lot of TV. I need to push myself into being more active, because I feel so incredibly lethargic these days. Part of it is due to last week's airport misadventure, when Mum's 11:30 p.m. flight was delayed by 3 hours, and we didn't get back from picking her up until 4 a.m. My circadian rhythm has been a mess ever since.
The other 40%...well...it breaks down a little something like this: I am intellectually understimulated, and I don't feel very good about myself right now. It's not even that I dislike myself, but I am apathetic. Normally when I look in the mirror, I see things that I like, and things that I don't like. Right now, I just see a face. Nothing else.
And the person I want to talk to most right now couldn't be farther away from me.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
It has been an interesting few weeks around here. I have been alternating supply work with time in costume for THSWSNBN and it is doing a reasonable job of keeping me out of trouble and in the black (more or less). I'm getting between 7 and 10 calls a day for supply. A friend offered me the chance to take his group of junior kindergartens for a day, and that was a very interesting experience. For those of you not in the know, JKs are usually 3-4 years old...they are little little kids. It wound up being a very good day. I have never worked with children that small before. But, no one swore at me, and two girls drew me pictures to take home, and everyone wanted to sit in my lap for story time. To be honest, reading books to kids at that age is probably one of the most gratifying things I've ever done. One of the books was a poem about clocks, and I started reading it a bit quicker than the others, to make the rhythm fun, and all of kids the kids were amazed that I could read that fast.
I finished the Hallowe'en costume, and went to a party, which was a pretty fun time, though the boy was a little sad that no one knew who he was. Being at home this year has been so much better than I ever could have imagined. Living with my parents is good, and being around for friends is excellent.
Speaking of friends, I celebrated my 25th birthday Friday night, with a large crop of people--friends from work, friends from school. At one point we took a survey of those who came: 10 of 13 were current or former employees of THSWSNBN, 9 out of 13 were teachers, and about 6 or 7 were both. Basically, my friend base is quite nerdy. We had a really great night, I think. (There are some later bits that have faded from my memory, I must confess.) After nursing the mother of all hangovers yesterday, I am feeling mostly normal today.
And as icing on the birthday cake, the wife of a friend (who is, you guessed it, both a teacher and an interpreter) offered me a job at the local Adult Learning Centre. So, tomorrow, I am headed that way to take over a grade 12 literacy course. It pays reasonably well, though the hours aren't great (11:30-1:30 every day). The most important part is that it is a contract position, which means that I am slowly working towards seniority... At the very least, it will be interesting and challenging, I am sure.
We have about 6 inches of snow here, and it is marvelous.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
I wish I could convey to you, dear, farflung reader, the beauty of the world that I live in right now. The part of the world that I live in is one of the most beautiful places in the world, though it is unlikely to be acknowledged as such, and never is it more beautiful than it is at this time of year. The autumn is simply glorious. Winter is also wonderful (though I know I find myself in the minority on that one). The leaves have begun to change in earnest now, and the roads are lined with these orange gold trees that contrast so sharply against the deep green of our pine and fur trees. I didn't choose to move to this part of the country (my father's promotion brought my family here some 18 years ago) and so I am terribly lucky to have fallen in love with it.
OCtober is shaping up to be a busy month, between work and play. My Hallowe'en costume is coming along swimmingly. I have only the hems and the trim left to do now. All in all it has been a much more successful endeavour that I could have imagined, despite the fact that I have some issues reading (and following) patterns. I have learned quite a lot about the social aspects of the Renaissance, and in the next week or so I will be designing some of my own jewelry which is also tremendously exciting. I am constructing myself a character as well, as people tend to look perplexed when I say that I am going to be a "generic Renaissance noblewoman" for Hallowe'en. Instead, I am going to be an Italian courtesan, a position which hides a great deal sins for me: it allows for more freedom with the hair and better jewelry, it provides a reason for me to be witty and entertaining, and, of course, it lets me have maximum cleavage.* (Which, if you've seen Mean Girls, you know Hallowe'en is all about anyway.)
*Since I used a modern pattern, the dress was designed for cleavage and does ot follow the modesty conventions of the time period...but if I'm a courtesan, those don't apply quite so much, anyway.
