Tuesday, December 23, 2014

We Kissed On The Corner, Then Danced Through The Night

Christmas week has arrived. Are ya ready for it?

I've spent the past couple of days baking a stupid amount of goodies for la famille, and I hope everyone digs what I made. I always worry that the things I bake are somehow inedible to everyone but me, and that people eat them out of politeness. (But nah - my family isn't that polite). Apparently my personal spirit of Christmas includes self-conscious baking.

Mmmm, delicious fattening anxiety.

Otherwise, I'm prepped for the fat man. Tree's decorated, decorations are up, presents are wrapped, and Daisy's Christmas sweaters are all ready so she can hate me as per tradition.

And if you need last-minute gifts, don't forget - you can still get an awesome deal on the tasting, tour and bottle packages from Niagara wineries via Samba Days with my promo code. It ends on Christmas, so you might wanna hurry. Because wine.

To all of you, from all of me (yes all of me, even my wonky left elbow), a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and a Joyous...Thursday. The pigdog and I hope you have a great one.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sing Us A Song, A Song To Keep Us Warm

When I lived in Toronto, every time someone new found out that I was originally from St. Catharines, a lot of them would ask about the wine. Most people who visit or live in Niagara tend to check out the wineries, after all. And so I've always felt like a bad little Niagaran chick, having never been on a single wine tour/tasting in all the years I lived here.

I promised myself I'd change that ASAP, and visit every damn winery in the region - so far that list has stalled at a whopping... one. One winery. Gee, I'd better slow down.

But there's a point to this, I promise you. And the point is this - wine is awesome. Wineries are awesome. And visiting awesome wineries with awesome wine can only be whatever word is better than awesome. And that's why I'll be visiting them all eventually, why you should too, and why you should take advantage of a killer promo you can only find here on le blog.

From today until Christmas, Shambled Ramblings readers 'n lurkers have access to an exclusive deal thanks to our favourite friends at Samba Days:

  •  using the promo code 2WINE99 you can get two Wine & Tour packages for only $99+tax (they're usually $59+tax each)
  • each Wine & Tour is a full winery tour for two, a tasting (each tasting is unique to the winery, and some include food pairings) and two bottles of the winery's wine
  • each package is good for two people (tours & tastings for two), so this promo gives you FOUR of 'em, plus the bottles mentioned above, for only 99 bucks
  • there are over 10 different wineries to choose from
  • for full info, visit the website 
This could be you, I hope you guys own tank tops.
So there ya have it, I'm trying to make your Christmas shopping a little easier. You can take care of four people on your list (mom and dad, aunt and uncle, creepy neighbour and his loud wife) all at once. Or, of course, give one package away as a gift and keep one for yourself! You deserve a present, you're a fairly nice person on occasion.

This is an online promo only, but you can always get the packages full price at Shoppers Drug Mart as well. And for the box itself, there is a shipping charge, but if you order the eCertificates instead, they are free and instant. That means cheaper wine, sooner.

Remember, this promo is only until Christmas - and if any of you need someone to be your wine tour +1, you know where to find me. (Online. The answer is online.)

Happy wine-smas!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

When You First Took My Hand On A Cold Christmas Eve, You Promised Me Broadway Was Waiting For Me

Somehow it's already December 4th, and I'm not sure how that happened. Wasn't yesterday July? Did somebody drug me and erase my memories of the past few months? Yeah, that's plausible. We'll go with that.

So since it's December, the holiday season is in full swing. Christmas tunes are everywhere, regular TV has been replaced with Christmas specials, and streets are all lit up and twinkly (and some of you are also pretty lit up and twinkly - 'tis the season and all that). I'm looking forward to decorating the new place for Christmas, even though I haven't even decorated it in general yet. Meh, I don't need your judgement. I like Christmas.

The hatred. Can ya feel it?

My Christmas usually includes putting ears or Santa outfits on Daisy and making her absolutely miserable - it's fun for me, terrifying for her. I make it up to her with treats and toys in an attempt to bribe her into liking me again.

With that in mind, so you can make up for the torture you'll no doubt be putting your own pets through, we've got a giveaway to get yourself back in their good graces.

The PetSafe Holiday Stocking Stuffer Giveaway includes:

Likety Stiks - all-natural, low-calorie treats in a handy, no-mess dispenser.

Busy Buddy Jack - a durable nylon and rubber treat-dispensing toy challenges your dog to figure out how to get the delicious natural rawhide treat. Daisy digs hers.

Egg-cercizer Cat Toy -  make playtime more fun or help your cat stay in shape. Adjust the dispensing holes to slow down cats who eat too fast and encourage exercise.

Indigo Triple Chews - delicious, long-lasting chewable treats that are made with a recipe fortified with healthy ingredients.My pigdog is absolutely nuts for these.

FroliCat Bolt -  an interactive laser toy that projects a laser pattern allowing your pet pounce, chase across the floor, up the walls, and over furniture.

