Tuesday, December 24, 2013

We Kissed On The Corner, & Danced Through The Night

Y'know I like my traditions, especially when it comes to Christmas.

So here's the yearly Christmas post, complete with the same song I post every year.

I hope everyone affected by the ice storm (the GTA and everywhere else) is staying safe and warm. Hopefully those without power will have it restored soon. Though I have to admit that it's been nice seeing everyone with power offering their homes to others. Way to prove that the spirit of the season still exists!

To you, and everyone else - Merry Christmas from me and Daisy!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

You Tell Me I'm Low Cuz I've Slept On The Floor, & Out In The Woods With The Badgers And Wolves

It's no secret that we humans are kinda sorta really evil and take pleasure in exploiting our dogs' bad behaviour. Yep, I'm talkin' about "dog shaming". If you dig dogs, then you know you find them hilarious.

Well, I've neglected to give Daisy a proper shaming. And I intend to rectify that.

So allow me to present to you...

The Ghosts of Shame Past - Daisy-style:

Multiple times. It was almost impressive if it wasn't such a pain in the ass.

(Though one time she went into the fridge and had a beer waiting for me when I got home. It's like she understands me or something.)

....and disgusting.

"What is my foot touching? What is my foot touching?!?!"

It's nice to be loved.

Except when there's pee involved. (I'm refraining from R. Kelly comments at this time.)

It was similar to a Christmas-time Easter Egg hunt, but with ham... and vomit. Ho ho, gross.

These are only a few examples of Daisy's shame - I decided to spare her the embarrassment of publicizing them all.

Because let's not forget, I'm not completely innocent myself:

Like I said.... humans are evil.

Happy Shame-mas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

To Be Vulnerable Is Needed Most Of All, If You Truly Intend To Fall Apart

It's the end of the year & everyone is putting out their "Best Of" lists, especially lists that involve the best albums of the year. But I'm not a joiner, so I'm not doing that.

Ok, so I kind of am.

I figured I might as well post about a few notable albums that came out in 2013. But before everyone jumps on me for not including certain albums, let me be clear - this isn't technically a "Best Of" list. It's merely a few albums that came out this year that I dig (or that Rdio tells me I listened to on repeat while dancing in my living room. Rdio knows things.) So yes, some albums are missing. You'll survive, my dear fellow music snobs. 

Alright? Alright. Let us commence...

Notable Mention #1:

Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork

Apparently I'm incapable of not loving anything Josh Homme does (including marrying one of my all-time girl crushes), so it's not surprising that I loved this album right off the bat. It's the same kickass Queens of the Stone Age as their other albums, but with an extra element that seems to give it even more dimension. Maybe it's maturity, maybe it was the long wait between albums, I can't be sure - but this was one of my favourites this year.

Notable Mention #2:

The National - Trouble Will Find Me

Since I already dedicated an entire blog post to this album months ago, I don't need to say much more about it. I love this album, we all know it, so re-read the post about it if you need to be further convinced.

Notable Mention #3:

Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks

I may get some flak for this one. I expect that.

A lot of NIN fans (and definitely all the NIN non-fans) weren't overly thrilled with this long-awaited album. We expected a lot. We wanted to be blown away. And , for the most part, we weren't. I'll admit, at first listen I wasn't completely hooked. But sometimes that's the mark of a great album - it changes as you listen more, it becomes  good as you start to notice the nuances and technical parts of it.

So it took a few listens, but I became a fan of Hesitation Marks. There ya go. It's notable. (And their concert was pretty darn notable as well.)

Notable Mention #4:

Local Natives - Hummingbird

If you don't know Local Natives, you should. Their first album, Gorilla Manor, was great one as well (my favourite song on that one is "Airplanes", if anyone was wondering. Oh, you weren't? Fine.)

Hummingbird, however, hooked me right away. It's still a constant in my daily Rdio playlists. Plus, they're fantastic live - if I was rating concerts of 2013 (which could potentially be another blog post. Sorry.), theirs would be at the top.