It should be a grand party with lots of pictures. What more can you ask for?
Monday, October 09, 2006
It is Thanksgiving Monday here in rural Ontario. And thus, I am thankful, for many things: the one day off that means I have a good lot of work this month, the faint turkey smell from yesterday's delicious dinner, the battle for the bathroom that always ensues when all five of us are home. I am thankful for other things as well, but those are best shared with those they involve.
THSWSNBN had its annual craft show this weekend, along with a new Harvest Festival. We saw just under 2000 people in two days, which was much, much busier than anyone had anticipated us being...up several hundred from last year, I think. In some ways it was great, but in others...not bad, but completely exhausting.
We live near our town's grave yard, and beside the grave yard there is a farmer's field. (I did say rural Ontario, guys). There is a flock of wild turkeys living in the fields, and just before dusk each evening, they come in to the graveyard to roost in the ancient pine trees.
My mother discovered this about 4 weeks ago when she was out running, and so has become somewhat obsessed with these turkeys. We have gone over to the grave yard at dusk several times these last few weeks, and watch the turkeys make their way in from the field. There are four adults and several babies, and it has been fascinating to watch how they interact with each, and try to protect each as they go in. Once in the grave yard, they walk around for a bit, and then fly up into the pine trees. Of course, turkeys are not the most...aerodynamic of birds, so it is quite funny to see them struggle their way into the trees. They usually aim for the lower branches, and then jump from branch to branch when they get there.
In the short time that we have known them, the turkeys have grown from children into very near adults. There are 21 of them now. And it's very neat to watch them.
I am thankful for the turkeys.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Ah, here in the skylarkian hometown, it is quite early in the morning. Well, really not especially early, but it feels it today...perhaps because I got caught up playing Halo2 last night, and then reading Stuart McLean and seeing the sisters skylark. Also, it is -2 degrees centigrade out. Enter the fall, with a vengeance.
The return to the HSWSNBN has been, by and large, a good one. The fall sees some returning faces--some of which I never thought I'd see again--but somehow, after all this time, it is actually good to see them.
When I wasn't looking...do you ever have the feeling that you aren't quite who you think you are? (Or, in this case, thought you would be?) Not that I am dissatisfied with my life at the moment, and for the most part I like the person that I am. I guess that this is just not the person that I thought I would be when I was almost 25.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Every once in a while, it seems wise to report on what is going on in my life. These last few weeks have been quite eventful. In the span of 28 days, I have a) quit THSWSNBN for good, b) started my 'real' job as a high school teacher, c) taught, d) been bullied by students, e) enjoyed the company of my students, f) made friends, g) been 'surplused' by the school board, h) put on the supply list, and i) been rehired by THSWSNBN.
I also saw Tom Petty in concert with my dad, reconnected with old friends, loved a boy, and started working on my Hallowe'en costume.
It goes a little something like this:
The "A" dress (top left corner) in green fabric. And, I'm thinking, no stupid veil.
Losing my job three weeks in to the semester was a pretty bad thing...definitely not the way one intends to start out a career. But my co-workers were exceptionally supportive, and they will be throwing me several large bones in terms of supply work. And in the end, I really do think things will be okay.
I just have to take things one day at a time. And tomorrow's day, it turns out, my beautiful cousin is getting married. She is the first in our family to get married, so this is a pretty exciting event for all of us.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
A crew (perhaps the new Teen Nerd Squad) went to see Al Gore's movie about himself and that pesky global warming problem. It was a good time, though not quite what I expected--it was a LOT more about Al Gore than I would have imagined, and while he is an interesting guy and a good speaker, I would like to say this: Dude, no one has forgotten about that time that you won the popular vote but lost the presidency because of the electoral college. We get that your system of government is antiquated and needs work. I just don't really see what that has to do with global warming, so much.
But the climate focused parts are awesome, and come with some really interesting visuals. The criticisms of global warming are quite mind-boggling in their own way: even in my own [relatively short] lifetime, I can see the differences in the seasons of my childhood and the seasons.
