Thursday, May 30, 2013

book lover problems

It's a fairly innocuous question, right? "What are you reading?" It shouldn't be that hard to answer... but it is.

I'm serious. This is actually a problem in my life right now. (Okay, so I could just stop reading in public... but then I'd have to Talk To People, which is an even bigger problem.) I'm never quite sure how to answer it. For example, the other day I was reading Save Me The Waltz. When I...

a) answer in a generic manner, such as "Oh, it's a romance", people inevitably ask for more details. I'm never sure why this is, because no one ever reads the books I do unless I have previously forced them to... so they never know what I'm talking about... which leads me to

b) give a detailed synopsis, such as  "Oh, it's a romance set during the 1920s and it describes all the facets of their lives and how he drank too much and how she wanted to be a ballerina", people's eyes inevitably start to glaze over after a couple of seconds and they sidle away with pretexts such as washing their llama. (Which leads me to wonder why they even asked...)

c) compare it to another book, such as "It's similar to The Great Gatsby!", people either don't know that book, so then I have to explain it too (it's a vicious cycle!) or, if they do know it, ask "How?" and I, being already frazzled by the resulting stress of choosing one of these answers, can't quite remember why I chose to compare it.

Sometimes by the time I've decided which tactic to choose, the conversation has already moved on and all my hard work was wasted. (However, at least this means I have less of a chance of making a fool of myself... so, again, pros and cons.) It's even worse when someone I don't know well asks me this, because then I also have to wonder: "Are we going to be friends? If so, I should probably moderate what I say now..." (And not confess my shameful obsession with Georgette Heyer's Regency romances...)

How do you answer this? (Or do you just not read?)

On a slightly similar note (the Tatiana-Wants-To-Avoid-People note) this is my current manifesto song.

This will sound like a typical Teenager Statement, but I really like most of Mother Mother's songs- the lyrics really Speak To My Soul. (I'm both parodying myself and being entirely serious.) Have you found any bands like that lately?

However, I love you all, especially those of you who have helped me with my S-Trip Scholarship. Thank you so much! For those of you who still want to help by supporting, commenting or tweeting, you still have a few days left.

Happy Thursday, blog ninjas!
Jenny Matlock

Monday, May 27, 2013

a visit to the vampires

...or, In Which I Spurt Blood Everywhere And Almost Pass Out.

Or not.

Okay, the almost passing out part was true (but then I got to recline in a comfortable chair, be fanned, and drink apple juice... basically I was like Cleopatra, except I wasn't wearing cat-eye liner today) but the only blood-squirting was within the designated bag. (For which I'm sure everyone was thankful.)

In case you haven't guessed... today I went to donate blood, and for my troubles, I recieved... this lovely sticker!

(I tried wearing it on my face but was reprimanded by a nurse...)

It actually wasn't bad. (I do think they should play up the vampire aspect a little more... it might attract hordes of Twilight and/or Vampire Diaries fans!) It was also, for those of you who worry, not very painful. The only parts that hurt a bit were...

1- the iron check. (Which, amazingly, I passed! Obviously Popeye was right and eating tons of spinach makes you strong) This actually hurts, especially because the nurse then kneads your finger until it turns the colours of a sunset.

2- the actual needle-being-stuck-into-your-arm part. This actually didn't hurt any more than accidentally sticking yourself with a brooch (Am I the only one who does this on a regular basis?) and was less painful than a mosquito bite.

3- taking off the surgical tape that you're bandaged with. This was PAIN. Like, tweezing your eyebrows and waxing at the same time pain. Thankfully it was just a small bandage...

(adding to the glamour: it totally matched my nailpolish!) 

Do any of you donate blood? Any interesting experiences?

On another note, if you haven't already, please take a little bit of time to tweet and comment on my S-Trip profile, which is here. Part of the judging criteria for the scholarship is how many supports, shares, comments and tweets the candidate can get... so if you could just take a little time to do one of these for me, I'd really appreciate it!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

books for sale!

Fact: volunteering at a library book sale is the best volunteer position ever. So maybe it's not quite as useful for humanity as starting a women's shelter or flying to Haiti... but hey, you get to help save (and read!) books... and in my books (ahaha, see what I did there) that's a definite bonus. (Basically, as thanks, you're allowed to take as many books as you want. SCORE.)

...and there were a lot of books.

(and this is only half the room!) 