Notable Mention #5:

Hayden - Us Alone

Hayden may also be a contender for "Most Mentioned Musician on Shambled Ramblings in 2013". Yeah, so I saw him a few times this year. Big stages, small stages, living rooms, shaking my hand, whatever.

All of that was spawned by this album. It came out at the beginning of the year, and fans couldn't have been happier. It's a more mature Hayden, certainly. But it's also still the Hayden we dig from long ago.

And, because this list was tougher than I anticipated (damn you, talented artists!), here are some added notable mentions to the Notable Mentions. Y'know... in case you require more music, and I didn't supply enough:

Arctic Monkeys - AM
Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt
Arcade Fire - Reflektor (formal wear not required.)
David Bowie - The Next Day
Dinosaur Bones - Shaky Dream
Daughter - If You Leave

Now I need to go lie down, in preparation for the yelling and berating I'm certain will be coming from those of you who feel that I left out important albums. I'll be expecting you.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Let Me Grab Your Soul Away

This video has been circulating online a lot, as well as another poem that extols the virtues of dating girls who read.

Have a look, if you need reference:

I agree. You should date a girl who reads - and I mean any and all types of books. But I have my own reasons why.

Firstly, what makes me an expert on bookworm chicks? I am one. I grew up with my nose constantly in a book, I spent my formative years checking stacks of them out of the library weekly, and all those books are the reason I knew I wanted to be a writer from the age of 5. And so I wrote.

Belle. That bitch loves the books.
Though recently I had a year or two where I didn't read quite as much (the quiet gave me anxiety), I've finally obtained my Toronto library card (yes, I moved here in 2008. I know, know.) and have gone crazy with the books yet again. To prove my bookwormery, an outline of what I'm currently reading:

  • Light and Shade - Brad Tolinski (a Jimmy Page biography)
  • The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
  • Bossypants - Tina Fey
  • Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg (I'm female and own a business. It's an obvious choice.)
  • Torment Saint - William Todd Shultz (an Elliott Smith biography)
  • Everything Is Perfect When You're A Liar - Kelly Oxford 

So there ya go. And with all that experience under my belt (the experience of being female, and that of being a bookworm), here are the real reasons you should date a girl who reads:

- Chances are, she knows proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. (Notice how I used the Oxford comma there? Yeah, me too.) She can send you messages that convey actual emotion and meaning, not simply a series of letters that make no sense, such as (and this pains me greatly): "IDK, I'm like soooooooo xcited LMAO it's srs bsns kkkk??? [insert strange emoticons here]." Ouch. That really did hurt. And I'm still not entirely sure what it meant.

- She can probably tell stories in a way that keeps you interested, since she's learned the art of storytelling over years and years of absorbing various types of tales. "I went to the grocery store, and BOOM! There were the watermelons. Larger than my head, and greener than your face when you've had too much to drink." Yeah. Life's exciting like that.

Johnny reads. But we assumed that anyway.
- When she has a good book on the go, she won't nag at you for going off and enjoying your own hobbies. It gives her time to finish the book. Go build your model planes. Go watch men fight each other in tight shorts. Go play video games. She'll probably join you later, but right now she's gotta read.

- She's constantly learning, and is knowledgeable about a wide array of subjects. I'll use myself as an example: Life of Pi taught me that I'd never survive on a small boat with a rare tiger; Anthony Kiedis' biography taught me about... well, Anthony Kiedis; Alias Grace taught me about Canada in the 1800s, and Romeo and Juliet taught me that communication is pretty important in a relationship, or both of you nitwits will wind up dead. See? Learning!

Snoop reads. He should start a Snoop Bloggy-Blog.
 - Contrary to weird popular belief, girls who read aren't boring or necessarily prudish. We're normal. So maybe we'll read a book on our way to meet you to go skydiving/streaking/bull riding, but that's just making good use of our time. (Plus it helps to keep creeps away from us on public transit. We're not stupid.)

- Even though a woman likes books, she is still a woman. So for the "boob guys" and the "butt guys" mentioned in the video above - girls who read also have those things. In fact, we have all the woman-parts we're supposed to. Huzzah! They're not sold separately; they come included with the female bookworm package. Imagine that.

