Goodbye 2011

Well folks, it looks as if this will be my last post of the year.  Terribly sad, I know.  But it’s okay.  There’s nothing stopping me from continuing to blog next year.  At least I don’t think there is.  But the final one of the year I started blogging.  That’s a big deal, right?  Well no, not really.  I mean who the hell cares?  But still, my final post should be something good, something memorable.

Yeah, sorry to disappoint, but this post will neither be good, nor memorable.  Not intentionally.  I’m not actively aiming to write badly.  It just happens sometimes.  I suppose I’m not actively aiming to write well at the moment either.  Right now I’m pretty much just blogging for the sake of blogging, because this is my last chance to do so this year.  What’s that?  I still have another 24 hours?  This is true, but I will not be spending those 24 hours by a computer.  Shocking, I know.  Contrary to popular belief, I do not spend most of my life sitting in front of a computer.  I spend most of my life sitting on a bus.  Wait, make that standing on a bus.  Or sky train.  Or bus stop.  Waiting for/taking public transit.  Yes.

Anyway, I will actually be going out for New Year’s Eve in order to celebrate.  Why?  I don’t know.  Why not?  Isn’t that what everyone does?  As my mom would say, if everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?  To which I would respond yes, I would.  Because if everyone jumped off the bridge, you’d be left alone.  But really, how many people do you know who would want to jump off a bridge, let alone try to convince you to join them?

My mom asked, not entirely seriously, “don’t you want to spend New Year’s with your family?”  I told her I’d already done that in the past when I had the flu for three years in a row.  I mean that wasn’t by choice, but it happened.  My dad said he wanted to pick me up downtown.  I was like “At 3am?”  Yeah, that’s not going to happen.  He’s worried that if I crash at a friend’s place, I won’t be back in time for church the next day.  Well, I’m sure he has other concerns as well, but that was the one he vocalized.  And then my sister said “You won’t have him forever”, implying that I should actually let my dad pick me up from a pub on New Year’s Eve.  I told my sister than when she goes out in the future, she can take advantage of that offer if she wants to.  I will not be coming home tomorrow night.

I can make it back for church.  One year I went out for New Year’s & had to work the next morning.  It was one of the more painful shifts, but I made it.  Also, forget New Year’s, there are times throughout the year when I’ve been out late and had either work or church or school and still been on time and functional.  I may as well do this while I still can.  At least that’s what I’ve been told.  But maybe I’m just going out for the sake of going out?  Just like I’m blogging for the sake of blogging?  Does anything really have a purpose?  Aren’t we all just living for the sake of living?

But I digress.  From what, I don’t know, as I don’t actually have a main point to this post.  Except to say that it’s my last one of the year and why that is.  I could have opted to stay in and blog on New Year’s Eve.  But I feel like that would be slightly sad.  You know, sadder than blogging the night before New Year’s Eve.  But I’ve been trying to blog once a day for the past week, in effort to make up for lost time when I neglected to do so for almost two months.  And I haven’t been sitting at home, I had a family dinner tonight if you must know. And then I came home and decided to write one last post before my once a day blogging streak is over.

And so I’ve come to the realization that once a day is too much.  Seven days of blogging in a row is overkill.  I attempted it and now I know.  But I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t made the attempt.  And I probably won’t be able to do it next year anyway, as school will start again, and five people will fight for the computer to do their homework.  Or more likely, fight for it so they can pretend to do their homework.  Yes, I’ll be taking a course once again too, so it won’t just be my siblings.  But this obstacle to my blogging is a good thing.  Because if you force yourself to blog everyday for a week, on the seventh day, you end up with crap like this.

The first 15 minutes of Due Date

Yeah, that was as much of that movie as I’ve seen.  And it was enough.  I was at my friend’s place the other day and we were trying to pick a movie to watch from a somewhat crappy selection that was available to us.  We hadn’t seen Due Date so we thought alright, let’s give that a try.  We like Robert Downey Jr. and Zack Galifianakis was good in The Hangover, so how bad could it be?

Bad enough that we opted for a different movie after 15 minutes.  Okay, maybe bad isn’t the right word.  But we just didn’t feel like watching anymore of it at that point in time.  The thing is Zack Galifianakis’ character was just so annoying.  I mean I guess he was annoying in The Hangover as well, but not to this extent maybe?  I don’t know, The Hangover was a good movie.  His character in that definitely messed up big time, but for whatever reason, he was still likable.