Since there weren't nearly as many people, I basically wandered around straightening and... reading. (So, again, this is my dream job. Is there any way I can be paid for this?) Along the way, I found some pretty amusing titles...
  • Cabbagetown Gang (obviously a group of tough guys who run around wearing cabbage-leaf hats)
  • Cooking With Ferret (is Ferret someone's nickname, or does it literally mean eating ferrets? I was too scared to check)
  • Farmageddon (here I imagine strawberries the size of nuclear bombs) 
  • Start and Run a Profitable Gift-Basket Business (...but really though. REALLY.)
  • Methane- Planning a Digester (...I don't even want to think what kind of instructions this gives)
  • The Hamster Revolution (no need to worry about the zombie apocalypse- hamsters are demanding their rights! Or maybe it's zombie hamsters?) 
  • ABCs for Angry Men (A is for Anger! R is for Rage! and so on)

Not all of my experience was fun and games, however. All of the remaining books (which was well over half) were set to be... recycled.

-insert horrified books here-

As someone who is addicted to reading, and who wants to be published one day herself, the thought of so many words being crushed is devastating. Perhaps they'll give new life to other stories... but the fact remains that someone's craft is being destroyed because it's unwanted... and isn't that every writer's worst fear? (Other than starving to death because you can't even get published.) My one hope is that, whatever objects they go on to make, those objects will be imbued with a certain essence de book- and will encourage whoever holds them to go find something to read, and fast.

Friday, May 24, 2013

my cat is a time traveller

I used to think that my cat was just clueless, but I have recently realised that there is a method to her madness other than pure stupidity. (Sad confession: she now looks at us when we say 'stupid' or 'dumb' because she knows we are most likely talking to her. And purrs. I'm not sure who this reflects worse on...) It's clear: she must be a time traveller!

I came to this conclusion after observing her in her natural habitat (the kitchen, the living room, and the furry spot on my bed) for several mornings. Some days, she is affectionate... Too much so. In her haste to accost us, she often trips and runs into the door. (Like pet like owner...) This is probably because she has been away and misses us desperately.

Other days, she runs back and forth across the kitchen. Not just once: six or seven times in a row. (As you can imagine, this makes preparing food difficult and also provides an occasion for her to steal mango, arugula, and buns from our plates... snacks for her trip?) This is because she's trying to augment her speed enough to fly away... and when she subsequently disappears, she's not just in the darkest deepest corner under the bed: she's in another universe!

All this running also makes it puzzling that, some days, she seems plumper than others. While this could be ascribed to eating the houseplants, time travel seems a far more reasonable explanation. All those gravitational forces can't be good for a girl! (However, now that I think of it, neither can eating the plants. I think some of them are poisonous... which might also account for the brain damage...) 

Seriously. It all makes sense now. She's the perfect example of a mad scientist, right down to the crazy hair! (She's so absorbed in time travel that our other cat has to bathe her.)

Happy Friday, blog ninjas! What are your odd pet theories?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

weekend statistics

As you may know, over the weekend I was at "les Jeux Franco"... which are basically an excuse for a ton of students (all the cool people! and me) to go to workshops, be completely crazy, and hang out with a ton of students from all over the province! In order to explain my experience, I thought I'd use... statistics? (Math is totally important in my life okay.) 

As we arrived...

Number of people attending: about 650

(thumbs up for speaking French!)

Number of hours I spent in misery (aka on the bus): 2 1/2 (okay so I complain a lot. Basically the sole reason I'm happy my mother works at my school is because it means I can just get a ride from her...) 

During the weekend...

Number of lines I waited in: 15 (no exaggeration. There were A LOT of lines.) 

Number of super awkward conversations I had with people I had just met: 7 (considering I was there for 3 1/2 days, I consider this a low number and am accordingly proud) 

Number of Doctor Who fans I discovered: 5 (I found my people! Also, looking at my Facebook wall, I realised that almost everything there has to do with it. I am not subtle about my obsessions.) 

Number of times I drank tea: 0 (do you know how deprived I was?) 

(however, since I'd made a friend from the town, I did get an Ice Capp during the final show... a good reason to be social!)

Number of times I heard, "What? You're graduating? I thought you were in grade nine!": 12 (thanks world, love you too)

Number of times I fell over while practicing our dance routine (yes, I was in dance, don't laugh): 4 (thankfully none of these were during our big finale!)

(we won for best team spirit! we also didn't really have time to do makeup, so excuse the football stripes)

As we were leaving..

