Category: list

11 things

December 11 – 11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

I’m starting to really have to grasp at straws for these questions and I’m not entirely sure I’m loving this reverb10 thing. But, I committed… so here goes?

1. Excuses. I would like to give up on all the excuses I use in my life to keep myself from changing the things I am unhappy with. For instance, I went to the gym nearly everyday in November, and I don’t want to let excuses get in the way of continuing that. It makes me feel better, even if dragging my ass out of bed is hard.

2. Those People. Everyone has Those People in their lives that are supposed to be Friends but really make you feel like shit most of the time. I really need to rid my life of people who aren’t good for me.

3. Self doubt. I am a smart, capable person. I need to stop doubting that so much.

4. Facebook. Don’t worry, I’m not going to delete my Facebook. But I need to spend less time on it.

5. Waiting. For life to begin or to find something or someone.

6. Regrets. As a chronic overthinker, I spend a lot of time regretting things that I’ll never be able to change. I need to stop doing that.

7. Dealbreakers. I find myself trying not to “get into” things with people when they offhandedly say something I don’t agree with. Like people who use “gay” or “retarded” in sentences. I need to speak up for what I believe in. Those things are dealbreakers for me. I used to be so good at standing up for myself but I lost it somewhere trying to keep everyone happy.

8. Laziness. The occasional lazy day is awesome, but I want to have more energy in general for life.

9. Comparisons. Comparing myself to everyone else. I really need to stop that. Particularly when I’m constantly surrounded by such amazing people. It’s easy to feel inadequate.

10. Getting my hopes up. This sounds depressing, but I’m not giving up on dreaming. I’m giving up on putting things on a pedestal and having such high expectations for things that I end up being disappointed when they don’t work out.

11. Drama. I always get involved because I care too much, but it’s hurt me so much in 2010 that I think I need to spend 2011 learning to take a step back from all the drama.

Trail of paper

Last night I started my Visa application.

My life is being overcome by paperwork and things to do. I have to go in for my appointment with my supporting documents a week from Monday. Before then I have to go to the bank and get a letter to prove that I have enough money.

I also applied for OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program) to get a student loan with slightly less interest and more forgiveness than my student line of credit. For this I need to provide a copy of my SIN (Social Insurance Number) card. I lost my SIN card about 6 years ago, right after I got it. So this means that I have to go and get myself a new SIN card.

I also left my debit card in the ATM last night and have to go get a new one of those. On top of that I have a doctor’s and dentist appointment later this month to get myself all checked out before going over.

This is after the trail of paperwork from Athabasca to Carleton to Newcastle that was earlier this month to sort out my transcripts and acceptance letter.

And these are only small items on the mile long list that is Things to Do Before I have to Leave IN TWO MONTHS!

The hilarious part of my night was this on my visa application:


Um, please define…?

Veni, vidi, vici

For some reason that quote has always sounded very sexual to me. Okay, so it’s not that hard to imagine. I came. I saw. I conquered. When Rome first came out and I was immersed in the world of LJ, I made a series of icons about the hotness of Antony. It was an animation that cycled through his hottest pictures (though sadly not the full frontal) with the words “Veni… vidi… vici.” My my, I’m a slut for history.

It is in that spirit that I bring you another top ten list. My top ten people from history.

10. Shakespeare


Shakespeare is obviously sexy. You only have to read a few lines of his plays to know that. The man practically created the idea of love (except not really… as I’ll get to with number 5!) In my mind, Shakespeare is always played by Joseph Fiennes, brooding and creative in Shakespeare in Love. I tend to always view historical characters in their potential interesting historical fiction. Stories about Shakespeare’s life are always full of intrigue, lust, adultery… all of the wonderful things that made Shakespeare in Love one of the best chick flicks ever made.

9. Leonidas and Gorgo


I have to admit that my love for Leonidas really didn’t surface until after seeing 300. But the truth about 300 is that while it’s “accuracy” may be questioned, the idea of it is true to the sources. What I mean is that if Herodotus or Thucydides could have made a movie about Thermopylae, it would have been exactly like 300. The story of Thermopylae was never history. Almost immediately it was myth.