So: climatecrisis.net is full of good info for you. Stay open.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Is it possible for something to be seemingly impossible and inevitable, all at the same time?
At any rate, the inevitable and the impossible did finally happen at The Historic Site Which Shall Not Be Named. (Obviously enough, it is named in the article.)
This is seriously one of the saddest things to ever happen to me. What a terrible last week of work.
Monday, July 31, 2006
Things That Did Not Go Right for me Today:
+forced to leave early for work because sister forgot to mention that we were picking up coworker, thus leaving me without time to make lunch
+given a job that involved not doing anything in isolation, despite other things needing to be done
+temperatures of 33 degrees, plus humidex
+being mocked by customers for isolation
+poor peformance of asinine puppet show
+watching woman in restaurant toss and mix my salad with her bare hands, dressing and all
+being snappish and cranky because of heat
+unable to accomplish needed work at home because of heat and insistence of family that I participate in beach outing
+lack of Sweet'n'Sour sauce for chicken McNuggets, thereby rendering taste of McNuggets as simply 'fat'
+inability to admit that beach was actually enjoyable, last of productivity aside.
Things That Went Well for me Today:
+the boy bought me a pack of starburst in hopes of cheering me up
Friday, June 30, 2006
If I ever met Rob Gordon, I think he and I would have a longish conversation about how MP3 CDs are killing the art of the compilation album. I'm currently ripping a variety of miscellaneous stuff to make a CD for the boy and, who are headed to Toronto this weekend to attend the wedding of a friend. It's only an hour and a half drive, but I think this CD is going to be quite a bit longer.
It's a difficult process, this, as the boy and I have fairly different taste in music. I tend towards melodic, folk influenced indie pop (with a smattering of punk, 60s rock, and of course my weakness for the 80s) and he is a former rave kid who adores techno, particularly house. We find common ground in 80s new wave, a lot of the time, though both of us try to be fairly open minded.
The unfortunate part is that now my dad and I share something in common--we both have partners that enjoy music by listening to it over and over and over and over and OVER again. This occasionally ruins our appreciation for certain musics (particularly if it's something that both the boy and my mother enjoy, such as the soundtrack to JOseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat, because then I get a double dose of hearing it all the time--I could probably perform it acapella, singing all the parts myself, I've heard it so many times).
So, while the 'soul' and 'continuity' and 'cohesion' of the compilation CD is somewhat lost (it's hard to be cohesive when you're smushing 100+ songs together), it does have the added advantage of having a much longer replay value.
My dad is quite thrilled by this technology; he now has a CD that covers his entire Beatles catalogue, minus the 2 German tracks, the greatest hits, and Revolution #9. He also has the world's longest Bob Dylan CD and an entirely 80s one (which is awesome because there are a few 'crap song' skeletons in my dad's musical closet that have been exposed by this).
Go see Superman Returns. Bryan Singer, Bryan Singer, holy shit, Bryan Singer. If only he hadn't Xed off.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
I want to tell you a story. A few years ago, I took an honours seminar class on the works of Timothy Findley. The world of Mr. Findley is one of infinite wonder and madness, family and frenzy. I admire his work very, very much, and I truly wish I had been able to meet him before he died. I like to think that he and I would have much to talk about.
After I took this class, my mum began to pick up his books for me whenever she would see them in her trips to the Value Village, the Goodwill, or even at yard sales. Unfortunately, she's never remembered which books I already have, and as a result there are a few titles that I now have 3 or 4 copies of.
She bought me a copy of 'Stones' a few weeks ago. It's one of his short story collections (the one we actually read for my class, too), and the copy mum bought was the basic mass market paper back, which is substantially less pretty than my trade paperback. As a result, I didn't really pay much attention to it, and the book wound up 'hanging out' on our bar for a few weeks.
After my graduation from the BEd last week, the boyfriend was over for post-convocation shenanigans (er, supper), and as he was looking through the collection of junk that our bar attracts, he looked at the copy of 'Stones' a little more closely than my mom or I had.
As it turns out, neither my mother nor I had noticed the inscription on the title page.
