Monday, December 29, 2014

The Best Tweets of 2014

I think this list is even better than last year's. Keep up the good work, twitter! And congratulations to all those who made the cut - the internet is a better place because of you.

Bonus fun fact: for the second year in a row, one of my favourites is a tweet about "Ice, Ice, Baby"

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How I Became a Feminist (and You Can Too!)

"We can never go back to before." - Ragtime

I used to think I wasn't a feminist. I was for equal rights, I confidently told myself, not favouring women over men. I wasn't interested in getting into heated arguments about the glass ceiling or birth control. And I had never once burned my bra.

Part of this disavowal came from my annoyance with the possessive apostrophe in "women's history." Just because I was female didn't mean this was more my history than the male sitting next to me. I felt that with that apostrophe came the presumption that because I was a woman I should be interested in women's history. And I don't take kindly to presumptions. I was grateful for the civil rights this history had given me, but I was equally thankful for other gifts from my predecessors, like germ theory and the Emancipation Proclamation. I was a human. My history was the history of humanity - of women and men, West and East, Emperor and colonist, Native and settler. It was all my inheritance, and everyone else's too.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Another High School Caper

High School Shira was exactly as cool as she thought she was

By popular demand, Shirby's Dream World is proud to present another high school caper. This one is not as comedically tragic as the code red story, but it is equally shocking in its unpredictability. This is a story about a sentence that has haunted me with its thrilling complexity since the age of seventeen. A turn of phrase so mysterious that it transformed an otherwise normal school outing into a life-altering misadventure.

Every May, around forty students and four teachers spent a weekend up north at an entirely student-run leadership retreat. In 2007, I was one of those students. (I also went in 2008, but nothing nearly as remarkable happened that year). We played sports, did trust exercises, talked about school issues, and met people from different social groups. This was just before Guitar Hero invaded our lives, and so I view it fondly as one of my childhood's last weekends of innocent, wholesome fun. 
So effing cool

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Big Race

The Taste of Success (Spoiler Alert)


After a youth spent participating in competitive sports, my active lifestyle ground to a halt when I started University. My once admirable level of physical activity now maxed out in the walk to and from class. And given that I lived on campus, this would only be an acceptable amount of exertion if I was walking on my hands. And I was not. My diet, never much to brag about, consisted of whatever I didn't have to cook. The cafeteria was a daily indulgence, the snack bar a nightly friend, and Pizza-Pizza a biweekly comfort. At my peak, I would literally take a large bowl intended for the SALAD BAR and fill it with Lucky Charms. Oh, the innocence of youth! 

Unsurprisingly, under this regimen I soon ballooned to mega-Shira proportions. Then I got a phone call informing me that I had made the Canadian Women's Soccer Team slated to compete at the Maccabiah Games. What are the Maccabiah Games, you ask? Thank you for asking. I'll tell you: The Maccabiah Games are basically the Jewish Olympics. Every four years, Jewish athletes from all over the world come to Israel to compete in their chosen sport. If you are now envisioning a bunch of Rabbis doing the 100m dash, you are not that far off.
The Canadian delegation schleps into the Opening Ceremonies

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How I Won My Seder and You Can Too!

This post is dedicated to Rachael's night shift and Stein's bookmarks' bar. 

That's right, I sit at the head of the table and drink from a fishie cup

Seders are supposed to be a celebration of our freedom. We used to be slaves in Egypt, but God made the Egyptians drink blood and then killed their children, so now we're free! Seders are also meant to maximize the enjoyment of the kids - to keep them interested and excited as their four questions are answered. BUT, this is a tall order because seders are also long, heavily ritualized, and mostly conducted in a different language. Three things children (and their handlers) tend not to love. But fear not, dear readers, your Shirby has the answer:

Seder Bingo. 

Intrigued? I bet you are. Here's how it works...

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Hilarious History Vol. 1 - The Tennis Court Oath

The year is 1789. For context's sake, it is a few years before the French people will start singing about whether other people hear them singing and a little bit after those across the pond demonstrated their dislike of tea by throwing it into said pond. So, as you can tell, it was a time of great revolutionary fervour. 

The place is France. No need for context here, I assume you know where France is.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Shirby's Laws

Undeniable laws of nature set down in print for the first time. 

There is no non-disgusting way to throw out gum.

You will always be able to find the episode of Saved by the Bell where Zack has a knee operation somewhere on TV if you look hard enough.

Nobody is socially confident in an elevator.

When listening to music on shuffle:
If you do not skip any song, you can tolerate all of them.
As soon as you skip one song, you skip 95% of them.
If someone else is listening, you skip 99.8% of them.

Dry glitter will become glitter glue when it makes contact with skin or floor.

The optimal amount of Chicken McNuggets to eat in one sitting is, unfortunately, seven.

It is physically impossible to win the bonus round of Supermarket Sweep.

Reading this sentence will make your eye itchy.

Chocolate Milk through a straw tastes 17x better than Chocolate Milk not through a straw.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Furious George (Guest Post by Asher Lurie)

Shirby's Dream World is proud to present a guest post by none other than Asher Lurie (aka the brother). Once thought of as Henderson Avenue Public School's most promising writing talent, Asher has provided a thrilling tale of friendship, triumph, heartbreak, and ultimately, redemption. He reminds us with both humour and humility that even victory can end in defeat.
- SL

George throws rock 

There are moments in life that change you. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. But as they happen, you know that the inner workings inside of you, the true essence of your being, has been irrevocably altered. It is in these moments that you are able to see who you truly are. And I, my friends, am a fool. A damned fool. Here is my story:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Code Red

The following events are true and unaltered. 

My grade ten English teacher, Mrs. O, was a cross between Professor Umbridge and the Trunchbull. By that I mean, she was self-righteous, cruel, and enormous.* Her class was so tortuous that each seventy-five minute period felt like a life sentence, so much so that by the hour mark I was usually contemplating the humanity of capital punishment. I tell you all of this so that you understand the complete jubilation the class felt when she told us that there would be a code red drill during this period the next day. God had smiled on us: we had been given a fleeting respite from Mrs. O's tyranny and we intended to savour it. 

My artistic rendering of Mrs. O

A code red occurs when a dangerous person causes a threat to the school, like a shooter or a bank robber on the loose. (The latter actually happened the following year and we had a REAL code red). Much like the mandated procedure in case of nuclear holocaust, students and teachers are meant to take to the ground for safety: hide in a corner, turn off the lights, lock the door. At least, that is what you are meant to do. Mrs. O had an entirely different plan.