All you have to do is enter via the RaffleCopter widget below, and you're in the draw to potentially win back your pet's love. Can treats and toys make up for the crap we put them through for our own amusement? I sure like to think so.

The contest is only open to residents of Canada. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Everything I Love Is On The Table, Everything I Love Is Out To Sea

It's been awhile.

As I mentioned in my one of my last posts, however long ago that was, I had been preparing for a crazy busy October. And since I moved cities, the crazy busy October turned into a crazy busy November... and here we are. Hi.

So I'm in Niagara, attempting to get settled and organized to live a somewhat double life between here and Trawnna. I tend to forget how nuts it can be, changing cities. Daisy and I are getting used to the new 'hood and the new digs, but of course my anxiety-ridden little piglet isn't quite ready for me leave her alone so I can actually go out and get stuff done. I forgot what a pain in the butt that can be.

Baby steps. She's getting better.

Since I moved back, the number one question I've been asked is "is it weird/hard moving back?" Weird yes, hard... less than I thought it would be. I remember in 2010 when I had no choice but to move back here for awhile, it felt like a huge step backward. But this time it's a step forward, just in a slightly different direction. It's my way of getting the best of everything, including the things I need. For work, for my personal life, and especially for my health problems, I need both cities. So I made it somewhat easier.

This place isn't the same as when I left it, so I'll have to re-acquaint myself. I dunno these newfangled bars and restaurants, and I can't even remember which streets are which. And I hate to say it, but I almost kinda sorta oddly miss the TTC. Insane, right? But being car-less in Niagara is strange. It's tough without Marcellus Wallace (my old car).

So in learning all the new junk in my old hometown, I'm hoping to see lots of familiar faces real soon. (Even if some of you have never seen me with dark hair, though it's been over 5 years since I was blonde. Time, she flies.) Show me the ways of your local people, and I will offer friendship and secret ancient stain-removal tips.

And as for you, Toronto? I'll see ya tomorrow.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Recall The Deeds As If They're All Someone Else's Atrocious Stories

The neighbourhood I've lived in for the past 3.5 - 4 years is a pretty safe one. When you're a female living alone in Toronto, the question of safety is usually the first thing people bring up in conversation. But this area has been good to me. For the most part.

As you know I walk Daisy a lot, but we don't always stick to the trails in High Park. I like walking around the neighbourhood streets, because the houses are lovely and some of my neighbours are great. But there's one street in particular I would walk down every single morning without problems, until a couple of years ago. A guy (I won't call him a man, and he's not a boy) started yelling aggressively inappropriate things at me every time I passed by. It became a problem. And he did this to other women as well.

Now, this guy appeared to be slightly mentally challenged in some way. Not severely so, but it was evident at times. Because of this, I didn't know how to deal with his behaviour. So even though he harassed me every single time he saw me, I ignored it. Then one day last year he left the comfort of his front porch and followed me as I walked, yelling "nice ass!" over and over, waiting for a reaction from me. He followed me all the way home.

Honestly, it scared me. So I stopped walking down that street completely. This stupid fear gripped me every time I walked the dog, knowing that I couldn't go my usual route because I was now scared of this guy who lacked normal boundaries. Eventually my inner pep talks did their job (I told myself not to let some creep keep me from going where I wanted; it gave the jerk power he didn't deserve), and every day I started walking further down that street, each step becoming some kind of personal victory over my fear of an asshole. Then one day, I passed his house and beyond. And no one bothered me.

Success! ...but short-lived. As I continued walking my old route down that street again, he started showing up outside. Only now he would sometimes switch up his sexual harassment with a very strange "Good morning, Miss. I like your dog." every once in awhile.

This switch confused me. Are people THAT capable of change?

Nope. They are not. Because the harassment continued, he just hid it behind those odd morning greetings. So, the other day, I heard someone mutter "shake your ass bitch, you're my bitch" at me. The familiar anxiety crept in, and then I heard a loud "Good morning, Miss!". So I said a quick "Morning.", thinking I had somehow misheard the first part. But when I turned to continue walking the dog, he yelled "I love you". And repeated it, over and over, louder and louder.

Well... after years of this shit, and with only a couple of weeks before I move from this area, I'd had enough. So I turned back to him and yelled, loud enough for the whole neighbourhood to hear, "If you say one more goddamn word to me, I'm charging you with harassment - do you understand me?! This bullshit has to stop right now!!"

No reply. Quiet.

I was literally shaking after this, which is silly. Usually I have no trouble telling someone off if they're harassing me or one of my friends. Or harassing anyone, for that matter. But I gave this jerk so much power by ignoring it, avoiding it, and hoping it would just go away. I should have threatened to press charges years ago.

No matter who is saying the inappropriate words or making others uncomfortable, harassment is harassment is harassment. And it is never ok. If there was any point to this overly long-winded tale, let it be that these situations can't be ignored or they fester and worsen.

