Meanwhile, in the Scottish Highlands

My knowledge of Scotland comes from romance novels and movies. I know they have a loch that has a Ness, say “och,” “nae” and “bluidy” a lot, that William Wallace looked like Mel Gibson and James Bond is a Scot.

When Le Hubs suggested the Fergus Scottish Festival as a way to get out of town, I jumped at the chance. Scots are portrayed as rough, rowdy and roguish, perennial harassers of the Brits and clannish to the point of absurdity. No, Outlander didn’t cause this – brief aside, I only got through its first six episodes, not a fan, don’t hate me – just the attraction of the unknown did.

So we get there and there’s men in kilts everywhere. I had never seen so many men in skirts in my life. Costumes! Socks with dirks stuffed in them (not a euphemism)! Plaid! Bagpipes! Plaid! Scotch Eggs! Plaid! Celtic coloured glass! Plaid! Sheep shearing! Plaid! Men flipping logs for sport! Plaid!

If I’d known the dress code was traditional Highland fling, I would’ve made more of an effort, because their national dress is absolutely amazing. Knee high socks, sporrans, pleats, I can see myself Baby One More Time-ing that ish. But I didnae ken. Och well, there’s always next time!

 

 

Break Ups and Shake Ups

Is it that time again? That part of the music cycle where boy/girl bands break up and its individual members go their separate ways, make their own marks and come up with their own albums?

This is the third iteration I’ve lived through, and I was there when NKOTB’s Jordan Knight and Joey McIntyre came out swinging. I was there when Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez faced off against Nick Carter and Nick Lachey, there when the Spice Girls faced off against each other, there when Destiny’s Child broke up and came out with their own albums, there when BSB and NKOTB came together like a multi-armed giant mutant  singing group causing the hearts of late twenty somethings to explode .

I had no idea what Jordan Knight meant by “it.” Then I grew up and realized he wanted to sex up a carnie in an amusement park. I thought he meant romance! I weep for my childhood.

Nelly and Kelly contemplate cheating, and use MS Excel on a Nokia QWERTY phone to further their courtship. God, the early oughts were badass. 

It’s happening again, with the One Direction boys going their own directions. Two things: they were right when they said music is cyclical, and my god I am way too old for this shit.

I had a hard time with Slow Hands being like sweat dripping on dirty laundry, because gross. Sign of the Times makes five minutes feel like  being stuck behind someone in line at the ATM who takes forever. Come on Bowie, get your money and go already… Pillow Talk was last year, so here’s Strip That Down, because apropos of nothing, this makes me think of pink flamingoes.

 

Reading Rainbow

It’s a good time to be a bookworm. Not that it’s ever a bad time to be a bookworm, but it used to be pricier for me because e-books hadn’t yet been invented, and I had to actually pay to read, because that was the price of being in a book club. (Php 10 for an Avon Romance!) Flash forward a decade or two, and it’s all just point, click and download.  Overdrive and the Toronto Public Library are the gifts that keep giving.

Weirdly, I wasn’t into the whole e-book thing at first – made the usual noises, nothing like the real thing, blah blah blah and crap. But the pros far outweighed the cons. Nightly ablutions + not skipping a chapter? Win. Reading in bed without a lamp? Win. Plus you can’t beat the price of free.

I’ve been tackling my book backlog these past couple of weeks because I needed a break from the Netflix glut and the internet is a minefield of possible GoT spoilers. Books have always been portals to other worlds, windows to peek through and watch glorious ladies in ballgowns sweeping past. Escapism at its best.

This is my idealized self-portrait.

This is me in real life.

So book reviews, the quick-fire edition:

Read More »

Random YouTube K-hole

This fever dream was brought to you by episode recaps of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8, off of the absolutely brilliant Blind Canyon and its hilarious webmistress. Birthed by the reminder of Derrick Barry and that hideous two-in-one negligee he obviously cribbed from Britney’s pregnant video + Acid Betty in Madonna giving birth to doves drag + sleep deprivation = this.

Behold, pop stars who didn’t let pregnancy get in the way of making music videos, because the only other thing more urgent than the call of nature is the call of the muse, fetus in the belly bedamned.

Britney, pre-breakdown. It’s the last time we’ll ever see her as the innocent southern All-American girl, all smiles and giggles and just a dash of naughty sexiness. And then she gives birth, shaves her head and uses an umbrella as a weapon of mass destruction. Kids ruin everything. Las Vegas puts you back together.

