Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Taking the Power Back


Friday, December 20 Always Be Prepared 

19:00 Lynne reminds the family that there is an ice storm coming tomorrow expected to cause major power outages. David replies that they currently possess only half a container of salt for the driveway. Shael comments that they do not have a flashlight at their condo. Not a Boy Scout among them.

Saturday, December 21 We are Powerless 

11:00 David and Shira go to Canadian Tire to pick up salt. They briefly contemplate getting emergency supplies for a prolonged blackout, but opt for a quick getaway instead.

21:00 David, Lynne, and Shira settle down for a quiet evening of Breaking Bad.


21:37 David and Shira resort to their second favourite and doubly as cool Saturday night activity: backgammon (by candlelight).

21:55 The power comes back on. David and Shira decide to blow out the candles. Shira demonstrates why she is widely considered one of the greatest comedy minds of her generation by proclaiming that they should each make a wish. David foolishly states ALOUD, "I wish the power would stay on."


22:30 The threesome retire to their cooling beds and endure a night filled with the bangs of tree limbs falling and the mystery of how Walter and Jesse got out of their current jam.
Damage sustained after Saturday night

Sunday, December 22  There and Back Again

11:30 Shira awakens to a lunch of everything that can possibly be eaten from the fridge. After much debate, it is decided that everyone is too cold to eat the rapidly melting ice cream. This is one of the toughest realizations of Shira's young, but sensational, life.

11:35 Asher mutters sleepily from the couch, "...Power's out on Championship Sunday..."

12:00 David transitions into crisis survival mode, which happens at least once a blackout. He and Lynne empty the fridge and freezer into two plastic bins and stick them on the deck outside. There is generalized discussion as to whether the bins are wildlife proof. Lynne generously states, "The squirrels are welcome to it!"

The Lurie attempt at ingenuity. Note the ice cream on the right
13:30 The gang decides to take a nap in a desperate attempt at hibernation. Nobody makes a "power nap" joke and they are all upset at having missed the opportunity.

16:00 They awake to a very cold house and courageously decide to flee to higher ground (Dani and Shael's condo). But not before attempting to "cold proof" the house with scientifically dubious ideas, such as closing all of the blinds for insulation, running hot water through all of the taps, and tucking in Buzz Lightyear under three blankets.

16:30 Unable to open the garage, they are forced to take Shira's car that has been assaulted by freezing rain for the last two days. It is coated in an inch thick layer of ice. It takes over twenty minutes to clear off enough ice to see out of the windows and open three of four doors - all done on a driveway that has been converted into a skating rink. Also, they don't have skates.

David attempts to revive a frozen Finn without falling
16:55 Our heroes begin a treacherous car journey, forced to negotiate icy roads, downed trees, and nonfunctional traffic lights.
Attack of the Ice Trees: A film by Tim Burton

17:25 They arrive at Dani and Shael's condo. There are no spots in visitors' parking, so they are forced to park illegally in an empty residential spot. They have a bad feeling about this. *foreshadowing*

17:30 They greet Hallie who seems resigned to the reality that she will have to share her house with more people than usual tonight. She retreats first to her bath and then to her crib as an escape from the commotion.

17:30 Dani drives Lynne across the street to Lisa's apartment in Shira's car. She parks in visitors' parking, but only tells Lynne. *more foreshadowing*

21:30 Lynne calls Shira with reports that power may have come back on in their area according to the Markham Powerstream hotline. They attempt to confirm this information by calling everyone they know in the area, including Shopper's, Pizza Hut, and Food Basics. They regret not being friendlier with their neighbours.

22:15 Despite mixed reports, and a particularly discouraging estimation from Mike at Food Basics, they decide to take their chances and head back home. David and Shira go down to the parking garage to retrieve the car and pick-up Lynne. Not knowing, of course, that Dani parked in a different spot, they reenact a favourite Seinfeld episode as they scour the parking garage for their car, fearing it may have been towed.

22:30 In a fit of desperation, David attempts to convince Shira that a Nissan Sentra is her Honda Civic since they are both blue.