I'll be honest - I haven't gone back down that street since my outburst. So maybe I've failed myself in a way. But I have started bringing my phone on my walks again - if anything happens, whether from him or someone else who enjoys harassing women, I will call the police now. Because people like this need to learn that we will fight back. It's the only way there's any chance for improvement.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

And I Listen For The Voice Inside My Head. Nothing - I'll Do This One Myself.

Welcome to October.

Yeah yeah, I know it's been October for over a week. Gimme a break.

This particular October (October 2014, for those who have just been brought here via Delorean or Star Trek transporter. Welcome.) is an especially crazy one for me. To start, I've just found a new casa to live in, as well as a new city. I'm moving to Niagara at the end of this month, for multiple reasons. But don't worry, Toronto-folks - I'll be splitting my time between the two cities, so I'll be here all the damn time. You'll still feel my constant presence and think to yourselves, "What the hell? Why is she still here?! Go away, evil she-witch!".

Moving cities surely brings out the best in people.
So yes, the joys of packing up my life and planning a new one are a big part of my October. In addition, I also have two medical procedures coming up that I'm anxious about, as well as a big presentation in front of far too many people to properly cap off this month. Public speaking is something I tend to shy away from, so it's all kinda terrifying. Then, with the move on November 1st, it also means no Halloween. This month properly showcases the worst parts of being an adult. Responsibilities? Blah.

Needless to say, I'm stressed and a bit overwhelmed. So here's where I need your help - I want you, whoever you are, to post your go-to song(s) that always put you in an awesome mood. I don't care what it is, I don't care if you know I'll hate it, I want you to post it. Because this Schlock-tober is going to need a killer "I can do anything, I'm frickin' Wonder Woman (though not for Halloween obviously, because THAT DOES NOT EXIST THIS YEAR)" playlist to keep spirits high while I get shit done.

Ready?? Go!

(P.S. - There's one more day to enter the World Animal Day giveaway, so you should probably go & do that.)

Friday, October 3, 2014

I Am Fuel, You Are Friends. We've Got The Means To Make Amends.

This Saturday October 4th is World Animal Day. Did you know that? Probably not. (I'll be honest - I didn't either, until recently.)

Well, based on my never-ending photos of Daisy alone, you know I'm an animal lover. And so, to properly celebrate World Animal Day by giving back to our amazing pets, I've got a pretty awesome giveaway on behalf of PetSafe Canada.

Great for both dog owners and cat owners, this giveaway pack is valued at over $200 - it includes:

For dogs:
- 6 oz box of indigo Smokehouse Strips
- 18 oz box of indigo Triple Chews
- 6.5 oz Sweet Potato Dental Sauce
- Busy Buddy Jack
- Lickety Stiks in chicken flavour

For cats:
- Frolicat Flik toy
- Funkitty Egg-Cersizer
- 2 Feline Lickety Stiks in s dairy and tuna flavours

And for both cat and dogs:
- Drinkwell Stainless 360 fountain (this is especially useful for those of you with multiple pets.)

Here's how ya win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck, and Happy World Animal Day! Go squish your pets & show 'em some love.

Friday, September 26, 2014

I Bet Given The Chance You'd Eschew The Divine, & Start A Little Business Selling Contacts Online

Last Thursday kicked off my first-ever JFL42 (thanks to a kickass birthday gift from the seester - thanks Steph!). For the uninitiated, JFL42 is a Just For Laughs comedy festival in Toronto, with a group of headlining acts (Amy Schumer, Nick Offerman, Seth Myers, etc) and 42 other comedians performing at venues throughout the city over 10 days.

Do the math. It's a lot of comedy. 

We started on at The Garrison (side note - Oast House beer & tacos go well with stand-up) for Nikki Glaser, then headed to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to see one of my personal favourites - Tim Minchin.

Excuse the shitty pics - just picture a barefoot, tight-pant-donning, eyelined ginger (oops, sorry - only a ginger can call another ginger "ginger".) being absolutely amazing and hilarious both on the piano and off.

I didn't take photos of any other acts - some didn't allow photography, anyway. But, for your reference, the pic above was the stage at Amy Schumer's show. Gerry Dee was her surprise opener, so that was fun.

Later that night at the Comedy Bar, we saw the New Faces of Comedy - a whole bunch (don't make me count) of Canadian comedians with shorter sets. Some of them were so damn funny, I wouldn't be surprised if they became headliners next year.

This was written in the bathroom stall at the Comedy Bar.

Ladies, it's a comedy bar! Don't cry about the dude, make jokes about the guy's inability to pick his underwear off the floor and/or the 5 hours a day he spends on the phone with his mom. You'll feel better.

Google took out my red-eye - see how creepy I am?

After those shows were Sabrina Jalees, Iliza Schlesinger, Jen Kirkman, Tig Notaro, and Paul F. Tompkins (plus their openers all the New Faces. I'm bad with names, gimme a break.) - all hilarious, and all responsible for potential new stomach muscles. And speaking of laughter, this experience has given me a new theory about the ability to know someone is an asshole based solely on their laugh... but that's a post for another day.

