Sunday, September 25, 2011

Top 10 of Summer 2011

Since it is the first weekend of fall, I thought I'd do a look back on what a marvellous summer this has been. Weather was fantastic, adventures were plenty and many grand memories are stored for me to look back fondly upon when I'm old and shrivelled and can do nothing more than recall the glory days of my youth.
Here are the top ten best for my summer 2011:

10: Life With Boys premier.

I have been working on this show for a very, verrryyy long time. It was a tough process that took our team through a great deal of trials and tribulations. But nothing worth anything comes easy. It was a real thrill to see this show that we've put so much of our life into actually come to life.

9: Surprising Dad.
For dad's birthday, Stuart and I rented a car, drove for 6ish hours, mostly in the dark, in the middle of nowhere, to surprise dad. Then we drove for close to 7ish hours through a friggin monsoon to get back home. It was an arduous journey there and back, but father dearest was extremely delighted with the surprise.

8: Mom's Art Show.
My ma is one of the most skilled artists I've ever met, and I'm not just saying that because she gave life to me. This year she's been creating gorgeous garden figures that are made out of fabric, but coated in some concoction so that they are weather proof. These statues are stunning. Ma had her big debut at the Baysville art show and everyone was amazed with her creations. It was also a great weekend because a lot of my extended family came out, so twas great seeing everyone again.

7: Toronto Island Beach Day.

Rach, Stuart and I, the three musketeers, set off to the lovely Toronto Island for a day at the beach. The weather was crazy hot and the water was crazy cold, but we had a crazy good time.

6: Bachelorette Party.

My first time being a bride's maid was this summer for Jai, the friend I've had in my life for the second longest amount of time. We had a whole day of fun - spent the morning on a roof top pool over looking the lake. Then went Go carting, then for dinner then out on the town.

5: Wedding.

Jai and Jay's wedding was beautiful. It was an exciting experience getting to be my friend's bridesmaid. It's wild how quickly we've all grown up. From doing Brady Bunch dances when we were 14 to now settling down and being proper adults. More or less.

4: Getting a bike. Well... two.

Getting a bike this summer was the best decision I've made in a long time! Although it got stolen part way through the summer, I got another one right away and with the two bikes, it still worked out cheaper than getting a metropass for all of the months I've cycled. I take the bike to and from work everyday, riding through pretty Cabbagetown. Riding on the quiet streets with the big old houses in the sun is absolutely blissful.

3: Canoe Adventure.

There is a fantastic group of 20-somethings that live in the tiny village my mom lives in up in Muskoka. Stuart and I get along really well with them and one beautiful July day we all decided to go on a massive canoe adventure. We took an hour and a half canoe journey down stream to the best spot - a huuuge rock which you can sit on and dive off of. We brought some brews, snacks, sushi and chilled out for the day, swimming and sunning. Then we embarked on the journey home. Down stream is a breeze -- up stream is a quest. We did some hardcore rowing, some portaging, braved the dreaded mosquitoes and black flies and 2.5 hours later, made it home in time for pizza and suds at the Pav. We christened ourselves "The Canoe Crew".

2: North Bay cottage weekend.

The annual pilgrimage to Curt's cottage. Always one of the best weekends of the year. The road trip up, the Friday night out on the town at North Bay's ever-so-happening club district, the mini tent city, the swimming, the sunning, the bbqing, the camp fire, the stupid jokes, the traditional pizza hut Sunday lunch and the road trip home. Always good times.

1: Trip to Chicago!

Stuart's bro Christopher came from England to visit us for three weeks. We took a trip to Chi-city for the labour day weekend and one of our best friends, Jeff, tagged along. We lucked out with great weather. I love Chicago, it is a spectacular city. We saw some great sights, ate some great food and had a load of laughs. And I think I might have a heart attack any day now because of how much cheese Americans put on everryyyything.

I mourn that summer has come and gone so rapidly, but I am pumped for autumn. It's only a few days in, but so far it's brilliant. Can't wait to see what my favourite season has in store.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Book Nook

This is my favourite spot in our apartment. It's the book nook. I collect retro paperbacks and I'm quite a bookworm, so this part of my home is my pride and joy. Here's a closer look...

Eastern European typewriter circa the 40s, I believe. That picture is of my mom in the 70s - it's brilliant, I love it.

Keyboard cat!

The mini James Bond section

The little penguin in the bottom corner is a figurine Stuart made when he was a little boy of the evil penguin from Wallace and Gromit "The Wrong Trousers". Best episode.

That's little flamingo jar is where we hold tickets for upcoming concerts. Those ones are for Elbow at the end of September.

The books that defy gravity.