22:40 They find the car in visitors' parking. Weak with relief, they curse Dani's name and embark upon their treacherous journey home, forced to negotiate icy roads, downed trees, nonfunctional traffic lights, and Cosmo in the backseat.

23:15 They arrive home to a house with power! Buzz Lightyear is cold, but in good spirits.

23:16 Shira plugs in her phone and checks Twitter. Asher catches up on football. Lynne and David make tea.


Cast of Characters
Shira - The Hero
Asher - The Brother
Dani - The Sister
Lisa - The Sister II
Lynne - The Mom
David - The Dad
Shael - The Brother-in-Law
Hallie - The Niece
Cosmo - The Hound

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Best Tweets of 2013

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

UPDATED: The Best Unintentionally Awkward Moments in Musical Theatre History

I will add to this list as more occur to me. But for now, bask in the following unnecessary awkwardness that has graced the Broadway stage. 

Look What You've Done - 1:23
Father: Sir, if I might suggest -
Charles S. Whitman: WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?
Father: sent for me.
Why does Whitman freak out like that? He literally loses it completely and then it is never mentioned again. So awkward and unnecessary.

Les Miserables 
Plummet Attack - 0:31
Thernardier: Who is this hussy?
Babet: It's your brat Eponine. Don't you know your own kid?
Dude just called his own daughter a slut. He literally didn't recognize her from two feet away. 

Upon these Stones (at the Barricade) - 1:47
Army Officer: You at the barricade listen to this! No one is coming to help you to fight. You're on your own. You have no friends. Give up your guns or die!
You have no friends? So harsh. 

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Prologue - 0:08
Narrator: Some folks dream of the wonders they'll do before their time on this planet is through. Some just don't have anything planned. They hide their hopes and their heads in the sand. Now I don't say who is wrong, who is right, but if by chance you are here for the night, then all I need is an hour or two to tell the tale of a dreamer like you. We all dream a lot - some are lucky, some are not.
This lady builds you up just to bring you back down again. These vague proclamations are such a weird way to start the show. It then leads into Any Dream Will Do and don't even get me STARTED on that - what is that song even about?? The whole thing is a bit of a head-scratcher. 

Pharaoh Story - 0:46
Narrator and Chorus: When Pharaoh's around, then you get down on the ground.
Narrator: If you ever find yourself near Ramases, get down on your knees. 

13!: The Musical
Getting Ready - 2:16
Kendra: If he does it and I let him -
Lucy: You're a slut.
Kendra: Right.
Right? RIGHT?? Listen to the finality of this line delivery, too. Also keeping in mind, of course, that these kids are thirteen.  

Goodbye Love - 2:04
Mark: I hear there are great restaurants out west.
Roger: Some of the best. How could she?
Ok, Roger, I get that you are upset over Mimi, but why the crazy non-sequitur? Mark's making polite conversation, maybe go with it for more than a second? 

Monday, November 11, 2013

"Lest We Forget on a Day with So Much to Remember" - RB

I really hate predictability, so I wasn't going to write a 'Remembrance Day' blog post today. It felt too on the nose. But this year especially, Remembrance Day has multiple meanings for me, so what the heck - perhaps my conformity will surprise some of you and my reputation will remain intact.

Like most who study History, I feel a certain connection to this day and hope to somehow honour its significance each year. I guess having studied the past, we understand the importance of memory; and having read of the horrors of war, we understand the heroism of service.

And like many in my generation, my Grandfather served in WWII. He lied about his age and joined the South African Signal Corps. He was captured in 1942 and waited out the war in various POW camps. His battles didn't end with his repatriation, nor did his bravery. This is my first Remembrance Day without him.

Today is also the birthday of a friend who passed away in 2008. He was a deep thinker and liked the connection between himself and such an important date in history. There were poppies at his funeral. This is also his day, so I remember him, as well.

As an internationalist and a pacifist, I also have mixed feelings about a day that is often distorted by nationalism. I wish there were less flags and anthems at Remembrance Day ceremonies. I wish this was a day to talk about peace, as well as war.