Good times.

Currently, I'm in Niagara for the Grape and Wine festival and am missing out on the final weekend of JFL. Please, send my love to the Broad City girls. I feel like they 'get' me.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I'll Be Waiting With A Gun & A Pack of Sandwiches

Every once in awhile, I get into that familiar discussion about "deserted island albums". Y'know, when someone asks you to pick the top 5 (or whichever arbitrary number they choose) albums you would bring along if you were deserted on an island.

For me, it often becomes an argument that looks something like this:

Me: "I can't do it. I can't pick 5."

Excitable Person (henceforth EP): "You HAVE to! Or you'll DIE."

Me: "Pretty sure I won't die in an imaginary situation. And if I was really on a deserted island, then I likely would die due to starvation, dehydration... the albums have nothing to do with it."

EP: "Just pick 5 albums, damn you."

Me: "Ok, um... Zeppelin II, and maybe IV... Deftones' Adrenaline. Wait, wait, Deftones' Diamond Eyes. Wait, no. White Pony? Ugh. Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. A Perfect Circle's Thirteenth Step. Radiohead's... aw crap, can I have ten? I need ten. I haven't even gotten started. No, I need twenty. Twenty albums."


Yep, it's true. I can't play that game. I refuse. My cop-out answer is that I would make 5 mixed cd's (yes, compact discs) in preparation for impending desertion on an imaginary island. And really, if I had the foresight to pack specific albums because I knew I was going to crash, I would just not board that plane. I watched all 6 seasons of Lost. I know how it works.

When it comes to choosing favourite albums, songs, or artists, it's like choosing a favourite child. Except that while you're choosing said child, you suddenly remember all the other favourite children you've had over the years and have to add them to the list (man, you've been busy). It can't be done. I am of the opinion that any true music obsessor can't whittle down their favourites to a mere few. Sure, I have some select go-to picks that will always be my favourite, but what about the album I can't stop listening to right now? Or the one I loved most when I was 12, but re-visit every year and play over and over for nostalgia's sake? I would need them all.

But maybe I'm alone in this. Judging by other peoples' reactions when I refuse to play this "what if" game, it's entirely possible that I'm just a stubborn jerk and everyone else is fully capable of answering. So I ask you:

If you were about to be stranded on a deserted island (and somehow knew about it in advance, yet still allowed it to happen because you make bad life decisions. I won't judge.), what 5 albums would you bring?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Say Goodbye, Don't Follow

I've read a lot of articles lately about how women shouldn't use the fake "I have a boyfriend" excuse to politely turn down men we're not interested in. The main reason being that it asks the person we're turning down to respect the man we're with, while not respecting us or our own personal decisions (i.e. - simply not wanting to date this person, whether we're single or not.)

I understand that, and I do agree. I'm honest to a fault, lying isn't really my thing. And yet... I know that sometimes I'll still do it when I need to. There are far too many people we all encounter who don't, and won't, take "no" for a final answer. They see it as a challenge, or an opportunity to change our feeble minds. After all, if we're not already taken by other men, surely we must want THIS random guy, right?

Did Lisa Simpson teach us nothing?

The truth is that while most men respect and understand that sometimes we're just not interested, just as they might not be interested in us, there are still guys (and women too, I'm certain) who get too pushy. And in those cases, it can be much easier to just admit defeat, make up a fake significant other, and move on without being bothered further. Because those situations can escalate quickly.

Case in point - last week I was walking the dog around my neighbourhood. Daisy loves all humans to an annoying degree, so she must stop and wait for each of them to pet her before we can move on. And trust me, her brakes are powerful.

There was a guy sitting on the corner with his bike, and Daisy did her usual "I'm stopping so you can give me attention" routine. This guy went nuts over her (it was a bit much), and then told me that I had pretty hair. He started man-handling the dog and throwing her on his lap. I asked him not to do that, as she has a leg injury. He said, "I'm not hurting her! She loves me." and kept fawning over her, saying strange things. When he asked me if she was my boyfriend's dog, where I lived, if I would let him take my picture (hell no), and if I'd go for a drink with him, I knew it was time to grab the dog and move on.

Well, I tried.

I was polite, I declined and then let him know that Daisy and I needed to keep walking. I called the dog and she started to move away from him, but he grabbed her and held on. "She doesn't want to go, she loves me! You should, too."

Creepy like Michael Cera with a mustache.
I said, "You need to let go of her so she can come with me.", but he wouldn't. He said that he would walk with us so that the dog wouldn't have to leave him. He followed me as I walked, and I asked him not to. Again, being as honest as possible, I told him it made me uncomfortable. So he said, "I'll just walk along with you from the other side of the street and we can still talk and plan our drinks". Y'know, the drinks I had already declined.

When he crossed the street, he asked where I lived again and said it's great that I'm single. Luckily Daisy's creep radar finally kicked in, and she dragged me in the opposite direction. Yup, we ran away.