Besides the rippling abs and small loincloth of 300, Leonidas was a Greek hero the likes of which they had not seen since Homer’s Troy. Of course, until the Persian Wars they hadn’t seen a war quite like Troy either. Leonidas, the Agiad King at Sparta (Sparta always had two kings, from two royal lines), led his men into war with all the courage, bravery and self sacrifice of the Spartan mirage. A Spartan man was not afraid of anything. Had Leonidas meant to lead his men to death? Probably not. Did 300 Spartiates fight off millions of Persians? Not at all.  Counting the Spartans helot slaves, and the fighters from other Greek city states, there had to be at least 3000 men at Thermopylae. And remember, they lost. All the same, it makes for a great heroic tale of the Spartan courage. After all, the statue dedicated for Thermopylae reads,  “Go tell the Spartans, passerby: That here, by Spartan law, we lie.”

And Gorgo? Remember that gorgeous scantily clad chick in 300? That’s Gorgo. The daughter, wife and mother of Spartan kings. She was a phenomenal woman, who kicked some major ass. Not quite like in the movie, but in her own way. When she was a child, she was listening to a meeting between her father and a man who was trying to convince him to support the Ionian revolt against Persia. When things had gone to far, she interrupted them. “Father, you must make this man leave before you are corrupted,” she said. From that moment on she earned the respect of the historical sources. She’s one of very few historical figures actually mentioned by name in Herodotus. She’s the epitome of a Spartan woman, the way Leonidas exemplifies Spartan men. The Spartan woman did not mourn the death of her husband, brother, son or father in war. Their philosophy? Come back with your shield or on it.

8. Hamnett Kirkes Pinhey


Here’s where you get a little bit of history of the Ottawa area, pets! I know you’re all so excited. Hamnett Kirkes Pinhey was a merchant in England, who made his fortune early in life and retired at the age of 35. Frustrated by his inability to climb the social ladder in England, he decided to move to the colonies. So he petitioned for land in Canada, claiming that he had been  a spy for England to the King of Prussia during the Napoleonic Wars. He got his land grant and headed on his merry way.

He built his home on overlooking the Ottawa River. It was the most impressive building for miles, and Hamnett Pinhey was the wealthiest man in Carleton County. He was the unofficial patriarch of the area, often lending money to poorer settlers or overseeing public schools. He built a church, the first in the area, on his own property which he donated to the Anglican Church. He was a Great Man, with capitals, mostly doing all of these things to increase his own status in the community.

But he wasn’t bad looking for a settler, and he sure had class. Plus, he was rich. Which is always a bonus.

7. Delilah (and Samson)


I guess here the term “historical” is used lightly. Biblical I guess would be better, but I’ve been inclined to think of the bible as mythology much like Hesiod’s Works and Days. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that the story of Samson and Delilah is by far one of the most compelling, a favourite subject among authors, poets, songwriters and artists. Samson was seemingly invincible, but Delilah learned his secret. When he was asleep, she cut his hair and thus robbed him of his strength. It’s sexy. Who knows why she did it. Who knows why he let her. But it’s a great story. The downtrodden women of the bible are my favourites, Jezebel and Delilah especially.

6. Julius Caesar


The very man who spoke the words that gave this post a title! Interesting fact, to those of you who don’t speak Latin… in Latin, the “v” is pronounced with a “w” sound, essentially making the quote “Weni, widi, wici,” which doesn’t roll of the tongue in quite the same way.

Anyway, apparently Julius Caesar said a lot of famous things. Another of his is “The die is cast.” I think Julius Caesar is like a god. I mean, he’s the beginning of the Roman Empire. He’s… invincible! He dares to do what no other man in Rome will. I have to say that I’m guilty of always first thinking that JC stands for Julius Caesar and not Jesus Christ…

Caesar’s early death makes him a hero. He didn’t live long enough to fail, and thus he is eternally infallible.

5. Ovid


By far my favourite Latin writer. And definitely one of my favourite poets of any language. Ovid was an artist in a way that writers weren’t before him. Ever since Homer, literature had steadily been moving towards the point of artistry, and indeed a lot of the credit can be given to others like Sappho and Virgil. But Ovid was the first to use a complex theme in his work, the Metamorphoses. He pushed the limits of literature as everyone knew it. His writing is unique because it’s actually good by modern standards. Which is to say, it’s still interesting.

Plus, he wrote on things like love and sex (he has a bunch of erotic poems) and got himself exiled.  He also coined the phrase “make love not war.”