I like to think about books and their previous owners. I wonder who this one was signed for, and why they were able to give it away. How strange that it should come to me...
Saturday, June 03, 2006
I haven't written here in a long time. That's mostly a good thing. I don't have words anymore. Not even for myself. I'm too pragmatic to be cryptic like this tonight. I feel bad and I want writing to make me feel better. I don't know if it will. I've spoken so much French these past few days that half my thinking, c'est dans une autre langue, so this may not even make sense.
The big things I can't write about. They aren't mine to write about anyway.
I wanted to have a party next week. I graduate from the BEd Friday morning, and the NB Rock City is sufficiently far from most everywhere that the majority of people will come into town the night before. So I figure that Thursday night, we have a few drinks at the University House(tm) and then head up to the pub to dance the night away. So I send out an invitation, via email, and ask people to email me back if they are coming.
As this was several days ago, and I've heard from no one...
I don't know what this means. Part of me wants to say that everyone hates me. I know (god, I hope) that isn't it. but surely someone would reply, even if to say "I'm coming over in the morning, so I can't make it"? I know I was not necessarily that well-liked this year--but I didn't think that it was like this.
If it is, though, I guess I'll just have to deal with that. I wish I knew how.
Monday, May 01, 2006
I am, at long last, finished school. For good this time. Honest.
Thus, I begin the next great adventure: Is there life after the books close?
I have employment for the summer. I have a few leads on more permanent things for the fall. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy life and do my best to trust that things will work out as they should.
I'm going to plan some role playing. I'm going to start writing scripts for graphic novels. I am going to get a tan. I am going to go to weddings of friends. I'm going to start planning my professional website. I'm going to start thinking about the research projects that I want to develop. I am going to create.
For the first time in my life, I am ready to move forward. I don't know if I am ready for what comes next, but I am ready to meet it head on.
On a lighter, and slightly more interesting note: New Beckett play found. This is particularly noteworthy because it was passed on to the boyfriend by a friend of ours, and the boyfriend got very, very excited about it...apparently he's never really explored the Onion before.
Monday, April 17, 2006
One of my least favourite things about being sick is the way that it blunts my sense of taste. I can still taste things, but the tastes are neither as full nor as ripe (rich?) as they might be, and all things considered, Easter weekend is a bad time to lose that ability to taste, because there is just so much darn good food. Also, I just generally hate being sick.
It was a good weekend, all in all; having four days off (even four days of being sick as a very flu-y dog) is quite possibly the best thing ever. Now I just need to survive the next four days of descriptive paragraphs, research reports, and Romeo + Juliet madness. Strangely, I am starting to appreciate Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of the play--something that has been inconceivable to me to this point.
I'm a bit uncertain about the future right now (right now, of course, being a rough euphemism for "the last six months or so") and I wish that things would start falling into place a little more. I fully accept that they aren't going to, at least not in the way that I want them to...but is a little certainty too much to ask for?
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Two weeks down, and only 7.5 days left to go. I am for the most part enjoying myself. Teaching English is actually a pretty good deal, though part of me still thinks my heart is in the Canadian history courses somewhere. I am in charge of a whole unit on The Great and Lamentably Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet and, wonder of wonders, I'm actually having a blast with it. Some of my students are, as well, though I think I lost a LOT of them when we got to iambic pentameter. People who lack rhythm should never have to teach such things. Note to future self: Cultivate friendship with a musician who will come in and explain iambs in a far better way than you can.
I was poking around my old diaryland site very very briefly this morning. I haven't written there in nearly three years, and there was a time where I believed very much in the importance of saving everything that I'd written. But having done the wee bit of poking that I did today, I can honestly say that I no longer have any investment in that writing or in that time of my life. For possibly the first time ever, I want to live in the now, and nothing is more now than here (or maybe podcasting. Difficult to say.)
Hurray for four day Easter weekends in Canada! I'm very excited to be going home tomorrow.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Tomorrow, I have to give a speech:
Every person in this room knows [Daddy Skylark] in different way. For many—probably most of you—he was worker at the some point in the 34 years of his career. For others, he is a husband, a brother, a son-in-law, a brother-in-law. For all of us, he is a friend.