Moral of this long-winded story? If I hadn't gone the honesty route and just casually mentioned that Daisy belonged to me and my imaginary-yet-super-awesome live-in boyfriend, I could have avoided all of that unnecessary mess and gone about my day. And truthfully, that guy was pretty tame compared to many other stories I could tell. While no one should have to lie about their relationship status in order to make people leave us alone, sometimes it's a necessary evil. And until everyone can take polite rejection in stride, we have to do whatever keeps us safe and un-bothered. For me, that means I'll lie when I need to.

(Although maybe a better lie would be that I'm a killerbitch robot from the future, sent back in time to destroy all men - bet that'd keep them away, too. I'll try it next time.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'm A Searchlight Soul They Say, But I Can't See It In The Night

A few Sundays ago (ok, many Sundays ago - major delays are what the cool kids are into, right?), I hit the Soundgarden/ Nine Inch Nails show at Ye Olde Molson Amphitheatre.

My partner in crime for this particular show was my friend Brad, who thankfully sent me all of his pics since mine were absolute garbage.

(Thanks, dude!)

In case you can't tell, we were relegated to the lawns - the majority of good seats went to pre-sale and your ol' pal Kris missed out. But hey, it's alright! The lawn is a party itself anyway. It was a warm, sunny day. We were about to check out two of my favourite bands (one which I've never seen live before).

What was there to complain about?

...and then, not long after Soundgarden took the stage, the black clouds came, the sky opened up, and in came the downpour.

While I'm glad I had some foresight to bring my half-broken (and thus weaponized) umbrella, it didn't do much to protect me from that damn rain. It carried on throughout both sets with no signs of stopping.

And so everyone on the lawn was united - we were one huge puddle of fans.

It was worth it, however.

Having never seen Soundgarden before, I can happily say that their set was fantastic, myothersecretboyfriend Chris Cornell still has one of the best voices in music, and Kim Thayil is cooler than anyone, ever. And while Matt Cameron was not on drums (likely due to Pearl Jam's upcoming tour), Cornell still introduced the drummer as Matt Cameron. So I'm counting it.

Plus they played "Fell on Black Days", so even that asshat rain wasn't enough to ruin the show.

As for Nine Inch Nails? Well, after this concert I heard/read a lot of people saying that it was the best live show they've seen. But since I also saw them in October & obviously blogged about it, I won't bore you with my fangirling and uber-awe of all things Reznor The Ageless and NIN. Needless to say, it was amazing. As expected.

Even in the pouring rain.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Because We Separate Like Ripples On A Blank Shore

Since I turned another year older this past weekend, I figured that my first post as a 31 year old should have something to do with getting older, & being a real live adult. Because sometimes I am that. But only sometimes.

There was a time when I wouldn't leave the house without my cell phone. Never. And if I accidentally did, it felt like I had temporarily lost a limb. (That's not at all over-dramatic, is it?) But at some point this past year, I started going on my daily dog walks without the phone. Three times a day, I've been disconnected and completely unreachable.Oh, did you need to call me and ask about my current long distance plan? Sorry, buddy. Left my phone at home.

Daisy stops to smell the flowers on my balcony. They smell like happiness and regret.

I spend hours a day in High Park, wandering through different areas & finding new hidden spots I haven't seen before. I used to take endless photos of the beautiful landscape - the trees, the water, the flowers, the animals, Daisy peeing on a fence while growling at an emu (really.). And now that I'm usually camera-less on these walks, I can no longer take constant photos of all the pretty things. Instead, I'm just enjoying them. Even "experiencing" them, if you wanna get nerdy about it. I don't always need a photo to make the most of things - maybe just sometimes.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one takes a selfie with it, then did the tree actually fall? Yes. Yes it did.

It isn't just about not taking photos, though. Being without the ever-present smartphone means that for a short little while no one can contact me. No texts, no emails, no calls, no social media. A lot of people around my age, especially fellow entrepreneurial types, work way too much - we are always, always connected. We need a break.

Yesterday I sat on a bench in the park, looking out over some tree-lined hills, gardens and water. There was a nice breeze, hardly any people around, and I just sat there doing absolutely nothing while Daisy played in the grass beside me. I just... sat. It was kinda perfect. When was the last time you did nothing?

We all suffered through that pain-in-the-ass Polar Vortex this past year; we've earned the summer & warmer weather. So the point of this post is this - take advantage of it. Take advantage of the bright early mornings, the warm afternoons and the light evenings. They all have an expiration date.

Get the hell outside - and leave your phone at home. (At least once.)

Ned Stark knows what I'm talkin' about.

Because winter is coming.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Into The Flood Again, Same Old Trip It Was Back Then

It's been a long time since I've slapped everyone upside the head with my Grammar PSA from an Asshole posts. So I'd say we're due, wouldn't you? Because frankly, some of this stuff has been piling up in my brain and making me crazy - it would be selfish not to share this with you guys. So now (hopefully) we can prevent people from angering us with their non-words and messed up punctuation.