“And what other treasures may not be hidden under that summer dress? Feeling hot? Would a cooling breeze be welcome? There, let me fan you a little. Or is the heat all in my own?” Amores, Book 3

4. King Arthur


I have to say that even in First Knight when you’re supposed to go for Richard Gere as Lancelot, I went for Sean Connery as Arthur. I have always had this unwavering image of King Arthur as a good king, as brave and loyal. And thus always thought Guinevere was a whore. Who would chose Lancelot over Arthur?

I think my love for Arthur started with the Sword in the Stone… but it continued to Mists of Avalon, King Arthur, First Knight… Merlin… I think I’ve seen every movie relating to Arthur and read quite a few of the books.

Arthur represents, to me, the traditional Great Leader. The way a King should be. Ushering in a golden age. Unifying the kingdom. He’s a hero, and one not quite as long ago as the Greeks and Romans I usually go for.

3. Cleopatra


The ultimate seductress. Sources generally agree that Cleopatra was not a looker - how could she be with the infamous Ptolemy nose? But Cleopatra was undeniably sexy. Proof? She, a client Queen, made lovers of two of the most powerful men in Rome, Caesar and then Antony. She seduced them. She used them. And all the while she was a surprisingly good queen, the only one in generations who had bothered to actually learn Egyptian. She spoke 7 different languages, she was supposedly very smart and no one was as charming as she. The story goes that she wagered Antony she would give him the most expensive party in history. At this party, she took a pearl that was apparently worth the value of 15 countries and dissolved it in a glass of vinegar, then drank it. It is, apparently, still the most expensive meal in history.

Cleopatra is intriguing in every possible way and her life is the best of stories, from her birth to her dramatic suicide.

2. Marc Antony


Marc Antony was a great general. He lacked the politics to be a great leader. He really did best when Caesar was alive, he wasn’t cut out to beat Octavian at the games of political intrigue. When it came to war, he should have beaten Octavian. He was the better general. But Octavian knew his weaknesses and largely had Agrippa leading his armies for him. And so Antony was defeated.

But even Plutarch, though happy to point out all of Antony’s flaws, says that he was very attractive, with “a noble dignity of form.” Antony is more often than not portrayed as the man’s man, very rugged and tough. Like in the tv show Rome, he was supposedly into all sorts of debaucheries.

I like to believe that Antony and Cleopatra were in love. Real love, not political love like her and Caesar. I think this mostly because they were probably the only ones who could give each other’s charm a run for it’s money. But I bet she missed the intelligent conversation from her days with Caesar.

1. Alexander the Great


Oh Alex. My love. In the theory of reincarnation, they say that if you identify strongly with a character from history, you were either that person or a person close to them in a past life. I don’t know if this is a legit theory, but I love it. I was definitely either Alexander or his lover Hephaestion in a past life. Their love is so touching. They had been friends since boyhood, and modelled themselves after Achilles and Patroclus. Everyone knew that Hephaestion was the love of Alexander’s life. The only close rival was his horse, Beucephalus.

I don’t know why I love Alex so much, or why I feel the need to call him “Alex” as is we were friends. But he’s the ultimate Greek hero. And like Achilles, his early death ensures his fame. Alexander was unstoppable. He never lost. He never gave up. He conquered further than any Greek had ever dreamed. And he was hot. I just know it.

“They say Alexander was never bested, except by Hephaestion’s thighs.” - Alexander, the movie.

To do

Because I’m driving down to Pittsburgh tomorrow (YAY!) I find myself with a really long to do list today.

  • Pack.
  • Go to the hairdresser to get my bangs trimmed.
  • Finish putting together the exhibit catalogue for Billings.
  • Print out The Book so Fae and I can edit it.
  • See Kristen and Taylor before I leave because they won’t be here when I get back!
  • Charge two cameras and one camcorder.
  • Charge/Sync my iPod.
  • Burn mix CD.
  • Make mini muffins.
  • Laundry.
  • Put away some of my stuff from the front hall so my parents don’t have to trip over it all week.

I think that’s it. I hope that’s it. Because I barely have time for that, let alone anything else.

Tomorrow night when I get in, I’ll try to post about my drive down. Since I’m sure I’ll get lost, despite the GPS. IF I have time tonight, I will schedule a post to show up while I’m driving tomorrow… Maybe. We’ll see.

On another interesting note, I had my first nosebleed ever.I was very surprised. I always figured that people were either prone to nosebleeds or not. Like those kids in school who always had nosebleeds. Needless to say, it was gross and I got blood everywhere. Also, I never realized that your mouth would taste like blood too. But I guess it makes sense.