Percentage of people who were crying: 50 (not me) 

Number of random people I didn't know who hugged me: 5 (and no, this is not just people-I-did-not-recognise, these were literally people who I had never seen before...) 

Number of times a bus other than mine was called and I freaked out because I thought it was mine and they had left without me: 8 (there were a lot of buses)

And finally:

Number of times I laughed, made friends, and generally had fun: too many to count! 

How was your weekend? Did you ever do camps like this in highschool? 

Friday, May 17, 2013

off to the races

Finally! It's Friday! We are no longer lost in the maze of the week!

Seriously. This week has not been a good one for mental clarity. So far I have
a) started eating dates because I thought they were chocolate chips (...)
b) forgotten to bring coffee (yes this is a serious deal)
c) been too lazy to do anything but read most of the time (although admittedly that's fairly frequent)
d) nearly been blown away in all the wind
e) worn a bandana (I can't decide if this was a clever fashion move or if I should be singing country songs)

...okay so maybe it was a fairly typical week. STILL. I appreciate the upcoming long weekend! (Thank you, Queen Victoria. However, although I have done the requisite readings about you- requisited by myself, actually, when I was going through my princess phase- I still don't know why we have a day off dedicated to your birthday... but I am still grateful.)

This weekend also marks my visit to... well, I'm not quite sure what to call it in English. French party camp? With lots of weird ceremonies (seriously, all these people are getting awards that I have never heard of.Why don't they just give me an award for my amazing Great Gatsby shirt?) and clapping (I actually hate clapping so much. How is loud, annoying noise supposed to mean congratulations?) and lots of packing...

But all the crazy dancing more than makes up for it!

Last year I had tons of fun, so let's hope that it's just as wonderful this year! I like to think I'm a better dancer now, so that might help. (However, I suspect it's just that I am better at lying to myself.) I also know how to do a messy bun, which should help disguise the sweatiness of my hair... gross, but useful... and I own actual workout shorts, so I don't have to wear pajamas! ( of course I didn't do that last year, who wears short pajama shorts and pretends they're a dance outfit? -shifty eyes-)

Happy weekend, ninjas! (Even if you're not lucky enough to live here and have three days, muahaha)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

what I'd like to be known for

Do you ever see connections within the TV shows you're watching? Or the conversations you're having? Or the books you're reading? I don't mean just mentioning the same thing to several people, or watching only crime shows. The connections I'm thinking of are subtler, harder to trace. A character in one novel might prefer an orange dress; a friend will happen to mention that she's been buying a lot of orange clothes. At first it seems coincidental, but as the events keep piling up, they seem to be pointing you further and further in the same direction.

This is the way I've been feeling lately. This quote, and others like it, have been appearing in snippets everywhere:

“One day, you’re seventeen and you’re planning for someday. 

And then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today. 

And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.”

― John Green

This terrifies me.

I feel like it's a warning: stop thinking you can plan anything. Stop thinking you have time to waste. (Which is a good thing... but I panic, and then can do nothing.) Do you ever have times when you feel paralysed, caught in time, waiting for something to happen? I feel as though my life has been put on pause, and I'm not quite sure why.

For this reason, this list, from Moorea Seal's list project, was surprisingly difficult for me to write, because I don't know what I want.

(is this clear enough? if not, please tell me so I can change it for next time)

On the whole, this seems fairly comprehensive... it also makes me wonder, am I already some of these things? If people who know me read this, would they laugh at just how off the mark I am? (I hope not.)

One notable exception (in my mind, at least) to this list was smart. I have been known for being smart my entire life, and I'm so tired of it. Being known as 'the smart girl' is exhausting and, in a way, dehumanising. You're not supposed to have weaknesses. You're supposed to be the one who has the answers, who doesn't care what other people think of you because you're just the brain... but that is not all I am.

What about you? What do you want to be known for?

Monday, May 13, 2013

the problems I (of my) face

Some days, you just realise that a thousand tiny annoyances are following you around like biting flies. (Which are a trial all on their own. Why do they exist? Shouldn't our blood have evolved to be poisonous yet?) Here are some of the things that have been bothering me lately. 

-My pores.
There are so many words to describe them right now, and none of them are pretty. (Some of them even begin with p for added alliterative appeal!) Let's say... pestilential, puffy, pustulous... I think you get the idea. To conceal them, I applied a mud face mask... 
...and wore it all day to school.
Okay, not really.
But I wanted to. It would have been prettier than the reality.

-The weather. For a week, it was glorious and hot and summer and I just lolled about eating smoothies. Now it is raining and feels like summer's already over. Can't we at least have a thunderstorm? 