 

In medieval times, women went into confinement when they got pregnant. Here’s Beyonce, showing the word confinement isn’t even in her vocabulary.

 

The original trailblazer is not to be outdone.  Madame Madonna, four months pregnant with Guy Ritchie’s child. When she says she wants to dance with her baby, do you think she means it literally? She also takes time to throw a couple of bills at strippers, because why not. Say hi to your mommy, Rocco.

I was going to include Whitney Houston’s I’m Every Woman, which shows her pregnant with her only child, but now they’re both dead and both passed in unfortunate circumstances, so… yeah. No. Bad idea. You get the Spice Girls instead.

Emphasizing the power in girl power, this gets runner up points for featuring not just one, but two pregnancies. From Generation Next to having the next generation! Friendship never ends.

 

 

Spandau Ballet

Screenshot_2014-02-11-21-53-31_1

The truth is, you will wake up and realize the old life you had, as you knew it, is gone. And the truth is, you will want it back. You will want it back with all your heart, and it will hurt, because that is what loss feels like.

The truth is, even if you did find a way to go back, things are never going to be exactly as they were because you aren’t exactly the same person anymore. Neither are the people you left behind. There will be parts of you that you recognize, the core of you that makes you who you are, like your love of books, of adventure, of the absurd, and your ability to put things down and walk away for good. There will be parts of you that you will lay to rest, like your need to writhe unabashed under flashing lights with strangers, to stumble home with addled wits and equally addled friends. There will be parts of you that are new and surprising, like your increased capacity to compromise and the true extent of your caring. The truth is, the march of time is inexorable, and the change it brings is inevitable for you, and for everyone else you know.

The truth is, you will get tired. Of each other. Of the sameness. Of the monotony.  You won’t always like the same things, and want to do everything together because the truth is, sometimes sharing space – your space – with another human being gets claustrophobic.

Read More »

Tuesdays with Metro

It’s official: it’s nigh on impossible to stay up to date on anything without getting slapped in the face by something Game of Thrones-ish. I’m innocently walking along minding my own business and bam, Daenerys Targaryen. I love the show, and so does everyone else so naturally it’s going to be a major part of the news cycle until this season ends.

I’ve spent the days since of Game of Thrones debuted its seventh season hiding from the internet, for fear of spoilers. Weekly cliffhangers drive me nuts. As always, I prefer to hunker down, wait till everything is over and then spend an entire day and a half watching the season from start to finish.

So, very little to no internet. I’ve been using it the way a rat scrounges for food, scuttling out if its hole in the after hours, nabbing whatever it can eat and racing back to its lair posthaste, all while avoiding as much human traffic as possible.

But a girl needs her daily dose of goings on in the great big world, which is why I picked up a (free! #cheap) Metro on the subway. It was going well, I absorbed the usual happenings in T-town – cyclist hit by car, left for dead, son finds her in a pool of her own blood; TTC put the kibosh on a grassroots movement to share books on the train because their lost and found department doesn’t need more shit to deal with; Toronto real estate market slowly cooling, prices still exorbitant and unfriendly to the 99%; bullets flying at east-end bar sends two people to the hospital. Then I turn a page, and suddenly half of page eight is a photo of Missandei about to get hot and heavy with Grey Worm. Aargh. On a Tuesday!  Shouldn’t they have gotten the inevitable GoT info-dump over with on a Monday? Short of being a Tibetan monk for a month and a half, I’m going to have to be on my guard all the time. Actual, dead-tree newspapers are now verboten, and I have added the neighborhood newsstand (ha! I don’t have a neighborhood newsstand… just the On-the-Go’s in every subway station) to the list of places to avoid.

But now I have questions. (Rhetorical ones. Do not answer until seven weeks have passed.) G.R.R. Martin canon states the Unsullied do turn to the whores of Mereen, but only to cuddle. If the Unsullied are eunuchs, how does Grey Worm do the dirty? Does this mean the Unsullied were left with twigs but not berries, the way dogs get spayed? Does the shaft still work? Do they hold hands? If Grey Worm gets to have sexy times, what about other castratees? Theon Greyjoy? Varys? The Night’s Watch*?

Godamnit. Frickin free newspaper.

 

* I am well aware the Night’s Watch aren’t eunuchs, but they took vows. Not that it did anything for Jon Snow and Samuel Tarly. I’m rooting for you, Dolorous Ed! Get yours!