- We are awesome.

Marilyn Monroe thought reading was hot.
But at the end of all this, you shouldn't date a girl just because she reads. That's a silly reason, and hypocritical on my part since I don't exclusively date men who read. Would you date a girl just because she can play a bit of mediocre guitar, fold her tongue into three, and sing "O Christmas Tree" in German? You're damn right I just described myself.

The point is, you only need to date a girl because you dig her - and if she reads? Well, that's just a fantastically awesome bonus for you. Trust me.

(And for the record... no, I've never read, and never plan to read 50 Shades of Grey. Sorry.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

And The Worry Cracks A Fracture From Your Hip To Your Chest

Every day I have a long To-Do list that I follow - and I'm noticing that most days "blog" is on it, but rarely crossed off. I'll get emails and messages, asking why I haven't posted and if I'm ok. But the truth is, I go through periods where I just don't feel like blogging.

And the beauty of it? I don't have to.

There was a time in my bloggin' life where, if I didn't post at least every second day, I'd get anxiety that I was lagging and not providing enough content. That feeling would nag at me, even when I had nothing of note to write about. It took awhile to get to a point where I no longer cared, and decided only to post when I felt like it - even if no one bothered reading anymore. It didn't matter.

And this is something I worked to adapt into the rest of my life.

A fun by-product of an anxiety disorder is feeling crazy pressure and panic to do things that you think you're supposed to, or that others are expecting, even if they're not necessarily things you truly need to do. There's also a huge feeling of guilt that comes along with it, and that can be a driving force for the anxiety. This was my daily life, and to some extent still is (thanks brain!)... but last year I read an article that made far too much sense, and forced me to sit back and think about everything I was doing purely out of guilt, anxiety, panic and pressure - and what could be erased.

Dogs do what they want. Dogs are happy jerks.
Think of all the things you do every single day. The notable things, the seemingly insignificant things, all of it. Are there items on that list that you dislike, or that you feel negatively toward? For each of those things that you don't like doing, really ask yourself how many of them you absolutely have to do. Chances are, you're doing things & going through motions that you don't need to, just because you feel like you should. (Work stuff notwithstanding - I'm sorry if your bosses are assholes, but you probably have to do what they tell you. Or quit.)

There's a quote that floats around the internet regularly; it's something similar to "walk away from what no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy". Well, I'd implore you to do that for every aspect of your life. Seriously. All of it.

Are you pretending to like sports to make someone like you? Stop pretending - it's useless. Skip a workout because you wanted a nap? Forget the guilt, you deserved that nap. Work out tomorrow. Did you hang out with a friend who constantly puts you you down and makes you feel bad about yourself? Ditch 'em. Real friends don't suck. Do you go out to bars all the time because you think you're supposed to at your age? Stay in. Your couch loves you like no one else.

You get the idea.

In other words - you don't answer to anyone. Audit your daily life. Live by your own needs, wants, & expectations and (as long as it doesn't hurt anyone) to hell with anything else. Get rid of the extra useless crap - you're not the subject of this week's Hoarders episode.

It takes a lot of time to re-evaluate, but it's pretty darn worth it.

(And yes - this entire post was a long-winded written excuse for why I sometimes don't blog. Because hey - I felt like it. So I did it. See how that works?)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Happy Christmas Your Arse, I Pray God It's Our Last

Well, it's December (or Decem-Bert, as I've now dubbed it).

We're into the Christmas countdown, for those that celebrate.
Last year, Daisy learned to hate Santa.

While I may not get into the holidays like I used to, with a two-month countdown, infinite lists, and overdone decorations, the past couple of years have found me re-gaining my spirit.

So on Sunday, I watched Bad Santa, decorated my apartment with a few items (and managed to break an ornament with my hair - that takes skill, alright?), and I think I'm getting into a Christmas state of mind.

The Goetz girlies with awesome head-wear.

The next few weeks will be a whirl of plans - gifts, figuring out when I get to go home, making lists of awesome things to cook and bake (because apparently my somewhat recent affinity for cooking has turned me into a crazy person)... but it's missing something.