Never such innocence,
Never before or since,
As changed itself to past 
Without a word - the men 
Leaving the gardens tidy,
The thousands of marriages 
lasting a little while longer;
Never such innocence again.
- "MCMXIV" Philip Larkin

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


A page of acknowledgments prefaces my MA cognate, partially because I have a lot of people I'd like to thank and partially because I want to pretend that I'm a real author with an acknowledgements section at the beginning of their book. But since literally zero people are going to end up reading my cognate (and probably rightfully so), I thought I'd post my acknowledgments here.

Also of note: I contemplated just writing "for all my haters" and leaving it at that because it would be both bad ass and hilarious...but I wasn't gutsy enough to go through with it.

There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.
                                                              - George Burton Adams

 Adams’ words are quite demanding for an acknowledgements section, but nevertheless, I wish to begin with his sentiment in mind. This project is made up of the influence and encouragement of a large number of people, but I will limit myself to mentioning a few of the most significant among them. The first of which are the excellent scholars whom I reference in this paper. I am especially indebted to the work of Douglas Bradburn, James Morton Smith, and Bernard Bailyn.
Professor Nancy Rhoden has been an incredibly kind and generous mentor to me for the past three years. If there is any trace of intelligence in this paper, it is due to her insight, patience, and unflagging support. I will never be able to properly thank her. Professors Rob MacDougall, Geoff Stewart, and Colleen O’Brien have also provided me with endless encouragement and advice about this project and others. They have been an integral part of my experience at Western and I value their friendship. Professor Craig Simpson did me a very kind favour by reading a draft of this paper and providing positive and insightful feedback. I am intensely grateful for his enthusiasm and kind words.
My fellow comrades in Western’s history graduate program have had a tremendous impact both on this project and on me as a person. I am lucky to have shared such an amazing year with the most perfect of friends.
Anything I have ever done or will ever be able to do is because of my incredible family: Mom, Dad, Dani, Lisa, Asher, Shael, Pat, and Rose. You guys are the top; this is for you.
And for Harry, who was there for the beginning of this journey, and Hallie, who was there to celebrate the end.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Advice to My Unborn Niece

1. Don't run with scissors.
2. Try to assume the best about people.
3. When Grandpa David speaks gibberish, Granny Lynne will translate.
4. Pink does not have to be your favourite colour and Princess does not have to be your career aspiration.
5. Do your best.
6. Some people will try and tell you that Shreddies cereal is not the best thing in the world. Do not believe them.
7. Keep your promises.
8. You will want to like me the best, but will fall for Uncle Asher. That is normal and happens to everyone.
9. Ask for help.
10. Offer help.
11. Don't be one of those kids that has to shout just because they're in a pool.
12. Trust people.
13. Return the things you borrow.
14. Be nice.
15. Treat your friends well.
16. Don't step on an ant just because it's smaller than you. It's okay to step on caterpillars though, those are gross.
17. Puns are never as funny out loud as they are in your head.
18. Make eye contact.
19. It is okay to be scared sometimes.
20. Be curious.
21. Some things that are easy for you will be hard for others, and vice versa. Don't get arrogant or discouraged.
22. Don't be one of those people who leaves their garbage in movie theatres. They are the worst.
23. Be confident.
24. You can call me whenever you need me, but calls before 10am have historically had the most customer service complaints.
25. Nap.
26. Try new things.
27. Do anything for a free t-shirt. Literally, anything.
28. Read. Start with Goodnight Moon and go from there.
29. Don't ruin an apology with an excuse.
30. Smile.
31. Be nice to your parents. They love you and are just figuring all of this out.
32. Don't settle.
33. The ticklemonster is real and warrants the fear you have of him.
34. Celebrate differences, don't fear them.
35. Sing.
36. Make mistakes.
37. It's okay to act against the majority.
38. At some point, your father will want to teach you how to throw a frisbee. Let him.
39. Don't compare yourself to anyone except your past self.
40. Go on adventures.
41. Lupin is better than Sirius. That is a fact that everyone has to come to terms with eventually.
42. Being able to do a somersault is an overrated skill.
43. Double-knot your shoelaces.
44. Say "please" and "thank you." People like that.
45. Don't spoil movies for those who haven't seen them yet.
46. Laugh.
47. Be a good sport.
48. Try and figure stuff out for yourself, but if you can't, Granny Lynne has the answer.
49. Floss.
50. Everybody is making it up as they go along; you'll be fine.