Who am I? Somebody just tell me that much…

I just was reading my journal from this summer. Because I have two essays and a huge journalism article due this week. So, obviously, I’m procrastinating. I got to cross two things off of my list of 100 things to do before I die. #68: Feel infinite. #60: Get a tattoo.

So I found the entries I had written about Ireland. And I really liked them, looking back. So I decided I would start posting them here. Enjoy.

Dublin was a city you couldn’t help but get lost in. It seemed that even when we were going in the right direction, we ended up in the wrong place.
Dublin was a city of too many people - very few of whom were actually Irish. There were almost no crosswalks and the ones there were were never obeyed by cars or pedestrians.
The did, however, have very useful signs painted on the roads saying LOOK RIGHT or LOOK LEFT, to give all the tourists an idea of where the cars might be coming from.
Once you’ve figured out where most things are in Dublin, it becomes liveable. It was expensive as all hell, but it was good craic.
Staying in a hostel on a street called Aungier (actually pronounced ayn-ger, not, I was told repeatedly, on-gier) we met people from all over the world. Most were just passing though, struggling under the weight of backpacks almost as big as themselves.
Two girls we met, Sarah and Candle, shared our room for a couple of nights. I marvelled that the skinny little things could even lift their bags, let alone carry them around Ireland, to Lithuania and all through Europe. They were American. We met some Canadian backpackers, too. Sharon, Graham and Jeremy. It was one of those weird situations where we only knew them for one night, but by the end of we were hanging out like old friends.
Javier slept on the bunk underneath Jez for almost the entire time. He had a habit of walking in just as I was daring to take off my shirt. Inconvenient. But, he reassured me, “I am not a pervert or anything…!” And he wasn’t. He was a sweet guy who’d recently fallen in love with an Australian girl who chose a drunk over him. He was from a beautiful coastal town in Spain. He showed us pictures on my laptop. At the time - early May - in Dublin, it had been pouring rain and cold for days. And, looking at the pictures of people on beautiful sandy beaches, I had to wonder why he’d left. He even spoke of the town with love. But I guess we all need a change. And none of us realize what we have until we leave.
Dublin has bars that are older than my entire country. Dublin has beer with lunch. Dublin has the Temple Bar district. We drank our fair share of pints in Temple Bar. The joy of Heineken. There were more tourists than anything. One night, all five of us girls in the bathroom were from Canada. But there were some Dubliners around. Mostly, I’m sure, to pick up tourists. But damned if I could understand more than a third of what they were saying, with the thick accent and loud music.
Dublin is a place where you find lots of other people. But not, I could tell, where you’d ever be able to find yourself. In the crowded streets and pubs, I knew I’d always be perpetually lost.
I’d two favourite places in Dublin. One I saw the first day I was there. The other I never saw until I went back with Kristen.
The first thing I loved about St. Patrick’s Cathedral was how it reminded me of being in France. It was another gorgeous, magnificent church. But as son as you step inside the gates, you see that it’s flavour is purely Irish. Along the fence there are plaques dedicated to Ireland’s most famous writers and their work. A church for the Bards. Joyce, Yeats.
There’s a liberty bell that mostly looks like a huge hunk of metal. A little sign saying “Here is the sight of the well St. Patrick used to baptise the Irish.” Just a sign. Small, white, wood.
There’s a fountain, too. A small Irish boy was leaning in so far, I thought for sure he’d tumble in. No one else seemed concerned. I moved closer, just in case. Turns out the boy was filling his bucket with water from the fountain. And he seemed to have found a perfectly safe system - as precarious as it had seemed to me. He was leaning against the drain grate with one hand. His feet were in the air, but he didn’t slip at all. His family, nearby, didn’t seem the least bit concerned. Apparently, this is normal. Either that or their rugby game was more interesting.
The thing about European churches is that when I walk in, as a non-religious person, I suddenly understand how a person can feel a connection with God. Because it’s beautiful. Cathedrals are certainly the most striking art. These buildings were designed to inspire - not simply to function. This is where, for me, architectures transcends into art. The ceilings, the stained glass, the gold candlesticks and wooden pews… There’s so much beauty that it’s like looking at a sunset. You know there must be something bigger because beauty can’t be merely human. The fact that these cathedrals are man made makes a great argument for organized religion. Religious or not, you can’t help but feel spiritual in a place like St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

c’est tout, pour maintenant.