A Christmas playlist. The perfect one, no less.

I need to curate the best Christmas/Holiday-related song list ever, and I want your help doing it. So wontcha help a chick?

We'll start the list off with some of my perennial Christmas tunes:

The Pogues - Fairytale of New York:

I post this every year at Christmas, and I'll likely do it yet again this year. You can argue that this song isn't overly Christmas-y due to the "old slut on junk" and her "scumbag maggot", but I like it.

Trans-Siberian Orchesta - Carol of the Bells:

Carol of the Bells is one of my favourites as it is, but this version also appeals to my regular music tastes. Rock and/or roll, reindeer-style.

Run DMC - Christmas In Hollis:

A classic. Well, at least for anyone around my age.

So what would you add to this list? What are your must-have tunes for this time of year?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

And In A Wide Sea Of Eyes, I See One Pair That I Recognize

Today is Daisy's BirthAversary.

I know I post pretty much the exact same thing every year, but that's only because my pigdog is awesome.

Daisy 5 years ago, when camo was still cool.

5 years ago today, I got her (in what I now refer to as "The Great Crackhouse Rescue of '08"). That's 5 years of this little chick being my partner in crime.

I may not know for sure how old she is, or when her actual birthday is - but I do know that my Piggie Smalls deserves her day. She's the best, after all.

Happy BirthAversary, girl.

Daisy today, being bribed to stay. PigDogs hate cameras, everyone knows that.

(And if anyone wonders, I think we're pretending she's 8. Or 7. Ok, I have no idea...)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fly On, Little Wing

The other night, as I sat watching Pearl Jam Twenty yet again, Masuka sent me a text that delivered his intended effect - it got me riled up and ready for a music debate.

He knows me so well.

This is his first message (in yellow, of course):

He had been watching a Kurt Cobain documentary while I'd been watching my Pearl Jam / early 90's grunge doc. So we both had our minds on music, rockstars & legends. Just very different trains of thought.

I won't post our debate here, but I thought it would be worth a mention -  I want to know what the general consensus is.

I realize that hardcore Kurt Cobain fans do feel that he is the last rockstar, but I will always disagree. I mentioned that the timing of his death, in the middle of his success, has a lot to do with how those affected by his passing perceived him. It didn't hinder his "legend" status, it helped it. That often happens with musicians who die.(Which is why "it's better to burn out than to fade away".) And Kurt affected a generation of music fans. But that doesn't mean he's the last rockstar - and keep in mind that this is coming from a fan.

Throwing my own logic back in my face, Masuka asked if that meant other dead musicians were automatically legends. In some cases yes, and in some cases no.

While The 27 Club (all of the musicians who died at the age of 27) did include many legends, their deaths didn't mean that was the case for all of them. Only some.

Then he asked about Jimi Hendrix.

In an effort to further push me into a music fight, he seemed to disagree that Hendrix was a legend. Which, of course, led to expletives and angrily-typed paragraphs on my end. The damn nerve.

But our discussion is worth getting into, at least for me - what makes a musician a rockstar?

And what makes them a legend?

In PJ Twenty, Chris Cornell says "it wasn't later when people surmised that Kurt blowing his head off was the end of the innocence... it didn't, it was that... it was walking into that room". He's taking about walking into the room where Andy Wood was dying. 

Andy was the front man for Mother Love Bone - he died of a heroin overdose in 1990. He was definitely a rockstar, and in death his peers considered him a legend. But I'm betting most of you reading this don't know who he is - so does that mean he's not? It seems to all be relative; personal opinion.

I'm going to use another example from the movie, since it's fresh in my mind (and comes from another Chris Cornell quote). They're talking about Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready and his guitar prowess, and Cornell, explaining how impressed he was, says "this guy is a rockstar". And though he's overshadowed by Eddie's frontman popularity, McCready's skills alone would make him a rockstar to his fans. 

So what would make him a legend?