This is a picture from last year when Stuart grew a dirty mustache for "Movember". I think we both look pretty gangsta here. You clearly don't want to mess with us.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

That’s Hobo Style

The Littlest Hobo. This cheesy Canadian show (of the “it’s so bad, it’s good” variety), which ran from 1979-1985, has always held a particularly and peculiarly special spot in my heart. There are a few reasons for this that I shall proceed to itemize:

1. It encapsulates my love of retro. The hair, the outfits, the cars, houses, decorations, technology (or lack there of)… it’s kitschy, and nostalgic and hilarious. As mentioned in a previous blog post, the episode where they lost Bobby and had to communicate to one another via payphones was fantastic. Sometimes at the end of episodes, you can be lucky enough to see the promotional clip that was tagged on after the credits, advertising old rental cars and hotels.
2. It was shot in Ontario, so every once in a while there’ll be an episode where I actually recognize a location. For instance, the one that took place in a hotel with the Golden Monkey statues (the one where every time the Chinese man came on screen, there was a gong sound. Ah, racial foibles) is a hotel that I’ve actually stayed at, and really hasn’t changed at all. Brown brick, orange floors never go out of style, right?
3. It harkens back to a time that was almost more innocent, or at least a time when TV pretended things were more innocent. Kids were kids, bad guys got their comeuppance, and the line between right and wrong was drawn thick and hilariously apparent.
4. The show had essentially no production values. WHICH MAKES IT AMAZING. Some of the best examples: The one where Hobo was walking through a forest, and he sees a raccoon up in a tree (a real raccoon, probably stock footage), then the raccoon jumps on him, but it’s so obviously a raccoon skin hat. Or the one where kids are playing on a raft in a stream and they see a crocodile (remember, this show takes place in Ontario…). Of course you never see the kids and the croc in the same shot. Cut to a shot of kids screaming, cut to shot of croc in a completely different location. Fantastic. Oh, and then they got really creative and had a shot of the crocodile swimming, which was clearly a crocodile head on a stick with some P.A. swimming underneath it. Or the one where Hobo was wrestling with a snake but it was most definitely one of those plush toy snakes you can win at a carnival. But then cut to stock footage of a real snake, then back to Hobo wrestling with the fake one. No attempt taken to even make it look authentic. The lack of verisimilitude is one of the most charming qualities of this show. My favourite has to be the one where the little boy in the wheel chair is free-wheeling out of control down a hill and Hobo goes to rescue him. It looks like some one has just literally thrown the dog onto this wheelchair kid. Limbs, wheels and paws akimbo. This was actually the ep that a young Mike Myers was in. Wearing very short shorts.
5. The adventure just in watching it. I have so many fond memories of watching this ridiculous show. When I was really young, I’d come home from school and watch it with some apple slices, appreciating it because it had a cool dog in it. When I was in high school and it was on, I remember watching it with theatre friends from Spotlight and we’d all get a kick out of how terrible it is. In University I carried on this appreciation for the terrible, and upon discovering that Hobo was aired at 6:00am, I encouraged my friends Shaundra and Brian to wake up at that ungodly hour, trek to the end of the hall in our residence where the student lounge was, cuddle up in our blankets (I in my Mr. T blanket), sing along with the theme song, laugh our asses off at the hijinx that Hobo got himself mixed up in, then return to bed. Fact: the more ridiculous the hour that Hobo is on, the better it is. You are so tired that everything in it is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen. Then when Stuart and I moved to Toronto, I found out CTV airs it at 8:00am on Saturdays. So, with our crappy bunny ear antenna on the TV set (we don’t have cable), we watch the fuzzy screen, still in bed, half asleep, chuckling. EDIT: Since I’ve written this, CTV has switched to digital, so analogue viewers (such as myself with the good ole bunny ear antenna) can no longer access this channel. WHY?? Why must the fates be so cruel?!
6. The theme song, my god, the theme song.

The ultimate reason though is that a part of me has always aspired to be just like Hobo. Traveling around from town to town, going on adventures, making people happy, never settling down. As my favorite line in the theme song says, “Just grab your hat, come travel light, that’s hobo style!” It’s odd, considering this is what I’ve always wanted, yet I find myself in the opposite situation. I’m quite settled – I have a steady job, have lived in the same apartment for three years, have had the same boyfriend for my whole twenties. These, I know, are great, wonderful, amazing things and I am well aware that I’m extremely lucky, and yet it scares me. I never imagined I’d be so settled at 25. I want the life of adventure and traveling! Life’s too short to be stuck in a daily routine already! I feel like life is zipping by, and I just want it to slow down a bit so I can get all I want to do, done. Perhaps that’s why I have such an affinity toward all that’s retro. Shows and things from time gone by are like pieces of the past frozen Ah, good ole quarter life crisis and 1st world problems, eh?