Are we ready? No? Too bad. 
My dogs are laughing at your bad grammar.

Here are a few new offenses:

1. Should've / Should Of (Would've, Could've, etc)

Example of Misuse:

 "I should of listened in grade 2 English class."
I'm confused, is "of listened" a verb? In that case, let's all go "of listening" this weekend. You drive.

Word explanations:

Look, I may be a well-intentioned but imperfect Grammar Asshole - but I'm not a total asshole. I understand where people got this from, I'm just making an attempt in vain to fix it. So here's the info: should've is a contraction, a substitute for "should have". See? Simple! The problem is that people (and I do mean us as a whole) are lazy; they hear "should've" and think it means "should of".

But come on. You're smarter than that. What the hell is a should of?!

*I realized after posting that this offense was included in my first Grammar Asshole post. Bears repeating. (And no, not bear's repeating.)

2. Nuptials vs. Nuptuals

Example of Misuse:

"I'm so excited for your upcoming nuptuals!"
Well, unless "nuptuals" is another word for "use of non-existent words", your sentence is untrue.

Word Explanation:

We tend to take real words and change the way they're pronounced - again, because we're lazy. The correct word for a wedding is nuptial. Nup-shuhl. But for some reason, everyone pronounces this fairly easy word nup-shoo-al.

And that is wrong. Now you know. So stop it.

Remember Jim & Pam's nuptials? That was, like, so nuptual of them.

3. Seen and Saw

Example of Misuse:

"I seen your mom at the grocery store - she says you're awful."
Since it's impossible to seen a person, I'm betting you saw her. And she's right - I am awful.

Word Explanations:

I know this one confuses the crap out of you, my lovelies. I know that. So lemme help. Unless you're throwing "have" in between the words, don't use "I seen"! The sentence above should be "I saw your mom at the grocery store" - but if you've been hangin' out at your local Loblaws way too much and my mom happens to have been there too, then you can say "I've seen your mom at the grocery store". But you never, ever, EVER just plain "seen" anything.

Am I getting through to you? No? Ok, on to the next.

See this? You've now seen a saw.

 4. It's vs. Its

Example of Misuse:

"I just moved to a new house; its modern."
Its modern does what? And how does a house have its very own modern?! Ouch. My brain.

"The goat at the zoo is feeding it's babies."
That sentence says the goat is feeding it is babies. Yes, feeding it is babies. You think about that and tell me if it makes sense. Go on, I'll wait.

Word Explanations:

Its - this is the possessive form of "it". "The pig ate its dinner" makes sense, because it is the pig's damn food and he can do whatever he wants with it.

It's - this is a contraction for "it is" or "it has". For example, "It's been a slice, but I'm tired of bitching about grammar."

If you're still confused, try this: when you're unsure whether your sentence needs "it's" or "its", try replacing it with "it is". If it works, use the contraction. If it sounds completely stupid, you're going to want the possessive version. Ya dig?

It's a pig eating its ice cream. On a tiny blue picnic table, as pigs do.

I think I've smacked you in the head enough with this, but here are a couple of quick hits so I can sleep better at night. Sleep is important.:

-  Expresso is not a word. The word you want is espresso. Unless it's really fast coffee.
-  "I could care less" means that you do care. You couldn't care less. You're heartless.
-  Anyway, toward, afterward - none of these words end with an "s". I promise.
-  "All intensive purposes" is not really what you meant, for all intents and purposes.
-  Irregardless is still not a word, regardless of how often you use it.

And after all of this, please remember that I only want what's best for you & your grammar. (And for me, because I have to read your Facebook posts.)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Heard It In The Wind & Saw It In The Sky

Bless me blogger, for I have sinned. It's been one month and two days since my last post, and these are my lame excuses.

Whoa. Apparently even when you haven't been to church in over a decade and Catholic school was a billion ages ago, some of that stuff just sticks with you - no matter how non-religious you may be. That's some religious glue right there.

But I digress. Hi. I have nothing of note to throw at your eyeballs in this particular post, more or less just checking in to let those who have wondered know I'm not dead (sorry), to explain that all work and no play makes Kris a boring chick (seriously), and to let you know that a preying mantis has only one ear (unrelated, but an informative tidbit nonetheless).

Pigs like fun stuff 'n junk.
I have about 6 or 7 half-written blog posts hiding in the ol' drafts folder, waiting for someone to make the time to properly finish them. I have not been that person. But as the summer rolls on, going way too fast as it always does, I'm forcing myself to make more time for the non work-related stuff. Step away from the spreadsheets and lists that don't necessarily need the constant updating, and go do more shit. Maybe that decision is a result of me thinking a lot about getting older (since I'm turning 31 on the 19th, my twenties are a distant memory at this point), and I worry that I'll regret not doing more.

And, of course, I will. I'll regret it.