Because so many of you have known him in these ways, my sisters and I wanted to tell you about a different side of [Daddy Skylark].
Our father was blessed with a challenge. Between 1981 and 1988, he and my mother had three daughters. Outnumbered, he had to learn to navigate a new world, one of pink strawberry shaving cream, Girl Guide Cookies twice a year, and Cabbage Patch Dolls, Polly Pockets, and Precious Places.
He rose to this challenge quite admirably, learning not to leave the toilet seat up, to swallow his complaints when his razor blades were inexplicably dull, and also when the milk jug went back into the fridge empty. He also learned not to complain about peanut butter on his uniform hat, or the perpetual loss of black socks and the occasional white shirt. Do you remember, Dad, when we thought it was cool to wear your big clothes?
More than these trivial things, our dad taught us to be strong and independent. He always expected our best, and we hope, that most of the time, we’ve been able to give it.
To introduce the video that we’ve put together, I’ll use my dad’s own words whenever he comes home with a bunch of pictures to show us: “You’d better pee now. This’ll take a while.”
Monday, April 03, 2006
I have moved to Collingwood, and it seems that this business will actually be a pretty good deal for me. My apartment is quite nice; it has everything I could need, pretty much, aside from a cat. And tea. But I'm sure I will rectify that shortly.
I have a grade nine locally developed course, a grade ten academic, and a grade twelve college prep. I've only met the 9s and 10s so far, and one of my two associates, but I really think that this is going to work out well. *knocks wood*
I teach my first lesson tomorrow, on the use of poetic language and diction in Romeo and Juliet. Whee!
Friday, March 31, 2006
I write this entry from the boyfriend's bed in Sudbury, as he plays a Warcraft game beside me. I wrote my exams on Monday during the day, ate pizza with my friends Monday night, and packed like a fiend until Tuesday, when I came here. I have five glorious days here (3.5 of which have already happened) before I head home and to my final month. of school.
I am still in C-wood for the next month, but I have found a family friend to live with, and will apparently have lots of internet access and will only be five minutes from my school. All things considered, I am pretty lucky.
My father retires from his job today. He has been a police officer since he was 18, and he is currently two weeks shy of his 53rd birthday. I can't imagine what it feels like to leave behind something that has defined so much of his life. That said, I do know that he is quite ready to leave, and start his next adventure, which rumour has it will be installing hardwood floors in the house.
The littlest skylark got into the college program of her choice today. I am very proud of her.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
School will be over tomorrow around 3. Over forever, once I lay down that pen from filling in the Scantron bubbles for Special Education. Over until I choose to come back. If I ever do.
For the longest time, I never thought I would reach this point in my life. School has been life to me since I was old enough to read. Since I am now trained as an educator of some kind, school isn't really over, but I will be sitting on the other side of the fence. If I get a job.
This year has been really interesting. A much easier one than the last, in most ways, but harder still in some. The community formed by the people I have met is such a quick, fragile one...but strong in its own way, and may last far longer than any of us imagine. I came to the realization the other night that the one thing in my life that I am truly desperate for is to be liked by other people. I don't know why I want that, but that's how it is, for some reason.
For all of you who do like me, I am thankful. I don't know where we will find ourselves after this year, but this year would have been very different without you. I hope that some day I will be able to tell you that, and that some day I will understand what it is that you like about me.
We are all stronger people after this year. We are all one step closer to being who we want to. That, more than anything else, is worth celebrating.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Hell week is truly living up to its name this week.
I just got my third placement info - I'm at a school in Collingwood, which is some 56 km. from my house, and I have zero way to get there. This means that I will be looking for a place to live for one month, and I have zero way to pay for that. In short, I am so screwed.
I will going to the Practice Teaching Office later today to talk to them about it, but they are notoriously intractable in these matters. I have no idea what I am going to do.
I just want to go back to sleep
Friday, March 17, 2006
Today I was given a choice between staying at a bar and going to my favourite secondhand bookstore. I chose to stay in the bar, because I thought that would be cheaper than going to a bookstore.
I think that statement tells you everything you need to know about me.