In Due Date, there was just no liking him at all.  Within the first ten minutes of the movie, he’s already screwed up a lot in Robert Downey Jr’s life.  And you know that that’s just the beginning.  And you’re thinking, how could he possibly make things worse for him?  Do I really want to know?  And we didn’t.  Which is odd cause usually once I start things, I like to finish them.  But we’d seen little enough of the movie that we weren’t completely invested, and were still able to turn away from it and never look back.

Sometimes you’re just not in the mood for a movie in which everything goes wrong, all because of one stupid individual.  This seemed like it was one of those movies.  Why is it so upsetting when this happens?  You know it’s only a movie.  You know Robert Downey Jr’s life isn’t actually ruined.  So what’s the problem?  Why not just stay along for the ride that is a series of unfortunate events happening to a fictional character?

I guess it’s the same reason that sad movies make some people cry, and the reason that we like happy endings.  For whatever reason, we become emotionally invested in movies. Perhaps because we can relate to the characters?  Maybe the story lines somehow remind us of our own lives at times?

For me personally, one of the reasons these types of movies bother me might be because I relate and really feel for the character who’s life is screwed up due to the stupidity of another person.  I can definitely recall times in my life when things have gone wrong and were completely out of my control because of someone else.  I don’t like to blame other people.  Well okay, that’s not completely true.  I mean I do take ownership for things that are my fault, but often times we are justified in putting at least some blame on others as well.  But then, you could blame yourself for choosing to associate with stupid individuals.  But then we don’t always know and we don’t always have a choice.

It’s just all the more upsetting when someone else screws things up for you and you can’t do anything about it.  I just didn’t feel like investing my time in watching that happen, even if it was only a movie.  Perhaps I’m being unreasonable and the rest of Due Date is actually fantastic and I’m totally missing out?  Who knows?  I guess the people who’ve seen the movie in it’s entirety would know.  Maybe I’ll give it another try some point in the future, at a point in my life where everything’s going well and there’s no chance of any stupid people screwing things up for me.  Although I don’t think that point actually exists in anyone’s life.  Oh well, I guess I’ll never watch it then.

Christmas Mass

Christmas day is a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church.  This means you’re supposed to go to Mass on this day, whether or not it falls on a Sunday.  This year, it happened to fall on a Sunday.  Perhaps that contributed to the church being overwhelmingly full.  Well, it usually is for Christmas.  But I remember in the past, there would be several Masses and they would put chairs in the parish centre and hold two at the same time, just to be able to accommodate everyone.  But apparently they only do that for Christmas Eve.

Why is the church so full on Christmas Day?  Because a lot of people only go to church for the holy days of obligation, mainly Christmas and Easter.  You can often tell who’s a regular church goer and who’s not from how they act throughout the mass and whether they know what’s going on.  This was the first year that I’ve been unfortunate enough to have to stand for the duration of Christmas mass.

Maybe it’s my own fault.  I do take a bit longer than some of my family members to get ready in the morning.  I mean we went at 12:00, so you would think that would give me enough time.  But I slept in, since it was the rare occasion that I could.  But I could also blame my sister, as she took a long time as well.  While the rest of my family were able to procure seats, myself, my dad, and my sister, were not so lucky.  We weren’t late.  But on Christmas, people go super early.  And some save seats with jackets, like they do in movie theatres.  This was fine, except that I wore heels, and had a heavy jacket and no where to put it.  It was cold outside, but hot inside due to all the body heat.

Some people did come late, once the mass had already started.  Most of them were smart enough to realize, since there were already a ton of people standing, that must mean the seats were all full.  A few, however, decided that even though all these people were standing, they themselves were special, and would still get a seat.  They wandered up and down the aisle, before finally realizing there really was no room.

One man in particular, after coming to this realization, decided to come to the back and stand right in front of me.  Which would have been fine, had I not been against the wall, with another person already in front of me, with a pew in front of him.  He pretty much blocked off any room that was available for people who needed to walk by.  And people did need to walk by.  It happens, people need to go to the bathroom, take small children out, etc.  And each and every time they would have to squeeze by awkwardly because this man would not move.

The main problem occurred during communion.  When hundreds of people needed to walk by us.  Hundreds of people squeezing through and saying excuse me to me, since the man had his back to them.  But since I was against the wall, I was clearly unable to move.  This was very awkward and uncomfortable for myself and for everyone who had to pass by.  I think one of the ushers even asked the man to move at one point, and he briefly did, only to move back even closer.  I do not understand what his thinking was.