In my opinion, rockstars become legends - or at least they have the opportunity to. It's about longevity, talent, and some intangible, fantastic element that connects them to an audience long after they've played, and then long after they're gone.

My list of rockstars is endless. Josh Homme, Trent Reznor, Thom Yorke, Maynard, Layne Staley, Tom Petty, Mike Patton, Tom Morello, Chris Cornell & Kim Thayil. I could happily go on all day. I've even had a few rockstars in my personal life.

And legends? Well, for me that's Page, Plant & the rest of Zeppelin. Stevie Nicks. Stevie Ray Vaughan. Bowie. Leonard Cohen. Neil Young. Clapton. Roger Waters & David Gilmour. Yet another endless list. All the artists who got me stuck on them, and then stuck with me.

I can see already that a few from my rockstar list will make that jump to legend. It's only a matter of time.

But for the sake of argument, I want to know.... what's a rockstar to you?

And what do you think makes a legend?

Friday, November 8, 2013

And If I Had One More Whiskey, Everything Would Have All Slipped Away

Earlier this week I had the chance to be a fly on the wall (ok, so it was a couch) at what can only be described as an intimate living room concert, featuring Hayden, Brendan Canning, and other talented artists. It was the soft launch of  Fat Fat Sounds, a "community based, high-resolution (no MP3 or CDs) not-for-profit record label".

Yes, I've seen Hayden a few times this year. But it's a pretty cool experience, as a fan, to watch a musician sit a couple of feet away from you and play to a small, quiet crowd. Plus two dogs, if we're getting technical.

It has a whole different feel, one I've always loved when it involved friends/boyfriends/random talented strangers playing similarly in my living room or someone else's.

Thanks to Rasam (my music-fan +1 for the evening) for taking some photos & letting me steal them all.

My knee is the unknowing co-star of these pictures.

Brendan Canning played a couple of songs off of his new solo album, You Gots 2 Chill.

Like Hayden, I've seen Brendan perform a few times this year as well - with Broken Social Scene at Field Trip, with Edwin Huizenga at The Wooden Sky show, and then here. There's really nothing better than seeing a musician play very different types of shows and venues. It adds even more depth.

Rasam's panoramic shot of the crowd and Noah Mintz as he played a tune to end the night.

(It also made me wonder why I never got my sister's old hHead shirt when I took custody of her band tshirt collection... hmm, sister?)

And so, the living room show was over.

Back to my usual living room concerts, which look something like this:

Definitely not the rapt audience I would hope for, nor the talented musician anyone would actually want to hear.

But c'est la vie. Something to work toward, perhaps.Because living room shows are pretty darn rad.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

If I Met You In A Scissor Fight, I'd Cut Off Both Your Wings On Principle Alone

Well, Halloween is over.

I like to state obvious things, long after the fact. I also like long walks on the beach, dogs that don't bite and singing showtunes to complete strangers.

But I digress...

Halloween. Yep. It happened. I was in St. Catharines for the week, and ill-prepared for anything, so I went with the half sugar skull, Dia de Los Muertos kinda thing. Didn't photograph very well.

I'm so two-faced.

I fear that if I start planning now for an awesome costume next year, I'll have nowhere to wear it. Such non-problems for a chick to have.

But my costume is not nearly as important as some others.

Like, my dog. Who hates wearing anything, ever. And yet we are terrible, evil dog owners and decided to put a pegasus costume on Daisy for all of 10 seconds:

That is the look of hate. I deserve it.

Roxie, on the other hand, was just fine with her pegasus costume. That's because she loves everything. And everyone. And every... ah, you get it.

So Halloween is over, the contest is over, (congrats Serena!), and I'm back in good ol' T.O.

Somehow it's already November, and I'm gearing up for a really busy one work-wise. To start, we (meaning The MediaHaus) will be leading a series of workshops at the North Hill Business Education Centre. The first one starts this month, and is an "Intro to Twitter" course for small business owners and entrepreneurs that don't have the tools or knowledge to effectively get their business started on Twitter.

If that sounds like something you're into, register here.