-My shirt. I love this shirt so much.

Mine is even more beautiful because it's a gorgeous, deep ocean blue! I just want to wear it everywhere and with every possible combination of the rest of my wardrobe. Last night I had a mini fashion show- very mini, because I was both sole model and sole audience member- and tried it on with almost all my bottoms (okay that sounds like I have different butt sizes to try it with but you get the idea right?) and it totally worked. Literature is a magical force...but I can't wear it all the time. So sad. (Although, if I did, the smell might begin to repel people after a while... hmmm... ways to be antisocial are always appreciated...)

-The ending of I Capture the Castle. This is one of my favourite books... but the ending has always saddened me. (No spoilers, I promise!) Usually, I'm fairly good at inventing alternate stories for characters I think have been cheated (I spend far too much time lost within the pages of books not to!) but I've read this one far too many times to change its story.

Just read it. Or watch it. Then we can have a deep discussion about it and I can cry. (Too many feels okay.)

-I'm choking. There has been an Advil capsule stuck in my throat since LAST NIGHT. How has it not dissolved yet? Can someone please explain this? All day, every time I swallowed something, I could feel it blocking my nutritional passageways. (Yes. That is a scientific term. Just accept it, as we say in Chemistry whenever we don't understand something.)

...and, just to cap it all off:  

(Garfield, you and I are soulmates.) What have some of your problems been lately? 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

sunny days playlist

Exactly what the title says- a playlist of songs to listen to during a sunny day, to keep you in a happy mood! It's sad just how long it took me to make this... most of the songs I listen to are of the "dying-of-a-broken-heart" variety (no, I am not a country girl. None of them involve trucks) so compiling this one took quite a few scrolls through my iPod. (Yes. I still have an iPod with a click wheel, and I hope it never breaks. Am I the only one?) However, I didn't mind because doing this made me feel like Charlie, putting together a mixtape. (Yes. I do think too much about characters who don't actually exist.)

So, without further ado... here are some happy songs! (Links to Youtube provided, so you have no excuse not to listen!)

1- 22, by Taylor Swift. (Even if you're not a fan of hers, you've got to admit that this is a great song for dancing around and generally acting like an idiot.)

2- Crazy in Love, by Emeli Sandé. (I just had to include something from the Great Gatsby!... and yes, it did fulfill all my wildest hopes and dreams, thanks for asking)

3- How to be a Heartbreaker, by Marina & the Diamonds. (I'm not certain if this is altogether good advice... but it's fun, and that's all that matters!)

4- Spaghetti, by Darelle London. (Too. Cute. Eating spaghetti, watching Breakfast at Tiffany's, and hang-gliding- which I don't know how to spell- must mean true love.)

5- Home, by Edward Sharpe The Magnetic Zeros. 
(This song is just so bouncy! It just makes me want 
to skip down the street... I wouldn't advise that.)

6- Stupid, by Brendan Maclean. (Let's face it, we all know people like this...)

7- I've Just Seen a Face, by Jim Sturgess- Beatles cover. (That accent. Swoon.) 

8- B.C. Orienteering, by Said the Whale. (Who doesn't love a song about hiking?)

9- First Dance, by Never Shout Never. (Another one that'll make you feel like dancing. 
Can't you just picture spinning round and round with a floaty skirt?...
or an otherwise nice outfit if you're a guy or don't like skirts, 
don't want to discriminate) 

10- Skinny Genes, by Eliza Doolittle. (This is the one song that makes me wish I could 
whistle so I could sing it properly...)

11- Summer Nights, by Florrie. (Ending with a super-energizing song- go out for a run! 
Or tan, because it seems appropriately summery.) 

Have you heard any of these songs? Did you like them? 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

home & energy (in lists!)

...and if that title didn't entice you, I'm not sure what could. Doesn't it sound like a boring radio ad for an energy-efficient fridge? ( (I know, I'm such a saleswoman. However, at least I'm better than one of my friends, who once tried to convince me NOT to buy something from her for a fundraiser. It's a wonder she managed to raise any money... although given my own experiences, I should be more sympathetic.)

Or perhaps it's imploring you to turn off the lights in your house, so I don't have to pop up and do it myself. (Us ninjas prefer the darkness. We're also very environmentally conscious.)

However (my graceful segue word in every occasion, from essays to awkward conversations) that is not actually what this post is about. I have no interest in fridges (other than the fact that they hold food! And food is good! Yay for food!)- today, I'm actually sharing two more of my lists from Moorea Seal's list project.

