Category Archives: Reminiscing

Signs of Growing Up: Part 1 (Embarrassing photos included!)

I am old enough to realize that worrying about if my bangs will sit properly or not is not worth my time. I had a revelation and then I found some scissors.

Goodbye, high school hair.

And because I love to humiliate myself on this blog, now is the time for an awful photo montage (well, not really a montage) documenting the journey of my frustrating bangs over the last 4-5 years or so. Here you go:

This was probably the best my bangs had ever looked…EVEN THOUGH I COULDN’T SEE A THING. (ft. giant nose zit. Thank god grade 11 is over.)

But then they did this….

…so then I retaliated with some bobby pins…

…and then eventually gave up.

Then some pictures were posted where my forehead looked like this

So I did this!

Now I feel like an adult who can actually see out of both eyes.

A milestone, really.

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Cars, Beautiful Cars

A little known fact about me (well, maybe not little-known to anyone who has ever had to wait for a cab with me outside a bar while I drunkenly call out car models that pass by) is that I love cars. I can identify car makes and models by the shape of their headlights, I think car shopping is one of the most interesting things in the world, and I once ended a relationship because the guy I was dating mixed up a Hummer and a Tahoe. It was more of a tipping point, you know, the “straw that broke the camel’s back” since I’m not that cold-hearted, but still.

It’s not like I grew up in a world of antique car shows or even a world where my parents bought more than one car every 15 years. My friends’ parents all drove Sunfires and Corollas.

I’m sure it all spawned from listening to the dinner table talk, where my autobody-shop-working dad told stories of hilarity about rich people who kept wrapping their Corvettes around poles and whatnot. Do you even know how much paint costs for  a Bentley?!? Here’s a hint: Watch out for poles when backing your 150 thousand dollar car up.

So I took a passive interest in cars. It’s not like I sat there with flash cards every night trying to memorize the slight differences between a Blazer and a Jimmy, but I still knew that your parents drove a Ford Winstar, not a Dodge Caravan you idiot.

I even had my own dream car growing up! A very specific one, too:

Although, I would have to update those rims.

I remember almost crying when we got a flyer in the mail advertising the new 5th gen Mustang. The front grill! What did they do? Oh my god!!

Crying over pictures of cars? Normal 12 year old girl behaviour, right?

I learned to accept it eventually.

Although I can out-do, or at least keep up with, any of my macho guy friends when they talk about cars, sometimes my knowledge makes for an embarrassing moment.

Every industry has its own slang, I presume. Sometimes you don’t realize that maybe not everyone grew up learning about cars from a blue-collar father who worked in a body shop. Not everyone.

In grade 11, I rolled into my math exam looking extra frazzled, I suppose. There is a certain amount of frazzled-ness appropriate for writing an exam on advanced functions, but I guess I surpassed that because everyone was asking me what happened.

“My tranny died,” I replied.

The night before my car had broken down (at 11:30 pm, no less. I didn’t do so well on that exam.) Apparently the radiator went bust and the transmission seized since it was getting no fluid. I pulled over quickly so the transmission turned out to be okay, but at this point I was still under the impression I was going to have to pay 3 grand to fix a car that was purchased 3 weeks before.

My curious friends looked at me with blank stares on their faces and said nothing.

And that’s when I realized that to the minds of 17 year olds with bankers as parents, a “tranny” is not a transmission.

Oops.

—-

I’m looking forward to the Canadian International Auto Show this week. There’s something about shiny new cars that I’m able to sit in that makes me so happy. It’s the small things in life, isn’t it?

If I can somehow spin a post about the CIAS without making it some boring bueller-like “look at this car, now this one, this one, this one is black, this one is pretty” post, you’ll be seeing that soon.

Grey Days of February

Today was a nice, freezing rain kind of day. I couldn’t get anything done on my route today, so I thought why not go down to the Scarborough Bluffs and take some pictures?

Bluffer’s Park holds a lot of my childhood memories, and more recently memories of me failing at taking up jogging (ugh, long story).

Here they are, as I tried to make light of the most disgusting day of the month so far.

The notorious Canadian Goose.

These bright red berries really stand out on such a drab day.