Monday, March 13, 2006
I am in my second last week of post-secondary education for the foreseeable future. (This count doesn't include that pesky practicum that I still don't know anything about.) This would be much more exciting except for the following factors: a variety of stupid assignments + complete lack of ambition + general apathy; all of which contribute to a very unproductive skylark. As long as I manage to buckle down this week, though, everything should be okay.
And one of the nice things about this program is that it's virtually impossible to flunk out...
It is officially Old Friends Week here in North Bay, and I am expecting (hoping?) to touch base with almost ten people I haven't seen in ages this week...including the one that I am most excited about, the Schrode! Whom I haven't seen in nigh on three years now, and who I think it is also pretty excited for seeing me. Jo and Dante are close seconds, though.
Saints-Martyrs-des-Damnees has been given a domestic release, at long last, but unfortunately it is proving somewhat elusive here in Ontario. Amazon and Chapters want me to pay upwards of $30 for it, and as much as I want to see it, that is a little too rich for my blood.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
I am leisurely planning for tomorrow...I have three lessons from a unit on Orwell and 1984 due, of which I currently have two. 1984 just makes me so happy. If I ever get to teach one of the senior literature English courses (as opposed to the core University prep) I fully intend to teach one solely on dystopic literatures.
I also have my portfolio due so I will be shucking that together this afternoon as well.
I need a good culminating project for my 1984...
Atwood checks in at the big G with her remininsces about the book.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Those of you who remember the halcyon days of my undergrad at Nip will remember my feminist theory class and our study of Shelley Jackson's _Patchwork Girl_ (which more of you should read if you haven't). This was my first exposure to the world of hypertext and it was just incredible: even the problems of the text are magnificent.
Anyhow, I thought I'd check back in with Shelley to see what she is upto today, and it is a doozy. She is currently doing the SKIN Project: "SKIN is a mortal work of art: a story tattooed on readers' bodies, one word at a time."
Though tattoos usually aren't something I think too much about, this has got me incredibly intrigued...a mortal work of art, which is constantly in motion as its words grow older. I wish I could participate...but I don't know if I could. Would you, reader?
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
This is a crazy idea. I'd love to do that....if only, you know, I wasn't afraid of flying so much. Or pot, for that matter.
I am so tired right now I could probably go to bed now and wake up for my 6:30 head out time tomorrow. I only have to survive tomorrow (and tomorrow's lesson on birth control) and then I'm homefree for a bit, what with the PA day on Friday and my graduation on Monday.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Grade seven is the craziest stuff ever. My class is literally everything you could imagine it to be. Those of you who have survived the BEd will know what I'm talking about--basically all of those scenarios, all of those things that they tell you to watch out for in class, have shown up in my grade sevens. It's so...wow. Intense, to say the least.
I started teaching 'the math' today. Rate and ratios...well...my math vocabulary is a little off, and I find it hard to explain things when I can just see how they look. Isn't that dumb? Tomorrow I keep going with the math and start with the sex ed; specifically the birth control. It's going to be an experience, that's fo' sho'. I'm thinking about emailing Scarleteen and asking if they would be willing to add a teacher section to their site.
There's a swastika on one of the desks in my classroom and it makes me want to cry every time I look at it.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
According to the UofG website, Scott "Griffin Prize for Poetry" Griffin will be my convocation speaker for the College of Arts graduation next Monday. He's also Scott "House of Anasi Press" Griffin if that means anything to you.
That's kind of exciting, though Adrienne Clarkson is one of the other speakers, and she would have been interesting to hear. Gwynne Dyer (whom I have already heard speak), Pamela Wallin, and Michael Ignatieff are also speaking at various other graduations.
Grade seven starts tomorrow. Wish me luck.
God knows I'll need it.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Reading week is slowly puttering along at a pace that's pretty easy to describe as 'much too fast' for my tastes. I have yet to accomplish much, I'm afraid, although I am getting closer to success on the laundry front.