As for the blog - I took a break from it last week, but I'll have some new bands, new tunes and new stuff to share with you soon. And maybe one day I'll revive the video blog. Maybe.

But for now, I bid you adieu - with help from Zoolander, as he finally nails the underwear trick that cost him the walk-off.

See? People are capable of improvement. One pair of gitch at a time.

(And speaking of improvement - some of us are not so capable. Like our lovely Toronto mayor. But the only comment I'll make on that situation is this: some lyrics in the following song are highly appropriate to our current situation. Step down, Ford.)

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Door Swings To A Passing Fable, A Fate We May Delay

Well, Halloween is a-comin'. I've heard that it happens every year around this time.

While I don't yet have a costume planned, and I don't yet know for sure how exactly I'll be celebrating, I do know that I'll be in St. Catharines with some of my favourite Halloween-freak people. So if you're in town next week, get in touch & join us.

As I rack my brain and scour the internet for a fairly easy and inexpensive costume, I'm reminded that I end up with this conundrum just about every year, and always last-minute. A few key costumes I've always wanted to plan out never come through, even though they've been at the top of my list for years. Instead, many costumes have been half-assed or far too easy.

Yeah, it just means I'm lazy. I admit it.

Dog costumes are much simpler. (See? Daisy is me. A pissed off version of me.)

So, if you have any suggestions for this lazy & old chick, throw 'em at me.

In exchange, Tempt Cider & I have a Halloween giveaway for you. 

Tempt Cider is a tasty brand of alcoholic cider that "combines the sweetness of strawberries with a subtle hint of tart lime". It's also oddly pretty packaging for a drink, and I dig that. (See, sometimes I can be girly.)

The $150 prize pack includes:

- a case of Tempt Cider (24 cans)
- a $50 Victoria's Secret gift card
- Two Tempt Cider branded glasses
- a tempting masquerade mask
- a Tempt Cider Branded iPhone case
- a Tempt Cider branded chapstick

So enter below, & good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Together We Stand, Divided We Fall

I've seen an article that's being shared a lot online, where someone defends Toronto against the usual complaints and attacks on the city. There's always a few of those going around, and as I read them I have the same reaction - I go back and forth between wanting to defend the city I live in, and agreeing with all the negatives about it.

I have a love/hate relationship with Toronto.

The Good - High Park (I took this recently)

Now, before all my fellow Torontonians start calling me names, my feelings don't actually say much about the city itself. It's more about me. Toronto is an awesome place. I love our different neighbourhoods, as each has its own style and distinctive feel to it. I love the opportunities, I love that start-up culture is celebrated, and I love that you can pretty much do anything here. Seriously. Anything. We have cultural diversity, fantastic businesses, art, entertainment, sports (don't laugh - Leafs are winning), and one of my favourite parts - great bands playing everywhere, on any given night.

But, Toronto isn't for everyone. Some days it can be a very cold and impersonal place, a sea of anonymous faces in a concrete jungle. (Can you tell that I like to avoid the downtown area?) It's overwhelming. There are off-putting things about this city that I can't quite put my finger on - something besides the traffic, the high cost of living, and the notion some people have that Toronto is better than everywhere. We'll chalk it up to a random feeling.

The Bad - Rob Ford
So I love it. But I also hate some of  it. As Masuka, who recently fled the city, says: "it's a soul-sucking place". For now, I deal with that by living in a neighbourhood that I absolutely adore; that feels like a small town (nature! families! quiet!) while still technically part of this huge city. I consider it the best of both worlds. But eventually, when I own a car again, there's no telling where I'll end up - part of me wants a home in the country and an office in the city. I'm constantly torn between the two types of living. How do I balance a simple way of life with the business opportunities I need? It's tricky. And it may one day change.

All that said, I tend to be somewhat defensive of where I live and also where I come from. I was born & raised in St. Catharines, after all. And since moving here, I've gotten mixed reactions when people have asked where I hail from. One such reaction includes the "Oh. Sorry to hear it". And that's when my defensive wrath kicks in. Yes, I left the place. But it's my hometown. It's where my family and friends are, and where I still go to escape this city. And if anyone wants to trash it (even when certain points offer definite validity - it's a college/university town, after all), I am liable to yell & demand that you take back any negative words about one of my cities. It's a personal thing.