Looking west out to the little man-made thing where I previously attempted to go jogging, HA. 

And east, towards to the marina

It hasn’t really been that cold, but the ice still won’t let the rocks go.

A spot to take in the silly ducks who put up with the super-choppy waters of today.

And a few steps back

The houseboats of Bluffer’s Park. I’ve never known what exactly attracts people to live in “floating houses” (not really boats since they don’t go anywhere) but hey, at least they have some cool geese to look at. 

For those wondering, those would be the “bluffs” in the background. For some reason I didn’t get any pictures of the actual bluffs. Go figure. 

An empty, frozen marina

Completely deserted

You would not believe the amount of people just sitting in their cars in the parking lot. Are they waiting for a drug deal? Just drove down to think? I have no idea. 

I spent so much time here in the summer as a kid, but it’s something completely different to come and walk around when everything is covered in ice. Try it sometime. 

“101 Goals” Revisited, 4 Years Later

With the day off work, I decided to “get organized.” This pretty much just meant I deleted all of my old, hard-drive-hogging powerpoints from first year and replied to emails. (The sad part is that this, to me, is considered a remarkably productive day.)

To organize all the paperwork I’ve got sitting around, cluttering up the kitchen table for my university applications, I scouted out an old hanging-file organizer from high school. Left over in this long-forgotten piece of broken dreams were plenty of documents from the first time I was applying to university. To the “shred” pile they went, but only because we haven’t had the fireplace cleaned for this season yet, and I’d rather not burn down the house. There were old assignments and tests, as well as study notes. “Screw you, science!” I yelled as I tossed them into the recycling bin.

Now we were getting to the end, and the last folder held something very interesting. Here, in this otherwise empty, unlabeled yellow folder, sat a list of 101 Goals I wrote for careers class in grade 10. I was 15. Unlike the other…”students” in the class (it was an “open” level class, that’s all I will say), I put a lot of thought into this, and I remember actually being proud of the list when I was finished.

Do I read it? I’m at a point in my life where spending 15 minutes deleting old files on my computer is considered a “productive day” and I really haven’t done much in the last 8 months except waste away at my job. Did I really want to add one more thing to the “why the 15 year old Michelle would hate me now” pile?

Well, I read it.
What the hell else was I going to do? Who wouldn’t read it, really?

I was surprised, in a good way. Some might even say “pleasantly.”
I found that I was a bit of an unrealistic person with sloppy handwriting at 15, but also I made some pretty solid expectations.

Here are some that I wasn’t too sad about reading:

#9 speak French fluently which I’m actively working towards, although it’s pretty damn hard!
#2 go snowboarding Hundreds of dollars, one extremely bruised tail-bone and one almost-fractured and dark purple thumb, I gave it up. But, the initial goal to “go snowboarding” did get done. Did I forget how much I hate the cold?
#5 go to England Okay, I haven’t put in my visa request yet, but that’s just because I’m currently entertaining the possibility of having to go away for school. Have you looked at residence fees? But, whether it be on a school exchange or a work visa, I will get there within the next few years.
#20 go to Warped Tour Done and done. That summer right after I wrote this, even. We got drenched, and my brand new bright-blue H&M tank top bled its colour all over my tan shorts…but I saw my favourite bands anyway so it was cool. And I will go back again, as soon as they get some decent bands on the lineup!
#22 meet Alexisonfire One of the biggest and best screamo bands in the country, Alexisonfire has a special place in my heart. At that same Warped Tour, Black Lungs, one of the member’s side projects, was playing. I found Wade in the crowd listening to the band that was on before Against Me!, waited until the set was over (politeness is a national pastime), and asked him for a picture. After awkwardly asking him “Are you Wade? I love your band!” completely forgetting that he also had a side project, his girlfriend (?) snapped a shot with my camera. Here it is:

I regret all my fashion choices of 2008.