I got to take my first trip to downtown Toronto in probably 8 or 9 months. Mom and I got tickets to see Julie Andrew's The Boyfriend at the Royal Alex. Nothing spectacular, but definitely lots of fun, great costuming, and a plot that was straight from a Shakespearean comedy, right down to the Carnival and the marriage.
Our afternoon downtown was lots of fun too--we hit up a Winners, where I got the most beautiful black pearl necklacke, with the help of some gift certificates I've been saving up, and the Queen St. LUSH. We then checked out the Winterlicious menu at Urban and browsed the Richmond and John Chapters. This was my first trip downtown since Jane Creba was shot in December, and I was surprised at how little the downtown was changed. Except for the security guards in the Chapters, you'd almost never know.
If I should win the lottery someday, I will definitely be spending a portion of my winnings at LUSH, though.
Monday, February 06, 2006
It is, marvelously, that week in which I am supposed to do nothing but read. There isn't actually very much to read in the BEd, so I will have to content myself with wreaking havoc, reading my mum out of house and home, and maybe eventually getting around to doing some homework. And possibly some prep for grade seven, which starts next week. Since I came back on Friday, I have read three books...I'd almost forgotten how glorious reading is, since I think I read all of three books in January.
The weather has been doing most of my havoc-wreaking for me these past few days. Poor North Bay Rock City got somewhere close to 90cm. in the last week, and down 'south' here it continues to snow off and on. We probably have between 50-60 cm. by now.
My dad has come up with a new mix tape/CD game. It would almost make a good meme, really. Basically, what you do is take about 20 CDs, randomly (dad currently grabs 1/2 of a shelf of CDs) and you have to choose your favourite song from each CD and put that onto your new CD. I will probably be doing that at some point this week, too. I bet it works better when you have nearly 2000 CDs, though, like he does, as opposed to the 250 I have.
Split Enz are reuniting!!
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Back in my erstwhile high school days, I had a friend by the name of Julia. Julia and I were both huge retro geeks even then (and friends in Finn) and used to have a lot of fun together loving the 80s life. When high school ended, she went off to Toronto and I to North Bay, but we have kept sporadically in touch over the years.
Julia is obsessed with Bon Jovi. Not just 'casual fan who owns greatest hits'; not 'devoted fan who owns the whole CD library and some imported vinyl'; but owns Bon Jovi bedsheets from Germany obsessed.
Which why is you should go here and read a story that, even if you hate Bon Jovi, should make you like him at least a little bit.
Congratulations Jewels and Matt!
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
This will be quick because this is one of the infamous 'no laptop' classes. Things are still tripping along on this end; this is my last week of class before February's round of placement. (And then there are only three more weeks of class.) February placement is in a grade seven classroom; I will be teaching Math, Computers, Gym, Sex Ed, Geography, and Language Arts. I am simultaneously terrified and thrilled about this.
Life is good right now. For once, I truly can't complain.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
I won't post much about the election here...snipes and gripes is the place for that...but I did want to post this: Voter Turn Out Up (via the CBC): Voter turn out is up 4% nationally, but up 13% in the 18-24 demographic. Granted, this still means that only 38% of all 18-24 year olds are voting, but I will take what I can get.
Especially when faced with the prospect of a Conservative minority.
Monday, January 23, 2006
I have a three hour gap between classes Monday afternoons, so I have taken to spending time in one of the newer student lounges on campus, which is fun because a) there are glass walls on two sides, b) lots of comfy couches, c) lots of places to plug in a laptop, d) great for people watching, and e) it's generally pretty quiet and devoid of undergrads. The last few times I've been in here, however, there have been two (who I suspect are English or History majors, as we can smell our own) who truly bring new meaning to pretentious. Sample quote, "but, my god, an AK47 is SUCH an outdated weapon. Like, as if people still use those." They've also been waxing poetic about the wonderous artistic integrity of Hunter S. Thompson, patron saint of posers everywhere.
Kris, we were never that bad, were we?
Not too much to report on this end. I've spent some time gallavanting around Northern Ontario, visiting boys and such. This past weekend was also the tremendously fun Winter Classic, a three day casual sports event at the university. The section put in a team; we played hard; we came in second out of thirty teams. None too shabby--and only a few injuries were sustained. I came out with some minor bumps and bruises on my knees (and a nice one of my wrist from getting hit on the wrist in broomball); mostly I'm just sore from a day of physical exertion followed by a night of drinking and dancing. Gotta get myself in shape for formal this weekend.