Therefore, this is my attempt at remembering that a lot of my job can be fun, or I wouldn't bother working for myself. And that a balance between work and play is doable. Essential, even. So I've started planning more fun things for my summer and beyond, & am looking forward to learning how to relax a little more. I'm hoping some of you guys are going to assist me with that challenge. Just yell "Get away from the computer, you jackass!" and give me a beer. Easy.

Well, look at that. This post about abso-damn-lutely nothing went off on an odd tangent. See? I just made time for a tangent! That's called progress.

Happy Friday, Folks!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Inside A Broken Clock, Splashing The Wine With All The Rain Dogs

This is not the usual topic I blog about - the bathroom habits of my dog aren't exactly thrilling reading material. But, when I was asked to do this giveaway I realized that I know a lot of people who could more than take advantage of this product. I'm looking at you, dog owners.

This past winter was rough. I usually walk Daisy a minimum of 6k per day, but that damn Polar Vortex made it pretty difficult - Daisy hated leaving the house. At that time, the Pet Loo would've definitely come in handy and made our lives easier. It's a "backyard in a box", a portable indoor/outdoor toilet for pets that is self-contained and cleans up easily - awesome for people in high-rise apartments, those who work long hours and can't always get back to their dogs in time, pets who are prone to accidents, etc.

To show off the Pet Loo for you folks, here's Daisy doing her very best Vanna White impression. (Yes, I realize that mentioning Vanna White makes me sound old. Darn you kids and your new-fangled pop culture references.)

Just to be clear, Daisy is only standing on the Pet Loo and giving it the initial once-over. I'm pretty certain you all understand how it works, without needing an actual photo tutorial. So I'll spare you that.

I ended up putting the Pet Loo on my back balcony, where it fit perfectly without getting in the way at all & will hopefully distract her from my flowers on the front balcony. Because of our frequent walks, I haven't yet taught Daisy to use it - but so far she likes lying on it in the sun. I guess that counts for something. Dogs dig it.

We've got one Pet Loo to give away ($159.99 value) or a self-cleaning Simply Clean Litter Box system if you're more of a cat person ($139.99 value), on behalf of PetSafe Canada - just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Contest is open to Canadian residents only. (Sorry Sweden.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Come Outside & Breathe In, Relax Your Arms & Let Me In

We've all got it. Old junk lying around, possibly in drawers (y'know, the aptly named "junk drawers"), stuff we never use again. Have you ever noticed that a lot of it is just old, obsolete technology?

I'm guilty of this. Currently, there's a drawer in my bedside table that holds not one, not two, but three old cell phones, old chargers, MP3 players, and similar items. I seem to like holding onto these things; in previous years I had kept old cameras, a VCR (some of you are too young to know what that is - I might cry just thinking about that), and other ancient relics.

Here are a few examples of mine. Oh, the shame. The horror. The stupidity of keeping a broken phone.

There's just no point.

Well, here's an opportunity to "Break Up With Your Stuff", and possibly win a little something as well. RecycleYourElectronics.ca is spreading the message of recycling electronics with a short video that
shows the potential consequences of being someone that stores old out-of-use gadgets around their place.
Yes, that means you.

Many of us have no idea what to do with all of this old tech - they don't belong in landfills, they're actually items that can be recycled. 80% of people aged 18-34 says they would recycle a water bottle, and 40% say they would recycle their old electronics. And yet... only 20% have actually done it. Visit RecycleYourElectronics.ca to find the secure drop-off location closest to where you live and get rid of some of that old junk. Make room for new junk!

I showed you some of mine, now show me yours: Tweet me (@ShambledRambler) with a picture of your outdated electronics, and mention @ecycleOntario and #BreakUpWithYourStuff. You could win a $50 Visa gift card.(Possibly to buy new electronic gadgets that will be obsolete in a few years? It only seems right.)

I look forward to the photos! Good luck.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

You're Far Beyond A Visible Sign Of Your Awakening

Life's been pretty busy lately - work has been absolutely hectic, and I haven't had a lot of time to get away from my to-do list. Luckily, Samba Days gave me the perfect excuse.

This time, my Sambassador duty included heading over to Chi Spa for a much-needed massage. Yeah, I know. Tough life. But after a morning of meetings, yet another 5am wake-up call & then getting caught in a downpour, I was more than ready to turn off my brain for awhile. I likely forgot to turn it back on.


I visited the spa as part of the Samba Days Gift Card Offers which, as the name suggests, make an awesome gift. (Hint hint, Father's day is coming up - don't buy into the macho hype, men need spa massages too. Trust me.)
No photos past this point. Shhh.

It served as a good reminder that I need to stop and chill out every once in awhile. Forget the phone, the computer, the work, and do something for myself. (What I'm really trying to say - more massages!) It's important, and I know a lot of people like myself who fail to take that time. I'm sure I work a hell of a lot more productively with less knots in my neck and shoulders.