My friends were off waiting in line to meet Mayday Parade, and I was alone and nervous, so I couldn’t tell him how much Alexisonfire’s December 16, 2007 performance at the International Centre was the best thing that had ever happened to me, but still, this was pretty awesome. Goal 1/5 complete!
#70 start a blog I don’t know why it took me so many years, but it’s done!
#78 go to a Leafs game A “special occasion only” thing in Toronto, where ticket prices are insane. My dad won a pair from a raffle to raise money for some boys hockey team. They were in the 400s of the Air Canada Centre, second row from the very top, and still the price on the ticket said $45 each! The Leafs were up against the Islanders, and we kicked their yankee asses.
#91 donate blood In grade 12, the blood drive came to our school. I got to miss my first class that day to help others, and had a pretty good excuse for missing the rest of the day since my boyfriend almost passed out (he’s not too good at heeding instructions and decided not to eat beforehand. Good job.)

On the opposite end, there are some that have me wondering, “what was I thinking?”

#1 run 15k Started again this summer, with a brand new pair of New Balance kicks. I forgot how much I hate that burning feeling in my lungs. I lasted maybe…a week?
#18 learn Cantonese One language at a time, jesus. The only things I know in Cantonese are swear words, grandpa, and the name of that weird sweet tofu soup at dim sum (doh foo fah?)
#27 own the Mod Club Why would I ever want to own a bar/concert venue? That sounds like a lot of late nights, and in a town like this, a lot of lost income if I don’t play my cards perfectly right.
#29 work a Lululemon for a while Only for “a while?” I see. I was already aware of the horrors of any sort of customer service related job, and I have no clue why I thought selling overpriced sweatpants to spoiled teenagers would be any different.
#53 get a part-time job that doesn’t suck Sorry again, 15 year old Michelle
#93 take a dance class If it’s not a class called “how to not look like an awkward moron at a club,” then I’m going no where near it.

 
All in all, I was not as disappointed as I thought I would be. The goals about obtaining a scholarship kind of stung, as well as the fitness ones (really, 50 push-ups in a row?) because I know I have been slacking. And I think the CBGB has been shut down now, so that one’s not going to fly. But for the most part? It made me feel a lot better about where I’m at now, and now I have a hanging file system to organize getting my life back on track.

What a productive day off.

A Halloween Rant

Like a lot of kids, Halloween was my favourite. Who doesn’t love getting dressed up as whatever you want for free candy?

I grew up in an old, working class neighbourhood where the majority of people were older. Every year there would be some great Halloween displays. There was the guy a street over who would cover his driveway in corn stalks to create a sort of maze to get to the front door. He also brought out the ol’ smoke machine, and had clothes stuffed with straw (terrifying when you’re eight years old) hanging in the trees.

The old man a block down in the small blue house on the corner always had the best things to give away. It was a well-known fact that his house was the first one you hit each year to avoid disappointment when he inevitably ran out of treats. He gave away picture books and small stuffed animals, as well as the traditional candy.

The rare house that decided not to give out handy knew the risk, and I’m assuming they regretted their choice the next morning. Good.

And then, I moved into a newer neighbourhood full of creepy recluse-types who worked all the time. The house across the street, I swear up and down, was a drug den or halfway house or group home or something. Only in our town would the “upper middle class” area be more sketchy than the working class parts of town. At least you knew the drug dealers’ names and they were friendly. All the fancily-dressed parents seemed suspicious of each other. Too much Dateline, I presume.

Not many people “did” Halloween. Few decorations, no effort.

What is the problem? You can’t buy a jumbo box of mini chocolates for $10 and spend an evening sitting by the door? You can’t even dress your children up before you shove them up the walkway with their No Frills bag to demand candy? You, annoying teenager, think I’m going to give you the non-stale candy when you walk up in your street clothes and hold your back-pack open?

You’re all missing the point, you greedy, selfish, soul-less people.

Halloween is for fun. It is for scaring the crap out of small children in good humour. It is for dressing up and earning your candy.

For all of you who have been a guilty party in the paragraph above, I have one thing to say.

Stop ruining Halloween, and go back to your sad, loveless lives. 

To the rest of you lovely folks, enjoy it. Have a great October 31st!

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Revisited

Every time I stumble upon some old journal, I’m amazed at two things.