All the couches in here have me wanting to build a fort to hide out in.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Mz. T tagged me last week, and I promised I'd do it, filled it out offline and then promptly forgot about it until now. I do get around to things, I swear.
Four jobs you have had in your life:
1. Through the Looking Glass – small giftshop owned by one of my neighbours
2. Recruitment Assistant – basically, glorified tour guide for the University.
3. Historical Interpretor: This past summer was my sixth at this job. Easily the best job I’ve had; easily the job I’ve been the best at. Here I have really come into my own, and made some of the best friends I will ever have. This job has taught me the most about people.
4. Student Technology Assistant – my current job, helping people with their laptops and teaching workshops.
Four movies you would watch over and over:
1. Life is Beautiful
2. White Christmas
3. Apocalypse Now
4. Star Wars
Four places you have lived:
1. St. Zacharie, Provence, France – for three months on exchange when I was fifteen. I say lived because I went to school there.
2. St. Boniface, MB – the French quarter of Winnipeg, my favourite city in Canada.
3. Guelph, ON – city of poetry, great food, and my MA
4. North Bay ON – my erstwhile home for five of the last six years
Four TV shows you love to watch:
2. Darcy’s Wild Life
3. Radio Free Roscoe
4. okay…I have to confess that I really don’t watch a lot of TV
Four places you have been on vacation:
2. Canada’s east coast (PEI, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia)
3. Carcassonne, Perpignan, France
4. Lake Lanier, Georgia
Four websites I visit daily:
1. Perez Hilton – my dark secret
2. TelevisionWithoutPity – where I steal all my jokes
3. Tomato Nation
Four of my favourite foods:
Four places I would rather be right now:
1. In Westeros
2. In Scotland
3. At home in bed
4. In Sudbury in someone else’s bed
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
These are my top 40 career choices:
5. Political Aide
7. Communications Specialist
8. Market Research Analyst
9. Print Journalist
11. Public Policy Analyst
15. Public Relations Specialist
16. Director of Photography
18. Legal Secretary
19. Desktop Publisher
21. Civil Litigator
22. Criminal Lawyer
25. Special Effects Technician
27. Cartoonist / Comic Illustrator
29. Costume Designer
31. Set Designer
32. Sign Maker
34. Autobody Repairer
35. Fashion Designer
36. Practical Nurse
37. Medical Secretary
38. Massage Therapist
39. Casting Director
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
It is time, folks, for the amazing and incredible year end round up!!1! And surely there is no better time to round stuff up than in class! On Monday morning! I'm tired of all these extreme exclamation points!
(Amendment: this list is inclsuive of all the things that I discovered this year, rather than things that were actually new.)
I think I watched more movies this year than I ever have before. The highlight of my movie year was probably Cube, which is easily the best sci-fi offering I've seen in years. Shaun of the Dead and Land of the Dead were also good times. Attack of the Clones wasn't what I wanted it to be, but I'd be lying if I said that the scene in which all the Jedi are slaughtered didn't give me goosebumps every time.
Narnia and Potter get special nods, as does the BBC production of Narnia--though it is dreadful, it is still a piece of my childhood.
Big losers this year were Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Skeleton Key, and the Matrix movies. I didn't actually watch the Matrices, I just caught bits and pieces that reminded me of my hate.
Books: I read roughly 60 books last year. Actually, I'm pretty sure I read more than that, but I only wrote down 60 titles in my log, so that's the final number you're getting. (One of my resolutions is to keep a better log.) De Lindt, Gaiman, Martin, and various other bits of fantasy were my reading candy this year; Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels are the standout this year. Set in England at the turn of the century, the plot is well-paced and the details are marvelous.
Music: a solid year for Canadian music. My two big discoveries for the year are the Postal Service (though they are not Canadian) and Stars. I'm a sucker for a smooth lyric and a killer harmony, what can I say?