Easier to Run

A post shared by LINKIN PARK (@linkinpark) on

Put to rest what you thought of me
While I clean this slate
With the hands of uncertainty
So let mercy come and wash away
What I’ve done

– What I’ve Done
Linkin Park, Minutes to Midnight

Today’s post is brought to you by the untimely death of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington. Untimely for all of us maybe, but timely to him. I’ve seen a dozen thinkpieces pop up over the past two days since word spread that he’d hung himself on Chris Cornell’s birthday. Most people reacted with shock, anger, and sadness. Mine was surprise, but I wasn’t as surprised as I thought I would be. Anyone familiar with his work was aware, at least on a subconscious level, that this was a guy who had inner demons he dealt with every day. He sang about endings as beginnings, about sunsets over sunrise, about being numb, about things that rippled under his skin begging to be set free.

Read More »

Love me, Tony Stark. Please?

So here we are five years later, staring down the barrel of yet another Spider-man reboot, hoping against hope Marvel will make it alright. After all, this is the studio that made us fall for a homicidal talking raccoon. Anything is possible.

The best way to kill a bug is to douse it with something flammable and set it on fire. Say what you want, it’s the most satisfying feeling, ever. This, in effect, is what Marvel Studios has accomplished with Spider-man: Homecoming. Pretty sure this sentiment is shared by a few when it comes to the second reboot of the Spider-man franchise.  Not even the combined charms of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone could overcome the hot mess that was Jamie Foxx’s Electro.

Read More »

Bisaya Para Intense

Today in Random YouTube K-hole©: a Bisdak take on Despacito involves chow mein and “bring-house,” Bruno Mars sings a song he wrote for Adele, Adele sings a song Bruno Mars wrote for her (spoiler: it’s the same song) and I run the gamut of emotions within the span of fifteen minutes, because such is life on the internet. I also realize I’ve never heard any of these songs, original or otherwise, before. I’m sensing a theme!  (Theme being: I know, I’m really behind.)

First up is Vic Desucatan serving nonsense in the vein of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. Trending on my feed because I live under a rock and didn’t realize Despacito is currently the biggest thing since sliced meat, behold Vic’s hilarious ode to feeding his friends till they burst with Bes, Pancit Oh:

That is exactly what Visayans who invite you to their homes for fiestas say. Word for word. Amazing. Standing slow clap, sincere edition.

A quick skim of Vic’s work reveals a fondness for Bruno Mars’ covers, which led me to Bruno himself, channeling all his 90’s balladeer powers with this rendition of Adele’s All I Ask:

What prowess. So much soul for such a little guy – I’m sure the same may have been said about Christina Aguilera – but Bruno keeps it tight, vocal trills at the right moments, nothing too flashy or overdone. His version is a sad ballad on the radio, played at two in the morning when everything is dark and all you can do is revel in the cheesemax.

The comments section yielded the juicy tidbit that Bruno Mars co-wrote All I Ask with Adele (again, I am aware I’m very tardy to this 2016 party, thankyouverymuch) and of course I had to listen to her version, complete with lyrics:

All of a sudden I’m holding myself, ugly crying with the best of them. Not even thirty and capable of destroying your soul with the nuance she brings to a single line. Why hasn’t Adele already been asked to sing live outside an ISIS stronghold, end the war and help us all attain world peace, godamnit?

I now have to peel myself off the floor and go on with my life. That’s it for the first official outing of Random YouTube K-hole. It won’t be long till I go on another one, because that’s what being online is about. Happy weekend!

White Noise

We’d driven up north to Tobermory, a town at the tip of Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula, for an extended weekend getaway. It’s four hours away from Toronto, which led me to realize that I am a big fan of trains and planes, but not automobiles. Not for long distance travel, anyway.

I like to distract myself when I travel – a good book, maybe a couple episodes of a good show, a nap. Not this time around. As designated navigator (navigatrix?) for this particular road trip, staying awake and focused for the whole trip was an occupational hazard.

Things can go south pretty quickly when you’re in the middle of Ontario farmland and there are pockets of dead space. No phone signal? Quelle horreur! Not too horreur, of course. I smugly congratulated myself for growing up analog and having the foresight to download a map of the area before starting out. Who needs step-by-step directions in real-time?  Over-dependence on tech makes people pansies.

Or so I thought.

Read More »