1. What the hell was I even thinking? I wrote one entry in a school journal about why I want Pokemon to be real.
2. Wow, my attention span was short. There’s always about a week or two of everyday entries, followed by a 3 months of nothing, followed by an entry that starts “wow it’s been a while.” Predictable me.

Here are some answers to the fateful question about my future career I’ve found or remembered:

Veterinarian, like every other 10 year old girl.

Video game tester. Is that even a thing? Wow. I dreamt big.

Graphic designer in advertising. More recent. This persisted until I figured out that really, I’m not that clever.

Art director in print.  Also extremely recent. This one was crushed by the dwindling print industry and my reluctance to learn anymore HTML or web design beyond basic tables.

Journalist. Again, quashed by the “dying art of print” idea going around.

Surgeon. Inspired by M*A*S*H and ER. They just made it look so cool. And then, high school chemistry came along…

Psychologist. Grade 11 anthro/sociology/psychology class was probably the only interesting class I’d ever taken in high school. I figured I’d be good at listening to people’s problems. “Psychiatrist” was in the running, but you need med school for that. We all know med school needs chemistry. *gag*

Nurse. This was born out of my love of medicine but hate of chemistry. The fact that a lot of employees at my mom’s workplace, aka hell on earth aka the largest phone company in Canada I don’t want to name, had degrees in things like psychology is something that lead me to nursing. I did not want to get stuck at a shitty job with a useless degree because I couldn’t find anything else. It’s my worst fear. Oddly enough, it looks like a lot of nurse graduates from the program I was in had hard time finding full time work. Oddly enough, since the province keeps crying that we don’t have enough nurses but apparently they won’t hire any more? Hmmm…

I’m sure we all have crazy lists like this. Please share! Growing up, no one hopes to become a senior analyst (what is that, even?) or a marketing coordinator. Well, maybe some kids do.

The 5 Best Songs on The Simpsons

My parents were never too strict about the “14A” ratings on various TV shows. And for that, I am thankful. I grew up watching The Simpsons with most of the jokes flying over my head, but I still loved it. Every night at 5 on CBC they used to play an episode. Missing it was not an option.

Sure, we can argue all night about if the new episodes are still as funny. But we can all agree on one thing, the first seasons were just so great. I mean, have you ever met someone who claims they don’t like The Simpsons? Well, I’ll tell you something. They’re lying through their pretentious, veneered teeth.

Here are my favourite moments from The Simpsons to distract you from all the stupid new shows on TV now. (If I have to watch another commercial for “Whitney” I am going to go Elvis-style on my TV.) Have a look back and remember how the world used to be, before they had to add a stupid “this show contains violence, coarse language, etc” warning before each episode. Kids have been watching TV for years, but apparently only recently parents have been wanting the TV networks to do the actual parenting for them. Hmm.
(I’m sorry, but if your 6 year old child is watching sitcoms at 3am and you are unaware, those warnings are not going to help anything and you should probably be a better parent.)

5. “Canyonero”

“Can you name the truck with 4-wheel-drive? Smells like a steak and seats thirty-five.” Yes, yes I can.
If this clip doesn’t make you think of all the overweight soccer-moms who nearly run you off the road on their way to Starbucks, then please, tell me where you live. I want to move there.

4. Bart and Milhouse go on a Bender: “Springfield, Springfield”

Super sugary squishee? Check. Crazy, innocent fun? Check. Every child’s dream? Check. (Except for the waking-up-as-a-junior-camper thing.)

3. Mr. Burns: “See My Vest”

The ultimate villain song sung by the ultimate villain.

2. The Stonecutters: “We Do”

It is because of this song that I keep getting the real-life Masons and the Stonecutters mixed up. (Although, I’m sure this is a real-life Stonecutters club somewhere.)

1. “Monorail”

More relevant than ever in Torontoeveryone knows the Monorail song. When has a town getting scammed ever been so damn catchy?

Honourable mention:

“Spring in Springfield”

A good, ol’ fashioned sing along about a burlesque house. Pure goodness. This song, one of the best, unfortunately is lacking a full upload on YouTube. I figured each song on my list should at least have a fair representation in their videos.

Now, is it possible to have all of those songs stuck in your head at once? Good luck. *evil laughter*