Week 12: things that feel like home. it's pretty easy to see that, for the most part, feeling at home means being alone. In the quiet. In the dark. (Again, this can all be explained by my inherent ninja-ness.)

Week 18: ways I'm energized. 

Of course coffee is the first on the list! (Priorities.) Funny how several of these ended up being similar to the previous list, despite having been done weeks apart.

What makes you feel at home? What energises you?

Also: The Great Gatsby comes out on Friday. Excuse me while I pass out from excitement. (NoI'mnotobsessed,whywouldyousaythat?)

Monday, May 6, 2013

university woes

As a soon-to-go-to university student (come on now. Admit that sounds far better than mere "grade 12 student") finances are a big concern. To be completely honest, mostly I try not to think about it. (Popcorn is cheap, right? And apples? If those were my two main food groups, I could survive!) 

...that is, when I'm not applying to scholarships. 

Did any of you apply to scholarships when you went off to school? How many essays did you write? (Honestly, my convictions on such varied subjects as Timing in Jane Austen and Worker's Rights are beginning to astound even me. Hopefully the judges feel the same!) Honestly, even though I'm a good writer, it's exhausting. (Although far better than the essays I have to write for French class... despite my growing ability to make things up when I have nothing to say, there is REALLY nothing I have to say on Agriculture in 18th-Century Quebec.) 

Also, I am of fairly average physical appearance. Meaning... I am neither tall enough to apply for the Tall Girl Scholarship, nor short enough to apply for the Short Girl scholarship. (These are really things.) Even more average, I have no desire to belong to a nudist colony... YES. There is a scholarship for people who want to join a nudist colony. WHY. (Seriously, I don't understand this mainly because there are so many gorgeous clothes out there. Why waste the opportunity?) 

However, I have still managed to find a few to apply to. My most recent one is the S-Trip Scholarship, in which I am even able to win a trip! (Let's face it, travelling is just the best.) 

(And, well... I just look so good doing it, too. Always a consideration.) 

However, I need supporters. I just need six more people... and I have only eight days left... and I'd really appreciate if some of you could help me out! All you need to do is sign up and say that you support me. (Yay for clicking a link!) Here's my lovely profile!

Thanks for dropping by, and happy Monday! 

Blog Hop

Saturday, May 4, 2013

things at which I could win a prize

The other night, I went to go see my friends perform at a major (for this town) music festival. (Shoutout to Declan, Anna and Cécile- you were amazing!) As is often the case, watching all of these wonderful performers made me feel... a little inadequate. (You know how I used to talk about playing guitar? Haven't done that since last summer. Sigh.) So, I thought I'd list some other talents of mine that I could totally win awards for!

-Pie appreciation. Honestly, I know no one who loves pie as much as I do. (The same goes for popcorn. Although, in both cases, I admit to snobbery- only pie with real fruit, and only air-popped popcorn.) Why is it that pie-eating competitions exist, but none for sheer love of it? What a sad world we live in.

-Reading. I am, hands-down, the fastest reader I know. (Upon initial glance, this doesn't seem like that useful a skill... but it means that homework assignments take me approximately half the time they take anyone else.) If there was a speed-reading and comprehension contest, I would definitely win.

-Protein baking. If I am baking something, it's almost a guarantee that I will find a way to insert more protein into it- necessary vegetarian skillz. (However, if you're going to attempt this skill, a word of caution: don't tell people that you've tried to make the dessert healthy until they've actually finished eating it. For some reason, my efforts do not recieve proper recognition.)

-Writing. Does this seem a little egotistical? Maybe. However, it's true- I'm a very good writer. (You don't see my true skills because my blog posts tend to be a little more rushed than my more serious writing, aka stories and essays. But, no bragging intended, those are quite good.)

-Being awkward. Really. No one ever sees this as a good thing, but look on the bright side- if I'm around, everyone will think of you as being far more attractive and put-together in comparison! (However, this one might be decreasing. At this same event, I had TWO conversations with an attractive boy and managed to sound entirely normal for both of them! -major pride-)

-Making lists. I am the List Queen. I make to-do lists every single day, not because I think I'll forget (sample list: shower. Make breakfast. Exercise) but because it helps me feel organised and in control. (WHEN EVERYTHING IS GOING WRONG AROUND ME! -drama-)

What are some skills you'd like to recieve more recognition for?