This situation caused somewhat of a distraction and impeded my ability to pay attention during mass.  It’s already difficult when you’re standing in the back, let alone with someone  invading your personal space.  But oh well.  Had it been a normal Sunday, I would have been sitting down, as the church would have been half as full.  I should have known that Christmas would be that busy and that I should have allowed myself more time.  It made sense that my sister and I stood, seeing as we probably delayed everyone the most.

New Year’s Day is also a holy day of obligation and also falls on a Sunday this year.  Maybe what happened with Christmas was a warning that I should leave the house earlier next time.  I will definitely leave the house earlier that day.  Especially since I’ll be going out on New Year’s Eve.  Standing and being crowded will definitely be much worse if I’m hungover.

Baby it’s cold outside

It’s a popular Christmas song.  A lovely duet.  So romantic.  A true Christmas love song.  Not.  There’s much more to to this song than meets the eye.  Or the ears, I guess.  But yeah.  If you really think about it and listen to the lyrics, it’s pretty obvious what’s going on here.  Date rape.

Okay, I know that seems rather extreme.  But really, that’s what it is.  I mean it’s not happening yet, but the events leading up to it are.  The girl clearly wants to go home to her family, as it’s getting late and is cold outside.  If she stays any longer, the snow will continue to pile up and she’ll be snowed in, unable to make it back safely.  If the man in the song was truly a gentleman, he would respect her wishes and call her a cab.  Instead he makes the excuse that there are “no cabs to be had out there”.  Well maybe that’s because you haven’t called for one yet?

The argument could be made that she wants it as much as he does.  She beats around the bush trying to make excuses, but ultimately doesn’t leave.  Her biggest concern seems to be her reputation.  She’s worried about what her family will think if she spends the night and that rumours will go around.  She says that she “oughta say no”, as if it’s what would be expected of a lady, as opposed to what she really wants to say.

But then she does say “the answer is no”.  Which he promptly ignores and continues on about the weather, how happy he is that she dropped by, and how delicious her lips look.  He makes her feel guilty for wanting to leave him, saying that she is “hurting his pride” and saying “how can you do this thing to me?”.  He’s clearly hoping to get her drunk enough so she’ll spend the night, and is successful in having her agree to another “half a drink more”, probably followed by the other half a drink and who knows how many more after that.  It probably wouldn’t take that many more.  She seems like a cheap drunk.

Not only does he make her feel guilty as a means of making her stay, he then tries to pretend that his main concern is for her and for her safety.  He’d be upset if she “caught pneumonia and died”.  That’s just extreme.  Clearly he’s not a doctor or a medical professional, because being in cold weather does not give you pneumonia.  Yes, it can lower your immune system and worsen conditions, but being in the cold for a bit isn’t going to kill you.  Then he just keeps reminding her of how damn cold it is outside and that he’s concerned for her, as her hands are “cold as ice”.  He lures her in with promises of a warm fireplace to escape from the storm.

How does all this make him a rapist, you ask?  Maybe he genuinely is concerned for her.  Maybe he does care about her safety and has no intention of making any moves on her.  In fact, he has a pull out couch, which he will go sleep on, offering her his bed to have a good night’s sleep until the storm has passed.  And the drink he’s going to give her is some hot chocolate or herbal tea to help her sleep.  Not.  She specifically asks him at one point “say, what’s in this drink?”.  That’s right, he’s roofied her.  At this point it doesn’t matter whether she wants to stay or if she’s worried about her family, because she’s not going to remember.

I’ve heard this song a lot this Christmas, as is the case every year.  And every time I do, I want to yell at the girl to get the hell away while she still can.  Call yourself a cab, this man will lie and say he can’t get one.  Walk if you have to, the storm can’t be that bad.  Just make it to the door before he starts with all this crap.  Call a reliable friend to pick you up maybe.  And for the love of God, don’t drink whatever the hell he’s given you!

Boxing day

The best thing about boxing day is that it’s a public holiday, which many people are thankful for.  But for those who work retail, it’s more of a nightmare.  I used to be one of those people.  I never had the privilege of taking part in boxing day deals because I was on the other side of it.  How fun that was…  Especially that time when my shift started at 7:00 am.  Oh what fun indeed…

But I have since escaped from working in the mall.  Yes, you may applaud my victory in doing so.  Last year was my first time in a while being free from it.  I’m not sure what the hell I did on boxing day last year.  But I don’t think I set foot in a mall.  This year, for some strange reason, I decided that I wanted to go shopping.  Why?  I don’t know.  I really don’t know.  But my dad happened to be free early in the day and said he would go with me if I wanted.  This was an incentive, as it meant not having to carry around a bunch of stuff, as I do not drive.  Buying only as much as you can carry home would be rather depressing on boxing day.