PS. I'm very excited to meet you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The "Bi" in Bipolar

Bipolar, as a term, has a pretty simple meaning: a mood disorder causing dramatic highs and lows. Two poles. Two extremes. But since one of my closest friends was diagnosed bipolar, I have come to understand that this duality is about more than just his mood. 

Analyzing my friend's feelings is one of the hardest aspects of his diagnosis for me. There are, in a sense, two parts to his happiness. The healthy kind and the unhealthy kind. It is cause for concern when he appears 'too happy;' a sign that he is entering a manic state. When he laughs freely and hard, when he is overly energetic, when he speaks excitedly, when he has a whirlwind of ideas - these are all previous symptoms he has displayed when entering a psychosis. Behaviours, of course, that one would normally be pleased to see when interacting with a friend; especially one who has recently seemed lethargic and disengaged, as his old medication made him. Constantly scrutinizing him has brought out a duality in me, as well: the part that finds pleasure in his happiness and the part that is always analyzing it for warning signs. An experience that often leaves me feeling anxious and guilty. 

There is also, of course, the divide between his old self, the one before his first episode and subsequent diagnosis, and the person he is now. Not so much in terms of what has changed for him medically, but in the sense of someone who has undergone a significant experience. I suppose he seems a bit older now. He has the air of someone who has seen and understood the unpredictability of life firsthand. With that, I would say, has also come maturity. For one thing, he seems to have become more conscious of his body's wellness, as well as more appreciative of those around him. 

This split between old and new is very distinct for me and I have developed separate feelings toward each one, another duality. I'm mostly angry with the old version - angry that he took his incredible brain for granted and used drugs to tamper with it. But those feelings don't transfer to the new one. I don't blame the current him. I miss the old one sometimes, the simplicity of our time together and the easiness of his demeanour. But I like the new version for different reasons and I hope the best of both of them combine eventually. 

There are many tremendous websites and organizations on this subject I could mention, but I'll limit myself to my favourite: To Write Love on Her Arms. Check them out if you're interested and buy one of their super sweet shirts.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Top Ten TED Talks of ALL TIME

As I walk around the streets of Canada, people are constantly stopping me to ask about my favourite TED Talks.* The masses want to know and I am not one to disappoint my fans.

So here they are, my top ten TED talks. Check out the list after the jump!

*to ask for directions.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why Gay Doesn't Equal Pedophile...and other things nobody should have to explain

Randy Bish /
Today the Boy Scouts of America officially welcomed gay members into the fold, but told those wishing to be Scout Leaders to take a hike. While I'm sure there are various homophobic reasons for this line being drawn, like the erroneous notion that homosexuality is a learned behaviour, the clear underlying assumption is that gay men will not be able to help themselves around young boys.

I was in high school when I first came across this puzzling stereotype. JK Rowling had just "outed" Dumbledore from the cupboard under the stairs, as it were, and my friend commented, "This makes me really uncomfortable to think about all those meetings Harry had alone in Dumbledore's office." She instantly linked homosexuality with pedophilia; a sentiment made even stranger by the fact that this was a fictional character in a resolved story who never showed any signs of sexual perversion.

Despite the title of this post, I don't really feel the need to explain why someone's sexuality in no way impacts the likelihood of them becoming a child molester. Homosexuality is neither sexually deviant nor perverse, and it does not lead to such behaviour. Like the notion of Blacks being lazy or blondes having more fun, these associations blur the line between what is an inborn trait and what is a free choice; a lack of distinction so often characteristic of homophobic arguments.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Started a Blog...But I Didn't See that the Blog was on Me

...or something like that.

Anyway, hi Internet!

I started this blog on a whim with no real expectations or plan. It will be interesting to see what happens and/or if I ever actually post again.

I don't expect too many people will end up reading this...perhaps only my mom (hi mom), my handful of friends (hi friends), and the aliens who will wipe out humanity and then read our blogs to learn more about the inferior race they just destroyed (hi aliens).

Whoever you are, I thank you for joining me...I hope neither of us comes to regret it.