The Ugly - The Gardiner falling apart (via thegridto.com)
As it stands, I'm currently in Toronto and fine with that. By deciding that I have no strict ties to any location and the future can involve anywhere I see fit, it helps me to breathe easier. Things change. So do people. There was a time I would've never wanted to live here, and yet another time that I thought it was the only place I could ever thrive. Both times I was right. Now I like knowing that I have options once I decide to start a family someday. Or join a convent, whichever comes first. See? Options!

Since I started it, let's further pry open the proverbial can of worms here - Toronto: love it? Hate it? Indifferent to it?

And why?

Friday, October 18, 2013

In A State Of Mind I Could Call Mine, That Only I Could Own

To go along with my newfound need for new experiences, I'm adding "learning new things" to that list. Aside from boring work-related courses I plan to eventually take, I also want to learn fun things. Because there sure is a hell of a lot that I don't know (shhh, don't tell anyone).

As you all likely know, I'm a beer-lovin' and/or rye-drinkin' kinda chick. While I do drink wine more often than most people would assume, I have to admit - I know literally nothing about it. I know there's red. I know there's white. I know red can make me feisty, and white can make me happy.

That right there is the extent of my wine knowledge. Impressive, no?

So, when iYellow Wine Club asked if I wanted to check out a chardonnay class, I thought it would be a fun opportunity. So I brought along my sister, who actually knows about wine, and off we went to learn at the Ritz-Carlton.

I had been a bit worried that I'd come off seeming like an idiot, since I don't know the first thing about wine. Not even how to properly hold a wine glass, as you can see in the photo above.

I assumed most of the participants would be well-versed in all things wine, and I would be the one ignorant girl who had no idea what we were talking about.

Luckily, that was not the case. We tried a few different types of chardonnay and learned the difference between them all. I learned how to "paint" the glass with the wine to read its legs and gauge alcohol/sugar content. I learned about lees, oaking, and how oxygen colours the white wines. I also learned that I really like Southbrook wine (Southbrook, I'm comin' for ya).

Before this, I would've identified malolactic fermentation as "some form of coffee with milk, awesomely Irish'd up". But now? Now I know better. I'm learn-ed.

So there ya go. Learning can be fun - and the addition of alcohol and food can't hurt, either.

For more info, visit iyellowwineclub.com & get wined.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

May Not Live Another Life, May Not Solve A Mystery

It's the Tuesday after the Thanksgiving long weekend. If you're Canadian, you don't want to think right now. You don't want to be at work, you don't want to have to function - hell, you can't function. You want to sleep off the 4 turkeys you had over the weekend, and try to forget about how your Aunt Marge called you "handsomely pear-shaped".

While I'm not your boss and I can't allow you to fall into a tryptophan-induced coma at your ergonomically correct desk, I can share some new music with you to at least help you through the day.

And that's somethin', right?

First up - PJ fans rejoice (because if you didn't know, Pearl Jam has the most supportive/diehard fans ever. Right, Ten Club-ers?), their latest studio album is officially out.

It's been on iTunes for awhile now, but today was the official album drop. And for those wondering, Lightning Bolt is not on Rdio just yet. Soon, my pretties. Soon. [Edit - as of today (the 16th), it's up!]

I've been reading some very mixed reviews, as it seems people don't quite know what to make of this album. I'll admit that I haven't yet listened, but as usual I'll be my own judge. I tend to have faith in Eddie & co.

What did you think? (Listen here.)

Next, we're getting a lot more local.

If you'll recall, I've mentioned A Book For Wanderers on the site before, with the album release. Well, there's a new song out now, featuring another name you've seen on here - Serena Pryne, from The Mandevilles.

That's like two awesome local bands for the price of one.

Give the song a listen, and stay tuned for a second album release in the near future. Also check the Facebook page for tons of upcoming shows.

What are some other new tunes you've been listening to?

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