I looked through the flyers and there was really nothing much I could see.  And so we decided that it didn’t matter whether we went at 8, or whether we went at 10, because there weren’t any door crashers or anything we were eager to buy.  And so naturally, I didn’t get out of bed until after 9.  Because I didn’t have to.

Walmart was, I have to say, very disappointing.  As far as boxing day goes.  If it had been any other day, I would say it was a success.  But there were really no good deals, not even on electronics.  And so naturally, we ended up buying mostly food.  And when I get to buy a lot of food, that’s a success.  But I would have liked a laptop and some video games that I could make use of while eating said food.  But oh well.

It took forever to find a parking spot at walmart.  I don’t know why all those people were there considering there was nothing really worth it.  Lansdowne was very busy as well.  We bought a few items at Zellers and one at Toys r us.  I think my favourite purchase at the mall was the beef teriyaki I got at the food court.  Is that sad?

So my boxing day shopping was not really worth it.  I could have gone to more stores, but I didn’t really feel like it.  Bryan’s was having a 50% off everything sale.  As we walked by, my dad remarked that he was surprised that I stayed away.  The main reason I didn’t go in at that time was because we were walking towards to food court and I was hungry.  I did pop in there briefly afterwards, but really did not feel like trying stuff on when it was so busy.  It didn’t seem worth it.  A lot of the electronic stores had “deals” where you only saved about $20.  It’s hard to believe that people lined up super early just for that.

Maybe I should have just slept in past 12.  I wouldn’t really have missed out on much in terms of sales.  And now they have what they call boxing week, so some of the sales will continue, meaning I still have time.  I could have just lounged around the house all day, watched tv, maybe written a blog post about how I wasn’t partaking in any boxing day shopping.  But those who know me know I’ve turned into somewhat of a shopaholic and had to at least attempt to take part in boxing day.  And even though it was a fail in terms of the shopping part, I got to spend some quality time with my dad.  We failed at boxing day together.  And I consider that to be a success.

Love Actually

If you haven’t seen the movie Love Actually before, do not read this, as there may be spoilers.  Though it seems like I was one of the only people on the planet who hadn’t seen the movie.  But now I can say that I have.  And was it the greatest Christmas movie of all time?  No, not really.

I recently angered a few people with my facebook update which stated that I had watched this movie for the first time and that I did not understand why everyone loved it so much.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie.  Enjoyed it even.  But it just wasn’t all that people had hyped it up to be.  Maybe if I had watched it years ago when it first came out, I would have been in as much awe as everyone else.  But I didn’t.

Some of the story lines in the movie I just wasn’t happy with.  My friends were yelling at Laura Linney’s character, and rightly so.  You’ve been in love with a hot guy for over 2 years and you finally have him in your room and you answer your phone?  Why?  Sure, your brother’s not well, but it isn’t an urgent matter of life and death at the moment.  And how did that story line end?  There was no closure.  Was that it?  She just continues being in love with him after having failed at being with him and that’s that?  Not cool.

A story line that people apparently found really cute was the one with the little boy.  Really? I’m sorry, that bothers me too much.  You’re 11 years old, your mom just died, and you’re depressed because you’re in love?  Really?  You’re more upset about the agony of being in love than about losing your mother?  Every time he talked about love I was just like “but you’re 11!”.  Also, this movie was post 9/11.  So where the hell was the increased airport security?  And how come an 11 year old boy was able to outrun a bunch of cops?  I’m sorry, no.

And Hugh Grant as the prime minister.  Yeah, I really can’t buy that.  I mean sure his character was fine, but I couldn’t take him seriously as a politician.  And why would you applaud him at the school play?  Oh look, the prime minister is randomly making out with some chick backstage at my kid’s Christmas concert, let’s clap for him!  Is that really the appropriate response?

I have to say that the most realistic story line was the one with Alan Rickman & Emma Thompson.  I could see that happening.  Except why be an idiot and shop for a necklace while your wife is also in the store?  And I was curious as to what exactly happened in the end.  Were they divorced?  Did they stay together?  It was unclear the way it was depicted.  But I guess that was done on purpose.  I would have also liked to know what happened to his secretary.  Nothing I suppose?  Did she get with him?  Did she find love elsewhere?  Who knows?