To take advantage of this for yourself, or buy a gift for someone else, visit the Samba Days Deal Boutique and check out all the options. If massage isn't your thing, there are tons of restaurant cards. Who doesn't like food? (Bet your dad does. Yes, another reminder that Father's Day is next month. You won't forget now. You're welcome.)

Fast forward a bit and I'm in St. Catharines visiting the folks for a few days, and hope to make time for some more relaxation in the form of patios, beer, and awesome people.

See ya in awhile, Trawnna.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I've Got A Good Mother, & Her Voice Is What Keeps Me Here

On or around Mother's Day, I tend to post my favourite mom-related songs. Unfortunately, they aren't always so mom-friendly, and my own mom isn't really a fan of 'em.

Today, I'll continue that tradition. And, for my amazing & awesome mother, I'll add some specifically for her that are more "aw" than "rawr".

But first - Danzig. Because I still belt this out on a regular basis.

Next, the one my mom likes the least - Tracy Bonham's "Mother Mother":

I can't really leave out Pink Floyd, can I?

On a nicer note, the Spice Girls thought their moms were lovely people.

Back before email and Facebook, Ozzy gave his ETA via song. Very considerate of him:

My mom is more of a McCartney fan, but as a Beatles lover I'm sure she digs Lennon just fine:

 Boys II Men loved their mamas. I know this because they sang it. In harmony. Harmony doesn't lie.

And Jann Arden had a good mother, so that's nice. I have one of those, too.

Therefore this one's especially for you, mom.

Happy Mother's Day, mom! Thanks for everything, always. Love you.

Friday, May 9, 2014

I'm A Sure-Fire Assassin, Not So Sure Of What I'm Meant To Do

It's no secret that I have a fairly substantial list of talented female musicians that I consider my "girl crushes". That's a terrible way to describe them, as it's more of a crazy respect, a good dose of awe, and maybe a slight wish that these women were my best friends, girlfriends, or a big ol' blend of both. Really, these women just kick ass.

And at the top of my list, Brody Dalle has been a mainstay for years.

Back when Brody fronted The Distillers, I was hooked as soon as I heard them. This chick was a badass, and at the time there seemed to be a severe lack of these tough yet accessible women in music. She was unapolagetic and refreshing.

Coral Fang became the soundtrack to an old summer breakup (which was fitting, as they recorded it the same year as her divorce to Rancid's Tim Armstrong), and to this day I can throw that album on and change my mood completely. It's an automatic SLRDP (Solo Living Room Dance Party, for the uninformed) every damn time.

The Distillers

Fast forward a few years - the Distillers broke up, Brody put out an album with Spinnerette, married Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age (and yes, I'd marry them both.), had a couple of adorable kids with him, & went solo. Just this past week she released her debut solo album, Diploid Love.

And all is well with the world.
Best. Couple Ever.
She played The Horseshoe this past Wednesday as part of Canadian Music Week - somehow it was my first time seeing her live, and  it was as amazing as I'd anticipated. A good mix of her new tunes, old Distillers & Spinnerette songs, and typical Brody badass-edness (it's a word. Shut up.).

I should be nice and spare you my awful blurry shots from the evening, so here is a stolen one.

The Horseshoe

If you haven't had a chance to check out the new album yet, do so now - fans of Brody will love it, and non-fans might just hop on the Dalle bandwagon. Join us. It's nice here.

Friday, May 2, 2014

When I Am King, You Will Be First Against The Wall

It's a long-standing joke among some family members that my dad stopped sleeping once both of his daughters were living in Toronto. When I started living alone over three years ago, that probably didn't help matters much either. Sorry, Dad.

It isn't about being overprotective or convinced that I can't take care of myself - my parents worry about my safety mainly because they're not here; they can't always know that I'm safe. And that incident with the cab driver a few years back didn't calm their worries by any means. Neither do the reports of assault that we constantly hear about. But if those kinds of things are going to keep me locked up in my apartment, afraid of what may happen, then what's the point of living here at all?

Option #2
Lately a lot of articles have popped up about a new free service called Kitestring. It's pretty simple - you set up emergency contacts and an emergency message, then let the service know you're heading out. You set the time (depending how long you think your trip from A to B will be), and they text you when that time passes to make sure you made it to your destination safely.

If you don't respond, they let your emergency contacts know by sending out the message you set beforehand. You can use it via browser or text.

The default emergency message

On Saturday night I decided to give it a try. I had set up my contacts a few days prior, saved my emergency message, & had the Kitestring number on my phone. I was taking a cab home from downtown and gave myself a one-hour window to get there.

This is how it worked:

Because I texted "Ok", they knew I was home safe and didn't need to send a message to my emergency contacts.

Easy peasy.

Though it may seem like it, this is not a sponsored post. Kitestring has never contacted me, or vice versa. I just think it's a simple tool that can offer a bit of peace of mind - both for ourselves, and for those who worry about us.

So go forth and be safe, my grasshoppers. Because even if no one else does, your ol' pal Kris cares about your well-being (and your ability to go out and grab a beer without worry).

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