I’m sad to say that the second most realistic story line was probably the one where the guy decides to go to America because girls will love him there for his accent.  And they do.  I mean it’s shameful to say that girls are actually that shallow, but it’s true that a British accent somehow does wonders.  The way things played out for him was definitely exaggerated, but the general idea was somewhat true to life.

I won’t go into all the other story lines, as that would just be overkill.  I do already feel as though I’ve overanalyzed this movie so I will stop.  Obviously all movies will have story lines that you don’t particularly like or agree with.  All in all, it was a good film, just not the best.  Maybe next Christmas I will try watching it again, perhaps with a bottle of wine or some eggnog.  Maybe then I will love it as much as everyone else.

My Christmas Letter

There are some people who, every Christmas, send out letters to family and friends wishing them happy holidays and outlining what they themselves have been up to throughout the year.  These are written generically, to no one in particular, and sent out to whoever is important enough in their address book.  I have never done this, nor do I ever plan to.  When I write Christmas letters, or any letters for that matter, they are personal and unique.  Each and every letter from me is one of a kind.  And I think that’s the way it should be.

I have a problem with generic Christmas letters because they’re just so impersonal.  If you really care that much about the people you are sending them to, you would take the time to wish them well and update them on your life individually, not as part of a mass produced note that everyone and their dog is also receiving.  Also, some of the things written in these letters about their lives, don’t really need to be included.  Do we really care about the school play that your kid had a minor but important role in?  Or that you’ve recently joined a  a new book club and are loving it so far?

But, in the spirit of Christmas and tradition, I will take this madness one step further.  Rather than wasting paper and postage to send out my useless thoughts to a selection of people I care about, I will wish everyone who chooses to read it, in this very blog.  So here we go…

Dear family and friends and random people I don’t know,

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas!  All the best to you and yours during this joyous season.  Where has 2011 gone?  It seems as though it all went by so quickly, don’t you think?  I don’t know about you, but I still managed to accomplish a lot.

As you may know, I finally graduated in May with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from UBC.  And where has that taken me?  Well, apparently I loved the university so much, I decided to stay there as an employee at the bookstore.  Something I didn’t actually need a degree to do.  But nevertheless, that’s what I’ve been doing since graduating.

I also started a blog, as you can see.  Why?  No reason really.  I just have a lot of thoughts racing through my head and this is one outlet of expressing them.  I also recently diagnosed myself as having what I like to call ADHD of the mind.  I’m not crazy and hyperactive on the outside, but you should see what goes on inside my head.  It’s not as calm up in there.  Hence, the blogging and the randomness in order to let it all out.  I’ve heard some people make money through blogging, but I’ve never bothered to look into that.    I suppose I really should, since I could use the money.  But oh well.

Something else I’ve been meaning to do is move out of the house.  No, I haven’t done that yet.  And no, I haven’t started looking for a place yet.  And no, I haven’t decided when exactly I would like to move out.  But it’s the thought that counts, right?  And I’ve thought about it a lot.  So that’s something, right?  I just wish the price of living in Vancouver wasn’t so high.

I have also continued my combination of hatred and dependence for translink.  Why do I hate them?  Well, quite frankly, they suck.  Why do I depend on them?  Well, quite frankly, I  suck.  Why do I suck?  Because I don’t drive.  But I also can’t afford a car.  Instead of saving up money for one, I would rather spend it on shoes.  They get me where I need to go as well, it just takes longer.

What else have I accomplished this year?  I haven’t taken up any new hobbies or anything exciting like that.  Unless you count blogging?  Does updating my facebook status count?  I do a lot of that.  And that’s an understatement.  2011 was a good year for status updates.  I’ve also been more active on twitter as well.  That’s something to be proud of I’m sure.  I also started watching some new tv shows, some good, some bad, some so-so.

Oh, I also started going to gym.  Sort of.  It’s been a while, I haven’t gone that often, but I’ll try again next year?  And I did the grouse grind for the first time.  And I got a massage for the first time.  And I started doing a lot of online shopping.  It’s been a good year for firsts.  This also happens to be the first generic Christmas letter I’m sending out.  While not really sending out as such, but whatever.

So yes, that’s what I’ve been doing this year.  A successful year, no?  I thought so.  And what made it that much better was having all of you as a part of my life throughout it.  So thank you, for allowing me to share this wonderful year with you.  I do hope that the coming year will be filled with as much excitement for you and for me.  You are in my thoughts and prayers always.  Best wishes for the future!

With much love,

Dominique